News dév web

Once Upon a Time: Old Nokia Phones That Ruled the Roost

Noupe.com - 7 août, 2020 - 09:44

Technology always moves forward. That is why today we hardly see those old school phones we had in the 90s.

Going way back in time, you will remember that our phones were not always this smart. There was a time when Nokia was the biggest company in the market and Nokia phones had a glorious reputation.

Not to mention the brand was one of the first to launch a commercialized consumer handset, with the Nokia 1011 in 1992.

Nokia phones were essentially engraved on the minds of millennials as they were the first generation who were born in the era of the first-ever portable mobile phones. Who can ever forget the iconic Snake game, right?

Until today the company has released dozens of models. Make no mistake, there were some groundbreaking Nokia phones and some were not so great.

That’s why we’ve handpicked old Nokia phones exclusively for our old school readers.

Editor’s note
: This post will be a trip down memory lane and may not be appropriate for some readers. Gen Z, we mean it!

Nokia 1011 (1992)

The Nokia 1011 was highly influential in the digital handheld phone history, not just because it was Nokia’s first mass-produced GSM phone, but also it had a quite elegant design for its time. It was not huge at least. Weighed 475 grams, this archaic device was able to make calls as well as send and receive text messages. How comprehensive, right? 

Nokia 2110 (1994)

Believe it or not, Nokia 2110 was famous for being the smallest GSM phone and was one of the best you could possibly find in the 90s. At the time the Nokia 2110 was quite expensive. This phone really stuck out by being the first phone with the Nokia tune. Yes, you heard it right.

Nokia 8110 (1996)

How cool can a phone get, you asked? Well, this curvy slider used by Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Designed for the business market, the signature banana phone 8110 was the first of Nokia’s high-end 8000 series and also one of the first examples of slider phones.

Nokia 9000 Communicator (1996)

Considered to be the first smartphone, Nokia Communicator had it all. It squeezed all the features of a computer into a pocket phone. The 9000 communicator was ahead of its time with a full QWERTY keyboard, web browsing, email, word processing, and 8 MB of memory features.

Nokia 7710 (1999)

This was the first mobile phone that packed wireless application protocol also known as WAP. Simply put it allowed users to access information from the internet. Even though its data rate wasn’t advanced enough to rock the world, users could still check their emails. Not bad at all!

Nokia 3210 (1999)

This model didn’t have anything spectacular, no internet connection, camera, or a slider keyboard. Yet it managed to be one of the bestsellers at the time with more than 160 million users.

Nokia 7210 (2002)

Finally, we started to see some color. Nokia 7210 had an unusual accessory that was just starting to appear in the early 2000s, an attachable camera. The camera somehow saved 7210 from downfall since its keyboard design was not only ugly but also quite impractical.

Nokia N-Gage (2003)

Experimental yet still a disappointment. Combining a phone and a game console. N-Gage must have been the perfect phone, right? Wrong. It was not a huge hit after all as it was assumed it would be. Not to mention you had to hold it in a very awkward and uncomfortable position during phone calls. 

Nokia N91 (2005)

Not so easy on the eyes, Nokia N91 is doomed to be one of the ugliest Nokia phones. Nothing spectacular in terms of the specifications except for its generous internal music storage of 4 GB.

Nokia 3310 (2000)

We’ve saved the best for last! Even today rock-solid 3310 finds its way into memes. Arguably can save you from a bullet, Nokia 3310 was a superphone and maybe the most iconic Nokia phone of all time.

Sold over 125 million, this tough boy had a battery life that won’t quit. If you’ve used it at some point of your life and still have it somewhere, you better check, it may still be on.

If you’re of a certain age, you probably owned one of these unbreakable models. These were the ones still linger in our memories. If you still have your old Nokia phone kicking around in a drawer somewhere, tell us in the comment section, which one was your favorite.

Catégories: News dév web

Does Remote Work Contribute To Musculoskeletal Disorders? – [Infographic]

Noupe.com - 7 août, 2020 - 08:11

The global workforce’s current reliance on remote work has proven to lessen many employees’ susceptibility of contracting the coronavirus.

However, remote work has also proven to take a toll on the engaging employee’s physical health, causing them to experience muscle pain and fatigue. However, the coronavirus isn’t primarily to blame. 

In 2018, way before the immediate surge in remote work, many in the American workforce were already suffering from musculoskeletal disorders. In fact, it was found that back pain alone can lead to 264 million lost work days annually, which fizzles down to people missing an average of 12 days of work annually. 

Even the simplest activities we consider necessary for our daily routines can cause injury to the muscles. Generally, overusing, misusing, tiring, and accidentally injuring our muscles contribute to strain. More specifically, activities such as lengthy desk sitting can lead to biomechanical instability, muscle tightness, and pain. 

However, molded posture isn’t the only way remote work contributes to muscle strain. Repetitive activities, such as constant typing, can lead to muscle tightness and pain in the hands and wrists. If you notice symptoms of sudden pain, soreness and swelling, tightness and limited movement range, or stiffness, spasms, or weakness, consult with a medical professional for treatment. Even minor issues can lead to long-term injuries, so it’s important to treat muscle discomfort correctly before it gets worse.

According to a 2017 study by the Global Burden of Disease, musculoskeletal conditions were a main contributor to disability worldwide. In other words, many are numb to suffering from muscle tightness – which is a sign of weakness. Atypical to the mindset we’ve become accustomed to, there are several solutions for treating muscle pain. For example, physical and massage therapies, or muscle activation techniques.

For some issues, physical therapy can be as effective as surgery, and can even prevent unnecessary operations. Get this: a 2018 study showed that 43% of respondents were suffering from lower back pain, and a 2015 study found that massaged muscles had a higher blood vessel count than non-massaged ones. Scientifically, blood vessels are thought to be connected to improved pain recovery – signifying massage therapy’s effectiveness.

Similarly, Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) also helps patients improve their muscle stability and function. MAT analyzes the patient’s range of motion to pinpoint their muscle dysfunction, uses muscle-specific palpation to activate dysfunctional muscles, and implements position-specific isometrics to improve muscle function. Following treatment, 85% of patients report positive results. 

Still, keep in mind that our muscles can be damaged outside of office work. Outside of the professional realm, our muscles can be injured throughout the course of our daily lives. For example, accidents and injuries are considered muscle traumas that can cause weakness and pain. Instances of falls and car accidents may injure the muscles, causing inflammation and discomfort. 

Ignoring injuries can lead to increased susceptibility to injury, degenerating strength and dexterity, and progressive weakness. Knowing this, it’s important to be mindful of your workplace ergonomics. Musculoskeletal disorders can affect all ages, so no one is exempt. Is your remote job causing you discomfort?

Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash
Infographic: https://info.muscleactivation.com/muscle-pain-what-causes-it-and-how-to-fix-it

Please include attribution to Muscle Activation Techniques with this graphic.

Catégories: News dév web

How to accept payments online

Noupe.com - 6 août, 2020 - 14:53

A sale isn’t a sale until money changes hands. To get in on the $601.7 billion (and growing) of retail purchases that occur over the internet, your e-commerce business needs to accept payments online.

But a site’s payment system is more than just a matter of survival. A better checkout experience can also help your business grow.

In the e-commerce industry, where cart abandonment rates remain stuck in the 70 percent range, a smooth, intuitive payment experience is crucial. This guide will help you provide that experience. E-commerce experts and payment tech gurus will explain exactly how to accept payments online and which strategies can help entice visitors to cross the finish line.

Feel free to browse the table of contents and skip ahead. If you’re new to the topic, here are some of the key terms you’ll see mentioned throughout:

  • A payment gateway is a software package that connects your website to payment networks. Gateway providers invest heavily in digital security measures, limiting risk for site operators and their customers.
  • Merchant accounts are specialized bank services that facilitate credit and debit card payments. A merchant account holds funds until they’re fully authenticated and cleared to be transferred into a seller’s business account. Many payment gateways provide merchant accounts for their users, simplifying payment processing for sellers.
  • Payment card is a catch-all term for the various types of cards buyers use to make payments, including credit, debit, prepaid, and charge cards. (Yes, they’re different, but don’t worry about the distinction just yet.)
  • Payment methods refer to the particular financial instrument a customer uses to transfer funds. Credit cards, e-checks, ACH transfers, and digital wallets are all distinct payment methods.
  • Payment processors are companies that submit transactions electronically on behalf of sellers. They provide the connection to credit card networks operated by card providers, while the payment gateway connects an online store to payment processors.

This guide speaks largely to online sellers, but the payment strategies we cover aren’t just necessary fuel for e-commerce. Nonprofits, B2B service providers, SaaS companies, and others need to provide streamlined and secure ways to send funds through the internet. In short, if you want to collect payments online, this guide is for you.

Chapter synopsis
  • Chapter 1: Introduction.
  • Chapter 2: Online payment gateways. For most online businesses, setting up a payment gateway will be your introduction to collecting payments digitally. Learn about the top gateways on the market and how to decide which options are right for you.
  • Chapter 3: Online payment methods. There’s more to online payments than credit cards. Find out which payment methods are available — and why it’s important to provide your customers’ favorites.
  • Chapter 4: Nonprofits and online payments. Nonprofits can boost donations and sell more merchandise when they process transactions online. Here’s what you need to know to surpass your collection goals through digital payments.
  • Chapter 5: Online payments and security. Financial security is a prerequisite for successful online payments. This chapter describes the security infrastructure that protects your users’ financial information.
  • Chapter 6: Collecting payments with online forms. Simplify the payment experience by integrating it into existing online forms. In Chapter 6, we explain all the ways this is possible.
  • Chapter 7: How to build an online payment form. Now that you know the basics of online payments, it’s time to build your first order form. Here’s what you need to know.

We recommend bookmarking this guide for future reference. There’s a lot to learn about online payment systems, and you never know when you’ll want to try a new approach or build on an existing one.

Online payment gateways

A payment gateway is the technology that allows sellers to process transactions involving credit cards, debit cards, and alternative payments like e-checks and digital wallets. The term “payment gateway” also includes physical tools like credit card terminals, so experts differentiate between payment gateways and online payment gateways.

In this guide, we’ll focus on online payment gateways, which provide the software e-commerce merchants need to accept payments through their websites.

How online payment gateways handle a transaction

How does an online payment gateway work? Here’s the process a gateway uses to help a seller accept credit card payments online:

  1. A shopper selects an item to purchase and follows the prompts to the payment stage, providing a credit card number and authorizing information.
  2. The gateway’s software encrypts transaction data and securely transfers it to the payment processor, typically a bank-designated “acquirer.”
  3. The acquiring bank routes the payment request (again with strict data security) to card processing networks. Major credit card companies operate these networks; common examples are Visa and Mastercard.
  4. The card network verifies the card information, adding another fraud check to the process. Then it submits the payment request to the card-issuing bank.
  5. The issuing bank completes another fraud check and verifies that the customer has available funds for the purchase. Then it either accepts or declines the request and sends that decision back to the payment gateway.
  6. The gateway informs the buyer and the seller of the results. If the payment is accepted, the banks involved settle the payment, meaning they send the money from the buyer to the seller.

This entire process, right up to the settlement, is nearly instant. (Settlements, on the other hand, can take a few days.) The gateway acts as a connection between your customers, your site, and the payment networks that make digital fund transfers possible.

While online payment gateways allow sellers to accept credit card payments through their sites, payment cards aren’t the only method customers will use to buy your products.

Usage of digital wallets — software that stores funds in a secured electronic account (think Apple Pay and PayPal) — rose by 30 percent between 2017 and 2019, potentially reducing consumer dependence on traditional banks. And for B2B transactions, ACH payments remain a favorite, thanks to low fees and lack of spending limits that restrict credit card use.

We’ll explore alternative payment methods in Chapter 2, but as you compare payment gateway providers, be sure your top choices can handle the payment methods your customers prefer.

Four factors to consider when choosing an online payment gateway

Which gateway is right for you? That depends on a range of factors, including customer preference, ideal payment methods, user experience, and more. To get started, consider the following four components of major payment gateways.  

  1. Onsite vs offsite (hosted) checkout
  2. Ronen Amit, senior e-commerce strategist and founder of SellerAct, says there are two options for gateway setup.

    “The first way is probably the simplest,” Amit explains. “When you [the buyer] hit the button to pay, you will be redirected to another website, which is secured. After the payment is completed, you will be redirected back to the original website, usually to a thank-you page.” These types of gateways are also called “hosted payment pages.”

    The second setup doesn’t redirect buyers to the gateway’s website. Instead, the user appears to enter their payment information directly into the seller’s site. What’s actually happening is a little more complicated, says Duston Sholtes, COO of e-commerce developer Blue Stingray.

    He uses PayPal as an example of a gateway provider that offers both redirects and an on-the-page experience for buyers. “In one option, PayPal actually takes the user to their site,” Sholtes says. “But they also offer what’s called an in-context experience, where the site uses JavaScript to pull in the payment form from the PayPal website, so customers don’t have to leave the website they’re on.”

    In general, redirects at the payment stage can be risky. “You have to understand that your user will be redirected to another website, and you might lose control over some of the process,” Amit says. Redirects during payment can also make shoppers nervous, contributing to more cart abandonment.

    The faster implementation may make hosted payment pages best for beginners. If you have the resources, however, look for a gateway that offers an in-context payment experience.

  3. Mobile-friendly design
  4. By 2021, more than half of all online purchases in the U.S. will take place on mobile platforms. If your payment gateway offers a poor mobile experience, you’re limiting your customer base considerably.

  5. Support for multiple payment methods
  6. Payment gateways accept varying combinations of payment methods. The more your site can accept, the better.

    “Make sure you cater to the 56 percent of users who want multiple payment options,” says Travis McKnight of digital marketing agency Portent. “If you’re an e-commerce site, I recommend including Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal alongside the standard credit card options like Visa and Mastercard. If you’re a B2B website, I advise you to check with your sales team to discover how most customers want to pay.”

  7. Fee schedules that work for your business model
  8. Some payment gateways charge a monthly fee as well as per-transaction rates. Others only get paid when you do. Some per-transaction rates are fixed at, say, 10 cents each; others charge a percentage of the payment price.

    Some gateways include customization out of the box, while others charge for advanced features. Compare these details to find the one that works best for your business.

Keep these factors in mind as you research competing gateway providers. Here’s a list of them to get you started.

Major payment gateway providers

Payment gateways are the software products themselves, but payment gateway providers are the companies that make those particular solutions. So which payment gateway provider should you choose? Here’s a short list of some of the major payment gateway providers on the market:

Many e-commerce platforms pre-integrate these and other payment gateways into their systems, simplifying the setup process. If you build a Shopify website, for instance, enabling your gateways could be as simple as choosing from a list. Other website platforms may require you to integrate your choice of payment gateways on your own.

Setting up an online payment gateway will allow you, the merchant, to start accepting online payments, but what’s the experience like from the buyer’s perspective? Let’s look at some of the major payment methods today’s consumers use to pay for goods and services online.

Online payment methods

Consumer preferences for payment methods are always changing, as trends in both online and offline payments demonstrate. As of 2018, paper checks were out, having fallen to just 5 percent of all U.S. payments per month, and debit cards were in, surpassing cash as the most frequently used financial instrument for the first time.

E-commerce providers benefit from following these trends. Online payments are major drivers of the changes, so e-commerce sellers who can give customers their favorite ways to pay will see fewer cart abandonments and more repeat business.

Below are some of the top ways to accept payments online in the current digital ecosystem. Staying on top of this information — and the ways your existing customers prefer to pay — will help you create a better checkout experience.

Digital wallets

An up-and-coming payment method, digital wallets store customers’ account numbers and allow them to send and receive money online. PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Alipay, and WeChat Pay are all digital wallets being used today, and their popularity is growing worldwide.

Digital wallets are now the leading payment method for online transactions globally, representing 42 percent of all internet-based payments in 2019, according to Worldpay’s 2020 Global Payments Report.

In China, more than 70 percent of all online transactions relied on a digital wallet. By way of comparison, that figure stood at 25 percent in Germany, 32 percent in India, and 24 percent in the United States — but those numbers are likely to grow, according to Worldpay’s projections.

If you plan to operate on a global scale, you should choose a payment gateway that accepts leading “Pay” apps: Amazon Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay, in addition to those listed above.

Credit cards, debit cards, and other payment cards

Taken together, payment cards are the second most used payment method in the global e-commerce industry. Payment cards include credit and debit cards, as well as more obscure options like charge and prepaid cards.

Credit cards are the most popular form of card-based payment, representing 24.2 percent of global online payments in 2019. Debit cards came in at a distant second, with just 10.6 percent of transactions.

Most payment gateways can access popular card networks like Visa and Mastercard. These payment methods are enough to get started, but as your business grows, you may find that limiting your customers to cards increases cart-abandonment rates.

E-checks and ACH payments

Online ACH payments, including e-checks, grew by 6.7 billion transactions in 2019 alone. These payment types are still growing online, and merchants often have questions about them. Let’s clarify the difference between ACH and e-checks.

What is an e-check?

E-checks are the digital equivalent of paper checks. They identify specific banks and bank accounts and provide authorization for the recipient to draw funds from the check writer.

What is an ACH payment?

An ACH payment is a funds transfer that takes place via the ACH Network, a centralized system that facilitates direct account-to-account transactions. ACH transactions typically charge lower processing fees than credit card networks. An e-check is a type of ACH payment — but not the only type.

Most U.S.-based online utility bill-paying services, whether they’re operated by banks or utility providers, use the ACH Network; many private-sector recurring billing systems do, too. If your company relies on recurring payments or conducts high-value B2B business, choose a payment gateway that allows you to accept ACH payments.

Local payment methods

Depending on where you do business, you may need to find payment gateways that cater to local preferences, such as online/cash hybrids and bank transfers.

That’s the case in Brazil, for instance, where a cash-to-digital system called boleto bancário accounts for a full quarter of all online payments. In this system, at the point of payment, sellers provide a prefilled boleto bancário payment slip, similar to a printable bill.

“You take the bill to the bank, you pay for it, the bank scans it, and the payment is processed,” explains Amit. “It’s an online-and-offline combination of payments.”

Other unique local payment methods include SEPA Direct Debit in Europe, iDEAL in the Netherlands, and Giropay in Germany.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Facebook’s embattled Libra may seem like obscure novelties, but people do use cryptocurrencies to make purchases online. According to the Worldpay Global Payments Report, this payment method currently makes up less than 1 percent of the world’s total e-commerce transactions — but if your customers show a preference for blockchain-based digital money, it’s smart to find a gateway that will allow you to accept cryptocurrency.

As our preference for the word “customers” implies, we’ve been focusing largely on e-commerce in this guide. But nonprofit organizations need ways to accept payments online, as well. The process of accepting those payments may look a little different once you enter the charitable giving space.

Nonprofits and online payments

Nonprofits have a lot to gain from online payments. Take Sacramento-based NPR member station Capital Public Radio. In 2017, 57 percent of the nonprofit’s yearly donations came from a sustaining membership program largely processed through the ACH online payments network.

Capital Public Radio’s experience is no outlier, either. Online giving to nonprofits increased by 12.1 percent in 2019 alone. And sustaining memberships aren’t the only reason nonprofits should accept funds through the internet. Other opportunities associated with online payments in the nonprofit industry include

  • Donations. According to the 2018 Trends in Giving Report, 54 percent of donors prefer to make their donations online. Your supporters are accustomed to paying online and are often more likely to click a link than to mail a check.
  • Merchandise sales. Nonprofits aren’t in business to make sales, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of opportunities to sell. One well-known example is the Girl Scouts. Proceeds from annual cookie sales go to local Girl Scout councils; one in North Carolina gets up to 70 percent of its yearly operating budget from fall cookie revenues. Taking your merchandise sales online can expose you to a much broader audience and raise revenue.
  • Ticket sales. Fundraising events are a cornerstone of nonprofit fundraising, and selling those tickets online can tap into a growing consumer preference. Between 2014 and 2019, the online event ticket sales industry grew by an average of 8.3 percent each year, leading to a total revenue value of $10 billion in 2019.
  • Dues collection. Does your nonprofit collect recurring dues payments? If so, consider setting up a recurring payments structure through the ACH Network or another processor.

The process of setting up online payments for nonprofits mirrors that of e-commerce merchants. You’ll need a payment gateway that can process your supporters’ favorite ways to pay online. Several nonprofit-focused payment services are available, or you can go with an e-commerce juggernaut like PayPal, which facilitated $7.3 billion worth of donations in 2016. You can even integrate PayPal into your online forms to support online giving and email fundraising.

Some nonprofit operators, and their for-profit counterparts, worry about security for online payments — and that’s a valid concern. The good news is that today’s online payment infrastructure has well-developed security technologies built in. Here’s how online payment systems keep payment information safe from bad actors.

Online payments and security

At a time when more than half of U.S. consumers “strongly distrust” online security, keeping payment information safe — and sharing your security efforts with customers — is critical for the success of every e-commerce operation. In some regions, business owners must comply with specific regulations to accept online payments legally.

In this chapter, we’ll cover some of those laws and regulations. We’ll also discuss a common security practice that site operators can use to improve online security for payment systems.

Online payment security standards and laws

The regulations that govern payment security differ from place to place. As of now, there’s no universal mandate for securing payments over the internet — although that doesn’t reduce the importance of strong payment security, if only to retain customers.

If you have customers in the European Union, or if you’re located there yourself, the key regulation is PSD2, “Revised rules for payment services in the EU.” The term PSD2 is shorthand for Payment Services Directive 2. The directive went into full effect on September 14, 2019, at which point online businesses had to be in full compliance.

The PSD2 standards are designed to strengthen protections for financial data transmitted online. One of the biggest changes under PSD2 is the requirement for “strong customer authentication,” or SCA. Specifically, SCA requires the use of at least two of the three elements below to assure the validity of an online payment transaction:

  • A detail that only the user would know. Factors like PINs and passwords fall under this knowledge-based authentication.
  • Something only the user would possess. That could be a mobile phone, as in the case of multifactor authentication strategies that involve texting a single-use code to the user’s phone on each request.
  • Biometric or body-based identifiers. Currently, these include technologies like touch ID and facial recognition.

The main safety standard outside the EU is PCI DSS, a set of security requirements maintained by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.

The PCI DSS affects every entity involved in online payments, including merchants, processors, and gateway providers. Global credit card processing networks typically require some level of compliance with PCI DSS, which means even EU-based businesses that meet PSD2 standards should comply.

Broadly, PCI DSS introduces six distinct requirements outlined in the Requirements and Security Assessment Procedures:

  1. Build and maintain a secure network and systems
  2. Protect cardholder data
  3. Maintain a vulnerability management program
  4. Implement strong access control measures
  5. Regularly monitor and test networks
  6. Maintain an information security policy

While meeting these requirements may seem daunting, you don’t have to handle these challenges alone. Often, the best way to ensure PCI compliance is to partner with payment gateways and processors who meet these six obligations consistently.

SSL certificates for payment security

If you’re planning to start an e-commerce site — or want to make your existing payments infrastructure more secure — start by asking your payment gateway(s) about PCI DSS compliance and other fraud prevention services they employ. Don’t forget to inform your customers about these efforts on your site.

There’s one important step site owners can take to both improve security and improve confidence for your customers: Obtain an SSL/TLS certificate to prove to visitors that your site encrypts sensitive data before transmitting it over the internet.

The terms SSL and TLS  stand for Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security. While TLS is the latest protocol, SSL remains a more familiar term. These certificates are available from web hosting services. Ensure that your provider includes SSL/TLS certificates before signing any agreements.

A browser that doesn’t have an SSL/TLS certificate may not be able to accept payments. “Most browsers today alert you if there’s any kind of information that is transferred insecurely,” says Amit. “Sometimes they won’t even allow entry into that page.”

Payment security beyond the e-commerce industry

While digital security is essential for the growth of e-commerce, anyone who accepts payments online needs to address the issue. As we covered in Chapter 3, nonprofits and other non-business organizations can benefit greatly from online payments. Peer-to-peer payments are also on the rise, with 44 percent of respondents to a 2018 survey saying they had used them, and 37 percent saying they hadn’t.

Businesses of all types can also use online payment systems within their companies. You might collect online payments internally to cover shared expenses for company events, for instance. Find out how to easily set up safe, secure intra-organization payment forms.

This type of payment form isn’t the only one that JotForm provides. Let’s look at the role JotForm can play in the structure of your payments, regardless of your goals.

Collecting payments with online forms

The payment form is a crucial step in the sales process. Form design and usability have a direct impact on conversion rates. Luckily, it doesn’t take a team of web developers to create a user-friendly payment form.

JotForm makes the form-building process easy with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and exactly zero coding experience required. Advanced users can always edit in HTML if they prefer.

JotForm has been helping site owners around the world build payment forms for more than 12 years. In fact, payment forms are one of the top reasons our customers reach out to us. You can even add payment fields to existing forms, giving your audience one-stop payments access through the most popular pages on your site — even on social media.

All you have to do is add a widget through our intuitive interface and provide the relevant details.

JotForm’s Form Builder makes it easy to implement payment systems into online forms, each of which provides users with

  • Industry-leading security. When your customers submit payment information through JotForm, that data is protected by the most stringent security protocols in the industry. JotForm servers never store user payment data, and all data remains secured by 256-bit SSL encryption on its way to your gateway provider. JotForm is also PCI DSS compliant, with a PCI Service Provider Level 1 certificate. Security certificates are available on request — simply talk to the JotForm support team to learn more.
  • Payment versatility. Do you collect recurring payments? Do you need to make auto calculations based on users’ choices? JotForm provides simple access to payment structures of all types, from a single product purchase to ongoing ACH deductions.
  • Integration with your most successful channels. Add a payment form to your website or allow secure payments directly through your Facebook page. Learn more about JotForm for Facebook payments.
  • No commissions or added fees. JotForm doesn’t collect fees for the payments you accept. We also don’t collect commissions or add any costs to your payment gateway’s transaction fees.
  • Customized payment experience without coding. Build a form with a payment integration to collect customer information and payments at the same time. Because JotForm is highly customizable, you can create your own payment experience without hiring a development team.

To be clear, JotForm doesn’t operate a payment gateway. We simply make it easier for your customers to access the gateways you already work with through our integrations with payment gateways. And odds are, if you use a payment gateway, JotForm can integrate with it.

Payment gateway integrations with JotForm

JotForm provides simple integrations with leading gateway providers to create quick, hassle-free payment forms. And this is worth saying again: We don’t charge any additional fees when you accept payment through a form. (You’ll need an account with your preferred payment gateway before adding it to your form, of course.)

A few examples of the payment integrations available through JotForm include

These are just a few of the payment gateway integrations available through JotForm. Our integration options are always growing, and all of the most popular payment services are available through our platform. Search the complete list of payment integrations available on JotForm.
If you have questions, resources are always available. Read our user guide on payment form integrations or contact our support team directly. If you’re ready to build your first payment form now, keep reading.

How to build an online payment form

Building your first online payment form is simple with JotForm’s drag-and-drop Form Builder. To start, you’ll need to have an account already in place with your preferred payment gateway. After that, you’re ready to use a payment form.

There are lots of payment options available from JotForm, and the list is always growing. If you have questions or don’t see something you need, check out our user guides or reach out to our customer support team. One of the following form types works for most businesses:

  • Order forms. Use order forms to sell products, collect donations, register visitors for paid events, and more. Start your own publishing wing by selling white papers, e-books, and reports in PDF format. Take advantage of our templates or build your own forms. List a single product or many different products, with or without custom modifications for each item. Learn more.
  • Recurring payments. Recurring payment forms are perfect for collecting payments on a regular, repeat basis for services or publications; charging monthly dues for organization memberships; or giving nonprofit supporters the option of making recurring donations. No matter what the recurring payment is for, you can set up an order form through JotForm that simplifies the process. Learn more.
  • Purchase orders. Actual payments for many B2B transactions are handled through company accounting departments. In this scenario, you don’t make a sale by collecting the payment; you do it by generating a purchase order, or PO. JotForm’s Form Builder includes a dedicated purchase order payment tool that simplifies B2B conversions.

After you choose a general payment form type, you have two options: You can either use a premade template to get your form published as quickly as possible, or you can build your own payment form with JotForm’s Form Builder.

Payment form templates

JotForm offers dozens of payment form templates for all sorts of payment scenarios. When you use a template, most of the work is already done for you. Just customize the template to reflect your branding and display your information, and then embed the form directly into your website.

Building a payment form from scratch

You may envision a form that doesn’t quite match any of the available templates. In that case, log into your JotForm account, click the Create Form button, and you’re ready to use the Form Builder.

You can choose from traditional forms, which display all questions on a single page, or the advanced JotForm Cards experience, which offers users a single question at a time. This approach gamifies the payment experience, and can even include friendly micro-animations that reflect your brand and keep customers engaged.

Follow this step-by-step guide, complete with video instructions, to create your first order form from start to finish. There are tips available on how to build the most effective form possible. Once your form is complete, you can even add a customized “thank-you” page to let your customers know the payment is complete.

Your site can’t collect payments without a form of one type or another, and building those forms shouldn’t be an obstacle. Sign up for a free JotForm account to start collecting payments online today.

Catégories: News dév web

Check the Quality of Content and Copyright Issues for Website Owners

Noupe.com - 6 août, 2020 - 10:57

If you are a website owner and publish content frequently, you would always be looking for online utilities that can help you out in measuring the quality and originality of content.

To ensure that you publish high-quality content with no grammatical errors, you may go for any of the grammar checkers, but if you are concerned about the originality and don’t want yourself to land with copyright issues, then you need to go for plagiarism checker.

You might have some writers on-board with you. They will be providing you content regularly, but everyone is concerned about the originality, uniqueness, and quality. You would find an extensive range of tools over the web. Some of them are paid while others are free. 

However, the search for an impressive tool that provides accurate results must not end. These days, the highly competitive digital market requires everyone to put extra effort into generating quality content that covers new areas with fresh thoughts and ideas. 

You need to bring original and quality content to grab the user’s attention towards your website or blog. Therefore, whenever you get content from the writer’s end, make sure to run it through a grammar checker and plagiarism detector.

You should articulate a strategy for content marketing. It must not be limited to following your competitor’s strategy, but instead, ensure to move ahead by introducing advanced ideas. No matter what type of content you produce, always ensure to get it through a plagiarism checker to avoid duplication.

Make Your Website’s Content Duplication Free

Search engines have a stringent policy regarding plagiarized content. Along with Google, not a single search engine’s algorithm allows us to rank duplicate content. The search engines will either de-rank the plagiarized web page or would even get your monetizing account limited. Therefore, always make sure to publish content that is free from piracy.

There are online plagiarism checker that helps the website owners to find duplication in the content, one of my recommended tool can be accessed by visiting the following link: searchenginereports.net

There are many other free plagiarism detectors that can be found over the web easily.

Additionally, apart from search engines, users don’t like to read content that has been replicated from any other source. Your website’s bounce rate will increase, and ultimately you may end up losing your entire traffic. 

Therefore, you should have no room for publishing content that has been duplicated to stay on the safe side. In this regard, you can use a free online plagiarism checker with percentage. It will let you know how much of the content has been replicated.

Fortunately, with advancements in technology, we now don’t have to go through the hassle of installing massive-sized software on our device to check the piracy in the content. There is plenty of plagiarism checker free available online that can assist you in finding any piracy in your content within a flash of an eye. Many of these plagiarism checker tools are paid, and some are unpaid as well. You can use any of them as per your requirements, but make sure of the tool’s efficiency before settling for it.

Opt for High-Quality Error Free Content

No one would ever want to read content that is full of errors or mistakes. If you get the content of poor quality published on your website, the user may get annoyed. Low-quality content brings your website on the verge of losing traffic and potential leads and sales. Therefore, you should always edit and proofread your content before processing it in the publishing pipeline. Most of the grammatical error detection tools come with plagiarism checkers as well.

Moreover, the editing and proofreading process has also become quite comfortable with the availability of grammar checking online tools. They let the users find mistakes and errors in the content from spelling mistakes to the sentence structure. You can use them to ensure that you have used proper punctuation. The tools also give out suggestions to replace the words according to the context of the sentence and passage. 

If you think that you may need to learn some special skills to use an efficient plagiarism detector or grammatical mistake finder, then you are wrong. You can use these effective online tools without any hassle, and a few clicks on your device will enable you to execute the process.

Move Ahead to Provide Valuable Content

Users are always in search of content that has value for them. You would need to conduct deep research for providing the content that is supported by relevant facts and figures, and the user is gaining information about the subject that can help them a lot. Therefore, every piece of your content must be well-researched to convince the user that your website is the ultimate one-stop destination in providing accurate and valuable content. You should always run the textual content through a plagiarism checker to ensure that you are publishing produced content. It will not let you end up with any unexpected circumstances.

But what is valuable content? How can we determine the quality of content? Well, these are some valid questions here, and it is essential to understand these points. One of the most crucial components of great content is uniqueness. If the content has plagiarized content, or some of the material is duplicated, then we cannot consider it as high-quality content. People don’t like the content that is copied from other sources and may stop visiting your site if they find piracy in your content. So, it is suggested to check your content from a proficient online plagiarism checker before publishing it on the web.

Another key feature that a valuable content contains is a bunch of relevant images. As we all know, we live in the digital world, and the time span of liking or disliking something over the web has reduced a lot, so it becomes vital to use appropriate and appealing images in your content that can attract the people towards your content. Also, the immense popularity of Reverse Image Search has changed the strategies of generating high-quality content. All the leading content providers understood this new phenomenon and started creating the content according to it. So, if you want to stay in the race, then it is crucial for you to adopt this new change and add relevant images in your content.  

Final Words

In the last analysis, usage of grammatical error detection tools and plagiarism checker utilities has become a compulsion for the website and blog owners. The tools will ensure that you publish content that is worthwhile and is as per the standards set out by search engines. If you are working on some kind of service providing a niche, you should also try to formulate your content so that you get a snippet in the search engine result page. It will let you generate more traffic to your website, which will, in return, turn out to produce good revenue.

The above-discussed information may help you understand the basic elements that must be examined to check the quality of content. Additionally, you may also have better information about the need for appropriate tools like Plagiarism checker to make sure the exclusiveness of your content. The efficient use of these online tools provides you with the opportunity to find any error in the material and prevents you from any unpleasant situation like a penalty from Google due to uploading plagiarized content. 

So, use an efficient online plagiarism checker free from any part of the globe to detect piracy and make your content appealing and great within a few seconds.

Creator: Henny Kel – Digital Marketing Strategist & Brand Consultant at Designhill
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

4 tips to create an effective webinar strategy for churn reduction

Noupe.com - 6 août, 2020 - 08:40

Keeping customers can cause concern for customer-centric companies. For SaaS companies, in particular, the recurring revenue model means that every lost customer represents months of lost revenue. Reducing churn is critical to growing your business. Otherwise, you’ll spend more time replacing the revenue lost from churned customers than growing. 

The top two leading causes of churn, according to Retently, are poor onboarding (23% of churn) and weak relationship building (16% of churn). Presenting quality webinars can address both of these causes, plus many more. 

In this article, we walk through why and how you can develop a webinar strategy that builds relationships between you and your customers, promotes loyalty, and keeps customers around for life. 

Improve Onboarding and Customer Education

Poor onboarding often leaves customers feeling lost. They don’t know what their next steps are, they don’t see the value in the product, and they usually end up giving up their fight to make sense of your product – resulting in churn. The effects of poor onboarding are far-reaching too. Customers who weren’t set up for success early never find their footing and can end up churning months later. Webinars can improve onboarding by providing an evergreen resource for new customers to refer to. Even if your webinar isn’t presented live, customers can be guided through setting up their new accounts and be given a virtual tour of your product. It’s a great starting point for building customer engagement too – after a webinar, connecting customers with their customer success manager or the customer support team can help launch a productive working relationship.  

Webinars can also introduce new features to existing customers improving product adoption. By always giving your customers more value, you reduce the chance they will even consider walking out the door. Why leave when it keeps getting better? 

Building Better Relationships

68% of customers have reported leaving a company because they didn’t feel the company cared about them. Building a close relationship with your customers provides more opportunities to show you care. Webinars can help bring people together. 

How often do your customers actually talk with a member of your team? Sure, they might write an email, or exchange a few tweets, but face-to-face discussions are rare in the SaaS world. Webinars give your team a chance to get in front of the camera, show their personality and connect with customers in a new way. 

Plus, webinars are a chance to give back to customers and your community with no expectation of purchase. Best practice webinars or professional development opportunities give value to your customers. This act of kindness is repaid through increased trust and long-term customer loyalty. If customers see you as a source of knowledge, they will be much more inclined to stay with your product for the long haul. 

Creating a webinar strategy for churn reduction

Reducing churn with webinars requires a well-developed strategy and effective execution. You need to first decide which causes of churn you’re hoping to target, promote the content to the right audience, then create and deliver a thoughtful webinar. Follow the steps below to make sure you’re hitting all the right notes: 

Identify causes of churn 

While webinars can help with many aspects of customer loyalty, knowing what is causing customers to fail will help you be more targeted in your approach. There are many ways to determine why your customers are leaving, including: 

  • Include a question in the cancellation flow asking why they are canceling, or if there was anything you could have done to keep them around. 
  • Contact customers who have churned for post-cancellation interviews. This can be over phone or email. The response rates are typically low, but the information can still be valuable. 
  • Look at customer usage data and the timing of when they churn. Is there a pattern to customers who churn? For example, are most cancellations occurring directly after the first bill is sent? 

If you don’t know the cause of customer churn, it will be very difficult to address it, whether with webinars or any other techniques.

Define the purpose of your webinars

Once you know why some customers churn, you can start planning out your webinar series. Webinars are particularly effective in:

  • Building relationships between your customers and your company by putting a face in front of your brand and engaging customers in conversation
  • Educating customers about features they may not be using to their full advantage.
  • Providing value to customers beyond the product, like sharing industry best practices and helping them get better at their job. 
  • Onboarding new customers to get them up and running more effectively. 

Depending on the causes of customer churn in your business, the purpose of your webinar will vary. Try to be as specific as possible. If you’re starting with a series of three webinars designed to improve onboarding, identify exactly what customers should learn by the end of the webinar. By being specific you can be more targeted with your campaign and more effectively determine your impact on churn. 

Promote to the target audience

By defining a purpose for your webinars, you can define the ideal audience. Rather than trying to appeal to everyone, segment your customers into personas that are trying to accomplish specific tasks.  For example, many webinars are offered to help desk administrators and individual agents. By separating product-specific webinars from general best-practice webinars you’ll be able to segment these two groups so that you aren’t wasting anyone’s time delivering irrelevant content. While the existing customers might be interested in learning how to get more value from their help desk management system, it wouldn’t be relevant to the non-product users. 

Promote your webinar to your defined target audience through email, social media, and in-product. Let your agents know about upcoming product webinars so they can share them with customers who are asking about specific features. 

Remember, people need to actually attend the webinar in order for it to be effective – so don’t skimp on the promotion! Allow for at least two weeks of promotion before the day of the live webinar, so that you can build up a big attendance list. 

Deliver webinar 

You’ve made a plan and promoted it. Now it’s time to execute on your vision and share some knowledge with your customers. 

  • Perform a test run with all presenters to make sure mics are working, slides are in order and everyone knows their role. A poorly organized webinar won’t build any trust with your customers and they likely won’t come back to another one. 
  • Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality! By showing that there are real humans behind the brand (whether it’s a product manager, a support agent or your VP of marketing), you start building connections with customers. 
  • Offer an opportunity for customers to ask questions, either through the webinar software you’re using or on social media. Follow-up with every single question, even if you don’t get to them live. 
  • Record the webinar for anyone who couldn’t attend as well as future customers. By presenting the webinar once, you’ll gain a valuable resource for customers you can reuse and recycle. 

Warning: webinars should not be self-promotional. If you lure customers in with the promise of learning and then start heavily pushing upsells, they will leave. The purpose of webinars is not to sell, it’s to educate. 

Follow-up and measure success 

After delivering your webinar, follow-up with everyone who attended to keep the conversation going. Deliver more resources so they can continue to learn on their own. Match them up with the customer support team if they have any further questions. 

In order to see if your webinar strategy worked effectively, monitor the future actions of any attendees. Do they churn at a similar or lower rate than the average customer? Do they purchase more, or become more active users of the product? Measuring the return on investment of webinars can help you decide if you need to offer more or if they aren’t an effective strategy for your audience. 

Catégories: News dév web

How to Make your Landing Pages Visually Attractive – [Infographic]

Noupe.com - 4 août, 2020 - 14:33

Landing pages are like gateways to conversions, if done right. Rather than having a wall of text on your landing pages, it is always better to have impactful visuals that would engage the prospects and encourage them to take the next action. Too much text does not only clutter a landing page but also contributes to the high bounce rate.    

According to a study, content with visuals is viewed 94% more than its counterparts and gets 180% stronger engagement. While it is important to use the right tone and persuasive language, visuals play an equally important role when it comes to landing pages. 

This brings us to the very important question of HOW to add relevant visuals that can bring out the best from your landing pages. 

1. Impressive images

80% of readers pay more attention to the content if there are images supporting it. You can use visual cues on your landing page to direct the subscriber to take the required action. 

2. GIF animations

GIFs are the perfect amalgamation of a video and slideshow of static images. They have gotten immensely popular in recent times which is evident from the fact that 500 million active users spend 11 million hours viewing GIFs on GIPHY. These animations can help you present your product in different angles or let the reader know about the huge range of products available on your eCommerce website. Just make sure that the size of your GIF is not more than 1MB as it can cause the page to load slowly and lead to an increased bounce rate. 

3. Explainer videos

Videos in landing pages can increase the conversion by 86%. However, this is possible only if you use relevant videos that reflect the brand personality and convey the message. Adhere to the inverted pyramid technique when you strategize the design of your landing page (as shown in the image below). It will help you drive better conversions. 

90% of users prefer video content and that’s the reason why savvy marketers prefer to use it in their landing pages. You can even go a step ahead and add personalized videos to your landing pages with the help of tools like Vidyard and Hippo Video. 

4. Demonstrative illustrations

The latest survey has revealed that 95% B2B buyers want shorter and highly visual content. In light of this trend, abstract art has gained momentum and ideas are getting represented in a graphic manner through modern designs. Just bear in mind that you do not use any images or illustrations directly from the stock as it will hamper your brand credibility. 

5. Informative graphs

If you want to give the readers an overview of some facts and figures or complicated statistics, graphs can be a great option for you. To showcase trends over the years, you can use line charts or bar graphs while pyramids and pie charts work well to show the proportion of elements. 

How will you choose the right colors?

Selecting the right color is of utmost importance as it can affect customer psychology and get him or her to take the decision. 

For example, white stands for purity and minimalism. It is a great choice for non-profit organizations and medical facilities.

Red, being the color with the longest wavelength in the spectrum gets noticed even from a distance. It represents power, passion, intensity, love, and heat. Have you noticed how McDonald’s and Burger King both have these colors? Many FMCG brands choose to use it in a combination with white and yellow. 

Blue conveys the emotions of calmness and peace. It is used for legal services. 

To learn more about using the right visual elements and CTA designs in your landing page to drive maximum conversions, head to this insightful infographic put together by our friends at Email Uplers: A Deep Dive Into The Use Of Visuals In Landing Pages. 

Source: How to Use Visual Elements in Landing Page to Boost Conversions
Catégories: News dév web

What Is Salesforce?

Noupe.com - 4 août, 2020 - 13:42

You’ve probably heard about Salesforce while researching customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for your business. Your employees may have even used it at a previous job, and as your company grows, they may be asking for it to help them manage their interactions with customers. But what is Salesforce, and what does it do?

Salesforce itself is a cloud computing software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that has been in business since 1999. It started as a cloud-based CRM software company years before SaaS became ubiquitous throughout enterprises. Over 150,000 companies run Salesforce in some form.

The Salesforce CRM product is Customer 360, an integrated platform that includes modules for sales, service, marketing, commerce, engagement, analytics, communities, productivity, and more.

Customer 360 also lets you use third-party apps or build your own to extend its functionality. It includes the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform to connect any app, data, or device you use.

Customer 360 offers industry-specific solutions for financial services, healthcare, and philanthropy. Companies use Salesforce for everything from keeping track of customer information to analyzing customer data for marketing and upselling opportunities.

This guide will cover everything you need to know to get started with Salesforce, including

  • How to use Salesforce. You’ll read about use cases for Salesforce, why companies choose Salesforce for their CRM needs, and who Salesforce’s main competitors are.
  • What Salesforce CRM is and how it works. You’ll get an overview of the Salesforce CRM platform, along with the main features and capabilities.
  • Salesforce product clouds explained. Salesforce’s modules are known as clouds, like Service Cloud and Sales Cloud. You’ll learn more about these clouds, including the features, advantages, and opportunities of each.
  • What is the Salesforce AppExchange? You might want to extend Salesforce with third-party applications, or you might want to create an application for Salesforce that you can share. This section will discuss how to be an AppExchange partner and what kinds of API, data, and CTI integrations are available.
How to use Salesforce

Because it was originally built for salespeople (hence the name), some of the main functions of Salesforce include tracking prospects and companies, adding deals, and accessing sales collateral. However, because Salesforce offers so many additional products, many companies use the platform in a variety of additional ways. For example, Salesforce can be used to manage marketing campaigns, handle customer service inquiries, log calls, and create reports.

The software runs in the cloud, so all applications are hosted online. This lets users access Salesforce from anywhere and from any device, a boon for remote workers or salespeople who are on the road and need to enter details of sales calls easily. It also allows companies to get up and running quickly, without having to install hardware and applications on the premises.

To get started, companies can sign up for a 30-day trial of Salesforce. You’ll start by identifying and prioritizing your business objectives so that you can implement the services and applications that are most important to your company, and then roll out the “nice to haves.”

For example, if your biggest need is a place for your sales team to enter details about customer interactions, you may want to start with Sales Cloud. Over time, you could roll out the Marketing Cloud application so your marketing team can start implementing personalized email campaigns.

Once you sign up, you’ll create user types that open up data for specific roles, like a sales manager user type that can see all the data relating to the sales team’s interactions with customers. You’ll also define your sales processes, set up accounts and contacts, import your data, and customize Salesforce to meet your company’s needs.

Salesforce has a collection of applications and integrations, and uses APIs to connect with other applications like SAP or Oracle to access data or extend the capabilities in those systems. The APIs can read and write data to these systems to ensure you’re always accessing the most up-to-date information.

What Salesforce is used for

Because there are so many different modules, there are endless ways to use Salesforce. In the broadest terms, companies use Salesforce to understand and interact with their existing customers and to acquire new customers. Here are just a few ways Salesforce customers use the software.

The athleticwear brand Adidas uses Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, and other products. Commerce Cloud manages customer data across different channels, for instance, in stores and online. Adidas also uses shopper preferences from Commerce Cloud for product development and, in some cases, to create custom products. The company uses Service Cloud for its customer care agents, who are able to provide support by phone, email, web, or social media using one application.

Farmers Insurance has implemented multiple products from the Salesforce Customer 360 suite, including Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud, Einstein Analytics, and the Salesforce Platform.

With the Platform, customers, employees, and insurance agents can log into Salesforce from 15 different entry points. Customers can view more information about their history and claims, and employees and customers can more easily access information necessary for customer service.

Farmers is in the process of implementing a single view of the customer that includes all the insurance products they’ve purchased from the company.

Land O’Lakes uses Salesforce to connect with the farmers who provide their dairy products. Community Cloud powers their customer community, and B2B Commerce is used for online ordering. Integration between Service Cloud and Sales Cloud allows customer service representatives to get a complete view of the customer.

These are just three of the many use cases for Salesforce. You can tailor each module depending on the business problem, industry, and size of the business.

Why Salesforce?

You may be wondering, why Salesforce? There are a lot of reasons to use CRM software. Forrester Research found that 74 percent of CRM users improved their customer relationships, 65 percent increased their sales quotas, and 50 percent boosted their productivity.

Salesforce currently holds the most market share, at 19.5 percent. That’s double what its largest rival, SAP, holds — and three times Oracle’s market share. Salesforce is widely used, which means your team members are likely already familiar with it. And the fact that so many companies use it is a testament to how well it works.

Being able to quickly get up and running is another benefit of Salesforce. Because it’s cloud based, you can quickly integrate your other applications using APIs and be up and running within days or weeks, though on-premises deployments can take months. The single, platform-based API is also appealing. Companies can get direct access to all Salesforce applications, data, and metadata without having to support multiple platforms and versions.

In addition, Salesforce has many modules you can use as needed. You don’t have to roll them all out at once. You can scale as your business grows, and the pricing model makes it affordable for even small businesses.

Salesforce also offers AppExchange, its online marketplace of third-party applications built specifically for Salesforce. Because Salesforce is so widely used, developers have contributed many different applications and add-ons. You can likely find an extension to fit your needs that someone else has coded, saving you even more time.

Salesforce alternatives

While Salesforce is the market leader for CRM, there are plenty of alternative platforms. Salesforce’s two primary competitors are SAP and Oracle. SAP offers SAP C/4HANA, a full suite of customer experience solutions that include customer data management, marketing, commerce, service, and sales. The company also acquired Qualtrics, which has strong analytics capabilities. Oracle’s CRM product is Oracle CX Solutions.

There are other lesser-known (but still viable) Salesforce alternatives that are all cloud based as well:

  • Adobe is probably best known for its creative suite, but it also offers a viable CRM product, Adobe Marketing Cloud, which is geared toward the enterprise market.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides CRM functions as well as field service, human resources, and artificial intelligence features.
  • HubSpot CRM is free and provides automation for a lot of tasks like sending follow-ups. It integrates with Gmail, social media, and call platforms, and has tools for live chat.
  • Freshsales provides email tracking and event tracking. Their pipeline is a drag-and-drop interface so you can see where prospects are in their customer journeys.
  • Zoho CRM automates sales operations and provides real-time data access. They also integrate with Google Apps.
  • Bpm’online CRM lets you use both business process management (BPM) and CRM tools in one program, and is relatively easy to customize.

If you’re hesitant about choosing a CRM system, consider Salesforce and its competitors.

Now that you know how Salesforce is used and why companies choose it, you’re ready to dig deeper into what it can do. In the next section, you’ll learn more about Salesforce CRM. We’ll take a deeper dive into the available features and the capabilities they offer.

What Salesforce CRM is and how it works

Salesforce is almost synonymous with customer relationship management. You’ll regularly hear people use “Salesforce” and “CRM” interchangeably. And it’s no wonder; Salesforce CRM is packed with features that help companies manage their relationships with customers, from first contact on. The idea behind Salesforce CRM is to give all departments in a company — including marketing, sales, service, and commerce — a complete view of every customer.

The Salesforce Customer 360 Platform is the current iteration of Salesforce CRM. It rolls up all of Salesforce’s offerings to integrate the sales, marketing, and service data that’s traditionally considered a part of other CRM offerings. Business-to-business (B2B) companies use Analytics, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud at the very minimum. Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies use Analytics, Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud.

You can do a lot with Salesforce CRM besides collect data. Salesforce CRM includes

  • Contact management, where you can store prospect, customer, and partner information
  • Customer engagement tools that include the ability to push messages to customers on multiple channels, such as the web, chat, mobile devices, and more
  • Workflow creation, which automates standard processes and procedures — for example, you could create a workflow to follow up with existing customers before their contracts expire
  • Task management to help you keep track of everything you need to do; in the workflow example, you might program your workflow to add a task to your list, which would show up under task management
  • Opportunity tracking, which shows you where prospects are in the sales pipeline and allows you to follow up as needed across the organization
  • Collaboration tools that allow you to share information and even open up chat windows with your team to consult with them
  • Analytics that help you track your goals and that run predictive models to forecast busy periods or future sales
  • Mobile-ready dashboards that allow your team members to view their contacts, tasks, and dashboards from anywhere, as well as input customer and prospect information from sales calls and meetings

Since marketing has become an integral part of customer relationship management, Salesforce CRM also features a host of marketing capabilities:

  • Marketing leads monitoring allows you to track, route, and analyze marketing leads.
  • Social media integration enables you to analyze customer sentiment (e.g., posts that praise or complain about your brand), engage with your followers, and post social content on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
  • Email integration lets you send personalized email campaigns to your customer or prospect list.

There are also sales-specific features within Salesforce CRM:

  • Sales lead monitoring allows you to zero in on where leads are in the pipeline and quickly see what the next steps are in the sales process.
  • Communities for sales give you the ability to set up communities for different parts of your organization, for employees to communicate with partners, and for customers to communicate with you.
  • Sales forecasting uses the analytics capabilities in Salesforce CRM to predict how much you’ll sell in a given period. You’ll know quickly whether you’re on target to meet revenue goals.

As mentioned previously, Salesforce Customer 360 is portioned off into different clouds for different functions. Now that you know about Salesforce CRM features, the next section will discuss Salesforce product clouds. You’ll get more information on how they work, including the solutions each cloud provides.

Salesforce product clouds explained

As we mentioned before, Salesforce Customer 360 is split up into different Salesforce products, or Salesforce clouds, that provide specific functionality. The Salesforce modules that comprise Salesforce Customer 360 to provide a full CRM platform are

  • Sales Cloud
  • Service Cloud
  • Marketing Cloud
  • Commerce Cloud
  • Analytics Cloud
  • Community Cloud

Each of these Salesforce clouds offers features that are specific to different teams and functions. For example, Service Cloud provides what customer service teams need to provide support, while the Community Cloud is used for building customer communities. This section takes a more in-depth look at each Salesforce module.

Sales Cloud

The Salesforce Sales Cloud is the module for sales teams. It provides contact management, collaboration features, and marketing tools so employees can find new customers, keep track of leads, and ultimately close deals faster. As with all Salesforce products, the Salesforce Sales Cloud includes dashboards and reporting features so you can dig into how well your team is doing.

Account and contact management provide a complete view of customers. You can view activity history, key contacts for an account, customer communications, and any discussions you’ve had internally about the account. You can also pull in data from social media sites.

Salesforce Sales Cloud includes Opportunity Management. This feature provides information on what stage the opportunity is in, the products the lead is interested in, who your competition is, and any quotes you’ve sent. You can also track your leads from the time they contact you through the closure of deals, and get sales data for territory planning.

You can access Salesforce Sales Cloud through mobile devices. It uses workflows to automate business processes and create approval processes for expenses and discounts.

Service Cloud

Customer service teams use the Salesforce Service Cloud to provide customer support. However, you can also use the Salesforce Service Cloud to build customer self-service portals as well as provide support for field service agents.

The Service Cloud includes an agent workspace, which gives customer service agents macros, keyboard shortcuts, and templates, as well as access to customer data. It provides access to the full details, context, and history of every case and customer interaction. This helps agents better understand the customer. In addition, the module recommends articles, lets you automate service and approval processes, and matches cases automatically with the best agent for each customer.

Marketing Cloud

Building on Salesforce’s roots as a CRM company, Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps companies deliver personalized marketing and customer experiences. This module includes tools to better understand the customer, send tailored communications and marketing messages, and analyze the effects of marketing efforts.

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud has nearly a dozen integrated tools for companies to use. Some of these tools are

  • Journey Builder: creates one-to-one customer journeys across all channels and departments
  • Email Studio: builds personalized email marketing campaigns
  • Audience Studio: captures and stores data in a data management platform
  • Mobile Studio: personalizes mobile communications, including SMS messaging, push notifications, and chats
  • Social Studio: engages across social media and listens for social media sentiment
  • Advertising Studio: serves up personalized advertising using CRM data
  • Datorama: a single platform to view marketing data, investments, key performance indicators (KPIs), and decisions
  • Interaction Studio: tracks, visualizes, and manages customer experiences in real time, allowing you to engage with customers at the exact moment they prefer to hear from you
  • Data Studio: collects and manages data to help you discover who your audience is
Commerce Cloud

Salesforce includes both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) products in the Salesforce Commerce Cloud. The module is actually split into four different e-commerce solutions. Each uses artificial intelligence to tailor the shopping experience to customers based on their behavior.

  • B2C Commerce
  • As the name implies, Salesforce B2C Commerce is the Commerce Cloud solution for B2C companies. It includes features to reduce abandoned carts, add digital commerce to social media channels, and allow in-store associates to access digital inventory so they can ship items directly to customers.

  • B2B Commerce
  • This Salesforce Commerce Cloud solution creates B2B experiences to make it easier for B2B buyers to find and purchase what they need. It also includes B2B-specific features like fast reorders, account hierarchies, contract pricing, and custom catalogs. It extends your store to channel partners so they can build branded portals for shopping.

  • Lighting Order Management
  • While this hasn’t been released at present, Lightning Order Management promises to transform order management on Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

  • Commerce Cloud Endless Aisle
  • If you have a brick-and-mortar store, Commerce Cloud Endless Aisle extends your digital presence into the store and prevents customers from leaving because you don’t have the product they want in stock. It lets store associates access your inventory regardless of where the inventory is located and gives customers access to out-of-stock or online-only products.

Analytics Cloud

The Salesforce Analytics Cloud is the module that lets you make sense of all your data. It includes capabilities to automate how you use your data and answer questions like “Why did X happen?” or “What will happen in the future?” Artificial intelligence is a big part of Salesforce Analytics Cloud.

With this module, you can tailor analytics to your business and your business goals and view what’s important to you. Using artificial intelligence, the Salesforce Analytics Cloud can make recommendations about what you should do next.

You can also view all of your analytics on a single screen. The module allows you to create complete visualizations, predictions, and insights on a single platform, and you can consolidate it and view it how you want, rather than switching between programs. Salesforce Analytics Cloud also includes collaboration tools so you can share dashboards and discuss decisions with your team while you’re viewing the same records.

Community Cloud

There are a lot of things you can do with Salesforce Community Cloud: Create customer self-service portals, let customers access and update their accounts, allow partners to collaborate with you, and build your own types of communities, like forums.

The Community Cloud lets you pull in data from any source: Salesforce, third parties, or legacy data systems. You can then use templates to build personalized experiences and portals for customers and partners. These communities are mobile optimized, so you can access and use them from a smartphone.

To help you manage your communities, the module includes measurement, analytics, and optimization tools that you can customize on your dashboard. You can also organize information, including discussions, files, groups, and experts.

Salesforce Clouds provide a lot of functionality for sales, service, marketing, commerce, analytics, and community-building. However, you may have something in mind that Salesforce doesn’t include. In the next section, you’ll learn about Salesforce AppExchange, the company’s marketplace for third-party integrations and extensions that let you customize Salesforce to better fit your business.

What is the Salesforce AppExchange?

While Salesforce Customer 360 is packed with features, you may find that you need a third-party solution to import data, add functionality for specific industries like financial services or education, or simply extend Salesforce Cloud products to meet your company’s needs.

Salesforce recognized that its customers would want to customize its flagship CRM products, and in 2006, released the Salesforce AppExchange. This is just one way for Salesforce customers to integrate data from other sources and extend their systems.

The AppExchange is like the Google Play store for Salesforce users. It’s an online marketplace where you can look for solutions ranging from third-party applications to prebuilt process automation extensions. Salesforce’s partners offer over 5,000 products in the Salesforce AppExchange marketplace. You also have access to more than 1,000 consultants to help you with your integrations.

Here you can find ready-to-install third-party applications as well as building blocks, known as components, to create pages without code. The Salesforce AppExchange also offers

  • Bolt Solutions, prebuilt templates for industry solutions and communities
  • Lightning Data for pre-integrated, approved, scalable data solutions with real-time access
  • Flow Solutions to automate processes and connect with third-party systems

Salesforce also offers free solutions in the Salesforce Labs section.

Salesforce AppExchange is widely used: 95 percent of Fortune 100 companies have installed something from it, and 88 percent of Salesforce customers use it. There are over 6.5 million installations from the Salesforce AppExchange. What makes it appealing is that customers who want to extend their Salesforce systems don’t need to build a solution themselves; they can purchase a premade application or building blocks, which saves them countless hours in development time.

How companies become Salesforce AppExchange partners

Salesforce has a partner program for developers, startups, or independent software vendors (ISVs) that want to become Salesforce AppExchange partners. As part of the program, partners get help planning their apps, learning more about Salesforce, creating go-to-market strategies, and generating customer demand for their apps. The AppExchange works on a revenue-sharing model, so developers don’t have to pay up front for their app listings.

To become a Salesforce AppExchange partner, developers need to have a Salesforce login. All of the apps must go through a security review before they become available to the public and each time the apps are updated. The apps can be free or paid, and they can be utilities, packs, or full applications. Ideally they include documentation.

Salesforce recommends developers start the contract process, the product build, and security review at the same time, and, while they’re waiting for their app to pass the security check, have their launch marketing ready to go.

Salesforce integration on the AppExchange

If you’re looking for Salesforce integration solutions, the AppExchange likely has what you need. Integrations include apps, Bolt Solutions, Components, Flow Solutions, and Lightning Data. You can integrate apps that you use every day, like G Suite, Slack, and Quickbooks, using native integrations, prebuilt connectors that are already part of Salesforce or third-party integrations.

The Salesforce AppExchange hosts almost 200 Salesforce integration apps. They offer a variety of connectors, linking to large enterprise systems like SAP and data loaders like Jitterbit. You can find integrations for the Financial Services Cloud, Health Cloud, Lightning Experience, Marketing Cloud, and more.

Salesforce API integration

For those who want to create their own Salesforce extensions, Salesforce uses application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate with other applications. There are several types of APIs that can be used: REST, SOAP (WSDL), and Bayeux:

  • REST APIs use HTTP requests to get, post, put, and delete data, and typically handle JSON, CSV, XML, or custom data. You would use a REST API for your user interface or analytics. 
  • SOAP APIs are based on HTTP and XML. They’re used for metadata or tooling, for example. 
  • A Bayeux API, a streaming API that provides data to users in real time, is used for both client-side and server-side configuration.

The prebuilt integrations in Salesforce AppExchange already have the appropriate API. For example, if you’re integrating a push notification app with Salesforce, it will use the Bayeux protocol.

Salesforce data integration examples

One of the big reasons to explore Salesforce integrations and the AppExchange is to integrate your data. There are a lot of options to move data between different systems as well as collect data from outside sources. Here are a few examples of Salesforce data integration.

JotForm offers a built-in connector to Salesforce so you can map JotForm fields to Salesforce fields. You can build lead capture forms, then route the form data into Salesforce and send it to the appropriate sales team members, without doing any manual data entry.

Dataloader.io is another Salesforce data integration tool. It lets you import and export data to and from Salesforce using MuleSoft APIs. Tools like this let you migrate your data to Salesforce or export it for manual reporting purposes.

For companies that want to create automatic workflows and move data between Salesforce and other apps, Zapier offers prebuilt data integrations. You could create an integration between Salesforce and Asana with Zapier to automatically create tasks for teams, or integrate Salesforce with Freshbooks to send invoices.

For e-commerce companies, the eShopSync for WooCommerce integration transfers data between WooCommerce and Salesforce and allows for real-time data synchronization.

Salesforce CTI integration

Computer Telephony Integration, or CTI integration, links your phone to your computer systems. A Salesforce CTI integration lets you route incoming calls to the right person, log and record calls, and give customer service agents information about the caller and their account. You can also embed dialing into Salesforce so that calls can be made directly from the application and monitor the average handling time and dropped call percentages.

Salesforce CTI integration also lets companies offer self-service customer support. For example, a customer can use an interactive voice response (IVR) interface to get routed to the correct agent.

These integrations are typically available from Salesforce AppExchange partners and third-party vendors. They use Salesforce Open CTI in JavaScript to embed APIs that connect Salesforce and data sources. You can also use Open CTI to create customizable call control tools that function as fully integrated parts of Salesforce.

With the wide array of integration options in Salesforce, there’s a lot you can do beyond the Customer 360 package and the Salesforce clouds. Third-party APIs and extensions add functionality specific to your industry or for customizing how you import, export, and manage data. Most of what you need can be found on the Salesforce AppExchange, which eliminates the need to program your own software.

Conclusion

Salesforce has become synonymous with CRM. Organizations can use Salesforce for contact management, customer engagement, workflow creation, task management, and opportunity tracking. You can also collaborate with colleagues, run analytics, and access Salesforce from a mobile dashboard. Since marketing has become a large part of CRM, Salesforce includes features for things like social media and email campaigns.

In the Salesforce AppExchange, you can get third-party add-ons to extend and customize Salesforce to your company’s needs. These add-ons use API integrations to move data back and forth and CTI integrations to work with your telephone system.

With the knowledge you’ve gained from this guide, you can now start exploring Salesforce as a viable option for CRM. As you continue your Salesforce journey, regularly review the extensions you’ve added to make sure they meet your needs and to ensure you get the most out of your Salesforce clouds.

Catégories: News dév web

How to use Video in your Marketing Strategy

Noupe.com - 29 juillet, 2020 - 13:24

Video marketing is the practice of using video content that will help you to reach your audience faster. Video marketing allows you to promote your brand, your services, and your products – but you must know that video marketing is about more than sales. 

Video in digital marketing encourages more visitors to your website, joins your email list, and engages better on social media. On top of all of that, video marketing can help you to improve your customer service and make your brand stand out more. 

Humans are visual creatures, and we love the way we feel when we watch videos. Facebook and YouTube have made videos popular, with over 110 million videos being watched on Facebook and over 1 billion hours on YouTube every day. 

Those figures alone should tell you that it’s an essential marketing tool for your business. Currently, over 81% of companies use video marketing as part of their strategy. While people still ask whether it’s worth it as part of a business’s digital marketing strategy, and it is. 

It’s not just because your competition is doing it, but because it’s known to be one of the most fluid marketing tools in the list – it’s basically an essential part of SEO. 

How Video Marketing Is Used

From videos that educate your audience about what you do, to onboarding new users into your business, video marketing has a broad scope. Educational videos can really hit home and send a clear message on an important matter in a way that is interesting and entertaining. Onboarding videos allow newbies to your company to learn all they need to know in easy-to-digest clips. This makes learning far more manageable.

Why Branded Videos Are A Good Addition To Your Campaign Strategy

Video works perfectly as a way to engage your audience and help them to consume new content. When you choose to use branded video and execute it correctly, it can be an asset that you can repeatedly use across a range of channels. It’s not the same thing as advertising, as advertising isn’t as good at delivering your message to your audience.

Branded videos are highly recommended, as they can get to the heart of your audience without mentioning too much about the brand in the first place. It’s also a good idea to have your logo prominently displayed, but not so that it overshadows everything else. 

Types of Videos

There is a range of videos that can be used for different reasons in video marketing, and some of these include:

  • Demo videos

If you are looking to showcase a product to your current audience and potential customers, a demo video is the way to go. They walk a new person through how the product works and gives them all the information they need to make the best buying decision. Google brought a new feature to its Translate app called Tap-To-Translate, and the video demonstrated how it worked and connected well with their users at the same time. The video was popular for a good reason!

  • Interviews 

Businesses often choose testimonials when they want to showcase their customers’ appreciation, but interview videos are always a better option. Your customers can hear the happiness in the interviewee’s voice, and it offers assurance that the product is worth it. If influencers are testing your product and you video an interview with them – it’s a great way to reach your audience.

  • Brand videos

Brand videos are an inspirational way to showcase your product or company vision. Coca-Cola created a fantastic brand video for its Share A Coke campaign, reaching audiences with nostalgia and emotional moments that transport the audience back to childhood. This built great awareness about what Coca-Cola could offer, and it really stood out.

  • Explainer Videos

Many brands start their video marketing campaigns with explainer videos. Usually, this is about an individual product or service on offer. It helps your brand to establish authority in your field – if you know what you’re talking about, people will trust you!

  • Animation

For an exciting touch, animated videos are the perfect way to showcase the creativity your brand has. Animations are fun, light, and the ideal way to get a message across in a musical, colourful way!

Why Kareo? from ENVOY on Vimeo.

  • Educational videos

Everyone learns differently, with some learning through auditory aids and others through physical learning aids. Educational videos are a great visual aid to help people learn new concepts and teach them how to use your product. It makes learning fun, and you will find your audience more receptive to videos.

How to go about making a video for your business:

Videos can help your business explain your products better, offer reassuring reviews, and capture new customers’ attention. It’s easy to assume that crafting a professional video is going to take too much time and cost too much money, but it’s not as hard as you think! Here are some steps to explain it better.

  • Planning a video

Videos can help your business explain your products better, offer reassuring reviews, and capture new customers’ attention. It’s easy to assume that crafting a professional video is going to take too much time and cost too much money, but it’s not as hard as you think! Here are some steps to explain it better.

  • Script

Sometimes, videos are great unscripted and in the moment, but when it comes to a business video, you need a clear script. This will help you to cut down the editing process and save you from losing your audience. This article dictates how brands are using live videos successfully, but you can bet many of them are still scripted to remain professional.

  • Video/Audio equipment 

Whether you only have an iPhone or professional camera equipment, learning to shoot a video is essential. According to Blue Corona, 54% of all mobile brand experiences are image or video-based, and many of these are shot with smartphones to social media.

  • Set-up

Are you looking to promote your product with a video shot in a professional studio, or are you hoping for a more flexible shoot on the move? How you set-up your video depends on how professional you want this to be. If you’re shooting in a studio, you need a tripod to keep the camera steady. It would help if you also had the right lighting, the right microphone for sound, and the right place to shoot without interruption.

  • Prepare your talent

Hiring in actors may be the best choice that you make for your company videos. Having the right talent in front of the camera can make the difference between your message coming across or not. If you are hiring an actor or two to do your video, make sure that they are well prepared before the video shooting!

  • Shoot

This video can tell you how to “shoot for the edit.” This means that you should remember that your footage can and will be edited later, but that you should try not to draw out the shooting.

  • Edit

Once the video is done, it’s time for the editing period. This will help you cut back too much fluff and sharpen the music in the background (if any). Video editing should also give you the chance to look back over the video to see whether you got your message across.

  • Record a voiceover (if necessary)

Whether you choose music or you need to record a voiceover, you should consider what will work best for your brand video. A voiceover is a powerful tool for your video, and it should match the mood and the tone of the video you’ve spent time on. It’ll be vital in keeping your audience’s attention.

Using videos in your email campaigns/social media:

Before you film your brand videos and implement them into your email marketing strategy, you need to decide where you will host your videos. There are plenty of excellent options out there, including:

MailChimp

MailChimp has a video merge tag that allows you to create video screenshots for your campaign. Usually, these screenshots are linked to a YouTube or Vimeo video. You can then embed the video in an email, allowing your customers to click through to the link.

BombBomb

You can have videos hosted and sent for you with BombBomb, which helps you massively when it comes to avoiding technical difficulties. Video isn’t easy for everyone, but BombBomb makes it simpler!

TailoredMail

You can have your videos uploaded, encoded, and embedded to be sent immediately with TailoredMail. You can even see the analytics of your viewers, such as their behaviour and click rate.

Why Videos? 

Currently, a video has way more support with email than it ever has, but it still won’t play instantly. 48% of consumers want videos that they are interested in, and if they have signed up for your business email list, they’re already engaged! 

Companies using videos for their onboarding are making smart decisions. They are used to get new users familiar with a product or service. Incidentally, over 90% of people have watched a video to understand how to use a product better. 

Onboarding videos will help your business to gain a bigger audience and appeal to new customers. It’s far easier to watch a video than read an article about how to fix or use a physical product, and onboarding videos will put your business in a positive light, too.

Across social media platforms, video is the preferred method to get a message across to an audience. Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories have proven their popularity, with over 500 million Instagram story users every single day. Company videos shared on social media can be shared across all social media platforms, and it’s an excellent way to improve how a company reaches its audience.

How can you make sure your video marketing strategy is working 

If you have got to the stage of knowing where you want to host your video and what you want to create, you also need to know your video’s goals. You should know what you are trying to achieve with it and the metrics to watch out for. If you identify the best metrics for determining whether you’ve reached your goals, you can get it right the first time. 

Your goal can include anything from increasing brand awareness to enhancing your engagements with your audience. You should consider the target audience when you are thinking of your goals for your videos, and you should review their interests and what could tip their purchasing decisions in your favour. 

All of these considerations can help to guide you to the type of video you should make and where you should upload it (email or social media, or both?)

Watch out for the metrics!
  • The view count of your videos is an important metric to consider, and if you are trying to increase brand awareness, this is important. Each platform measures views differently, which is something to consider before choosing the platform you want to use.
  • If you’re going to determine the relevance of your video and how it appeals to the audience you are reaching, you need to look for the video’s play rate. There is no point in 1,000 people seeing your video if your engagement is low, and this can help you to choose how to optimize your content.
  • Another metric to consider in regards to relevance is social sharing and comments. Those who are sharing your content can tell you that your videos are great! Social shares are a must; the more it’s shared, the more views you get. It’s a simple and yet useful metric.
  • You took the time to plan and shoot a video, which will help you learn the video completion rate. You want people to watch the video to the end, and the completion rate is the rate of those who completed the video divided by those who just pressed play.

Each of these metrics can help you learn whether your videos are compelling and reach the correct audience. If any of these are not showing you the results you want, you can make improvements.

Pay attention to the data that these metrics pull, but don’t panic if they aren’t what you think they should be. For example, you need to ensure that the customers you gain are a good business fit and not those that click through and don’t go anywhere.

Conclusion:

Video marketing is essential for exposure, engagement, and upping your relevance as a business. It’s more affordable today than ever, and the advances in technology allow videos to spread across the world, enhancing your reach and giving you millions of views!

You can use video in your marketing strategy to advertise a product, explain how your product works, and give customers insight into how your company works! With video marketing, you can ensure that your company steps into the spotlight, remaining popular to your audience for good.

Photo by Harrison Kugler on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Top 10 Podcast WordPress themes for 2020

Noupe.com - 29 juillet, 2020 - 09:26

Do you dream of reaching millions of people around the world with your valuable compositions that you create combining musical notes or playing with a camera?

A WordPress podcast theme will pave your way if you want to entertain others with your offerings. A podcast is the most convenient and cost-effective option to create an audience base virtually anywhere in the world. It is not just useful for artists or trainers but also for business organizations. 

A podcast makes a website more lively and catches users’ attention. If the podcast is able to hit a sensitive touchpoint, users’ attention gets arrested and it increases the chances of conversion. In this article, we will give you a list of the 10 most popular WordPress podcast themes of the year. Go through the list. Hope you will find at least one theme suitable for your needs.     

Best WordPress podcast themes of the year: 1. Podcast

The Podcast is a responsive multimedia WordPress theme. It helps you to build your own podcast, podcasting network, or radio station. It supports native audio and video players as well as oEmbed. With this, you can host your audio content on popular platforms like SoundCloud, PopBean, Spotify, etc. The theme is responsive and retina ready. 

Features:

  • Built-in audio player 
  • Reading time 
  • Online store 
  • One-click import 
  • Pre-designed pages 

Price: $47 

2. WP Cast

WP Cast is a fast-loading Audio podcast theme for WordPress. It has 16+ Shortcodes and 4+ archive designs. There are featured players, series manager, series card and page builder. The theme works well with Libsyn, Anchor.fm and Blubrry. It is Mailchimp ready. It is a page builder included theme. It is ideal for professional use. 

Features:

  • Featured Player 
  • Series manager 
  • Series card 
  • Added podcast timestamp functionality 
  • Apple & Google podcast ready 

Price: $56 

3. Podcaster 

Podcaster is a WordPress multimedia podcast theme. It is flexible and responsive. There are dark and light theme options, sticky header and colour palettes. You can easily upload your own logo and display galleries, slide show, or grid. The theme has a parallax scrolling feature for custom header images. It comes with many easy to customize theme options. It is user friendly and well documented. 

Features:

  • Audio & video support 
  • Major podcasting plugin support 
  • Multimedia frontpage 
  • GDPR compatibility 
  • Unlimited episode archive pages
  • Podcast archive 

Price: $49

4. Fastcast

Fastcast is a modern podcast theme for WordPress. It comes with minimal design and a responsive custom player. There are white and dark modes and fast and easy navigation. The theme supports Android, Itunes, Apple Podcast, Spotify Podcast RSS and XML. It is user friendly yet professional. It is fit for most of the recent WordPress plugins. 

Features

  • Pixel perfect 
  • 8 podcast skins 
  • Google Web Font & custom font support 
  • YouTube, Vimeo & Embed code acceptable 
  • Well documented 

Price: $69

5. Soundbyte

Soundbyte is a feature-rich WordPress theme for a podcast.  It comes with drag & drop page builder, premium sliders, sticky header, mega menus and Photoshop files. It is a boosted element addon included theme. The theme has unlimited colour and font adjusting options. There are advanced contact forms. It is responsive, retina ready and well documented.  

Features:

  • SEO friendly 
  • eCommerce ready 
  • RSS feed support 
  • Mobile compatible 
  • Translation ready 

Price: $59

6. Megabyte

Megabyte is a responsive podcast theme for WordPress. It has an advanced drag & drop page builder, sticky header and mega menus. There are unlimited colours and font adjusting options. The theme has advanced contact forms, top-notch support and premium sport. It is a photoshop file included theme. It is user friendly. No technical skills required to use this. 

Features:

  • eCommerce ready 
  • RSS feed support 
  • Translation  ready 
  • Mobile-friendly 
  • Boosted elements addon included

Price: $52 

7. Castpod

Castpod is a responsive and retina ready WordPress theme for the podcast. It has an HTML5 audio player, transcripts and statistics. There are simple and clean codes. The theme is compatible with WP forms and MailChimp. There is an advanced and easy to use  WordPress customizer. With this theme, you may import external podcasts and redo your website. It is speed optimized and well documented.   

Features:

  • One-click import 
  • WooCommerce support 
  • Gutenberg ready 
  • RTL support 
  • Translation ready 

Price: $45 

8. Castilo

Castilo is a professional WordPress Audio Podcast theme. It comes with a one-click demo importer, theme customizer and social icon menu. There are custom colour and custom logo options. The theme has footer and sidebar widgets support. You can import external feed and generate RSS2 feed. Castilo is WooCommerce ready and speed optimized. It is compatible with Contact Form 7 and Mailchimp. It is a  developer-friendly theme. 

Features 

  • HTML5 audio player 
  • Gutenberg ready 
  • Statistics & transcripts 
  • RTL support 
  • Translation ready  

Price – $45 

9. Rekord 

Rekord is a modern and multipurpose WordPress theme. It is most suitable for events and podcasts. It offers you readymade widgets, multiple skins and RTL support. The playlists are powered by wave surfers. Rekord is based on Bootstrap 4. It is a completely Ajaxily theme. It works well with most of the latest WordPress plugins. It is easily customizable and well documented.  

Features:

  • Frontend upload 
  • Wavesport player 
  • Radio streaming 
  • Dark & light skins
  • WooCommerce ready  

Price: $75 

10. Audonic 

Audonic is a flexible WordPress theme for the podcast and music. It supports native audio and video players and oEmbed. There are unlimited audio playlists,  custom category header, hero slider and header site search. You can upload your logo, edit footer text, and choose between dark and light themes. You can also decide how many entries to display with a featured slider. The theme is ready to use and easy to customize.   

Features:

  • Responsive layout 
  • Easy customization 
  • Music & podcast archive
  • Mobile friendly 
  • Social media support 

Price: $56

Conclusion 

When you have a user-friendly podcast theme at your hand which is ideal for your purpose, reaching any corner of the world is a matter of only a few clicks. All the above-mentioned themes will let you realise your dreams within minutes after installation. You will be able to reach out to your audiences with your valuable offerings easily. Pick up the one best for you and proceed forward. People are waiting for you.     

If you liked the article, please share it on Facebook and Twitter. Leave your feedback on the comment section. We would love to hear from you. If there is any query,  please feel free to share it with us. We will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

4 DevOps Must-Dos For Development Project Success

Noupe.com - 29 juillet, 2020 - 07:38

As time passes, more and more businesses are turning towards technology to grow into successful companies. This has become an essential move in this modern technology-driven world.

This is the characteristic that helps a business to grow and sustain itself in the future. However, you must always remember that growing via technology is an immensely difficult and complicated task.

As per the Best Jobs in America report of 2018, by Glassdoor, being a DevOps engineer is the second-best technology-related job in the United States. Taking into consideration the demand for such a job and the skill-set required for it, this report is hardly surprising.

Top class enterprises like Amazon, Facebook, Walmart and Netflix are making use of DevOps so that they can ensure its users a consistent and rapid delivery of security updates. Along with all these large-scale businesses, even startup and medium-sized businesses are starting to make use of DevOps as well.

Businesses today have two main ways, in which they can make use of DevOps. One is spending money on in-house DevOps developers. The other option is to invest money in DevOps service providers. Each of these two methods has pros and cons of its own.

Before delving further into DevOps, let’s just get to know about what DevOps actually means.

What is DevOps?

In this extremely competitive age, DevOps plays the part of providing a particular company with an edge over all its other competitors. For instance, if you own an e-commerce company, You are clearly a part of the retail industry. However, just by adding technology into the mix, you can take your retail business to unprecedented levels.

According to a report by DZone, “The intention of DevOps is to create better-quality software more quickly and with more reliability while inviting greater communication and collaboration between teams.”

Role Recognition

According to Antao and other experts, there is no such thing as a DevOps team, but only an approach.  In addition to that, there exists even lesser clarity around the topic of DevOps roles. It is therefore not surprising when DevOps is defined as “a thing that everybody wants but nobody wants to do.” – a comment made by the director of product marketing for source code management, Mark Warren.

According to the managing director of Accenture, Martin Croker, ‘figuring out the right DevOps roles is a journey, not a destination and a long journey at that.”

A client of PwC, which is a software company, has shifted its format of doing business, from delivering an on-premise product, to a drastically different one involving serving customers in the cloud. This very move has drastically affected almost every aspect of the company, starting from sales and marketing, all the way to HR and R&D. The biggest shift, however, took place in the technology department, which suddenly is required to deliver new features on a daily and weekly basis, rather than annually. To embrace this drastic change in operations, it welcomed DevOps.

According to Antao, “The business model changed drastically, and they suddenly had a great need for speed.” It needed to develop new skills both in the IT department and the operation teams to achieve immense velocity. Antao also says, “There were no answers readily available in year one. It’s a lot of trial and error to figure out what works and what doesn’t.” 

All this information might be giving birth to a lot of questions in your head, the most significant of them being, what type of DevOps can actually prove to be helpful. There actually is an availability of a variety of tools, which you can choose from when the synergy of development and operations come into play.

For you to understand clearly about the functioning of DevOps, it is crucial that you are informed about a few DevOps must-dos for the success of development projects.

Crucial DevOps Must-Dos Make technology Accessible Across all Departments

If you have an expert DevOps team at the core, you will automatically have the ability to implement the most advanced technology. On the flip side, if all the departments of your company do not have access to an equal level of technology, then there is a chance that your projects will not see success. This shows how crucial accessibility is.

Provided the fact that all the departments have access to technology, the projects turn out to be drastically efficient. This allows you to boost your productivity.

Tech development, however, is not just an external affair. It is also used to streamline internal business processes.

Track the Technology You Have Employed

Not all the technology that you have introduced into your business is going to function in the same manner. Unless every technology is in its place and you are able to track it, you will never get to know if one is working. Tracking the progress of a particular tech is an absolute must-do, as far as DevOps operations go.

For example, you can set up key metrics to assess the validity of a particular technology, introduced for a particular business function. If you see that the metrics are not on par with your project goals, then you can choose to modify or completely eliminate that particular technology from the process.

Make sure that Technology and DevOps is Part of Your Business Equation

Having a particular technology as being more prevalent in your business is a challenge of some kind, as many of your team members will not understand its value right away. There are a huge number of businesses, which fail due to a reason like this.

You must always strive to present technology in front of everybody, as a successful strategy that benefits everybody. You need to convince everybody that the employment of DevOps processes will prove beneficial for your business in the long run.

Scalable Development Tools Are Essential

This is extremely crucial for operating at an optimal level in a business. No matter how qualified members you have in your team, without a proper set of tools, they will not be able to operate.

DevOps Experts who actually understand the value of the correct set of tools can add immense amounts of value to various development processes like coding, portability, analysis and project management as well.

Conclusion

It is inherently challenging to find effective ways of remaining competitive in your industry. So the use of technology, to receive the edge that you need. The above blog about DevOps must-dos will enable you to successfully achieve this goal.

Catégories: News dév web

Contact Marketing – Best Practices and Examples

Noupe.com - 28 juillet, 2020 - 17:04

Tired of implementing growth hacking strategies? In this post, I will share a strategy that will help you reach out to important prospects and stakeholders of companies you want to target.

Selling to companies with multiple decision-makers seems difficult, but this strategy will make your job easier.

Let’s say your company has built a product (or provides services) for large enterprises and corporations. You want to get in touch with the decision-makers or key stakeholders of the prospects. 

To your surprise, you found that they are not active on Linkedin and still haven’t accepted your connection request. You found their email address and sent them an email. Your email still lies unopened in their inbox (or spam folder) alongside thousands of emails. 

Even account-based marketing is not working for you because you need to reach out to key stakeholders or decision-makers. 

You really really want to get in touch with them at any cost. 

What will you do? The answer is simple. You will leverage the power of contact marketing. 

What is Contact Marketing?

It is a shadow-form of marketing that delivers promising results compared to account-based marketing and has been generating results most marketers dream of. It is one of the thoughtful lead generation strategies of 2020. The strategy helps sales teams connect with VIP prospects, key stakeholders, and decision-makers to build the right kinds of relationships with them. 

VIP prospects don’t hang out on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, and their inbox is probably managed by their assistants, you cannot directly call them on their cell phone. But, you want to get your message across! You want to sell to large organizations and corporations. You think you at least deserve a chance to speak to the decision-makers after having built something useful for them.

In short, contact marketing is the act of launching micro-focused campaigns with an aim to get in touch with specific people of strategic importance (against all odds) for a sale, partnership, or just to build a relationship. All digital means to get in touch with your VIP prospects are blocked. But there’s one way – the offline channel. No, you don’t have to go to their office. 

Contact Marketing Strategy

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to creating and executing strategies for contact marketing. All you need to do is send a parcel (which could be in the form of a letter or a big box) to your prospect and figure out a way so that the parcel reaches them.

The gatekeepers or the front desk workers do not share across all parcels with the concerned – that’s where you need to think creatively. Your first goal is to get past the gatekeepers. To do so, before sending your parcel, call them up, and ask them to verify the address. Tell them they can expect a parcel from you soon. Another strategy could be to write “CONFIDENTIAL” or “ONLY FOR PROSPECT’S NAME” on the parcel.

Sending the parcel and making sure it gets delivered to your prospect is just half the job done. You need to have a strategy in place for the rest of your plan – what will be the contents of the parcel, what will be the call to action, and more. Most importantly, you need to communicate effectively.

Examples of Contact Marketing

There are countless examples of contact marketing. You must figure out the one which is good for your business. Here are a few examples of contact marketing: 

Magnifying Glass Strategy

This strategy is effective if you’re a digital marketing agency or an SEO agency that wants to reach out to mid-sized and large companies. In your package, send them a magnifying glass and a short letter mentioning something like: “Even if they use a magnifying glass, they still won’t be able to find you on the first page of Google”. End the note by requesting them to connect with you or your firm. 

Research Strategy

Go through the website and blog articles of your prospect or one of their recently published interviews. Take a print out of the article or the web page and highlight important points. Send them a letter along with the printout mentioning how you or your firm can help regarding the highlighted points. To keep a track of news regarding your prospect companies, use Google Alerts.

Video Strategy

Record a video focusing on how you can help your prospect. Publish your video on YouTube and make sure the video can only be seen by those who have the link. Shorten the URL using bit.ly or other link shortening services. Now, send them a letter mentioning that you have made a video for them. Include a screenshot of the video with your face in it. Mention the shortened link in your letter and patiently wait for your prospect to contact you. 

Resource Strategy

Send your prospect a book or a print of a whitepaper or an article that will be useful for your prospect. Attach a letter mentioning the usefulness of the resource and how you can help in solving their problems taking reference to the resource you sent. Make sure to use storytelling elements that work.  

Sherlock Holmes Strategy

This is one of my favorite techniques. Create a Q.R. code online and encrypt your message in it. Take a print of the code, put it in an envelope along with a note mentioning that the Q.R. code needs to be scanned. Send them the envelope. Make them feel like Sherlock Holmes for a while. 

When to use this approach?

Use this approach anytime you want. It is not an alternative to the digital approach. However, better use this approach when:

  • Your prospects aren’t tech-savvy or digital-savvy
  • Your prospects are hard to reach (VIP’s, CXO’s, etc)
  • You want to target a handful of people who can change the scale of business
  • You are in a market/industry which is inundated with digital marketing
Conclusion

When digital channels fail in connecting with important prospects and stakeholders, employ contact marketing. Be creative and patiently wait for them to contact you. Build your own strategy or simply use one of the above-mentioned strategies. Contact marketing is a powerful tool that you can use to engage with people that are hard to reach. Try it out – it works like a charm!

Catégories: News dév web

Showcase: 74 Greatest Examples of Robot Art

Noupe.com - 28 juillet, 2020 - 15:31

Robots are everywhere. In media, in our lives, in our future. And you know what? Robots are cool. Advancement in technology has made robots enter even our household and they are represented widely in media as well. 

Video games, books, movies all have different approaches at robots and some iterations have caused us to even question our humanity by making us ask the dreaded question, “what does it mean to be human”. As with anything, when there’s such a great concept that is both realistic and open for imagination, there are great pieces of art of it. So, we went on a quest to find the best robot art that we could find and prepared this article to share with you and to give the talented artists behind these a little more visibility.

We have found various different types of robot art. From pieces of killer robots to cute mechs that prove that a machine can be adored. So, without much delay, let’s get into it. 

Top 74 Robot Art Examples Image Credit: Grafit Studio

A cute and deadly skater robot. This small guy is rolling towards an explosive exit.

Image Credit: Alice Pisoni

It’s a horse, it’s a robot. What more could we ask for? It looks fantastic and seems like you could ride it as well.

Image Credit: Santiago Fuentes Image Credit: Logan Preshaw

Her name is Sheeba. She’s a cute and clumsy robot that only wants some sunshine in her city.

Image Credit: Grafit Studio

Although he is small and far from deadly, he’s still commanding. Perfect robot for a furnace or a barbeque.

Image Credit: Pedro Tavares Santos

What’s better than an owl robot as a sentry? Probably nothing. Immaculate design and great 3d modeling.

Image Credit: Phil Saunders

The artwork of the Mechwarper card in Blizzard’s trading card game Hearthstone. It’s one of the most hated cards of its time. But the artwork is incredible!

Image Credit: Steve Talkowski

He’s fast but not furious. An ideal skating partner. You shouldn’t offer a race though.

Image Credit: Joffrey Ferrandes

AzTech. What’s more to say? It’s Aztec and it’s a robot. Great combination.

Image Credit: Jarlan Perez

A block-type robot. It has wheels, a happy face, and probably can be used to move or store goods.

Image Credit: Jarlan Perez

The artwork of a Longneck from the PlayStation hit Horizon Zero Dawn. They are gigantic, peaceful, and you can climb on top of their heads!

Image Credit: Haekel Lav.

We probably don’t need to tell its name. A good artwork of the famous R2D2, this article would probably be incomplete without mentioning the most famous robot.

Image Credit: Edon Guraziu

The Mother Robot from the Netflix exclusive I am Mother. One of the best depictions of a robot in movies. Great 3d modeling as always too.

Image Credit: Rafael Amarante

A guardian robot probably inspired by a raptor. There’s not too much explanation of it but the design is quite unique and excellently done.

Image Credit: Rashed AlAkroka

A robot probably doesn’t get cold so the hood is added for the fashion value. Great style, great design, and an overall great portrait.

Image Credit: Zacharias Reinhardt

Nature claims almost everything. A great piece of art depicting even something as artificial as a killer robot will end up as a part of nature.

Image Credit: Neil Blevins

A man and his robot companion walking through a desert. We really liked this one.

Image Credit: Oliver Wetter

If her face hadn’t fallen off, we wouldn’t know that she was a robot. A perfect piece of robot art.

Image Credit: Deviantart

Not all transformers have to be cool cars and killer robots. Hiding in plain sight is almost always better. A great take on the concept of robots that transform into cars.

Image Credit: Carlo Bautista

A robot that spews fire. Approach with caution. It looks cute-ish until you see the skull painted on its head.

Image Credit: Colie Wertz

A very creative way to design a robot inspired by a gorilla. The only explanation the artist has written is “I see bananas.”

Image Credit: Giorgio Baroni

A sentry robot that probably would serve best as a cop. The artist has designed some fantastic robot art examples as a part of an ArtStation event named March of Robots.

Image Credit: Russell Dongjun Lu

She’s beautiful and scary at the same time. The real question is that can this fairy robot can fly?

Image Credit: Yigit Koroglu

The juggernaut golem is a giant robot in heavy armor. With huge. Fists. We definitely don’t want to meet this guy.

Image Credit: A46 Studio

Unlike most robot art we found, this one does not look remotely like a human, and that makes it scary, scary is good. Imagine this guy slithering in some hallways zapping around. Creepy.

Image Credit: Joern Zimmermann

A more realistic robot art that is stuck with a permanent frown. But they mean good. Really.

Image Credit: Jakub Rozalski

A robot medic that is thinking who he should be healing when everyone is a robot.

Image Credit: Michael Weisheim Beresin

A wonderful piece of robot art created in the unreal engine. Seriously, this is unreal, look at how realistic it looks.

Image Credit: Forrest Imel

The benign but deadly robot lady Echo. The latest hero added to the video game Overwatch.

Image Credit: George REDreev

A tiny little devil robot that is after who knows what kind of mischief. Devious little mech.

Image Credit: Andrius Matijosius

Different color palettes for some cool robots. Our favorite is the blue one.

Image Credit: DeviantArt

If robots could have nobility, this guy would probably be a duke or something.

Image Credit: Victor Hugo Sousa

It’s big, it’s clunky but sturdy. A great look at the concept of a robot in a setting that is less technologically advanced.

Image Credit: Victoria Passariello

Is it a box or is it a camera? Oh nevermind, it’s a robot. Great design!

Image Credit: Rakan Khamash

A robot that is inspired by a rabbit. The style is quite interesting and unique. Overall great piece of robot art.

Image Credit: Frederic Arsenault

A cowboy robot that had the potential for the perfect name. The CowBot.

Image Credit: Cedric Seaut

We love fractal geometry. We love robots. We love this piece of art.

Image Credit: Kojak

The sharkdog robot is a tracker that can catch any scent.

Image Credit: Mikael Lelievre

P4Ng0L1 is a robot pangolin. We love these types of artwork that can be a bit more creative than just designing robots in the human form.

Image Credit: Nivanh Chanthara

A robot scientist with its own work station. Looks like it has jumped out of a sci-fi cartoon.

Image Credit: Curtis Holt

Another humanoid robot art. This one was called neglected.

Image Credit: Richie Mason

A titanic robot art. You wouldn’t want to upset this guy,

Image Credit: Woo Kim

Cyborgs are technically not robots. And this piece of art is called “Cyborg Girl” but this piece deserved a spot in our article.

Image Credit: Demi Matus

Another unique style creating a great piece of robot art. The Manta Black is a great fusion of a robot, a human, and a panther.

Image Credit: Brian Sum

The best part of being a robot is you can easily upgrade yourself.

Image Credit: Emanuele Desiati

Amaterasu is the Japanese goddess of the Sun. This robot art is heavily inspired by her original depictions.

Image Credit: Brian Sum

This piece is called Lil Betsy. But Betsy isn’t the big robot we see. Actually she’s the small robot that is controlling the larger mech. Sweet!

Image Credit: Miro Petrov

A robot cop with its hammer and shield. Looks swift and strong. Please don’t make them real.

Image Credit: Nivanh Chanthara

One of the most popular types of robot art is samurai robots or robots that wield a katana. We’ll see a few more on the way.

Image Credit: Nivanh Chanthara

Spikes, a skull, and a dark background. Nothing looks more menacing.

Image Credit: Sebastian Horoszko

Another great piece of robot art. This time it’s an Egyptian themed robot with a sword. The illustration and the background all blend together perfectly.

Image Credit: Wayne Dalton

The Goliath MK 3 is designed for effectiveness. This is another great example of robot art done right in the Unreal Engine.

Image Credit: Joseph Diaz

A ronin is a samurai without a master. This piece is called ronin 21. So, it’s a robot samurai without a master, a program maybe?

Image Credit: Hui Zou

Melee weapons are quite popular in robot art. This piece is a perfect demonstration of that.

Image Credit: Hui Zou

The Rage Reaper is another great example of a warrior robot art.

Image Credit: Andre-Lang Huynh

The classic Gundam theme. The best representative of the style we found.

Image Credit: Cho Youngchae

She’s cute, she’s deadly. A Japanese Anime inspired piece of robot art.

Image Credit: Aaron De Leon

The unreal engine is truly unreal.

Image Credit: Antoine Di Lorenzo

We were hesitant to add the space rabbit because we were unsure if it’s a robot or an exo-suit. But then we checked the feet. Definitely a robot.

Image Credit: DeviantArt

Ever vigilant with its spear. This robot guard is an excellent interpretation of a traditional warrior.

Image Credit: Guillem Ferrer

The following pieces of art are created by the same artist and are our favorite ones.

Image Credit: Guillem Ferrer

Our second favorite of this series of artwork. The robot monk is perfect. That’s it.

Image Credit: Guillem Ferrer

This is our favorite piece of art. Period. The robot priest is majestic, commanding, and brilliantly designed.

Image Credit: Guillem Ferrer

The robot shaman is great. That headdress, that stance. Did we mention that we love this artist???

Image Credit: Jeff Chen

We warned you about Japanese robot warriors. There was a lot. All of them were great and we had to pick the very best.

Image Credit: Istvan Danyi

An excellent interpretation of the Game of Thrones character Oberyn Martel.

Image Credit: Jeff Chen

Again, lots of Japanese inspired robot art. A robot ninja in an excellent pose.

Image Credit: Joseph Diaz

Shredder, Darth Vader, and a Samurai enter a bar. The result? Perfect robot art.

Image Credit: Kory Cromie

Those who were into Lego in the early 2000s, probably know Bionicles. This piece of art is a wonderful depiction of how a Bionicle would look.

Image Credit: Andrian Luchian

Shadow is a robot sniper with a bi-pedal configuration and a quadrupedal configuration. The design and artwork are both great.

Image Credit: Xavier Collette

A geisha robot who looks both elegant and deadly at the same time.

Image Credit: Alexis Martinho

Zenyatta is an omnic monk from the Overwatch video game. Omnics are basically robots with consciousness. Zenyatta is a spiritual leader to both robots and humans. Neat.

Image Credit: Istvan Danyi

Another piece of robot art from the artist who designed the robot Oberyn Martel. This one is an excellent depiction of how Tyrion Lannister would look like if he was a robot.

Image Credit: Jarold Sng.

Bastion is another robot from the Overwatch universe. He’s an old killer robot that has gained his own free will and has made friend with a hummingbird.

That’s all from us for now. We’ve searched through thousands of artworks to find the best examples of robot art to include in our showcase. This article is not set in stone and we’ll keep updating it as we come by even greater robot art examples. If you think we’ve missed some or if you want to get your artwork featured, let us know in the comments!

Catégories: News dév web

Enterprise Resource Planning Systems: A Comprehensive Guide

Noupe.com - 28 juillet, 2020 - 15:01

According to United States Census Bureau statistics, large enterprises (500+ employees according to this study) employ more than 51 percent of the working population. In other words, at least half of Americans work for an enterprise and have hundreds, if not thousands, of coworkers.

At such a large organization, there are inherent challenges to overcome simply due to size, volume, stature in the industry, and other factors. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the main systems and frameworks that enterprises use to operate in order to overcome those challenges.

Chapter synopsis

This guide consists of seven chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction.
  • Chapter 2: What is an enterprise? What is an enterprise, and what are the common challenges they face?
  • Chapter 3: Enterprise resource planning (ERP). What is the history of ERP software, who uses ERP today, and what are the main benefits?
  • Chapter 4: Enterprise risk management (ERM). What is risk management, and what are the available frameworks for mitigating risk?
  • Chapter 5: Data security for enterprises. How much does a data breach cost an enterprise, and what steps can they take to improve information security?
  • Chapter 6: The future of the enterprise is mobile. How are large organizations using mobile applications? Is mobility the key to future success?
  • Chapter 7: Enterprise value and calculations. What are the common ways to calculate the value of an enterprise?
  • Chapter 8: How can enterprises use online forms? Online forms are one of the primary ways enterprises gather information. How can companies improve the data collection process?
What is an enterprise?

Merriam-Webster’s first definition of enterprise is “a project or undertaking that is especially difficult, complicated, or risky.” The second definition provides a completely different meaning: “a unit of economic organization or activity.”

When someone says “enterprise” in today’s business world, it’s the combination of those two definitions that best describes what they mean. An enterprise is a large (more on that next) business with difficult or complicated challenges to overcome that are inherent to their size.

How big is an enterprise?

Businesses are categorized differently depending on the country or industry in which they operate. The two most common measures of business size are the number of employees and head count.

Here’s how Gartner defines business size:

  1. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB): fewer than 100 employees
  2. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME, or mid-market): 100 to 999 employee
  3. Large enterprises: more than 1,000 employees

The European Union defines medium-sized enterprises as having fewer than 250 employees (making large enterprises greater than 250 employees), and the U.S. Small Business Administration defines sizes based on industry. 

What challenges do enterprises face?

With so many conflicting size definitions for enterprise-level businesses, the common challenges they face may paint a clearer picture. The bigger an enterprise gets, the more likely they are to face these inherent challenges:

  • Complex internal processes. Plug-and-play software is less likely to work.
  • Multiple departments, offices, and types of facilities. Communication flows differently than in one-office companies.
  • Sales across multiple states and countries. Compliance and taxes are more complicated.
  • Competition from all sides. Startups and established competitors seek to provide a better solution.
  • Cybersecurity risks. Multiple systems and locations can lead to increased points of failure.

Since just about every large enterprise faces these challenges, a number of technology solutions have been built to help combat the issues. These technology solutions make up what is now known as “enterprise software.”

What are the most common enterprise software solutions?

If you look at a list of the biggest enterprise software companies, you’ll get a sense for the types of products enterprises demand. From the Microsofts, Adobes, and SAPs of the world, you’ll find these types of tools running behind every enterprise:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Cloud services and storage
  • Information technology (IT) solutions
  • Database management
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Big data and analytics
  • Data and cybersecurity
  • Risk management and business continuity
  • Financial services and payment processing
  • Mobile applications and tools

In the following chapters, we’ll look behind the scenes of a typical enterprise: the software systems they run on, the risks they face, how they’re valued, and where enterprise technology is heading. First up, a deeper look at enterprise resource planning, or ERP.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) ERP definiton

Enterprise resource planning describes a category of software that manages and integrates the entire organization, everything from customer relationships, sales, and engineering to production, procurement, inventory, and finance.

Jack Shannon, President at Visual South, has worked with ERP in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years. From his perspective, ERP software helps manage the points where people and processes at a company intersect. ERP software is a single database that holds critical data from across the business, including customer information, vendor information, product information, bills of materials, etc. ERP systems connect a number of disparate systems in one central place. 

ERP systems are complex and reach across an entire organization. But that wasn’t always the case. The idea started about 50 years ago, as a simple way to better manage the manufacturing process.

History of ERP

According to ERP and More!, ERP was born in the 1960s when J.I. Case, a construction equipment manufacturer, partnered with IBM to build a software application to plan and schedule the material requirements for its products. This type of tool — now known as materials requirements planning, or MRP — helped companies manage the supply of raw materials and finished goods, reducing both shortages and overstocking of inventory. Its functionality expanded through the years, forging a path of development toward modern-day ERP. 

From that starting point in the 1960s, here’s how ERP progressed:

  • 1970s: SAP is founded to build an ERP product that works in real time rather than on delay. (SAP is now the biggest ERP vendor in the world.)
  • 1980s: MRP-II came about to expand capabilities within manufacturing, particularly around capacity requirements.
  • 1990s: The Gartner Group coined the term “enterprise resource planning” for the first time, as systems had progressed beyond materials and planning to enterprise-wide functions like accounting and human resources.
  • 2000s: A number of mergers and acquisitions take place, shaping the modern ERP landscape, which consists of a small number of major players like Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Infor.
  • 2010s: The transition from on-premises to cloud-based ERP software begins — and takes off.

Today, ERP is the central operating system for many enterprises, particularly in manufacturing. ERP systems run through the cloud and on mobile devices across many different facilities, pulling all necessary information into one central database. 

What are the primary business benefits of an ERP system?

Through years of working with ERP directly and implementing it for clients, Jack Shannon has learned that the benefits of ERP can be so broad, it would be impossible to come up with a complete list of benefits. “Creating an environment where data replaces guesses opens up doors beyond the obvious list of benefits. How well an organization replaces guesses with facts has a direct impact on the benefits that organization will achieve as a result,” he says.

If set up and maintained correctly, an ERP system will provide facts where guesses used to be required. If that transformation happens, here are some higher-level benefits of an ERP:

  1. It eliminates the pain points from multiple systems that don’t talk to one another.
  2. It reduces the time lost to repetitive data entry.
  3. It enables better management of your team’s capacity and production capabilities.
  4. It provides better data about how your business is functioning.
  5. It helps improve business performance by giving you access to better data.
  6. It helps to accurately predict which materials are needed, when in your manufacturing process.
  7. It standardizes your processes so they don’t change with each product, manufacturing plant, or employee.
  8. It helps you better forecast what’s required for customer support, cash flow, hiring, or capital expenditures.
  9. It improves customer service because all data and interactions are tracked in one place.
  10. It improves data security because data is housed in one secure system rather than a number of different places.
Why should you use ERP?

In the previous section, we talked about the main benefits of an ERP system. To answer this question, we’ll look at the reverse: the challenges you may be facing that could be addressed with enterprise resource planning software.

Here are the main reasons a company would decide to implement an ERP system:

  1. You have multiple systems that don’t communicate, leaving an incomplete picture across the business.
  2. You have too many time-consuming processes, like accounting, supply chain, and customer service.
  3. Your people are making guesses at metrics, like time to delivery, rather than using data to accurately predict them.
  4. You don’t know how much it costs to make specific products.
  5. Your people in the field or at different plants can’t access a central system and, therefore, have built their own processes.
  6. When someone wants you to pull a report, you export to Excel to manually build the numbers.
  7. You rely too much on knowledge held by certain people at the company.
Who uses ERP systems?

To select and implement a new ERP system effectively, Shannon’s team recommends filling the following roles: 

  • Project owner: a company executive (or board) responsible for selecting and implementing the new ERP system
  • Project manager: a person who manages the time line, demos, parties involved, and budget
  • Super user: a person who will learn the new solution across all departments and become the internal expert post-implementation
  • Functional team members: these are representatives from different departments the new ERP system will affect — one person each from accounting, IT, production, etc.
  • Report writer: the person tasked with building the reports within the ERP system

After implementation, a number of users will need to be trained on the new procedures. Once implemented, ERP is a fully integrated system that touches all areas of a company: sales, manufacturing, engineering, procurement, quality control, shipping and receiving, IT, accounting, and finance. At a large enterprise (1,000+ employees), there will likely be hundreds to thousands of users. From the delivery person marking that a shipment has been delivered to the executive suite reviewing reports built in the ERP system, virtually any employee can use the system.

Moving through the enterprise

If enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the main engine that your company runs on, enterprise risk management (ERM) is the way to surface all of the threats your company faces. We’ll discuss ERM in the next chapter.

Enterprise risk management (ERM) What is enterprise risk management?

Michael Herrera, CEO of the business continuity consulting firm MHA Consulting and founder of BCMMETRICS, defines enterprise risk management (ERM) as “a plan to identify and mitigate internal and external risks that face your business.” 

He compares ERM to reducing risk at your home. Sure, you have locks on the doors. But you also need to consider the neighborhood, taking into account crime data and natural threats that occur in your area.  

You then choose strategies to mitigate the biggest risks, such as buying additional insurance, installing a security system, etc. When it comes to our homes, we do all of this naturally. But most of us need to take a more systematic approach to managing risk at a business. 

7 components of a sound enterprise risk management program

So what exactly goes into building a risk management program? According to Herrera, below are some of the major areas to consider. If you can answer all of these questions easily, take it as a sign that your enterprise risk management program is sound.

  1. Risk inventory. What are the five to 10 main risks our company faces?
  2. Risk committee. Who will sit on a cross-functional team to help analyze all risks across departments and externally?
  3. ERM team. Who is our head of enterprise risk (or chief risk officer), and which roles does that person need in place to perform this function?
  4. Common risk language. What terms do we use to define certain aspects of our risk management program, and how can we maintain consistency?
  5. Risk appetite. How much quantifiable risk do we face with each inventory item, and how much will we live with?
  6. Action plans. Exactly which steps will we take to mitigate risk, how much will we invest, and who is responsible?
  7. Reporting. Which metrics will we measure to assess our enterprise risk, and how will we track those metrics?
How can enterprises manage risk?

Herrera says there are four generally accepted ways to manage risk. Each action plan you put in place will fall under one of these broad solutions:

  • Avoid the risk. Should we stop the activities that bring on this type of risk? 
  • Reduce the risk. What actions can I take to reduce the likelihood of a negative event occurring?
  • Share the risk. Can we get insurance to help us cover this risk?
  • Accept the risk. If we can’t afford to mitigate the risk or don’t have options to do so, should we simply live with the risk?

Each path comes with other considerations like budget, available resources, time, how to measure the risk, and who’s responsible.

Enterprise risk management frameworks

There are a handful of official risk management frameworks that companies can choose from for their enterprise risk program. Below, Herrera breaks down the four main framework options as provided by these organizations: 

When it comes to selecting a framework, Herrera notes that it’s important to pick a simple one. He’s seen many companies pick complex frameworks and become paralyzed by the amount of information they try to track and influence. 

The few companies that manage enterprise risk well use a simple framework that helps them see the big picture. Companies that don’t manage it well have either picked a framework that’s too complex or ignore the issue altogether.

Here’s a quick overview of each of the four main frameworks:

  • Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS): This framework was released in 2003 and includes seven steps, from understanding the company’s current environment to measuring and reviewing the program. Herrera notes that this framework is less frequently used than some of the others.
  • Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO): This framework, published in 2004, is built around four objectives — strategy, operations, financial reporting, and compliance. According to Herrera, this framework has seen increased use in recent years.
  • International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 31000: This framework was created in 2009 and provides seven ways to manage risk (expanding on the four ways covered by the COSO framework).
  • Risk Maturity Model from the Risk Management Society (RIMS): Written in 2006, this framework provides seven steps, from managing risk appetite to business sustainability and resilience. This is Herrera’s recommended framework and the one he uses.

Learn more about each framework in this blog post.

Every enterprise risk management program prioritizes information and data security. In chapter four, we’ll take a closer look at the challenges and various approaches to enterprise data security.

Data security for enterprises

In a 2019 survey done by the World Economic Forum, executives in North America listed cyber attacks and data fraud or theft as the top two risks of doing business, in that order, with cyber attacks far out ahead. 

Data security is clearly the biggest risk facing enterprises today. The frequency and cost of data breaches have increased in recent years, and the threat of one constantly looms over large companies. 

In this chapter, we’ll take a look at enterprise data security, the cost of a data breach, and the risk areas to manage. 

What is enterprise data security?

Enterprise data security is an umbrella term used to define any kind of information (received, sent, or stored) protection across an organization. A number of different strategies, software tools, frameworks, and compliance considerations fall under this broad definition.

Every large enterprise has a data security team and plan — each plan has varying degrees of success. Sometimes, even the biggest companies in the world fall victim to security breaches due to breakdowns in basic fundamentals, from a lack of network hygiene to deprioritizing or outright ignoring certain areas of risk. 

When breaches occur, the fallout is damaging.

What’s the cost of a data breach?

IBM’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report analyzed “data breach costs reported by 507 organizations across 16 geographies and 17 industries.” 

Here are the key findings:

  • The average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million USD.
  • The average cost for American companies is $8.19 million USD (the most expensive in the world).
  • It takes, on average, 314 days to contain a malicious attack from the time of the breach.

A different study, “2019 MidYear QuickView Data Breach Report,” revealed how many breaches occurred and how many total records were exposed in the first half of the year alone.

Here are the key findings, according to Forbes:

  • 3,800+ data breaches were reported in the first half of 2019.
  • Over 4 billion records were compromised. 
  • Both of these numbers increased by over 50 percent from the first half of 2018.

The average cost of a data breach is nearly $4 million, over 600 breaches occur every month, and that number is increasing steadily.

What are the primary risk categories to manage?

Tyler Murphy is the lead cyber security analyst for DeadBolt Data Security. He helps large enterprises employ innovative security strategies to avoid data breaches. 

According to Murphy, the key to a sound data security strategy is to “think proactively about your company’s information security, yet have a reactive plan in place for when things happen.” Smart companies are prepared on both fronts.

Murphy points out four main areas where you can identify risk in your data security plan. (The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, and the International Organization for Standardization, ISO, both follow these general categories of risk.) 

What threats do you face within each category? What are your risk appetites for each? How do you prioritize resources and budget for one category over another? To evaluate your organization’s level of risk in each area, answer the questions posed in the sections below. 

1. Financial 

Do our financial and accounting systems expose us to risk?

If your accounting system could be accessed by hackers, for example, critical information could be leaked about the financial performance of the company. So even if your third-party payment processor is up to par with its security, your clients’ personal and financial data could still be exposed. 

In recent years, the SEC has strongly encouraged publicly traded companies to communicate risks and incidents to investors in a timely fashion. Those companies face cyber threats on the front end and the SEC on the back.

2. Operational

Which aspects of the way we run our business put us at risk of a breach?

A number of concepts fall under this category:

  • Third-party risk. How do our outside partners and vendors impact our security? 
  • Business processes. Do our procedures make us vulnerable to a breach?
  • Technology. Do our servers and software systems expose us?
  • Availability. If our software systems or product shut down, how will this impact our business?

Murphy highlights two scenarios where “availability” could be an area of risk to prioritize:

  • At a hospital, if the systems were to go down for even a few minutes, doctors could be locked out from accessing critical information during surgery.
  • At a streaming content provider like Netflix, availability or uptime is a must. If Netflix went down for one hour, what would be the impact?
3. Regulatory

Do we comply with security laws governing the industries and countries in which we operate?

New data security regulations are constantly going into effect. In May 2018, the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In a survey done in late 2018, only 29 percent of EU-based organizations had fully implemented the procedures required by GDPR, leaving them susceptible to major fines. 

For example, Facebook’s business model conflicts with GDPR’s right to be forgotten. As a result, Facebook will likely face billions of dollars in fines over the coming years.

4. Reputational

If we have a data breach, how will it impact our brand and reputation?

Apple has started incorporating privacy and security messaging into their advertisements. By doing so, they’ve taken on more reputational risk than a company that doesn’t put those principles at the core of its brand. If Apple were to have a security breach, the reputational risk would be significant.

Steps to ensure proper data storage, backup, and security

Check out our guide on data security. You’ll find information about common threats, best practices, regulations, and some solutions.

Next up: Is “mobile” the future for enterprises?

Technology has helped enterprises move faster as a way to stay ahead of the competition, but it’s also opened up massive data security risks. Companies that benefit from the advancements in technology and mitigate the associated risks are positioned for success.

In recent years, the biggest technological push has been around mobility. In the next chapter, we’ll take a closer look at the mobile enterprise.

The future of the enterprise is mobile What does “mobile enterprise” mean?

We established in chapter one that a generally accepted definition for enterprise is a company with 1,000+ employees. The term mobile relates to any device that can be used on the go. If you combine the two definitions, a mobile enterprise is a large company that uses wireless devices to carry out critical business tasks and functions. 

At the simplest level, a mobile enterprise offers a way for employees to access their work email from their phones. Mobile enterprises with the most advanced capabilities may run entire warehouses on mobile devices. Their sales teams have wireless access to the customer relationship management (CRM) system, and their delivery fleets can track each package from cell phones. 

Mobile enterprise statistics

To see how much the mobile device has impacted the way large companies operate, let’s start with the data. 

According to Gartner, demand for enterprise mobile applications will outpace development capacity five to one from 2019 onward. In other words, enterprises have so many mobile application needs that there aren’t enough developers to keep up. 

  • According to a 2014 study from Salesforce, mobile apps boost U.K. worker productivity by more than 34 percent.
  • In the same study, 59 percent of respondents said that their organization has been too slow in developing workplace apps.
  • In a 2016 Harris Poll, 90 percent of IT decision makers polled saw enterprise mobility as the critical function for customer engagement, competitiveness, and operational productivity.
  • In a 2018 study from Mobile World Live, 44 percent of respondents ranked the smartphone as their chosen device for conference calls, with nearly 60 percent saying their use of desk phones for conference calls has changed drastically over the past five years. 

The benefits of mobility are clear for enterprises: increased productivity, improved customer engagement, and better processes. The demand for and increased usage of mobile apps at work have followed the benefits. 

The main challenge for enterprise mobility is fulfilling the demand with quality applications. But along with the opportunities mobile devices provide, there are a number of new challenges. 

Challenges with enterprise mobility
  • Development. As mentioned in the previous section, there simply isn’t enough development talent out there to keep up with the demand for mobile apps. 
  • Customization. Many popular enterprise mobile apps are provided by third parties like Slack and Gmail, limiting the way they can be customized. The lack of customization options may make it hard for a company to fit the app into existing processes. 
  • Support and upkeep. To maximize customization, many enterprises develop their own applications. This not only requires planning, development, and deployment, but also maintenance and updating after it goes live. Companies fail in mobile app development when they think of the launch as the finish line. It’s actually the starting line for ongoing improvements and management.
  • Device selection. Should a company develop apps for all types of operating systems (iOS, Android) and devices (tablets, phones, and wearable technology), or just one? Should the organization provide employees with devices or expect them to access the application on their own devices?
  • Application vs web. Should companies build a native application or mobile website for people to access via a browser? That decision should be based on how the mobile tool will be used. 
  • Integration. Whether a company builds their own application or chooses a third-party app, they need to figure out how that application will integrate with backend systems. For example, if a company builds an app for delivery personnel to track shipment deliveries, how is that tied back into the ERP system?
  • Security. Mobile devices are out in the field, whereas desktop devices stay at the office. Mobility opens up the company to security issues if devices that have access to private company information are lost. Third-party mobile apps also expose companies to cybersecurity threats.
  • User adoption. Your company has built a great app; now you have to transition thousands of employees onto it.  Changing the way people work is always a challenge. 
Enterprise mobile application solutions

The uses for enterprise mobile apps are virtually endless. Anything that’s currently done at a computer or on paper (and could benefit from a wireless element) could be turned into a mobile application. Here are a few of the common ways enterprises are using mobile apps:

  • Email. Access your work email from your mobile device (through a Gmail app, for example).
  • Sales. Offer a mobile CRM system to your sales team so they can track key information while visiting prospects (like Salesforce Mobile).
  • Meeting conferencing. Host and attend audio or video meetings from a mobile application (like Zoom).
  • Time tracking. Give employees a way to track hours on their phones (like Harvest). 
  • Delivery management. Plan routes and track orders on a mobile device (like Mendix).
  • Manufacturing. Manage the shop floor on a wireless device (like Infor VISUAL Shop Floor).
  • Field service. Manage every aspect of customer support that happens onsite (like Housecall Pro).
  • Data collection. Use your mobile device to collect contact info from prospective customers at trade shows, to fill out digital inspection forms, and more (JotForm Mobile Forms).
Is mobility the future?

In 2018, mobile access to the internet surpassed desktop access for the first time. Enterprises are taking note of this change in behavior. It’s likely that companies will continue to try to meet both their employees and their customers where they are: on a mobile device. So far, we’ve only scratched the surface.

Next up: How do you value an enterprise?

Companies that embrace and adopt mobility will arguably be the most valuable businesses in the world over the next few years. In the next chapter, we’ll look more closely at exactly how enterprises are valued.

Enterprise value and calculations

In this chapter, we’ll introduce a number of concepts related to valuing an enterprise. At the end of each section, you’ll find links to more detailed articles on each topic.

What is enterprise value?

Enterprise value is a measure of how much you’d have to spend to buy a publicly traded company. In other words, it’s the total worth of a company.

Another common formula for valuing publicly traded companies is market capitalization, or market cap. But where market cap simply looks at the total value of the stock (share price multiplied by all outstanding shares), enterprise value expands on that by adding what the company owes in net debt.

How to calculate enterprise value

Enterprise Value = Market Capitalization + Total Debt – Cash

Here’s a simple breakdown of each part of the formula:

  • Market capitalization: the share price of the company’s stock multiplied by the number of shares that are currently owned (i.e., outstanding shares)
  • Total debt: the amount of a company’s short- and long-term current liabilities (what it owes)
  • Cash (and cash equivalents): the amount of money (cash) and short-term investments the company currently possesses that could be turned into cash quickly (cash equivalents) 

When you put it all together, you’re adding the value of the stock (market cap) to what the company owes (debt), then subtracting what it has (cash). If another company wanted to make an offer to buy 100 percent of a publicly traded enterprise, enterprise value would be the price tag.

Learn more: How to calculate enterprise value

Enterprise value vs other valuation formulas

Enterprise value is just one perspective on the value of a company. There are other ways to value companies and their assets. Here are two examples.

1. Market capitalization (or equity value)

Market cap and equity value can be used interchangeably, according to the Corporate Finance Institute. For simplicity, we’ll refer to it only as market cap.

Market Capitalization = Current share price ? total number of outstanding shares

Brian DeChesare, founder of Mergers & Inquisitions, explains the different uses for enterprise value and market cap:

  • Enterprise value is the value to all investors (shareholders, debt investors, and preferred investors).
  • Market cap is the value of the company’s assets but only to equity investors (shareholders).

As mentioned in the section above, enterprise value factors in debt minus cash holdings to get a full picture of a publicly traded company’s worth. But market cap simply looks at the share price multiplied by all outstanding shares. 

2. Private enterprise valuation

The valuation of a publicly traded company is straightforward. Enterprise value and market capitalization are simple formulas calculated from publicly available and standardized data. 

Valuing a private company is tricky because

  • Private companies aren’t required to publicly report on their financial performance, so the data isn’t readily available 
  • Financial metrics may differ from one private company to another because private companies operate under less strict accounting standards than public companies
  • The owners of private companies are usually the founders and their families, as well as early investors, which makes valuation more of a personal process than with public companies

Mark Gartner from ClearLight Partners definese four ways to value a private company:

  • Public comps. Use public company valuations from your industry as guidance.
  • Precedent transactions. Gather any data available (purchase price or EBITDA multiples) from other private sales in your industry.
  • Returns modeling. Forecast future performance to find the present value.
  • Perception of value. Use intuition and past experience to value the company.

In the next chapter, we’ll discuss how enterprises gather information through online forms.

How can enterprises use online forms?

Massive amounts of data flow throughout an enterprise on a daily basis. As we’ve discussed, how that information is captured, stored, and used is critical to a company’s success:

  • An ERP system centralizes the data so that it can be used for various company processes, like inventory management, accounting, etc.
  • Mobile applications give employees access to data from any location.
  • Data security systems and frameworks ensure critical information is protected and backed up.

In addition to tools like the ones above, which help with managing and storing data, enterprises also need tools to collect data: 

  • How does your website collect information about marketing leads?
  • How does your sales team collect data from prospects?
  • How does your HR team collect personal data and surveys from employees?

The answer: online forms. 

Most likely, each department uses their own survey tool, or tools, depending on the task. The marketing team may use HubSpot forms on the website, while the support team uses SurveyMonkey to gather feedback, and the accounting team gathers client information via email. That data sits in separate systems and can’t be used by other departments that would benefit from it.

JotForm has built a tool to solve this data collection and distribution challenge: JotForm Enterprise

What can you do with JotForm Enterprise?

With JotForm Enterprise, companies can collect all the data they need through one easy-to-use online form builder. All of the collected information is stored in one place, and can then be distributed through 400+ integrations to a number of other tools your company relies on. 

Companies like Adobe and Ford use JotForm Enterprise for these reasons:

  • It brings all data into one tool.
  • It offers single sign-on so employees can access all approved applications with a single set of login credentials.
  • It includes an access management feature, so the marketing team can access only marketing forms, for example, and personal employee information is only accessible to HR.
  • It can pass the collected information securely to 400+ other applications.
  • It simplifies data collection on mobile devices.
  • It runs on a dedicated server to guarantee uptime and performance.
  • It ensures your data is secure. (JotForm is encrypted with 256-bit SSL and is PCI DSS Level I and HIPAA compliant.)
What tools does JotForm Enterprise integrate with?

JotForm easily fits into your processes, because it’s easy to automatically send the information you collect through JotForm to 150+ integrations and 400 widgets commonly used by businesses. 

A few of the most-used types of integrations are

  • Cloud storage. JotForm has integrations with several cloud storage services, including Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox. Using Google Drive as an example, new files — like job applications, contracts, etc. — submitted through a form can be automatically added to specific Drive folders.
  • Communication. JotForm’s communication integrations keep your team up to date. For instance, information submitted through a form can be automatically sent to a Slack channel so your marketing, sales, or support team can handle the response.
  • CRM. Integrations with CRM systems, such as Salesforce, Zoho, and HubSpot, enable sales teams to gather information from leads through forms and automatically populate that lead’s record.

If you need to send data to a tool that isn’t on our list of common integrations, you can use the JotForm API to build that integration. If you’d like to learn more about JotForm Enterprise, watch this 12-minute webinar.

Catégories: News dév web

How Freelance Designers Can Work Safely

Noupe.com - 27 juillet, 2020 - 10:12

Even as many countries start to emerge from pandemic-induced lockdown, it’s unlikely that the business world as a whole will ever return in full force to the traditional office structure. It’s been made abundantly clear that people can — and do — work just as productively from afar as they do when asked to work alongside their colleagues under controlled conditions.

Couple this with the still-rising acceptance of freelancing as a staple of modern business, and you have a recipe for great opportunity in the design world for anyone who wants to build a career without getting tied to any given company for very long. That said, there are some challenges that must be acknowledged — and one of them is operational security.

Not only do designers need to keep their work (and their devices) secure to prevent the loss of vital files and data, but they also need to be able to assure their prospective clients that they can handle provided resources safely. In this post, we’re going to run through some core tips for how freelance designers can work safely. Let’s get started.

Use a strong VPN at all times

A VPN, or virtual private network, allows an internet user to cover and protect their internet activity by routing it through a proxy server that leads to a safe connection elsewhere. Anyone who attempts to hack their connection or just glean something from it — location, user identity, etc. — will simply run into the generic details of the VPN service.

VPNs have become very popular in recent years because they allow people to access region-locked content and services, but they’re also vital in business because a company can use a dedicated VPN to restrict access to its resources. A freelance designer not beholden to a particular client should use a VPN to shield their activity, and be aware that they may be asked to route their connection through a provided service when working with a cautious customer.

Store everything in the cloud

Storing work files locally is a recipe for disaster. Not only does it make it harder to work from multiple devices (a designer might want to use a laptop and a desktop, for instance), but it also puts important work at great risk. Computer hardware can fail, and laptops can be stolen. The one advantage of local storage — the exceptional security — isn’t worth the risks.

Cloud storage is the answer, making key files accessible from anywhere and ensuring that they’re safely backed up regardless of what happens with the devices used to work on them. It’s vital to choose the right cloud storage, though: free services such as Google Drive or Dropbox can be solid, but it’s worth moving up to a paid tier for the added space and protection.

Protect all vital work devices

Even when there’s no risk of data loss, work devices still need to be carefully protected. Laptops that are good for design work (having color-accurate displays and ideally touchscreens) tend to be fairly expensive, and while it’s certainly possible to get insurance to cover them, that won’t help much if there’s a client deadline to be hit shortly after such a device is stolen.

Strong authentication should absolutely be used, ensuring that no one who gains physical access to a work device can access the files: that means passwords that can’t realistically be guessed, and account recovery details that can’t be figured out through clever social engineering. Devices should also be protected from damage: a strong case can add a lot of irritating bulk, but it’s worth it to avoid a shattered display.

Maintain client boundaries

Lastly, when we talk about safety, something that needs to be considered is the maintenance of professional-client relations. Freelancing has many benefits, but one of the drawbacks is that a freelancer typically deals with a lot of different clients — and some of them will inevitably be difficult in some ways. This isn’t usually malicious, but it can be very inconvenient.

Among other things, maintaining boundaries means never giving a client unfettered access to personal storage. If work files must be monitored along the way (perhaps for accountability purposes), they should be kept in client storage. If a designer allows a client to access their cloud storage then falls out with them in some way, they’ll be in a vulnerable position — and it’s hardly unheard of for a petty professional dispute to descend into petty actions borne of spite.

It’s far from impossible to work safely as a modern freelance designer. Provided you take sensible precautions, you can work with minimal restrictions, changing your location and your clients as you prefer without putting your work at risk — but if you don’t take those precautions, you’ll be putting your livelihood and your reputation at risk. Take it seriously, do what needs to be done, and you’ll likely have no problems.

Feature image credit: https://www.piqsels.com/en/public-domain-photo-szepp

Catégories: News dév web

Guide to Workflow Automation

Noupe.com - 23 juillet, 2020 - 15:25

When you’re analyzing workflows, at some point you’ll find places where you can significantly speed up the process if you remove the human element. Workflow automation is one way to do that.

Workflow automation refers to how business processes are designed, executed, and automated based on rules that you set up to route different tasks, data, or files between people or systems.

To automate workflows, companies turn to workflow management software and other IT tools. These products ensure that information is routed in the fastest way possible and that routine tasks are completed without unnecessary delays. In some cases, workflow automation can even generate approvals. 

Implementing this type of automation can boost productivity, make your organization more efficient, reduce costs, and reduce the likelihood of human errors. Workflow automation also helps you create audit trails so that you know who completed what task. And by removing rote tasks from an employee’s daily to-do list, you can also increase job satisfaction because they can focus on more interesting, strategic initiatives.

For example, consider a very simple business process, like creating a contract for a new customer. Currently, you have to open up your word processing program, input the customer’s information and any special terms, and then convert the contract into a PDF and attach it to an email, or print it and mail it to the customer to sign. 

Workflow automation can remove some of these steps so that all you have to do is fill out a form, and a contract is automatically generated and sent to the customer electronically for signature.

If this sounds like something your organization could benefit from, this guide will help you understand workflow automation and begin setting it up. 

Chapter 1: The types of enterprise workflow automation. Different departments, and even different industries, will have different needs for their workflows. This chapter will cover how workflow automation influences various types of organizations or departments.

Chapter 2: The steps of the automation process. This section will delve into the different steps of workflow automation, starting with how to create a visual representation of your workflows and covering everything through the launch and maintenance of a workflow.

Chapter 3: Document automation. Within documents, like Excel spreadsheets and PDFs, you can use workflow automation to be more efficient. This chapter will show you how.

Chapter 4: The top workflow automation software. At this point, you’ll be ready to start automating some of your workflows. This chapter will introduce you to a few of the best workflow automation software platforms that you can use to streamline and automate your workflows.

Workflow automation has a lot of benefits. Let’s get started.

Types of enterprise workflow automation

Workflows are used in a lot of different industries, and they vary by department and by the type of enterprise.

The IT department can benefit from workflow automation — as can sales, finance, legal, human resources, and accounting. But the tasks these departments have to complete are all different, and in some cases, the nature of the industry may mean the workflow for a company selling directly to consumers is very different than a company that sells software to large enterprises.

While there are standard workflows, like approvals, that can apply to almost any industry or department, the different functions that each department performs will determine which workflows should be automated. For example, the IT department may have an approval workflow for new user accounts, while legal may use workflow automation to approve new contract requests.

Here are a few different types of enterprise workflow automation and how they can move processes forward.

IT automation

The IT department deals with a lot of processes that are ripe for workflow automation. Things like trouble tickets and support requests, wrangling shadow IT deployments, updating stakeholders on the status of projects, and managing assets are all business processes that can be automated to some extent.

For example, enterprise IT departments can set up incident response workflows for cyberthreats that are triggered by certain events, like an employee plugging a USB drive into their workstation. Workflow automation would route the alert through the appropriate software and to the right person to scan the drive and shut down the USB port. If a true threat is detected, an alert would be sent to the head of cybersecurity, and an emergency response meeting would be scheduled.

Finance automation

Managing the daily flow of expenses across an organization requires an incredible attention to detail, tolerance for stress, and knowledge. But enterprise finance departments can get bogged down in manual tasks. Workflow automation can populate financial forms with standard information from a database, transfer data, route processes like approvals, and set up automatic payments.

One example of a finance workflow automation application is employee expense reimbursement. The employee fills out an expense report form that’s routed to their manager. The manager approves the expense report, and it’s routed to the finance team. Once they provide final approval, the expenses are populated in the accounting system, and the employee’s reimbursement is automatically added to their paycheck.

Sales automation

While it may seem like sales is largely a manual function, it actually requires some workflow automation to make sure leads are nurtured and don’t slip through the cracks. Capturing lead information and routing it to a salesperson, following up on leads, standardizing the list-building process, getting regular reports, and segmenting leads are all tasks that can be automated.

For example, the basic task of creating a lead in the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system is a workflow that’s fairly easy to automate. You can add a form to your website to capture the lead’s information, possibly offering something in return, like a checklist or e-book. When the prospect fills out the form, it’s automatically entered into the CRM system and assigned to a salesperson for follow-up.

Accounting automation

The accounting department often has to deal with a lot of manual tasks, like generating reports, reconciling accounts, auditing, and purchasing. Workflow automation can make online tax filing easier, reduce the need to manually verify receipts provided by vendors and customers, and create financial forecasts.

One very common accounting function that can benefit from workflow automation is processing payroll. Introducing automation can create a single interface for the accounting department to view salary, vacation, benefits, and reimbursements information and process them automatically.

HR automation

There’s no question that the human resources department handles a lot of business processes. HR can use workflow automation for many different processes, including employee onboarding, employee offboarding (termination), performance reviews, travel requests, leave requests, employee status changes, timesheet approvals, screening and hiring new employees, training, and document requests.

For example, automating the travel request workflow can eliminate the back-and-forth emails between employees, their managers, HR, and finance teams. The employee instead submits their travel request via a form that’s routed to the appropriate people for approval and then recorded in the system.

Legal document automation

While a lot of attorneys like to be very hands-on with business processes, legal workflow automation can actually reduce errors and improve efficiency (and in the case of attorneys working at law firms, increase their billable hours). Even corporate legal departments can use workflow automation so they’re not spending a lot of time creating new documents.

Some of the tasks they can automate include drafting nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), responding to vendor contract requests, writing developer agreements, handling counsel retention requests, tracking trademarks, and taking on new clients.

For example, one function that can be automated is standard contracts, whether it’s a client engagement contract or a corporate NDA. Instead of creating a new document each time, a standard form can be filled out, which then automatically generates the contract and sends it to the appropriate party to be signed. These contracts, once countersigned, can be archived automatically, creating a secure audit trail. Approved contracts can also trigger new automated workflows, like access to content.

Many different departments and industries can benefit from workflow automation. Approvals, payments, document requests, employee onboarding, trouble tickets, and sales processes can all be automated, reclaiming time for the respective departments and allowing employees to focus on more complex tasks instead of routing requests and approvals.

These are just a few of the departments that can use workflow automation to be more efficient. Knowing what workflows can be automated and getting started, however, are two different things. In the next chapter, you’ll learn about the steps of the automation process, including how to measure the success of your workflow.

Steps in the workflow automation process

Once you’ve decided that you need workflow automation, your next challenge is to choose a workflow to automate. Begin with a fairly straightforward process, one that’s not mission-critical. This will help you learn what to expect from the process and give you wiggle room in case it takes a few tries to get it right.

There are several steps in the automation process once you choose a workflow:

  1. Create a visual representation of your workflow.
  2. Incorporate the needs of those who will regularly use the workflow.
  3. Choose software to help you automate processes.
  4. Set key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance.
  5. Test your workflow.
  6. Launch and monitor the automated workflow.

These steps help ensure your automated workflows actually make your business more efficient and reduce the time spent on redundant tasks.

Create a visual representation of the process

Before you start the automation process, create a visual representation of the workflow you want to automate. This representation can provide transparency in the workflow and help you see where gaps might exist or where processes can be streamlined, like if you’re missing an alert that needs to be sent to someone when a process requires a manual decision.

Visual representations are usually in the form of workflow maps, also known as flowcharts or workflow charts. Workflow maps are diagrams of your workflow that use standard workflow symbols:

  • Rectangles for a process or action that needs to be carried out
  • Ovals for the start or beginning of a process
  • Diamonds for when decisions need to be made
  • Arrows to connect the workflow steps

Workflow automation software helps create these diagrams.

Determine user needs

As you map the workflow to be automated, you’ll want to check with the users who will be a part of the workflow. For example, if you’re automating a content creation request, you’ll get input from the marketing team and the sales team, the two departments that will likely use the workflow the most.

There are several ways you can go about this, but the easiest is to create a form that users can fill out to request steps or provide input on the workflow. If you use JotForm, you can create forms with dropdown menus, checkboxes, and radio buttons, as well as free-text fields.

Choose an automation solution

There’s no shortage of workflow automation solutions to choose from, and these solutions can be used from the point you first start workflow automation to deployment and beyond. Zapier, monday.com, Asana, Trello, and Airtable are all popular choices for workflow automation.

JotForm has integrations with a lot of these tools, so if the workflow you’re automating requires you to collect data with a form and import it into a system, you’ll be able to do that automatically too.

Pipedrive and HubSpot are also good workflow automation solutions. You’ll learn more about workflow automation software in Chapter 5 of this guide.

Set workflow KPIs

As with anything you implement in your business, you want to know if it’s successful. Workflow automation is no different, so it’s important to identify and establish relevant automation KPIs to measure progress. Some of the workflow goals you can set up include

  • The percentage of processes that run to completion
  • The average time it takes to run a process
  • The error rate of a process

As with determining user needs, this is a good time to ask users what kind of performance they want from automated workflows. You can set up forms to collect goal information from various stakeholders.

For example, the accounting department may want invoices to be approved at a faster rate, while the sales team may want to decrease the time it takes to qualify a sales lead. These are all solid workflow objectives that you can find ways to measure.

Testing the automation process

Before you deploy your newly automated workflow, test it to make sure there aren’t any issues. A lot of organizations create what they think are airtight workflows, like a contract creation workflow, only to find that they’ve left out a key step or person in the process. This is why automation testing is so critical.

Ask those who will be using the workflow to test it. They’re in the trenches daily and are better situated to spot potential problems, like if general counsel isn’t alerted to unusual terms in a contract. The last thing any organization needs is to deploy an automated workflow, even on a process that isn’t mission-critical, only to have it stall out.

Launch and monitor your workflow

Once you’ve designed your workflow, collected input from users, chosen a workflow automation solution, set KPIs, and tested your process, you’re ready to launch the automation. Train users on the workflow make sure they understand how things will work.

The automation process doesn’t end at launch. The KPIs you set earlier will be crucial for monitoring how the workflow performs.

You may discover that the workflow doesn’t perform as well as you’d hoped, and you’ll need to tweak it to get the results you wanted. For example, you might find a step in the workflow that can be handled by a machine rather than a person, like creating a weekly sales report and alerting the sales managers that the report is ready to view.

After you’ve automated a few of the simpler, less-critical processes, you’ll be ready to tackle important business processes and customer-facing workflows. Getting practice on smaller processes, or even parts of a process, can help you refine how you handle workflow automation and help you discover the best ways to collect user input, run tests, and set KPIs.

Document automation

Generating documents is a process that companies often choose to automate. They develop workflows that automate the process of creating electronic documents, using systems that collect information from users and templates to generate and assemble the document. You can use document automation and document generation to create contracts, letters of engagement, statements of work, intake forms, and more.

When you begin document automation, you generally set up a template for the document you’re going to create, like a standard contract you use with vendors. Then, you create a way to input basic information like the vendor’s name and contact information, the amount of money the contract is for, and what services or goods are being provided.

You’ll need some time to set up the templates you use for document creation, but if you’re generating these contracts often, you’ll more than make up for it in the time you save. If you’re automating something like a nondisclosure agreement, you can almost completely eliminate the need for the legal department to review each and every document, saving them a lot of time.

Document automation also helps reduce human error; instead of having to create new documents from scratch or copy and paste, the standard document is already written and just needs a little information from users.

There are several document formats you can automate. In this chapter, we’ll cover four: Excel, Word, email, and PDF.

Excel automation

Excel automation involves using macros within a spreadsheet to automate tasks. For example, you might create a lot of reports with your Excel data — a task that can become very tedious. Automating this helps save time and prevent boredom.

Microsoft Excel already has a tool built in to create macros. Just go to the Developer tab and record a macro — this is ideal if you’re using the macro to generate a report and export the data. It’s very straightforward: Name your macro, choose a keyboard shortcut for it, and then perform the steps you want to automate.

For more complex Excel automation, you might need to program macros with VBA code or another programming language like Python. There are code libraries you can use that have macros already created and coded. All you have to do is copy and paste the code into your Excel software to create macros, with little to no need for programming knowledge.

Word document automation

Since so many business documents are first created in Microsoft Word, Word automation can help improve your workflow and save you time creating new contracts, letters of engagement, intake forms, or just about any other document in your business.

If you create standard Word templates that can be populated with data, you won’t need to create these documents from scratch. In some cases, you may even be able to automatically generate Word documents.

As with Excel automation, you can use macros for Word automation, which you set up just as you do in Excel, from the Developer tab.

You can also create custom fields in Microsoft Word that can be filled out manually; the only content in the document that’s different from the template is what’s in the custom fields.

For example, you might send out a quote to a prospective client. Using custom fields, which are available in the Properties tab, under Advanced Properties, you can create a quote template with the terms and conditions that are standard to every project, then add custom fields for the prospect’s name, contact information, the project’s scope, and the cost.

Email automation

If you’ve ever sent an email newsletter with a program like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, you’ve done a form of email automation. But there’s a lot you can do beyond newsletters. For instance, you can set up your email automation programs to send emails at specific times or when a customer or subscriber completes a particular action, like signing up to receive a downloadable e-book.

Other examples of automated emails are welcome emails, reminders that a customer hasn’t finished checking out after they’ve put items in their shopping carts, or a “drip” campaign that sends emails at specific intervals to keep a prospect thinking about your company.

The challenge is in populating the emails with data. One way to make email automation easier is to use tools that pull in data from existing customer and prospect databases, like your customer relationship management (CRM) system. You can also use forms to collect contact information and have the information routed to your email provider automatically.

PDF automation

Organizations use PDFs for several different tasks: to send documents to clients, display data in a format that can’t be easily tampered with, or turn information collected online into a professional-looking document. If you use PDF automation, you can remove repetitive steps and manual intervention — and save a lot of time.

As with Word automation, you can create PDF templates that will be populated with information automatically. For example, you might want to create a template that displays the results of an online survey. When you collect that information, you automatically send it into the template to create a new document.

Tools like JotForm’s PDF Editor offer ready-made PDF form templates and allow you to easily create your own. When someone fills out the form, a PDF is automatically generated. This is particularly useful for frequently requested documents, like standard agreements.

Document automation can save you a lot of time if you’re creating many of the same types of documents or running the same functions in them. You’ll need to invest some time creating the macros and the templates you’ll use, but it will pay off when you don’t have to spend time creating documents manually.

Top workflow automation software

This guide has covered a lot about workflow automation, everything from the different types of automation to how to automate documents. The final piece in all this is workflow automation software.

With workflow automation software, you can reduce the time you spend on these repetitive processes and manual tasks, and instead let software handle it. This will help you get more done, manage your workload, and reduce manual errors and the likelihood that something will slip through the cracks.

The software you choose should be easy to use, cost-effective, and have the features you need to reach your business objectives. There are a lot of automation programs to choose from. You’ll need to evaluate them against your organization’s needs.

Here are five of the top workflow automation apps, along with tips on how you can integrate JotForm into your workflow.

monday.com

monday.com is known as a visual collaboration tool that helps teams work together. It pulls everything into a single hub and lets you create workflows to automate routine tasks. It offers templates for a variety of use cases, and the visual interface uses blocks to represent parts of the workflow.

The main component of monday.com models are actions. When you set up actions, you trigger something to happen when an event completes. For example, an action could be to notify someone in human resources when a potential candidate fills out a job application and submits it online.

Zapier automation

Another workflow automation app is Zapier, which moves information between web apps automatically to improve workflow. With Zapier, you can integrate different apps, like your customer relationship management (CRM) platform and lead capture forms on your website.

Zapier’s automated workflows are called “zaps.” Triggers start the workflow and an action completes the zap.

For example, you might set up a zap to download any attachments that are sent to your Gmail account into your Dropbox account. The trigger is when the email is received, and the action is the file being downloaded to Dropbox.

Asana automation

Project management is an area that can greatly benefit from automation. And one of the most popular project management apps is Asana. With Asana, you can organize, track, and manage projects. You can set up automated routines, rules, and custom templates for projects, which can help you better manage what you’re working on.

One project might be to conduct competitor research. You can create projects in Asana for each of your competitors, then use a tool like Zapier to pull information from Google alerts into Asana.

Trello automation

Trello is another project management tool that lets you set up boards for different projects. These boards use the Kanban framework to help you visualize the project, and they can be as simple or as complicated as you need them to be.

Each task is a card that you can assign to different team members and attach files to. The cards also have a checklist in each, which you can use for repeatable processes like formatting documents.

The checklists can include all the steps to complete the task and can be reused for different cards. Trello automation lets you create cards through different apps, including Slack, Zapier, and JotForm.

Trello also uses rule-based triggers to help automate tasks. For example, you can schedule actions to happen when certain conditions are met, like if a task is due in five days, the Trello card can be assigned a red label.

Airtable automation

While it looks like a spreadsheet, Airtable is actually a collaboration platform with the power of a database. It lets you define data with “bases” and “tables.” Bases are the foundations of projects, and tables are project specifics laid out in cells, rows, and columns.

You can customize your data with color coding, link records to one another, and create charts and maps. You might use Airtable to create a base for each department, like sales and HR.

Airtable automation lets you integrate with different apps and services to automate data transfer. For example, you could set up Airtable automation for your HR base to pull in employee vacation requests from forms on the company intranet.

Integrating JotForm into workflows

Since so much of what businesses do involves entering data into their systems, it makes sense to integrate JotForm as part of your workflows to capture and automatically import submission data.

JotForm can become your marketing automation tool. If someone fills out a form on your website to get more information, you can set up your form to send automatic, personalized message to the visitor.

You can also integrate JotForm with your CRM system to pull in lead generation information from your web forms. This is especially useful if you have several downloads available on your website. You can assign the leads to the sales team member who specializes in that particular product, or you can use the data you collect to generate reports.

The ultimate goal of any workflow automation software is to make your organization run more efficiently and eliminate a lot of routine manual tasks. The software should be easy enough to use so that you can create automations within the software, without needing to know a lot of code (if any). You also need the ability to create reports — ideally automatically — to measure and monitor how your workflows perform.

Some other considerations are whether or not you want to use a cloud-based or on-premises tool, as well as what you’ll be integrating the software with. For example, you don’t want to pick automation software that requires you to build a custom connector to the CRM system you use. Keep these factors in mind as you evaluate the solutions above and others.

Conclusion

Workflow automation is critical for enterprises that want to streamline their business processes and be more efficient. Automating routine, manual tasks frees up time to focus on more challenging projects, reduces the likelihood of errors, and makes it harder for things to be forgotten.

With workflow automation software, you can connect different applications to do things like populate systems with information, create documents, approve expenses, and follow up with leads automatically.

Chapter 2 of this guide covered the different types of workflow automation, which extends to a lot of departments across the enterprise. IT, finance, sales, accounting, HR, and legal teams can all benefit from workflow automation and can create workflows for a variety of tasks in each of their departments.

To do that, though, they need to set up the automation process. Chapter 3 went through the steps of setting up workflow automation, from creating a visual representation to launching the workflow. In between these steps, you’ll need to determine what your organization actually needs from automation and what solutions will work best for you.

Creating documents is incredibly common in an organization — and incredibly time-intensive if it’s done manually. That’s why Chapter 4 covered document automation, including how to automate frequently used programs like Word and Excel along with email and PDFs.

Since software ties workflow automation together, Chapter 5 examined some of the better-known workflow automation software programs, including Monday.com, Zapier, Asana, Trello, and Airtable. We also discussed how to use JotForm for workflow automation.

You’re now ready to start automating workflows, which will help you work more efficiently and remove a lot of manual, repetitive tasks from your day.

Catégories: News dév web

Three Reasons Why Template Kits Will Change How We Look At WordPress

Noupe.com - 23 juillet, 2020 - 12:37

Dumbledore once remarked to Harry Potter that “…it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

It’s a statement that probably rings true in a number of domains, not least of which is the world of web design. Whether it’s using a website builder or getting started in WordPress, downloading plugins, testing out page builders, tinkering with Elementor templates or trying your hand at the new template kits (more on this later!), it can be an adventure as daunting as the Chamber of Secrets to work out what you should use and why.

The Word On WordPress 

Among those choices is obviously WordPress, now powering more than 37% of all websites, with more than 500 sites a day being built on the world’s most popular content management system. But despite its (still growing) popularity, for many aspiring website owners, WordPress is not their first choice, as increasingly time-poor business owners and side-hustlers turn to the likes of Wix and Squarespace to get their website dreams up and running. No, the art of web development is not dead, though the renaissance in web design has led to a mini-revolution on WordPress in the form of block-based themes and builders.

New Building Blocks 

Released as part of WordPress 5.0, the Gutenberg editor replaced the default ‘Classic’ editor which –  alongside the rise of page builder plugins like Elementor, Beaver and Divvi – has helped usher in a new breed of WordPress web design that’s sleek, modern, creative and eye-catching.

It is in this arena that Template Kits have arrived; a bold new approach to harnessing the power of block editors and lowering the barrier to entry for aspiring WordPress web designers in the process. It’s a shakeup long expected by many in the industry that will see block-based themes and template kits continue to rise in popularity, especially with the rapid growth of the no-code/low-code movement.

Here are three key ways these kits stand out in a crowded theme marketplace:

  1. Code Free
    Template Kits bring the power of the WordPress theme design community to your site without you needing to have high-level UI or coding knowledge. The new Template Kits let you literally drag and drop your favourite pre-designed content blocks and pages straight onto your site, letting you spend more time focussing on what matters most – the content. Sure, you can still roll your sleeves up and get deep into your website’s back end, but you won’t need to worry about manually coding its aesthetic anytime soon. 
  2. Endless Customisation
    Each Template Kit contains all the designs and visual elements required to get a fully functioning website up and running, with a suite of multi-page designs and content blocks allowing for endless customisation in Elementor to help designers get their dream site live quicker than ever before. Looking to put forward your best face with a glossy, on-trend portfolio site? Template Kits let you do that. Want to build the perfect yoga studio website? You can do that too. But you don’t need to stop there, as you can take any number of elements from the available kits and combine them to bring your website idea to life, or even just upgrade your existing Elementor-compatible website.
  3. Strong Foundations
    The current crop of Template Kits is well supported, with each high quality and professional design created by the Envato author community who have made ThemeForest one of the world’s number one destinations for WordPress themes and templates. Each kit is also built from the ground up to be compatible with Elementor, the leading WordPress page builder in the industry currently with more than five million active installs. And with more page builders set to be supported soon, you will soon be spoilt for choice for how to…? 
A Template for Success

Having a world-class web design is now easier than ever. If nothing else, the arrival of Template Kits provides aspiring website builders and seasoned professionals with another set of tools to experiment and build with. A new golden age of web design is just beginning! 

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

How Telecom Brands Can Connect Digital Marketing with Consumers

Noupe.com - 23 juillet, 2020 - 10:42

In the hypercompetitive telecom industry that is constantly changing, companies are fighting for the attention of each prospective customer. While traditional marketing campaigns, tariff wars, and affordable deals still drive impressive results, many companies in the telecommunications sector have started investing heavily in their digital presence.

However, advertising your plans and promotions is not enough to grab users’ attention and build relationships with them in the long-run. To turn your target audience into an engaged fan base and loyal customers. 

Here are a few tips on how to build a customer-centric digital marketing strategy for a telecom brand.

Provide Multichannel Customer Support

Exceptional customer support is critical for any telecom company. Today’s customers are tech-savvy and their expectations are constantly growing. Microsoft backs me up on that, claiming that 54% of customers globally have higher customer support expectations than they did last year.

They now use multiple online channels to communicate with brands. Therefore, they do not want to waste time listening to your “hold” music and waiting for your customer support representatives to answer. To raise customers’ satisfaction, you need to meet their needs, irrespective of the channel they use. 

Start with your website. 

When wanting to inform themselves about your plans and services, most customers will land on your website. This is where they should find all the details about your plans. Above all, you should let your visitors ask questions and get immediate answers without having to leave your website. 

Having a detailed FAQ page is immensely important, given that 40% of consumers prefer self-service over human contact? This is exactly what Vodafone, an Australian telecommunications company, does. Namely, they provide detailed explanations about the mobile phone plans they offer and provide clear CTA buttons to guide customers towards converting. If a customer has any additional questions, there is an FAQ section at the bottom of the page, where they include customers’ most common questions and straightforward answers to them. 

Including live chat on your website is also important. Do not force your customers to leave your site to connect with your customer service representatives via email. This will only discourage them from purchasing from you. Instead, let them seek help directly on your website. This is where live chat shines. It is fast, intuitive, and more personalized, providing users with better experiences. 

Leverage Artificial Intelligence

When communicating with brands online, customers expect them to provide fast, relevant answers in real-time. But, what happens when your customer service representatives clock off? Well, this is exactly where chatbots step in. 

Their major benefit lies in the fact that you can use them on your website, social networking channels, and apps. They will provide holistic user experiences, irrespective of the channel a customer uses. 

A chatbot can help telecom companies in multiple ways and here are some of them:

  • Connecting customers with the right department. For example, a chatbot will know whether the question requires a technical consultation, a service failure, a general question about pricing plan and, based on that, find a person at your company that can help them solve that problem.
  • Responding to repetitive questions, such as ones related to pricing plans, tariff adjustments, some general setup procedures, and so forth.
  • Providing assistance with simple matters. Chatbots can provide guidance and tips for customers on how to solve some most common questions.
  • Engaging users. Chatting is easier and more pleasant than calling customer support. Chatbots engage customers through pleasant and relaxed interactions.
Collect Customers’ Feedback 

In an ultra-competitive telecommunications landscape, it is important to show that you care about customers’ experiences. Precisely because of that, you should ask them for feedback and, above all, act on it.

Why is this important? Well, statistics say that 96% of dissatisfied customers will not complain to you. However, they will not buy from you either. Namely, the majority of those customers will never come back to you. Instead, they will share their negative experiences with your telecom brand both online and offline. Once negative word-of-mouth starts spreading like wildfire, you will not be able to put it out easily. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to collect customer feedback.

Listen to them on social networks. 

For telecom brands working with tens of thousands of customers, staying on top of your brand mentions manually is not possible. This is where social media monitoring tools like Social Mention, Mention, or Hootsuite can help you. With their help, you can track your most significant keywords and hashtags and receive notifications in real-time when someone uses them. This is one of the simplest ways to measure brand sentiment and understand what your social media followers think about you.

Take advantage of email marketing. 

For instance, when a customer registers on your telecom company’s website and browses through your plans, you could send them a responder email consisting of a simple question. For example, you could ask them about the features they would like to add to your plans, what offers and deals they expect to see on your website, what their major problem with your services they have experienced so far, etc. The question should always be to-the-point and easy to understand. If you ask multiple questions, group them based on their relevance.

Act on customers’ feedback.

If customers complain that your customer support is poor, that your internet connections are slow, or that your pricing plans are too expensive for average customers, put yourself in their shoes and try to boost their experiences by addressing the problem fast. This is the only way to prove that you are listening to them and that their opinions really matter. 

Use Social Proof to Build Trust

In psychology, social proof is a theory that individuals often conform to the opinions and activities of the masses. This approach plays a fundamental role in the online landscape, where customers trust online reviews and recommendations as much as their friends and families’ ones. For a telecommunications company, social proof is an amazing way to build trust with their target audiences and set themselves apart from their competitors. 

There are many social proof tactics to apply. 

Show real-time customer data

There are many social proof tools that will inform your customers about your recent leads and purchases. These notifications are often shown in a tiny popup at the bottom of the page and can be customized according to your brand’s specific needs and personality. Knowing how many people are already using your telecom services, customers will trust you more and be more likely to convert faster.

Encourage customer reviews

Register on all major business review platforms and get your customers to review and rate your services. You could also encourage them to review your telecom brand on your social media channels. To encourage customers to review your services, you can always consider rewarding them. 

Show customer testimonials

Customer testimonials are more personal than reviews. You could show them on your website, specific landing pages promoting your plans, or on your social networks. To make them trustworthy, always include customers’ photos. Apart from traditional, textual testimonials, consider creating video ones that are more engaging and interactive. 

Write case studies

Case studies explain what problems your customers faced and how you helped them solve them. Say that one of your corporate clients had struggled with employees using multiple telecom providers and covering the costs of their business-related calls before switching all accounts to your company. Your goal is to use actionable statistics and data to show how you helped them reduce costs and improve employee productivity.

Use user-generated content

Most telecom companies invest heavily in effective, emotional, and engaging visual content. However, apart from branded photos and videos, you should also encourage the creation of user-generated content and share it with your audiences. For example, you could encourage customers that purchase from you to create amazing unboxing videos and share it on their social media channels, along with your hashtag. Stackla says that almost 80% of customers purchase products because of UGC.

Create Valuable and Engaging Content across All Channels

Digital marketing should never boil down to bragging yourself about how great you are. Instead, you need to create and promote highly engaging and valuable content that will help you build and nurture strong relationships with your audiences.

For example, those could be comprehensive guides on how to choose the right mobile service provider, devices, or internet packages. Or, you could create an infographic explaining different telecom services. Interactive content types will help you gamify user experiences. For example, you could create a quiz that would ask a user about their specific needs and preferences and, based on them, recommend the right products and plans to them. 

The same goes for your social networks. Promoting your plans and deals is important, but your social media marketing strategy should go far beyond that. Share valuable online content, both from your website and from relevant sites in the industry, to educate audiences and position yourself as an industry leader. Social media management tools automate the process of curating and sharing content, improve your online constancy, and save you lots of time.

Content marketing is indeed the backbone of your digital marketing campaign, so use it strategically to gain a competitive advantage.

Over to You

The telecom landscape is highly competitive. To gain a competitive advantage you need to invest heavily in a customer-oriented digital marketing strategy. Only this way will you be able to convert more customers, build relationships with them, and inspire their loyalty.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Hiring Software Developers Using Conversational Assessments

Noupe.com - 23 juillet, 2020 - 10:15

Identifying, attracting, and retaining great software engineering talent is a struggle that every organization faces during their recruitment process. According to the Harvard Business Review, 80% of employee turnover is a result of bad hiring decisions.

The cost of a bad hire can cost organizations at least $25,000 in monetary damages apart from the almost irrecoverable decrease in productivity and performance of teams.

Why Traditional Methods of Hiring Are Bad for Your Recruitment Process?

Traditional methods of hiring also contribute heavily to the degrading quality of hire of software engineering talents. Interviewing techniques such as administering coding tests are viewed in a negative light by the majority of job-seeking developers. 

“Most engineers today hate the idea of completing a coding test, and more than 50% of the candidates straight out refuse to do status quo assessments”, says Deepti Chopra, co-founder of Adaface, in her article, Why Engineers Won’t Do Your Coding Test.

She holds the following reasons responsible for engineers to be reluctant to do traditional coding tests:

  • Testing for tricky algorithmic skills rather than on-the-job skills.
  • A candidate-unfriendly environment and a weak employer brand.
  • Coding tests are time-consuming.

Most job-seeking developers irrespective of their level of experience have voiced their concerns with coding tests, and most of their criticisms are well-founded.

By leveraging the latest technologies in artificial intelligence in tandem with developer-first hiring practices, organizations in-turn can use their developer assessment tools for a competitive advantage.

How AI-Powered Solutions Are Changing the Candidate-Screening Market?

Automated artificial intelligence systems are transforming how recruiting managers and their teams can apply an equitable hiring process throughout the recruitment funnel while reducing the time needed to hire the best talent. One of the ways in which AI-powered solutions are effective is for the screening of potential candidates. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Automated Resume Screening
    AI screening solutions can filter through resumes and CVs faster than a human can and flag the potential applicants that might be of interest. Such tools use keyword analysis to determine the best applicants from the talent pool based on the content of their resume and are usually coupled with applicant tracking systems for easier use.
  • Automated Skills Screening
    Developers aren’t necessarily good at selling their skills on CVs and resumes. Automated screening based on skills, screen candidates for the required on-the-job skills using quizzes and tasks. Skill-based screening assessments have been proven to be more accurate considering other methods, with the highest success rate of finding the right candidate-job fit.
  • Video Screening
    AI video screening platforms filter candidates by analyzing their answers and choice of words to interview questions. Physical cues such as eye movements, facial expressions, and other traits are also recorded and analyzed, which helps companies identify the best candidate for a job.

Benefits of using AI for screening candidates include:

  • Reduction in hiring costs.
  • Efficient interviews.
  • Finding the best right person-job fit.
What Are Conversational Assessments?

Consider a student working with a teacher for the first time. To better understand the boundaries of the student’s knowledge, the teacher may put forward problems to solve and then review the student’s answer. If the submitted answer is incomplete, or unsatisfactory, or completely irrelevant to the question itself, the teacher may follow-up with additional questions or hints. These additional follow up questions and hints can reveal the degree of understanding of concepts by the student. Such open-ended interactive conversations reveal more diagnostic information on the student’s domain of knowledge and the ability to apply the skills.

This is the governing idea behind Conversational Assessments or Conversation-based Assessments (CBA) wherein the interaction takes place between a candidate and an AI system. Interacting with candidates using conversations as a method to accurately assess the applicant’s knowledge and skills in order to provide an adaptive response to their input. Human-to-computer and vice versa conversations are already being used in gamified educational learning and intelligent tutoring systems.

An automated conversational assessment system can be used for skill-based screening of a pool of applicants by integrating the measurement of multiple skills within a single, customizable assessment. Traditional hiring assessment platforms have a test completion rate of almost 50% due to low interactivity, whereas conversational assessments see a completion rate of almost 86% because of a higher level of interactivity with the candidates in a candidate-friendly environment. Questions and hints for CBAs are carefully designed to provide opportunities for candidates to showcase their knowledge and skills.

CBAs are powered by AI-based conversational bots or chatbot which function by gathering candidate user data, answering their queries, providing hints during the assessment as well as testing and scoring them on relevant skills. This allows HR teams to achieve a 100% screening coverage, which if done manually is unachievable.

Key benefits of using Conversational Assessments over traditional hiring assessments include:

  • Reduction in the time required for hiring.
  • Increase in test completion rates.
  • Testing for on-the-job skills.
  • Identification of the best talent.
  • A positive increase in employer brand awareness.
Hiring Developers Using Conversational Assessments

41% of recruiting managers use some kind of talent assessment platform when it comes to hiring Software engineers. Choosing the right kind of pre-employment assessment platform can either make or break your hiring funnel.

It is shamefully true that software developers in general are bad at selling their talent and skills. AI-based conversational assessments help in engaging both active and passive candidates with the help of natural and dynamic conversations. Candidates are more open to CBAs because they are faster and feel like an interview with a Senior developer rather than just another test.

Through open-ended natural conversations, CBAs assess developers on programming skills with customizable questions of all difficulty levels. This allows recruiters to screen prospective candidates for on-the-job core technical skills (for example the SQL online test for SQL developers and Backend developers), basic skills (for example the excel test for assessing excel skills for all business-related roles) as well as soft skills. Conversational AI-based assessments along with machine learning and natural language processing abilities, have the capacity to assess candidates based on their conversation and can provide a pass or fail recommendations to the recruiters.

Such systems are also helpful for recruiting teams to gather extensive candidate insights along with a positive candidate engagement. Implementing CBAs also provides additional benefits of losing fewer potential candidates along the recruiting pipeline, making the entire hiring process more efficient.

Using Conversational Assessments for Remote Hiring

As more and more organizations are moving towards remote hiring practices, it is important for recruitment technologies to accommodate the same. Remote hiring practices include hiring remote employees (which further increases the talent pool) and/or hiring employees from the same location but completely or at least partially digitalizing the recruitment process.

Every conversational assessment — skill-based or behavioral — is conducted online. This means that candidates can now attempt hiring assessments from their preferred time zone at their own pace. Features such as online remote proctoring ensure the authenticity and validity of the assessment results.

Conclusion

AI-powered conversational assessment platforms have the potential to disrupt the HR marketplace and revolutionize the hiring process. All organizations can benefit from AI-powered solutions, provided they make the effort to maximize the pros and limit the cons.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Catégories: News dév web

Best Chrome Extensions for Marketing in 2020

Noupe.com - 22 juillet, 2020 - 15:50

Internet users access numerous websites and resources to better search for and use various online information. In regards to Google Chrome, online users, marketers, and enterprises benefit from using the best chrome extensions for marketing in 2020.

With extensions, Google Chrome assists digital professionals and businesses with many marketing services to improve articles and social media content, search engine optimization (SEO), and E-commerce sites. Also, extensions provide users with tools to increase productivity and organization for project development.

When using the Google Chrome search engine, users have access to the internet across multiple platforms. Unlike other popular search engines, Google Chrome’s user-friendly interface and powerful software are versatile and consist of Google Chrome Extensions. Within the Google Chrome Store library, users access an extensive collection of easy-to-download and helpful Chrome extensions to enhance their daily online interactions and business.

What are Google Chrome extensions?

As a search engine, Google Chrome offers search engine services for all users. However, this software enables users to easily modify their search engine browsers to better assist users with various internet services. More specifically, the user manually downloads and installs .crx package files, which increase the functionality of individual Chrome browsers.

Commonly, users access the Google Chrome Store to download and install open-source or payment application operating software. Once users install extensions, users toggle, organize, and customize the extensions to meet online needs. Also, the best chrome extensions for marketing in 2020 appear in the Google Chrome store. Moreover, individuals, marketers, and enterprises improve productivity, access valuable information, and improve marketing content with various Google Chrome extensions.

Website and SEO Chrome Extensions

For most businesses, quality content, professional design, and effective search engine optimization (SEO) raise brand awareness and promote more traffic to web and mobile sites. With assistance, a web designer offers web design services to develop websites that rank well with google search engines to compete with more upscale corporations. After launching a website to meet business objectives, attracting visitors to the web and mobile sites is equally important.

Essentially, sending out a press release is a great solution to attract more visitors to the web and mobile sites. Furthermore, the press release promotes the brand from a creative perspective while showcasing the brand’s products and services more attractively. For the most part, professional website design and promotional campaigns ensure positive website performance and require the use of Chrome extensions for more effective marketing.

MozBar

First, MozBar is a Google Chrome extension that features a search engine optimization tool. More specifically, the features within MozBar display useful data metrics for web pages and websites. Once downloaded, MozBar displays a banner below the Google Chrome search browser with multiple analysis metrics to ensure that sites rank high on Google search engines and compete with more high ranking websites.

Through an “authority ranking,” users easily identify how individual pages, websites, links, and domains that rank with Google. The program also includes a spam report for sites to offer businesses the opportunity to avoid websites with lower content quality. Also, the MozBar user accesses the program’s metrics to identify specific links that are Do-follow or No-Follow and their rankings with relevant keywords.

NoFollow

Secondly, NoFollow is a vital marketing Chrome extension for search engine optimization. From Igorware.com, the software is available in the Google Chrome store. In detail, the NoFollow extension quickly identifies links on websites that do not increase link value. In other words, the lack of link promotion also refers to a “NoFollow” link. To explain, “NoFollow” sites do not allow websites to connect to other websites to increase domain rankings on Google search engines. In most cases, websites with higher search engine optimization rankings rely on DoFollow links that increase link value. In return, DoFollow links properly redirect site traffic to more dominant domains and increase overall website rankings.

Moreover, NoFollow comprises other Search engine optimization features to support business marketing objectives. Primarily, the NoFollow uses user-friendly color coding displays to outline various links. Also, the software quickly locates meta tags on web pages and sites. Lastly, the extension is easy to operate with a straightforward toggling control.

Google PageSpeed

Thirdly, understanding website performance metrics is essential for retaining high SEO rankings and online traffic. From the Google Chrome store, users download and install the Google PageSpeed Chrome extension to better track website performance and increase search engine optimization rankings. Often, websites consist of high-quality content but fail to gain attention due to complicated files that corrupt websites. As a result, less online traffic visits high-quality websites, which leads to a decrease in page and domain ranking on Google search engines.

However, Google PageSpeed’s software quickly indicates web pages with poor performance and reports valuable insights for users. From the speed tests, web and mobile developers better understand how website content interacts with various platforms. For better website performance, the developer opts into compiling images, videos, and animations into smaller files that enhance website performance and SEO rankings.

Content Marketing Chrome Extensions

For every marketer, developing high-quality content increases consumer traffic and scores high in search engine optimization on Google search engines. Additionally, content marketing improves branding, increases traffic to social media, mobile and online websites, and reaches more target audiences. Regardless of enterprise size, all agencies benefit from using Chrome extensions as one of the 10 best marketing tools for all agencies. 

Thus, the best chrome extensions for marketing in 2020 enable marketers and digital professionals to develop quality content while tracking famous data metrics on competitor websites. As a plus, chrome extensions analyze popular keywords, images, and web and mobile designs to enhance content marketing.

Grammarly for Chrome

To continue, Grammarly is a software that assists all users with grammar and writing. Although Grammarly is available across multiple platforms, the Grammarly for Chrome extension classifies as one of the best chrome extensions for marketing in 2020 due to its user-friendly interface and professional writing services.

To list a few, Grammarly uses real-time writing editing software to address issues as they occur. Additionally, the software implements an assistant to modify writing format to fit the style and tone for specific target audiences. Most importantly, the Grammarly extension operates well while running in the background of the Google Chrome search browser. To add, Grammarly also gives users a plagiarism checker to analyze content for unique, high-quality content.

BuzzSumo Extension

Moving forward, BuzzSumo is one of the best Google Chrome extensions for marketing in 2020. To explain, BuzzSumo gives users the ability to compare keywords, content, and topics across Google web browsers. In more detail, marketers ensure that their articles, posts, and images rank higher than competitors’ content by viewing different web pages and analyzing performance metrics.

Additionally, the extension provides an in-depth analysis that displays information such as web and mobile site engagements, shares, pins, and backlinks. In return, users with BuzzSumo correctly add high-ranking keywords to websites that increase content value and attract more visitors to websites. Overall, BuzzSumo enables marketers to popularize content from smaller enterprises with websites and social media sites at more substantial corporations.

Networking Chrome Extensions

As a general rule, networking is an important marketing strategy for all businesses and entrepreneurs. In marketing, companies rely on collaboration with other clients to ensure that content expands to other significant domains and that communication remains reliable. Thus, marketers rely on networking extensions to increase productivity and promote higher ranking websites and content across Google.

Hunter.io

As a popular extension, Hunter.io is a simple and effective networking Chrome extension. As an open-source application, Hunter.io extracts emails quickly and locates contact information on the web and mobile sites. Also, the extension offers verification scores to inform users of more conventional contact forms. Rather than opening numerous web pages to search for the right personnel, the software increases networking capabilities for marketers.

Programming Chrome Extensions

In regards to data science, developers, marketers, and businesses rely on extensive research to search for code snippets. For better website design and functionality, the developer or marketer attaches pieces of codes to social media platforms and websites to improve brand presence. For example, programmers and marketers include social media buttons to websites, posts, articles, and profiles to attract online traffic to more brand websites.

Grepper

Free to download, Grepper is a unique and useful Chrome extension for programmers, developers, and marketers. To explain, Grepper runs in the background of the Google Chrome browser and quickly enables users to program information. Usually, searching for the correct codes and inquiries that apply to specific platforms and applications is sometimes tricky. However, Grepper software enables all users to locate the programming codes from their search results quickly.

Also, Grepper encourages more users to submit answers to rank well within the community as a helpful and reliable leader in the marketing and programming community. As an alternative to searching numerous forums and online video and article tutorials, Grepper is a straightforward solution identification software that better assists users. As a benefit, the users will decrease time searching for snippets of code and dedicate more time to improving web and mobile design and improving the functionality of sites.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the best Google Chrome extensions for marketing in 2020 assist users with developing websites with higher search engine optimization rankings, increasing productivity, and improving content quality. Although users have access to an extensive collection of Chrome extensions, using useful marketing software enables marketers and businesses to compete with others regardless of enterprise scale. With these extensions, users increase project development productivity, utilize more analytical metrics to target larger audiences, and promote brand value through quality content management.

Photo by Caio from Pexels

Catégories: News dév web

Top 4 Examples of Great User Onboarding Design

Noupe.com - 22 juillet, 2020 - 09:59

Outstanding user experience is key to set yourself apart from your rivals in 2020, and it all starts the moment users sign up for your app or software. That is, user onboarding is a vital piece of the UX puzzle. If you get it right, user onboarding is a surefire way to boost user activation, engagement, and retention.

Despite that, numerous app startups tend to overlook user onboarding, which results in a nasty cycle of:

  • Shelling out an arm and a leg on user acquisition
  • Rendering a rough start (in terms of UX) to the users acquired
  • Eventually losing a good chunk of those users to a competitor
  • Repeat

So if you want to dodge this cycle and keep your users engaged with your app for the long-run, you better focus on designing a great user onboarding experience.

Wait, what’s user onboarding design, exactly?

Before we take inspiration from four solid examples of great user onboarding design, let’s promptly recap what user onboarding actually is. In the words of OptinMonster, “User onboarding is the process of actively guiding users to find new value in your product or service. It begins even before a user signs up and continues after that.”

You can imagine it as a small conversion funnel between acquiring new users and turning them into highly engaged ones. Alternatively, think of user onboarding as a bridge between new signups and happily paying loyal users. A great user onboarding design shortens the time it takes for users to learn about your product and its value.

With that clear, let’s learn from four of the best user onboarding design examples from brands that have done an excellent job at it:

Slack

By far one of the most popular team-messaging apps, Slack absolutely shines at explaining itself to the new users it still continues to acquire. It does so by leveraging well-designed empty states and clever use of its own core functionality — instant messaging.

That is, instead of towing new users through a tedious tour of every feature, Slack introduces users to only the key features like Threads using their empty states, along with crisp microcopy that explains how these features will be helpful once the user is active on the platform.

Furthermore, Slack uses its very own Slackbot to host a quick tour of the tool. This interactive approach compels users to take meaningful action while teaching them how to use the tool. Consider employing user onboarding tools to design such an exciting and interactive onboarding experience for your own product.

Duolingo

Duolingo enables people of any age to learn a language with personalized goals and fun questions. With as many as 36 languages on offer, with various difficulty levels, it can be tricky to get started. In comes Duolingo’s simple and super-effective user onboarding process to the rescue.

Unlike most apps, Duolingo has a user onboarding design that begins with the product and ends with a signup form — an exemplar of gradual engagement. 

Gradual engagement is all about delaying registration for as long as possible — typically up to the point where users are sure about their interest in the app and must register in order to progress further. Duolingo’s onboarding process guides users through a swift translation exercise, illustrating just how quick and easy it can be to learn a new language — before asking users to commit to the app and signup.

So while certain features remain off-limits to unregistered users, users can still appreciate the app’s core value proposition of easy language learning without creating an account. Plus, a progress bar sets up the user’s expectations of the efforts needed to complete a lesson. As users watch their progress bar fill up, they may feel more motivated to drive it to completion.

Of course, gradual engagement isn’t a technique suitable for every product (a banking app, for instance, requires the user to enter personal information in order to prove its value). But the important takeaway is that you should consider letting users interact with your product and understand its core benefits before making them commit.

Hulu

Switching video streaming services is something most of us like to avoid. It can be annoying to learn a new content organization system on the new platform.

Hulu, however, does a brilliant job of making the switch seamless with its user onboarding process. As soon as you create an account, you land on the following page.

As is the usual case, Hulu offers a 30-day free trial and you can pick the plan you’d like to continue once the trial period ends. But not many streaming services remind you three days before your trial ends so you can decide whether to continue with the paid plan or cancel, something that Hulu does.

Now, once you create your account and choose your plan, you see a simple onboarding screen.

Hulu wants to personalize your viewing experience and minimize any stress that may be caused by its enormous library. Thus, it splits the content up into and suggests shows and movies based on your interests selected initially. Doing so, Hulu keeps you engaged with content recommendations that you’re likely to enjoy.

While this user onboarding process isn’t unique to Hulu, it’s simple and intuitive. The takeaway here is that you must learn about user preferences during the onboarding process so as to personalize their experience later on and keep them from churning.

IBM Cognos Analytics

IBM, the long-established tech giant is renowned for its powerful B2B SaaS products. Cognos Analytics is an AI-powered business intelligence solution that provides a comprehensive toolkit for tracking, reporting, and leveraging analytics.

As with most complex enterprise products, IBM’s Cognos Analytics may seem overwhelming to new users and effective onboarding depends on users’ ability to prioritize between a plethora of useful features. Instead of making users go through every single feature one by one, IBM focuses its onboarding design on providing context to a few core features that allow the user to get started right away.

It has a product tour with a “choose your own adventure” modal that lets users take their own path according to their needs. This gives users a feeling of being in control while allowing IBM to provide more tailored experiences.

What’s more, all the copy is succinct and adds value to users without overwhelming them with a clutter of features all at once.

Finally, a 3-item “Getting Started” checklist enables users to prioritize their first actions on the new platform and encourages them to complete the onboarding process without viewing it as a hurdle.

Over to You

All these four brands have designed an amazing onboarding experience that guides users to value and sets them up for continued success.
Simply put, user onboarding is an opportunity to create an awesome first impression on newly signed-up users and instantly make them realize why they need your product. Thus, strive to design an intuitive user onboarding experience and witness better user engagement and retention rates yourself.

Creator: Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of Growfusely.
Photo: Business photo created by pressfoto – www.freepik.com

Catégories: News dév web

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Yves Bresson, ingénieur en informatique, consultant freelance, spécialisé dans le développement web (CMS, PHP, Laravel, Ajax, jQuery, Bootstrap, HTML5, CSS3) et d'applications mobiles (iPhone, Android). Voir le profil de Yves Bresson sur LinkedIn