Category: Digital Branding

Digital Branding

Big Data: 70 Amazing Free Data Sources You Should Know for 2018

Every great data visualization starts with good and clean data. Most of people believe that collecting big data would be a rough thing, but it’s simply not true. There are thousands of free data sets available online, ready to be analyzed and visualized by anyone. Here we’ve rounded up 70 free data sources for 2017 on government, crime, health, financial and economic data, marketing and social media, journalism and media, real estate, company directory and review, and more.

We hope you could enjoy this and save a lot time and energy searching blindly online.

Free Data Source: Government

1.Data.gov: It is the first stage and acts as a portal to all sorts of amazing information on everything from climate to crime freely by the US Government.

2.Data.gov.uk: There are datasets from all UK central departments and a number of other public sector and local authorities. It acts as a portal to all sorts of information on everything, including business and economy, crime and justice, defence, education, environment, government, health, society and transportation.

3.U.S. Census Bureau: The website is about the government-informed statistics on the lives of US citizens including population, economy, education, geography, and more.

4.The CIA World Factbook: Facts on every country in the world; focuses on history, government, population, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues of 267 countries.

5.Socrata: Socrata is a mission-driven software company that is another interesting place to explore government-related data with some visualization tools built-in. Its data as a service has been adopted by more than 1200 government agencies for open data, performance management and data-driven government.

6.European Union Open Data Portal: It is the single point of access to a growing range of data from the institutions and other bodies of the European Union. The data boosts includes economic development within the EU and transparency within the EU institutions, including geographic, geopolitical and financial data, statistics, election results, legal acts, and data on crime, health, the environment, transport and scientific research. They could be reused in different databases and reports. And more, a variety of digital formats are available from the EU institutions and other EU bodies. The portal provides a standardised catalogue, a list of apps and web tools reusing these data, a SPARQL endpoint query editor and rest API access, and tips on how to make best use of the site.

7.Canada Open Data is a pilot project with many government and geospatial datasets. It could help you explore how the Government of Canada creates greater transparency, accountability, increases citizen engagement, and drives innovation and economic opportunities through open data, open information, and open dialogue.

8.Datacatalogs.org: It offers open government data from US, EU, Canada, CKAN, and more.

9.U.S. National Center for Education Statistics: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.

10.UK Data Service: The UK Data Service collection includes major UK government-sponsored surveys, cross-national surveys, longitudinal studies, UK census data, international aggregate, business data, and qualitative data.

Free Data Source: Crime

11.Uniform Crime Reporting: The UCR Program has been the starting place for law enforcement executives, students, researchers, members of the media, and the public seeking information on crime in the US.

12.FBI Crime Statistics: Statistical crime reports and publications detailing specific offenses and outlining trends to understand crime threats at both local and national levels.

13.Bureau of Justice Statistics: Information on anything related to U.S. justice system, including arrest-related deaths, census of jail inmates, national survey of DNA crime labs, surveys of law enforcement gang units, etc.

14.National Sex Offender Search: It is an unprecedented public safety resource that provides the public with access to sex offender data nationwide. It presents the most up-to-date information as provided by each Jurisdiction.

Free Data Source: Health

15.U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Here you will find a compressed data file of the Drugs@FDA database. Drugs@FDA, is updated daily, this data file is updated once per week, on Tuesday.

16.UNICEF: UNICEF gathers evidence on the situation of children and women around the world. The data sets include accurate, nationally representative data from household surveys and other sources.

17.World Health Organisation:  statistics concerning nutrition, disease and health in more than 150 countries.

18.Healthdata.gov: 125 years of US healthcare data including claim-level Medicare data, epidemiology and population statistics.

19.NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre: Health data sets from the UK National Health Service. The organization produces more than 260 official and national statistical publications. This includes national comparative data for secondary uses, developed from the long-running Hospital Episode Statistics which can help local decision makers to improve the quality and efficiency of frontline care.

Free Data Source: Financial and Economic Data

20.World Bank Open Data: Education statistics about everything from finances to service delivery indicators around the world.

21.IMF Economic Data: An incredibly useful source of information that includes global financial stability reports, regional economic reports, international financial statistics, exchange rates, directions of trade, and more.

22.UN Comtrade Database: Free access to detailed global trade data with visualizations. UN Comtrade is a repository of official international trade statistics and relevant analytical tables. All data is accessible through API.

23.Global Financial Data: With data on over 60,000 companies covering 300 years, Global Financial Data offers a unique source to analyze the twists and turns of the global economy.

24.Google Finance: Real-time stock quotes and charts, financial news, currency conversions, or tracked portfolios.

25.Google Public Data Explorer: Google’s Public Data Explorer provides public data and forecasts from a range of international organizations and academic institutions including the World Bank, OECD, Eurostat and the University of Denver. These can be displayed as line graphs, bar graphs, cross sectional plots or on maps.

26.U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis: U.S. official macroeconomic and industry statistics, most notably reports about the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States and its various units. They also provide information about personal income, corporate profits, and government spending in their National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs).

27.Financial Data Finder at OSU: Plentiful links to anything related to finance, no matter how obscure, including World Development Indicators Online, World Bank Open Data, Global Financial Data, International Monetary Fund Statistical Databases, and EMIS Intelligence.

28.National Bureau of Economic Research: Macro data, industry data, productivity data, trade data, international finance, data, and more.

29.U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: Quarterly datasets of extracted information from exhibits to corporate financial reports filed with the Commission.

30.Visualizing Economics: Data visualizations about the economy.

31.Financial Times: The Financial Times provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.

Free Data Source: Marketing and Social Media

32.Amazon API: Browse Amazon Web Services’ Public Data Sets by category for a huge wealth of information. Amazon API Gateway allows developers to securely connect mobile and web applications to APIs that run on Amazon Web(AWS) Lambda, Amazon EC2, or other publicly addressable web services that are hosted outside of AWS.

33.American Society of Travel Agents: ASTA is the world’s largest association of travel professionals. It provides members information including travel agents and the companies whose products they sell such as tours, cruises, hotels, car rentals, etc.

34.Social Mention: Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information.

35.Google Trends: Google Trends shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world in various languages.

36.Facebook API: Learn how to publish to and retrieve data from Facebook using the Graph API.

37.Twitter API: The Twitter Platform connects your website or application with the worldwide conversation happening on Twitter.

38.Instagram API: The Instagram API Platform can be used to build non-automated, authentic, high-quality apps and services.

39.Foursquare API: The Foursquare API gives you access to our world-class places database and the ability to interact with Foursquare users and merchants.

40.HubSpot: A large repository of marketing data. You could find the latest marketing stats and trends here. It also provides tools for social media marketing, content management, web analytics, landing pages and search engine optimization.

41.Moz: Insights on SEO that includes keyword research, link building, site audits, and page optimization insights in order to help companies to have a better view of the position they have on search engines and how to improve their ranking.

42.Content Marketing Institute: The latest news, studies, and research on content marketing.

Free Data Source: Journalism and Media

43.The New York Times Developer Network – Search Times articles from 1851 to today, retrieving headlines, abstracts and links to associated multimedia. You can also search book reviews, NYC event listings, movie reviews, top stories with images and more.

44.Associated Press API: The AP Content API allows you to search and download content using your own editorial tools, without having to visit AP portals. It provides access to images from AP-owned, member-owned and third-party, and videos produced by AP and selected third-party.

45.Google Books Ngram Viewer: It is an online search engine that charts frequencies of any set of comma-delimited search strings using a yearly count of n-grams found in sources printed between 1500 and 2008 in Google’s text corpora.

46.Wikipedia Database: Wikipedia offers free copies of all available content to interested users.

47.FiveThirtyEight: It is a website that focuses on opinion poll analysis, politics, economics, and sports blogging. The data and code on Github is behind the stories and interactives at FiveThirtyEight.

48.Google Scholar: Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. It includes most peer-reviewed online academic journals and books, conference papers, theses and dissertations, preprints, abstracts, technical reports, and other scholarly literature, including court opinions and patents.

Free Data Source: Real Estate

49.Castles: Castles are a successful, privately owned independent agency. Established in 1981, they offer a comprehensive service incorporating residential sales, letting and management, and surveys and valuations.

50.Realestate.com: RealEstate.com serves as the ultimate resource for first-time home buyers, offering easy-to-understand tools and expert advice at every stage in the process.

51.Gumtree: Gumtree is the first site for free classifieds ads in the UK. Buy and sell items, cars, properties, and find or offer jobs in your area is all available on the website.

52.James Hayward: It provides an innovative database approach to residential sales, lettings & management.

53.Lifull Home’s: Japan’s property website.

54.Immobiliare.it: Italy’s property website.

55.Subito: Italy’s property website.

56.Immoweb: Belgium’s leading property website.

Free Data Source: Business Directory and Review

57.LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a business- and employment-oriented social networking service that operates via websites and mobile apps. It has 500 million members in 200 countries and you could find the business directory here.

58.OpenCorporates: OpenCorporates is the largest open database of companies and company data in the world, with in excess of 100 million companies in a similarly large number of jurisdictions. Our primary goal is to make information on companies more usable and more widely available for the public benefit, particularly to tackle the use of companies for criminal or anti-social purposes, for example corruption, money laundering and organised crime.

59.Yellowpages: The original source to find and connect with local plumbers, handymen, mechanics, attorneys, dentists, and more.

60.Craigslist: Craigslist is an American classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.

61.GAF Master Elite Contractor : Founded in 1886, GAF has become North America’s largest manufacturer of commercial and residential roofing (Source: Fredonia Group study). Our success in growing the company to nearly $3 billion in sales has been a result of our relentless pursuit of quality, combined with industry-leading expertise and comprehensive roofing solutions. Jim Schnepper is the President of GAF, an operating subsidiary of Standard Industries. When you are looking to protect the things you treasure most, here are just some of the reasons why we believe you should choose GAF.

62.CertainTeed: You could find contractors, remodelers, installers or builders in the US or Canada on your residential or commercial project here.

63.Companies in California: All information about companies in California.

64.Manta: Manta is one of the largest online resources that deliver products, services and educational opportunities. The Manta directory boasts millions of unique visitors every month who search comprehensive database for individual businesses, industry segments and geographic-specific listings.

65.EU-Startups: Directory about startups in EU.

66.Kansas Bar Association: Directory for lawyers. The Kansas Bar Association (KBA) was founded in 1882 as a voluntary association for dedicated legal professionals and has more than 7,000 members, including lawyers, judges, law students, and paralegals.

Free Data Source: Other Portal Websites

67.Capterra: Directory about business software and reviews.

68.Monster: Data source for jobs and career opportunities.

69.Glassdoor: Directory about jobs and information about inside scoop on companies with employee reviews, personalized salary tools, and more.

70.The Good Garage Scheme: Directory about car service, MOT or car repair.

71.OSMOZ: Information about fragrance.

72.Octoparse: A free data extraction tool to collect all the web data mentioned above online.

Do you know some great data sources? Contact to let us know and help us share the data love.

Author: The Octoparse Team

Digital Branding

Five Tips for Building a Credible Business

One of the most important factors that separate successful companies from the ones that nobody has heard of is credibility. For example, compare a new entrepreneur who’s trying to get people to believe in a product that has no track record to a successful businessperson who runs into issues with the production process and needs credit to be extended for a few days or weeks.

Of course, there are many characteristics that can help you personally become better at manoeuvring these types of situations, but having a reputation as a business owner that stays true to your word, gets things done, and has a history of success will ensure better credibility for your company. Here are some top tips on making your business more credible in today’s fast-paced and competitive world.

Tip #1. Hire Professional Help:

Whether you are looking for web design or graphic design, hiring a professional, experienced company to do the work for you will usually always be a better option than going down the DIY route or hiring somebody who isn’t that experienced with what they do. In general, when looking for web design, you should try and find a company that also appears to be highly credible and with a good reputation, as they will be able to create the same for your brand.

Tip #2. Be Honest:

When it comes to building credibility, one of the most important factors to consider is honesty. Whether you’re communicating with customers, site visitors, clients, suppliers or even other businesses that you are working alongside for a common goal, being dishonest is a sure-fire method of killing any credibility that you have, and quickly. Telling straight-up lies should of course always be avoided. However, bear in mind that misrepresentation of information due to unnecessary embellishment or failing to provide context can also crush your efforts at making your company more credible.

Tip #3. Be an Established Expert:

In considering your brand’s online presence, don’t forget that hiring the best company offering graphic design Farnham and ensuring a good visual first impression is important for credibility. However, what your website looks and feels like isn’t the only factor important to visitors today. In fact, the sooner you are able to share your industry knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field online, the better. Customers that are able to gain answers to their questions and solutions for their problems from your website are more likely to trust what you have to say and come back again in the future for more advice.

Tip #4. Promote Achievements:

Although you may not want to overdo it and look like you’re bragging, promoting anything that your company achieves is a sure-fire way to build credibility with your target audience. For example, let’s say that you’re mentioned in a popular business publication about being an excellent company to work for – why would you not want to shout about this a little bit, so that not only your target audience but also potential future employees can find out more about the achievement. One good way to share your achievements with the world is to put them on your website; companies such as designbypelling.co.uk offer branding in Surrey, and so will be able to help by integrating your achievements and build your brand into a flawless web design.

Tip #4. Ask for Endorsements:

As a general rule of thumb, others will find your brand to be more credible if it has been endorsed by somebody who they already trust and look up to. Asking others in the business world who have had more experience than yourself and are better known to endorse your company can be a massive move in gaining further credibility, whilst asking celebrities to endorse your products via reviews, blog posts and social media postings can also instill more confidence about your brand in your target market. If you need help, contact a branding Farnham expert.

Tip #5. Be Sensitive:

Lastly, you’ll want to build credibility with the people who are working directly with your company every day, from your employees and freelancers to the companies that you work in conjunction with to meet your goals. Being sensitive to the needs and requirements of others is an essential trait as an entrepreneur, which will help you to build personal credibility. This will, in turn, affect the credibility of your brand.

For example, if you are running a low-cost startup, it’s important to practice what you preach when it comes to emphasizing to your employees the importance of keeping expenditure low. In addition, taking the time to get to know your target audience and what makes them tick will not only help to make your company more credible but also more successful through knowing exactly what to offer.

Did you enjoy these tips? Let us know in the comments.

Digital Branding

4 Ways to Make Client Hospitality Easier

Client hospitality, sometimes known as corporate hospitality, is all too often seen by some of its critics as needlessly expensive and an indulgence.

In reality, however, this is far from the case.

Client hospitality is an effective means of fostering relationships with clients, new and old alike, and gives you the opportunity to show important clients how much they are valued by your company.

There is no reason that providing your clients with a little hospitality should cost a fortune either, in fact, some of the most effective corporate hospitality programs are relatively cheap to run. There is an ever-growing number of smaller businesses which are embracing the opportunities presented by corporate hospitality; a reflection of the growing awareness of the practice as well as the multitude of businesses and organizations who can be hired to put together a hospitality package for your clients.

The main reason that many businesses cite for not engaging in the practice is that they either feel it would be prohibitively expensive or because they don’t feel that they have the necessary planning and organizational skills to pull it off properly. Both of these assumptions are nearly always wrong.

In fact, with a little bit of planning and forethought, it is perfectly possible to offer clients a respectable level of hospitality without putting a huge dent in your annual budget and with no prior experience in organizing these kinds of events.

In this article, we will be looking at four things that you can do to make offering client hospitality a stress-free experience for all.

Keep it Informal

This is particularly good advice if you have had only limited, if any, contact with the clients up until this point.

By sticking to less formal activities and settings, you will make the clients feel much more at ease and consequently, both they and you will find it much easier to communicate. Creating the right atmosphere is essential to a successful client hospitality plan.

In some cases, a more formal approach might be better suited but for the majority, you want to keep things as relaxed as possible.

Sticking to more informal settings makes it much easier to bond and to build a personal, as well as business, relationship with the clients. When deciding on corporate hospitality and entertainment for your clients, consider how formal it needs to be.

Plan Beforehand

In order to ensure that your hospitality plans go off without a hitch, you should make sure that you take the time beforehand to properly plan out your itinerary. If you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re going to be doing, then you will be flying blind.

Similarly, if the client thinks that you are stumbling and bumbling through events without a clear direction they might assume that this is a reflection of your professional attitude.

Ease into Things

Many people find the whole experience of being responsible for client hospitality significantly easier when they take things slowly. By easing into things you will give you and the clients time and space to grow accustomed to one another.

First impressions are important, so it is important that the first activities you plan revolve around making introductions and settling your guests into their new surroundings.

Relax!

This is the most important thing to remember, if you aren’t relaxed then, of course, your guests won’t be either! Take a deep breath and try and trust your own judgment. As long as you have planned things efficiently you should find the whole experience a piece of cake.

Client hospitality is an excellent way of forming and fostering relationships with other businesses and individuals. Wherever possible you should try and offer client hospitality, it is one of the smartest investments a business can make.

Digital Branding

Easiest Ways to Boost Conversion Rates

Whilst there is a lot of focus on getting sites to the top of Google search results pages and gaining traffic to the site, conversions are the most important part. A lot of website traffic is good but it is worthless if it isn’t contributing to conversions. Conversions are what get people moving in the sales pipeline and help to generate business for the organisation.

The conversion rate is the number of times a use completes a site goal (determined by the organisation and their SEO services in Australia) divided by the amount of traffic through the site. The higher this rate is the better because that equates to an increase in goal completion. There are a few simple ways to help boost the conversion rates of a site, mostly through increasing the user experience of the site.

Improve Page Load Times

The loading time of a page can have a big impact on the conversion rate. People are more likely to spend more time on a website that loads quickly and reacts to user actions than one that doesn’t. There are statistics to show that 53% of users will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load and 79% said that they will not return to a site that takes too long to load.

This indicates that the loading speed of a page is crucial to the conversion rate as people are more likely to stay on a site and continue to use it if it loads quickly. Optimising images is a great way to help this. Resizing them through software such as Photoshop or Online Image Optimiser will aid in increasing the pages load speed.

Removing bulky code, avoiding external embedded media and minimising round trip times will all help to improve page load speed. It is easy to check this using a website speed test tool which can be found on Google.

Ensure that the Correct Keywords are Being Used

Even though keywords are a core part of improving the sites ranking on the search engine results pages, they are also critical to conversion rates. Having the correct keywords ensure that the site appears in the correct search results and therefore when people land on the page, there are getting what they wanted.

Hiring an SEO service in Australia will help to get the right keywords for the company and improve conversion rates. The assigned SEO consultant is able to research what keywords are most suited to the product or service offered and can include them. Ensuring that the site is appearing in the correct searches by using keywords that reflect the business offering will help to boost conversion rates.

Use Testimonials

Testimonials add credit to the site and the product or service that is being offered. It helps to convince people that they are using a trusted site and do not need to have another think about purchasing or at least getting in contact with the organisation.

Testimonials help to reduce the risk associated with any consumer action and as a result, encourage them to act. Increased action on the site by a user leads to a better conversion rate.

Create Dedicated Landing Pages

Dedicated landing pages are designed to make it easier for the user to see what they are looking for. It reduces the number of steps required from the search or link to the actual source of information that the user is after.

Reducing the steps required to achieve a goals, intuitively increases the chances of the user reaching the goal. Additionally, dedicated landing pages are designed to be easier to use for the given purpose further increasing the likelihood of a conversion.

This step is linked in with the use of correct keywords as ads will appear in areas of relevance. Therefore, should the correct keywords not be used it will be more difficult for the ad to appear to the desired users. Again, hiring an SEO consultant will likely be beneficial in this instance to improve conversion rates.

Accessible Call-to-Action

Providing an accessible call to action is the most direct way to improve the conversion rates of the site. As has been alluded to before, users don’t want to have to make a lot of effort to reach their goal. That means that they want everything to be put right in front of them to click.

Having the organisations contact details at the footer of the page is a good start however there are certainly more direct ways. Having a pop-up suggest that the user signs up to their emails or contacts them now is a great way to encourage the user to complete a conversion goal. The important part here is to not go over the top with the pop-ups and force it upon people.

An SEO service in Australia and the assigned SEO consultant will be able to efficiently establish a call-to-action on any landing page or even just the home page to aid in conversion rate improvement.

Digital Branding

How to Come Up with a Great Company Name

This is a guest post from James of BizzMark Blog who blogs about the latest trends in business management, economy, small business strategies, finances and employment.
___________________

If one was to analyze the names of the world’s oldest and/or most successful companies, they would probably not find out too much. Some companies still hold the names of their founders (Ford, Mitsubishi), others feature generic-sounding names (General Electric) while others ‘made a name for themselves’ with some truly attention-catching and inventive names (Google).

It may therefore seem that there are no rules to naming one’s company and that you never know what will work. However, there are some smart practices that will maximize your chances of giving your new company a great name and they will be the subject of this article.

Be Creative but Smart

At first glance, most people think that a superbly inventive name is the way to go and that it should always be something that stands out. After all, you want your company name to catch people’s attention and cause them to research your company more. And while this approach definitely has its merits, it should be pointed out that creativity has its limits and that it can become counterproductive if you don’t mind those limits.

For instance, there are certain industries in which a name that is too inventive can be a detriment. If you are starting an accounting agency, for example, people expect a name that is solid and trustworthy and they might feel that a jokey name denotes a less-than-responsible approach to serious work.

Using puns and similar concepts to name a business is also inventive but mostly counterproductive. Puns are generally difficult to gauge correctly (dancing between funny and lame) and this is the overly complex kind of nuancing that you will want to avoid when naming your business. There is also a chance that you might offend someone with risky puns and alienate that customer segment.

In short, there is nothing wrong with being creative when thinking up your company name, just don’t overdo it.

Look to the Future

To someone who is starting a business, the concept of future is relatively limited. They understand how difficult it is to get a company on its feet and ensure its survival for more than a few months. While most business owners believe their company will eventually succeed and continue to exist for years to come, they tend to concentrate on the very near future.

The reason we are mentioning this is that this can result in some very short-sighted names. For example, a business owner might decide to name their company after themselves, especially in certain industries. And while this does provide a certain sense  of security and even intimacy to the company’s initial customers, down the line it can present a problem. What if you, for example, decide to sell your company? With your name attached to it, the list of potential buyers will almost certainly be shorter.

Another future development business owners forget about when naming their company is the fact that their company might expand into other areas in years. For instance, a software company might start with a product for email marketing and it’s name might clearly denote this. Then, after a few years, that same company might decide to make a more comprehensive piece of digital marketing software. In such a situation, the initial name might be somewhat limiting.

When naming your company, you always have to consider the various paths it might go down in the future. Try to think of a name that will not constrict you or become misleading after a few years.

Consider Your Online Presence

Regardless of the industry, most companies are online these days and business founders have to consider their online presence too when naming their company. Domain names, especially shorter ones, are becoming less and less available, meaning that a company with a nice, to-the-point name might find it difficult to secure a domain name for their website.

You should also consider the fact that overly long brand names look unwieldy in the address bar, with an URL that looks like a gigantic jumble of letters more than anything else.

The good news is that there are always workarounds for your domain name if you are really set on a certain name for your business. For example, you can go for a descriptive domain name which tells people what your business is about.

Another way to get a great domain name is to use a top level domain other than .com. There used to be a time when customers were distrusting of websites that ended in other TLDs, but this is no longer the case.

Be Careful about Legal Stuff

Of course, when coming up with a name for your company, you should always consider the legal implications and the possible issues that might arise from a poor choice of a name.

For one, you will have to register the business name of your new company and you might find out that a company with a similar name exists in your industry and/or your part of the world.

You should also consider trademark registration, depending on where your company will be based and whether you will be concentrating on your area or if you will go national or even global. It is essential to research this well so as you do not get into trademark issues down the line because of a company with a similar trademarked name. This may even entail going to court where they will determine how likely it is for customers to distinguish your brand from an existing one.

If you are not sure about the legal implications of the naming process for your future business, make sure to talk to someone who will help you with this. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Closing Word

There are a number of ways to approach coming up with a name for your company. This name will be the cornerstone of your brand and you need to make sure it describes your business well without causing any problems that we discussed.

Digital Branding

Four Top Tips for Making Sure Your E-commerce Store Stands Out

With online shopping booming, there have never been so many online stores available. Whether you’re looking to buy a new outfit, health and beauty products, Christmas gifts, electronics, novelty items, or even things for your pet, you can guarantee that you’ll find a range of options to choose from online.

For anybody who is considering going into business with an e-commerce store, the growing popularity of online shopping can only be a good thing.

However, the biggest drawback is that standing out from your competition has become more difficult than ever before.

So, we’ve put together some top tips to help you ensure that your e-commerce store is grabbing attention for all the right reasons.

Tip #1. Quirky Labels

When you order something online, you’re usually more interested in your product arriving rather than whatever the store has sent you in terms of flyers and other advertisements.

But, as an e-commerce owner, there are several things that you might want to consider doing for your customers to change this.

For example, printing quirky and unusual labels for your parcels using Dymo Shipping Labels from Label City can be a good way to make them sit back and notice. Or, why not send them a small free gift as a token of your thanks?

Tip #2. Offer Something Different

With most e-commerce stores operating in much the same ways as each other, one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd in online business is to offer something different to your target audience.

For example, ASOS have recently achieved this fantastically, offering the never before seen option to buy now and pay later through Klarma, without the need for customers to borrow money. Previously, any ‘buy now and pay later’ options would require the customer to open a store card or borrow credit.

Think about things that are missing from the market and what you can offer your customers that nobody else does.

Tip #3. Go the Extra Mile

When you’re buying items in-store, customer service is easy – all you need to do is visit the customer service desk or information point and ask the assistants for help.

However, when shopping online, getting good customer service isn’t always so simple. As an e-commerce store owner, it’s down to you to understand the importance of good customer service and go the extra mile for your customers.

Whether it’s offering a live chat service twenty-four hours a day, having a member of staff manning social media at all times to send replies, or offering a generous return policy, putting your customers first is a sure-fire way to ensure that your company stands out.

Tip #4. Offer Great Deals

Lastly, bear in mind that many people who shop online do so because it’s cheaper and there’s more chance of them bagging a fantastic deal.

So, wherever possible, make sure that you are offering exclusive deals to your customers that they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.

If you enjoyed these tips, we’d love it if you shared them with your friends and followers. 

Choosing a virtual receptionist service
Digital Branding

Great Tips for Hiring Your Virtual Receptionist Service

Hiring a virtual receptionist service can help you develop your business. The primary purpose of hiring a virtual receptionist is to deal with your customers by taking their messages, screening your calls, and transferring them to an extension. But this isn’t all they provide. A virtual receptionist will also provide you and your staff extra time to handle the essential tasks of your company as they help maintain the reputation of your company and get new customers.

Below are a few great tips for hiring your virtual receptionist service. I hope they’ll help you out.

What virtual receptionists provide

Tips For Choosing A Virtual Receptionist Service

Look for their experience: According to James Russell Lowell, “One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.”

An inexperienced person can never do the same as the experienced one. If you want your tasks to be handled properly make sure you opt a highly skilled, experienced, and professional virtual receptionist. Taking calls and messages may not be difficult, so it’s better to look for someone with experience and communication skills to realize the full potential of a virtual receptionist team.

How do they deal with your customers?

The foremost thing that one needs to look for when hiring the virtual receptionist services team is that how will they deal with your customers. What do they think is an essential part of the interaction with your customers? Always choose the receptionist team who is opting to keep a friendly environment with your customers and are willing to get you more customers by providing excellent services.

Can they solve major issues at a company?

If you want to hire a virtual receptionist service team, the most important thing you need to find out is whether they are good at problem-solving or not. Find out their ability to overcome challenges in their past projects and determine if they are able to handle things you require or not.

How well can they handle the pressure?

Taking calls and messages and talking on a live chat is not an easy job. Not everyone can overcome the challenge and onerous duties of demanding customers. Before hiring a virtual receptionist service team make sure to figure out if they can handle the pressure and work quickly in a stressful environment or is it beyond their reach.

How well does a virtual receptionist know your industry?

How well do they know your industry?

The receptionist team you are hiring should have full information about your industry. Make sure they have done thorough research on your company so that it is easier for them to deal with your customers. You will, of course, be willing to offer the team the training they need about your company.

Do they know how to handle difficult clients?

The majority of the people who call or engage in online chat are polite and well-behaved, but at times you come across people who are difficult to handle. For this purpose, a highly-skilled and professional receptionist team need to be hired, so it is easier to cope with clients and customers who are giving you a hard time.

These are a few tips which will make it easier for you to choose your virtual receptionist service team. For more such articles, stay connected.

Digital Branding

6 Digital Branding Cliches That Are Way Overdone

The road to branding excellence is littered with cliches, and while there is a time and a place for these overused staples of digital communication, they should be used sparingly and with careful forethought.

As they say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” but when it comes to digital branding, it can definitely go too far.

It doesn’t matter if your company sells bespoke products, sources goods from a third party, grows them, blows them up, or consults on technology; when it comes to your branding, following the herd is NOT a good idea.

Here are six of the most overused and overdone cliches of digital marketing, and how to navigate the temptation to use them in your own branding.

1. The World’s First

Okay, if you really are the first, then you might just be able to get away with this one…

Unfortunately, this phrase is so overused that, even when true, it just comes across as being insincere. And if you decide to use it, you’d better make sure to have done your research.

The internet loves to point out a marketing fail, and if it turns out that your world’s first is actually a second or third, you’ll either appear silly or dishonest.

This problem is easily avoided through thorough and creative research – there will almost certainly be something more informative and relevant that you can use in place of this tired cliche.

After all, getting somewhere first is not a guarantee of quality, or anything else for that matter…

2. Generic ‘Hipster’ Logos

Your logo should evoke your brand, and be both distinctive, and recognizable.

A smart font with a colorful accent might look quite professional at a glance, but if it is too generic, it will be forgettable, and easily confused with other brands. There are a ton of ‘samey’, vaguely ‘hipster’ logos flooding the market right now: from tech companies to coffeeshops, everyone seems to be doing it! The same aesthetic is being used to sell tea, shorts, software, beard oil, and a plethora of products. But in the end, it’s all just one big sea of aesthetic blandness.

You can, and should, do better.

3. Bespoke Next-Level Solutions

All of these things. See how vague that description is? Yet this phrase, with varying synonyms, can be found throughout the digital marketing world.

Yes, you may offer a service that is tailored to the customer, and solves their problem using brand new technology. There is nothing wrong with advertising that.

The problem arises when you give no further details. If someone tried to sell you “next-level” cheese, you’d want to know what made it so special. It’s the same thing here: the lack of descriptive words makes the statement sound empty and hollow.

Solutions can hide many sins, so be more specific.

Don’t assume that your audience will simply take your claims at face value. Instead, give them some genuine, relevant information that will help them decide whether your service is for them.

4. Shame-Based Copy

Have you ever been to a site that boldly proclaimed you were not a real athlete/book-lover/human being unless you bought their product? Or that tried to niggle at your insecurities before offering the solace of their premium service?

Just don’t do that.

You don’t need to make your audience feel awful about themselves to convince them to buy your product. The same applies to those annoying CTAs, like those mailing list pop-ups that make you click “No, I’d rather be a failure” in order to get back to what you were reading.

You should be able to sell your product or service on its merits, convincing your audience that whatever their life is like, you will make it even better.

While there’s nothing wrong with a little humor at the expense of your audience, shaming and diminishing your customers with is just not cool.

5. Awful Brand Videos

There are plenty of examples of video marketing gone wrong, and you don’t want your brand to be added to the long list of painful brand videos.

You know the ones; the director of the company delivers a jargon-heavy marketing spiel, while moving through a featureless office space.

It’s hard to come across at your best in video content if you’re not used to being filmed. But that doesn’t mean you should just accept the results and release bad content.

Your audience want to get to know the personality behind the brand, not simply be told things they can read on your website.

In less time than you think, you can create excellent video content that really grabs your audience’s attention. Put some personality into your brand marketing and give your customers a glimpse behind the scenes of your business. Don’t settle for a stiff showreel.

6. Keep Calm

Sure, it was good while it lasted, but we’ve seen quite enough of the “Keep Calm And Please Share My Content” offerings.

Of course, if it turns out that your audience still loves that sort of thing, then maybe you can make it work – perhaps your brand lends itself particularly well to the cliche, if you sell carry-on luggage, for example – but there’s almost certainly a better option.

Jumping on similar phrase bandwagons can make your brand seem imitative and unoriginal.

Establish your target audience. Then do some in depth research and find out what makes them tick:

  • If you’re selling cars then maybe your audience want to keep going fast, whilst being safe
  • If you’re selling winter clothing then maybe your audience want to keep warm, without sacrificing fashion
  • If you are selling art supplies then maybe your audience want to keep being creative alongside their busy day jobs.

Whatever it is they want, make sure that’s what you give them – not tired phraseology.

Did any of those sound familiar? If so, don’t freak out — it doesn’t mean you need to go back and rehash all your content. The reason cliches come to being is that for awhile, they worked.

Remember, you don’t need to do what works for others, you need to do what works for you. So cut the crap and don’t be slack; get into the mindset of your audience so you can represent your brand in a way that both you and they will love.


Victoria Greene is a branding expert and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce, how writers can hone their craft, and how companies can improve their digital reach. She is passionate about using her experience to help brands improve their marketing.

Create an effective Instagram profile
Digital Branding

Is a Business Loan the Best Financing Option for Your Start-Up Company?

When asked what the biggest hurdle is when starting your own company, most people are going to respond, ‘the finances’. It’s no secret that starting your own business requires a lot of cash up front. You need cash to pay for equipment, inventory, overhead costs for space (renting or leasing business space), employee’s wages, and so much more. There are fixed and variable expenses involved, and these need to be covered. In the end one of the most common reasons new businesses end up failing is because they struggle to cover start-up costs.

Unless you happen to have a trust fund, or have been saving your entire life, chances are you’re going to have to look into financing options. One route that many start-ups end up going for is a business loan. Now with that said there are a few different types of business loans available to you, more specifically secured and unsecured business loans. Are either of these right for you, if so which one? It’s important to look at them closer.

What is a Secured Business Loan?

A secured business loan is a very common type of loan. With this loan you will be borrowing money and you will put up collateral in return. Should you default on paying back the loan, the bank or lender can then take legal action against you so that they can take the collateral you have put up.

This type of loan allows you to borrow the maximum amount of money since the bank doesn’t see it as risky. They know they have the collateral to fall back on. Because the loan is less of a risk, you’ll be rewarded with a lower interest rate.

What is an Unsecured Business Loan?

An unsecured business loan is money that is borrowed from a bank or other lender without any sort of collateral being put up. In this type of agreement the lender is taking all the risk. Should you default on your payments, there is nothing that they can take ownership of. For this reason you may be approved to borrow less money, and the interest rate tends to be higher.

For a new business just starting out, an unsecured loan is often the only solution available. If they had access to collateral, they would probably use that to finance the business. Sometimes the lender may ask for a “director’s guarantee” in these unsecured business loans. What this means is that if you default on paying back the loan, they can then take legal action against the company’s director. Clearly this is something you will want to establish before signing anything.

Don’t Just Focus on the Banks

If you are going to go ahead with a business loan, it’s important you keep in mind that banks aren’t the only ones able to help you out. There are other routes such as trustworthy loan companies like Aspire Business Loans that specialise in both secured and unsecured business loans. You can apply for a loan anywhere between £1,000 and £300,000 and they will search a number of lenders to ensure you get the best deal possible. Often you’ll get a decision that same day.

These companies are brokers, meaning that they will have experience dealing with lenders and therefore the likelihood of the lenders trying to take advantage of you is much smaller.

The Right Solution Exists

The good news is that even if you don’t have the start-up cash required for your new business, there are plenty of solutions out there that can provide you with access to the cash you need. It’s a matter of finding the one that best matches your needs. Remember, starting a business is a long term commitment – finding the funding may be difficult, but it might not be one of the hardest things about starting a business. Once the costs are covered, your business will only be a success if you’re willing to put in the effort to make it one.

Promote your brand on Instagram
Digital Branding

E-commerce Branding on Instagram – Five Pro Tips

Instagram stands among the world’s top social media platforms today, and even though it is unique, it is still as good as any other social media platform. The visually-based sharing platform was designed in 2007, and since then it has improved every day and has attracted a great number of audiences from all around the world. Instagram is not just good for sharing your favorite moments with your friends and family through pictures, but it can also help you promote your brand or business.

Social media marketing has proved itself to be an exceptional marketing tool, and with the help of Instagram, you can market your business or brand including your e-commerce website. E-commerce is not just dependent on SEO anymore it can also be improved by using social media channels like Instagram. So if you want to do e-commerce branding on Instagram, then you can achieve that initiative, but to do that, you will have to learn things about Instagram and focus on some tips. Here in this article are some useful tips to help you brand your e-commerce on social media.

Make Instagram part of your ecommerce efforts

1# Building a consistent brand image

Keeping your brand image consistent is very important when it comes to ecommerce branding. Branding can never be ignored, and consistency is something that people like a lot. When it comes to the consistency, it is an action that develops trust with the audience, and when the audience sees a brand as trustworthy, they buy from it. So keep a couple of things in mind and make sure that the theme and colors of your Instagram profile are consistent and pleasing. The other thing you need to focus on is your content, which has to be consistent as well; you must also post it regularly.

Harness the power of hashtags

2# Use Hashtags

Hashtags are essential when it comes to social media marketing, and they are very useful on Instagram as well. If you are looking to improve your reach on Instagram and are trying to make your ecommerce website to reach more people, than hashtags can help you do it. What you need to do is create an exciting and creative hashtag which is related to your niche. Once you have the right hashtag, you will see your reach improve dramatically as you will gain followers on Instagram fast.

Create an effective Instagram profile

3# Add an interesting bio to your profile

When you are using Instagram, and you go to a new profile to follow, the first thing you will see is their bio. The same will be the case when people visit your Instagram account. It is essential that you add a good and creative bio to your profile which will impress the audience, and the most important thing which you should never forget is adding your website link to the bio. On Instagram, your bio is the only place where you can post a link to your ecommerce website.

Appeal to influencers

4# Take help from Instagram influencers

Hiring Instagram influencers is a great way of promoting your brand; they are famous people on Instagram who can convince audiences. All you need to do is find an influencer related to your niche and ask them to share your brand with their audience. You can offer them your product or service for free and ask them to review it, or you can just pay them. According to WhitoMedia, when the influencer posts about your brand, people will take a look at it, and you will be connecting with the right audience.

User-submitted photos

5# User-generated content is a great idea

When you are looking to do e-commerce branding on Instagram, then it is not necessary that you keep posting designed creative content all the time. You can always ask your audience to share their pictures with you, and then you can start posting those. When you post user-generated content, your authenticity improves, and people trust you more.

So as you can see Instagram is an exceptional platform and you do not need to rely on just SEO anymore for your ecommerce website. So follow these five professional tips and start promoting your ecommerce website today.