Friday, June 18, 2021

Juneteenth – What Is It And Why It Is Important

An important observances in the United States is ‘Juneteenth.’ A portmanteau of the words ‘June’ and ‘Nineteenth,’ the day marks the oldest official nation-wide celebration of the end of slavery. To put it simply, this is the day when a Union General Gordon Granger came Texas and announced the end of the civil war and the freed status of the slave. This sparked a series of events that ultimately liberated thousands of people to be able to choose the lives they wanted to live. Juneteenth is a highly regarded event in the history of America, and more specifically the history of African Americans in the country.

The chain of events leading up to Juneteenth is quite the interesting one. In reality, the then President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation on the 1st of January in 1863, which declared slavery illegal and emancipated all slaves. However, the news did not reach all parts of the country equally. While many of the northern states implemented the rule immediately, some in the south remained in the dark – which meant that over 250,000 enslaved persons remained to suffer in slavery over 2 years after it was formally abolished.

All of this began to unravel when Union General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston in Texas on 19th June 1865, and officially announced that slavery was in fact outlawed in all states – even the former confederate ones (like Texas). The Mayor of Galveston, however, refused to believe General Granger and continued to enforce slavery, instead falsely stating that the power to decide to free slaves rested in the hands of the plantation owners. While a major upheaval did ensure that wouldn’t happen, those who were emancipated were continued to be oppressed by other means such as being hanged or shot for made-up “charges” (like expecting fair treatment from their employers or being legally employed in the first place). Thus began a struggle to erase these unfair practices – one that continues even today.

Juneteenth is clearly in a crucial moment in the history of African Americans. Not to mention a lesson of its own when it comes to social justice. But it is more than that. Juneteenth marks the undying spirit of freedom, and the power of trying – even against the direst of circumstances. For instance, in the earlier days, several states refused to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday, and Black communities were forced to celebrate it in secrecy. While these developments were not what anyone had in mind after being legally freed, it meant that people kept trying to push boundaries and make the best of what they had.

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated all over the United States, and sometimes also in other countries such as Mexico, which have their own personal connection to the event. With roots that run deep into our nations history, as well as the emotions evoked and relevance to this day, President Joe Biden has now made Juneteenth an official Federal Holiday. 



Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Top 7 Digital Marketing Trends to Follow In 2021


Ask anyone what the year 2020 meant to them, and you are bound to hear the words “unpredictable” or “unusual” in the description. And that is barely a surprise – as far as game-changers go, this year was admittedly the biggest. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we did everything – from education and work, to lifestyle and shopping, and beyond.

Digital marketing, of course, has been no exception to this. Not only did 2020 see most, if not all, of the predicted and anticipated trends go out the window, it led to companies and agencies to have to “pivot” in record time by changing their marketing strategies in record time. Online shopping going ultra-mainstream, social media browsing increasing manifold, working and studying-from-home becoming the new standard, and video conferencing becoming the go-to way to communicate led to a massive change in the dynamic s of interaction between brands and their customers.

While the pandemic continues to spread even in 2021, we are more prepared than before to figure out what the trends are as we proceed further into this year. Below are 7 key online marketing trends dominating thus far in 2021.

1. Influencers and Live Streams

The phenomena of using influencers to market products and services are nothing new. In fact, many companies today have dedicated influencer marketing divisions, and some are even known to base their entire operations on this. However, with people being isolated due to stay-at-home orders, and attending in-person events and socializing with family and friends going out of the question, people’s digital footprint ended up being bigger than ever before. Social media in general and live streams in particular have gathered immense popularity. This is mainly because of the fact that live streams offer a level of personal involvement that is closest to in-person interactions.

There has been a massive upward growth in the number of live-stream viewers as people are virtually up to see all kinds of things – be a live-stream of their favorite celebrity, a brand showcase or even an online class. With COVID-19 still not out of the picture, it is safe to say that this trend will indeed continue throughout this year – to say the least. Marketers, must therefore, make sure to tap into the benefits of this as long as it remains a top trend.

2. Brand Transparency

In an era big giant brands and companies have come under the fire for years of shady activities, people are now emphasizing on seeing transparency in the brands that they use. Simply offering the assurance of genuinty is not enough – brands need to go the extra mile to connect with their customers and show their authenticity.

Add to that the current turbulent times means that brands which aim to remain trustworthy and relevant will need to get creative and find new and novel ways to flourish. A great example in this regard is the #HotelsForHeroes campaign by Hilton, which offers free rooms and room services to medical workers. Such an act demonstrates how an otherwise niche luxury service can adapt to the needs of the people in an emergency situation.

3. User-generated-Content

In the recent years, the axis of marketing has shifted from being seller-centric to buyer-centric. These days, a superior customer experience is crucial for any brand to achieve success and profits. When it comes to customers, the top things they expect from a brand they like is personal connection, social proof and the assurance of having made a profitable purchase. User-generated content (UGC) is the one element that checks out in all of these departments.

Such content, which includes user testimonials, review photos and videos, and even unsponsored reviews on social media is touted gives brands the element of reliability, since they literally portray the customer point-of-view. UGC already has a history of helping brands establish a feeling of trust among their customers, and 2021 will see this trend continue to evolve.

4. Sustainability Will Thrive

Since the last few years, people in general have become more aware of the things they consume, and have begun to add more emphasis on the carbon footprint of the items they consume. Brands have been seen to respond to this need by tweaking their processes – from changing their packaging and systems to using recycled materials to make their products.

A trend that has evolved steadily over the years, and there is no reason for it to slow down during 2021. And to make sure that people know about their eco-friendly initiatives, companies need to invest in marketing to demonstrate their positively-changing values.

One of the best examples in this regard is The Ocean Cleanup, which recently unveiled their first product that was made fully from waste plastic collected during the Great Pacific Garbage Patch event. They explained the inner working of their brand using TINT, and further added that the revenue they would generate from the products they sell would circle back to fund their cleaning and conservation campaigns.

Inclusivity Will Be Important

Beyond the coronavirus, one of the biggest highlights of 2020 was the issue of inclusivity – or perhaps the lack of it. Taking a departure from the pandemic, movements such as Black Lives Matter are highlighting the hidden issues within the larger society.
According to a study, this awareness toward the issue of inclusivity is causing a shift in purchasing behavior. As many as 41% of shoppers left retailers that they felt did not reflect the ideas of diversity and identity, while 29% was willing to let go of brands that did not show any kind of inclusivity.

Developments resulting from such an identity-driven way of thinking are definitely going to stay. Any brand that can be vulnerable with its consumers, and can show them how authentically involved they are when it comes to matters of inclusivity shall thrive due to having created a between connection with their customers.

Visual and Voice Searching

The use of visual and voice-activated mediums such as Google Lens or Alexa has already been steadily growing since 2018. 2020, however, saw an explosion in the number of consumers turning to voice and visual based searches. The reason for this explosion could be many – people being stuck at home, being isolated and lacking opportunities for conversation, and even turning to the technology because it was easiest to use and readily available.

The one thing we know, however, is that this high number of alterative search users is not going down anytime soon. In fact, as of writing this article, every 1 out of 4 homes in the United States own at least one smart device of this kind.

With search mediums beyond text taking the center stage, marketers will need to seriously amp up their SEO strategy. Simply sticking to textual and on-page SEO will no longer bear the same results.

Compact Content

2020 saw a sharp rise in all kinds of home deliveries – from raw materials to smart devices to delivery of readymade food. But the trend didn’t just end there. Bite-sized, easy-to-consume media content like short podcasts, curated lists, and email newsletters saw an immense increase in popularity as well.

This is basically a behavioral shift within people – and one is will be here to stay. It will only be fair to assume that businesses which can create such type of content for their consumers shall stay ahead of the competition by creating a more personal and intimate connection with their consumers.

The unusual nature of 2020 essentially displaced the trends that were being anticipated – many trends never saw the light of day, while other new ones emerged. Yet, many of the current trends ended up being modified. All of this meant that brands had to get creative in marketing themselves – while maintaining the connection and the humanity quotient.

While 2021 so far seems to be somewhat stable-but-somber, one can only expect for the above-mentioned trends to continue as we move further into the year.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

New Green Workplace Practices a Big Deal for Business Bottom Line

 In a world where issues like the economy, natural disasters, and the global pandemic reign as big concerns, being environmentally conscious doesn’t feature as top priority. That does not mean, however, that it is unimportant. In fact, what many companies fail to realize is that besides preserving the environment, having an eco-friendly workplace has a massive upside for the business bottom line – with both immediate and long-term benefits such as reduced spending and better quality of employee well-being. 



If you are among the many who have thus far not implemented green practices in your office, you may feel intimidated by the idea of starting out. Do not worry – a few small changes can go a long way to reduce your business’ carbon footprint by a mile.

Here we discuss various ways to implement eco-friendly practices at work that will benefit your company's earning -both immediately and in the long run:

Consider going paperless

Using physical paper entails a chain of expenses – one that is definitely includes more than the cost of paper itself. Expenses include (but can definitely not be limited to) writing material like pens and pencils, buying and maintaining printers, purchasing ink cartridges, as well as the storage and space involved in keeping equipment as well as supplies. In fact, a study by Gartner says that companies tend to spend as much as 1 – 3% of their total annual revenue in printing-related expenses alone. 

There are many ways one can implement a paperless policy – or at least reduce using paper as much as possible. You can start by either removing or greatly restricting employee access to printers and printing supplies. The next step would be to replace as many printed documents with electronic versions. For instance, instead of putting up memos on the wall, you can email them to your employees. You can even use online signature systems instead of physical agreements. 


Measure Your Power Consumption

When it comes to becoming more eco-friendly, reducing your power consumption is one of the best ways to save both energy and money. And while switching off the lights when they are not in use is a fabulous start, there is so much more than you can do to implement a better green strategy. For starters, you can extend the lights-out policy to other facilties such as monitors, computers, televisions, chargers, and other appliances that are present in the office. 



Another effective way to cut back on power is by using renewable energy. For example, you can install solar-powered lights instead of conventional ones. If possible, you can also install solar batteries to power your office equipment and appliances. While these require a little investment in the early stages, it will pay off in both the short and long-term in terms of reduced costs and insurance benefits.


Promote Positive Change

Paper is not just used for documents and official purposes. Activities such as employees using Styrofoam or paper cups to drink coffee, or disposable food cartons are also big source of wastage. The best way to avoid this is to replace these with more sustainable options. This can include a range of equipment that includes (but is not limited to) cloth towel and napkins, multi-use coffee filters, water filters, and washable utensils.

It doesn’t have to be a cut-and-dry affair – you can include your employees in your initiatives. For instance, you can gift your employees reusable mugs and straws. You can also incentivize them for small acts such as brining their own tiffin boxes to work.




Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Why Your Law Firm Needs to Hire a Marketing Agency



In today’s day and age, relying on pamphlets, business cards and word-of-mouth to promote your business is simply not enough. Any business establishing a marketing strategy that ensures a steady flow of convertable leads needs a firm grasp of digital marketing tactics. This is even more applicable if you own and/or operate a law firm.

It is virtually impossible for legal professionals to get involved in building and executing marketing strategies first-hand, given the busyness of their schedules. That being said, it is also important for them to be able to consistently promote their businesses and services and have a steady flow of qualified leads. The answer? Hiring a marketing agency to address these needs.


Here are 6 ways in which a quality marketing agency can benefit lawyers and law firms:

It Will Help Bring Results:
Marketing agencies are devoted to one thing and one thing alone – to build your brand and to promote it in the best way. Through their years of practice and its resulting expertise, they know that while there are many ways to reach this goal, there are only a few that can get the job done keeping into consideration the time, budget and needs of the law firm. Agencies have the expertise required to employ the right strategy and tactics that can propel your firm to the level it deserves.

It Will Help Improve Your Website’s Design:
Back in the day, simply having a working website with basic details was enough. Today, however, a website needs much more than good looks and contact information. By far, the most important of these is having a responsive design. As more and more people are now using a variety of devices, such as smartphones and tablets, website designs need to be able to adapt to the size and dimension requirements of these devices. A marketing agency will always make sure that your website’s design is on point and remains that way.

It Will Help Your Business Rank Higher on Search Engines:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial aspect of any business trying to promote themselves online – and law firms are no exception to this rule. It is both a science and an art of optimizing your website in a way that it appears to naturally rank higher on search results. A marketing agency can fully justify this. They are fully aware of the various techniques that can be used to boost rankings, which will bring more visitors to your website – and eventually leads to your business.

It Will Help Create A Better User Experience:
Having a responsive design and SEO are undeniably great starters to having a high-functioning website, but the journey does not end there. While these can ensure that visitors get to your website, you need other elements that ensure that visitors stay there. This includes (but is not limited to) customer support systems, insightful blog content, automated messaging, and email systems.

It Will Help Build Credibility & Trust:
In order to be able to thrive as a law firm, your business needs to have a reputation of being credible and trustworthy. That can only happen when people know about your stellar performance when it comes to serving your customers. A marketing company fulfills this very gap. They know that simply bragging about your achievement won’t work – and that customers need to be able to connect before they opt to avail your services. Through their years of expertise and experience, they know to employ methods like referral programs, customer testimonials – both on the website and on third-party platforms such as Yelp.

It Will Help Keep Your Strategy Consistent:
If there is one thing about marketing, it is that most – if not all things keep changing with the times. SEO rules, social media algorithms or trends are never the same for a long period of time. What counts as a solid strategy at one point of time may be a redundant one not much later. A marketing company will prevent your business from hitting this wall by constantly staying on top of your firm’s marketing strategy and ensuring that it moves according to the current situation.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The End Of One Old Journey & New Beginnings With Google

 2021 has been an interesting year thus far. After the plethora of missed plans and stay-at-home orders courtesy the global coronavirus pandemic, and the volatility surrounding the presidential elections, the world is beginning to embrace its new normal. Google, too, is following suit – the technology super-giant is witnessing shifts in the company as some aspects of its operations are coming to an end while others are only beginning. Just as Google Payments chief Caesar Sengupta is bidding farewell from the company, Google itself is carrying on a large-scale expansion throughout the United States, which will inject more money into the economy, and of course, create thousands of new job opportunities.

Below, we shall dive into these changes in detail, and find out what they mean for the future of the company, and for the people themselves:

Caesar Sengupta exits Google Payments
In a news that has come as a shock to many – both within Google and beyond, Google Payments chief Caesar Sengupta has announced that he will be stepping down from his position on the 30th of April 2021 – after over 15 years of service to the company. The Singapore-based Sengupta explained in a LinkedIn post on how it was time for him to see if he could “ride without the training wheels” after having spent his time in Google’s highly innovative-yet-protective environment.

Throughout his tenure at Google, Sengupta has been a highly influential force and has brought forth key changes into the company. As part of his position as the vice-president and general manager of Google Payments, he has helped re-brand and launch the Google Pay app in the US, along with launching the app from scratch in several others, including Singapore and India. Google Pay is now one of the most popular platforms worldwide – boasting over 150 million users across 30 countries. He has also been known to be the key force behind several related initiatives which include (but is not limited to) the “Next Billion Users” and ChromeOS.

As of now, Sengupta is currently undecided on the kind of role he will be taking over going forward. Google too has not made any announcements thus far as to who will be taking over the reigns once Sengupta effectively steps down.

Google is Unveiling Its Big Expansion Plans
Google may be witnessing the end of an era with the resignation of Caesar Sengupta, but that is not stopping the tech giant from making further advancements to expand. As the workplace has been embracing a hybrid model of working (i.e., one which includes elements of both remote and in-office systems), the company is making a massive investment driving growth across the US.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently revealed in a company blog post that Google will be investing over $7 billion in an array of data centers and offices all over the country. He further explained that the main idea behind this move is to empower local communities and small-to-medium businesses, which can collectively drive a bigger and evenly distributed growth and help the US better in its path to economic recovery.

The move has 2 key takeaways – the first (and more obvious) one being the creation of new jobs. By investing from the basic level and giving small and local businesses more to work with, the company will help create thousands of new jobs, which means more employment and economic benefit for all. The chief executive has mentioned this as part of its post – adding how the move to invest will create “at least 10,000” new jobs.

The other takeaway clearly shows that the future of work is neither completely remote nor in-office, but rather a unique blend of the two. Google investing in offices in the first place proves that remote work shall not in fact be a one-and-done deal.

North Carolina’s New Engineering Hub
One of the expansion initiatives that are active right now is the one in North Carolina. Following the trend of tech companies moving away from the Silicon Valley, Google too is opening its own brand-new engineering hub in the Old North State. The hub’s main function will be to assist companies with cloud-based service-related requirements, which include remote collaboration and database management, among others.

The hub, which will call the city of Durham its home, will be specializing exclusively in Google Cloud Products and plans to become the top engineering hub for cloud services. The hub is currently in active recruitment mode and plans to employ at least 150 permanent employees within 2021 – a number that is slated to increase to 300 in 2022 and 500 in 2023. Their milestone is to have at least 1,000 employees working in the hub by 2023.

Google Antitrust Battle Expands as More States Join the Lawsuit
One of the biggest blows to Google in the last year has been the antitrust lawsuit filed against the company. Led by the state of Texas (which had originally filed it), the lawsuit was filed on the basis of governments witnessing the tech giant violating numerous federal antitrust laws to give its online advertising profits a major boost. Over the course of time, other states, too have joined the lawsuit.

In the recent months, Montana, Nevada, Alaska, and Florida have joined lawsuit. Furthermore, the territory of Puerto Rico has also joined the fight again the Alphabet company. Together, this brings the total number of states and territories joining the fight to 15.






Thursday, March 4, 2021

Facebook, Google and the Australian Law that will Change the Concept of Paid Media

The relationship between tech firms and the news world over the years has been quite an interesting one. While tech firms freely share content from news organizations in the name of promoting journalism (while making profits), said news organizations have protested the practice, citing unfairness in standards when it comes to dealing with bargaining rules.

While this has, on various occasions led to clashes between the two entities – and sometimes even those involving the law itself, not much has been done to actually repair the issue. The closest development that has ever happened is the deal Facebook recently made with news outlets in the UK (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/dec/01/facebook-to-pay-uk-media-millions-to-licence-news-stories) which requires the former to pay a certain annual sum to the latter in exchange for featuring their content.

The Australian government, however, seems to be on a path to change all of that. In what is being considered a landmark move worldwide, their parliament has passed a major law that will now require global tech powers to pay for any news content they feature on their platforms.

Known formally as the ‘News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code,’ the law has been passed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after an 18-month period of discussion and deliberation. According to the ACCC, the passing of the law has been the need of the hour, given the severe lack of balance of power between the two entities.

Up until now, tech platforms have been taking away the larger portions of revenue earned from ad spend involving original news content. Essentially, around 53% of revenue from all ad spend goes to Google, while 28% goes to Facebook. This leaves a mere 19% for all other parties involved. Media companies have further argued that it is beyond unfair for the companies to profit in this way from news and analyses that they have painstakingly put together – and offer them the least cut when it comes to profits.
The new media law essentially turns this concept upside down. Based upon the initiative of allowing journalists and news outlets to earn the funding they deserve, the law makes it mandatory for global technology platforms such as Facebook and Google to pay the news organizations for their content.

The law essentially regulates this through a set bargaining code that allows both parties to come to an agreement within a particular framework. In the event that they cannot reach any agreement even with the framework in place, an arbiter will be brought in to determine the “final offer arbitration.”

Both tech platforms and media companies are expected to fully abide by the code. The law explicitly states that either party found breaching the code – even if it is “based on good faith,” shall be punished by a fine equivalent to $10m or 10% of the company’s annual turnover – depending on which is larger.

Unsurprisingly, technology companies have not taken the news well. Both Facebook and Google have cited the law as unfair and have threatened the Australian government with suspending users from sharing news content and eliminating the search option respectively. Google even went on to publicly launch a campaign against ACCC’s code, calling it a major factor behind “breaking search. The only entity that has so far supported the initiative has been Microsoft. Though not yet subject to the code, they have shown positivity for the same, and have openly claimed that they would be happy to comply.

With the law now passed, the next steps include the ACCC’s treasurer reviewing the workings of the code for the upcoming 12-month period. The main goal behind this is to see to it that the purpose of passing the law – to ensure that news organizations are rightfully remunerated for their content – remains a reality.
 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Small Business Website Essentials

Ever wondered why some businesses end up generating more sales and revenue – despite their size, while others continue with mediocrity – even when they offer top-notch services? The answer is the website. In today’s day and age, where going digital is not an option but a necessity, it is not enough for any business to simply have a website – they must see to it that their website is optimized the right way i.e. it ticks the right boxes to be the most accessible as possible to its customers. 

For small business, having a proper-functioning website is even more essential. Websites that do not utilize the best of optimization to offer a good customer experience end up losing out on revenue and potential customers without even knowing it. And yet, we often get to see poorly made sites that lack copy, have bad design, or even fail to feature basic information. 

In such circumstances, one might ask “What does a small business website need to succeed?”
Below we explore ten essentials that any small business website must have to offer their visitors a great experience thus earning their business. 



#1 – A Simple Domain Name

When it comes to websites, the domain name is a very important part of the brand. As a small business, you must remember that the best brands are the ones that stay in people’s memories. The best practice here is to default to your company name, along with a “.com” domain address, or a “.org” domain address in case your business is a non-profit organization. Secondly, make sure to avoid using punctuations (such as hyphen and underscore), numbers, or heaving stylizing. Doing so would only  make it difficult for potential visitors to remember.


#2 – A Good Hosting Platform

One of the worst nightmares for any business is to have their online information compromised by hackers. Not only does it lead to data loss and logistical issues, it also promotes untrustworthiness among your customers, who would then think twice before even considering visiting your website. It is therefore imperative that you use a hosting platform that is safe, secure, and can block cyber-attacks.


#3 – Simple Navigation

A successfully designed website is one where the visitor can easily navigate through its various pages without getting the feeling of being lost in a sea of content. While it may sound very obvious, many websites do fail to incorporate the basic elements needed to create a good user experience. 

Must-haves to create an intuitive design include adding and/or combining colors that are easy on the eye, making sure the navigation bar remains at the top of the page regardless of the position (which is also called a ‘sticky navbar’), seeing to it that the navbar has the links to reach every important page in a single click, and finally, ensuring that the company logo on the navbar takes the user to the homepage.


#4 – A Concise and Clear Introduction

No one wants to visit a company’s website to conduct investigations on who they are and what they do. It is only sensible for companies looking to gain traction to clearly state the company’s purpose and range of activities.

For starters, the website should clearly state the name of the company, along with bullet points of all the products and/or services they offer right on the homepage. This will allow visitors to decide if they need to go further at a glance. This should be followed by the ‘About’ page, which should give a little background on the company, explain their “why” and elaborate on the elements mentioned in the homepage.


#5 – Knowledge of SEO Basics

In times when almost everyone utilizes searches to find what they are looking for, you need to make sure that your company comes up on top of the list. In the world of search engines, this can be achieved through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Basically, this refers to the practice of designing your website and its content in a way that it gets indexed higher for searchers looking for a company like yours.  

SEO best practices change with time and include both on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO elements include using the key words in correct positions, adding backlinks, and using high-grade multimedia, such as videos, images, and interactive staging. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, is more about the coding of the website, and the naming of the URLs and page titles.


#6 – Links to Social Media Pages

When it comes to the web, there are many places where your potential customers can engage and interact with your brand. Social media is one of the best place for this. Make sure that your website visitors know that you are active on social media by adding links to popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also go a step further and add widgets to your website. These show a small preview of your social media posts, which shows your engagement in the community.


#7 – Quality Content

For any small website to add value, having good quality content is a must. When someone visits your website, they are looking for something. Through your content, you can give them exactly what they are looking for, and even give them a reason to come back for more.

There are many ways you can go about it. For starters, make sure that your core content (i.e. the copy on your homepage and about pages) are on point. Next, you can build a body of content by adding relevant and authentic blog posts that centre around your industry and expertise. Last but not the least, you can add the occasional “content bonuses” such as eBooks and interactive quizzes. Make sure to update your content regularly and utilize the right short and long-form keywords for SEO.


#8 – Testimonials and Customer Reviews

Having trust is key when it comes to establishing a relationship with your prospects. When your prospects see other customers describing their experience of working with you, it makes your products and services more tangible to them. Adding reviews and testimonials from customers helps them relate to those who have already been in their shoes, which in turn helps in building trust.


#9 – A Clear Call to Action

No matter how many features you have on your website, at the end of the day you are here to sell your products and/or services. It is, therefore, essential to include a ‘call to action.’ You must keep in mind that the attention span of visitors is of all but a few seconds, and subtly reminding them by inviting them to reach out is a great way to remind them.

This can be done in many ways – by adding messages to reach out for a free quote, adding products to their shopping cart, signing up for exclusive offers, and even participating in seasonal sales. Make sure to highlight your suggestions by highlighting the texts or using special buttons or even animation.


#10 – Contact Information

Clearly stating your contact information on your website is an absolute must. Not only will they help your customer get the information to reach you, it will also help you rank higher for local SEO. Besides the dedicated contact page, you must feature your business’ address, phone and fax numbers, and email on every page. Make sure to add the email and phone number on top of the sticky nav-bar as well. 


 


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Apple vs. Facebook: The Privacy Policy Debate

Privacy is a tricky subject when it comes to navigating the digital world. On one hand, we want and appreciate getting personalized recommendations on our favorite streaming platform or shopping app. On the flip side, we are unable to show the exact appreciation for the ways through which companies procure this result. While we do understand that personalization requires being transparent with our information, the prospect of having our very personal data out there for companies who can use them with little recourse can be intimidating. 

Companies aren’t all that far away from the conflict either. Let’s take the case of Apple, a company that has long since helmed itself as the defender of users’ privacy. The tech giant’s CEO Tim Cook recently announced the company’s new privacy policy at the Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection conference in January 2021. Basically, the new policy will be enforced with the next Apple software update and will allow users to exercise full control over the companies that they allow to share their data with. Unlike other versions, however, this will be a mandatory requirement in the new updates.

This essentially puts an end to the woe of the “one-and-done” system of all apps having access to the same data and eliminates the need for any third-party apps to be transparent with their policies. Simply put, users will no longer need to worry about apps changing their policies.  

While this may seem like a breath of fresh air to users, other tech companies are not happy with this development. Leading the charge is Facebook, another tech giant that has long since helmed itself as the defender of medium and small businesses. Their app has been known to depend quite heavily on personalized advertising customers, much of which is admittedly dedicated to highlighting small and medium-sized businesses that utilize paid ads. And if Facebook’s 4th quarter earnings report for 2020 (https://investor.fb.com/investor-news/press-release-details/2021/Facebook-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2020-Results/default.aspx) is anything to go by, it is evidently clear that that they have a lot of revenue to earn as well.

Apple’s new policy, however, puts an end to all of that. When the user has the power to block apps from reading any data at all, platforms like Facebook cannot offer the same (or any) level of personalized experiences. Given as this prevents them from also representing said businesses on the same level means that the revenue stream will soon see a significant drop, which is never good news.

Facebook has not been shy to speak on the matter in public, putting in perspective the future plight of businesses, who will see a considerable decline in reach courtesy the new Apple privacy policy. Small businesses, who largely depend on these ads for exposure, will bear the biggest brunt of all.

Not only has Facebook issued their official statement on the matter on their own platform, they have also proceeded to print ads on leading daily newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Their aim behind it all is to show Apple that while the move may be coming from a good place, the effects might actually have the cons outweigh the pros.

While the exact date of these updates are yet to be announced, it is expected that they will roll out by the middle of 2021 at most. What happens to apps, and the companies and businesses behind them is something that we can only truly understand once it happens.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Start the New Year Off Right at Work

There are a few easy things people can do to help themselves and their teams start the New Year on the right note when returning to work.


2020 is now coming to an end. Reset is in the air. Offices big and small are shutting down for the holidays. Streets are abuzz with lights. Everyone is with family and friends, in a festive mood, celebrating and making resolutions to start the oncoming year with success.

Unfortunately, things are rarely that simple. Kicking off the new year on a good start requires more than making resolutions – one has to plan well to make sure that the transition from festivities to coming back to work is actually a good one. Here are some easy-to-accomplish tasks that will help you set yourself and your business up for success.

Things to Remember on New Years’ Eve:

Stay Away from Overindulgence

We get it. With the festivities going around, the desire to give in to taking “just a little more” of that favorite food, drink, or even time to celebrate goes up to an all time high. However, it is always good to dial a bit low than the limit, especially when the next day will be a working day. 

 

Plan the First Day of Return to Work in Advance

The first day back at work after a long period of holiday can be quite a handful. Having the smaller-yet-important decisions already made helps easing into the transition better. Before starting with the celebrations for the new year, make sure you have everything in order for your first day back. Pick an outfit, plan your meals, and set your morning alarm so that you can start your day on a high note.

Things to Remember on your First Day Back at Work in 2021:

Hydrate

Staying hydrated is always important, and even more so on your first day back. Make sure that you are having enough water as per your current requirement. It may happen that you will have to rehydrate more than usual, especially if you were engaged in festivities on the day before.


Change the Print

New year, new print. Just as the year 2020 is behind you, make sure that your prints and displays are too. Make sure to remove all of the outdated material and replace them with fresh, up-to-date ones from the get go. This includes old memos, notices, and of course, the calendar. Additionally, see to it that your brochures, signage and ads are all updated with the current year. 

 

Give Your Team a Warm Welcome Back

Having your team on board is essential – not just physically but also in spirit. Ensure that all your employees, regardless of their position and/or location feel welcomed and spirited as they step into their first day back as well. There are several ways you can go about this. For starters, send every one of your employees a New Year greetings email to show them your appreciation of their hard work. Other things you can do is throw a welcome back breakfast or lunch (which is admittedly more suitable for on-site employees), or give/send them a small gift as a token of appreciation (this works for both on-site and remote-working employees).


Look Ahead

Learning from the past, and its successes and mistakes is important. Dwelling on it, however, is definitely bad – both of business and for the health of you and your employees. Ensure that you do not repeat the errors you may have made in the previous year, but also be kind to yourself. You have a whole year ahead to yourself – beating yourself up over the past will only prevent you from embracing the future!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Google Outage Leaves Internet Users Stumped

 Did your Google services stop working, and refused to work even after you cleaned up you cache, rebooted your PC, checked your wiring, and even called your Internet Service Provider to find out if everything was alright with them? Well, it wasn’t you – this one time, it really was Google.

On Monday, the 14th of December,2020, most of Google’s services – including Google Classroom, Google Docs, Gmail, YouTube, and even Google assistant had rendered unresponsive to users, sending them a ‘503’ or a ‘502’ error instead. Both these numbers related to server failures – while 502 is a bad gateway error that indicated discrepancies between the origin and edge servers, 503 means that the server was unable to handle the request. Such messages were displayed on both of Google’s personal and business versions of its services. 


The sudden “disappearance” of Google’s services, which is said to power of 97% of internet users daily activities caused mass panic among people. Popular social media platforms, especially Twitter ran amok with frantic users discussing on why they couldn’t access even the most basic of Google services. Many of these users also reported problems with other services that relied on Google. This included smart gadgets such as Nest Hub, and third-party apps such as Pokemon Go.

Notably, despite the outage, Google core search engine continued to run without a glitch, as did the third-party advertisements. Furthermore, many users reported to having their Google services work if they used them on a desktop browser in incognito mode. If anything, this only added to the confusion.
It didn’t take long for Google to jump into the action, though. The tech giant did not hesitate to acknowledge the issues with its services, and within an hour of this had all of its issues resolved. Once the services were back to normal, Google added special notices on each of its services that had stopped working – in order to assure users that everything was indeed back to normal.

According to Google Cloud Services, the outage happened because of an error in their identity management process. Apparently, a glitch in their automated quota management system had considerably reduced Google servers’ ability to verify users’ identities, thus causing them to display the 503 error. The problem indeed intensified to a state where all of Google’s services had gone down.

Effects of the outage were felt worldwide. Top software status monitoring platform DownDetector showed that the issue hit users in most (if not all) countries in the world. Reports were seen everywhere – including (but not limited to) Australia, Japan, India, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Argentina, and of course, the United States, which was by far the worst hit of them all.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Update on COVID-19 Contact Tracing App from Google and Apple

A few months ago, we discussed about the revolutionary partnership between Google and Apple. Both of the rival tech giants signed up to make an app to make COVID-19 contact tracing a more effective and efficient process. 

Contact tracing apps are not new as a concept, but they tend to have very low download rates. Take, for example, the state of Virginia, whose contact tracing app launched earlier this year was downloaded by a grand total of 11% of the state’s population. Google and Apple’s partnership solves this problem as both are heavily used in the US (and worldwide), and the app will be downloaded with a simple system update.

After a period of over 8 months (the original announcement was made in April 2020), the app’s much-hyped launch in California is finally happening. Officially called ‘CA Notify’ the app uses the contact tracing API added to both Android and iOS platforms in May. In can run on Android 6.0 phones and above, and iOS 14.2 and above, along with Bluetooth Low Energy. 

 

Basically, the app takes Bluetooth signals and uses them to send and receiving anonymous “keys” between mobile phones that are within Bluetooth range of each other. That way, when someone has been Covid-19, all the need to do is enter their test result into the app. Those phones that exchanged “keys” within 6 feet (or 2 meters) of the patient’s phone will automatically be alerted.

Those fretting over privacy concerns can rest easy too. Not only is the app fully secure, it is also entirely opt-in. Plus, it does not personally identify the phone’s owners, or even use any of the location data. All the communication is done through the unique “keys” that are shared over Bluetooth.

Launching the contact app statewide makes California the largest state to adopt the built-in technology – in terms of population. The reception here appears to be warmer than most too, perhaps in part because the state is home to the HQs of both Google and Apple, in general is known to be tech-savvier than most.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has high hopes with the app and has even made a statement in public on how he expects the state to have much better adoption rates – given the level of familiarity. They were also specially promoted by Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai.

The US states that are currently using this technology include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, and District of Columbia.

Instead of having a single contact tracing app for the entire country, there is a basic app that is customized for each of the states that have decided to opt-in. The process starts with the state’s premier public health authority to sign up for the Exposure Notification API. The health authority will then create an Android app, and an iOS app tailor-made for their region that will support said notifications.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Preparing a Business for Winter Holidays

 Best practices for business during the end of year holiday season.

 

As the holidays draw closer, there is much preparation to be done. For business owners, there is a lot more to be considered and it is not always clear what needs to be accomplished during this time. Even some of the most basic aspects of business operations, such as announcing changes to hours, are commonly overlooked throughout this time of year. To help make winter holiday preparations for businesses less challenging, we have comprised a short list of best practices that may help your business be more successful than ever before.

Update Business Hours of Operations

Hanging a “Closed” sign on a business’ door will get the message across to anyone that tries to visit but, it will also be aggravating if it happens to contradict the business hours that are published online. This is especially true if the business is hospitality or retail. Now more than ever consumers check online to determine when a business is open. Misinformation may quickly lead them to seek out a competitor.

There are three main places where these updates should be applied online, at the very minimum. Those places being 1) the business website, 2) business profile on Google, and 3) Facebook. If you are a restaurant or caterer, you will also want to update any Yelp listings, if applicable. These are the most popular places people go to check when a business is open. Keeping them up-to-date is a fundamental part of managing a business and providing good customer service. If there are other websites or profiles where the hours changes can be applied then we highly encourage a business take the time to do so.

Create a Closing Checklist

Yes, that is right. We are essentially suggesting a checklist within a checklist but, bear with us a moment while we explain. Most if not all businesses, especially those with employees, have particular steps set out for closing time. These procedures maybe written out or just a mental checklist for the normal closers. However, during the holiday season it is common for vacations to be taken, shifts to be changed around and the business facilities to be unoccupied for longer periods than normal. Therefore, it is important to provide every employee with the steps that need to be done in order to safely and securely close up shop.

When making a checklist of closing procedures, a manager needs to make special considers for their type of business and facilities. Does the building or office need to be winterized for the 3-day Christmas weekend? Have all appliances been turned off and unplugged? Are security systems armed and doors locked? It is worth taking to time to make sure all that can be done is done right so you can enjoy your time away from work with a little less worry.

Share the Spirit of the Season

If you are able to give gifts, donations or simply thanks with festive celebrations, then why not share it with the world? Many people are pleased to see a company actively giving back. Whether a business owner is throwing a holiday party for staff at the office, passing out toys to less fortunate children or hosting a gala, it is worth a the extra effort to photograph the event and share it with the general public.

Do not feel bad if your business is not able to do much this year. Sharing what you have and your thankfulness is more than enough for people to appreciate. Allowing the true spirit of the season to shine through your business in any way possible not only helps to humanize the brand but also creates opportunities to reach and engage new audiences.

Some of the best tools to use to share these experiences are likely already at your fingertips. Many professional choose to post details to a blog or a page of their website designated for such occasions. Those posts are then shared across a business’ social media. When posting to social media, we recommend tagging any charities and partners you are working with to make an event happen. You may also want to create a Facebook event to increase participation and awareness if you are a main organizer.

Businesses that are current clients of Leads Online Marketing can make quick, easy work of this task by submitting a support ticket requesting posts to their website, blog and/or social media accounts. Just make sure to send us all necessary details and within 24-hours we will be sure it is published or scheduled to publish at a time you have designated.

Sales, Deals, Discounts and Clearance Events

A promotion is not much of a promotion if it is never properly promoted. Try saying that 3x fast. All joking aside, this is an all too common problem for small businesses. A business may have a sales event running but returning customers and potential customers have no way of knowing about it. There may be a physical sign in the store or a service person may mention it but this is not an efficient way to increase sales. Details of any sales and special offers are best published to the business website along with social media unless it is a highly exclusive offer.

For businesses that still utilize print advertisement, a high quality digital copy of all ads should be requested from the graphics designer and forward to the website developer for online publication. In most cases, a business is paying an advertising company to create the graphic (the ad image) in addition to the actual printing and distributions. So, many times the business holds the rights to reuse that graphic as seen fit including in use for online display ads.

These are just a few things that business owners, operators and managers should do to prepare for this time of year. The L.O.M. team understands that ever business is unique, which is why we offer customized marketing programs to meet your exact needs and budget. If you feel overwhelmed by trying to create or manage an online presence for your business, then we encourage you to give us a call to discuss how we can help your business stand out across the web.

We wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season and thank you for your support this year!

Now on to planning for 2021! 



Thursday, November 19, 2020

Fleets: Twitter’s New Feature Creating a Storm in the Social Media World

Among the many changes that characterize 2020, one of the biggest is the ones in social media features. With social media usage having skyrocketed, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, platforms are scrambling to get to the #1 position. Think Facebook’s redesign, TikTok taking the world by storm (even as lawsuits pile up), Instagram introducing ‘reels’ for short-form video, and LinkedIn introducing widespread live feature and stories. The latest wave is being created by Twitter with its ‘fleets’ rollout. Having rolled out in Japan in mid-November, the feature is now available all over the world on desktop, Android and iOS.

Much in line with the ‘stories’ feature available on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, fleets allow Twitter users to create “temporary” posts in the form of images, videos, and/or text. Fleets can be of 3 types. The first is text fleets, which is basically text on a plain or colored background. The second is photo/video fleets, where users can post both recorded and third-party media. The third type is share tweets. As the name suggests, this allows users to share their own tweets or those of others that catch their eye.

In a way, it is much like stories. Fleets appear on the top of the Twitter news feed (in both the app and desktop versions). Additionally, fleets can be live for only as long as 24-hours, after which they will automatically be deleted. Last but not the least, those with open messaging that have their story viewers send their reactions, and then continue the conversation in the private messaging area. What is not the same, however, is the purpose for which these fleets are designed. According to Joshua Harris and Sam Haveson, Twitter’s Design Director and Product Manager respectively, unlike stories, the point of fleets is to take the steam off of general news feeds. 

The inspiration for the feature itself comes from the mounting Twitter post drafts, which they believe are due to the pressure of making statements that will stick, and having to deal with public replies. With features, these Tweet drafts, which have been “left in the dark” will get exposure through fleets, where the amount of self-consciousness will be significantly lower.

Another important element that is wildly different from stories is that Twitter allows users to work on collaborative fleets, which allow two posters to have a single tweet. These appear in the form on twin bubbles, instead of the standard single-bubble display. This particular element, however, is only available in specific regions thus far.

So far, Fleets have appeared to serve their purpose. The feature has been especially popular among general users, with many having increased activity on the social media platform. Many “lurkers” and passive users are also being seen posting their own fleets, or at least sharing others’ tweets through them. Yet others have been seen reducing their regular posting and focusing on Fleets. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. New features often end up attracting a lot of attention at the cost of regular ones, especially in the beginning of the rollout phase.

As a feature, Fleets do seem to have a very promising future. While the number of functionalities are low at the moment, that is soon to change. Many new features, such as AR integration, stickers, colors and customization, will soon be available for users to unleash their creativity through.

 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Businesses Need a Good Web Presence to Survive a Pandemic

In this age of coronavirus pandemic, online presence management has become more crucial than ever before for small businesses.


The COVID-19 pandemic has completely turned the world upside-down. With a global toll of 33 million cases (and counting), and no definitive vaccine, intense lockdowns and quarantines have become more the norm than the exception. Homes and rooms have now become the center of activity for practically everyone – with people both living and working from home. The business world has borne the brunt of this impact as well – many a great company have withered and died in the multi-faceted chaos that the coronavirus has caused. It goes without saying that in situations such as these, having a subpar web presence is not an option for any business, let alone small businesses.

All said and done, it does not always have to be this dreary – especially if you are a small enterprise. Despite the uncertain times, the one decisive factor remains – with more people stuck in place, more and more people are spending time on the internet. For small businesses especially, this can be a distinct advantage. Large-scale businesses need premium solutions and wide-ranging campaigns to stay relevant and consistent with their customer base. Smaller ones, one the other hand, can start converting by amping up their online presence with the right combination of free solutions and constant involvement with customers and prospects.

Here are 5 ways in which in which small businesses can ensure they have a good web presence:

Take Advantage of Business Listings

Getting themselves listed in business directories is one of the first and best steps any small business can take towards building up their online presence. Some of the major directories serve multiple purposes. First and foremost, they help customers find key information about the store in one place. This includes the location, areas served, products and services, and contact information. Secondly, these listings also have reviews and rating scores provided by past customers, which gives businesses their much-needed authenticity. Last but not the least, the more listings a business has that are consistent with accurate information, the better it may be for their website ranking and Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) efforts.

Many business directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, Better Business Bureau and AngiesList offer basic services for free. Any small business can and should immediately take advantage of this by claiming their place (i.e. if they haven’t already). As a rule of thumb, owners should regularly check and update their business listings with relevant information such as description, business hours, location, email, phone number, and social media handles. Adding new images of the business and asking customers reviews on these listings is also highly recommended especially on Google.


Amp Up Your Social Media Strategy

Social media has already been the center of online activity for most, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more so. This is a prime opportunity for small businesses to reach out to and engage with potential customers through social media platforms. In the event that you don’t have dedicated company social media pages, getting started is easy and is completely free to begin with. That said, most business tend to have accounts on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram – this makes it a matter of keeping them populated.

Make sure that the social media pages are optimized for searching, have all the up-to-date business information, and a consistent supply of content. This can include website links (such as blog posts), business images and media (mainly videos), comments on current situations, and even interactive content such as giveaways and polls. If your product and/or service can be sold online, you can even integrate social shopping. Make sure to reply to comments and messages – this shows that you as a business are proactive and ready to engage with your followers – customer or not.

Make Sure You Have a Professional Website

In today’s day and age, a website practically functions as a business card. It will be a go-to resource for both current and prospective customers, making it critical for businesses to keep theirs completely up-to-date on all points. This can only be possible by having a professional website. Contrary to a standard website, which has basic design elements, supports basic texts and pictures, and has no SEO optimization, professional websites offer businesses the ability to add every feature they could possibly need.

Flexible in nature, professional websites support the latest and the best off-page, on-page and contextual SEO, which helps them rank higher on search engines -and helps the business stand out online. They can support any type of design aesthetic, along with interactive features such as photorealistic imaging, virtual tours, polls, contact forms. Last but not the least, you can also include the online sales of your products and/or services through these websites through ecommerce plugins and online ordering, both of which can be easily integrated here.

Be Proactive in Promoting Your Brand

Having a great professional website with adaptive design, engaging social media pages, and high-end features are definitely the best way to start when boosting your online presence, but people do need to know more about them. In a world of competition and abundance, the only way for a small business to make themselves known is by proactively promoting their brand. The best way to go about this is through paid advertising. This is a technique that allows businesses to improve their online presence by promoting their business on Google, top search engines and social media.

There are a few types of paid advertising. One of these is Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) – these are the advertisements that typically appear on the right side and top end of search engine results. As the name suggests, these charge by the click made by a prospect. Another great method is online display advertising. These are featured on the top, side, and bottom of various websites. Besides the obvious, these advertisement methods help businesses collect important data such as behavioral and contextual metrics, which in turn helps them streamline their online marketing and advertising better.

Improving your web presence may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The above-mentioned ways can help small business cement their place online, draw prospects and convert sales in the best way possible.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Few Things to Consider Before Building a Business Website

They say “organization is the key to success” and, without any organization we are unlikely to achieve our full potential. This has never been more true than it is now in our fast pace digitally driven world. Most business owners and directors, whether mindful of it or not, use this mantra every day. From the planning of the business and opening to daily operations and management, organization is important. In this article, we will discuss how organization plays a key role in building a business website.

There are a few things you need to figure out before jumping into the process of building an online presence. If you are having a hard time making a decision, contact your representative at Leads Online Marketing who will be happy to help you understand your options and make the best choice.



Business Branding

Branding is the way your business is perceived by others, and being consistent with the use of your brand will make it stronger.  Along with selecting a good logo, a business owner will want to determine the business’ personality and a color scheme. Consider what mood or tone you would want to convey to a potential customer with a first impression. Incorporate your final choices into your whole business plan and keep the branding consistent.

In addition to the brand personality and style, we also recommend writing out a slogan, mission statement, a general description of your company and team. This is not something to be kept to yourself in a file somewhere. Pass it along to your business website designer to be added as public content. Once that is done, any random individual should able to engage your brand and have a clear idea of what you do and what sets you apart from the rest.

Remember, your brand needs to remain uniform across its website, social media, and even in print.

Page Content

You will need more than a brand and about section to make a successful website. Any and all products and services offered should be discussed somewhere on the website. The more relevant quality content available the better. One reason for this being is that Google favors web pages with high standards of content. Also, and in some ways one in the same, users should be able to learn as much as they want about your company just be browsing the website.

It is not uncommon for users, also known as potential customers, to rule out hiring a company because they were dissatisfied with the website content. This can be due to a seemingly simple questions they could not find an answer to or a service not found listed, and that person is likely to hire the competitor with the website that was most useful. No need to worry about being a good writing. As long as you are able to provide a comprehensive list of service and/or products with as many details and resources as possible, our team of content writers should be able to put the information to good use on your site.

Text is not everything when it comes to webpage content as photographs and images are great attention grabbers and can help it stand out. Set yourself apart by provide plenty of visual references to products, on-site work, projects and even your team members.

Purpose

Is there another purpose to your website other than supporting your brand and promoting leads? Consider adding other useful sections to your website such as customer forms, appointment scheduling, instant price quotes, helpful links, or even E-commerce. Get a clear idea of what functions you want your website to perform, make a list, then call us to discuss how to make your ideas a reality.


Having these matters sorted out before building a business website can save you and your website builder precious time and resources needed to make your business successful. Leads Online Marketing makes the process easier by assigning you a personal representative who will continue to be available to address any questions or concerns even after your site is fully launched and ranking well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Google and Apple Team Up to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic

The year 2020 has been quite the tough year so far, courtesy the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease, which started from the spread of a novel coronavirus among a few locals in Wuhan in China, has now affected all but 15 countries, infected more than 20 million worldwide and caused the deaths of nearly 150,000. Included in the numbers are over 672,000 confirmed cases and more than 33,300 deaths within the United States. So, it seems sensible to find new and more effective ways to tracking and control the viruses spread. 


For months, we have seen more markets, factories and trade centers shut down. Many businesses have either stopped operating, shifted to online ordering, delivery and pick-up only, or a work-from-home model while millions of people have lost their jobs or taken cuts in their salaries – and all of this as most among the healthy remain confined to their own homes. Even with the virus peaking, the United States is preparing to loosen restrictions in order to get the economy stimulated again while still hoping to mitigate the spread of the virus. At such a critical time everyone should be following appropriate guidelines to try to ensure the health and safety of our communities but, as we know, this is not foolproof. And brings to light the importance of tracking person-to-person contacts when they do occur.

In an age when “social distancing” is the norm, the world got a new surprise when tech rivals Google and Apple announced a team up to create and launch a contact tracing system. The goal is to help the public and governments trace the activities of the people infected with COVID-19 and gather real-time data on the spread of COVID-19 while also alerting those that may have been exposed.

Contact tracing as a task is as straightforward as it sounds – it is set of processes followed in the event of the spread of various infectious diseases (such as the novel coronavirus) wherein epidemiologists and health care workers trace all the people the diseased had contact with. Once this location has been completed, the various persons in question are tested, and if required isolated so that they can be treated and do not end up spreading the disease further. The same process is repeated for each contact till no evidence of infection is found.

In the older years, this was extremely difficult, if not impossible – despite the fact that people did not travel at the pace at which they are now. Most notably used for measles, Ebola, and HIV, the process of contact tracing involved multiple phone calls and visits, along with long-drawn interviews. While the process is faster (and thanks to technology) simpler today, it still takes a few days at least to trace contacts for each patient. Wuhan in China seemed to have managed the situation with a team of 9,000 health workers who worked in teams of five. However, in other countries like Italy and United States, where the number of infected patients is much higher, hiring health workers exclusively for contact tracing is virtually impossible. The process is also tough in other economically challenged countries like those in Africa, South America and Asia, where resources are scarce to begin with.

Building upon these visible difficulties, the recommendations of various educational institutes and research bodies including (but not limited to) the University of Oxford and the European Data Protection Supervisor, and the success of similar contact tracing apps in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in countries like South Korea and Singapore, the app will maintain an automatic record of an individual’s whereabouts and contacts, and will constantly update areas that are most affected and most at-risk of developing the infection.

Such an app has some very key benefits to offer. Real time generated contact records will help health workers trace contacts without the drudgery of going through the process manually. This will help save vital time and bring in, test and treat the infected faster – preventing more deaths and infections. On the other hand, identification of hotspots and those generally at a higher risk will enable governments to enact proper testing and sanitization protocols, helping to curb the spread of the contagion.

With two tech giants working behind the project, no size or technical challenge will be too big. Given the fact that both Apple and Google have billions of users all over the planet, an app that works cross-platform unanimously will easily integrate into phones all over the world, irrespective of nationalities, languages and people’s lifestyle choices. So long as they have a smartphone, their movements can be traced. 

If this were a few months ago, when the novel coronavirus wasn’t as much in the picture, such an app would be an appalling idea, with people rolling their eyes on governments’ desire to take surveillance to an all-time high. But now, this more than a tolerable idea because it isn’t just the governments but people who need to know where and how they can move safely. A large portion of the world itself is currently under lockdown, and while that does seem to be working, it simply cannot be a permanent solution. Moreover, even when the curve gets flattened and the disease does get contained, there is always a chance of a second wave of outbreaks. An app that traces the movement of people is more than the best way to avoid another unwanted outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus – it is the need of the hour.



Help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus by maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 ft between yourself and others in public.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Your Guide to 5G

Among the various hot topics that currently rule news lines across the world the soon-to-be-commonplace 5G technology. A big leap from its predecessor – 4G – 5G, which is at least 20 times faster than the former, is already running pilot tests in major places all over the world and will be the norm in most countries by as soon as early 2020. The technology has a lot of press surrounding it – from being able to process at never before speeds and revolutionize the way we look at data processing to connecting the remotest of areas to the internet to possible health and environment concerns.

While we are yet to know how exactly the future of 5G will unfold, when it will reach different countries in the world, how it will change the way we work, and if there really are any considerable health concerns, it is imperative to know what 5G is and how it works.

What is 5G?

Short for ‘5th Generation,’ 5G is indeed the 5th generation of mobile internet connectivity that promises a more stable connection, faster processing speed, faster download and upload speeds and a level of connectivity that is much wider and broader than the current 4G. With 5G, you can bid adieu to buffering to the highest quality of videos and disruptions when you are sharing your videos – even in the most crowded of areas. And that, of course, is just the beginning. Carrying on from the analog cellular 1G, the TDMA, GSM and CDMA enabled 2G, the UMTS and HSPA 3G and of course the currently running LTE and WiMAX 4G, 5G will take internet speeds to hundreds of megabits, and not surprisingly even gigabits!

How will 5G affect service providers?

Almost all major communication service providers are currently running their 5G pilot programs, or at the very least have obtained their 5G licenses and are making their plans to take the best advantage this technology can offer. 5G will change the data landscape in a way that is similar to how 4G prioritized data plans and packages over phone call and SMS ones. With a much higher rate of efficiency, 5G will enable wireless devices to work at higher speeds, which will, in time, allow them to roll out new services and capabilities that were previously not possible. Of course, we are yet to see exactly what they may be and how they will affect each one of us individually.

Besides wireless technology, service providers using 5G-enabled fixed wireless access will also be providing a much better, never-seen before level of speed and connectivity, making businesses much more efficient and effective at their jobs and at budgeting.


How will 5G affect the world in general?

Whereas technology is concerned, the world is at a stage that was never before thought possible – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and IoT (Internet of Things) are no longer fantasies and theories but the present reality we all live in. Given the speed at which this technology is expanding, we sure enough will need infrastructure that is capable of sustaining them. That’s where 5G comes into the picture. With its exponentially higher capabilities, 5G will not only allow us to take advantage of the current technology, but it will also pave the way to make room for tech that is even more efficient and unlock opportunities that we never thought was possible before.

5G is bound to touch and revolutionize every industry it touches – be it media and entertainment, finance, banking, security or healthcare.

Will 4G be gone for good?

The interesting thing about 5G is that while the other Gs, upon their introduction essentially retired their older counterparts (think 2G memes in 2014), 4G will remain here to stay, even with the proliferation of 5G. First of all because 5G will initially only be used to boost the current Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks as most current devices are in fact not capable of supporting 5G in its proper form. With time, and spread of full compatible hardware, 5G will stand on its own as a service.

And yet, at the same time, advancement in 4G technology will continue to take place – and 4G itself is expected to reach up to speeds of 2 Gigabits per second – which is in fact what the Qualcomm X24 modem, built into most 2019-manufactured 4G smartphones, is capable of.


Leads Online Marketinglom_logo

Leads Online Marketing

5.0

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Best web marketing company I have delt with in the area.

Best web marketing company I have delt with in the area.

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Ricky and his crew are GREAT to work with. I had the pleasure of starting working with Ricky 45 years ago, and it has been problem free. 5 all the way

Ricky and his crew are GREAT to work with. I had the pleasure of starting working with Ricky 45 years ago, and it has been problem free. 5 all the way

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This company has helped my business grow since the very beginning We have 3 retail locations now and we are still growing. Results are transparent and easy to follow. Also would like to mention that you can view your reports or login to view your results as you go Been letting these guys do my advertising for over 4 years. Wouldn't go anywhere else

This company has helped my business grow since the very beginning We have 3 retail locations now and we are still growing. Results are transparent and easy to follow. Also would like to mention that you can view your reports or login to view your results as you go Been letting these guys do my advertising for over 4 years. Wouldn't go anywhere else

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I just started working with Leads Online Marketing although my company has been with them for several years. I'm already very impressed with Ricky and his team. I look forward to seeing where this partnership takes us.

I just started working with Leads Online Marketing although my company has been with them for several years. I'm already very impressed with Ricky and his team. I look forward to seeing where this partnership takes us.

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Ricky and his staff have been amazing to work with My company has really reaped the benefits of using Leads as our online marketing company.

Ricky and his staff have been amazing to work with My company has really reaped the benefits of using Leads as our online marketing company.

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Ricky and his staff have been amazing to work with My company has really reaped the benefits of using Leads as our online marketing company.

Ricky and his staff have been amazing to work with My company has really reaped the benefits of using Leads as our online marketing company.

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Last March I had an appointment with Lead Online Marketing. Thinking this was just another advertiser promising me the moon I still decided to sit down and talk with Ricky. To my pleasant surprise he was very up front about what he could and could not do. Many other marketers are disingenuous. Once deciding to go with Ricky and his team my website was on the first page of Google organically within 4 months and is now a mainstay there thanks to the great communication and effort from the 'tech' side of Leads online marketing Chris. Chris is great to work with and has done a fantastic job for us. In fact they have done so well for us last year I had them take over my PPC campaign. Last February we had 3 leads total for the month. Today is the 5th of February and I have 16 on schedule. We are coming up on 1 year with Leads Online Marketing and very pleased with my investment and how they are very responsive and courteous to us. Bottom line We are being found online by our customers and business is good Highly recommend

Last March I had an appointment with Lead Online Marketing. Thinking this was just another advertiser promising me the moon I still decided to sit down and talk with Ricky. To my pleasant surprise he was very up front about what he could and could not do. Many other marketers are disingenuous. Once deciding to go with Ricky and his team my website was on the first page of Google organically within 4 months and is now a mainstay there thanks to the great communication and effort from the 'tech' side of Leads online marketing Chris. Chris is great to work with and has done a fantastic job for us. In fact they have done so well for us last year I had them take over my PPC campaign. Last February we had 3 leads total for the month. Today is the 5th of February and I have 16 on schedule. We are coming up on 1 year with Leads Online Marketing and very pleased with my investment and how they are very responsive and courteous to us. Bottom line We are being found online by our customers and business is good Highly recommend

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The leads group has increased my business. Lots of people talk but few deliver like this group. Sit down with Rick and tell him what your short and long term goals are and they will put a plan together that really works. My customer base has increased almost 35 in the two years I have been with Leads and my only regret is not using them sooner..

The leads group has increased my business. Lots of people talk but few deliver like this group. Sit down with Rick and tell him what your short and long term goals are and they will put a plan together that really works. My customer base has increased almost 35 in the two years I have been with Leads and my only regret is not using them sooner..

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Exceptional team, with great resultsBest marketing group in CLT.

Exceptional team, with great resultsBest marketing group in CLT.

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Leads Online Marketing built our website and has been in charge of our internet marketing at Ballantyne Plastic Surgery for the past few years. They have far exceeded what any company has done for us in the past. Ricky and his staff are knowledgable, responsive to our questions, and honest. I highly recommend them.

Leads Online Marketing built our website and has been in charge of our internet marketing at Ballantyne Plastic Surgery for the past few years. They have far exceeded what any company has done for us in the past. Ricky and his staff are knowledgable, responsive to our questions, and honest. I highly recommend them.

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Ricky and his staff at Leads Online Marketing are some of the best people you will ever come across. I am so glad that I got introduced to Ricky almost a year ago. I was looking to do a website and just did not know who , where or what to trust. Luckily, I came across Ricky. His staff is always looking for ideas to help my business. Their web pages are A in design, simplicity, and getting the necessary traffic to your site. They are always on top of things. Whether it is info for your blog or just helpful reminders of social networking ideas. I would highly recommend Leads Online Marketing for all of your online needs.

Ricky and his staff at Leads Online Marketing are some of the best people you will ever come across. I am so glad that I got introduced to Ricky almost a year ago. I was looking to do a website and just did not know who , where or what to trust. Luckily, I came across Ricky. His staff is always looking for ideas to help my business. Their web pages are A in design, simplicity, and getting the necessary traffic to your site. They are always on top of things. Whether it is info for your blog or just helpful reminders of social networking ideas. I would highly recommend Leads Online Marketing for all of your online needs.

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Any business owner who experienced the startup process of launching a website knows how difficult the job is. Thankfully, a friend of mine recommended Leads Online Marketing in Charlotte. I hired them to handle the website design of our company. We had an ambitious design concept for our website, but I was very happy with the outcome. It was even more impressive that they managed to get the website working efficiently within the time frame we gave them. Most of the web designers we've worked with in the past always never completed the project on time, even the most skilled designers. Thus, it is definitely a bonus for us I would gladly recommend this company

Any business owner who experienced the startup process of launching a website knows how difficult the job is. Thankfully, a friend of mine recommended Leads Online Marketing in Charlotte. I hired them to handle the website design of our company. We had an ambitious design concept for our website, but I was very happy with the outcome. It was even more impressive that they managed to get the website working efficiently within the time frame we gave them. Most of the web designers we've worked with in the past always never completed the project on time, even the most skilled designers. Thus, it is definitely a bonus for us I would gladly recommend this company

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Owner operator Ricky is the best , I was always sceptical of these marketing company's and never would have thought of spending my hard earned money on these things until I met lRicky I have been harassed cold called emailed and down right irritated by so called company's that were going to build my business, but with leads I met with Ricky he showed me what he could do , spent a great deal of time with me at no charge and no pressure and left it as call me if your interested, no bull just straight up honesty , he has built me an incredible website , increased my business and at an extremely affordable price I have links and sites , even social media pages I didn't even know existed and the best part he's a regular guy , we talked business over a beer at the cigar bar right up the road, again no corporate bs just results , check him out you won't be disappointed

Owner operator Ricky is the best , I was always sceptical of these marketing company's and never would have thought of spending my hard earned money on these things until I met lRicky I have been harassed cold called emailed and down right irritated by so called company's that were going to build my business, but with leads I met with Ricky he showed me what he could do , spent a great deal of time with me at no charge and no pressure and left it as call me if your interested, no bull just straight up honesty , he has built me an incredible website , increased my business and at an extremely affordable price I have links and sites , even social media pages I didn't even know existed and the best part he's a regular guy , we talked business over a beer at the cigar bar right up the road, again no corporate bs just results , check him out you won't be disappointed

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Leads Online created an exceptional website for my company and the value has been staggering. Their continued efforts to drive our website traffic in a cost effective manner has produced significant measured results. They are highly responsive and help to keep my site fresh with content whenever the need arises. Leads Online is an excellent solution for small businesses looking for a true online presence.

Leads Online created an exceptional website for my company and the value has been staggering. Their continued efforts to drive our website traffic in a cost effective manner has produced significant measured results. They are highly responsive and help to keep my site fresh with content whenever the need arises. Leads Online is an excellent solution for small businesses looking for a true online presence.

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