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What Are Your Users Really Thinking?

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2017 at 8:50 am

One of the most common business problems of all is that companies can’t read the minds of their customers (or their potential customers!). As technologically advanced as we are, we still haven’t quite gotten to the stage where we can do that particular trick.

With that particular restriction in mind, how is a company supposed to find out what people want to see in a particular product or service? Or what they think about their website? This isn’t information that it would simply be nice to have. For most businesses, this is utterly essential. Some seem to get by with some very good luck, always managing to please consumers with whatever they do. But most companies need to find out what people really think about both their company and the industry at large.

So we’re going to take a quick look at the ways in which you can find out more about what your userbase and your potential userbase are thinking.

 

Surveys

To some, this will seem like way too obvious an answer. But a lot of companies simply neglect to consider surveys – or, worse, they go about surveys in completely the wrong way!

Surveys are an essential part of general customer research, and they don’t always require people to answer questions specifically about your product or service. There are businesses out there that can help you locate such data about the industry at large. But when it comes specifically to your product or service, you have to be careful about the questions and answers you provide to users.

 

There are a lot of key questions you should ensure are asked in a given survey. And people will often take a long time thinking about the sorts of questions they’ll provide. But most companies won’t give nearly as much thought to the type of answers they expect consumers to give. Here’s a tip: simply giving people a five-point Likert scale that basically only allows users to answer by degrees of satisfaction. (‘Satisfied’, ‘somewhat satisfied’, ‘extremely dissatisfied’, etc.) You should consider using different language here. Allow answers to be more specific to the question, and use terms like ‘frustrated’, ‘delighted’, and ‘disappointed’.

Search engine optimization

A lot of people only think about SEO in terms of digital marketing – which, of course, is its primary functioning. But good SEO can actually provide you with a lot of information that is vital for your company.

Because SEO requires a lot of data, achieved through keyword research and analytics, you get a deeper understanding of what people are actually searching for. Think about it: every day, millions of people go online and actually spell out their “intents” – if you want to know what it is people are looking for, then search engines are the key because people literally type out what it is they’re looking for on them!

Working with an SEO company such as Excelsior Internet Marketing will help you get access to the kind of analytical data you need. Experts in the field have the knowledge and tools to find out what keywords are hot at any given time. This gives you access to a wealth of information when it comes to what users are looking for in a product or service. Plus, y’know, you also get all the Internet marketing benefits that come with SEO anyway.

 

Heat maps

Your website is how the vast majority of people who find out about your business first learn about it. It’s their introduction to what you do and how you do it. The difficult thing about designing a website is that, even with expert web designers helping you out, it’s difficult to tell exactly what it is that users end up paying most attention to on your webpages.

This is where heat maps come in handy. They provide you with a visualization of what your website users are actually clicking on and where their attention is most likely to be concentrated. This is represented with ‘heat indication’ – areas with a lot of clicks appear red, for instance. It also shows you how far users tend to scroll down on your webpages.

This can give you invaluable information when it comes to your website’s usability, too. Let;s say you find out that a lot of users are clicking on an area that doesn’t really do anything. Through surveying, you can then find out why they’re clicking in that area. It’s possible they’re expecting something to happen – for example, a social media sharing widget to appear. This is something you can then implement for increased usability and satisfaction.

User testing

At the end of the day, getting users to test your product, service, or website before general release is going to give you some of the best indications about the end experience possible. A lot of business owners tend to think that professional testers aren’t very good at representing the ‘end users’, because they have to take a professional mindset to the task. But testers are actually very likely to have opinions that match those of the end users.

You can get testing for pretty much anything. If you have a particular product, you can either hire a business to help you out with user testing, or you can contact critics who work in the field who would be able to give you a preliminary review (just make sure they’re willing to do this without publishing their thoughts on their blog or in a magazine!).

User testing of a website can also be accomplished on websites such as (wait for it…) UserTesting. You can even get videos of people using your website! Good services will also allow you to be in touch with the testers in question, which allows you both to work together to create something that’s more pleasant to use.

Search for yourself on social media

Sure, it doesn’t sound as professional as the other methods here. But just remember how honest people can be over social media when it comes to their experiences about a particular industry. Twitter, in particular, is one of the best ways to gauge general reactions about particular products and events.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Easy Ways To Cut Down The Cost Of Business Software In 2016

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2016 at 9:02 am

Download

Every business uses software in some form or another to carry out their day-to-day tasks. It doesn’t matter what type of operation you’re running – that software often carries a hefty price tag. It has the ability to drain your finances without you realizing it, but you’ll continue to pay over the odds due to its importance. There are some really simple ways of cutting down your software costs, though. Let’s look at a few of them now.

Open Source

Open source software is the type of software that anyone can download, modify and tinker to their heart’s content. Because of this, you’ll find that open source software is free for use, and there are some great choices out there. If your business isn’t so desperate for its 50th Microsoft Word license, why not use Apache OpenOffice? By browsing online, you’ll find all sorts of open source alternatives to some of the most expensive programs out there.

Entitlements

Free software is all well and good when you can get by with it, but that isn’t always possible. So, here’s another thing to look out for. Are you entitled to any software bundles that you aren’t making use of? For example, accountancy services might provide you with Sage access for a year. Real estate franchises might benefit from low-cost entitlements like CRM software, too. If you’re being given access to software and letting it go to waste, you’re throwing opportunities down the drain.

Freemium/Shareware

Freemium software allows you to be given access to certain elements without ever needing to pay. For example, AVG’s free offering provides limited antivirus support, but that’s more than enough for some companies! They do this in the hope that you’ll pay down the line, but it’s never forced upon you. Shareware often does try to force it upon you by putting timers on its trials. However, you’ll often be given 30 days to try all of the software’s features in advance of this.

Recycle Software Licenses

This requires the ability to be proactive. There are probably hundreds of laptops in use at your business, and they’re all packed with software. How many of those programs aren’t being used anymore? By recycling the licenses and keeping a detailed track of them, you can reuse them in the future. It saves the need for any extra spending on your part, potentially saving thousands through good organization.

Web Apps

In recent years, web apps have become much more common. Microsoft introduced Office Web Apps (now called Office Online), and Google did the same with Google Docs. Those are just two examples of thousands that are out there. Some require payment – some don’t. You’ll find that there are a lot of good, free options for certain tasks if you look around.

Keep in mind that torrenting software to keep it free is never a good idea. It’s a form of stealing, it could carry viruses, and it could put your business in serious jeopardy. No matter how tempting it might be, don’t stoop to this level.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Here’s How You Should Be Using Tech In Your Cafe Or Restaurant

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2016 at 8:27 am

coffee

You might think that IT and technology are reserved for offices and those working in modern industries. However, tech can really help your cafe or restaurant. All small business owners should be embracing new technologies, and that includes all you cafe and restaurant owners! Not sure how you can incorporate it into your business? Here are some useful ideas.

Take Card Payments

Many cafes and restaurants now accept credit card payments. This is great for customers who don’t want to walk around with a lot of cash on them. It’s also useful in case customers forget to withdraw any cash. But you can make card payments even easier for your customers if you get a portable credit card reader. Your waiters and waitresses can take this to your customer so that they can pay at their table. It’s perfect if you are very busy, as you won’t have people walking across your restaurant to a till all the time.

Portable Ordering System

Portable ordering systems are very beneficial to cafes and restaurants. Especially if they have just opened and are still training staff. The ordering systems mean you never need to write down orders on paper checks. There is nothing wrong with traditional paper checks, but they can easily go missing. If your waiting staff take orders on a modern system, it eliminates the risk of missing or incorrect orders.

Embrace Social Media

You will need to market your cafe or restaurant so that everyone knows about it. One of the best ways to do this in today’s tech-savvy world is to use social media. Create a Facebook or Twitter account for your business. Then share content with your followers and fans. Hopefully, a tweet or status will be shared by many different people, and your company will go viral! Another good idea is to run competitions on social media. This helps spread the word about your business and also attracts customers through your door.

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Use Your Website

Your website isn’t just a way for your potential customers to see your contact details. You should also use it to show off all your delicious food to persuade browsers. Make sure all your menus are on your website. You should also mention if some of your food is dairy or gluten-free and meets other special dietary requirements. If you don’t mention this information, people who follow special diets might be put off from visiting you.

Table Management Apps

Does your restaurant or cafe get very busy at times? The best way to handle all your customers if to download a table management app. This allows you to manage your bookings and plan where everyone can sit. If you have any walk-ins, your waiting staff can quickly check the app to see if there are any free tables. It saves them walking through the restaurant to check!

So, you can see that technology can be a great way to keep your services in your cafe and restaurant very efficient. It will also prevent your waiting staff making too many mistakes!

This post may contain affiliate links.