SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

WeWork is buying Meetup

WeWork

 

WeWork has agreed to buy Meetup for an undisclosed amount, the coworking company announced. It’s a natural fit between WeWork, valued at $20 billion, and Meetup, a community platform with 35 million members that has hosted more than 300,000 “IRL” events (in real life), Mashable notes. WeWork has continued to rapidly expand its empire — including purchasing Lord & Taylor’s flagship New York store, opening a private kindergarten, and leading a $32 million investment in a women’s coworking space. Meetup will stay a standalone company for now, but will go on a hiring spree, per Wired.

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4 Reasons Small Businesses Fail at Local SEO

Local SEO is the wave of the future. People are glued to their mobile devices 24/7 and are looking for services near them more than ever. Those who are still stuck in the pre-mobile-first era are bound to be left behind unless they ramp up their local SEO efforts. Unfortunately, many small business owners have absolutely no clue how local SEO works and end up making mistakes that can set them back. Find some examples below:

Incorrect or Outdated Information

One of the most important things with local SEO is the consistency of your contact information. If your SEO Failinformation is all over the place and is inconsistent across platforms, your rankings will be affected. Make sure that you double check every outlet where your address is listed, whether it is a business directory, Facebook page and, of course, your Google My Business address.

Not Having a Google My Business Page

For those of us who are familiar with local SEO, we may take our Google My Business page for granted, but there are still a surprisingly high number of businesses who don’t have one setup. Whether it’s by ignorance, or simply because they don’t see the benefits of it, many business owners still are absent from Google’s business directory.

Others wrongfully believe that the information generated by local searches comes from their website. However, all listings in local results come from Google My Business page information. So, if you don’t have one, you have no chance to rank locally. You should create one immediately; it only takes a few minutes to complete. Just make sure that you don’t skip the verification at the end as it will be used to authenticate your address. 

No going the Extra Mile to get Reviews

Reviews are another crucial aspect of local search rankings. Sites at the top not only have more reviews on average, but also good reviews. If you have bad reviews, you’ll have no choice but to address recurring problems and commit to quality. Don’t be afraid to interact with negative posters and don’t make the mistake of coming off as defensive. Sincerely show that you’re listening to your customer's concerns and are ready to make some changes.

If you don’t have enough reviews, you’ll have to be more proactive in getting reviews from your clients. One of the great ways to get reviews is to add it as part of your packaging. For instance, if you’re in the restaurant business, something as simple as a message that prompts your visitors to review your restaurant on Google could make the world of difference.

Conclusion

Local SEO should play a central role in any marketing strategy. It’s one of the most effective marketing methods out there and is completely organic, allowing you to reap the benefits over time.

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ClearCenter Acquires Minebox IT Services GmbH

Clearcenter

 

ClearCenter to integrate Minebox blockchain-based decentralized technology with ClearOS open source Security, Cloud, Server, Network and Gateway IT management offerings

MADRID, Spain, OREM, Utah and VIENNA, Austria - (Nov. 30, 2017) - ClearCenter today announced that it has acquired Minebox IT Services GmbH in a move to round out ClearCenter’s Hybrid IT Linux-based IT management operating system, ClearOS. Minebox is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and today’s announcement was made at the HPE Discover 2017 show in Madrid, Spain. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Both Minebox and ClearCenter have existing partnerships with HPE and each have optimized their solutions for HPE’s new Gen10 line of ProLiant servers.

"The escalation of general interest in the blockchain has produced a spike in security concerns around protecting blockchains and associated technologies," said Michael Proper, ClearCenter Founder and CEO. "By integrating Minebox with ClearOS and ClearCenter’s Gateway.Management security layer, we will provide the most secure method to manage decentralized hybrid on-premises and cloud-based storage.”

Minebox is based on an open source decentralized cloud backend. It stores files locally like Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems do, but also keeps encrypted pieces of each file on multiple nodes around the world. This eliminates any single point of failure, ensures redundancy and offers the highest possible uptime. With Minebox, users hold the encryption keys and own their data. No outside entity can access or control a user’s files.

"ClearCenter is a perfect fit together with Minebox's employees and customers," said Vlado Petrushev, CEO and COO or Minebox. "By joining forces with ClearCenter, we will be able to support a larger audience, expand into new markets and build new products to serve data storage needs for the coming decades."

ClearCenter's ClearOS is a next-generation open source server operating system that includes critical gateway, network and cloud security features. It delivers a powerful Hybrid IT management solution with an elegant user interface that is completely web-based. A key service within ClearOS is the Gateway.Management security layer. ClearCenter plans for a tight integration with Gateway.Management and Minebox technology to aid in protection from ransomware, viruses, malware and IoT-targeting threats.

Gateway.Management uses full egress control and Machine Learning-based whitelisting. These features allow customers to protect networks, machines and users without expensive hardware, subscriptions, or labor costs.

"The one layer of security that consistently mitigates modern threats, even during zero-day periods, is egress control," said David Redekop, ClearCenter Security Architect and Gateway.Management creator. "From an endpoint device, this Zero-trust Model means that all outbound access is denied unless approved."

About ClearCenter
ClearCenter creates simple, secure and affordable products for managing Hybrid IT. ClearCenter's ClearOS is a Linux-based open source operating system for managing Cloud, Server, Network and Gateway layers. It is designed for homes, small-to-medium size businesses and distributed environments. ClearOS has more than 430,000 deployments serving more than 10.4 million users. It is available in multiple languages and being used in 154 countries around the globe today. Visit http://www.clearcenter.com for more information.

About Minebox IT Solutions GmbH
Minebox is building data storage, archiving and backup solutions using NAS computers, blockchain technology, peer to peer networks, public-key cryptography and open source, decentralized data storage systems. Visit http://minebox.io for more information.

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5 Digital Marketing Mistakes That Will Doom Your Business

Success for modern small businesses depends on the effective use of digital marketing channels. Unfortunately, many companies have failed, despite their effort to engage their online audience.

To help your company gain the most from online opportunities, learn about the following five digital marketing mistakes and use the tips that follow to help you avoid them.

1. Lack of Planning

Before you do any marketing, you should thoroughly understand your business and its mission. Afterward, you can plan your digital marketing strategy in a way that is consistent with the other parts of your operation.

By spending time understanding your goals, you can stay focused and avoid wasting resources on unnecessary and counterproductive activities. So, before moving forward take some basic steps:

  • Identify and understand your operational environment. This includes your customers, competitors, industry, and logistics.

  • Write down what you want to accomplish via digital marketing.
  • Break down your objectives so you know what you need to do with each of your marketing channels.

As soon as you have a plan, you can start promoting your brand.

2. Irrelevant Content

Companies that lose their focus face all-but-certain doom. Avoid that mistake by sticking with your marketing plan. As part of that focus, make sure that everything you either publish or post has relevance to your business.

Both poorly defining your market and creating low-quality content can contribute to a loss of focus. You can avoid these problems by first understanding your audience and then send the right messages.

As part of your effort, remember that relevance has much to do with channel selection and timing. Even the most valuable content will fall flat if you fail to get it to the right people when they most need it.

3. Focusing on Social Media Alone

Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter attract millions of daily users. For this reason, many companies make the mistake of focusing on social media and ignoring their website.

Without a website, your prospects and customers have no way to expand their knowledge of your brand and products. So, after reading your social media posts, people have nowhere else to go.

Rather than using social networks to replace your website, use them to funnel qualified traffic to your website. That way, people who want to learn more about your brand can click links that lead to your website.

4. Missing Out On Automation

Many growing companies fail to capitalize on their opportunities because the needs of customers exceed their support capabilities. Businesses in this predicament are doomed unless they embrace automation. Many never do.

When you use technology to perform repetitive tasks and distribute information, you expand the capabilities of your staff. As a result, you can control expenses while improving service. In other words, automation is a win-win option, so never ignore it.

In addition to reducing the number of manual actions required in your daily operation, automation can improve accuracy. After all, every time either you or your team manually enters data, you can make a mistake. Meanwhile, automated tools can without error repeatedly enter the same data all day, every day.

5. No Genuine Email Personalization

Email is a powerful weapon in your digital marketing arsenal, so make sure you use it properly. However, successful email marketing involves much more than sending out promotional notices.

Personalization can make a big difference with your email campaigns by tailoring your messages to individual recipients and audience segments. For starters, you should use an email tool that can insert first names into the text and mention the last products that recipients have bought.

In the end, email personalization gives you a chance to make your customer relationship data work for you. As you include more data points in your messages, you can expect to see more conversions. Additionally, every message you send should include new content.

Final Thoughts

Many companies before you have met their doom because of the above five marketing mistakes. Act now to plan your digital strategy and follow that action with relevant content and an effective website.

Furthermore, by using automation, you can boost your ability to support customers and create personalized email messages. Ultimately, these tips can lead to operational stability and long-term growth.

Author bio: Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. Connect with Ashley via Twitter.

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3 Mistakes People Make with Their Company Blog

While there are as many mistakes to make with your blog as there are bloggers out there, company blogs face a unique set of challenges. If you’re too technical, you lose your audience, while if you are too personal makes you compete with every other generic blogger. Here are three mistakes people make with their company blog.


“Press Releases Go Here, Too”
Posting press releases on the company blog is a mistake for several reasons. First, it gets hit with a duplicate content penalty. Second, no one wants toBlog Mistakes read a blog that consists of generic press releases. Third, you should have marketing channels to distribute press releases better suited to that type of content than posting it on your blog.


“I Posted Six Months Ago”
More than half of all blogs are started and essentially finished because they haven’t seen a new post in six months or more. No one will follow you on social media or follow your blog if you don’t post regularly. This is why many people who run out of ideas tap into guest bloggers, though you need to ensure that the content they post fits your intended brand image and doesn’t leak information you consider confidential. That said, you could let someone in another department share a story of life behind the scenes, do interviews with key personnel and essentially drum up content from other work groups to keep the content flowing.

Don’t forget the opportunity recycling old content creates, such as posting an old interview and then adding a follow-up section on what the person is doing now. Throwback Thursday and Wayback Wednesday are opportunities to post old advertisements and then talk about when you discontinued that product or service and the benefits of the later generation offerings available now.

“Oh, This Generic Post Is Good Enough”
Generic content fails for several reasons. First, it is boring. Second, it won’t stand out in a search for any key term. Third, no one is going to see any reason to share it, and you will lose high-quality backlinks to your site. Instead, look for tailored blog posts focused on a key search phrase or question. It is actually to your benefit to have different blog posts for each product model since you can post a different blog post each day. It is better to post several half-page blogs, each with a unique focus, rather than try to craft one long blog that addresses multiple topics.

If you don’t know what topics would work well for your audience, you can always work with a firm like Click Intelligence to identify the key search terms your customers are using but don’t find enough good content on, then create search engine optimized blog posts for those search terms. However, trying to optimize the blog for search engines too hard risks having it penalized as spam: that’s why it’s important to ask the experts.

Conclusion
Making simple mistakes like not blogging often enough or going too heavy on the marketing on the company blog loses your audience while insufficient hard information costs you your credibility. Try to stand out as much as you can - don't be afraid to rely on internal resources to diversify your blog posts and keep your content fresh.

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