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The Value in Letting your Employees Telecommute

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In the Seattle area, and most other metropolitan cities, it seems the commuter traffic gets worse every day. Some of us are lucky enough to live on a bus line or have access to a train, but many people don’t have those options. Even carpools and vanpools are getting backed up. To make matters worse, housing is becoming so ridiculously expensive, many workers are choosing to find more affordable options further away from the city.

According to the US Census Bureau, if you commute more than 50 miles to work, or if it takes 90 minutes or more each way, you are in a group of “mega commuters.” The Seattle area was ranked third after San Francisco and San Jose for the fastest-growing mega-commuter metro area in the US.

In a 2015 census, the average one-way commute in Seattle was 30 minutes. Imagine how much time you could gain if you weren’t stuck in traffic for an hour every work day? If you work Monday through Friday, that’s 5 hours a week, or 260 hours a year, or 10.5 days. You could sleep an extra hour, spend more time with your family, exercise, or watch one more show.

More and more companies, like ours, recognize the hassle of commuting, not to mention the waste of time. By allowing employees to telecommute, companies can reduce employee stress, retain valuable hard workers, and generally improve the quality of life for a lot of people. You might even see an increase in productivity.

Like with most things nowadays, we are not tied to one location. Thanks to the power of the Internet and virtual systems, we can connect on professional levels at home or on the go with almost the same efficiency as being at the office. This month we will cover things you need to consider when setting up remote offices, so your business can keep running smoothly and efficiently.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Advertising #B2B #VirtualOffice #RemoteOffice #Telecommuting

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5 Steps To Build Your Marketing Funnel

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1. Identify audience

Understanding who your target audience is will help you build a marketing funnel (read part 1) that drives people towards a conversion. Think about what solutions they’re seeking and how they’re searching for them. What are their interests? And what are some barriers that could keep them from moving down the funnel?

2. Enlist assets

Your business has assets that can be used in your marketing funnel to inform your audience about your company. Build a list that includes: your website, blog, newsletter, videos, graphics, free demos, coupon codes, and more; and identify which stage of your funnel each asset will be used.

3. Create content

After creating your asset list you may see some gaps in your funnel where there could be more information. This gives you an opportunity to create new or update existing content that can help fill in those gaps and add incentive for your audience to move towards taking an action. This could mean creating ‘How To’ videos, updating a piece of content that had high-traffic, or even hosting an event.

4. Generate traffic

You’ve identified your audience and you have all your assets ready to go, but what if you don’t have any traffic. Your next step is to generate traffic into the top of your funnel. You can do this through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay-per-Click), social media ads, influencer marketing, or having guest posts on your blog. There is no one way that will bring you the most traffic, test a few and remember that these things take time, don’t expect immediate results.

5. Convert leads

You’ve found your audience, built your asset list, and driven traffic into your funnel. Hopefully, by this stage, your audience is ready to take a desired action, but they may still need a final push. A lot of people drop off at this stage so try to figure out any barriers that might stop them. Answer FAQ in an email marketing campaign, give out coupon codes or discounts, and try to give incentives for them to convert. Once they've become a customer keep in contact and keep offering value and they’ll come back for more.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Advertising #MarketingFunnel #B2B #MarketingTips #OnlineMarketing

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What is a Marketing Funnel?

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You may call it by a different name: Sales funnel, Marketing funnel, or Conversion funnel. No matter what you call it, your business needs a funnel. So what is a marketing funnel?

Basically, a marketing funnel is the theoretical journey a person takes towards a purchase or action. The path from awareness to action is, in essence, the marketing funnel.

There are three main stages of any marketing funnel: top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU).

TOFU: Awareness

The top of the funnel must start with awareness. Unless you’re a household name brand, you have to get your business name or product out there. A person can’t become a customer without being aware of who you are and what you do. This is the largest part of the funnel; it’s not where you’ll make money, but it is where you get people to enter your funnel and begin nurturing leads.

You can do this through marketing campaigns, social media, blog posts, or events and trade shows. At this stage you want to focus on getting your name in front of as many eyes as you can. Once someone has entered your funnel you want to keep them there until they are ready to take some desired action, like a purchase.

MOFU: Evaluation or Consideration

The middle of the funnel is where you start to get more targeted in your approach. You have their attention and now you need to nurture them until they are ready to take an action. Provide them with value through free downloads, podcasts, email marketing, and educational resources like your company blog or YouTube channel.

Give them enough information and show them the benefits of your company or product. Your goal in the middle of the funnel should be to get them to the intent stage where they start to show interest in taking action.

BOFU: Conversion

The bottom of the funnel is the most important step. This is where people decide if they want to take action or not. This means the job’s not over; you still need to give them one last push in the right direction.

Some great ways to do this could be through coupon codes, free trials or demos of your product, showing them reviews, or inviting them to an event. This is the final bit of information or incentive they need to take a desired action. The bottom of the funnel is also where a lot of leads drop off. It could be because they weren’t nurtured enough and thus don't have the right mindset or enough information to take action.

Conclusion

Get people into your funnel with broad marketing strategies that focus on awareness and not so much on selling. Nurture your leads by offering value and information so they can research and discover the benefits of your company. Once they’re ready to take action, be there to give them the last nudge they need to pull the trigger!
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #B2B #Marketing #OnlineMarketing #Advertising #SmallBiz #SmallBusiness #MarketingFunnel #LeadGen

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Why Free Software Isn’t Always the Best Deal

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With so much free software available to us these days (such as anti-virus software, discussed in our previous blog), what’s the point in buying something more? Well, you might not be as satisfied with the freebie. Let’s go over some benefits of using purchased software:

Quality of the Software

Unfortunately, some free programs may not meet your needs or your quality expectations. If the software doesn’t provide what you need, it’s not worth the struggle to make it work. There are “must-haves” and “convenient-to-haves” when it comes to features and functions. Make a list of everything the software program provides, then determine if those functions are a must-have for your business or just a cool additional feature (you probably don’t need). This is a good method for comparing software programs, free or not, and determining what’s best for you.

Upgrades and Updates

Not all software programs need to be upgraded, but some, like anti-virus software, must have regular updates and upgrades in order for it to work properly. In that case, you may be required to purchase the software anyway. Sometimes software vendors hook customers with their free program so they can up-sell the necessary premium option later on. Something to keep in mind when researching your options and evaluating your software needs.

Technical Support

One of the biggest factors in the free versus purchased software debate is the technical support. You might get free software, but does it come with technical support when something goes wrong? If it doesn’t come with support, can you afford the risk? No computer hardware nor software is perfect, and you should expect it may come with issues and challenges from time to time. A purchased program that provides technical support is a good insurance policy for your business – and might prove less costly in the end.

Time is Money

Finally, your time is also money. Don’t let the glimmering bright lights surrounding “FREE” deter you from what your business actually needs. If free software works, that’s great. But if it doesn’t offer everything you need, is it worth your time and energy to make up for that?
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B #Software #FreeSoftware #AntiVirus #Malware #AntiVirusSoftware

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To Buy or Not to Buy Anti-Virus Software

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It used to be standard practice to purchase and install anti-virus software programs to protect our computers from getting infected by malware. Hopefully you’ve figured this out by now, but nowadays Windows and Mac OS already come with anti-virus software included – so no need to go in search of extra protection.

If you are a Mac user, Mac has built-in anti-malware protection on its operating system. For example, before you can open a file, your Mac will check it against a list of malware. Windows users have more virus and malware concerns than Mac users, but Windows today also comes with its own system called Windows Defender.

You can download free and paid third-party software programs we talked about for that extra layer of protection, but you should know Mac and Windows protection software offer virtually the same protection.

When malware or a virus is found, the anti-virus software programs update accordingly to catch and block them from infecting your system. The challenge is how fast they can update their system to be effective and stay safe from the malware that’s been identified.

Some argue that Windows Defender is not the most popular software when it comes to protection, but compared to its formative years when the operating system didn’t come with any anti-virus protection, we are in a much better place.

The best thing you can do is make sure your default protection programs are turned on and updated regularly. And beyond that, you simply need to be aware that there are malicious practices online, and to not click or open files unless you are absolutely sure it’s from a trusted source. See our previous blog on how to identify phishing scams for more information.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #AntiVirus #Malware #SmallBiz #B2B

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The Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop

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When we see touched up photos or flawless models on magazine covers, we joke about them being “photoshopped.” Photoshopped became a buzz word in the tech world just like “Google it” became the buzz phrase for finding something on the internet. It’s part of our everyday language now, because Adobe Photoshop used to be the go-to source to clean up your images. But if you’ve ever tried to use Adobe Photoshop yourself, you know it will cost you.

Adobe is now moving towards an annual plan instead of making people buy the license, and depending on the version with the bells and whistles you want, it can cost you from $10 to around $80 per month. But, if you just want to touch up photos, add a filter or text, you might check out other options.

For example, if you are using your iPhone to take photos, it already comes with simple tools to adjust your photos. You can watch our Youtube Channel, WatchPSPinc, to learn how to use these tools: https://youtu.be/NTne3Pi2m5A.

If you’re looking for a bigger program comparable to Photoshop, there are several choices to consider, one of them being GIMP. GIMP is one of the most popular Photoshop alternatives, and it’s free. It can add plug-ins to expand its offerings, and like Photoshop, you can work multiple layers and masks. The drawback is that the interface can be confusing to some, especially if you’re already accustomed to how things work in Photoshop.

You can find others like Photo Pos Pro and paint.NET. They both support layers, but our designers still recommend GIMP for its features and functions.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B

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The Alternatives to Microsoft Office

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I think most of us have some preconceived notions when it comes to buying a new computer. Unless you’re in a field of work that relies heavily on Mac, most people tend toward Microsoft Office compatible products. MS Office is a great choice, but it’s always good to know your options, and that’s just the kind of information we like to provide our clients.

In the coming articles, we’ll review some alternative business tools for you to consider – because it’s always good to have a choice, right?

If you are a Mac user, or considering a Mac, you have Apple’s iOffice, which is the equivalent to MS Office for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. iOffice programs are referred to as Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Let’s compare:

Pages
Pages is Apple’s equivalent of MS Word. Although the layout is different from Word, the basic features and functions are the same as Word. You can easily import from and export to a Word file format, so compatibility is not an issue. The biggest change is simply getting used to a new menu and buttons.

Numbers
Numbers is Apple’s equivalent of MS Excel. Although Numbers comes with a cleaner and simpler interface, the available functions and tools are much more limited. Excel is for power spreadsheet users who use more complex calculations, whereas Numbers provides simpler calculations and functions with a cleaner look.

Keynote
Keynote is Apple’s equivalent of MS PowerPoint. Although it’s nice to have all the preset templates from PowerPoint, Keynote does offer a very simple and easy interface to design presentations. You can embed and play timed animated slideshows like you can in PowerPoint. And like Pages and Numbers, Keynote has an import/export feature to and from PowerPoint.

- - -

There are other free office programs like Open Office – a discontinued open-source office suite, originally based on Sun Microsystems StarOffice. Your business may not need to make any changes, but if the time ever comes, it’s always good to consider your options.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B

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The Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls, Part 3

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Part 3: Amazon

Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon phones have lots of great built-in parental controls that make it easy to keep tabs on what your kids can and cannot use. With just a few clicks you can limit Internet access, allow specific content, change location-based services, and restrict in-app purchases. First head over to the settings tab.

Settings > Applications & Parental Controls > Tap Enable Parental Controls

From here you can restrict the following:

• Web browsing
• Email and calendars
• Social network sharing
• Camera
• Purchases from the content stores on your device (for example, the Amazon App store)
• Playing movies and TV shows from Prime Video
• Specific content types (for example, Music, Video, Books, or Apps)
• Wireless and mobile network connectivity
• Location-based services

Amazon Fire Stick:

The Amazon Fire stick is a great tool for watching your favorite shows and even browsing the Internet. You may not think about parental controls when it comes to your TV but kids can still download apps, make purchases, and surf the web. To get to the parental controls start at the home screen of your first stick.

Home > Scroll to Settings > Preferences (if you have a pin, enter it, if not go to amazon.com/pin to set one) > Parental Controls > Turn On

Once the parental controls are on you can add a pin for purchases, viewing restrictions, app downloads and usage, and changing your pin. Once you’re done with parental controls, go back to the settings menu.

Settings > My Account > Sync Amazon Content

For more information on parental controls for tablets, smart speakers, and e-readers go to Amazon device support.

Remember, parental controls help you police what your kids see and use on devices, but it does not replace your valuable knowledge and guidance. It never hurts to set expectations with your child on how to use a phone, TV, computer or tablet.

In case you missed it, check out these related articles:

Parental Controls for Android Users

Parental Controls for Apple IOS Users

#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #MobileApps #Apps #Applications #ParentalControls #InternetSecurity #IOS #SecuritySettings

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The Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls, Part 2

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Part 2: Android

The type of phone you have will ultimately determine how you approach parental control. This article will focus on Android users but if you have an Apple phone, see our previous blog. In general, Apple IOS devices have ‘less freedom’ because Apple restricts what developers can make on their platform. Android, on the other hand, allows third-party apps to be downloaded onto their phones, which introduces new restrictions you’ll need to implement. Here’s how…

User Accounts

The first step you can take on your Android device, especially if you share a device with your kids, is to create separate user accounts that have stricter restrictions. To create a new user account go to:

Settings > Users > Add New User

Once a new user account has been created you can go a bit further by uninstalling or disabling apps within settings:

Settings > Apps > All > Pick Apps to Uninstall > Click Uninstall

Play Store

You can block app downloads by going to:

Play Store > Settings > Parental Controls > Create Pin > Set Content Restrictions > Save

Within these settings you can also limit the age restrictions and purchases:

Play Store > Menu Options > Settings > Require Authentication for Purchases

Third Party Apps

Because Android allows third-party apps to be downloaded, users can customize their Android phones more than IOS users – but this freedom can be more dangerous. To block third-party apps from being downloaded go back to settings:

Settings > Security > Device Administration > Uncheck Unknown Sources
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #MobileApps #Apps #Applications #ParentalControls #InternetSecurity #IOS #SecuritySettings

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The Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls - Part 1 IOS

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Part 1: IOS

When it comes to the Internet and all of our connected devices it’s, important to understand the dangers that lay just a few clicks away. A study by Common Sense Media shows that kids ages 5 to 8 spend about 3 hours daily looking at screens. How can we protect our kids from the dangers looming on the Internet?

Before setting up any parental controls, probably the best action you can take is to sit down with your kids and talk about Internet safety. After that, you have some tools to limit what your kids can see.

Let’s start by breaking it down based on device/operating system. This week we’re looking at IOS (Apple).

IPhone (IOS):

Aside from third party apps designed to give parents control (a list of the best parental control apps 2018), there are a few ways you can limit your child's access on an iPhone.

Let’s start with restrictions:

Go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions

From here, you’ll enter a password that you will use to turn on and off these restrictions. (Make sure it’s not easy for your kids to guess.) The settings that follow will allow you to choose which apps you will “allow” as well as what content and ratings you will allow for things like movies and TV shows. In the same screen you can find privacy settings - pick and choose which apps you’ll allow location services, Bluetooth, ads, and contacts.

Now, let's go a step further.

You’ve set up restrictions on what you will and won’t allow your kids to see, but what about time limits? Or, what if you only want them to stay in one app?

Go to settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access

Guided access will allow you to keep your iPhone in a single app and set a time limit. Turn on Guided Access by clicking the grey slider bar, then click on passcode settings and set your passcode or enable touch ID. Now, exit settings and go to the app you want to use. Once inside the app, push the home button 3 times to activate guided access. When Guided Access opens, you’ll see an options button on the bottom left of your screen where you can set time limits and other restrictions. To end Guided Access you can either wait for the time to run out or you can push the home button 3 times and click end on the top left of the screen.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog as we continue to discuss parental controls in Windows for your computer.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #MobileApps #Apps #Applications #ParentalControls #InternetSecurity #IOS #SecuritySettings

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