Some great examples of enterprise software vendors using the Cloud Based Software as a Service (SaaS) capability are Salesforce, INFOR, Oracle and Netsuite for CRM together with INFOR’s Marketing Resource Management (MRM) and Epiphany solutions.
So, for those of you who are not too familiar with the terms Cloud Computing Based Software as a Service (SaaS), here’s a little guide explaining the benefits of such a model.
As explained in earlier articles, in simple terms, cloud computing, often referred to as simply “the cloud,” is the delivery of on-demand computing resources, everything from applications to data centres over the Internet on a subscription pay-for-use basis. Cloud based applications or software as a service (SaaS) run on distant computers “in the cloud” that are owned and operated by others and that connect to users’ computers via the Internet and, usually, a web browser…..The cloud is definitely here to stay!
Software as a service (SaaS) is another method compared to a traditional standard software install within your business environment, the traditional method implying you the user are required to build the server, install all applications and fully configure the setup.
If you have adopted a SaaS model already, planning to or finding out more information, than you may know that using this model, users don’t pay for any software. In simple terms, it works like a hire or rental. You the users accessing systems online have the permissions to use it for a period of time and pay for the software that you are using.
Cloud Computing & Software as as Service (SaaS) Advantages are as follows:
1. The SaaS model offers significant benefits to customers and providers. Because they don’t have to host the software – and it’s updated automatically – customers enjoy on-demand application access with lower upfront and ongoing costs. Different from the traditional model, in SaaS the software (application) is already installed and configured.
2. Implementation is faster and switching costs lower. By giving customers and providers the flexibility to scale usage rapidly, SaaS helps customers become more agile.
3. SaaS providers benefit from a model with shorter release cycles, giving them greater flexibility to respond to customer needs.
4. Competitive pricing, shorter sales cycles and lower barriers to sales make SaaS easier to sell than traditional on-premise software.
5. With all users on the same (current) software release, providers don’t have the expense of supporting legacy software versions. Costs and effort associated with upgrades and new releases are lower than the traditional model.
Ready to Implement a Cloud Based Software as a Service (SaaS) Solution?
If you need any assistance and require my services to help consult, implement, test and launch your SaaS systems than please contact myself to discuss services for hire further.
This article brings everything together and I hope you find all articles useful to help kick start your affiliate empire. Here are some tips to ensure all your affiliate marketing content posts reach numerous social media channels with a click of your keyboard. Enabling you to share content across multiple platforms saving time, money and enabling a wider targeted audience reach.
Download www.Sharethis.com and Apply Social Media Sharing on all your Website pages
Visit www.Sharethis.com and setup your FREE code to add to your website / blog. When going through the on-screen instructions, select the social networks you wish your content to be distributed amongst. The most popular being Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn etc. See following example:
Download Hootsuite as a Social Media Management Tool
Download Hootsuite as a social media management tool to help you plan and broadcast your affiliate content and make sure all your Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts are linked to your dashboard, easy to setup once it’s installed! I thoroughly recommend going for the Pro version which allows you to add RSS feeds and bulk schedule affiliate messages a month in advance plus add x50 social media account to broadcast to! An excellent way to plan, create, manage and execute affiliate content across all social media channels in an instant. Saves you logging into each individual Facebook and Twitter account!
You can also utilize Hootsuite via your mobile and tablet devices 24/7!
Link all related Twitter Accounts to Facebook Fanpages
Go to www.facebook.com/twitter and make sure your relevant Twitter account is sync’d with your Facebook fanpage. By doing this you will allow all your Twitter followers to have access to your Facebook fanpage affiliate posts as all content uploaded to Facebook will automatically be fed through to your nominate Twitter account.
A great way to allow followers and potential buyers to comment, like, share and even re-tweet your affiliate content to 1,000’s of other like minded peole keen to take up your offer / proposition.
Google Alerts – Sign Up, its FREE
Google Alerts – Setting up Google alerts is a fantastic way to be informed of the latest news based on specific keywords you select e.g. your pet website may benefit from finding out about latest pet health and research allowing you to share this on a website blog followed by pet health food affiliate links!
You’ll need a Gmail email address to register for Google alerts and once you agree the frequency of the content i.e. once a day or 3+ times a day, you can immediately post these articles to your Facebook page and Twitter account in seconds! A great way to engage with your audience and provide informative up to date content that they can share with other pet lovers and spread your website content and its affiliate links. This is just one good source of information. Try to use your own and source others online!
Google Analytics – Sign Up, its FREE
A good way to track global analytics for your website is to utilise Google Analytics i.e. www.google.com/analytics. This is a is a FREE web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic on a global scale i.e. how many clicks per country and what devices used!
Facebook Fanpage Apps / Add Ins
Another great tip for all you affiliate marketers when posting content to your website(s) and social media networks! When developing your Facebook page, add extra tabs with links to specific products, webpages or actual affiliate links themselves. You can simply do this by searching for the ‘Woobox Custom Tab’ App in Facebook whilst in your Facebook page. Also accessible at: https://www.facebook.com/Woobox/app_195646697137509 You’ll be able to add a number of new tabs and sort them accordingly in terms of your preferred display order.
Together with posting content from your website to your Facebook page, users can access the content they want directly from your Facebook page as opposed to going to the website. A great little way of driving affiliate traffic and generating revenue. For example, If you had a Facebook page relating to Forex online trading, you could multiple call to action tabs each relating to different areas of trading i.e. Currency, Metals, Gold, Oil etc.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. If you need any assistance and require my services to help consult, implement, test and launch your affiliate marketing than please contact myself to discuss services for hire further. I am professionally accredited in Hootsuite Online Social Media and Digital Marketing.
We have to start with noting the importance of Facebook as a social media portal, the fact there are millions of people all over the work represented. A great opportunity for affiliate marketers to promote their offers to a specific audience given Facebook’s search capabilities.
Recent research has found that people spend on average 1-2 hours a day viewing Facebook account and related material on a their mobile and desktop devices! A staggering statistic in terms of marketing and exposure opportunity.
Lets get started…So you have set up website / blog and have begun creating and sharing content across all social media platforms especially using tools such aswww.hootsuite.com Not to mention already linking your Facebook page account to your Twitter account via www.facebook.com/twitter
Perhaps you want to manually post content to specific Facebook forums and community pages that have a huge loyal following. For example you have a new coupon code from your affiliate merchant and want to promote this to a targeted audience? Plus all other content you may want to promote.
The secret to Facebook Page Social Posting Buyer Targeting allows you to go into any targeted niche, create a Facebook page, build a massive targeted buyers list.
Step 1 – Create your Facebook page
To create a Facebook fan page:
Go to facebook.com/pages/create.
Click to choose a Page category.
Select a more specific category from the dropdown menu and fill out the required information.
Click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions.
Make sure you’re signed into your own account to begin with.
When creating your page, have in mind the name of the page and topic(s) plus subject matter you wish to focus on. Ensure that it is related to the affiliate material / posts you are determined to promote. For example if you have affiliate links for Internet dating, call your page Online Dating etc. The name will be dependant on the subject matter of your original website or blog. This Facebook fan page needs to be targeted to what you are promoting.
Make sure you create a Facebook that is appealing and user friendly i.e. use a clear and relevant image for the header, plus a nice image / icon to represent your page and subject matter. Also make sure you activate the ‘Like’ page button to gain followers and build a subscriber list online.
Congratulations, you have now finished creating your Facebook page and are ready to post affiliate content, links and supporting images with hash tags.
Step 2 – Link / Integrate your Facebook page to Twiiter and add as a social media network to your Hootsuite account
Prior to begin posting any affiliate offers / material, please ensure your Facebook page is linked to you’re your Twitter account i.e. got to www.facebook.com/twiiter to setup.
Additionally, when logging into www.Hootsuite.com ensure you add your Facebook page as a social media work stream as with your Twitter account and WordPress website / blog.
Step 3 – Create your very first Facebook fan page post.
When dealing with posts a great way to promote content is to keep it simple and to the point with key hash tags and an image. For example, if you were to promote a dating offer:
Step 4 – Search for Targeted Facebook fan and Community Pages
Quite simply, if you are in the business of dating, enter the keywords search terms in Facebook to identify any relevant groups / pages to post the above item for example.
Additionally, based on the affiliate merchant products / services you are promoting, try to think outside of the box in terms of related groups that may also benefit. For example, not just dating pages but also single men and women groups, romance and love related pages etc.
By focusing your relevant material to targeted niche groups you have a higher probability of generating more click-trough’s and repeat traffic back to your Facebook fan page as well as your website.
Another example may be you are promoting Travel and can further segment your offers / posts by type of travel e.g. Flights, Cruises, Tours etc. So targeting each individual segment with offers and relevant images with a call to action to Book Here! Making sure you use a good image representative of the offer.
A great example post I saw recently was placed in a Disney Facebook page. The poster had promoted a travel offer stipulating Disney World holidays and had a supporting image of plane that had been painted with Disney characters. Excellent execution!
Make sure that whatever you post / share on targeted niche Facebook pages, that this is also on your Facebook fanpage.
What is Twitter all about? Twitter a platform where users share their thoughts, news, information and jokes in 140 characters of text or less. Twitter makes global communication cheap and measurable. Profiles are usually public and anyone in the world can see what you write, unless you choose to make your profile private. Users “follow” each other in order to keep tabs on and communicate with specific people.
The first step is to understand and master the terminology. There are certain words and jargon inherent to Twitter that you may already have heard. These terms and their abbreviations are essential for understanding the Twitter network. Here we go!
Tweet: A 140-character message.
Retweet (RT): Re-sharing or giving credit to someone else’s tweet.
Feed: The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. It’s comprised of updates from users you follow.
Handle: Your username.
Mention (@): A way to reference another user by his username in a tweet (e.g. @michaeltantouri). Users are notified when @mentioned. It’s a way to conduct discussions with other users in a public realm.
Direct Message (DM): A private, 140-character message between two people. You can decide whether to accept a Direct Message from any Twitter user, or only from users you are following.You may only DM a user who follows you.
Hashtag (#): A way to represent a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (e.g. #android, #ebay) A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. You can also click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time — even from people you don’t follow.
In order to engage in conversation, you must introduce yourself. By creating a handle (see glossary above) you can quickly describe who you are. A handle is essentially your address or calling card, and is how people will interact with you and include you in conversation. Your profile pic, header image and bio should also reflect who you are.
Once you’ve selected your username e.g. @michaeltantouri, photo and bio, you need to seek out people to follow. You can find them in a few different ways.
Good advice is to follow your friends and people you know first. When you open your account, Twitter suggests random celebrities and other folks with thousands of followers. Therefore, following people you know will make your initial foray more worthwhile. You may also want to explore people your friends are following to naturally increase your Twitter perspective.
Now that you’ve been observing the updates and musings of those you follow, it’s time to join the conversation. You could try to send a 140-character observation into the ether and hope someone sees it, but there’s a better way to engage with people around your interests.
The next time you see a particularly fascinating tweet, click “reply” and add your two cents. Interacting with ordinary people is a great way to get the hang of the “@mention”
Interacting with ordinary people is a great way to get the hang of the “@mention” (just use the “@” sign before that person’s handle). Clicking “expand” or “view conversation” on a tweet will display all the responses that message received, including tweets from people you aren’t following. You can see when someone follows or @mentions you in the @Connect tab at the top of the page.
You might also notice a vertical blue line connecting some tweets. When two or more users you follow are involved in a conversation, Twitter automatically groups those messages together on your timeline, displayed chronologically from when the most recent tweet was sent. Up to three messages in the conversation will appear on your timeline, connected by the vertical line. If there are more than three messages in the conversation, click on any one to view the entire conversation.
Once you feel comfortable with these tools, it’s time to start interacting with more influential Twitter users. Twitter gives you the power to directly connect with government officials, celebrities and cultural movers and shakers. By @mentioning specific people, the odds that they see your conversation increase drastically. Who knows? They might even respond or retweet to their own personal audiences.
Another way to communicate with Twitter is through direct messaging (DM). The messages are private, between you and the receiver, but keep in mind what you say could still be leaked — so make sure whatever you send is something you’d feel comfortable having publicly posted.
Since the network’s debut, it was believed that a user had to be following you before you could send them a direct message. However, it was discovered in October 2013 that a feature in settings allowed users to choose whether they wanted to be able to receive messages from their followers, even if they didn’t follow them back.
To enable the feature, go to settings and look under the “Accounts” section, where you should see a check box marked “Receive direct messages from any follower.” At time of writing, the feature wasn’t available for everyone. We’ll update as more information becomes available.
Retweeting is a common way to share something interesting from someone you follow to your own set of followers. Pertinent information tends to spread virally via retweets. It’s important to remember that a retweet should be thought of as quoting someone or citing a source.
There are a couple of ways to retweet someone (see image below). You may choose to simply hit the retweet button that appears when you hover your mouse over someone else’s tweet. When you click this button, the tweet will be sent to your set of followers, using the original tweeter’s profile pic alongside a note that you have retweeted the post. Additionally, a small green icon will appear in the top-right corner of the tweet. This is illustrated in the top example of the picture below.
Another way of retweeting arose from the Twitter community itself. This way is a ever-so-slightly more labor intensive, but gives you the opportunity to comment on a tweet before you retweet it. Simply click to expand the tweet, copy and paste its text, and then create a new tweet by clicking the compose icon in the top-right of your profile page. Be sure to include the letters “RT” and the handle of the person who originally tweeted the information. (This is illustrated in the lower example in the picture below.) Notice that the tweet now appears in your timeline, with your profile pic and your comment before the original tweet.
Again, these are two ways to perform essentially the same action. It’s up to you to determine when it’s appropriate to include a comment in your RT.
Hashtags label and indicate the subject matter of certain conversations taking place on Twitter. The hashtag is represented by the number sign “#.” Putting one of these little symbols in front of a word or phrase indicates a subject you think is worth talking about. The words you use after the hashtag become searchable because Twitter tracks them. That is to say, if you click on a particular hashtag, you’ll be able to see all tweets that have also used that hashtag. It’s a grouping mechanism that allows you to get the general public’s sense about a specific topic or issue.
This is a very convenient way to drop in on subjects as broad as #GlutenFree or as focused as #GoGold. Feel free to create your own subjects — just make sure you don’t use any spaces between words in a hashtag. The #Discover tab at the top of the page will display content and hashtags that might interest you, based on your own tweets.
Twitter is all about what’s happening now. And let’s face it: Not a ton of interesting things happen at your desk. That’s why it’s important to keep up with Twitter while you’re on the go. Maybe you’ll snap an excellent photo with your smartphone. Maybe a brilliant tweet will pop into your head while you’re at the supermarket.
Twitter is available on both iOS and Android devices.
We suggest using the official Twitter app first. When you’re ready to try some advanced functionality, there are some great third-party apps..
Now that you’re up and running, focus on being yourself and crafting your online beat. When you start to situate yourself as an expert in a specific subject area (for example, in comedy or politics), you’ll notice that people will begin to follow you for advice and expertise. You may not know who they are, but that’s perfectly acceptable. Twitter isn’t about following people you already know; it’s about engaging interesting people from all over the world.
As you start building your “brand” on Twitter, think about why people are following or talking to you. Are you an expert in a particular industry? Are you opinionated? Funny? Do you share great news articles or interesting photos?
Be unique and true to your values and you’ll quickly become a valuable member of the Twitter community.
If you need any assistance and require my services to help consult, implement, test and launch your affiliate marketing than please contact myself to discuss services for hire further. I am professionally accredited in Hootsuite Online Social Media and Digital Marketing.
Thinking of getting a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System for your organisation? Go Cloud based with Salesforce..
After attending conferences and business networking events during the past few months it is clearly evident that many key business decision makers have no idea of the concept of CRM. Also, that prior to selecting any CRM system, I feel everyone needs to know what CRM actually stands for, together with the benefits CRM can bring to any organisation big or small!
So what does CRM actually mean? What is it?
Customer relationship management (CRM) relates to the strategies, practices and technologies that a company uses to manage, record and evaluate customer engagements to drive sales growth whilst building relationships with their customers and stakeholders.
Additionally, Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to strategies, practices and technologies that a company uses to analyze and review customer engagements, interactions and data during the customer sales and service lifecycle.
The ultimate outcome being to improve relationships with clients, all internal and external stakeholders that in turn helps to assist with long term client retention and driving sales growth.
How this is achieved is for CRM system to data capture and compile information about all clients and stakeholders across a number of different channels and contact points between client/stakeholder and company. For example, Business Information, Website, log of all contact activity i.e. phone, email, chatter, social media etc. For the service industry and customer-facing staff, CRM systems can provide a view of all clients in terms of their personal information, purchase history to date and potential buying preferences! No to forget their issues and concerns logged as cases with the company!
Given the above, quite simply, CRM software consolidates all your customer information together with supporting documents into a single CRM database, providing a ‘Single View of the Customer’ at any one point in time. This enables every business user to be able to easily access and manage it especially when you select a Cloud Based CRM system like Salesforce.
Additional key functions of CRM software also include recording a range of customer interactions be they email, social media, phone and other channels. Also, offering the capabilities of automating various workflow business processes e.g. Emails, Approvals, Tasks, Notifications etc.
Common Features of CRM Software Include:
Marketing automation: CRM tools with marketing automation capabilities can automate repetitive tasks to enhance marketing efforts to customers at different points in the lifecycle. For example, as leads come into the system, the system may automatically assign them to a particular salesperson and or send an email alert to the sales director with the goal of turning a sales lead into a full-fledged qualified opportunity and account as per the Salesforce CRM model.
Sales force automation: Also known as sales force management, sales force automation is meant to prevent duplicate efforts between a salesperson and a customer. A CRM system can help achieve this by automatically tracking all contact and follow-ups between both sides.
Geo-location technology, or location-based services: Some CRM systems have the technology that can create geographic marketing campaigns based on customers’ physical locations, sometimes integrating with popular location-based GPS apps. Geolocation technology can also be used as a networking or contact management tool in order to find sales prospects based on location.
The CRM Technology Market
Congratulations! You now all know the exact meaning of CRM. So I assume you’re asking yourselves which CRM system do I select for my business to succeed?
At present, the four main vendors of CRM systems that are able to provide excellent service and enhanced capabilities as follows: Salesforce.com, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle.
As an individual who is familiar with CRM and has worked with many CRM systems across the globe over a number of years, I can honestly say that both SAP and Oracle are not that intuitive, very un-user friendly, non customer centric and extremely technical in their nature. Microsoft Dynamics CRM was a slow entry and contender to the CRM world.
Whereas Salesforce, clearly have pioneered CRM worldwide in terms of their Cloud Based Offerings. I would strongly recommend Salesforce to any organization as a CRM system.
An annual analysis was undertaken in 2014 of how the best companies use Salesforce. With over 450 Salesforce customers surveyed, it produced the following. Here are some amazing facts and statistics regarding Salesforce and their monumental success to date, reasons why you should invest in them:
Forbes Magazine voted Salesforce in 2014 as the number 1 World’s Most Innovative Company
In 2012, to support new products and new clients, Salesforce hired an additional 2,500 employees alone, a staggering increase of 47%.
Forbes Magazine reported that Salesforce’s revenue stream was up to an estimated $3 billion in 2013 from $1 billion three years ago in 2010!
The Salesforce.com Foundation donates 1% of the company’s resources (defined as profit, equity, and employee time) to support organizations that are working to “make the world a better place
93% of Salesforce customers believe cloud computing is critical to accelerating innovation.
90% of Salesforce customers believe Salesforce is more valuable today than it was one year ago.
47% of Salesforce customers have a comprehensive Salesforce adoption strategy.
Salesforce user adoption and training contributes to 25% increase in Sales Pipeline
Salesforce user adoption and training contributes to 26% increase in Sales Win Rate
Salesforce user adoption and training contributes to 30% increase in Revenue
42% of Salesforce customers pay for employees to get Salesforce certified.
89% provide formal training to their admins and developers.
55% of marketers get Salesforce training
Data cleansing is the 2nd hottest app investment in the Salesforce AppExchange.
69% of Salesforce customers will increase their Salesforce budget.
84% believe customer engagement will overtake productivity as the primary driver of growth.
71% of sales customers want real-time customer information on their mobile device.
Other CRM system providers are less popular among businesses. And, they also tend to offer less capability and functionality. My advice to you all reading this? Go for a CRM system solution that you can grow with and develop over time.
A system that adapts to your business needs and processes. At the same time, providing you with multi channel / device capabilities etc.
Many people I have spoken to have said they don’t want to spend much money on CRM and yet, they always make the wrong choice based on low cost solutions. CRM is all about your business processes and how it can assist your organization in growing and developing. Ensuring all your stakeholders, be they internal / external including all customers are constantly connected 24/7 in order to build great long-term business relationships with your firm.
Salesforce Cloud Based CRM Software
As per the above, Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM system – also known as SaaS (software-as-a-service) or on-demand CRM. I’m sure most of us are now familiar with the Cloud Term.
Your Salesforce data is stored on an external, remote network that employees can access anytime; anywhere there is an Internet connection, sometimes with a third-party service provider overseeing installation and maintenance. The cloud’s quick, relatively easy deployment capabilities appeals to companies with limited technological expertise or resources.
I strongly recommend Salesforce’s cloud-based CRM as a more cost-effective option for your business. They will only charge by the user on a subscription basis and give the option of monthly or yearly payments, dependent on the level of licensing you choose.
Mobile CRM or the CRM applications built for smartphones and tablets is becoming a must-have for sales representatives and marketing professionals who want to access customer information and perform tasks when they are not physically in their offices. Once you implement Salesforce CRM, you have full access to the Salesforce1 mobile app that enables all users and stakeholders to have access to their database allowing real time updates 24/7 sync’d to your database.
Watch the Salesforce1 Video here!
Social CRM refers to businesses engaging with their customers directly through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media presents an open forum for customers to share experiences with a brand, whether they’re airing grievances or promoting products. Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides a single location for all your cross-channel content, enabling your brand to speak with one voice across all your digital channels, for a consistent experience throughout the 1:1 customer journey.
Watch the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Video here!
Watch the Salesforce Sales Cloud Video here!
Watch the Salesforce Service Cloud Video here!
Ready to Implement Salesforce?
If you need any assistance and require my services to help consult, implement, test and launch your CRM systems than please contact myself to discuss services for hire further.
About the Author
Michael achieved a Bachelors degree in Business Studies majoring in Marketing combined with a year’s work experience in an IT Hardware / Software environment. He started his experience as a Marketing Communications Executive in the Utilities Sector working with above and below the line marketing techniques.
He further developed his CRM, Internet, digital marketing and technology skill sets with additional consulting and corporate marketing assignments that also incorporated the implementation roll out and use of technology with a number of major CRM systems. This enabled Michael to become Oracle Certified as part of an Oracle Siebel implementation and soon to be Salesforce Certified. To date, he has managed to develop his skill set working with a range of ERP CRM Systems as well as combining this with a love of On-Line Digital Marketing and Media.
Having now moved to a consulting role, this has enabled him to work closely with a range of clients to understand and document their business requirements. In turn, enabling him to assist them in successfully implementing new CRM and Marketing systems. Away from the office, he shares a love of snowboarding together with the great outdoors! Most recently becoming a qualified diver and has already dived in some of the most glorious locations in Asia. Read Michael’s articles on LinkedIn.