Secure Your Business From Data Breaches

Identity theft is increasing on a global scale, with financial information and client records considered foundational data for cyber criminals that indulge in this practice, whether for strict financial gain or use in fraudulent transactions. The normal practice is that harvested data is used to create other accounts (such as bank, email or other) or indeed continue using existing accounts but changing passwords to prevent legitimate access.

Small to medium enterprises obviously store both financial and health information and are prime targets for hackers. In August 2014. These criminals do not care about your business information but focus more on your personal details such as date of birth, address, etc., using them for services or credit applications.

Australia has had its fair share of data breaches. In 2012, ransomware (software that locks down a computer until a ‘ransom’ is paid using an untraceable digital currency such as Bitcoin) was used to compromise the operations of a Gold Coast medical centre.

Luckily, with a little knowledge and some forward planning, you can protect your medical practice from most of these data breaches. I say most, as even large enterprises are successfully breached by highly skilled hackers on occasion and few servers can continue operation if thousands of hackers launch a simultaneous attack.

Read more

How Well Do Australians Protect Their Online Security and Privacy?

Ever seen your hipster mate on Facebook gush about how talented Justin Bieber is? We’ve often laughed at friends who’ve had their social account hacked as part of a harmless prank. But is this a symptom of a wider problem? Perhaps there are many of us who are leaving our social media accounts vulnerable to much more sinister attacks on our privacy and security.

Melbourne based SEO agency Optimising conducted a recent survey to attempt to find out how educated Aussies are when it comes to protecting their online social profiles. The team surveyed 853 adults across the country earlier in 2015 and asked respondents whether their profiles were public or private, if they’d had their data or personal information shared against their will, as well as their knowledge of some common privacy related technologies.

Read more

Data Security In The Age Of The Mobile Worker

The brave new world of increased mobility means work is an activity rather than a destination. Employees can work from anywhere in the world using mobile devices: they can even choose, manage, and use their own devices in many cases.

This carries enormous benefits to businesses as employees become more productive and available. However, it also creates risk because these devices and the data that resides on them may not be adequately secured, so sensitive company information may be compromised. Organisations must take measures to protect business information on mobile devices.

Using mobile devices comes with new concerns around securing and protecting company data, especially when it comes to storing and transmitting information. When employees use mobile devices, they often also use public cloud services like Google and Dropbox to store documents and information – and these are often beyond the visibility and control of the IT department. As a result, businesses need to consider ways to ensure maximum security for mobile workers that access, share and collaborate on work and documents over mobile devices.

Read more

How To Fix A Data Breach: Fast And For Good

The Australian Federal Government this week launched the annual Stay Smart Online Week. In conjunction they have released the Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide. Business owners can use this guide to ensure they are following safe online practices, and have sufficient security in place to protect sensitive data from a potential breach.

This comes at a time when businesses, organisations and government departments are increasingly being subject to data breaches on a regular basis. Yet in what is a growing concern, there appears to be little consensus about what entities should do once a breach is discovered.

Defining a data breach is an exercise in itself. At its core, it refers to an unauthorised access of information on a computer or network. Hacking is the most common example, however the guidelines below apply not just to data breaches but to instances of online bullying, defamation, threats and similar problems in the digital space.

So who should you call when you want to investigate a data breach? The straight answer is that it all depends on what you want to achieve.

Read more

Finding a balance between running your business and being a new mum

My husband and I run multiple ecommerce businesses, and as such, have everything from “mature” sites to brand new online stores that we’ve launched quite recently. It’s been quite a journey for us over the years, but last year we also decided that maybe it was time to throw a baby into the mix!

Of course, we had some idea that our life would change completely, everyone knows that right? But when our baby boy was born in May 2015, I really didn’t understand just how completely and utterly dependent he is on us. Much like our younger businesses really.

Fortunately, we spent the nine months of pregnancy relatively wisely. In hindsight, there was always more we could have done, but we spent much of that time focused more on developing systems and building our team than “chasing the next big thing”. This meant training people to do our customer support, shipping, web development, and marketing, so that we would be able to spend our limited time steering the ship, instead of rowing the boat.

Read more

6 ways to use your email signature to promote your project for free

It’s often hard to allocate resources in marketing, especially for small businesses. Spending a large portion of your marketing budget on a large campaign might lead to an expanded customer base, tons of new sales leads and increased brand awareness. Or it might not. Calculating return on investment is tough.

If you need to promote a new product, a webinar, event, or website, and you can find a way to boost your project on the cheap (or even for free!), then you’ll be ahead of the game. Email signatures are an often overlooked way to convey your marketing messages. Here are a few email signature tips and tricks you can use to do email marketing on a shoestring budget:

1. Include a link to the landing page

Hopefully you’ve set up a landing page for your project. If you haven’t, go and do that now! Landing pages are a great way to describe your project and gather email addresses for participants. If you include the link to your landing page as part of a well-designed banner in your signature, you can really you’re your reader’s attention. This way, even if you’re not emailing someone specifically about the new project, they can still access the necessary information if the banner sparks their interest.

Read more

Branded Emails – Market your business with every email you send

What if you can use the power of email broadcasting in every email you send out rather than in just one campaign?

Well now you can and it’s called branded emails.

Branded emails can be designed like the emails and e-newsletters you send out in your email marketing campaigns. They’ll be branded in your logo and colours, and contain high-impact graphics, images and links to your website and social media pages.

It’s easy to do. You don’t have to download any new software or install a new application. You send a branded email just like you would a regular email, using your normal email programs such as Outlook, Macmail, Gmail and so forth.

Why you need branded emails :

Your brand is a powerful asset. It represents who you are and what you do, and reflects the personality of your business.

Read more

Tips for Maximizing SEO on a Small Business Budget

Small businesses are becoming more visible these days as consumers actively search for them online. There are more opportunities than ever for small businesses to impact the local community and make a positive change in the economy. However, in order to take advantage of these opportunities, small businesses will need to step up their marketing game. Competition, especially in the digital marketing space, is now fiercer than ever.

While most businesses know they can benefit from an SEO company’s services, their marketing budgets may not be big enough to enable them to purchase an all-inclusive package with all the bells and whistles. Instead of giving up, these companies should do some groundwork to ensure they get the most out of their existing SEO campaigns.

Research your competitors

Small business owners often don’t have a very clear idea of who their direct competitors are. They also tend to be unfamiliar with the wants and needs of their target audience, and clueless as to what’s “trending” in their industries. In addition, business owners often develop tunnel vision and a single-minded focus on sales. This can be fatal in the online space.

Read more

Email Marketing For Small Business Owners

A staggering 69.7% of Internet users state email to be the preferred method of communication from businesses (eMarketer, 2015).  It’s clear that email is where your customers want to be reached.  And the customer is always right.

Email marketing is one of the most direct ways of contacting customers, and building and sustaining strong relationships with them.  Despite the overwhelming argument for email, small business owners still tend to shy away from the channel in favour of simpler, more familiar methods of communication such as Social Media and their website.

With 4,300% ROI – for ever $1 spent on email, businesses receive $4300 in return (ExactTarget, 2014) – email is significantly more effective than SEO, Direct Marketing and Social Marketing.

If you’re starting out with email, follow our easy steps to email success.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Define Your Strategy
Before you embark on this new marketing initiative, take a step back and work out what you’re trying to achieve from it.  Are you looking for leads? Sales? Regular communication with your customers?  Once you’ve got a clear direction in mind, you can use it to inform your overall email strategy.

What’s In it For Customers?

You’re going to get in touch with your customers more regularly, which can only be positive for your business.  But what’s in it for them? Why should they hand over their personal details to you? It’s important to define this right from the beginning.  If you don’t have anything valuable to offer, who’s going to bother to read it, let alone sign up.

Read more

Top 7 Email Marketing Latest Trends

Do you know what online marketing technique has the highest return on investment?

Since you have already read the title, you have probably guessed its email marketing.

Email marketing produces an average ROI of 4,300%, more than PPC advertising, social media marketing, direct marketing, or content marketing. It delivers the best performance when it comes to driving sales and it costs a lot less to implement than other strategies.

If you too want to use this direct and highly-effective marketing channel and get the most from it, you’ll need to do it the right way. This means providing value through your emails and gradually cultivating in your subscribers the desire to buy your product, as well as keeping up with the latest email marketing trends. Here’s our checklist:

1. Mobile optimisation

Optimising your website and email messages for mobile devices are a no-brainer – most people check email on their smartphones, and Australians spend an average of 2 hours on their smartphones every day. The transition of email from desktop to mobile devices won’t stop, and the emergence of wearable devices is yet another proof of this evolution.

On the other hand, mobile devices change subscriber behaviour, and marketers are having a harder time delivering messages that people open and read. Email browsers are becoming increasingly supersized and many experts are advising marketers to keep their subject lines under 35 characters so they are fully captured by mobile browsers.

Read more