5 Tips to Enhance Your Video Marketing Efforts

Video marketing is a hot ticket item right now.

In today’s fast-paced world, consumers are looking to attain information that is relevant, valuable, and fast – and video is an increasingly popular source that caters to the on-the-go lifestyle that consumers crave.

As users scroll through feeds and jump from website to website, videos are effective. They are what users seek, and when done correctly, can provide great value as an outlet to promote your brand and drive sales.

In fact, according to Forbes:

  • 59% of company decision makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions

Shooting video is easier than ever before, and is one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand forms of marketing out there.

To help with the impact of your video marketing efforts, here are some quick tips to consider:

 

1. Title and describe your video appropriately.

This is an important step, because a video’s title is typically what catches a user’s attention. Develop a video title that is relevant and descriptive, and use keywords that align with the purpose of your video to help catch search engines as they crawl.

 

2. Upload your video to popular video sharing sites, and encourage sharing.

Where can your videos be found? Upload your video to the most popular video sharing sites, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, of course, your website. Share your video to your audience by linking through your social channels and email blasts, and encourage your followers to share your video in your calls to action. When uploading, choose the option to allow others to embed your video and to share it – doing so will help to build your video fan base.

 

3. Keep it short and to-the-point.

Don’t bore your audience with a long video. The average person’s attention span isn’t long enough for a 5 or 6 minute video, so your video shouldn’t be any more than a couple of minutes. According to HubSpot, user’s aren’t willing to spend more than 2 minutes on a video, but it depends on the platform. Check out HubSpot’s breakdown of the ideal video lengths for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube here.

 

4. Utilize video branding.

Since people may not make it to the end of your video, you want to make sure your branding is throughout the video, as well as the beginning and end. If you decide to put your contact information only at the end of the video, your audience may never see it!

 

5. Don’t forget the content.

Relevant content is good for SEO, so use the script of your video as a page of html content. When you upload the video to your website, make sure it is on a landing page with relevant content to support it’s message, and optimize the video with appropriate keywords.

 

For more information on how World Synergy can help grow your business with Video Marketing, contact Alexzandra Weber at 440-349-4940 x692.

World Synergy Developers Volunteer at Cleveland GiveCamp 2017

In what has become a World Synergy tradition in recent years, members of our Applications team joined the more than 200 volunteers that come together the weekend of July 21-23, 2017 to build and develop applications and websites at Cleveland GiveCamp.

Cleveland GiveCamp is a weekend-long event where software developers, designers, database administrators, project managers and creative professionals donate their time to create software and web-based applications for non-profit organizations in the NE Ohio area. This year, two of our developers participated and committed to helping with the 20 projects that were attempted and completed to help grow 20 non-profits in Cleveland.

 

Learn more about our experience at Cleveland GiveCamp 2017:

Ross Ritchey – Senior Application Engineer

Ross’ fourth GiveCamp started a bit earlier than normal. Always looking for ways to help more – he volunteered to join “Team Y” – also known as the team that floats around from group to group to put out fires as needed.

As a part of Team Y, Ross’ journey started a few weeks prior to the actual GiveCamp weekend, as he worked with four team Project Managers during the preparations for the event in order to understand where various pain points might be arising.

During the GiveCamp weekend, Ross helped at least six teams get through fires, both small and large. Using his extensive experience to help with complicated form and payment processing setups, as well as work through sticky styling issues that some groups came up with, Ross helped to make sure teams had the resources they needed and became that resource when there wasn’t one available.

Team Y. (Ross: back, third from left)

Sean Shea – Junior Web Developer

For his third year at Cleveland GiveCamp, Sean worked on a website for Family Connections.

The mission of Family Connections is to “to strengthen families with young children.” To achieve this mission, they offer year-round, free, and low cost programs and services for families and children to learn and play together.

Family Connections overall goal was to simplify the information displayed on their website, while making it more kid-friendly and accessible. They also needed a way to more easily update their website – which was a static website that they updated with Dreamweaver. To this end, the team reworked their navigation, eliminated duplicate content, and condensed the content that was remaining. They also moved Family Connections to a new RWD WordPress template, which helps with making the site more manageable to update.

“Family Connections is pleased to announce the launch of our new website. With the new website, we hope to build up our mission to strengthen families with young children. This site is not only more usable, it provides our families valuable information on our family programs, how to get involved with Family Connections, and a new news section for regular updates.” – Family Connections (New Website brought to you by GiveCamp)

Team for Family Connections. (Sean: back, left)

Thank you to Cleveland GiveCamp and all volunteers for another successful year! World Synergy is proud to be Silver Sponsors for such a great cause.

 

Contact Us to learn more about how our team of developers and applications engineers can build a custom website or application built for your business needs.

Solution Gap Analysis: Your Solution to the Software Selection Process

Over the years, our team has found that nearly 90% of our customers ask for software selection help when choosing an ERP software.

Our customers know their business – but they don’t necessarily know how to pick the best software for their business. Nor should they be expected to.

The software selection process can be as overwhelming as the actual implementation of the software itself; and with all of the software options available and advertised, it’s not uncommon for us to hear from clients who are looking for advice.

Too often we meet with clients who share that they had software companies come in to meet with them, only to try and dazzle them with their shiny, supposedly-ground-breaking software, yet never fully address how the software fits the organization’s true needs.

Which is why our team of software selection experts use the approach of “Solution Gap Analysis” to help clients choose a software fit for their business.

Our approach to software selection digs into the core of what a business truly needs, and uses fact-based evidence to choose the appropriate solutions for individual businesses. We take the time to get to know our clients business from top to bottom so no information is missed, and by using a custom need-want matrix, we work to ensure the right software is chosen and implemented correctly the first time around.

 

The Solution Gap Analysis Process:

 

1. Identification of Current Business Processes.

Every process begins with a business process review. During this review, our team goes on-site to meet with stakeholders and department leaders to interview and shadow key users and roles of a client. This approach to “show me rather than tell me” of where a business stands allow us to learn the critical internal processes, operations, and future goals of the organization to fully understand how we can help. As we shadow, we record the sessions and screens used to allow for visual representations of before and after a software is implemented.

 

2. Determination of Need to Have, Nice to Have, and Wishlist.

As we gain a better understanding of the processes and roles of the business we are working with, we work with our clients to determine all that they are looking for in a software solution. We help them to discover three separate lists: what they need to have, what would be nice to have, and a wishlist of additional features that they could benefit from in a software solution. Building and defining these lists are a critical step in the software selection process, as they set the benchmark for what we then look for in a potential vendor.

 

3. Vendor Discovery and Matrix Comparison.

Upon outlining the need to have, nice to have, and wishlist lists, we identify a selection of relevant software vendors that we know and trust, and send the lists out for discovery. The selected vendors compare their software capabilities and provide feedback for how they can help meet the wants and needs outlined on our client’s list. 

When the vendors return their results on how they can meet our client’s lists of wants and needs, we then take the insight and combine the vendor’s capabilities and our client’s needs into a matrix and sample graph – outlining what the client needs vs. what the vendor can do. We outline a matrix and graph for each vendor, and then choose the first round of eligible vendors based on which ones come the closest to meeting our client’s needs.

Once the top vendors are identified, we sit down with our client and share the fact-based recommendations for who should be considered as a software vendor, based on their needs and vendor capabilities.

 

4. Vendor Demos.

From here, we schedule up to 5 demos with the chosen individual software vendors. Demos allow us to walk through each platform and ensure that the vendor proves they can do what they have claimed to meet the needs of our client, and the client can see how the software will work with their business processes. After the demos are completed, we work with our client to narrow down the vendor list based on how they can provide unique value and meet business needs compared to the other vendor contenders.

 

5. Software Selection.

The final step in the software selection process is to choose a software platform. Using the fact-based client need vs. vendor capability matrix along with software demos, our clients can make an educated and well-informed decision to choose the right software for their business.

Partnering with a team of software selection experts helps to make sure the Solution Gap Analysis Process runs successfully, and a strong ERP software is chosen. This entails the identification of current business processes, software wants and needs, research around vendors that fit business needs, the understanding of where vendors play in the market and how they scale, and proof that certain vendors can meet specific needs.

 

For more information on how our team of software selection experts can help your organization choose the best ERP software for your business, contact Steve Krisfalusy at 440.349.4940 x691.

4 Tips to Keep Your Passwords Strong and Your Information Safe

Keep Your Network and Data Safe with a Secure Password

Passwords play a large part in our everyday life. They keep our valuable information protected from outside wandering eyes and threats, and they allow us to safely trust using our technology devices. That is, if they are done right.

As the world continues to become more digital, our connected lifestyles make it so that we all have more online accounts than ever before. Creating a username and password for an account has become the norm, which also means more passwords to keep up with in order to access the accounts that drive our day to day lives.

With so many passwords to remember, it’s easy enough for consumers to take the easy route and use the same basic password for each account. However, with this comes the large risk of hacking, breaches, and stolen information.

We hear all the time to keep our devices and accounts secure with a strong password, but it doesn’t need to be difficult to do so.

To celebrate World Password Day, we’ve broken down 4 key tips to keep your gatekeepers effective, and your information secure.

 

1. Use a strong password.

Meaning, avoid using the #1 most used password ever: 123456. Not every password needs to be over the top and impossible to remember, but a solid password includes numbers, symbols, capital letters and lowercase letters, is at least 12 characters long, and is not a word derived straight from the dictionary. (Check out the world’s most popular passwords of 2016 here. Tip: avoid these!).

 

2. Use a different password on every site.

If you use the same password for every account you create, you are opening the door for hackers to access all of your accounts through just one. Don’t make their job so easy. Switch up your passwords for each account, and update them frequently.

 

3. Get a password manager.

With the amount of passwords to remember, a password manager will help keep you organized and will remove the hassle of remembering numerous passwords. Such programs log you into your favorite websites automatically using multi-factor authentication, and save you the headache of trying to log into a site when you can’t remember your password.

 

4. Utilize multi-factor authentication.

MFA’s are easy to set up and increasingly effective to keep your information protected. Common practices of using MFA’s include a fingerprint scan on your mobile device, or a code sent to your mobile phone. Such practices make accessing your account or device nearly impossible for outside threats – and the more factors you combine, the safer your accounts will be.

Password security needs to be top of mind for consumers who entrust their personal information with their online accounts and devices. Whether you’re creating a new account online, or trying to remember your password on a site, keep these password security tips in mind to ensure your personal data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

 

To learn more about how World Synergy can help keep you and your business protected from outside threats and hacks, contact Steve Krisfalusy at 440.349.4940 x691.

Cut Through the Noise: 7 Steps to an Effective Email Campaign

By 2019, there is expected to be a total of 246 billion emails sent and received per day.

The average business person sends and receives approximately 120 emails per day, and for any business executive, finding the time to keep up with emails can be challenging – and while important, a huge time suck.

The noise of email marketing is overwhelming in today’s marketplace. A one-time email effort is no longer effective, and if your email manages to avoid the recipients clutter or spam folder, the headline needs to be catchy and relevant in order to even consider being opened. So, what can be done to cut through all of the email marketing noise, in order to stand out in your recipient’s inbox?

 

Here are 7 things to keep in mind while creating your next email campaign:

 

1. Email Campaign Planning.

Having a well thought out plan will aid in the execution and follow up of any email marketing campaign.

  1. Identify your target audience. Who is your campaign targeting? Understanding your audience and their needs will help you create and deliver a relevant campaign that will likely engage your audience.
  2. Identify your objectives and goals. What is the purpose of these email efforts? Create awareness, drive more traffic, generate leads or sales, or improve customer relations? Defining and understanding your objectives and goals will help you in tailoring a campaign that is attractive to your target audience.

 

2. Personalization and Relevancy.

Use the information you gathered from your target audience to create a personalized and relevant campaign. Develop special offers for certain audiences, write compelling text for other audiences, or focus on certain areas of interests at the right time to drive success with your campaigns.

 

3. Catch the Subject Line.

The email subject is the first impression the recipient has to want to engage with your email. If they are not interested in the subject line – chances are they won’t take the time to open the email. The subject line should be catchy, relevant to the content, and give recipients a reason to want to open the email in the first place. Using the keywords ‘Free’ can trigger spam filters and deliver your message to the black hole of ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk Mail’ folders where they may never see the light of day.

 

4. Include Call to Actions.

What are they? Where are they? Make sure your calls to action are prominent, and if possible, try to have more than one. These calls to action should include a contact email or phone number, or drive to a landing page that is relevant to the text in the email. When creating a landing page keep in mind your objectives and goals that were determined when creating this email campaign in the first place.

 

5. Test, Test, TEST!

As the saying goes, you only have on first impression. Make sure your email campaign is tested for. Test the email yourself as well as other people to ensure the email works, there are no typos, and all links click through to the correct landing pages.

 

6. Monitor and Measure Results.

Understanding your results for a specific campaign can only help shape your next campaigns. By studying and analyzing your email campaign performance, you can use the insight to better improve for the next email.

 

7. Maintain a Clean and Relevant List.

Keep your list accurate and up to date by making sure you have a scrubbed list. Having a list that has accurate names and email adresses will only ensure the effectiveness and success of a campaign.

 

For more information on how World Synergy can help your business grow with email campaigns, contact Craig Boyd at 440-349-4940 x690.

5 Quick Online Safety and Privacy Tips

February 7th, 2017 marks National Safer Internet Day.

What better way to support the safe and positive use of digital technology than by brushing up on some online safety and privacy tips?

 

We have 5 easy things you can do to keep yourself, and your organization, safer on the internet:

1. Store your data offsite by considering cloud computing. The cloud will keep your data safe against all threats and costs that come with the risk of in-house storage, such as server meltdown or building damage.

2. Update your passwords frequently. Use a strong mix of letters, symbols, and numbers, and don’t use the same password across multiple platforms.

3. Never click on questionable links. If you come across a link or attachment in an unsolicited email or SMS, delete it immediately.

4. When on a mobile device, make sure your connection is securedYou can check to make sure your browsing securely by looking at the beginning of the URL; if “https://” is included – your connected to a secure network.

5. Add Firewall & Security Scanning to your hosted website. Keep up with security protection and website scanning with proactive protection to detect Layer 7 DDoS attacks, malicious attempts for access, and malware removal.

For company owners, another tip to keep your organization safe is to make sure your employees understand your Internet Policy. The more your employees are educated on the sensitivity of company information on laptops, phones and other devices, the more you’ll have a way of controlling and safeguarding that information.

 

For more information on how World Synergy can help keep you and your organization safe, contact us or give us a call at 440.349.4940.

Cost of IT Operation in a Small to Mid-Sized Business

Is your organization in a crunch for time, money, or resources?

Chances are, you are not paying close enough attention to supporting your IT systems. Maintaining a proactive and healthy IT support and services program helps your business leverage technology to run more efficiently and gives you the time to focus on what is important to growing your business – your customers, products, and well-being of employees.

What are the benefits of outsourcing your IT support in a small to mid-sized business?

We have a breakdown: Download our infographic here

 

For more information on how World Synergy can provide outsourced IT support for your small to mid-sized business, contact Steve Krisfalusy.

Have You Ever Wondered WHY We Split A Wishbone?

The term “tradition” is a familiar yet thought-provoking word.

Traditions are often something that people associate with others – whether it’s their friends or family, coworkers or peers. They bond groups together and provide a purpose for acting in a certain manner year over year.

If you think of the traditions that you participate in, have you ever considered the reasons behind WHY you hold on to such traditions, or WHY those traditions exist?

As the winter months draw near, the presence of holiday traditions becomes more and more abundant. While traditions may vary based on the culture of your surroundings, one that stands out as being a universal – yet a more modern American – tradition is the breaking of the wishbone at Thanksgiving.

The wishbone, otherwise known as the furcula of a turkey, is a bone that connects the birds head with its neck; similar to a human’s collarbone. The tradition holds that two people hold on to the turkey’s wishbone, make a wish, and then pull until it breaks; ultimately the person left with the larger half will have their wish come true.

The custom of snapping a turkey’s furcula into two came to the United States from the English, who got it from the Romans, who learned about the tradition from the ancient Italian civilization called the Etruscans. The Etruscans held a belief that turkeys were lucky and could predict the future, and would rely on them to interpret or solve pressing issues. When a turkey was killed, the furcula was laid out in the sun to dry so that it could be preserved and so people would still have access to the bird’s powers after eating it. After it dried out, people would pick up the bone, stroke it, and make a wish on it – hence why it’s modern name is the “wishbone.”

Legend holds that the reason behind snapping the wishbone into two began with the Romans and problems with supply and demand. There weren’t enough Turkeys to go around for everyone to make a wish on, so two people would wish on the same bone and then break it so that they could each keep a piece of their wish. The tradition then further twisted into who got the bigger piece, also got their wish.

What Are You Thankful For This Season?

The Holidays are right around the corner, and World Synergy is giving you something to be thankful for this season: peace of mind when it comes to protecting your network security.

According to a study presented at the International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks, small-business networks are attacked every 39 seconds by some type of hacker or malicious software.

This should scare you – no matter how small or large your business is. As hackers continue to battle to take over your network, you can’t afford to fight alone.

So what can you do this season to better protect your business? We have one answer: work with us. By working with our team of IT professionals, we put your security first and provide you with the following “techie” reasons that you can be thankful this holiday season:

 

You can say goodbye to cyber thieves.

Make sure your networks are covered to stop hackers from accessing valuable information. Having the proper firewall and office network security tools will prevent cyber hackers from getting their hands on your network.

 

You can put downtime in the past.

Hot fixes, patches, and security updates are items that when maintained, generally keep a network healthy and up and running. Cloud based remote management tools allow us to access your system from anywhere, meaning should downtime occur, we can get your network back up and running in no time.

 

You can be confident in your network backup plan.

If a disaster occurs, your business is at risk for being down for days if not weeks. Implementing a backup and disaster recovery solution can help prevent this risk as they virtually copy what is stored on your computers on a daily basis and store the information elsewhere. If you need to access what you thought was lost, we can simply restore what was most recently backed up – and you are back in business.

 

Want to feel thankful instead of frustrated with your computers this season? Claim your FREE Network Audit with World Synergy before November 30th, 2016 and we will send one of our Network Engineers to your office with no cost or future obligation.

Is Your Computer Network Ready for an Upgrade?

As technological advances continue to shape the world around us, your business needs to continue to keep up.

In order to effectively keep up, you need to plan ahead and take notice of the trends that are occurring in the present or are soon-to-occur in the future, so you can have a plan in place before it’s too late – and your left falling behind.

What is your organization’s plan for keeping up with technology changes over the next 6-12 months? As cloud computing becomes an increasingly popular – and nearly mandatory – practice for keeping your network security safe and protected, you should begin by implementing a plan for upgrading your office computer network.

The idea of upgrading your computer network may seem like a strenuous, costly, and complex process – but it doesn’t need to be.

By utilizing smart, efficient cloud computing technologies, we simplify IT for your company, and eliminate the need to purchase, install, and maintain complex and expensive IT systems in house.

In fact, we typically lower our clients IT upgrade and maintenance costs by 25% while simultaneously:

  • Eliminating or reducing system crashes, viruses, slowness, and other technical problems.
  • Providing instant disaster recovery, meaning you’ll never lose data due to a data-erasing disaster.
  • Delivering the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere at any time, from any device.

Begin preparing your organization for a better future by working with us. At no cost or obligation, we’ll come to your office and conduct a thorough review of your computer network, backups and technologies. From there, we’ll show you a simple, cost-effective plan for upgrading your network to the cloud versus the traditional on-premise server and network you currently have.

 

Claim your FREE Cloud Readiness Assessment with World Synergy today.