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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tips for Going Virtual, Part 2 BY ALAN BLUME MARCH 24, 2012 • REPRINTS

 The days when organizations were more concerned with the façade of their buildings than their websites are coming to a close. Today, businesses large and small need to embrace web-marketing plans and inexpensive cloud-based solutions to optimize their efficiency and improve profitability.
6. Virtual employees and contractors.When you think about profit margins, think in terms of virtual employees and contractors. The more virtual your operation, the greater will be the benefit to your bottom line. Virtual employees can deliver services in a more flexible working environment. (Management of these types of employees and contractors needs to focus on measureable results.)
7. Outsource. Where and when possible, outsource non-critical operations. For example, if you are a smaller business, it’s easier and more cost-effective to host with a well-recognized hosting provider (such as 1and1 or GoDaddy) than to operate your own in-house server. Similarly, it may be less expensive to outsource marketing activities than to staff internally. Before hiring administrative personnel, consider outsourcing with a virtual assistant. (See above.)
8. Web marketing. If you’re thinking about attending a trade show or offering an onsite seminar, reassess your priorities and extend your budget by leveraging web marketing activities. Utilize e-marketing, social-media marketing, web seminars, case studies, blogs, SEO and other digital-marketing efforts as opposed to traditional marketing methods.
9. E-collateral. Use e-collateral rather than traditional print collateral. Printed collateral is expensive, difficult to distribute and challenging to measure the efficacy of. (Who actually received it? Read it? Did something with it?)
10. Video. Video is digital and virtual and ties in nicely with your virtual goals. Offering a message about your value proposition, a recorded webinar, Skype-recorded interview or even voiceover PowerPoint vlog will help extend your web marketing and virtual reach.
Businesses that leverage these tips can become more virtual, more efficient and more profitable. Focusing on web centric, reusable solutions improves the operational efficiency of any organization, regardless of size.
Alan Blume is an author, and as founder and CEO of StartUpSelling Inc., he works with small businesses on lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information, go towww.StartUpSelling.com

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