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From clip art to Comic Sans: These screenshots from 25 years ago show just how much the internet has changed

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  • A report from Morgan Stanley analysts in 1996 predicted the prevalence of the internet.
  • It said a person of intermediate web literacy was anyone who simply knew their own email address.
  • From clip art to Comic Sans, screenshots show how different the internet looks 25 years later.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Morgan Stanley tech analysts Mary Meeker and Chris DePuy knew the world was on the cusp of something big in 1996. They drafted a 323-page report expressing their high hopes for the internet, saying it could be "one of the hottest new markets to develop in years."

Looking back on the report now shows just how far the internet has come in 25 years.

For starters, the report shows how rare some now-common internet activities were in the past. Among 150 million estimated PC users around the globe, the authors estimated 23% had used email for work, 6% had used the web, and 5% had used an online service.

"We feel that e-mail, online/Web access may be ubiquitous for PC users within a decade," the authors wrote. "At a minimum, e-mail should become pervasive. So should Internet/Web access: E-mail is the 'killer application' of the Internet today, and browsing through information services the 'killer app' of tomorrow."

Another marker of the web's progress came from the authors' guide to the report for audiences of varying levels of internet literacy.

Meeker and DePuy defined a novice reader of the report as someone who had "never heard of Motley Fool, CNET, or Yahoo." An intermediate audience was just anyone who "knows [their] own email address."

Take a glimpse at the internet of yesteryear with these screenshots of websites from 25 years ago.

McDonald’s

an animated Ronald McDonald the clown and two animated McDonald's employees at the counter

Microsoft

the Microsoft website in 1996

AOL

a red sidebar on the left and paragraphs on the right of the AOL website in 1996

Blockbuster

the words video, music, books, news, and games on the Blockbuster website in 1996

Xerox

clip art of a film reel and giant question mark

Coca-Cola

various images on a yellow background on the Coca-Cola website in 1996

Amazon

a blue box in the corner of the Amazon website in 1996

Nokia

a picture of a landline phone and a table of contents on the Nokia website in 1996

Mercedes-Benz

animated cars and the Mercedes-Benz logo on a gray background

Sony

a digital table of contents on the Sony website in 1996

Almanac.com

farming tips on a yellow background on Almanac.com

Ebay

text about Ebay on the company's website in 1996

GAP

sweaters and ornaments on the GAP website in 1996

Comedy Central

the Comedy Central website in 1996

Intel

icons on the Intel website in 1996

Frito-Lay

colorful splotches on a white trapezoid that says Lay's at the center

American Express

icons on a sea foam green background on the Amex website in 1996

IBM

orange and purple blocks and the words "tis the season" on the IBM website in 1996

Yahoo

several rows of hyperlinks on the Yahoo website in 1996

MT V2

a blue background with pictures of people and M2 MTV logos

AltaVista

a red banner and search area on the AltaVista website in 1996

The Weather Channel

clouds and a digital table of contents on The Weather Channel's website in 1996

The White House

animated icons and descriptions on the White House website in 1996

Nintendo

several icons on a black background on the Nintendo website in 1996

Kodak

four panels of photos with the globe in the background

Pepsi

a green and black background with the words "Pepsi World" in the middle

MSN

paragraphs and a picture of grass and the sky on the MSN website in 1996

Netscape

several paragraphs on the Netscape website in 1996

Dell

color-coded text boxes and icons on the Dell website in 1996

Epic Games

a digital table of contents on the Epic Games website in 1996

MIT

hyperlinks on the MIT website in 1996

Disney

a blue wave and icons on The Disney Store's website in 1996

Microsoft Windows 95

an image of a pink birthday cake and several paragaphs on the Microsoft Windows 95 website

The X-Files

a black background with the words "The X-Files"

1996 Olympic Games

several icons and an image of people playing basketball on the 1996 Olympics website

HP

rows of hyperlinks and an image of trees amidst a sunrise on the HP website in 1996

Adobe

a calendar, yellow sidebars, and the words happy holidays on the Adobe website in 1996

FedEx

an animation of a box in motion on the FedEx website in 1996

UPS

a picture of a box, a baby, and the Olympics logo on the UPS website in 1996

Pizza Hut

the Pizza Hut logo and online order form from 1996

Toyota

an image of a car, several paragraphs, and the word Toyota on a yellow background

Adidas

a foot, a sock, and a red animated face

Hertz

several colorful stripes on the Hertz website in 1996

National Hockey League

pictures of hockey players on the NHL website in 1996

GeoCities

the GeoCities website in 1996
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Growing a Business

14 community management tips for meaningful connections with customers

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Community building blocks

The idea for sharing community management tips came to me about a year ago. That’s when I synced up with the GoDaddy Community team to host a webinar for small business owners. As hundreds of attendees rolled into the Zoom, I had a realization: “GoDaddy has a strong community.”

Behind every good brand and business, there’s a solid community of supporters, stakeholders, and sometimes, even haters.

But building a community and maintaining connections is one of the most misunderstood and least talked about topics within the small business world. For a business with fewer than five employees and a handful of customers, community building might seem like just another marketing tactic that is just out of reach.

To help small businesses build and manage an online community, I asked other business owners and marketers what community management tips they had for creating meaningful connections with customers.

14 community management tips to create meaningful customer connections

Given that creating and maintaining a strong community can help retain and attract customers, consider following these 14 community management tips:

  1. Be quick to address negative experiences
  2. Filter out spam
  3. Showcase success
  4. Send a postcard
  5. Get your customers involved in important decisions
  6. Bring Up topics that encourage engagement
  7. Provide talking points and engage with your community
  8. Engage regularly
  9. Be the face of your brand
  10. Choose a channel that works
  11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs
  12. Consider a brand ambassador program
  13. Reward loyalty
  14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

Read on to learn more.

1. Be quick to address negative experiences

A bad customer experience can quickly escalate to a brand reputation crisis, and the company’s response must be fast to revert the situation.

Monitoring social channel mentions is an easy way to keep an eye on conversations surrounding your brand and detect potential concerns.

Once a customer posts a comment that threatens your brand reputation, listen, honestly apologize and be willing to solve the issue in the best possible way. Your unsatisfied customer will feel appreciated and perhaps even become a brand advocate.

-Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.digital

2. Filter out spam

The most important thing you should be doing in regards to community management is interacting with your community, and you cannot do that properly if you have to work through a bunch of spam. There are many programs out there, even some within the different social media sites, that can filter out spam in your comments and messages so you can focus on addressing your community. Plus, getting rid of the spam and moderating harmful comments creates a better space for your community to contact you through.

-Jacob Dayan, Community Tax

3. Showcase success

Develop case studies from your successful community members. This is a practical way of propagating the core values of your online community and encouraging new users to join your community.

The more these members contribute to the community, the more impact these case studies have. You can start by creating basic reports to identify the members who are actively contributing high-quality content, assisting other members, and elevating the community.

-Hasan Farahani, Yocale

4. Send a postcard

postcard with other travel items

Many of my customers spend $15–$20K on medical care in Latin America. I send my customers handwritten postcards to remind them of their journey, thank them for their business, and to stay engaged while they recover from procedures like dental implants or plastic surgery.

The cost in time and money is very low, but a human touch in the healthcare space is increasingly rare.

-Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel

5. Get your customers involved in important decisions

Taking the time to follow up with your most active customers and getting their insights on important decisions makes them feel like their opinions are truly valued and cared for.

In the long run, this forges a strong connection between you and your audience that relies on more than simply a transaction.

An added benefit of doing this is that you may even get some eye-opening suggestions and creative ideas that could end up benefiting your business.

-Harry Morton, Lower Street 

6. Bring up topics that encourage engagement

Meaningful connections need to originate from a common source that offers a moment of relatability, which can further build brand trust. Social platforms offer numerous opportunities for these types of exchanges. When managing your social community, bring up topics that encourage engagement so you can connect on a level that goes beyond the basic company/customer relationship. In doing so, the consumer will feel more at ease to comment, ask questions and even provide more detailed feedback.

-Lindsay McCormick, Bite 

7. Provide talking points and engage with your community

It’s important to recognize that community management is an ongoing responsibility. If you want to see your community thrive, you must create opportunities for customers to voice their opinion, communicate with other community members and provide you with feedback. Finding success is contingent on your ability to encourage participation from users, so you must provide talking points and give them plenty of avenues to stay involved.

If you leave your community dormant without your administrative oversight, engagement will start to dwindle as fewer users initiate conversations and take part.

Communities rarely function autonomously, so be sure to play an active role as you connect with and safeguard your community.

This gives you a chance to speak with your customers on a personal level, helping you learn about their likes, dislikes, objections and pain points directly—all of which are crucial in building meaningful connections with customers.

-Mike Grossman, GoodHire

8. Engage regularly

The best community management tip is to engage regularly and don’t neglect questions or threads you didn’t start—even better if they aren’t getting a lot of feedback. If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to regularly interact with your customers, make sure you’re commenting often and have a badge next to your name letting them know you’re a moderator or part of the company. That will really cement that feeling of connection and letting members feel heard. Plus, we’ve found that a community manager can really breathe life into a topic by offering input and pushing it to the front of that community for more engagement.

-Sylvia Kang, Mira

9. Be the face of your brand

Revealing the human side of your brand is without a shadow of a doubt an efficient strategy to boost your customers’ connection. It conveys transparency and accountability, building a stronger human bond. Consumers tend to trust people more than a company, and showcasing real people will make you and your brand easier to remember and trust.

-Chiara Sternardi, Passport-photo.online

10. Choose a channel that works

social media apps on iphone

The best way to build an authentic community is to have everyone communicate using the same social media platform. Make that a crucial part of your strategy.

If it’s a professional audience that you’re going after, choose LinkedIn. If it’s a broader audience, use Facebook or Instagram. If it’s a young audience, try Snapchat or WhatsApp. If it’s a politically charged audience, maybe try Twitter.

YouTube is a great way to encourage people to watch videos that provide clear instructions on how a product or service works.

Users flock to YouTube for instructions on everything from how to change batteries on a device to playing scales on a guitar. The comment section can be useful for feedback purposes, and it also can be a way for customers to communicate with one another.

-Joel Jackson, Lifeforce

11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs

By creating audience and buyer personas based on different client categories, content marketers can create social content that speaks to people rather than just industries. Learn where your customers hang out online using your social media demographics. Then, narrow those results using audience research to help you define a specific audience and channel. You can then customize communications by researching the LinkedIn profiles of potential customers. Doing so will allow you to identify different stakeholders within the organization and determine their pain points. You can then create better content that addresses their challenges. But it’s all about finding an interesting angle for each segment.

Content that is too broad won’t result in authentic engagement with your followers.

Social media posts that offer helpful information are guaranteed to stand out in your clients’ feeds, resulting in more likes, shares and leads.

-Daniel Tejada, Straight Up Growth

12. Consider a brand ambassador program

A great way to create authentic connections with customers is with an acquisition and advocacy program like a brand ambassador program. For example, if a user can get five people to sign up for a service or product, they become an ambassador.

These brand ambassadors can help your business acquire new users. You can reward them with swag and access to special products or services … maybe even a special event!

-Jennifer Pieniazek, Resume Now

13. Reward loyalty

You can create meaningful connections by rewarding loyal customers to show how much you appreciate them. Just like any relationship, whether it’s personal or professional, people appreciate rewards. Show your customers that they matter and are top of mind in your decision-making. That’s how you create a stronger, more loyal customer base—one that will continue to pay attention for new initiatives and future rewards.

-Alyssa Berman-Waugh, Level Home, Inc.

14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

To create meaningful connections with customers, recognize and accept diversities within your community. Each of your customers will differ in terms of their culture, orientation, ability and life experience. It’s imperative that you celebrate these differences and welcome input from individuals of all walks of life as you advocate for equity and inclusivity. This will develop your community’s reputation and attract diverse groups in greater numbers.

Communities that cater to just one group of people almost always become echo chambers, creating a suboptimal environment for connections to form and important discussions to take place.

By listening, asking questions, and welcoming input from diverse groups of individuals, you’ll cement your community as a welcoming place for diversity and insight to flourish.

In doing so, your ability to build a rapport and create meaningful, lasting connections with your customers will blossom.

-Patrick Casey, Felix

The community management tips used in this article were gathered using Terkel.
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.



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Growing a Business

How Online Presence Makes Your Business More Trustworthy

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Have you ever made a dining decision based on a review you saw on the internet? You may have picked a product because it seemed “more trustworthy” online. It’s also a deal breaker if it isn’t handled correctly.

Customers are more inclined to believe in your company if it presents itself well on the internet. Whether a startup or a large corporation, your online appearance and behaviour matter to your consumers if you own an offline or online company.

Online presence

Why Should Your Business Go Online?

In addition to being available for your consumers, here are other reasons to consider your online presence.

It Improves Your Company’s Accessibility

When you don’t sell anything online, a solid online presence can help you make more money from the internet if you aren’t engaged on social media.

Before making a purchase, most consumers do internet research to learn more about the company and the goods. Being at the right place at the right time is simply good business.

It Takes Care of Your Marketing and Branding

An internet presence provides a steady supply of customers for your company. Customer feedback and social media participation may help boost purchases. It’s easier for consumers to identify your online presence with a website or social media account.

It May Boosts Your Company’s Credibility

Having an online presence is essential for your organisation to be taken seriously. A startup might have difficulty being accepted as a legitimate organisation in its early stages. It’s essential to have a strong internet presence before people take you seriously. It’s easier to get quick loans at gdayloans.com.au to expand your company.

It Aids in the Comprehension of Your Target Market

When you have an online presence, you can engage with your audience in a two-way conversation to get valuable feedback or evaluations. In addition, it helps you learn more about your prospective consumers and the things they’re looking for. If a restaurant uses polls on its Facebook page, it may determine which specials and goods are most popular with its patrons.

Businesswoman building an online presence

How Can You Evaluate and Enhance Your Company’s Web Presence?

Analysing your online reputation simply means monitoring what others say about you online. Then you make it work for you.

You can monitor and enhance your company’s online appearance by following these three steps.:

Monitor Mentions of Your Business

Monitoring your company’s internet mentions can help you track what’s being said about you and mitigate unfavourable publicity. This can also help you identify communication gaps.

Google Alerts can help you track online references of your company. Set up notifications for your business/product name and relevant keywords, and you’ll be alerted promptly whenever you’re mentioned anyplace online.

Analyse Your Website Traffic

The source of your traffic (and how much) might assist you in evaluating your internet presence. It may be necessary to expand your internet activities beyond your website. For example, low social media traffic might imply a poor social presence.

Tracking your website’s traffic with Google Analytics might reveal secret traffic sources that your Google search may have overlooked. It will also help you find unnoticed remarks or backlinks.

Assess Your Social Media Engagement

Your social media presence affects your online reputation as well. Active consumers on your social media platforms help build trust and confidence.

Consider checking a company’s and a competitor’s Facebook accounts. You may observe that one firm interacts with clients while the other has a few likes but no comments. Which do you prefer?

Social media presence for startup

Bottom Line

An active social media presence gives the impression of reliability while also conveying a sense of humanity and authenticity. Your audience will be more engaged as your social media presence improves.

To keep up with your target audience, you need to be one step ahead of them online. The first step is to become well-versed in everything your consumers discover about your company through the internet. Your internet presence must be understood, monitored, and improved to reach this goal.

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Growing a Business

Ways to Market Your Tech Company

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Tech companies need to make a name for themselves and stand out from the competition. This is no easy task, as there are many different ways to market a tech company. It’s essential to find the right strategy that will work best for your consumer tech PR needs.

This article will explore some of the most important ways to market a tech company.

Why Tech Marketing is Important

There are many reasons why marketing is essential for tech companies.

First and foremost, it’s a way to build brand awareness. To be successful, people need to know who they are and what they do. Secondly, marketing can help you attract new customers and clients. It’s also a great way to keep existing customers engaged. Finally, marketing can help you differentiate yourself from the competition. With so many tech companies out there, it’s essential to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Social Media

Social media is one of the essential tools for marketing a tech company. It allows you to reach a large audience quickly and easily. You can use social media to promote your product or service and engage with potential customers.

There are many different social media platforms, so choosing the most relevant ones for your target audience is essential.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is another important way to market a tech company. Content marketing can be blog posts, articles, videos, or even infographics.

Creating high-quality content can help you attract attention and build trust with potential customers. You can use content marketing to educate people about your product or service and show them how it can benefit them.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) optimizes your website to rank higher in search engine results. This is important because it can help you attract more traffic to your site and ultimately convert more visitors into customers. Many different factors contribute to good SEO, so it’s essential to research and use the best techniques.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is another effective way to market a tech company. With paid advertising, you can reach a large audience quickly and easily. You can use various platforms such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or Facebook Ads to promote your product or service. Paid advertising can be a great way to generate leads and sales.

Establishing a relationship in a business networking event

Public Relations

Public relations (PR) is managing your company’s reputation. This is important because it can help you build trust and credibility with potential customers. PR can be in press releases, media relations, or event planning.

Referral Marketing

Referral marketing is getting customers to recommend your product or service to others. This is an effective way to market a tech company because it can reach a larger audience through word-of-mouth. You can use referral programs, social media, or email marketing to promote your referral program.

Event Marketing

Event marketing is another excellent way to market a tech company. This involves planning and hosting events that promote your product or service. Events can be in trade shows, conferences, or even meetups. Event marketing can be a great way to generate leads and sales.

Original Video Content

Video content is another excellent way to market a tech company. This can be in product demos, how-to videos, or even customer testimonials. Video content is a great way to engage with potential customers and promote your product or service.

On-Site Activity

Finally, on-site activity is another important way to market a tech company. This involves having a blog, providing customer support, or even offering free trials. On-site activity can be a great way to engage with potential customers and build trust.

Final Thoughts

Marketing a tech company can be a challenge, but it’s crucial to find the right strategy that will work best for your business. This article has explored some of the most important ways to market a tech company.

Choose the most relevant strategy for your business, and start implementing them today.

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