Hiring Manager Tips for 2014

Last month, one would assume in honor of the new year, Mashable published “10 Hiring Tips for Your Small Business.” The notion that hiring for a small business is more integral than for large, established companies is spot-on, because we all know there is nothing like the right team to help a business grow.

The article also points out something that, as a hiring manager, you already know. The longer it takes you to find the right candidate, the more the hiring process costs. While the article advises us to take the price of a drawn-out candidate search into consideration, it doesn’t fail to mention the cost of employee replacement, which I argue is far more costly in the end than a drawn-out hiring process.

Getting the right candidate the first time around, someone who will do the job well and will stay in the position for at least a few years, always trumps making a quick decision to save costs on hiring.

As for making the right choice for a new hire, Mashable goes on to provide several tips, including:

Going to where the best candidates are for the job, and being constantly on the look out for talent.

They recommend being on the right job sites, and attending meet-ups and conferences. Not mentioned is a source that many recruiters fail to consider when hunting candidates – freelance sites. Freelance sites are an excellent place to find creative talent, because you can commission a project for a set rate and get a feel for how a person works before making a job offer.

Many freelancers would be happy to be scooped up to do what they do well for a steady paycheck.

Laying out all the demands of the job in a clear manner.

Mashable points out the problem from the employee side, how being clear prevents confusion about the job and frustration for the new hire. As a hiring manager, it is also important to think about how much time you will save in interviews by eliminating people who don’t have the skills for the job right away.

Being Flexible

Flexibility in work schedules and workspaces keep employees happy, Mashable argues.

What the article neglects to mention is the money it can save on company expenses. Setting up remote work arrangements with talent means you won’t need a place to put them on-site, and it provides the employees all the flexibility they could possibly want in their work environments.

While the Mashable article provides many more great tips, like impressing quality candidates instead of expecting them to impress you, and making them feel like part of the team right away, one area it fails to hit on at all is one of the greatest advantages hiring managers have these days – the apps and technology that make the job easier.

If you are always on the lookout for employees, a business card app, like Cam Card, provides a means of quickly collecting job candidate contact information for sorting later.

Applican Tracking Systems, which can be either web- or machine-based applications, work with both manual entries and automated data-gathering from job listings, referrals from employees, and incoming data from other external sources. With sorting options, it provides an easy means of elevating the right candidates so that the job of weeding out those candidates to call in for interviews practically does itself.

While the Mashable article is on the side of seeking out qualified candidates in advance, it also doesn’t recommend something that many hiring managers for start-ups have come to realize. When one stumbles upon a candidate with a lot to offer, it is often worthwhile to make room in the budget to hire that person even if there is no currently open positions. A growing company will need new employees soon enough, and the best candidates don’t stay on the market long.

Looking for More Customers? Turn to Web Video

Where do your customers find you?

In the year 2012, more than ever, business people need to be where your potential customers are looking for your product or service. But where to put your limited marketing dollars? It’s not print, it’s not direct mail, it’s not the Yellow Pages and it’s certainly not telemarketing. You are savvy enough to know that the web is where your potential customers are searching.

Your company website is the hub of your marketing in this day and age. It is the most accessible way for prospects to learn about your company and what you have to offer them. And when they get to your site, they need to see the benefits of choosing your company – and they need to see them in a way that appeals to them.

After all, we now live in a world where people want what they are looking for right now, and if we do not find it within a few seconds we will simply look elsewhere.

So your message needs to be clear, concise and compelling. Within a matter of seconds your website visitors will determine if you can help them.

And just how do people get the fastest, most complete picture of what you have to meet their needs? The answer: on-line video.

Why put video on your website?

If you don’t know about the revolution in web video, you just have not been paying attention.

Just over 7 years ago, YouTube was launched to host web videos for free, and in that short time, people now watch OVER 2 BILLION VIDEOS PER DAY – on YouTube alone! That is almost twice the prime time audience of the three major television networks put together.

Hundreds of thousands of videos are uploaded to YouTube daily. In fact, every minute, an incredible 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.

While these statistics are staggering, you might ask “How does that impact my business?”

In these difficult economic times, most companies find that competition for buyers is fiercer than ever.. Today staying ahead of the competition is vital in setting your business apart and attracting customers. Today’s internet savvy buyers see one website after another, day after day. The sites that “break through” to the viewers present their message in an engaging way.

Web videos are a powerful internet marketing medium because of the unique way they engage your visitor, transforming your site into an interactive and entertaining alternative to a standard text-based site. In fact, one-dimensional, text-based websites are becoming relics. After all, text requires action and energy on the part of the visitor.

In contrast, web videos allow your viewer to sit back and absorb YOUR message, just as you present it to them. What could take many paragraphs or even pages of text to communicate can be presented in just a few engaging moments. Web videos captivate and entertain site visitors, who receive YOUR message.

But don’t take our word for it.

Author Jason Prescott, in a May 2010 report says, “Video marketing has become one of the best promotional tools on the web. Well-executed videos can grab attention faster than any other advertising medium (emphasis mine) as videos continue to draw internet users in droves. Research by eMarketer shows 66.7 percent of the 147.5 million U.S. internet users watch video online monthly. By 2014, eMarketer estimates that number will rise to 77 percent of internet users (193.1 million people).

“Online video has surged in popularity due to the rapid proliferation of broadband and video technology advances. This has resulted in the production of cost-effective, premium videos, a dramatic increase in traffic to video-sharing sites, and online video’s acceptance into the mainstream.

“Consumers are receptive to video on websites, landing pages, search results pages, emails, and video-sharing sites because it is so engaging and self-explanatory. Video conveys information quickly and accurately, making it an excellent tool for marketers because consumers want to know more about the companies they deal with and the products/services they buy. “Video is a very memorable medium. A study by The Wharton School of Business revealed that video improves comprehension and retention by 50 percent over a live presentation. Other studies have indicated that video speeds up buying decisions by 72 percent when compared to print.” (emphasis mine)

Who is putting web video on their site — and why?

The short answers: all savvy marketers with a web presence, and because it works!.

Author Mark Robertson comments on a Marketing Sherpa report that marketers that are currently using video on their sites are quite satisfied with the results and expect to use it in the future. He further reports that a survey from PermissionTV states that “more than 2/3 of senior marketing and media executives identified online video as a primary focus of their 2009 digital marketing campaigns and budgets. More than two-thirds stated that they plan to launch online video projects in the first half of this year.”

In fact, video has now become the fastest growing website feature for small business.

Recently, Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst for eMarketer authored an in-depth analysis of the use of on-line videos for business. He notes that retailers are “quickly adding videos to their sites. They find that videos boost sales conversion rates.”

And the future looks even bigger for web business videos. MultiChannel Merchant reports that video is a “must-do” for business websites, insisting that site owners should “Set your site video program in motion. …videos can help your site sell more. Retailers have learned that … (video) clips can boost site conversion.”

In fact, a report using that very title from author Mark R. Robertson cuts to the core of the growing demand for web video. “Any form of advertising that captures the imagination of cost-conscious local merchants has to be effective. And by that measure, online video is hot.”

He gets down to specifics. “It would be tough for the small business to stay in online advertising if they couldn’t see conversions going up as a result. Small companies rarely have the luxury of throwing money at campaigns for brand awareness. Which is why these increases in spending are exciting-it shows that online advertising is working for many small businesses. In my experience, these small business owners rarely make marketing decisions based on gut feelings. Even when they do, their focus quickly changes away from the novelty of the medium onto measured effectiveness. In the end, it’s usually something quantifiable on the bottom line that informs and guides their spending decisions.

“The conversion stats are pretty impressive, with 35.5% of clicks resulting in conversion actions.” (emphasis his)

He concludes by saying “more small businesses are spending their ad dollars online, implementing online video and targeting search… which is leading to better click through rates and higher conversion rates.” (emphasis mine).

In a powerful look at the responsiveness of consumers to web video, Sally Evans tells of a recent study in Marketing Sherpa. She says ” you’d be crazy not to be getting more involved with online video as a marketer. Why? Their study showed that featuring a video in an ad can increase responsiveness by 49.5%.” (emphasis mine)

In a recent white paper, author Justin Foster shares several reports on the increase in conversions from using video on web sites. Some examples:

“So far, the videos have been a success. Testing them on laptop product pages lifted conversions and increased accessory sales 12% in some cases” said Rich Lesperance, Director of Web Sales and Operations at Circuit City.

“We ran an A/B test across 50,000 product detail page views at eBags and measured the conversion rate in Omniture in order to track the impact of video at the product page level. What we discovered was that the conversion rate increased 50.1% for those users that clicked the “play” button in the video compared to the control group, and 138.9% for those users that watched the entire video compared to the control group.” David Witzig, Manager of E-Commerce and Video at ShopNBC.com.

“Ice.com, a web-only jewelry retailer, has experienced a 40% rise in conversion rates on products highlighted in online videos, says co-founder and president Mayer Gniwisch.”

Translation: your customers are watching videos on the web prior to making their marketing decisions. And they are buying based on those videos.

But this is still a vast untapped area that your competition is likely not taking advantage of. By incorporating web videos into your site, you will set yourself apart from your competitors.

But the benefits of web video don’t end there.

First, your web video can be a permanent part of your sales effort. While a direct mail piece or even a TV ad may generate business for a limited time, a web video remains on your site, selling for you as long as you’d like it to.

And web Videos not only do a better job selling to your customers, but they also help bring them to your site in the first place. Placing a video on your site can improve your website’s search engine ranking significantly.

Internet marketing guru James Burchill states “Web video marketing is big business now that Google’s new Universal Search strategy includes video in the search results. According to recent research data there is 53 times as much chance that your video will show up on Page 1 of Google (for your select phrase) than just using a corresponding text-only entry.”

Did you see that? 53 times better!

In another article Burchill states what we’ve known all along. “Video is not going anywhere. It’s online and it’s here to stay. It’s only going to get better, in fact. So every marketing strategy, no matter its goals, will have to incorporate video in some way.”

So now what?

So now that you know that you MUST get a video on your company website and other sites as well, what now?

One of the keys is to have your video done professionally, as your company image deserves it. Professional equipment has become cheaper and so your professional video need not be overly expensive. There are many available video production companies that can do the work for you, but as always, check references and get a company that has experience. This is not a job for the high school kid down the street with a cheap camcorder…

Forecasts for the Power Supply Product Market 2014 Onwards

The power market is expected to grow in strength 2014 onwards. This was the forecast that was presented in the 11th edition of AC-DC Power Supplies Worldwide Forecasts Trends, Developments and Competitive Environment. The report suggests that 2014 will be a good year for traditional AC/DC power applications as well as new emerging power technologies.

According to the report, a number of industries are going to experience many changes in 2014. Some of the industries highlighted are communications, medical, military, consumer, and LED.

  • Communications: This industry is being touted to become the biggest market for AC and DC power supply products. Its consumer products segment will be the main reason for its growth. However, the communications sector will see some competition from the LED industry.
  • LED: The growing popularity of LED lighting in domestic, commercial, and industrial applications will see a better growth for this sector in the coming years. This sector is expected to be the fastest growing one after the communications industry.
  • Consumers: Surprisingly, the consumer market is not expected to see a huge amount of growth. This sector has the most number of less priced, low wattage products. It is because of the immense demand and supply of these inexpensive products that the consumer market will not see large dollar growth despite its size.
  • Medical: In general, the medical market is expected to make great strides. However, there may not be an immense dollar growth for the portable medical device segment. Medical devices are now beginning to grow in popularity for hospitals and clinics as well as commercial business and domestic health care.
  • Military: This is said to be a small market for AC/DC power supply products. The reason is the number of regulations and certifications required before products can be sold. Though the military sector is known for its immense sales, due to its size, major growth is not expected to take place.

Deductions from Experts

Regardless of the forecast, industry experts are excited to see what the New Year holds for the power market. Earlier, AC/DC power supply products were not paid that much attention. Now these products are coming to the forefront, and are playing an important role in new systems.

With advances in technology, the requirement now is for power supply products with tight tolerances for high-tech electronic products. Experts suggest that manufacturers can try and create products with the option of adjustable voltage. This can be achieved by using digital power.

With a greater focus on energy efficient systems, many experts believe that AC/DC converters will make a bigger impact this year. They can be used to create energy savings in large scale global data networks.

Like any other sector, the power industry will probably see a few highs and lows this year. But there is no doubt it will grow to become one of the most important segments in the near future.

Insider Look: Social Media Marketing Trends for 2014

With any type of marketing, it is important to know where it is headed. This is especially important for social media marketing trends where there seems to be new social media platforms every few months. New comers such as Snap chat and Vine have already garnered interest from the public and allows people to communicate in a new way. It is also important for companies to know where to invest their time and resources so that they can get the most bang out of their buck. Should they wait for a new social media platform or should they invest in what is already out there? Should you wait for the next Facebook?

Some important trends for 2014 to watch out for:

Image and video focused social media sites will grow

More and more people are increasingly turning toward sites such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Snap chat, Vine and more to express their ideas. Visual content, both image and video, may become a critical component of any future social media strategy. The above sites are opening up the opportunities for companies to interact with their consumers in new and interesting ways. Like other social media sites, to gain an audience your content both video and image will need to be shareable. It will still have to be interesting and relevant to what you are talking about. For example, if you are a restaurant you will post pictures of your establishment and your menu. You would probably not be personal pictures of your vacation to Peru.

Google+ will become more important

Google+ has recently made changes to how people will be able to comment on YouTube. In addition, Google+ can do wonders to your SEO and the importance of Google authorship. Google authorship will basically allow writers to claim their own content and if they are popular then more of their articles will also rise to the top of the search engine. Many companies that may be starting out may view Google+ as their go to social network in the future simply because of its many different benefits. Google+ profiles will not be seen as boring compared to Facebook but may actually be used by people and companies to improve their social media reach.

Investment in social media marketing will become a requirement

In the past, it was all about how you should have a social media website but some people chose not to pursue social media because of time constraints. In the near future, it will switch from “should have” to “must have”, in that you must have a social media presence if you want to engage your audience and develop relationships. People are spending lots of time online and it is guaranteed that your customers may be amongst those people. Consumers are on social media sites and if you do not have a presence there then they may follow your competitors who may have a social media presence. Social media will help with online company branding, increasing awareness and increasing customer loyalty through well established relationships. There will need to be an integration of social media and overall marketing strategy to be successful in generating traffic to your website and more importantly revenue.

LinkedIn will continue to be popular in B2B markets

Not all customers are your typical household consumers. Some consumers are other businesses and their needs are completely different from those of your average consumer. The marketing efforts are different, the way decisions are made are different and how to interact with them will also be different.

For example, if Bob goes to the store he can make the decision to buy any food he desires. If Acme Inc. wants to buy something then there are various departments and management that needs to be consulted to make the action happen. Establishing a presence on sites such as LinkedIn will allow you to connect with people in those management positions and thus develop good relationships for the future.

Also with LinkedIn’s influencer program, LinkedIn will allow you to follow thought leaders who can share their own professional insights and knowledge. Interacting with these thought leaders can really help people recognize who you are and what you do thus increasing your personal brand awareness.

MySpace will grow

You probably heard of MySpace. It used to be the top social media networking site from the period 2005 to early 2008. But as Facebook gained more popularity people started switching over and MySpace kept losing users. If you visit MySpace today you will notice that it looks completely different than it used to in the past. It has rebranded itself by becoming a site where people can listen to their favourite music and bands. The rebranding was probably influenced by Justin Timberlake who along with Specific Media group purchased MySpace in 2011. In addition, it also offers an iPhone app that allows users to interact with each other by posting updates of your music to your stream, sharing photos and listening to radio stations. If your business is all about music then MySpace is definitely a social media website that you should check out.

These are some important trends for 2014 that I feel will have an impact in the near future and which people should know about.