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Top 5 Technology Trends in 2020

man using technology, a virtual reality headset

If we have gained anything from 2020, it is the knowledge that things can change at the drop of a hat. At this point, I’m sure that we are all ready for 2021 and what it has in store. Looking back at the year, we can see how things not only changed socially, but they changed technologically. We have depended on technology during this past year more than ever. Through socially-distanced tasks and increased hygiene practices, technology has been there through it all to make it possible.

Think about what would have happened if we did not have modern technology to carry us through this time. You may not have even given it a second thought. Technology has not only aided in keeping millions of people safe during this global pandemic, but it has also been constantly developing to help us in other ways of life as well. The year has certainly been a year of change and development. Technology has been at the forefront of that change. Although technology will always be evolving and changing, this year specifically should be recognized for its advances in technology. Here are some of the latest technologies of this year that are sure to influence people for years to come. 

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an expansive branch of computer science that deals with building machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. In its essence, it equips computer systems with the ability to make decisions like humans. AI is actually one of the top trending technologies of the modern day. It imitates human intelligence by performing tasks such as speech and pattern recognition, weather forecast, and much more. 

AI is becoming a bigger piece to our lives as technology evolves. Machines and technology are evolving into human-like things that can recognize when they do something wrong and also make improvements.

You may recognize AI in varying applications such as Uber, Siri, Google, Bing, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and many more. Scientists expect Artificial Intelligence to create more than 70 million jobs. Although it’s creating so many more opportunities, it’s also taking away nearly 25 million jobs. AI is expected to create jobs such as maintenance, programming, data science, testing, support, and much more. This modern piece of technology will only become better and smarter as the years go on. 

2. Virtual Reality 

Virtual reality is a computer generated simulation that allows users to experience a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment. It has become a very popular way for people to experience video games. In comparison to traditional video games, a virtual reality allows users to be right in the environment. These virtual environments stimulate tons of different senses, such as touch, smell and vision. People can experience VR most often on headsets. Companies like Facebook and Sony have taken full advantage of the potential of the technology and created their own version of virtual reality, such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive. 

Virtual reality is not only used for video games or entertainment purposes, but it has also been adopted by the military for training. The three branches that use this are the Army, Navy and Air Force. Augmented reality and virtual reality are also used by doctors, museums, amusement parks and many more. The virtual reality industry is expected to bring in nearly $40 billion by 2021. 

3. Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is the technology that allows anyone today to configure computer software, or a “robot”, to emulate the actions of a human interacting with digital systems to execute a business process. Essentially, it is a technology used for automating daily tasks. This type of technology is similar to Artificial Intelligence. The RPA technology is used for automating business tasks, such as replying to emails, handling business data, and processing transactions. RPA is capable of automating more than 40% of daily tasks. It might scare some people to know that RPA is technologically advancing far enough to take over a lot of jobs. Fortunately, it will create a lot of jobs too. Many businesses rely on RPA because of its many benefits. There are many companies that provide RPA tools such as Blue Prism, Pega Systems, and Work Fusion. 

4. Data Science 

Data Science is technology that helps make sense of difficult data. It is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract knowledge and insights from many types of data. Companies produce an immense amount of data every single day, including business, sales, customer profile information, financial information, and server data. Data scientists then take that data created and convert the unstructured data into structured data. Data scientists analyze this data in hopes of finding patterns. Those patterns are incredibly helpful in understanding the background of a company, such as looking at customer retention, business performance, finances and how those areas can be improved. How far technology has evolved, am I right? 

5. Edge Computing 

Believe it or not, edge computing is one of today’s most favored technologies. Edge computing is truly transforming the way data is being handled, processed, and delivered around the world. It actually brings computation and data storage closer to devices where it’s being gathered, instead of relying on a central location that could potentially be thousands of miles away. Edge computing essentially allows data from Internet of Things (IOT) devices to be analyzed at the edge of the network before being sent to the data center or cloud. Edge computing has been around for awhile. It has just been advancing in little ways over time. The technology was created to bring computing power as close as possible to its data source. It is estimated that by 2022 the edge computing market will be worth $7 billion. Edge computing is popular in retail, healthcare, manufacturing and many other jobs. 

This year has brought many changes. Technology has been right there with those changes, advancing and evolving along with modern times. Technology is something that will always be advancing. If we’re not careful, some of these advances may take over our jobs! Just kidding… At the moment, we should enjoy all that today’s technology has to offer and hopefully gain a better understanding of how it works.

Is Cold Calling Dead?

Woman talking on the phone

According to experts, cold calling is not dead. It is still very much alive and kicking. Although it is an old-fashioned tactic, it is definitely still a thing. The art has evolved and adapted over the years to the different ways that people consume products. The only thing that has really changed is the cold calling strategy.

Cold calling first began in 1873, long before the invention of the Internet. Back then, “cold calling” was simply visiting people door to door and selling products directly to someone’s face. When telephones were invented, cold calling transitioned into calling homes and selling products to people over the phone. When you think about it, this technique has been around for so long because it has proven to be successful. Although the strategies for cold calling have changed, the sales approach hasn’t changed. Although we have many new tools and sales tactics, but the process of meeting strangers, introducing them to a product or a change in business, and convincing them that purchasing from you will benefit them in more ways than one is the same.  

As previously mentioned, cold calling has evolved over time along with the different ways that people consume products. It has caused a snowball effect of contacting people in other ways, such as cold emailing and cold messaging. The most difficult aspect about cold calling is its entire essence: that fact that there is no relationship between you and the person you are contacting. The lack of a relationship makes it much easier for the person you called to not answer, never call you back, or hang up on you mid-conversation. Those are obvious negative realities of this tactic, but despite those downfalls, cold calling still works with about a 2% conversion rate. 

If you turn to Google, you will likely see hundreds of articles about the “death” of cold calling. With an abundance of these articles floating around the Internet, it would be naïve to deny the facts. It really comes down to perception. It still has the potential to work as long as you have the will power to strike up a conversation and the thick skin to take a rejection. Although it does have potential, you will most likely face challenges while in the process.

Consumers today have an extremely negative perception of cold callers, which is why it is so believable that cold calling is indeed dead. Currently, there are nearly 240 million phone numbers on the national do not call registry. Those numbers have even been increasing by the year. It is clear that people do not want to receive unsolicited calls. 

Cold calling used to be one of the only prospecting strategies out there. While it isn’t dead, it would be wise to recognize that it shouldn’t be your only go-to sales option. The Harvard Business Review released information that shows cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time. Less than 2% of cold calls result in a meeting. With these facts, it would be hard to believe that it ever works. Believe it or not, it isn’t dead; It’s just evolved. 

Nowadays, modern businesses are using alternative solutions to continue to make sales without fully relying on making an unsolicited call. Some of these alternative sales solutions are engaging with customers on social media, answering questions on Quora, asking for referrals, keeping in touch with prospects after the sales process, and writing for a blog. 

To answer the question: no, cold-calling is not dead…yet. It is still very much alive. It is simply a tactic that has evolved into several other sales strategies. Although modern businesses have seen success with cold calling, it should not be your go-to sales solution. Consider other alternatives for connecting with customers and you may find that you have a better success rate when it comes to selling products. 

Should I Advertise on Instagram?

a phone sitting on a table

In today’s technologically advanced climate, there are no limits to what you can do in marketing and advertising. You have so many options in front of you. Your success is determined by the social media platform you use and how you use it to further your business. Let’s talk about Instagram. 

Instagram first launched in late 2010. Little did the public know that this measly application would soon become a social media giant. People and businesses all over the world have joined the platform since then in hopes of connecting, sharing and reaching a new crowd of people. Around 1 billion people are using Instagram today, standing as one of the most popular social media platforms out there, right behind Facebook. 

The great thing about Instagram is that it has unlimited marketing potential. Your business has the potential to grow to new heights. As much as Instagram has become a popular social media channel, it has also become a successful marketing platform. Instagram has built its fame around the ability to post visually pleasing pictures, which can be very effective for businesses with eye-catching content. 

The answer to your question is…

If you are wondering whether or not you should advertise on Instagram, you should consider your brand and audience. There are so many positive aspects to advertising on Instagram that you should consider before you completely rule it out. 

If you ask me, “Abby, should I advertise on Instagram?” , I would say, “Well young Padawan, it depends on your business goals. It all comes down to how well you can market your product visually. Though, in my opinion, it would always be a yes.” 

Before I keep throwing random, yet surprisingly interesting, information at you, consider these reasons to advertise on Instagram. 

1. Facebook and Instagram are sister platforms

If you have a Facebook account (which you should), you will be happy to know that the two are connected. Therefore, what you post on Instagram, can be shared to Facebook, helping you reach broader audiences. If you have been using Facebook for a while, you should be able to access your Facebook analytics and data to then target your audience on Instagram. That data will help you determine what has been working and what hasn’t. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to posting ads on Instagram. You will already have an idea of what to do because you have done it on Facebook.

2. Integrate Shopify and sell products quickly and easily 

One of the many upsides to marketing on Instagram is the many different ways that you can visually market your product. Shopify is one of those channels that have allowed businesses to sell their products quickly and easily. Shopify is a one-stop-shop for businesses who want to sell their products through the app. Instagram’s shopping feature allows tagging of products on pictures so that users can purchase items directly through the Instagram app. Shopify makes the sales process super easy. This has been known as a great tool because businesses are converting sales right on the app instead of driving users to their website and then point of purchase. 

3. Engagement rate on Instagram is higher 

Yeah, you heard me right! The engagement rate on Instagram is higher than the engagement rate on any other social media platform. According to a recent study, Instagram generates 70% higher engagement rates than Facebook. It also generates 669% more engagement than Twitter! Even though Facebook stands as the leading social media platform, Instagram leads in engagement. It is considered by far the most engaged social platform for brands, with at least 2% to 7% of users engaging with each post. 

4. Easy marketing 

While investing in paid advertising will certainly do you some good, having an Instagram account can bring your brand more awareness. Generating a new following can be difficult, but you can at least have a good time trying. Simply having an Instagram account will allow you the opportunity to engage with users, post subtle ads, create more brand awareness, and grow a loyal following. It could not be easier! Even if you didn’t want to spend any money on advertising, you would still have the ability to post on your business account and gain followers organically. Posting on Instagram allows you the opportunity to tell your brand story in a way that is not too over-promotional. You can even be creative with your posting too, such as creating giveaways, shouting out loyal followers, and going live on your story to answer customer questions. 

5. Different ways to advertise

In the last segment, I talked about how simply having an account will do wonders for your brand, as long as you engage and post consistently! This is true, but if you wanted to take your marketing a step further, there are several different things that you could do. With Instagram, you are able to utilize photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and stories ads. Each type of ad is displayed on a different area of Instagram in an attempt to capture the attention of different audiences. Before you throw all of your ad spend into each type of ad, think about what would most successfully bring your brand more awareness. 

When deciding whether or not marketing on Instagram is right for you, ask yourself if these five positive aspects of advertising fits in with your brand goals. As mentioned before, Instagram has unlimited marketing potential. It all depends on what you do with that potential that can take your brand to new heights. Along the way, you may even gain a better understanding of your customer base, reach untapped customers, and build a better brand-follower relationship. 

What is Google Analytics and Why do I need it?

Do you know how many visitors your website receives per month?… Don’t know? Well, we know an incredibly useful tool that can help out with that… and it’s called Google Analytics! To our surprise, some businesses, website bloggers, and hobbyists are still not using this powerful tool to track their visitors and analyze their website. The thought of this is absolutely bananas because we cannot imagine not using such a helpful tool! If you don’t yet know about the wonders of Google Analytics, then keep reading because this post is for you. 

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools that a business or person could utilize for their website. It tracks a variety of statistics that are necessary to know for website growth. In this article, we will break down what it is, why you need it, and it’s benefits.

What is it? 

Google Analytics is a free and simple way to track and analyze visitors on your website. This success-driven tool provides many valuable insights that will help guide you in making better business moves. Google Analytics will show you how your website is performing, how much traffic your website is getting, where the traffic is coming from, what visitors are doing, monitor social media activities, track mobile app traffic, identify trends and integrate other data sources to help you make better business decisions and it also includes ways that you can change your site to meet your goals. It’s an extremely helpful tool that has been known to turn those visitors into paying customers. 

Why do you need it? 

Regardless of whether you have a personal or business-oriented website, you need to use Google Analytics if you want to track and grow your visitors. If you’re selling products, you will want to use Google Analytics to understand your customers and better deliver your products. This tool allows you to understand your customer’s behavior and interests, what they are looking for, and whether your business is delivering what’s expected. 

You need Google Analytics for your business so you can pinpoint where your visitors are from. Knowing your customer’s geographic location will help you immensely in determining what type of marketing strategies you need to invest in. This might seem odd to gather this type of information, but it’s important because it will solve the worries they have in their area. You’ll also be able to tell whether or not there is any kind of interest in your products or services. If you have a business website, think about the products you sell and how knowing the geographic location of your visitors might help pinpoint your marketing techniques.

For example, if you own a swimsuit/ summer wear shop, you would most likely not be marketing to people primarily in colder climates, as they would most likely not spend as much money as those in warmer climates. You would probably market to people in warmer areas. Using Google Analytics would help you understand where your visitors are located, therefore helping you market to those people and sell more. Just by knowing this information, you will be saving ad spend by marketing to the right audience. 

Your customer’s location also refers to the device that they are using to view your website. This can make a huge difference because businesses need to know how to market the information, based on the device. If most of your audience is using a mobile device then it might be worth it to invest in a mobile ad or app to help draw in more leads. 

Overall, Google Analytics will help you figure out what’s working and what’s not working. It will help you understand the kind of content that you should create and what your visitors want to see. 

What are the benefits?

Besides the fact that it’s totally awesome, there are many benefits to using Google Analytics. First, we should note that Google Analytics is completely free of charge! This really is just the cherry on top of a fantastic tool. Google Analytics even offers many more functionalities in comparison to other powerful tools. You’ll also be able to pinpoint how your visitors located your website, such as what keywords your customers used to find you. You’ll be able to identify which pages and links that your visitors clicked the most and the number of new visitors that your SEO campaign brought you. Lastly, Google Analytics will give you the chance to tweak your website to your liking. With the information that you gather from the report, you’ll be able to make the necessary changes and create new strategies to grow your customer base. It can also be easily integrated into other tools and platforms. 

How can I get started? 

If you want to take advantage of Google Analytics, then you need a Google account. Go to the Google Analytics’ website, and click on Sign In or Create an Account, located on the upper left-hand corner. If you already have an account or just created one, click on Access Google Analytics. All you need to do is fill in the required information, account name, website name, URL, industry, time zone, and data sharing settings. Then, click on Get Tracking ID to finish setting up your account. 

Using Google Analytics would also be a good way to earn Google’s trust! There you have it! What are you waiting for? Get to it!!