Archives: June2017

5 Star-Spangled 4th of July Marketing Strategies

VirtualPBX 5

Welcome to Edition 16.0 of The VirtualPBX 5 where we share our favorite topics, gadgets, and apps!

4th of July Marketing StrategiesThis Independence Day is gearing up to be the grandest display of red, white, and blue of all time. According to the National Retail Foundation 219 million Americans are predicted to spend 7.1 billion on 4th of July festivities in 2017.

So how do marketers ignite a campaign that takes off like a bottle rocket this 4th of July? We have created the below 5 star-spangled 4th of July marketing strategies to get the most out of your holiday.

Here are 5 Star-Spangled 4th of July Marketing Strategies that’ll make Uncle Sam Proud

1. Create an Experience

The telltale sign of a one-of-a-kind customer experience is when customers are smiling and capturing content that is good enough to share with their friends. Macy’s does a great job of providing an experience like this by hosting a 4th of July fireworks show every year. You can surprise customers with an unexpected delight too that will create buzz and further brand loyalty. Putting on a fireworks show like the retail giant Macy’s is not achievable for every company. However, a 4th of July themed social media promotion can provide great brand exposure and encourage repeat traffic.

2. Engage Followers on Social Media

It’s no surprise that there is a lot of competition on social media in 2017, but that’s because it’s still one of the most effective marketing channels for promoting brands. Social platforms have a smaller window of relevancy and visitors are often browse for non-work purposes. This makes holiday specials and events even more powerful on social platforms. Brands can cut through the noise of newsfeeds by creating unique content that engages their community. Brands can host giveaways, run photo contests, or create a fun video to get people raving about their brand. Products like Adobe Spark are easy to use and provide video templates that allow you to create professional quality videos in less than 30 minutes.

3. Curate a 4th of July Collection

Businesses of all types have the opportunity to curate a collection of items that help 4th of July revelers find what they are looking for. E-commerce stores can boost sales by creating a collection of “4th of July Favorites.” Or perhaps a blogger can create a list of “Top 4th of July Recipes.” Creating a collection of items for consumers is an excellent way to deliver a tailored shopping experience or receive online shares which can eventually lead to sales.

4. Donate to a Charitable Cause

Legend has it that Uncle Sam was linked to one of the largest acts of philanthropy turned branding of all time. History suggests that Uncle Sam was named after Samuel Wilson, a meat packer in New York who donated barrels of beef to the U.S. Army in 1812. Samuel’s kind deed left such a lasting impression on the U.S. Army that they referred to the meat as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up the story and the rest is history. The lesson of this story is that freebies can create buzz.

5. Utilize Business Phone System Features

One of the most effective and economical marketing strategies is utilizing your current business phone system. If you will have extended hours to accommodate the extra traffic over the 4th of July holiday make sure to set your business hours so your customers know that you’ll be in full service. You can also utilize Custom Greetings to let your customers know all about your special promotions and upcoming events.

I hope you enjoyed our five 4th of July marketing strategies. Want to learn more about creating unforgettable holiday experiences for your business? The Marketing Team at VirtualPBX has put together a list of business phone system best practices so you can get the most out of your call traffic.

Also, if you have any Independence Day marketing ideas that you would like to share with us, feel free to let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

We hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!

The Modern Mobile Office

Modern Mobile Office

Modern businesses are more likely today than ever before to have a remote work policy. These can include a flexible day per week that allows team members to work from home up to even having some portion of their employees working remotely exclusively. While the frequency and circumstances of who works remotely and how often will vary widely from company to company, the consistent need is for all of them to have the right tools in place for their employees to excel at both the physical and the mobile office. At one time, the mobile office may not have consisted of much more than an employee using his or her home phone for the day. The modern mobile office, however, has a variety of tools that allow for a more complete, more private, and more effective way to work away from the main office.

A Good Mobile Office Replicates Without Compromise

Remote working policies can be limited for a variety of factors, but often they stem from a discomfort with having employees not in the office during regular office hours. Simply ensuring that a remote worker’s mobile office is a complete facsimile of the real thing is more than adequate to immediately dispel any concerns a company may have. To accomplish that, however, a business needs to ensure that the tools it uses to recreate the office experience don’t leave room for compromise. This includes providing access to the systems that an employee would typically rely on to get work done but while also not compromising his or her private information. Having employees use home phones may allow them to dial-in to conference calls, but it also requires inbound callers to have access to their home telephone number. A truly modern mobile office needs to address the connectivity needs of an employee while at the same time respecting that employee’s privacy, as well. To build a fully functional mobile office for you and your employees to use, it’s ideal to include the following essentials-

  • VPN A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a way for employees to log into a company’s secure network when they are away from the office. This is generally the only way for satellite employees to get into shared files that are behind firewalls. A VPN allows for continuation of projects that would otherwise rely on a physical presence to contribute to.
  • Collaborative Software I’m a big fan of Google Drive and the suite of shareable software that comes along with it. In addition to the huge amount of storage that is available to individual users, the software interface ensures that any employee who is even remotely familiar with Microsoft Office will be able to navigate Google Drive at the drop of a hat. There are other options out there that focus on project management, industry-specific needs, and file-sharing, but the point is choosing a collaborative, cloud-based that works for your team.
  • Virtual Telephone Service Virtual telephone service can refer to a few different specific configurations, but for the sake of argument, the best bet is to shop for a VoIP provider for your business. Dash VoIP from VirtualPBX completely replicate an office number, including masking outbound calls as originating from the business number, from any wi-fi enabled or data connected device. Furthermore, the advanced routing and forwarding options of a hosted telephone service can be executed to landlines, as well. This means that an employee working from home can place, receive, and even transfer calls all from the comfort of his or her home the same way it would be done from their desk at work.

Modernize Your Own Mobile Office

More than likely, many of your employees already have access to or familiarity with the Google suite of products, and many other shared software platforms are easily found. A VPN for business will have a cost associated with it but, considering that it is a vital step in preserving the cyber security of your company, it should be an acceptable expense at that. For VoIP, much like a business VPN, the value of the service is so essential to the function of a business, that the best options will certainly not be free. Many companies prohibit sample cases of their platform prior to use, but VirtualPBX allows for up to two weeks or 300 minutes for your entire team to sample Dash, the award-winning VoIP for business. Sign up now for the free trial of Dash, and see what saving money on your business phone system looks like. For more information on the best tips for working remotely, building a strong company culture across digital channels, or just the latest telecom and technology news, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, too.

Time for Working From Home Improvement with VirtualPBX

termites home improvementI’ve spent a great deal of time growing up and adventuring all over the country. From the Rocky Mountains to the Louisiana bayou, I’ve gotten to experience what life is like firsthand all across this cool continent. Currently, however, I live in the heart of San Francisco. Seriously, I’m about 50 yards from the international headquarters of huge tech companies like Twitter, Uber, Square, and Dolby Laboratories. Being so centrally located in one of the most developed sections of such an industrialized city, this is the last place I expected to encounter one of the more common ailments of the more rural homes of my past. I’m referring to termites. Termites?! Yes, those little rapscallions have burrowed their way, somehow and inexplicably into the heart of my building smack dab in the center of this concrete jungle we call San Francisco. I have no idea how this has come to be, but I can assure you that if it weren’t for my array of VirtualPBX business telephone tools, I also wouldn’t be able to be working from home during this most unexpected task of home improvement.

Use the Term “Home Improvement” Loosely

I wish I could tell you that I’m connected to my company through my VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone while I’m working from home because I’m having a new oven installed or because my bathroom is getting redone. But that would be a lie. Instead of a modern and sleek remodel, I’m using the similarly modern and sleek interface of my Dash VoIP to keep in contact with the important calls I need to take while an exterminator is noisily removing planks from my hardwood floors. No, this is not the type of home improvement I had in mind. However, thanks to the flexibility that my employer affords me and the connectivity and mobility that these VoIP tools provide, I’m able to be here throughout the process of banging and spraying and digging and tearing. It’s a charm.

When Working From Anywhere Never Sounded Better

While it’s certainly positive that I can be here and be available for work because of the technology available to me, sometimes that isn’t quite enough. Take, for example, when you need to field a call to a tech reporter and there is the high-pitched whine of a circular saw surgically removing planks from your floor. Not an ideal work environment, even if it does happen to be in the comfort of my own, now sawdust covered and still termite infested, home. Fortunately, though, this is not the end of the line of possibilities for working remotely. Thanks to the nearly universal device compatibility that comes along with my VirtualPBX service, I can take this remote working roadshow, literally onto the road. All I need is my Dash portal or my VirtualPBX Softphone App and a reliable wi-fi or data connection and I’m all set. So, while the growing excavation in my front hallway is a necessary bit of home improvement, it doesn’t make for the most accommodating environment for getting work done on the telephone. I suppose working from one of the many bespoke artisanal coffee roasters in the city here is an adequate substitute to my infested kitchen table. Twist my arm.

Where would you work today if you could be anywhere? Let us know by sharing on social media on Twitter or Facebook. Or, if you’re ready to begin getting away from whatever it is that’s making your current work environment a bit hectic, perhaps it’s time you tried your own hosted telephone system like Dash, for free. Check out the free trial of Dash today, and see where your workday takes you!

Put on Your Dancing Shoes – Dash Wins 2 Medals at IT World Awards

2017 Network Product Guide IT world AwardsIt’s a pretty cool thing that we’ve been fortunate enough to be recognized for our products and services. When your customers, peers, and the industry’s media all agree that what you’re doing is worthwhile, it’s a confirmation that your hard work is well invested. Recently, however, we got a notice that really turned the traditional honor and pride that an award win brings with it paradigm right on its head. By winning a pair of medals at the Network Products Guide IT World Awards, we’ve reached a milestone for our premiere VoIP for business platform, Dash. So now that we’ve got these fancy new awards to celebrate, it’s time to dust off the dancing shoes because there’s also a gala affair to attend!

The Devil is in the Details

We’d never turn away any of our awards up until this point, but what makes these two wins noteworthy is the size of the field involved. Dash was put against the best communications products in the world, covering companies of all sizes and in categories well beyond business phone systems. In spite of that stiff competition, Dash walked away with a Gold for Best Communications Service and a Bronze for Best New Technology Product. Therefore, while we’re confident that each notch on our belts for industry recognition is one we would never deny, this one definitely marked a new level of accomplishment.

Why the Red Carpet Treatment?

As it turns out, these awards come with them an invite to one of the most exclusive events in Silicon Valley, too. The Network Product Guide’s 12th Annual IT World Awards gala affair will be a who’s-who of the communications technology industry. Held at in on of the “Big Four” hotels atop the posh and historic Nob Hill in San Francisco later this month, this event will be a memorable and extravagant affair. And that’s where it gets a bit tricky. The reality is, even sharing these awards is a bit of a debate internally because, while we’re plenty proud of our accomplishment, we didn’t get into this for praise. We are more interested in helping our customers launch, improve, or grow their businesses, and as cliché as it may sound to say it, their success is all the praise we need. So, truth be told, we might have to just take a raincheck on the fancy dinner and let some more dust collect on those dancing shoes. After all, we have plenty of more work ahead of us.

Thank you to everyone who trusts us to give them the very best in a business phone service. Your support is what makes all of these awards possible, and your endorsement is what makes the work worthwhile.

Infographic – Why Agents Should Use VoIP for Real Estate

Agents Should Use VoIP for Real Estate, Plain and Simple

But of course, it’s also a good idea to back these type of claims up with some evidence. The fact is that a hosted phone system powered by VoIP is ideal for real estate organizations for a lot of reasons. Contracts are an essential part of getting business done for real estate firms and agents can send and receive them from the palm of their hands through VoIP for real estate’s ability to convert email to fax. Additionally, because real estate agents are often out on the road showing properties, having calls received and routed by an Auto Attendant makes sure calls are never missed and customers always feel heard. Plus, a hosted business phone system is exponentially more affordable than any legacy, on-site phone system. Plainly, simply, and undeniably, VoIP for real estate is one of the best business decisions any agent can make!

VoIP-Real-Estate-Phone-System-Infographic

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