If you used a credit card to pay for services or products at The UPS Store this year, your private information may have been hacked. In a statement issued this week, The UPS Store Inc. says that 51 of its franchise locations across the country were victims of a malware attack. Customers at those 51 locations between Jan. 20 and Aug. 11 may have had their personal data exposed. Most of the malware attacks occurred after March 26. UPS says it has eliminated the threat and that all transactions after Aug. 11 are safe from the malware intrusion. The UPS Store says that the following customer information may have been hacked in the malware attack: Names Postal addresses Email addresses Payment card information Not all of this information may have been compromised for each customer, The UPS Store says in its statement. The UPS Store was not the only victim of this broad-based malware attack, according to a statement from the company. Other retailers across the country were likely affected, too. The UPS Store was notified of the malware attack by the U.S. government. It’s believed that the malware responsible for the intrusion was not identifiable by anti-virus software. After The UPS Store became aware of the malware, the problematic files were identified on the systems at 51 locations in 24 states. That represents 1 percent of all The UPS Store locations. In a prepared statement released with the announcement, Tim Davis, President at The UPS Store, explained : “As soon as we became aware of the potential malware intrusion, we deployed extensive resources to quickly address and eliminate this issue. Our customers can be assured that we have identified and fully contained the incident.” The UPS Store says it is not aware of any fraud that has arisen from the attack. Still, the company will maintain an informational website for its customers to consult, and will also provide customers who used a credit card during the affected time with identity protection and credit monitoring services . To find out if your The UPS Store location was a victim of the malware attack, the company has listed the affected locations, consult this list: Arizona 10645 North Tatum Boulevard, Suite 200, Phoenix 5402 East Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale 500 North Estrella Parkway Suite #B2, Goodyear 3800 West Starr Pass Boulevard, Tucson California 3419 East Chapman Drive, Orange 25A Crescent Drive, Pleasant Hill 1608 West Campbell Avenue, Campbell 3230 Arena Boulevard Suite 245, Sacramento Colorado 3124 South Parker Road #A2, Aurora 5910 South University Boulevard Suite C-18, Greenwood Village 12081 West Alameda Parkway, Lakewood Connecticut 35 East Main Street, Avon 1131 Tolland Turnpike Suite O, Manchester Florida 2910 Kerry Forest Parkway D4, Tallahassee 1400 Village Square Boulevard #3, Tallahassee Georgia 2700 Braselton Highway Suite #10, Dacula 1353 Riverstone Parkway Suite 120, Canton 1029 Peachtree Parkway North, Peachtree City 6361 Talokas Lane, Suite C140, Columbus Idaho 6700 North Linder Road Suite 156A, Meridian Illinois 2033 North Milwaukee Avenue, Riverwoods 276 East Deerpath Road, Lake Forest Louisiana 17732 Highland Road Suite G, Baton Rouge Maryland 10816 Town Center Boulevard, Dunkirk Nebraska 4089 South 84th Street, Omaha Nevada 5575 Simmons Street Unit 1, North Las Vegas 2657 Windmill Parkway, Henderson 7435 South Eastern Avenue Suite 105, Las Vegas 561 Keystone Avenue, Reno New Jersey 1385 Highway 35, Middletown 1409 Marlton Pike Route 70 East, Suite 168, Cherry Hill 201 Strykers Road, Suite 19, Lopatcong New York 420 South Riverside Avenue, Croton On Hudson 2520 Vestal Parkway East Suite 2, Vestal 2316 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo North Carolina 6409 Fayeteville Road, Suite 120, Durham 2217 Matthews Township Parkway, Suite D, Matthews 1639 US Highway 74A Bypass, Spindale 217 Paragon Parkway Clyde North Dakota 387 15th Street West, Dickinson Ohio 829 Bethel Road, Columbus Oklahoma 1006 West Taft Street, Sapulpa Pennsylvania 322 Mall Boulevard, Monroeville 512 Northampton, Edwardsville South Dakota 2601 South Minnosota Avenue Suite 105, Sioux Falls Tennessee 115 Penn Warren Drive #300, Brentwood 1138 North Germantown Parkway Suite 101, Cardova Texas 2201 Long Prairie, Suite 107, Flower Mound 5605 FM 423, Suite 500, Frisco Virginia 3445 Seminole Trail Route 29, North Charlottesville Washington 1400 West Washington Stree Suite 104, Sequim Image: UPS The post 51 Franchised UPS Stores Hacked, Possible Data Breach appeared first on Small Business Trends .

[via Small Business Trends]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

Did you ever wish that as a buyer, you could see and experience the tech solutions that could help you run your business — in action?  Gathered in one place?  Staged in actual business settings so you could see how the technology would look and work — and not just sitting on a shelf or display stand? That’s the service that  Technovation Solutions  delivers to businesses. Technovation runs a center in the heart of Las Vegas that showcases the “customer experience” for technology.  Members and partners can show off their technology in a simulated customer setting. Read more about this unique niche business, in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does: Showcases technology integrated into customer settings. That way, decision-makers looking for tech solutions can experience how the technology will look and be used. Technovation focuses on business verticals.  One of them is travel and hospitality. Say, for example, that you run a hotel. You are looking for technology for guest rooms and public areas.  When you walk through Technovation’s 19,000 square foot space, you get to see how the technology looks, feels and works in that type of business environment.  The layout features in-room control systems, room access systems, property management (PMS) and point of sale (POS) systems, and more. Business Niche: Replicating the customer experience for technology buyers. McGregor explained: “Our layout showcases very ‘real life’ lobbies, guest suites, and food and beverage areas, to set us apart from others who have more traditional EBCs (executive business centers). Our primary focus is not the technology, but rather the integrated solution providing the best customer experience.” This means that the layouts include offerings from multiple different providers. And some of these technologies even work together with one another to create the full experience the customer would get when walking through that type of business. How the Business Got Started: Through a series of meetings with Microsoft’s partners in the hospitality vertical. McGregor explained: “Many of  [these tech partners] were sufficiently small that they often struggled to break into the market or get recognition particularly with larger brands.  Integrating their product suites and going to market in a fully integrated fashion addressed two issues — the continuing concern brands have about ensuring that all of their systems are integrated and work together efficiently; and secondly, integrated solutions gave these smaller businesses better ‘mass’.” Employees: Two full time, plus some consultants and contract workers. The business model relies heavily on partners and collaboration. So they’re able to run a relatively large operation with a surprisingly small number of full-time employees. McGregor said: “We believe that our business model is such that our staffing overhead will remain relatively small even as we grow.” Biggest Win: Signing Microsoft as a ‘Strategic Alliance Partner.’ Having a big name partner like Microsoft has helped Technovation Solutions financially.  Just as importantly, it has helped them attract even more partners, platforms and clients. Lesson Learned: Location, location, location!  Choose a central location. When the company started, it was based in suburban Las Vegas. But after just a year, they decided to relocate to the Las Vegas Strip. McGregor stated: “If I could do it all over again, I would have picked a more central location from the start. Being close to the Strip makes it easier for us to bring potential clients in multiple verticals into the Center to showcase partner solutions and has increased significantly the traffic in our Experience Center. With Vegas as the convention capital of the world, we only expect this foot traffic to increase, regardless of vertical.” How They’d Use An Extra $100,000: To better serve the healthcare vertical. There are a lot of ways that technology can improve the healthcare industry, says McGregor. And there are new solutions coming out all the time. To create a customer experience center around healthcare would take a pretty big investment. McGregor explained: “That money would allow us to more quickly retrofit some of our 19,000 square feet to effectively present experience and engagement solutions for patients, providers and payors. Additionally, we could showcase the amazing technologies coming to market to accommodate healthcare’s focus transitioning from the provider to the patient through telemedicine, mobile monitoring devices, and so on.” Craziest Problem: Hmmm … being mistaken for an actual hotel? Seriously, though, part of the facility is set up to look just like a hotel (see ‘hotel room’ image above). Technovation Solutions has also provided similar settings for other industries. Secret Skills: Semi-professional movers! McGregor said: “We recently moved into a new location and I suppose the funniest thing about the process has been our desire to be super cost-conscious. We did much of the move and retrofit ourselves — dust and dirt no bar to the process. We were quite the mess and in Vegas heat — probably quite fragrant as well.” Images: Technovaton Solutions The post Spotlight: Technovation Shows Technology in Actual Room Settings appeared first on Small Business Trends .

[via Small Business Trends]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

GoDaddy is adding another tool to its suite of small business services. Once known as just a place to buy domain names and website hosting, GoDaddy says that its latest acquisition – the email marketing service Mad Mimi – further shows its commitment to small businesses. Terms of the sale have not been disclosed. According to information Small Business Trends has gleaned from a phone interview with a GoDaddy executive, there is no firm timetable for implementing this app into GoDaddy’s product line. Mad Mimi is largely a free email marketing service. Gary Levitt, CEO and co-founder of Mad Mimi, told Small Business Trends that 80 percent of Mad Mimi users don’t pay a dime for the service. He described his company as “stable”, noting that it has grown slowly since 2008. Not only is the Mad Mini app designed to help small businesses with their marketing. Levitt describes his company as a small business, too. But he said he’s excited to have his product exposed to millions of GoDaddy customers as a result of the acquisition. He described to us how his business has changed and how it has not, up through the acquisition by GoDaddy, when there are now 36 employees: “We’re not the type of company that launched a year ago. It was just me, then me plus 1 and plus 1. I’m hoping we can keep the structure in place with a small team. The energy in the Mad Mimi development room is exciting.” Mad Mimi allows small business owners and others to create attractive email marketing messages. The tool works like other services such as MailChimp in that it manages your contacts and tracks the success of your email messages. Messages are created within the Mad Mimi app. The look and feel of those messages can be altered. Here’s a quick look at Mad Mimi in action: Premium plans range from $10 per month basic to $1,049 per month for a much larger business. These plans allow you to host more images, send more messages, and make more customizations to the design of the emails you make. Until the product is fully integrated into GoDaddy’s services, people interested in Mad Mimi are still supposed to sign up for the email marketing app through its original homepage. Full integration likely won’t occur until next year, according to a release on the sale. In a Small Business Trends interview with GoDaddy Senior Vice President of Business Applications Steven Aldrich say his company has been looking for an email service to add to other small businesses services. Aldrich explained: “We’ve been moving to create a full suite of services to run businesses successfully. If we can bring the Mad Mimi product to as many of our 12 million customers as possible, then I know we can help them build better relationships with their customers and hopefully generate new business.” Aldrich said recent studies show email marketing remains far more effective than social media at converting prospects into into customers. Aldrich added: “One thing that has always amazed me is the stats with what is happening with email today. We were missing a great email marketing product. This is the next step in making email marketing mainstream for small businesses.” Mad Mimi will eventually join services like GetFound , and Get Paid (a collaboration GoDaddy has with Dwolla, PayPal and PayPal Here) among the company’s growing number of small business offerings. That growing portfolio is part of a steady acquisition spree and an international push by GoDaddy to meet the needs of small businesses worldwide. Image: Mad Mimi The post GoDaddy Acquires Email Marketing Service Mad Mimi appeared first on Small Business Trends .

[via Small Business Trends]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

Are you using SlideShare as a visual marketing tool? If you’re not familiar with this free presentation platform, here’s a simple guide on how to use SlideShare for marketing to increase the reach of your business and also generate leads. What Exactly is SlideShare? SlideShare is more than just a place to upload your webinar or workshop slides. It’s a content marketing social site that can optimize your company’s information and generate qualified leads. Most companies spend their time looking for new customers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, fighting for that prime spot in the news feed. But SlideShare users don’t participate in that battle. They face less competition for their viewers’ attention. And SlideShare users are connecting quicker and easier with potential customers searching for their information. With SlideShare’s simple optimization features, you can bring more traffic and added exposure from the first day that you post your presentation than you would tweeting a link during prime time on Twitter. But don’t think that there’s less competition on the site. Just take a look at these SlideShare stats: 60 million unique users log in every month. 400,000 new SlideShare presentations are viewed every month. More than 10 million presentations are uploaded per month. All that traffic isn’t just to look at power point presentations. You can upload your product’s photos, how-to videos, presentation slides, PDF files and create tips pieces as in this example from Small Business Trends below: And SlideShare is like the other social sites with the usual online behavior of commenting, downloading and ability to share your content. How to Start Sharing It’s pretty clear that visual content is growing and if it isn’t a part of your marketing plan, adding SlideShare into your mix is a great way to start. There are a number of programs out there (both paid and free) to help you set up your slide deck. But the easiest way to start is to pull up your Power Point program included in the office suite (this the programs suite that includes Word, Excel and Notepad) in your computer. Here are some tips for how to use SlideShare to help you create sharable presentations: Decide the number of slides. Your slides should speak for themselves and not require a lot of text. Use powerful images that help create your message. Be careful with the fonts you choose. Feel free to be creative but make sure that the text is readable. Your slides are like story – there should be a beginning, a middle and an end. Turning Content Into Leads Now, you’ve created your presentation on a topic that’s relevant to your target audience. How do you get those qualified leads? After you upload your presentation to SlideShare, make sure you add in these two simple steps: Set up your lead generation form: SlideShare has the option to embed an interactive pop-up form at the end of your presentation. You can set this up for users to enter their information to download your slides and/or to get connected to your company. If the user is a SlideShare member and they’ve logged in before coming to your form, then the lead generation form will auto-populate the users’ contact information. The whole process is easy for both SlideShare members and those who just came across your presentation. Add in clickable links: You’re not able to add clickable links to the first three pages of your presentation but you can add links to any other slide after the third one. It’s a pretty simple process to add in links. Just this follow these steps: Add in a call-to-action button or text copy in your slide to let the reader know that this link will give them more information. Highlight that area and select the menu option of ‘Insert’ and then click on “Hyperlink.’ Add in your website link in the hyperlink area. Your presentation now has interactive links. How to Optimize SlideShare to Get More Traffic Just like with any other content you post online, you want to make sure that your audience can find your SlideShare presentation. And like everything else on SlideShare, just doing a few easy steps can help your content reach more potential customers. Here are some optimization tips for you to use: Presentation file name – Use your keywords or phrase in the title of your presentation. This not only helps your content get found in SlideShare, it also helps your presentation get indexed in a Google search. Presentation description – The first 155 characters of your presentation description will come up in Google search results.  SlideShare allows you to have a longer description in their search results so feel free to add more key words and phrases when you complete the SlideShare description area. Tags – Similar to other social sites, use the tags that are relevant to your presentation and not just ones that are trending. Category – Include the correct categories that fit with your presentation. SlideShare users run a category search so make sure that your content is located in the correct section so your presentation can be found by more people. Interactive Links – As I mentioned above, make sure you add in clickable links to your presentation, especially on the last contact me slide. Adding in these links increases your site traffic, thus growing your online reach. Sharing Links – Don’t forget to set up your presentation for sharing. Check your settings to ensure that the share/embed feature is on to make it easier for readers to share your content. Need More Ideas to Create Your SlideShare? Take a look at one of my favorite SlideShare examples below that walks you through the presentation development steps: While social media is great resource for businesses, it’s also constantly being filled with online noise.  Business owners are struggling to figure out how to create visual content to grab our customer’s attention before they wander down another companies’ social feed. SlideShare gives you a place to stand out from the crowd. This traffic-building social program offers your customers a place to read through your visual content at their own pace while they’re learning something that helps them grow their business. It’s a place to grow your reach with potential new customers while increasing your engagement with your loyal fans. And with some research, planning and social sharing, your SlideShare presentations results can bring your site more traffic and qualified leads than just posting updates on Facebook. Computer Photo via Shutterstock The post How to Use SlideShare for Marketing and Generating Leads appeared first on Small Business Trends .

[via Small Business Trends]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

As ice buckets keep being dumped over my fb friends every day, I want to look at the #ALS #IceBucketChallenge phenomenon from the marketing angle and talk about what makes it a successful campaign. Continue reading →

[via Innovation Excellence]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

Sponsored Post Creating a worksite wellness program is a great step toward encouraging healthy habits with employees. The benefits don’t stop there though: Studies reveal correlations between worksite wellness programs and performance! But, what’s the best part about wellness? It can be scaled: From gym memberships to health-oriented email tips to on-site fitness facilities and personal health coaching, programs can be successful with any level of resources. Some businesses claim cost is the only barrier to creating a wellness program, but others tout reduction in health costs as a top reason to create and sustain a successful program. Need Help Getting Started? Think about company culture and consider what your focus should be. Quick ideas to get you started: Tobacco-free incentives. Cancer prevention screenings and education. Health plans with incentives for regular wellness visits. Free or low-cost healthy vending-machine and cafeteria choices. Business or departmental health challenge with enticing incentives, such as vacation getaways, additional paid leave or free groceries. The post Happy & Healthy Employees appeared first on Small Business Trends .

[via Small Business Trends]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

Holy smokes! Google has effectively killed off both the Exact and Phrase keyword match types in AdWords. While the keyword match types will still exist, starting in September, AdWords is redefining the definition of how keywords set to phrase and exact keyword match type will trigger search ads by applying close variant keyword matching . Meaning, your keywords will also trigger for misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents, acronyms and abbreviations of the keywords that you specify. Close variant keyword match was introduced in 2012, and was already the default option when using exact match and phrase match – however previously you could opt out of it. Going forward, this is no longer the case. Here’s everything you need to know about this keyword match type shake-up. Who Is Impacted By The Change? At WordStream, we estimate that the change is a non-issue for approximately 97% of Google AdWords advertisers that didn’t opt out of close variant keyword match type option and who didn’t employ keyword “match type trap” optimization strategies. However the 3% who were using exact and phrase match the old fashioned way will most certainly be impacted by the change. And for the record, we see no reason for why they had to remove an optional feature. What Was The Benefit Of Previously Opting Out Of Close Variant Keyword Matching? The use of classic phrase and exact match offered greater precision and control over exactly which search queries triggered your ads. At WordStream we’ve found that shaping PPC traffic using these more precise match types almost always improved ROI, typically in the range of low double digits. Was There Any Downside Of Using Phrase & Exact Match? Yes. The increased control and ROI came at a cost of dramatically increased account management complexity. For example, an account with 10 million keywords would typically have consisted of around 1 million core keywords and 9 million variations of those same keywords. This resulted in many times more account artifacts which in turn created account inertia that made it harder be agile in other ways. For example, ad copy and landing page optimization was much harder because there were so many more ad groups to deal with, etc. This was unfortunate because ad copy and landing page optimization activities provide far greater potential upside. For example, the top 10% of landing pages convert 3-5x higher than the median landing page, and the top 1% of ad text generates 6x more clicks . Why Is Google Redefining Phrase And Exact Match? I have no idea. This isn’t the first time Google has deprecated functionality, for example, last year they retired Device Targeting. In both cases though, Google retired targeting features that if used, resulted in substantially more complex account structure. Beyond that, the concept of exact match is around 15 years old. Today we’re moving towards a “keywordless” future of search where organic search algorithms like Hummingbird will show you search results for content that doesn’t even include the keywords you searched on, and Google Shopping ads don’t use any keywords at all to target ads. As a result, I’d expect to see more of this “match type consolidation” in the near future. Ultimately it’s a Google AdWords world. We’re just living in it. What Are The Benefits Of Close Variant Keyword Matching? Reduced account complexity by means of fewer keywordsExpanded reach by being able to capture more long tail keyword searches that would have otherwise been impossible to target due to “low search volume”. It was impossible to come up with all possible keyword variations for a niche. Are There Any Benefits Of Forcing The Use Of Close Variant Keyword Matching? No. Except that perhaps it forces search marketers to think more about more SEM strategy and more leveraged optimization activities like Conversion Rate Optimization and Ad Copy Optimization rather than mindless (and endless) keyword expansion. What are your thoughts about the change in phrase and exact match? Republished by permission. Original here . Images: Google Support The post No More Phrase and Exact Keyword Match in AdWords appeared first on Small Business Trends .

[via Small Business Trends]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

HTC has announced the launch of the HTC One M8 for Windows 8.1. The company claims the phone is the first example of a flagship device being offered with two different operating systems. The HTC One (M8) is already available as an Android device. That version was released earlier this year. Online and retail sales of the HTC One (M8) for Windows Phone started this week. It’s available exclusively through Verizon Wireless. In a statement announcing the release on the official HTC Blog, Jason Mackenzie, President of HTC Americas, explains : “Consumers love the HTC One (M8) and today’s introduction extends that enthusiasm to new audiences hungry for choice in their mobile experience.” Both the Android and Windows form of the HTC One (M8) will look and feel the same, the company says. There are dual cameras that allow you to shoot full HD video, including a 5-MP front-facing camera for crisper video chats. Both versions of the phone run on Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801, quad-core CPUs. It has a 5-inch, full HD 1080p display. The phone is sold with either 16- or 32-GB of internal storage. An expansion slot allows you to add up to 128-GB more storage. The HTC One (M8)  is designed with a curved backing that’s supposed to fit your hand better. The main difference between the Android and Windows version of the phone is, obviously, the operating system. HTC says that the new Windows 8.1 update version of its flagship device will include several new features offered by Microsoft, including the new digital assistant, Cortana . There are also Live Tiles and several other Windows Phone-only add-ons. Darren Laybourn, Microsoft’s corporate Vice President of Engineering, says in a statement on the HTC Blog: “The HTC One (M8) for Windows is true to the flagship product’s award-winning design and unique experience while also taking the best of what Windows Phone has to offer. We succeeded in offering customers the best of both our worlds with this phone.” Last year Microsoft and HTC were in talks about the possibility of running a version of Windows Phone operating system on the company’s flagship phone. The HTC One (m8) is a direct successor to HTC’s One phone, sometimes called by its code name the HTC One (m7) which first appeared last year. Image: HTC The post HTC Flagship Phone Now Has Windows Phone 8.1 Version appeared first on Small Business Trends .

[via Small Business Trends]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

What’s your next “luxury problem”? Consider this: Your competitor’s new product or service spells far more reason for celebration than for regret. Continue reading →

[via Innovation Excellence]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }

At Premera we are all about helping our members live a healthier life. We want to give them the right tools that will help them eat better, shop smarter and move more. In order to help us develop new innovative tools for our members we want to hear from you. Do you have an innovative idea that will ignite change for the better? If so, we are offering a $5,000 reward for the best idea! Continue reading →

[via Innovation Excellence]

Follow us @innovationheat – lists / @blackbolenay

{ 0 comments }