How Small Businesses Can Protect Customers’ Data and Their Own Profits

Keeping your customers’ information safe is more than a security concern.  A data breach can mean lost productivity, embarrassment, reduced faith, expensive recovery, and it can even lead to a company’s failure.  Here’s how to make sure your small business is following best practices so you can protect customer data, as well as your bottom line.  

Notable numbers

While data-related mishaps by big companies tend to catch the most media attention, USA Today notes that it’s small businesses that are targets of cyber crime.  In fact, two thirds of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses, and 60 percent of small businesses that fall victim are unable to recover, shutting down permanently within six months of an attack. 

Developing policies

As cyber crime advances, more states are requiring businesses of various types and sizes to follow strict guidelines to protect customers’ information.  As an example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires companies to protect private health information. Or New York now requires financial institutions to comply with NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation. In order to comply, businesses must evaluate their own weak spots and proactively address concerns.  You can find out the requirements for various states by exploring data security laws in different areas.  Even if you live in a state with softer guidelines, businesses must notify customers of a data breach based on the customers’ locations.  In other words, if you have customers in Kentucky and your business is set in California, you must follow Kentucky’s notification rules for customers in that state should a data breach occur. 

Putting up defenses

It doesn’t take long to realize it’s in your best interests to make every attempt to avoid data breaches.  A data breach can come in many forms, so one place to start is to examine what you have that criminals would want to steal.  Evaluate your practices for handling sensitive data like credit card information and bank account numbers.  Note PCI compliance is required of all businesses that handle credit cards, so it’s important to assess related practices carefully. 

Installing appropriate hardware and software is another key to avoiding trouble.  Firewall protection is a crucial tool to have. Additionally, antivirus software protects your data from malware, ransomware, and the like.  Keep your software up-to-date with the latest security patches as well, and if your company hasn’t moved to cloud storage, consider doing so.  Not only does saving data in the cloud provide better security, there are other advantages, such as improved sharing, easy restoration, and reduced overhead. 

Training your troops

It’s important to ensure your staff isn’t a weak link in your company’s defenses.  Make sure your team knows to avoid opening suspicious emails from unfamiliar sources, and not to divulge sensitive information.  Also, develop a solid password protocol.  Train everyone to avoid using actual words, to make passwords reasonably complex, and to keep passwords strictly confidential.  Your staff can use certain “tricks” for their passwords which help with memorization.  For instance, they can use acronyms for memorable phrases, such as “TIMNPFW,” which could stand for “this is my new password for work.”  If you elect to incorporate numbers, they can exchange “for” with a 4, and so forth. 

If you want to take matters further, you could encourage your employees to further their education by taking online IT courses.  The best part of this approach is that they can complete the courses in their free time, which shouldn’t interfere with their regular work schedules.

Make plans for trouble

No system is foolproof, so having a plan in place in the event a data breach occurs ensures the best possible chance of coming through on the other side with a healthy company.  Develop a sound incident response plan, and train your staff how to proceed in the event of a breach.  If you have an IT team, they will likely be integral to recovery. If your business doesn’t have IT staff, you’ll likely have to hire a data recovery professional to help minimize the damage. Another resource would be a digital forensics specialist, which can potentially trace where a breach occurred, help restore data, and gather evidence against the criminal. 

Developing appropriate defenses is not only a smart solution, it’s a chance to ensure your company doesn’t become just another statistic.  Follow best practices and ensure compliance on all levels of your organization.  Protecting data is crucial to your small business’s success.

Social Media for Business: 12 Simple Ways to Use Social Media to Market Your Online Store

During the past decade, social media has become a go-to platform for many entrepreneurs to promote their business.

For one, it is a free marketing platform. Second, social media enables two-way communication between you and your customers. Social media is also an excellent way to encourage your customers to spread the word about your business.

However, we understand if you find social media marketing overwhelming. As such, we have listed down 12 different ways you can use this platform to promote your business.

Choose the Most Effective Platforms

Every brand is different. Therefore, they need to find which is the best platform that will work best with them.

If your brand is more on the visual aspect, tapping into Instagram or Pinterest is a great idea. But how about other platforms out there?

At Voy Media Marketing Agency NYC, we always advise our clients to start with one or two channels first. This helps reduce the overwhelming feeling they get. It also prevents them from spreading themselves too thin.

After all, a business owner should focus on making his business grow instead of promoting his products on social media.

When determining the proper channels to use, you need to consider your customers and your business's needs.

You need to create social media accounts on the platforms that your target audience use. That way, they can easily connect with you.

It would help if you also did some research on sites that best fit your products. Let's say you're a video production company. Then, Youtube here is perhaps the most obvious choice.

Provide Value

The most successful marketers out there didn't build an engaged following on social media by simply posting links to product pages.

Users on social media want more value from the pages that they follow. Therefore, sellers need to come up with content offerings that provide value to their followers. What's in it for them?

You can accomplish this goal by figuring out which topics people often care about. Think of how your products and services can help solve everyday issues. And then publish relevant content regularly.

But you also beware brands also have to be careful not to act in a very promotional way. Although promotion is vital, this shouldn't be tempered with various other posts that don't make any sales pitch.

So, highlight your brand's offerings. It's also essential that you focus on your company's more unique aspects or products. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to create long-form content.

Create a Calendar

Scrambling to post at the very last minute eventually leads you to produce low-quality content.

A lack of organization in this area will eventually cause you to create repeated posts or a dull social media presence.

Coming up with your own social media calendar is one of the excellent ways to achieve your marketing goals. It also allows you to monitor your progress.

Create a regular content calendar for every social media platform, planning out your posts in advance. Include links, hashtags, images, and other social media content forms.

Build Relationships with Influencers

When people think about influencers, the first thing that usually comes into mind is celebrities and athletes. However, partnering with these people won't probably fit your marketing budget if you're starting.

But influencer marketing is one of the fastest ways you can acquire more customers in a digital world. How can you implement a strategy like this? Well, you can partner with micro-influencers instead.

Although these kinds of people may not have millions of followers, you can still get them to post your content for a couple of hundreds of dollars.

Offer them a free product instead in exchange for a post about your brand. You can effectively use this strategy because micro-influencers tend to have higher engagement metrics with their followers. And that is despite the fact they are not celebrities.

You might also consider working with local influencers in your area if you're a small business. It's also likely that your followers will be interested in supporting your brand.

Share Product Videos

Visual content also works exceptionally well with social media.

Video content, for instance, is a great way to grab the attention of your audience. It also lets you showcase your personality while excitingly conveying your marketing message.

It stands out as users scroll through their feeds on social media, and they're likely to view and engage with it. This also allows you to say more than an average post without coming off as too overwhelming.

For the best results, come up with interesting, narrative-driven video content.

Share User-Generated Content

Sharing user-generated content online helps you drive brand awareness.

Let's say you regularly publish posts on Instagram. Consider posting images of people wearing or using your products. And then tag the people in your photo.

This allows you to expand your brand's audience reach. That's because when you tag a person, it is likely that they will share it with their audience. This means that more Instagram users will notice you.

Also, do you know that 92% of consumers will trust a referral even if it comes from people they know?

Without a doubt, user-generated content can be one of the best ways you can gain more followers. It is up to you how you can turn these new followers into loyal customers.

Run Contests and Giveaways

Similarly, running contests and giveaways are often a no-brainer if you want to boost brand awareness.

Coming with low-barrier contests can be an immense help in spreading the word about your business, especially if the mechanics are straightforward. Thus, these are the ones that usually drive the highest engagement.

If you're starting out running contests and giveaways, we recommend that you go with this route.

Consider Paid Advertising

You can run paid advertising campaigns on almost every social media channel.

Although there's a price tag attached to this strategy, this is vital- especially in an era with organic reach is slowly declining.

Because PPC is one of the main ways retailers use to drive traffic on social media, you must know audience targeting and personalization.

Fortunately, many social media platforms give advertisers various targeting parameters. This ensures that people who can see your ad are those who are likely to transact with you.

Many targeting options of various sites these days include dimensions such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Interests
  • Languages
  • Location

Moreover, social media platforms allow sellers to target custom and lookalike audiences. These are social media users who have interacted with a brand that is similar to yours. It also refers to people who share the same demographic and psychographic as your existing customers.

With various ad formats and targeting parameters, it's almost unforgivable that you don't know the ins and outs of social media advertising.

Engage Followers

To get your posts translated to traffic and sales, you need to engage or connect with your followers as a retailer.

When people have positive interaction with your business, they'll recommend it to other people. But to form a meaningful connection with your audience, everything doesn't have to be about sales.

You can talk about general topics which are often related to your niche.

That way, if you'll post something related to sales, later on, they'll more likely engage and interact with your brand.

If you want a follower to post something about your content, then responding to them will make them feel part of that dialogue. It will also make them think that you're interested in them.

Utilize Hashtags

Hashtags have already been a staple for a lot of sites on social media.

Hashtags are commonly used on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This is to provide users the means to improve organic discovery by reaching out to people who use these terms.

However, note that hashtag etiquette is often different for every site.

Although it's okay that you post nine hashtags or more on Instagram, this doesn't often work with Facebook.

That's why you must take time learning how hashtags are used in a specific social media platform that you're using.

Use Shoppable Posts

Although linking your online store to your Instagram Page isn't always easy, there are still other ways that you can work it out.

One of the excellent ways to do that is to publish photos on your Instagram Page or stories. You can even come up with a video clip featuring those products, then linking your online store in your Instagram bio.

By doing this, you're letting your customers send you a shopping inquiry without hassle.

Build a Community

Rather than getting as many followers as possible, you can look at your potential and existing customers.

These are the people who will likely repost your content, like your posts, and eventually become paying customers.

When you build a community around your brand, people will likely engage and promote your content.

When you use social media for marketing your brand, you need to ensure that you're visible to your target audience. By taking the tips listed above into heart, you'll likely develop a system that enables you to produce engaging content constantly.

AbanteCart Named Best Shopping Cart Software Company of 2021 by

The AbanteCart was highlighted among the most efficient solutions to help manage online stores and generate sales, a leading independent review website for small business online tools, products, and services, has named AbanteCart among the best shopping cart software companies of 2021. The top systems were selected based on core features and integration capabilities.

AbanteCart and all software solutions were expected to offer tools that integrate seamlessly with most websites. The study also evaluated platforms with user-friendly functions, such as order tracking and online reviews, to enhance the customers’ experience. Additional requirements include abandoned cart saver tools that automate reminder emails to customers who leave the site before finalizing a transaction.’s research team conducted a 40-hour assessment of over 60 solutions. To access the complete list of best shopping cart software, please visit

ABOUT DIGITAL.COM reviews and compares the best products, services, and software for running or growing a small business website or online shop. The platform collects twitter comments and uses sentiment analysis to score companies and their products. was founded in 2015 and formerly known as Review Squirrel. To learn more, visit

How To Save An "Almost" Lost Revenue With Website Popups

If you’ve ever owned an ecommerce site, you know it can be difficult to reduce bounce rate.

You did everything right. Your website has high-quality visuals, compelling copy, and it’s optimized for SEO. Yet, it’s not enough to make new customers sign-up stay in your online store.

It happens all the time: Potential customers come but go quickly.

The result is a missed chance at conversion and a loss at potential revenue.

To solve this problem, consider using website popups.

Why Use A Website Popup?

Website popups may seem annoying—but they can be effective.

Sumo analyzed approximately 1,754,957,675 popups and found that the top 10% with the highest performance had an average conversion rate of 9.28%. Furthermore, the average conversion rate for all the popups was 3.09%.

Having a website popup gives you another opportunity to convert customers and get them along the sales funnel. As a last resort, you can use it to offer a discount, free shipping and downloadable content so visitors sign-up or make a purchase.

At the very least, an email sign-up will give your business more opportunities to get in touch with leads or prospects. Then, you can make them move along the sales funnel.

So today, I'll show you how to utilize website popups to recover lost revenue.

1. Exit-intent popup

An exit-intent popup appears before customers leave your online store.

Some people may find these popups irritating. Yet, there’s no harm in using it to reel in first-time site visitors. After all, they were about to leave your website anyway.

In fact, OptinMonster reports that an exit-intent popup could help businesses recover around 53% of abandoning visitors. Additionally, Backlinko founder Brian Dean shared that last-minute popups helped him snag 50,000 people to his subscriber list! 

Exit-intent popups have a lot of potential for your online business.

Of course, you’ll need to sweeten the deal by including free shipping and discounts. Otherwise, visitors won’t be compelled to make a last-minute sign-up.

For example, Optinmonster’s popup for Black Friday promotes its 60% off deals. What’s more, they included a countdown timer and the words “Limited Time Only” to compel customers to take up the offer.

Another thing we loved with this popup is the huge red “Claim My Discount!” CTA button. It definitely pressures customers to stay on the site and claim the offer.

2. Chat or support page popup 

Sometimes customers leave your site because they’re not entirely convinced about your offer. Sure, they’ve read the features page and pricing plans but it’s still not enough to seal the deal.

In this case, a popup that directs users to a chat or support page may be the best way to convince them to use your product. This is especially true for businesses in the B2B or tech space who sell complicated software.

Rather than a discount, a live chat with customer service or sales agent may provide them with the answers they need to move to the next step.

For example, Sumo has a simple popup that encourages users to talk to an expert. The easy-to-understand popup makes it easy for visitors to get in touch with staff members.

3. Refer-a-friend popup 

Sometimes the cost of trying a new product may dissuade customers from making a purchase.

Now, what if you could invite your friend to try the product—and both of you get a discount? Wouldn’t that be an amazing deal!

This is how a referral popup works. Basically, customers or brand advocates can refer a friend to use a product and service. If their friend makes a purchase, they can get discounts or freebies.

Unlike most traditional marketing tactics, referral marketing is perceived as trustworthy because we trust recommendations from our loved ones.

In fact, ReferralCandy found that word-of-mouth referrals are trusted by 86% of consumers, which makes it the most trusted marketing tactic. Plus, customers acquired through word-of-mouth spend 200% more than the average customer, and make as twice as many referrals.

For businesses, a referral pop-up means that you can snag two new customers, instead of just one. There’s also minimal effort required to get new customers along the sales funnel. It’s the ideal win-win-win scenario.

Here’s an example of a refer-a-friend popup from Uber. Users can get free rides or $20 off just by spreading the word to their friends. This encourages users to onboard their friends to the platform in exchange for free services.

Like Uber, most referral programs utilize two-sided referral incentives. Meaning both customers and their friends will be rewarded for the successful referral. By incentivizing both parties, businesses make it easier for brand advocates to convince their friends.

4. Thank you popup

Once your customer successfully refers their friends to your business, don’t forget to say thank you! Show your appreciation and express your gratitude. You can also use a pop-up to thank customers for the time and effort spent to successfully persuade friends and family to try a new brand or product.

For example, Glossier’s popup thanks customers for their successful referral and gives them a $10 store credit. Plus, they encourage readers to share again by providing them with a referral link.

Glossier uses the popup as another opportunity to instantly make more referrals through email, Messenger, and Twitter.

This goes beyond e-commerce though.  Tactics like this can be used by large and small businesses alike.

As Ron from One Hour Professor explains, “One of my best converting offers on my blog happens after someone has subscribed to my email list and I urge them to create an online course of their own.  I was shocked at how effective this has been, my conversion here is nearly double of any other pop-up I have.”


Popups provide you with a last-minute opportunity to connect with your website visitors. Exit-intent popups can lure people in through discounts, free shipping and downloadable content. In contrast, a chat or support page popup gives you an opportunity to get prospects through your sales funnel.

While exit-intent and support page popups are powerful, we highly recommend including referral popups in your marketing arsenal. This marketing tactic lets first-time users or loyal customers refer their friends so they can both snag the product at a discounted price. Hence, you get two or more new customers instead of just one.