How to Perform A/B Testing for Social Media Campaigns?

The article will walk you through basic concepts of A/B testing and help you successfully launch your social media campaign even in less time than a rocket.

Social Media campaigning is all the rage as millions of users are online each day. Effective campaigning augments brand exposure and boosts market saturation. It also aids in turning your passive viewers into paying customers.

More than 96% of small business owners use social marketing. A business that markets via social media platforms witnesses a tremendous growth in their traffic. However, not every advertisement, promotional video or image garners the same rate of success.

Pic Courtesy: Bmconsulting.in

One advertisement may be successful for the promotion of your business while others may not reap the same benefits. So, it is important for the marketers to analyze what works best for them and what does not work for them. This can be achieved through A/B testing.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is real-time research and experiment that facilitates you to test small variations in the marketing materials in order to determine the most effectual campaign for your business that caters to your target audience.

Pic Courtesy: Optimizely.com

It is also known as split testing. To perform this, you’ll have to split your audiences into two groups and then test different versions of a marketing tool with each group. The responses of audiences help in determining the most effective version out of the two tested.

It should be noted that you can only test with one variation at a time. If you’ll test two different variations, you won’t be able to find out which element was more successful.

Procedure to perform A/B testing

Pic Courtesy: Canstockphoto.com

Choose the kind of content to test

The first and foremost step to initiate A/B testing is to define your goals. In this process, you’ll have to understand what kind of content you intend to test such as images, videos, ads, hashtags, headlines, post, call-to-action, etc

Carry out intensive research to know about the ongoing trends in the market

Following the latest trends will help you to get the kind of response you are expecting. You can dig into the existing knowledge and think about quirky ideas that will work best for you. You should never be afraid to challenge the assumptions.

Make a list of variables that you’ll be testing

There are several variables that can be tested, like the right time of the day to post, length of ad, the location of the ad, language used, and much more. So, you’ll have to choose the right variables to test.

For example, if you are choosing to post a text, then you can consider testing the following factors:

  • Length of the post
  • Style of the text
  • Use of emojis
  • Use of a digit for posts linking to a numbered list
  • Use of punctuation
  • Tone of the post whether professional or casual

Create two variations based on your research

Based on your research, you’ll have to create two variations of the same product. Take into consideration that only one element should be tested for two variations.

For example, if you are looking for an amazing image for the LinkedIn profile, you can create two to three variations. Look at an example in the image shown below:

The text is same in case of all the three versions but the testing is being carried out to find the best image for stellar marketing campaigns.

Know what you are looking for

Social marketers are scientists who carry out different experiments to find out the best combination of images, text, and videos for the promotion. Just as scientists should know why they are performing the research, marketers should have end goals.

You should have a clear idea of what you are looking for in the end. The effectiveness of A/B testing can be tested only if you have defined metrics or end goals.

For Example- You can test the impact of an ad in different locations to make your campaigning target to specific audiences. You can also test two Calls-to-actions to find the one that garners more users.

Here’s an example using call-to-action

Pic Courtesy: Facebook.com

Pic Courtesy: Facebook.com

The two different CTAs used in Facebook ads are ‘Install Now’ and ‘Use app’ for the World Surf League. The one that will bring more installs (not just visits) will be considered as the better of two. So the metrics declared here is not the number of clicks but the number of installs.

Design a strategy

A/B testing is vital for your marketing campaigns so you should perform it meticulously. You should develop appropriate strategies in order to minimize the errors.

For instance, if you are testing different versions of the same element to find the one with better impact, then you should test both of them simultaneously. This would avoid any variations or errors that might crop up due to change in timings of testing.

On the other hand, if you want to test the best time of the day for successful campaigning, then you’ll have to strategize to test the same element at different times in a day for several days. The results acquired at different times will then aid in reaching conclusions.

Consider whether you need a software

Some tests are there that might need the use of a specific software. So before performing the test, it is better that you have the requisite software installed.

For eg: You can easily test two different messages on social media without any software. However, you’ll require AI-powered software to perform multivariate testing. Similarly, different testing may require different software.

Testing Phase: Segment your audience/followers and show each variation to different groups

This is the most important phase of A/B testing. Once you have decided the end goals, elements and variations to be tested, you’ll have to present it in front of your audiences.

Divide your audience into two segments randomly. Now, show each variation of the same product to two different groups. The responses of the audience can then be compared to reach conclusions.

Analyze the results and choose the winning variation

After you have conducted the A/B testing, analyze the data and compare with metrics to find which version suits your desired results. You should also analyze the statistical significance of the test results.

Analyzing the statistical significance properly aids in preventing us from making wrong decisions, and choosing the best variation.  You can once again show the chosen variation to a wider range of audiences so that you can make further improvements.

Pic Courtesy: Mageewp.com

Conclusion

A/B testing of your social media campaign is essential as it saves your efforts, time and money. You can make proper decisions regarding the implementation of the marketing materials by going through the results of A/B testing.

About the author
Anil Parmar is the co-founder of Glorywebs that aims to help clients with social media marketing and advertising services, web development, mobile apps & more. Apps and websites we develop have a common # 1 goal: Keep it as simple as possible for end users. Find him on Twitter @abparmar99 & say Hi!

The Best Way to Use Facebook and Other Social Platforms for Promoting Your Business

Quizzes on social media are an effective and interactive way for engaging participants and generating new business leads. Find out how to use Facebook quizzes.

If you want to get more leads for your business to grow holistically, then you could consider using an interactive platform on social media to connect with a more comprehensive audience. Quizzes on social media platforms, especially on Facebook, are a novel way of engaging with your audience, gathering constructive feedback and increasing your prospective clients. In this article, you will learn how to efficiently create and use quizzes as an interactive medium on social media to promote your business.

#1: Setting a Goal

To create an effective quiz, you would require setting a specific objective. Enumerate what you want to achieve and what you would like your participants to accomplish. Some of these goals can be:

  • To increase your customer list
  • To introduce your business to people
  • To increase traffic to your blog
  • To notify your potential audience about an upcoming event which you would host

It’s essential for you to specify what exactly you would want to achieve at the end and customize and curate your quiz accordingly. You should narrow down your most essential one or two goals to create an effective quiz, rather than focusing on various goals simultaneously.

#2:  Audience Needs

Next, you need to list what are the requirements of your target audience, and to that, you should add how you can help to assuage those needs via your business. Awareness of customer’s needs helps in creating a quiz that will appeal to them. You can, thereby, pinpoint on a relevant topic on social media that affects your customers more, and thus understand the emotional needs and requirements, and feelings of your target audience. This process will also help in making more people tend to share their preferences and requirements with you, which will give you insights on how to make your business more productive. Your audience will also provide more value to your efforts because they will know that it is designed by keeping their interests in mind, thereby promoting goodwill.

#3: Creating the Quiz

While creating your quiz, you should try to frame questions effectively and efficiently.  You must try collecting new subscribers via email and social media platforms and thus grow your audience and hence your business as well. An active social media quiz should be interactive and engaging in nature, but it should also be primarily about your audience as people tend to love learning about themselves and their inner natures while too craving to have their requirements validates.

Subject-matter and Headline

You should choose topics that would be appealing to a potential quiz-taker’s interests, his emotions, and feelings, for this you should look up the points which you had noted down in Step 2. You can try making the headline of the quiz something that would resonate with your (for instance, “Which Tom Cruise character suits you?”).

Questions and Answers

After deciding on a topic and an innovative headline, you must start with framing some actively engaging, yet lively questions and answers. Here are some points which you should adhere to:

  • Short Questions and Answers. You should use multiple choice questions with answers not exceeding 6 in total per question. The quiz must not take more than 5 minutes to complete and thus. Ideally, 6 to 8 questions should be enough
  • Use Catchy Images. Images would help in drawing attention of your potential participants, while also keeping them mentally engaged
  • Exercise Simplicity. The quiz should be simple enough for your participants to complete and similarly easily, the results should be easy to understand and share. This will help in broadening the audience of your quiz and also increase its tendency to go viral.

While such quizzes will not, in general, provide any particular insights about a participant, but the general aim should remain in trying to provide some casual, interactive entertainment to the target audience and also, thereby, attracting new potential clients. You should keep the questions and answers related in some way to your business, but engagingly by making the audience feel involved in the topic of the quiz.

Results

After the quiz, you must not reveal the results immediately but instead, offer the participants some incentive, like a free eBook, to sign up for your client-email list; however, you should also provide them the option to skip to the results directly if they are not willing to share their email addresses. The quiz-takers must see a reason to share their information with you. You must ensure that the quiz-takers find it easy to share their results on social media platforms like Facebook.

Make it easy to share the quiz results.

#4: Share Your Quiz

Once you have created your Facebook quizzes, you can post it to your website, personal blog, Facebook profile or on other social media platforms. This will help in making the quiz go viral and attracting more participants and thus more potential clients.

#5: Evaluation of Results

You must pay attention and be careful of the results of your quiz, that is, the ratio of people who participated and the how many of them became potential leads. This will help in increasing the effectiveness of your quiz. After evaluating the results, you must make the required adjustments.

Conclusion

Quizzes on social media are an effective and interactive way for engaging participants and generating new business leads. By using the methods mentioned above, you can increase your potential clients and grow your business. It is one of the most accessible and most appealing ways to win over new clients. In fact, quizzes are quite popular on social media, and as many as 8 out of 10 stories that are shared on Facebook are such quizzes. Create your social media quiz as early as you can and start collecting new leads.

About the author
Dorothy Perkins is noted for her insightful blog on social media and Facebook. She has a high opinion of the Facebook quizzes, and her recommendations are beneficial to those who follow her blog.

User experience is what counts when it comes to your site’s conversion

UX design has thus come out on top as one of the most used web designs of today, but since it’s constantly changing, we’ll take a look at how it’s likely to look in 2018 and help you prepare for what’s coming.

The internet world has changed tremendously over the past few years until the point where web design and UX (User Experience) are vital to the success of any website. Google’s algorithm updates for search engines also meant that websites that wanted to be SEO optimized needed to pay more attention to user experience and high-quality content. UX design has thus come out on top as one of the most used web designs of today, but since it’s constantly changing, we’ll take a look at how it’s likely to look in 2018 and help you prepare for what’s coming.

Voice User Interfaces

With the rise of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant, we’ve come to a point in time where voice interaction is slowly becoming more and more popular. The rapid development of VUIs (Voice User Interfaces) means that they are soon to become a strong alternative to GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) that we use most of the time. This means that web design is going to move away from designing for clicks and taps, towards a more screenless experience. While VUIs are predicted to reach about 50% of all user interactions by 2020, this doesn’t mean that GUIs are going to disappear. Voice-commands can be tricky and socially awkward in crowded places, so there will always be a place for GUIs to be used in the future.

Focus on the Content

Content has become huge over the years and it’s going to stay that way for a long time. Not only will high-quality content directly influence conversion rates on your website, but it will also bring you more traffic if you optimize it for SEO purposes. This is why web design trends like minimalism or UX design have become extremely popular since they never distract the users from what’s really important – the content. Great usage of whitespace is of the essence for web designers here, and once that’s mastered you’ll have a much content friendlier website.

Color and Typography

There are huge differences between desktop and mobile screens, which means that what works well on a desktop might not be clear enough while scrolling quickly on your smartphone. Since we’re already at a point where mobile devices are taking over the market as a whole, you need to make sure that typography is very clear when quickly going through the content on a mobile device. It’s the same with colour, as most users will only stop to read something that catches their eye, so you need to make sure that most important sentences are somehow differentiated from the rest of the text.

Design That Saves Time

Most popular websites today are trying to push their information in an easily consumable fashion. Just take a look at how simple Balenciaga’s shop is. The whole point is to create an intuitive experience that will maximize the effect and save your user’s time. We’re living in an extremely fast-paced society today, so your audience’s time is something you always have to take into account. This is only going to become more important in the future, as we’re just speeding up all the time. If your user can’t get to a certain point on a website in a few clicks, they’ll most probably abandon the website, leaving you empty-handed. Experienced web design veterans from Bapple recommend focusing on clear navigation as it is absolutely vital to your success, and so is the guidance that you provide for your users once they’re on your website.  

Ditch the Hamburger Menu

While hamburger menu was extremely popular a couple of years back, it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s time for it to go. Ditching the menu in favour of a tab bar will increase your navigation clicks, as Spotify found out when they did just that. The same goes for YouTube, who found out that getting rid of the hamburger menu meant their website became more user-friendly. The main reason for this is that you want your navigation menu to be in plain view, especially on mobile devices where you want it to be present on screen at all times, regardless where on the page you are.

Bottom Line

Staying in touch with web design trends has never been more important than today, as things keep changing faster than most people can follow. Minimalism, Brutalism, UX web design, these are all web design trends that are made for one purpose only – to increase conversions. It goes without saying that you should always take into account what’s your niche and how your audience will react to certain changes that you make. This is why you always want to be testing a lot everything before making a final decision.

Why promotional marketing stands out in the digital age

For those of us involved in marketing, it’s all too easy to forget that the digital revolution hasn’t necessarily changed every consumer behaviour and habit. Many of us still choose to shop in physical spaces, preferring to see a product in real life before we buy it. In the B2B sphere as well, purchasing decisions are often the result of meetings and relationships that have taken place in the real world. These ‘real world’ touch points, from product launch events to the department store aisle, are still incredibly important in influencing the consumer journey.

Promotional marketing may seem outdated in this digital marketplace but, on the contrary, it has become more relevant than ever. Brand awareness built up online can quickly be surpassed by brand experiences born in the real world. It’s perhaps no surprise then that promotional marketing has been shown to drive a higher ROI than many other forms of advertising. Whilst it may not be as scalable as digital marketing or have anything like its reach, as a way of establishing those all-important physical touchpoints with consumers, it is without equal.

In this article, I want to explore some of the reasons the inherently physical world of promotional marketing is, in fact, flourishing in the digital age.

Promo marketing generates long-term brand exposure and recognition

One of the most powerful assets of promotional marketing is its ability to drive brand awareness over the long term. Physical products are tangible artefacts that don’t disappear into the ether in the way a YouTube video or webpage does. Studies have found that consumers tend to keep promotional products for a year or longer. Whether it’s a pen, a handbag or a USB stick, that’s a lot of potential brand exposure alongside a comparatively transient social media or email marketing campaign.

What’s more, by appealing to our other senses, promotional marketing allows brands to create deeper more meaningful connections with consumers. Most marketing is seen or heard (or both in the case of video) but a physical object that can be touched, experienced and perhaps even smelt is something altogether more compelling.

Promo marketing is ripe for cross-pollination of marketing channels

It’s a misconception that digital marketing and physical marketing are doomed to sit in silos, separated from each other by the mere nature of the medium in which they exist. Cross pollination between physical media and digital media is entirely possible if planned correctly. Technology has created incredible opportunities for marketers to track the consumer journey from physical product to online activity.

Promotional marketing presents many opportunities for pushing consumers towards a brand’s digital assets, whether that be their website or social media channels. Some products will naturally lend themselves to this, such as USB sticks, or other devices with on-board memory, that may come pre-loaded with brand marketing and product info in the form or brochures or video. The same is true of social media as a means of pushing consumers aware of your promotional marketing and how to go about getting their hands on promotional products.

Promotional marketing establishes quality

Giving away a promotional product can help you to establish the quality of your product offering and by extension your brand. Even if you are a service based business, the quality and calibre of your promotional marketing reflects on your brand and will help to build consumer trust. This is why it’s important to establish a positive correlation with your brand by investing in high quality products for your promotional marketing. There is a very real chance your brand building could backfire if your promotional products feel in anyway cheap or poorly made.

Utility is a powerful driver of promotional marketing

Promotional marketing products come in all shapes and sizes, from bags and clothing to phone chargers and USB sticks. Utility however seems to be one of the most powerful determinants of whether a promotional marketing campaign is effective or not. People are bombarded with relatively cheap items these days, but if you can offer them something truly useful and practical for free, then that puts you in a very strong position. Not only will your customers think of your brand every time they get use out of your product, but they’re also more likely to keep it for longer, further establishing brand recognition and advocacy.

Digital marketing complements not competes with promotional marketing

Much promotional marketing, especially in the B2B area, is done via corporate or consumer events. Far from reducing the efficacy and desire for event marketing, the growth and development of social networks has gone hand in hand with event marketing’s continuing success. Events remain a powerful way of brand building and have in fact adapted to incorporate technology and digital media to their advantage.

Live streaming, tweeting, hashtags, online seminars, virtual speakers and social media campaigns have all served to enhance and improve the event experience for attendees, whilst QR codes, RFT technology and more sophisticated conversion tracking has allowed marketers and event organisers to better track ROI and leads post event. All this plays perfectly to promotional marketing, which forms the perfect touch point between those brands exhibiting at an event and the delegates or consumers attending.

About the Author
Steve Hill is the Director of Bag Workshop, a leading UK supplier in promotional bags and custom branded bags. Having worked in marketing for over a decade, Steve stepped aside to found three separate companies supplying bespoke marketing products under the Wurlin Promo umbrella. You can connect with Bag Workshop on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

 

Google SEO News and Algorithm Updates For 2017

Google updates need to be followed in detail when it comes to search engine optimisation.

Google updates concept

Google updates need to be followed in detail when it comes to search engine optimisation. If you take a look at last year, webmasters are now happy that Google is taking steps to let them know about the impending updates that are going to take place. These updates affect the search engine ranks of their website. Like 2016, websites have to rank well in 2017 as well, and it is important for them to fulfil certain criteria when it comes to dominating Google and being found easily. Many SEO experts in Perth say that webmasters should be made aware of these new updates so that they can take care of the issues involved and improve their search engine ranks on Google without hassles at all!

Google Updates and Search engine optimisation tips for 2017

When it comes to making your web presence felt in the market, it is crucial for you to ensure that you have an SSL certificate published on your website. Google will penalise you in case you do not have an SSL certificate on your site. Google will insert a notification in the form of an exclamation mark on your URL in case you do not have an SSL certificate in place. This is a warning to the potential visitor that your website is not safe for him or her to visit. When the visitor clicks on this exclamation mark, he or she will be informed of the security issue. To avert losing visitors to your website for good, check the Chrome 56 January 2017 update for your browser and activate it.

Do SSL certificates cost you a lot?

Now, you might be wondering on whether SSL certificates will cost you a lot or not. SEO companies and experts say that you can get an SSL certificate for your website as low as $26 every year. However, the cost for an SSL certificate for an e-commerce site is $70. Google is concerned about the protection and safety of its visitors, and this is why it directs them to go for SSL certified websites. The search engine wants the customer data to be secure and encrypted. In this way, personal data of a person is kept safe, and there is no fear of fraud and abusive use. Therefore, if you are a website and wish to be found quickly on organic searches, you must ensure that your site is SSL certified. Google will ensure you are on the top of search engine ranks and visitors will keep coming back to you because they know you give them a safe website.

Pop Up Advertisements

The next item that Google is taking care of is pop up ads on web pages. This can be found on mobile devices and gadgets. Visitors often searching websites find these pop-up ads to be very annoying and they often complain saying that they are obstructive and annoy them a lot. Google has also seen that the size of these pop-up ads are so big that go on to cover the whole screen and at times it is hard for the visitor to delete them. Now, when Google is on the hunt for credible websites, and it comes across a mobile website with pop up ads, you as a webmaster will be in for a penalty. The pop-up ads will be a discredit for your site, and so Google will not favour them at all!

SEO experts of esteemed companies like Joel House in Australia say that when it comes to the intention and goal of Google, this search engine wants to ensure that its visitors get quality content. This is why the experts here guide their clients on a regular basis in their Perth Office. They say that customers online are always on the hunt for quality content and it is crucial for webmasters to use Adwords wisely. The pages should not have any pop up ads, and in case, you find that your web pages have them, it is time for you to rework on them. You should start advertisements through anchor text links and ensure that you hyperlink images to the pages that are relevant to the content. Google will reward you for doing the same.

The future of website design 2017

The next thing for you to look out for in 2017 is your website design. Many people are working frantically this year to improve the architecture of their websites. If you take a look at mobile sites today, you will find that most of the people today search the Internet on their smartphones. Google has conducted research, and some of its subsidiary studies have revealed that the load time on an average for a web page on a device that is mobile is roughly 19 seconds. The attention span of people surfing on their mobiles is about 3 seconds. Now, if the web page takes much time to load- in short, more than 3 seconds, you will find that users will abort the website and not return at all. In fact, around 53% of users will never come back to your web page again. Now, Google has established a separate index for mobile pages in their database. Here, the loading time for a web page is approximately 2 to 3 seconds. In case, it takes longer; Google will take note of the same and penalise you as a webmaster of the web page. Therefore, ensure you take the above into account if you wish to stay on top of the search engine ranks.

Therefore, if you wish to stay on the top of Google in 2017, ensure that you keep the above tips in mind. Check your website and web pages to make sure that you have everything in order. Hire good and skilled SEO experts for the purpose and keep track of all Google updates. Once you have the website in place, you can dominate high on search engines and generate the web presence and traffic you always have wanted!

Does the Location of the Web Hosting Server Matter in SEO?

How to enjoy the best SEO benefits through choosing proper server location for hosting your website

When it comes to selecting a server location for web hosting, experts always recommend the region where your target audience is. However, what if you are targeting a global audience? What if your website supports several languages for the diverse users?

When planning the SEO of your site, you would hear a lot about the importance of choosing the right hosting and the server’s location. However, how do you know what is right for your business? Moreover, how does it tie up with your SEO efforts? Let’s explore and find out!

We are going to have an overview of some specific cases and how to handle them to enjoy the best SEO benefits through choosing proper server location for hosting your website. Choosing an appropriate server location is a crucial decision to make when planning site development. Some questions you should raise during this time are:

  • Why should you host your website where your users are?
  • How can the server location affect your SEO?
  • How to explain your target demographics to the search engines?
  • What if the website is in different languages and also has subdirectories with target users across the globe?
  • Is it necessary to use a CDN service?
  • How to link different versions using the hreflang attributes?

To get a proper understanding, here we will discuss a few instances.

Websites in a single language and the users located in the same country

Google and other search engines like Bing offer the users to set a target nation at the webmaster tools. You can directly access:

    • Search Traffic > international targeting > country tab

You can custom set the target country from the drop down list. If your site uses any location specific domain for example, ‘.ES’, then it may not be possible to just select any country since search engines associate such domains to a particular geographical location (.ES as Spain).

On the other hand, if your site uses a generic domain such as .com or .org, then it is not mandatory to enter any particular geographical orientation in the webmaster tools. Instead, the segmentation can be based on some other parameters. The All Business Technologies Boston experts list some of these parameters as:

    • IP address of the hosting server
    • Location information on the website (contact address or rich snippets)
    • Backlinks to website pages
    • Other information such as Google My Business

In this case, another important factor to consider for search engine optimization is the page load speed. If the users are in one country and the hosting is from another, then that distance may cause a natural delay in response. It will further contribute to the adverse bound rate, and for this reason, it is recommended to host the site in the same country for local users.

Websites in one language for users across the globe

In such cases, Google says that if your site is not associated with a country or region, you can select the Unlisted option in the drop-down”. This option lets Google assign a geographic location unilaterally to the website.

While setting it, Google only allows choosing countries in the drop-down list, not any continents or other geographic specifications. In this case, server location is mostly irrelevant. However, in such cases where your website is targeting global users, it is vital to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) service.

CDN service offers alternative server nodes from where the users can download their resources. These nodes virtually spread across the globe by accessing them from the location close to the user to ensure faster response time and quicker download of the content. There are a lot of CDN services, many of which are offering free plans for the users. The major players in this sector are Amazon CloudFront, CloudFlare, MaxCDN, and KeyCDN to name a few.

All in all, if your site is targeted to the users around the globe, server location is not that important. What is most important is the usage of a quality server and appropriate CDN to load your site quickly regardless of the physical location of the server and users.

Website in different languages and users worldwide

Some sites sport a mix of English, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian language to target key users around the globe. It is also a possibility that the websites are in different variations of a particular language targeting various users.

In this case, the most common approach is to locate each version of the site on different servers. As US English site on a US server, UK English on United Kingdom server, a French server, Spanish to Spain server and so on. For a bigger organization with a business presence in many countries, multiple hosting can be an ideal solution.

However, this is ideal only when you do not have synchronized content. If so, the next option is to locate multi-lingual website on a single server. It can reduce cost and ensure easy management. In this case, in addition to choosing a good hosting, it is essential to choose a CDN service.

Here, we have discussed only the common cases when it comes to SEO-ensured web hosting. There are more such unique requirements, for which you need to get an expert consultation to take a proper decision.

Five indispensable content curation tools for marketers

With several content curation tools available, the task has become much easier and enjoyable.

Content curation tools

If you have to find some specific content on the internet that is completely relevant to the business line you promote, you might not feel amused at all.  The amount of time that you have to devote to the task simply does not justify its worth.  You have to sift through tons of information manually, strain your eyes until it starts watering and has loads of patience to go through every content meticulously to evaluate its merit and suitability. Then you have the onerous task of listing and reviewing. To hunt for content manually on the web seems to be the most thankless job in the world that nobody would like to do. However, to keep pace with the demand for content used for online marketing, there is no way that you can afford to avoid the task of hunting for content on the web more aggressively.

The demand for content is spiralling every day, and it is a very challenging job to maintain a healthy pipeline of quality content by depending on indigenously produced content. You need the right resources to create original content of high quality, and it takes time and quite some investment to create the desired infrastructure. Maintaining a steady flow of indigenously produced content is not always possible. This creates a gap in demand and supply that you can bridge by taking recourse to content curating.

Content curation

Content curation is the process of finding content relevant to your audience from the sources available on the internet and distributing it through your channels of communication in a strategic manner. The job is far from easy as you face the uphill task of cutting through the maze of information overload. The purpose of curating content is to derive its benefits in marketing so that it adds more muscles to your marketing initiatives. The job can be tricky because the content must have the capability of arousing the interest of the audience who must find enough reasons of visiting your website.  

Goals of content curation

  • Add a personal touch – Content curation is not just about gathering links and sprinkling it around.  The content must not only be relevant to the audience, but they must find reasons to be attracted to it. You must add a personal touch to the content thereby using the content as a plank for creating closeness with the audience.
  • Builds value – The content that you curate must make the audience feel as if you have just made it for them and it is what they had been waiting for. The information you share is so precise and timely that they are overjoyed at your benevolence and you make advances in building relationships.
  • Replaces promotional content – The purpose of content curation is to go beyond the traditional approach of promoting products and stay connected with the audience with content that adds value and provides wholesome experience to them without speaking about products and features.  

With several content curation tools available, the task has become much easier and enjoyable. Some of these tools have found a place in this article, which you can consider as a guide on top content curator tools.

Twitter lists

Twitter is a favourite hunting ground for curators but what you get from it depends on how well you manage the accounts you follow. Twitter Lists is a handy tool that allows you to categorize Twitter users you are interested in so that you can follow them separately from the crowd of other users.  To make the results more meaningful, you can create an account with another tool named Pocket where you can deposit the Twitter articles you gather.

Pocket

This tool creates a repository for contents you gather during the process of curation so that you can make use of it later. All articles, images, and videos are nicely organized, and you can tag the articles that make it easy to retrieve by using the search feature provided with the tool. The tool is capable of integrating with as many as 500 other apps.  You come to know about the articles most saved on the platform from the tweets that the tool sends to all users.

BuzzSumo

The BuzzSumo is a great tool that provides a list of the most shareable content while providing information about its sharing level.  To get a list of your desired content, type the domain name or keyword, and you see the list of content around the topic along with the sharing figures. There are sorting options by content type (images, videos, guest posts, etc.), date, author, etc.  Since you have the idea about how much popular the articles are, the task of choosing becomes easy.

Scoop.it

Scoop.it is a content curation tool that is a blend of social media and content curation, and its user interface will remind you of Pinterest.  The tool is like your guide in content curation because when you feed it with your topic of interest, it does much more than providing a list of relevant content for viewing and sharing. It will also come up with suggestions about other complementary topics and even provide a list of other Scoop.It users worth following. You receive daily updates on articles of your interest, so that enables you to stay tuned with times.  You can post one topic on two platforms of social media if you use the free version. The paid version has much wider options across multiple social media channels.

Curata

Curata is the tool that is capable of assisting users to discover audience specific content without having to put in any labour. There is one central platform from where users can perform all the activities.  You can do the fine-tuning including customization and categorization of content sources, review it and then distribute it in the way they want.  The feature of promoting and publishing allows you to re-purpose old content across any media and marketing platforms.

Since different tools have different capabilities, discern the role that content curation plays in your marketing operations before you decide on the type of tool that you need.

About the author:
Derek Iwasiuk is an online marketing expert who heads the SEO firm that he has founded.  At one time, he was one of the top expert shooters of the country and had spent six years as an air cadet.  To know more about his achievements and capabilities log on to
http://www.derekiwasiuk.com/.

Girl Scouts Now Can Earn Cybersecurity Badges

Girl Scouts are trading cookies for computers, as the organization has added cybersecurity to the list of badges available for youngsters to earn.

Girl Scouts are trading cookies for computers, as the organization has added cybersecurity to the list of badges available for youngsters to earn. From September 2018, children as young as 5 will be able to qualify for a cybersecurity badge in a program intended to prevent future cyberattacks. The program will be offered in partnership with… Continue reading “Girl Scouts Now Can Earn Cybersecurity Badges”

Four Ways Google Plans to Fight Online Extremism

Google has announced a raft of new measures aimed at combatting extremist material. The internet giant has been one of several technology companies—including Facebook and Twitter— under scrutiny for how they deal with extremist content posted on their sites.

Google has announced a raft of new measures aimed at combatting extremist material. The internet giant has been one of several technology companies—including Facebook and Twitter— under scrutiny for how they deal with extremist content posted on their sites. Following recent attacks in London and Manchester, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that the internet and… Continue reading “Four Ways Google Plans to Fight Online Extremism”

Half of all countries lack cybersecurity strategy: UN report

Only half of countries have a policy on cybersecurity.

GENEVA — Only about half of all countries have a cybersecurity strategy or are in the process of developing one, and even the world’s most powerful countries show major gaps in their preparedness for cyberattacks, according to a latest UN report released on Wednesday. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) unveiled the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2017… Continue reading “Half of all countries lack cybersecurity strategy: UN report”

Destination Marketing: 4 Ways to Influence the Buyer’s Journey

The destination marketingbuyer’s journey is like no other. It shifts from search, to reading blogs, to booking a holiday. Find out how to influence the journey in this blog.

influence header

Searching online for reviews, looking at photos, and planning your journey for your next trip is half of the excitement. Preparing for your adventure ahead is what makes it so adventurous. With the destination customer journey beginning through destination-related searches, it’s vital for leisure and tourism businesses to devise and implement well-thought-out marketing strategies.

With constant digital and technological advancements, it can make it tough to nail down a flawless strategy. To help springboard your destination marketing into the realm of positively influenced buyers, we’ve laid out four ways to pave the way for a solid strategy.

1. Make it meaningful

Now we don’t mean shower users with flowery language and giveaways (although it would be nice). We’re talking about resonance: creating a powerful place brand identity that will make a long-lasting impression on your potential buyers.

Your place identity should evolve from your company’s mission statement, goals, and objectives. A persona that captures the key values, culture, and commodities of your destination. Thinking of keywords that you want buyers to associate with your destination and making those words tangible. It takes more than well-thought-out descriptive words that sound lovely. It’s about making these words a part of your destination. That will resonate with your potential buyers, and will ultimately influence how they feel about you, thereby deciding their buying behaviour.     

Once you’ve established your strong identity, it’s time to think about interacting with your buyers. Modern-day consumers’ behaviour has seen a shift from the buzzword of ‘engagement’ to ‘interaction’. Long gone are the days where measuring your number of followers or likes is seen as a success: it’s now all about what your buyers are actually doing with your brand. Rather than waiting for your potential buyers to come to you, why not go to them?

Don’t all rush off at once. We’re not saying send hundreds of emails, constantly tweet, or tag target customers on Facebook – don’t do any of those things. Think more guerilla and direct, with in-market events. The destination, travel, and leisure industry is often dubbed “the invisible industry”, and now it’s time to show you’re here. Take elements of your destination that encapsulate your place identity, and allowing potential buyers to get a real taste of your destination, as opposed to relying on online reviews. Experiencing first-hand what your destination has to offer will directly influence the buying journey for your destination. But remember to showcase your in-market events online, because there’s always a chance your footage may go viral.   

2. Create purposeful content

It’s like the old saying: less is more. Would you rather have an abundance of content that hardly brings in any value, or a handful of pieces that have true substance and which generate a lot more value? We’re guessing you’d choose the latter option.

There’s no point in having lots of content if it’s not purposeful and is only there to fill pages on your site. It has no value, no meaning, and no influence on your potential buyers. So let’s focus on creating content with substance.

The best way to hold influence over your buyers is by utilising the trend of influencers – that is, influential bloggers and content-creators. Contacting local or national online influencers to visit your destination is a great way to indirectly influence your potential buyers. Using techniques such as influencer takeovers across social media platforms not only pushes your destination further online, but it does so from the position of someone actually experiencing your destination.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s clear that video is now a vital content format for all types of companies. Sprawled across every possible outlet is the medium of video content. Usually we’re not one for advocating to follow the crowd, but in this instance we think you should. Whether you use POV with a GoPro, go live online, or use snippets in your social stories, the video format provides you with rich content that will certainly hold influence over buying decisions.

We’re not saying the written word is dead, because it certainly isn’t, especially in the destination industry. By producing written guides and travel blogs on your destination(s), you’ll showcase the different elements to your brand, and that will resonate with potential buyers. Using the process of outreach to place your travel blogs on relevant destination sites for different cities can prove extremely vital when influencing buyers.     

Using these key methods, you can really make your content stand out. When creating content, it is important to understand that you make an impression during each stage of the buying journey.

touchpoints-graphic

Whether it’s video blogs, influencer travel diaries, or live streams of your destination, content is the biggest way to influence your future customers.

3. Inspire your buyers

The latest digital trend taking brands by storm is the notion of VR (virtual reality). Taking users on simulated adventures, VR immerses the consumer in a digital environment where they can experience the real world in 3D. This goes hand-in-hand with destination marketing due to its attributes, allowing users to experience a destination or place without having to actually be there. This can significantly influence the buying journey, as it allows consumers the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’.

Going that extra step further over video content, VR allows buyers to become participants rather than just viewers of the content. They get the chance to become immersed and fully involved in the destination marketing adventure. The VR format also offers the chance to personalise adventures, tapping into direct target audiences, and influencing buyers on a personal one-to-one basis.

VR is known as the technique to inspire imagination, and it’s time for destination marketers to be inspired. Creating VR content and gathering VR footage isn’t just for the Goliaths of marketing – the Davids of the industry can generate their own VR campaigns too.

4. Be readily available

Many services do not offer round-the-clock customer services, and this is exactly where destination marketers should step ahead. When we search for trips or places to go, it is more often than not done outside of office hours, so it’s highly likely that this is the same for your potential buyers. With this in mind, offering constant availability can positively influence your user.

If you’re thinking of how to always be available and online for your potential customers, then look no further than chatbots within messenger apps. Utilising the idea of a chatbot will help your destination marketing by providing a personalised journey map for your potential buyer. Whether they want to know the location of your destination or the price of it, chatbots allow 24/7 service to your consumers. By taking advantage of this ‘wherever, whenever’ style of service, it provides high influence on the buying journey, because your potential buyers will have constant access to advice and information in booking their place to come visit your destination(s).

The buyer’s journey within destination marketing is like no other industry. It shifts from search, to reading blogs, to even craving user-generated content. This is why it is important to ensure that your destination is a positive online influencer to ensure potential buyers are swayed to your destination and not to your competitors’.  If you want free consultation on how to put a strategy together, feel free to contact the team at theEword.

How The iPhone Has Made Us More Anti-Social

Are we addicted to our smartphones?

Sometime around 2011 or 2012, it suddenly became very easy to predict what people would be doing in public places: Most would be looking down at their phones. For years, mobile phones weren’t much to look at. The screens were small, and users needed to press the same key several times to type a single letter… Continue reading “How The iPhone Has Made Us More Anti-Social”

Remember Big Data When Creating Your New Online Store

When creating your online store it’s important that you ensure its success by using a data analysis strategy.

By Ashley Kimler

So, you’re ready to launch a new online store? That’s great; technology has advanced so much over the last few years, that you can leverage better tools for website creation than ever before. The downside is that more people are thinking like you now, too. Your competition is more fierce.

So, if you want success, you need to include all the bells and whistles in your strategy – don’t forget big data. Here’s a blueprint for creating a data analysis strategy that will boost your revenue like you never dreamed before.

Be Mindful of Personalization

When setting up your store, you need to think like you’re speaking to an individual. Modern copywriters know not to speak to a site visitor as if he were a group of shoppers. Be mindful that 48% of consumers are more likely to spend money if their eCommerce experience is personalised.

The more personalised you make the buyer’s journey, the more revenue you’re going to earn. The more data you have about your customers, the better fit you are to customise a user’s experience of your store. Here are some tools that can help you tailor shopping experiences from person to person.

Customer Relationship Management Platform

A customer relationship management (CRM) platform can help you analyse and track consumer data inside your website. Many CRM platforms offer a free trial so that you can shop around to find the right one for you. I like Teamgate because it’s easy-to-use and the customer service experience is excellent.

Email Marketing Platform

An email marketing platform will provide you with engagement rate insights and comparisons with others in your industry to keep you in competition with the rest of the market. MailChimp is the industry standard for beginners in email marketing. This platform is free for up to 2,000 contacts and 12,000 emails per month.

Online store screenshot

All-in-One Marketing & Sales Platform

If you decide to go with an all-in-one marketing and sales platform, you won’t need your a CRM or an email marketing platform. HubSpot and SalesForce combine marketing, email, sales, and CRM into one dashboard. These two platforms are on the expensive side, but well worth the cost (once you get past the learning curve).

Each of the above tools will provide you with invaluable insights about shoppers on your website. Use what you discover to customise the shopping experience for each individual on your site.

Start at the Beginning

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

-Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

When diving into the development of a new web store, it’s easy to get carried away with a million details. I’ve seen entrepreneurs try to launch an eCommerce website five times in five years, never making a sale to fuel their website creation efforts. So, when you start your journey, handle what’s directly in front of you, and walk the path one step at a time. When you have what you need to get started, power-up your analytics strategy: then stop.

Before you get carried away with implementing changes on your site based on the data you find, take some time out to watch. Then, create a plan. Once you have created a strategy to appeal to more buyers, take the steps to implement it, then stop again.

Step One: Build a Responsive Site

The first thing you need is a responsive website; Shopify has beautiful, easy-to-use website themes that are perfect when starting out in eCommerce. Connect your store to your domain name, and create a skeleton with a home page, all of your product category pages, contact information, an “about the products” section and an “about the company section,” your privacy policy, terms and conditions, shipping information, a shopping cart, and a simple search bar.

Step Two: Add Your Products

Once the foundation has been laid, you can start building up your product pages. Post only what you are ready to sell. If you plan on expanding, you can add more products at any time. Don’t get carried away with “coming soon” pages – they’ll only turn people away.

Step Three: Connect Your Website With Social Media

When your website is at the point where a customer could potentially land on it and make a purchase, connect your website with your social media profiles. You want social sharing tools and social follow buttons so that your website traffic can connect with you. Once your website and profiles are connected, double-check that your social media profiles are set up as “business” accounts., because you want access to all of the analytics tools available on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other social marketing outlets you use.

Step Four: Connect Your Website With Your CRM & Email Marketing Platform or All-in-One System

Depending on the tools you are going to use for analytics and your content management system (CMS), you may need to use a tool like Zapier to connect your website.

Step Five: Connect Your Website and Monitoring Tools with Google Analytics

Through Google Analytics tracking, you will be able to see, in real time, how many people are on your website. You will also see targeted demographic information and traffic behaviour. Connect your website and your tools with Google Analytics to monitor your store and generate vital reports.

Step Six: Launch Your Store

After you build and connect everything, you are ready to launch. Use big data insights generated by the combination of the tools above to power your design, marketing, and sales campaigns from this point forward.

About the author
Ashley Kimler is content marketing dynamo and writer working with Heroic Search in Tulsa, where her team specialises in boosting modern pagerank for all sized businesses. Follow @ashleykimler.

How to market your website to drive maximum sales

The article focuses on the Marketing tactics that should be followed to get good ROI by increasing the sales.

By Helen Cartwright

5 Tweaks to Your Website That Will Increase Sales

Having a website is imperative in today’s competitive market. Thankfully, most companies have a website that they utilise. However, few are using them to their full potential. A website should not be window dressing for the company, rather, it should be used to drive sales and revenues. These sites are a major investment of time and effort, and they can be a lot to maintain. If you are not maximising the return on investment that your site can bring, then you are missing out on a huge potential in your revenues. In general, there are five common areas that websites need to improve. It’s not just about SEO anymore. To boost revenue, implementing some of the following tools can really help.

Add Video Content

People love videos, and it is one of the most engaging ways that a business can connect with their clientele. Why is the society so hung up on videos? Well, it is because the brain processes visual information a great deal faster than it can text. In fact, it can process it 60,000 faster. Forget about those long and drawn out product descriptions that are boring and nobody reads. Opt for dynamic video content that allows the customers to engage with the site.

Putting a video on the main page of the site has been proven to increase conversion rates by up to 86 percent, and more than 44 percent of customers will purchase more products based on those videos than text alone. It gives customers a reason to stay longer on your page, and they have a reason to come back for more. Confused on what kind of product videos you need? Why not add some customer testimonials or tours of your work facility? Companies like Leanplum push notification platform can help increase customer interaction too. Anyway possible that you can engage with the customers, the better your sales will be.

Diversify And Become Multicultural

Does your site offer content in English only? You could be missing out on global economic potential. Surprisingly, those who market to one dialect are missing two-thirds of the market’s potential. Websites need to be not only multilingual but also multicultural. These international audience members can help your company get a bigger slice of the pie. Adding diversity can improve your overall marketing potential by up to 200 percent.

If you are unsure of how to handle such a feat, you need a translation management system. It integrates into your site. Forget using manual translation, they are time consuming and ineffective. Also, you must be sensitive to the various cultural norms in each country. Remember when Pepsi switched to the bright blue and they alienated an entire market? People thought that the colour meant death so they didn’t buy the product. By expanding your horizons, you can open new doors for your company, literally. But, you must be careful in these uncharted waters.

Prevent Downtime

Remember the Cyber Monday rush last year? Well, Amazon had more than 36 million items sold during on this day. Can you imagine what downtime would have cost this company? The same analogy can be used for your site. If your page is slow and not loading properly, then you can lose customers. These customers will leave before they even get a chance to view what you truly have to offer. Did you know that more than 57 percent of visitors will leave your site if it takes more than three seconds for the page to load? It’s true, and more than 24 percent of customers say that the number one reason why they abandon their “full shopping cart” is because the transaction is taking too long.

By improving your site’s scalability, it will prevent the slow loading times. You want to keep your customers on your site and looking at your products. You should test your speed periodically on sites like Google, just to make sure things are running smoothly.

Incorporate Responsive Design

Consumers use smartphones, laptops, tablets, watches, and other devices to access your site. Because of the host of products connecting, you need to have a responsive design. This ensures that no matter what the customer is using to surf your products, it is optimised for their viewing. It is estimated that in 2017, more than 29 percent of all transactions will take place on a tablet or cell phone. You can take advantage of those sales potentials by having a responsive design. Having a responsive design will also ease management of the back-end site and increase your SEO. The best platforms to use to enable responsive design is WordPress or Drupal. It’s not just about screen sizes, but it is about the digital experience.

Add Customer Reviews

The company Angie’s List is very successful for many reasons. One of the first being they have become a source of information. People go there because they know that if they get a plumber or HVAC recommendation, they can count on this site to steer them in the right direction. The same thing can be said about your site. You need to post customer reviews about your products. People pay attention to what others are saying. In fact, most people will watch product reviews before buying a product. These video blurbs or text can really have the potential to increase sales.

Forrester Research conducted a study on recommendations on a website. They found that sites that utilised the person review made 18 percent more in sales than those that did not. It’s worth the extra effort to add a few reviews. They also found that 70 percent of consumers will trust recommendations from a friend or family member.

Making A Change

While this may seem like a daunting task, these are just things you can implement and experiment with. If you want to get ahead, you need to stay up with the competition. Bigger and better website is the key to unlocking your true sales potential. Remember, today’s customer expects you to advertise on a whole different level.

About the Author
Helen Cartwright is a passionate blogger, who excels in the Digital Marketing and Technology niche. When not wired in marketing strategies she ghost-write for a variety of authors who have their work published on leading online media channels such as The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com.

Is Big Data on the Brink of Ruining Retail?

Retailers are taking advantage of the latest advancements in consumer targeting, but what are the drawbacks? Here are the pros and cons of Big Data in retail.

Over the past few years, consumer targeting through technology has boomed, in part due to interest from high-earning tech investors like Mark Zuckerberg and Tej Kohli. Advertisements on Facebook and Google have become extremely personal, drone delivery systems have promised to make shopping a breeze and Bluetooth low energy beacons (BLEs) have allowed businesses to connect directly with customers in their stores through smartphones. But is this new reliance on Big Data in consumerism actually detracting from our experience as shoppers? Here’s how the new wave of consumer targeting technology is affecting our lives, for better and for worse.

The use of Big Data has allowed businesses to tailor their offerings to individual shoppers, which potentially allows for a more streamlined experience. For instance, BLEs—beacons that are able to connect with consumers’ smartphones when they’re in a specific physical location—allow a shop to recognise when a customer has arrived, send them messages with special offers, ready their click-and-collect orders and notify them of items they might be interested in.

If the powers of BLEs are harnessed correctly, customers could quickly find what they’re looking for and take advantage of sales that they might not otherwise be aware of. However, these same capabilities could provide shoppers with too much information, overwhelming them and slowing down the process. BLEs also run the risk of sending a customer an influx of notifications to the point where they become so annoyed that they avoid returning to the store.

The same can be said of highly targeted online advertisements, which take into account the consumers’ search histories to show them ads they are more likely to demonstrate an interest in. Though the goal of these ads is to convert more sales, they have the potential to frustrate consumers, drive them away from the products and make them worry about privacy violations.

Big Data has also given companies the ability to use analytics to keep tabs on supply, demand, inventory and competitors when setting their prices, which often results in a gradual reduction in price for many items. Lower prices can certainly be seen as an advantage for customers, but they could have negative effects in the long-term. If more people choose to shop at larger retail outlets using Big Data, small businesses will be forced to shut down, and communities will feel the rippling effects in their local economies and cultures.

One of the most concerning aspects of the move towards Big Data in retail is the way it removes personal interactions from the shopping experience. Companies using BLEs in their shops or drones for their deliveries take away the opportunity for retail staff and delivery workers to make connections with customers. In a way, the businesses suffer too—without humans to represent them, they run the risk of losing the vibrant personality that draws in consumers and makes them loyal to the brand.

Big Data in retail presents a trade-off between face-to-face communication, which creates a personal experience by its very nature, and tech-based individualised shopping experiences that require little human interaction. Ultimately, the future of retail rests on striking a balance between Big Data and all of those little moments that make up our experiences, interactions and relationships.

Internet Marketing for the Soft Sell

To selling an Internet marketing service, learn what your clients want and then give it to them. Techniques like remarketing & conversion optimization help build a IM business

By Katrina Manning

One thing that surprises many novice Internet marketers is the fact that people don’t really mind being sold to. What truly matters is how you do it. In the end, you must allow people to sell themselves. This isn’t about control, it’s about gently leading people down the path you want them to take. Only the very skilled know how to do this in a way that ensures the prospect believes it was their decision the entire time.

Plus, if you have a product that your target market does not like–no amount of selling will work. On the other hand, find something they want and selling is much easier. According to BuildNicheLinks, hard sell tactics just feel desperate. Your goal is to build a continual relationship not a one-time sale. Instead, Internet marketing should be about building relationships with people. You must find out what they want, then provide it to them. That way, they want to buy from you over and over again.

How Internet marketing developed such a bad reputation

Internet marketing can be a scary proposition for many business owners since there are no formal education requirements to participate. Not having a standardized industry protocol is part of the reason Internet marketing has a bad reputation. The best Internet marketers will take the time to engage with their clients and offer a transparent reporting process.

Plus, flexibility is required to try varying options and avenues for marketing success. Internet marketers must be realistic in their assertions, then, put in the work to fulfill their claims. If your Internet marketing plan sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When you know that 82 percent of customers research online before making a purchase, it shows that having an appealing online presence is more important than ever. Your online visibility is the first thing people see. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Create your unique selling proposition

To have a competitive advantage in your industry, it is critical to have a unique selling proposition. What sets you apart from your competitors? This is a specific promise you make to your customers, that your competitors are not promising. Think of when Domino’s Pizza first guaranteed pizza delivery in 30 minutes or it was free. Sales skyrocketed. It set them apart, but also made their competitors take notice.

Pizza lovers didn’t want to wait for fresh and hot pizza. Domino’s took note and made that their unique selling proposition. It wasn’t hard to sell since this is what people wanted anyway. Domino’s didn’t have to use desperate selling tactics to get more customers. Their unique selling proposition brought attracted new and loyal customers in droves. If something is easy, people will take it. Think of it this way: people are overwhelmed with data. There is a palpable information overload. What the modern consumer wants is ease and convenience. Amazon recognizes this. Look at their Prime Now service.

You can order anything from groceries to electronics and have it delivered within two hours of ordering. That is speed and service at its finest. Craving ice cream and also need cat food? No problem, and there’s no need to drive to the grocery store. Amazon Prime Now will deliver it to you in two hours. Got sick unexpectedly and need medication? Again, you can have it delivered in two hours or less. Speed is how you can position your company against any other in your space.

Optimize your conversions

One of the largest goals for an Internet marketing campaign is to increase conversions. This can be getting more people to sign-up for your newsletter or to make an initial purchase. It can also be getting information from your prospects such as filling out a form and sharing their e-mail addresses. The only way to increase your conversion rate is by offering benefits such as discounts or insider previews for sharing their information. It also helps to understand why Google doesn’t like your website.

Re-market

One of the easiest forms of Internet marketing is re-marketing. This is when a prospect looks at one of your products or services, then leaves to browse another site. Yet, they may see your ad pop up on other sites. It’s a reminder of what they have recently looked at. Re-marketing works because it targets prospects who have already shown initial interest. Perhaps they don’t have the budget yet or are in the research process. Nonetheless, you don’t want them to forget about your product and service. As the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind.

Internet marketing is here to stay. As a result, it helps to ensure you understand how it works.

About the author
Katrina Manning is a published author and content marketing writer. Over the past eight years, she has written thousands of articles in the business, tech and lifestyle genres. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, experimenting with new recipes, travelling and looking at Instagram pics.

7 Steps to Protect Your Online Business from Getting Hacked

By John Mason

In today’s digital world, one of the biggest threats companies face is getting hacked. When your business is based entirely online, this is a major concern. According to a 2015 Duke study, 80 percent of U.S. companies have been successfully hacked. Small businesses are at greater risk. Eighty-five percent of businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees report being hacked compared to 60 percent of larger companies.

These numbers aren’t much different in the rest of the world. According to the survey, 85 percent of firms in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America also report having been successfully hacked. In the UK, research shows that 90 percent of large organizations and 74 percent of small and medium-sized businesses have encountered a security breach. For small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, these breaches can cost an average of £75,000 to £310,800 in the worst case scenario. Taking the proper steps to secure your online business can greatly mitigate your risk. Start with these seven tips.

Enable Security Features

Luckily there are many ways to build extra security features into your business’s website. It’s in your best interest to take advantage of them. This can be as simple as using strong passwords and limiting login attempts for you and your employees. Other security measures include changing the default database prefix on your site to make it harder for hackers to attempt malicious logins or hiding the identity of your website’s CMS.

Keep Your Software Updated

One of the common way hackers get ahold of online businesses’ sensitive information is by hacking into the software they’re using. Older versions of website software are easier for hackers to attack because they know where the vulnerabilities lie. By keeping your systems up to date, those bugs will have been patched up and hackers will have a harder time getting in. This bit of advice applies to all software your business uses, including:

  • Computer operating systems
  • Content management systems like WordPress
  • Additional plugins or themes installed on your website
  • Payment software
  • Accounting software
  • And more

Secure Your Hardware

In addition to keeping your software updated, it’s important that your hardware doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Cyber-attacks aren’t only carried out online. Physical attacks are a threat, too. This can involve someone getting their hands on your mobile phone or computer and accessing your business files that way.

Always be aware of your devices and who is accessing them. Ensure your computer and phone are password protected to help deter thieves and malicious attackers, and be sure you have anti-malware and antivirus protection installed—and that it’s always up to date. Avoid saving any business-related passwords on your computer, and be sure you have the software installed to allow you to locate or wipe a lost or stolen device.

Use a Virtual Private Network

Using a virtual private network (VPN) is a common tactic for businesses to add an extra layer of security. This is especially true if you’re connecting to sensitive files long-distance. VPN services route your Internet data through their servers, which masks your IP address for privacy and encrypts your data. This can be especially useful for online businesses whose employees work in flexible environments, such as working over public Wi-Fi while traveling. This will protect sensitive data like passwords and company files when you’re connected remotely. VPN providers offer subscription models, sometimes for less than $10 per month. You can also try using free vpns, such as Tunnelbear which is pretty credible.

Educate Your Team

It’s not enough for one single team member to ensure their computer software is up to date, their hardware is secure, and they’re not accessing business data through vulnerable networks. Warding off attacks only works when everyone is following the same protocols. One mistake is all it takes to let hackers through the cracks. Talk to your team members and employees about cybersecurity and expectations to ensure your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Use SSL

SSL refers to “secure socket layer” and is a type of protocol that encrypts data between your website and your database. That way, hackers can’t get ahold of users’ personal information while it’s in transit. This is especially useful if your site collects personal data from customers, such as credit card information or addresses. You will have to purchase, activate, and install the SSL certificate on your website, but this is usually easy to do through your hosting provider.

Backup Your Files Frequently

As a last layer of defense, be sure to back up your business files and website frequently so that if something does happen, you can quickly restore the site. Consider putting together a plan of action in case your online business is hacked. That way, you can reduce costs, improve response time, and get back on your feet quickly if you encounter a cyber-attack.

Cyber-attacks are a real threat to online businesses both big and small, but implementing the proper security measures can help reduce the risk of a costly data breach.

7 Tips To Grow Your Email List And Boost Sales

Email list is probably one of the most effective sales channels. It is therefore, imperative that you build your following as big and as relevant as possible.

By Sam Cyrus

It seems that with all the social media out there, people forgot the power of email marketing. Here is a simple fact: email is 40 times better at bringing in new clients than any social network. In fact, it’s number one marketing channel in any business field. When sending emails the ROI is strikingly lower than the amounts of money spent on social media marketing. But simply making a huge email list is not going to do the work. The goal is to convert your website visitors into email leads. Email leads are relevant recipients that have in some way expressed an interest in your business. Here are 7 tips on how to grow an email list loaded with relevant leads and boost your sales:

1. Create a lead magnet on your website

Many websites have lead magnets, it’s nothing new. But the way it’s presented will decide if you’re going to gather the desirable amount of leads. Just simply asking for emails with giving nothing in return won’t do the job. The key is to tempt your customers to give their email address for your free offer. There are different ways to create a lead magnet, depending on the type of your business. Creating a lead magnet on your website is only one of the elements which will help expand your email list, but it shouldn’t be neglected.

2. Get social followers to subscribe

As already mentioned, email subscribers will benefit your business more than social followers. A great way to expand your email list is to use your current following on social networks. Asking your social followers to subscribe can help you reach your goal, and the best thing is that it won’t cost you a dime. The most effective way is to ask your followers to subscribe on regular basis. A lot of the followers will spot only a part of the posts you share, so it’s important to be consistent.

3. Create Twitter lead generation cards

Promoting your business on Twitter can often be tricky. You need to pay attention to many different components if you want Twitter Lead Cards to work. With a great design you will more likely stand out from the huge amount of other tweets, and a call-to-action is necessary. Next, you need to increase your keyword list and personalized advertising. And of course don’t forget to measure the ROI, so you can keep track of the source of new leads.

4. Launch a giveaway

An amazing way to attract your audience and expand your email list is to host a giveaway. If done in the right way, giveaways are the go-to strategy. To make it work, you should follow the next few steps:

  • Offer a tempting reward your audience would actually like to win
  • Give bonus entries for referred entrants
  • Give bonus incentives for those who didn’t win the prize
  • Offer significant promotions for relevant audiences

With every giveaway you will attract subscribers that are not relevant, so make sure the prize will be of interest only to the targeted audience.

5. Run a contest to create engagement

Giveaways are fantastic for expanding your email list, but nothing will engage the audience with your brand like running a contest. Contests are great because they spark that ceaseless need within people to win. If you keep the entry barrier low, your email list will be loaded with new subscribers really fast. It’s a great opportunity to gain new subscribers who could potentially be your new brand evangelists. Maybe you won’t get as many emails like when there is a giveaway, but you will certainly win some new fans of your brand, and nothing is more valuable than that.

6. Apply pop-ups and slide-ins

Believe it or not, pop-ups and their slide-in counterparts are the most efficient way to score relevant email leads straight from your website. Over the years pop-ups gained a bad reputation, and the reason is that they were not used in the right way. To make pop-ups and slide-ins work, you must implement them in a non-intrusive manner, of course with the right targeting. You can use exit intent pop-ups that will open a message or use opt-in when someone is going to leave your website.

7. Paid advertising

At first, when you think about paying to have more subscribers, it doesn’t sound that appealing. But when you think about it, every strategy you use has a price. If you want to host a webinar, run a giveaway or a contest, have someone write a good article for you, or create a lead magnet on your website- you will need to pay for it. So why not use paid advertising to bring in new subscribers, if it turns out to be cheaper than other methods for growing your email list?

Conclusion

Hopefully, these tips will help you grow your email list and reach your sales goals. It doesn’t have to be hard. But what counts the most is what you do after gaining those subscribers. So try to provide quality in every aspect of your business to keep your clients happy and your business flourishing.

About the author
Sam Cyrus is CEO and co-founder of Agseosydney, a Digital Marketing agency from Australia. Sam is also a creative writer and likes to share his insights on entrepreneurship, business, and social media. He currently collaborates with Nirmal Web Design Sydney>.

5 Trends That Will Change The Way Social Media Is Being Used By Businesses

Social media trends are likely to be even more dynamic and expected to change the way social media is being used by businesses

By Anurag Gupta

Nearly 75% of the digital buyers turned to social media before making any fixed purchasing decision in 2016, reported a study by International Data Corporation. With the consumers inclining steeply towards social media and increasing influence of social media on their lifestyle and choices, businesses are progressively paying more attention to the strategies to use social media for lead generation, sales and branding. In fact, smart businesses have made successful social media strategies in the yesteryears and are planning the same for this year too. However, this year, social media trends are likely to be even more dynamic and expected to change the way social media is being used by businesses. Let’s have a look at 5 such trends.

Live Videos Will Become Bigger

Almost 14% of the marketers are estimated to have used live video content in their 2016 marketing strategies; what more, over 43% of them still plan to use live videos to interact with their audience in 2017. Facebook Live and Periscope, being the most popular social media sites for live videos, also inspired other sites like Twitter and Instagram that launched their live video feature in November-December 2016. Live streaming brand events, hosting Q/A sessions and taking product launches to the audience would become a big hit in 2017.

Rise Of Customer Service Chatbots

Chatbots are one of the best means of automated audience engagement. The social messages that require response grew by 18% in 2016. To offer instant replies to these messages, a number of businesses would indulge in customer service chatbots. Chatbots work on Artificial Intelligence and offer quick solutions to the problems put up by the social media audience. These chatbots help in reducing the response time by a large difference and keeping the user engaged for a longer time. Facebook Messenger, having 1 billion active users in a month and around 60 billion messages a day, has over 30,000 chatbots to increase user engagement.

More Augmented Reality And Virtual Reality

The AR-based game Pokemon Go attracted quite a lot of attention in the year 2016. The craze that could be seen in people with them going around places, tapping their screens to capture Pikachu was a wake-up call for many brands to incorporate Augmented Reality in their social media marketing strategies. Not just AR, VR aka Virtual Reality is also one of the most trending social media tools to be used in 2017. Many big brands like National Geographic, Marriott International and The New York Times, used Facebook’s 360° view option to tell impactful stories to its audience in a virtually more engaging way through VR. The audience experience improved multi folds when they used the wearable VR devices.

Higher Dependence On Social Media Analytics

Measurement of the business’s success is important in order to know what is generating favourable response among the audience and what is driving them off. Almost 92% of the C-level executives use analytics tools to get better insights into their marketing and business. With social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram launching their own business analytics tools, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that business analysis would be on the rise in 2017. Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, and Instagram Business Tools have already been liked by many businesses, other social media sites would also jump on the bandwagon this year.

Increased Use Of Social Commerce

Social commerce hit the high tides in 2016 with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest taking on the e-commerce scenario. While 56% consumers use social media to get insights about products before making a purchase, more than 31% of consumers confirmed that they went on social media sites only to look out for new items. In 2016, a sale of around $50 billion was generated using social media sites; the sales price would touch higher skies in the coming year. 2017 would be the year when social networking sites would provide video content for the buyer to have a better insight about the product before making a purchase.

Reigning high over all these trends would be the increasing inclination of people towards social media which is expected to get bigger and more engaging in 2017 and reach out to a much larger audience. So be there, not mere by registering your presence but by being happening enough to steal people’s attention and liking.

About the author
Anurag Gupta is a budding entrepreneur with stakes in WeblinkIndia.net, an acclaimed Web Designing Development & Social Media Company, headquartered in India. He also happens to be a keen writer, sharing insights, tips, and tutorials on subjects related to the ever evolving landscape of Web Designing and Development.

Best link-building tactics you should know about

Link-building won’t be so difficult if you follow these tactics. Almost like magic, you will see how much more effective your strategy can be. It’s as simple as that!

By Joan Herbert

When trying to bring traffic to your website, link-building is one of the key elements of SEO. You need to make sure that you are raising your position in search engines with your link-building, as well as bringing in traffic from those links. Here are some tactics that you need to focus on.

Make sales, not views
One of the big things to realise early on is that you need to be looking at the right figures in order to succeed. Many people believe that the more views a page gets, the better. But this is simply not the case. Instead, you need to be getting relevant views – from people who are likely to convert into customers. Even if the website itself is your product, in the case of entertainment websites, for example, you need to bring in the kind of viewers who will stick around and read what you have to say. Focus on your target audience and be very specific and picky with your keywords.

Interact
A great way to spread your link far and wide is simply to comment on other people’s blogs. Blogs will be part of the niche that your target audience is interested in. For example, if you have a web design company, you can comment on blog posts about building a website, growing a brand, establishing a web presence, and so on. The presence of your web link with your comment will give you easy backlinks which come from a relevant place for your customers.

Embed content
Make videos along with your posts that you can put videos into. These videos can be another way for you to gain followers. Let’s say that you run a food website. Make a recipe up, and film yourself making it in the style of a TV chef. Then put that video alongside the recipe. Now there are two pieces of content your viewers can share: the post, and the video. The post links back to the video, and the video links back to your post. Every time one is shared or linked, your potential views are doubled. It’s a great tactic for getting more bang for each post.

Talk to experts
When you want to build on a new subject, talk to experts. Lots of them. Use their quotes. If you can’t talk to them, quote from their articles. If they don’t have articles, talk about how something they have done is a great example. When the post goes live, email it out to all of those experts. Chances are that they will want to share the post with their followers, which gives you a fantastic link from a credible and trusted source. It also opens up a new potential follower stream for you on social media.

Guest post
Guest posting is hugely important for linking, even if you don’t have your own blog on your website. It’s one of the tried and tested methods. There are two options: one is to make a post relevant to your website which links to you as an example. The second is to write a post about your field and then add your link into your author bio. Check out the site rules first as some are strict on what they will and won’t allow. This should help you figure out which to choose. Always add your link in the body if you can for better SEO relevance.

Link-building won’t be so difficult if you follow these tactics. Almost like magic, you will see how much more effective your strategy can be. It’s as simple as that!

About the author
Joan is an Assistant Manager at http://www.Bank-Opening-Times.co.uk, a curious individual, avid reader and a passionate creative writer.