Month: March 2019

Digital Branding

12 Things to Check Before Choosing an eCommerce Platform

If you are planning to build an ecommerce store, then one of the most important things that you should plan beforehand is which ecommerce platform you should choose. There are numerous platforms online with multiple features, so it becomes important that you choose one that provides you a greater range of options, flexibility, and scalability as per your needs.

In this article, we have provided a list of features that you should look at before you choose an ecommerce platform for your ecommerce store.

1. Compatible with a mobile phone

Nowadays, people use mobile phones regularly to browse the internet. The number of people using the desktop for Internet browsing compared to mobile browsing is going down significantly. Therefore, if you want to improve more traffic to your store make sure that the platform you are choosing allows your website to be viewed on a smartphone with compatible resolution.

2. A wide range of features

When you are choosing an ecommerce platform make sure that it has a wide range of features that will allow your commerce store to function smoothly. Some of the features that are essential for any ecommerce site or mobile app are; shopping cart plug-in and add-ons, different payment options, shipping methods, templates and themes, website security, content creation and so on.

3. Optimized for search engine

If you look at how people look at things on the Internet, then you will realize that the most common way is going through the search engine. Search engines have become virtually the gateway to the Internet. Therefore, it has become important for you to choose the right ecommerce platform with SEO features so that your ecommerce website gets higher ranking on the

search engine result page.

4. Cost effective

When you are looking for an ecommerce platform you should choose one that will allow you to pay as per your usage. There are many ecommerce platforms that give you a bouquet of options that you can use. While it has many advantages, the big negative of such an ecommerce platform is that it is very costly. Besides, you may not use all the features that are available on the ecommerce platform. Therefore, choose a platform that allows you to pay for only those features that are essential for your online business and you use. In this way, you have to pay only for those services which you have chosen and not for those which you don’t use.

5. Amazing user experience

Research on consumer behavior shows that people who have a negative experience in a website or mobile app will less likely to visit it again. Thus, it is very important for any ecommerce store to provide a good experience to their clients as any negative impact on the user experience will seriously harm their reputation online. Therefore, before you choose any ecommerce platform, carefully compare it with other such platforms to figure out which one of them will give your buyers the best user experience.

6. A wide variety of themes

As an ecommerce store owner, your primary aim is to start your business very quickly so that you can reach out to your clients and sell them your products to recoup the cost you have incurred in starting the business. However, if you spend most of your time building your website from the scratch itself, then It will take a lot of time and cost (it has its own benefits too) which you could have otherwise invested in expanding your business or improving your brand image online. Therefore, we suggest that you look for an ecommerce platform that gives you a wide range of ready-made template from which you can select the one that will satisfy the needs of your online business.

7. Highly customizable

When you are looking for the right ecommerce platform that will host your online store, choose one that will allow you to customize your website or ecommerce app according to your needs. There are many ecommerce platforms that allow store owners to add additional features by downloading plug-ins from the online marketplace. There are also ecommerce platforms that allow custom development so that you can use a unique and highly attractive UI and security features to give your buyers the best experience and secure payment service.

8. Functionality

When you open your ecommerce store to sell products online, then you need to provide adequate functionalities so that the different needs of your customers are met. There are some customers who like to buy products from brick and mortar shop that are in close proximity to where they live, then there are some who like to buy goods using filters like the size of the product, the price of the product, the quality of the product and so on. Your ecommerce platform should offer various functionalities that will allow you to fulfil the buying needs of your customers so that they get a great experience visiting your store and buying products from it.

9. Regular security updates

While the Internet platform provides you with an unlimited reach throughout the globe, it also allows people sitting in different parts of the world to hack your site and ruin your business. Therefore, you need constant updates of security patches that will plug-in any loopholes through which hackers can attack your store. Therefore, choose an ecommerce platform that provides you with a regular update.

10. Provides help in analytics

You need to subscribe to an ecommerce platform that provides you with in-depth analytics that will help you to market your products in a more targeted manner. Web analytics are of prime importance for web marketing and it will give them an in-depth idea of what is working and what requires further effort.

11. Easy checkout option

If the checkout option is very slow on your ecommerce store, then you will find that the rate of cart abandonment is very high. To reduce cart abandonment rate, ecommerce platform must provide the checkout option in such a way that the customer does not feel any hassle and it is done quickly and efficiently.

12. Provide social media integration

Nowadays social media has become very important for marketing reasons. If you want to reach out to the right people in the right way, then you must leverage the power of social media. Therefore, when you are choosing for an ecommerce platform select the one that comes with social media integration (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more).

These are important things which you need to keep in mind when you are researching for the right ecommerce platform for your ecommerce store. A well-planned ecommerce business always succeed. You must know how to start an ecommerce business before you actually start it.

Digital Branding

The Importance of Online Presence to Your Business

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Advertising and marketing are some of the pillars of effective business strategies. There are many ways to get your business out there and advertise your services. One of the oldest ways to market your business, be it a product or a service, is by word of mouth. This is the most credible, and cheapest way to help grow your business. Although the best things in life are free, this is not the case for marketing. If you want to grow your business, you will have to invest in good advertising.

 

Traditional vs Non-traditional Advertising

When we say traditional advertising, this mostly encompasses advertising through the most common forms of media such as billboards, newspapers, and radio or TV commercials. This is an older advertising method and has been around for centuries. Non-traditional advertising, otherwise, involves the use of technology to reach out to the target audience. There’s advertising on the internet through page banners, social media marketing, and mobile advertising. Non-traditional advertising reaches a wider audience with an estimated number of 3.2 billion internet users worldwide.

 

What is Online Presence?

Simply put, online presence is the establishment of a business that can be found via an online search. With the rise of social media, most consumers would find a business more credible if it has a strong online presence. Meaning this business manages either a social media site, a website, or both. Businesses that are able to establish an online presence are able to leverage the use of these platforms to help promote and grow the business.

 

 Benefits of a Strong Online Presence

Sure, it’s great to hear all this talk about establishing an online presence. But let us break down how this will actually benefit your business.

Free Advertising

Instead of spending money on advertising firms, you may want to invest this capital into a good construction contract and bidding software that can help you run your business and get ahead of the game. Nowadays, you can use social media platforms to create a page for your business, provide chat support services, and even create online order forms- all for free! It’s like getting something for nothing. In addition, there are also free web hosting websites that enable you to create a webpage for your business for added online presence.

Global Audience

Traditional print advertising only limits your ads to those who have access to this material. Most of the time they come in the form of a section in the newspaper or magazine, as well as outdoor billboards and TV ads. In this day and age, more and more people are opting to go digital and print ads may not be as effective in reaching your audience, most especially the millennials. Establishing an online presence means that you can reach far and wide all over the world. With a growing number of internet users, there is great potential in your business once you have established a strong online presence.

Online Presence = Credibility

The modern consumer will look up most likely anything and everything on the internet. To most users, if your company does not appear on an online search, this can set off a red flag. It is established that a credible company should be searchable online. If your company does not have an online presence, you can miss out on a valuable opportunity to market your business to the right audience.

Advertise 24/7

            The internet never sleeps. With a strong online presence, you can be sure that you’re advertising round-the-clock. People from all over the world can search and contact your business any time of the day once you’re established on the internet. You don’t have to wait for the day’s paper to arrive or for your spot to air on TV to be able to get the message across. With an online presence, advertising is just a click away.

Digital Branding

Web Design for 2019: What Are the Design Trends That You Should Be Using for Your Site?

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Almost every market has trends that set the bar for every interval that passes by. While it’s true that these trends shake up things a bit in the industry, there is an unwritten good that comes out of it. There is nothing worse than having a stagnant market where those on top will always be on top, and those who have yet to taste success will never get to.

Trends make markets competitive and thus bring out the best in every entity involved. They are all forced to adapt and to innovate in order for them to stay relevant in their chosen field. Think of this as a rolling wheel where everyone’s trying to stay on top.

With that said, how exactly are you going to stay on top this year with your web design? Consider applying these design trends to showcase not just your ability to adapt to change, but to also keep up with the pack:

Improved Chat Bots

While chatbots aren’t exactly new to the scene, 2019 marks a new year in their development. You can expect to find that they now have more customization options that allow you to tailor their programming to suit your needs. Couple that with ever-advancing AI and machine learning, and you may soon find yourself unable to tell the difference between a human being and a chat bot.

Thumb-Friendly Navigation

With the recent emphasis on mobile-friendly sites, it’s not a surprise that there’s going to be a high demand for websites that are tailored to reduce the amount of finger yoga needed to navigate through a site. A prime example of this movement can be seen in the likes of the latest mobile phone software by Google and Samsung where most UI elements are found at the lower portion of the screen rather than at the top. Take these cues from the big boys and apply them to your website as well.

Minimalism

There is now a bigger emphasis on site content rather than aesthetics, however, that doesn’t mean that aesthetics should be completely disregarded. Rather, they should be used to complement your content, not supplant it. Fade-in effects, whitespace and clear typography are all going to be in this year. If you aren’t already sporting a minimal design or you’d simply prefer to start anew, consider opting for a WordPress migration instead of trying to dismantle and rebuild every element of your website.

Microinteractions

The devil is in the details, they say. And with this trend, they are completely correct. While these microinteractions may be subtle, the overall effect they lend to the website is undeniable. A prime example of how microinteractions are applied can be found in the form of Facebook, particularly when you receive a message, when the person you’re chatting with reads your message, and when that person is currently typing. These actions trigger sounds and animations that make the site much more lively than it would be without them.

SaaS Branding

Boost Your SaaS Sales with These 4 Tips

This is a guest post by Anubhuti Shrivastava

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In contemporary digital landscape, SaaS companies are growing like never before as more and more entrepreneurs have started embracing modern technologies to streamline complex processes and automate workflows.

Let’s understand the beauty of subscription model with the help of an e-commerce giant Amazon which started its journey by selling books on the internet in 1994. But today it has become the king of digital subscriptions with different services under one roof such as Amazon Prime, Amazon Drive & Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Music Storage, etc.

This shift is the proof that big brands have understood the significance of nurturing long-term relationships with customers and consider subscription model as the key driving force for optimizing revenue. But if SaaS is this simple, why it’s difficult to convince customers to sign up and purchase? Let’s find the answer.

The majority of SaaS company websites sell software directly to their customers. Conventional software distribution channels have been replaced with current on-demand, subscription-based delivery models. Also, more than 70% of software sales are no more based on channels.

But still modern SaaS vendors find it difficult to crack the unique code for SaaS sales.  The reason behind this can be the dependency of software vendors on direct sales. Or, absence of essential technologies and tools to facilitate a reasonable distribution set up including indirect channels, or the lack of knowledge about how to use CRM tools.

Moreover, SaaS founders have failed in identifying appropriate solution to every sales and distribution hurdle they face. Also, because every SaaS business is one of a kind with diverse requirements at different phases, it becomes even tougher to quickly boost the software sales.  Tensed? Don’t be; let’s look at the four major tips which SaaS companies can use for driving maximum sales.

  1. Exclusive Reseller Programs For Improving SaaS Sales Rapidly

These programs can be the lifesaver for SaaS entrepreneurs as they can help them in churning out revenues at extremely low margins. Here, you have to leave the stress of doing tedious and time-consuming task of selling on resellers and pay attention to creating better solutions. For instance, look at the popular SaaS based accounting platform Xero that has managed to add thousands of customers with the help of its unique reseller program.

  1. Comprehensive Application & Online Marketplaces For Making Buyer Journey More Convenient

The marketplaces have become an integral SaaS software-distribution medium. The SaaS sphere has three major types of marketplaces which are listed below:

  1. Add-on stores: Offer API-powered services to let programmers build over a SaaS platform. The Atlassian Marketplace and Salesforce AppExchange are the two popular add-on marketplaces for particular SaaS platforms.
  2. Full-service marketplaces: Offer real SaaS product and not a connector to a third-party site. These platforms make it easier for customers to acquire third-party apps without any need to leave the marketplace and sign up at some other place. For instance, ADP which is the world’s largest payroll company introduced a full-service marketplace with multiple third-party plug-ins and services under its umbrella for expanding the platform.

III. App directories: Use listing as the key traffic driver for off-site vendors. For example, sites like Capterra and GetApp drive traffic to the sites of software vendors where customers can buy the software.

  1. Unique Affiliate & Referral Programs For Acquiring New Prospects

These programs have been flourishing since several years and SaaS vendors believe these to be one of the best tools for acquiring new customers. Let’s look at both of them one by one:

  1. Affiliate Programs: SaaS vendors get into building a formal relationship with affiliate partners who give qualified leads back to the vendor in return of an incentive or portion of revenue.
  2. Referral Programs: Customers refer products to their peers in order to win an incentive or reward. Also, new customers get some exciting prize for trying out a particular brand.
  3. Direct Sales: An Evergreen Alternative

This approach still has the potential to drive maximum sales for SaaS vendors because of its effectiveness. Also, there can’t be any slip-ups when SaaS organizations sell their products directly to the customers and prospects.

Selling products directly isn’t as simple as it seems to be. But CRM tools can make this tedious task easy as these systems can help SaaS vendors to store and use customer related information efficiently.

There are multiple CRM systems available in the market but it’s important to choose the right one that has the potential to facilitate your sales process from the first touch point to the final sale properly. Also, a sales CRM tool allows SaaS vendors to provide their customer with excellent customer experience.

Being a SaaS vendor you can’t rely on one technique to crack the code for sales. Also, you can’t have one-size-fits all strategy to work for your SaaS model. Rather it’s important to acquire relevant technologies and tools that are flexible as well as scalable to grow along with your business.

Author Bio

Anubhuti Shrivastava is a content crafter at Arkenea and Benchpoint. She is passionate about writing articles on topics related to design and the software development industry.

Reverse number tracking
Digital Branding

A Guide To Reverse Phone Lookup & Why You Should Use it

If you are reading this article, then you probably are getting unwanted calls, and what’s annoying you more is the fact that you don’t even know who the caller is. It undeniably is a very frustrating situation when you are in the middle of some important work, and someone just keeps calling you or sending you disturbing text messages that cannot be ignored but on the other hand, the caller isn’t revealing his identity either.

Now, the one solution that you can opt for is to call your network service provider and ask him about the identity of the caller, but this isn’t as easy as it sounds because most of the times, these network providers don’t reveal the identity to a random person. Now, you are just left with one and only one solution and that is to use the reverse phone lookup website. Yes, you read it right, this website is more of a public directory that will easily help you in identifying the caller who has been a pain for yours.

Tracing Mobile Phone Numbers For Free

Yes, it’s true that there is no such thing as a free lunch but guess what? If you want a free service that can help you identify your caller then yes, the reverse phone lookup is the best thing to opt for. It’s free, it’s fast, and you probably won’t have to see the message that “sorry, we couldn’t find the details for the number you are looking for.”

The best part about using the reverse phone lookup is that if you can’t find a number on it, you will probably get an explanation for that and not just an error. To use the website, all you have to do is to enter the number of the caller and then click on “search”. Within seconds you will have the name of the caller, his location and his address pop up on your screen.

Reverse phone lookup is no doubt one of the best websites at the moment where you can easily find the details against a phone number that has been bothering you for a long time. It’s an easy to use website and the interface with which it comes is very simple. Moreover, this website works with almost all the major browsers like Mozilla, Internet Explorer and Google.

Find out who called

Features Of Reverse Phone Lookup

There are several important features of using this website. For example;

1- Using the email address

You can even look up a person on the reverse phone lookup website using his email id. Yes, you read it right and if you are getting disturbing emails from someone and if you are curious to know who the other person is then you should try this website for sure.

2- Blocking the calls

If your phone doesn’t have the blocking option, then don’t worry because you can block the other person using reverse phone lookup. It’s easy, you just need to enter the other person’s number and some of your details and then block the unknown caller right away.

3- It’s fast

It will literally take 2 to 5 seconds for you to know the caller and all of his details. Yes, you read it right. Isn’t it just amazing that without even paying a single penny you will be able to get the results really quick?

Overall Verdict

These are some of the features of the reverse phone lookup and well, we hope you now have enough reasons to use this website for the identification of the caller. So, now without wasting any more time just head to the website right now and make your search to be impressed!

This Post Was Submitted By Qurban Shah From Reviewstook.com

Digital Branding

How Much Digital Marketing Services Typically Cost

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In today’s competitive economy, businesses are in search of affordable digital marketing services that do not compromise on quality. Even big companies are finding it confusing to figure out how much to pay. But it’s common knowledge that you can only get services according to how much you are willing to spend.

Before we begin

If you do not implement the right tools, no marketing in the world will help you succeed. For example, you must have a validated lead and sales generation system in place alongside landing pages or email sequences that convert. And even then, great marketing cannot make up for a bad sales team.

What does digital marketing encompass?

Digital marketing refers to services that increase a brand or company’s visibility. Most are straightforward, including inbound marketing solutions, paid media advertising, analytics, brand monitoring, etc. However, they must contain SWEPS, the five basic principles of digital marketing for online success.

1.SEO

One of the most important services of digital marketing, it optimizes your website for search engines. 75% of internet users do not scroll past the first page. A higher SERP ranking equates to a greater number of visitors to your site, resulting in more conversions or sales. Basic SEO services can start at around $500 a month, especially if software or app is utilized to manage or review the site. Anything above this amount should include creating and distributing blog/vlog content as well as engaging with community pages and posts.

The cost of content depends on whether it contains blogs, videos, website copy, or long-form posts. The frequency of creation (whether it’s a one-time piece or weekly blog posts), level of skill required, and the target audience will affect the price. On any level, video content requires more experience, expertise, and technical equipment than written content. Expect a higher cost of video content creation. If your business demands these services, it’s a great marketing strategy.

Local SEO services cost between $1,000 to $5,000 per month, while those attempting to rank nationally may need to invest $8,000 to $20,000 per month.

2. Web Development

Web development involves a lot of technicalities so, this may be a little tricky to price. A basic design consisting of 4 to 8 pages can range anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000. This may not be suitable for businesses that deal with e-commerce, online banking, or have large product inventory, as typically required by financial institutions or insurance businesses. They could cost from $8,000 upwards, depending if a web development manager is hired.

Building landing pages and lead magnets are also essential aspects of website building. Depending on the level of complexity, prices vary between $500 and $50,000.

3. Email Marketing

People check email multiple times a day, so this type of marketing is a practical, easy and cheap way to reach a wider audience. 49 % of companies are implementing some sort of email automation, such as allowing them to send emails to customers automatically when a purchase or a new registration is made. A basic package consisting of email marketing management, automation, and segmentation starts from $500.

4. Pay Per Click

Nearly 65% of customers click on ads. So PPC, also known as search engine ads, is the quickest way to reach a target audience. However, it is an expensive option, costing a minimum of $1000 a month. Before going for a PPC campaign, make sure to research good keywords, using the wrong ones will result in a waste of money.

5. Social Media Management

Most consumers use some form of social media, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Linkedin, etc. Therefore, it’s vital to have a social media presence. Every digital marketing service should include some social media management. After all, it’s a cheap and effective way to increase engagement and sales. No wonder 90 % of businesses are using social media for marketing purposes.

The cost depends on the number of social media platforms that need to be managed, the level of customization, and the frequency of posting. Expect $500 for a few weekly posts on 2 or 3 platforms. The cost will go higher as the number of platforms and services performed on each platform increases. Keep in mind that advertising through any platform will incur extra charges.

What to look for in a digital marketing agency

You’ve identified what services you need. But before you decide on which agency you will collaborate with, look for one that has a good marketing strategy. Remember to hire an agency with proficient knowledge of SWEPS. The agency itself should have an established web presence.

A company that is experienced has a reputation of success and employs a well-trained team will charge more than a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork who is just getting started. Freelancers can charge rates between $20-$50 an hour, but at this rate, you will most likely be working with someone who is new to the field and wants to develop a reputation. And even though these individuals often label themselves as experts, only newbies can afford to work this cheap. So if you are looking for real talent or an agency with experienced staff, be prepared to pay a little extra. Always remember to look at certifications, customer reviews, and testimonials.

How much should I pay?

You need to study the rate and basic structure that a marketing agency is offering. Since there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, the plan should be customized to meet your needs – and budget. The problem is that most businesses start off by fixing a budget.  For this reason, some are caught between a struggle of compromising either price or quality.

Instead of focusing on how much you want to pay, invest time in evaluating your current digital marketing activities. Begin by determining what results you are aiming for and decide how much you can spend on that area. The cost will depend on what services you need for your business. And depending on how intensive your approach is, you will be billed accordingly. Keep in mind that digital marketing services are typically charged in the following ways:

  • Hourly rates- between $90 to $210
  • Project-specific prices- around $4,500 to $7,000 per project
  • Monthly retainers- an affordable option for businesses with extensive digital marketing, ranging from $3000 to $10,000 per month.

But these are only estimates. Top digital marketing or social management agencies know what works for one customer may not be feasible for another. Marketing plans must be customized to fit requirements and budget guidelines. Compare the rates of several before choosing one.

Agencies begin by evaluating your current activities and suggest a realistic strategy that will help achieve your goals. Be open to ideas and recommendations on how to fuel better conversion rates as well as open your company’s web presence- even if it means extra projects or services. Many also offer discounts on a bundle of services or base packages, starting as low as $1000 a month.

Why is digital marketing important?

When it comes to taking steps to make your company successful, we all know how important marketing is. And there are no shortcuts in the digital world. Select a marketing agency that has top-notch employees such as strategists, marketing specialists, and technical experts. They must have the passion and creativity to launch innovative ideas and campaigns. Even at your best, there is always room for improvement. With the correct strategies and tools, you can encourage user engagement to drive business growth.

Digital Branding

How to Generate SaaS Gains With the Best ABM Practices

You probably can’t count the number of times you’ve seen forms of consumer marketing slathered practically everywhere.

From something as mainstream as television and print to our individual feeds in social media, and even as you do research on Google, consumer marketing is more memorable. It’s also the type of marketing that’s easily associated with pop culture and all things the general public deems fun.

B2B and SaaS marketing, on the other hand, is not so simple…

By no means am I insinuating that consumer marketing is easy? It’s not, but it’s very traditional. And therefore, it’s more recognizable and more celebrated.

Let’s be perfectly honest. Selling and marketing software to your target audience is not thrilling… Do it wrong, and the ridicule descends even further into being unremarkable.

Because of this, it’s a little more challenging to come up with creative and effective marketing strategies to leverage software awareness. But it’s not as daunting when you know how to generate SaaS gains with the best ABM practices.

How does ABM tie in with SaaS?

Marketing software and making it interesting enough to sell is a quest in itself. SaaS tools exist, but they have no physical form. So how do you go about marketing something that doesn’t exist on the physical plane? Selling intangible objects place a restriction on what marketers can and can’t do.

In addition, SaaS tools constantly change. New features and updates are constantly released. And for this reason, it can be difficult for marketers to pin down the fundamental messaging before the other versions are released.

So where does account-based marketing (ABM) factor into SaaS’ shortcomings?

ABM is steadily rising as a core platform among B2B marketers. Instead of aiming for an ideal customer persona, ABM is a targeted approach that personalizes communication with a high-profile target. For instance, instead of targeting grocery stores, the SaaS marketing campaign would just target Walmart.

And at its very core, ABM is very similar to other marketing campaigns. However, the difference lies in the content and the messaging that aims for the opportunities unlocked by the target business.

  • Even back in 2014, 85% of marketers who measured their ROI said ABM techniques outperformed other marketing investments. 50% say the difference was significant (ITSMA survey).
  • ABM generated 200% more revenue for their marketing efforts (FlipMyFunnel).
  • 83% of companies profess that the main benefit of ABM is the increase in engagement with target accounts (DemandBase).
  • ABM gives 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates (MarketingProfs).
  • 43% of business who use ABM for 3 or more years report a significant impact it had on their entire funnel (EWeek).

Simply speaking, SaaS marketing is a complex quest, and ABM is the solution that’s looking you right in the face.

Learning how to generate SaaS gains with the best ABM practices will help you reach the goal you’re striving for.

Steps to Generating SaaS Gains

Selling and producing software may be your company’s passion, but for a lot of companies, it’s their source of livelihood too.

The entire process of combining the best ABM practices and SaaS marketing entails prospect research to a whole other level. This helps you understand your audience better, and eventually, persuade them to gradually appreciate and love your software.

Step 1: Do your target research

Similar to marketing to consumers, your plans begin with identifying your targets. And that means doing research — and ample amounts of it. It’s your time to compile a list of accounts to pinpoint and target.

Quick research into your own database might uncover that you already have a list of employees from your target companies. Maybe you’ve been even sending them automated emails about your latest blog posts, or emailing them occasionally.

So, where do you find your target accounts?

The easy thing to do is to leave no stone unturned. You have to try every possible action to find the right people you’re looking for.

  • Researching existing data: You can find the data in your marketing automation, CRM, or ERP systems.
  • Call programs: Having your sales representatives call into the account to build out contacts.
  • Purchased contact data: You can buy laser-focused lists from reputable data providers; like LeadGenius, ZoomInfo, etc.
  • Manual research: Scraping and compiling contacts from search engine provided sources like LinkedIn, event websites, media websites, forums, or other social media channels.

And while you’re at it, don’t neglect to identify key decision maker information, either.

Any person who’s done sales is more than well-acquainted with key decision makers. Simply speaking, these are the people who will either say yes or not. These are also people who will influence that yes or no decision.

And as you identify and collect your list of accounts to target, take the time to identify what kind of buyer they are. Because as much as we wish for only one type, so our lives would be significantly easier, that’s not the reality.

At the very least, there are generally 5 types of key decision makers you need to be aware of (if you aren’t already).

  • Initiator: Somebody who decides to start the buying process; and has most likely been placed in charge of solving a business challenge.
  • Sales influencer: The person who takes the initiative in convincing others that they need the product.
  • Decider: The one in charge of making the final decision whether to purchase or not.
  • Buyer: Typically, these people are C-level, and they are the ones in charge of writing you the check.
  • The User: The person who would be using your product. And it doesn’t entirely matter if they had a say in the product buying process or not.

Step 2: Segment the accounts and understand them

Upon completing your gigantic list of accounts to target, it is every B2B expert’s advice to break them down.

Perhaps your list of two hundred companies can be narrowed down even further by size, location, budget, industry etc. What you need to have in the end, are groups that you can easily communicate similar messages to. One message may not be the same for another particular group. And that’s why audience segmentation is important.

And once your audience segmentation is complete and nailed down, it’s time to understand them and get to know them. At this stage, here is where your buyer personas will still come in handy.

Learn about each company on your target list and the key decision makers you’ll be trying to persuade. Do what you must to get to know them sufficiently. You can try:

  • Finding out who is involved in the SaaS buying process
  • Doing online research (official websites, and social media accounts)
  • Asking the people in your company who are in charge of sales
  • Schedule interviews with current customers (if they’re available)
  • Read customer feedback from citation sites

Understanding each segment is crucial to the kinds of marketing campaigns and programs you’ll have to implement to succeed at reaching them.

Step 3: Customize your marketing plan

While you work on tailoring your marketing plans, experts in learning how to generate SaaS gains with the best ABM practices advise starting with the buyer’s journey.

Identify what the key decision maker needs at each stage of their purchase journey. It’s all in the name of moving smoothly to the decision stage.

Remember that B2B sales cycles are longer, and require more nurturing tactics than most consumer-targeted efforts for them to be effective. And to succeed, make use of the marketing world’s best practices; B2B or otherwise.

Content Marketing

Content marketing, over the years, has developed to be an invaluable strategy for B2B SaaS marketers. To increase brand awareness while simultaneously reaching new audiences, content marketing is a staple of the marketing process.

But with 93% of B2B companies making use of content marketing, you are in for a bit of competition. Almost every SaaS company is in a bid to produce top-notch quality.

So when it comes to content marketing, the need to produce relevant content is necessary to become a thought-leader and to gain notoriety while building trust among target companies.

Social Media

Something worth mentioning is that when it comes to B2B SaaS marketing, the name of the game is building awareness. Even if a specific product doesn’t boast a broad audience yet, it would do companies well to build a strong social presence and a complementing content strategy that would appeal to the target accounts.

But in the case of cultivating a great presence on social media, SaaS businesses must make use of visual platforms like Twitter and Instagram. The practice isn’t to share blogs and point the way to a company landing page. The goal is to show off company culture and show the target audience the faces behind the SaaS business. And that, honestly speaking, is more exciting than constantly blabbering about software tools to no end.

Offering Free Trials and Samples

Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t delight in free stuff? (Even the rich won’t say no.)

Earlier in the introduction, we commented on how marketing something without an actual physical presence can pose several challenges. Again, unlike the typical consumer-targeted product or service, target accounts can’t physically pick up software tools. They can’t feel it with their hands, and they can’t touch it to know what it feels. They can’t even smell it or taste it.

Touching something, trying it out, feeling it, and seeing how well it works for you is an important part of the buying process. In fact, it’s the reason why physical stores never go out of a style — despite how digitized the world is.

Sadly, B2B SaaS marketers have no way of replicating the luxury of the sense of touch. But it is possible to emulate that feeling by offering free trials and samples. Letting someone use the product for free at a period of time or by limiting certain offers to free use is helpful.

Welcoming and Encouraging Honest Customer Reviews

Time and time again, experts emphasize that everybody trusts peer recommendations better than actual sales pitches. In addition, today’s generation of consumers — B2B or otherwise — demand honesty and authenticity from product and service providers.

Dreading the inevitable and occasional negative review can’t be helped. But customer reviews are incredibly valuable.

First and foremost, they’re absolutely free. And moreover, you might find that clients are more inclined to give their opinion on a software — especially if they have used it extensively, or even tried out the free trial. Second, your client’s insights and feedback give other potential clients realistic expectations. And the best benefit of all is that encouraging customer reviews is your way of demonstrating social proof.

The Takeaway

There are three steps to implement the best ABM practice for generating significant SaaS gains.

  • Doing your target research
  • Segmenting accounts and understanding each of them
  • Customizing the right marketing plan to launch

Making use of these best practices is crucial for acquiring considerable gains in all of your SaaS efforts.

About the author

Al Gomez is an SEO Consultant. Al has over 12 years’ client digital marketing experience and has proven track records of successful projects and expertise in various marketing channels. He is passionate about solving online marketing problems like generating leads and increasing sales. He is also the Consultant for a digital marketing agency, Dlinkers offering services like SEO, PPC, Email marketing, & Web Development.

Local Branding

Everything You Need to Know to Prepare for Surgery

When doctors start mentioning surgery, it causes fear and confusion in many people. However, every day, thousands of people undergo surgery that saves their life or improves it tremendously. In order to have a smooth procedure and fast recovery, here are a few things you have to consider and take care of before your surgery.

A healthy lifestyle as a part of an everyday routine

The time period before your surgery can be quite stressful. However, in order to be in top shape for your procedure, make sure to be as active as you can, eat well and get plenty of sleep. Smoking can cause respiratory problems and make your anesthesia and surgery recovery harder, so if you’re a smoker, try to stop, even if it’s just for a few days before the surgery. All other steps will be taken care of by your medical team—you only need to pay attention to your health and wellbeing so you’re physically and mentally ready for your surgery.

Try to inquire as much as you can about the procedure

If you don’t like going into things without knowing what to expect, make sure to read about your procedure. Specialists like Dr Timothy Steel post short surgery videos and written explanations of the entire operation, so his patients can know exactly what to expect. You can feel more relaxed and excited to undergo the operation when you know more about the procedures. However, if you know you’re squeamish, it’s better to stay away from such content and put all your trust in your surgeon. They know what they’re doing!

Avoid surprises

For some, surgery is a very smooth experience, while some tend to feel groggy, confused and nauseous after an operation. If this is your first surgery, you probably don’t know what to expect right after you wake up from your anesthesia. Muscle aches and sore throat are all normal and usually disappear shortly after the surgery. You can even get medication to relieve the pain and discomfort once you’re in the recovery room. Starting to move as soon as possible is very important to your recovery. Nurses will encourage you to get out of bed and take a few steps once you get stable. It is normal to feel tired and weak at first place, but as you continue to move, your body’s functions will return to normal.

Organize your commitments

Try your best to take care of your immediate commitments that might be waiting for you when you get back from the hospital, in order to be completely dedicated to your recovery. Arrange some time away from work and ensure you don’t have any upcoming family, friends and other commitments. Also, if your home is going to be left empty for more than a week, you might need to hire someone to pick up your mail, water your plants and walk your dog. Depending on your time spent in the hospital, they even might need to pay bills and handle other things while you’re away.

Ask for help

Organizing post-surgery care is also important. It’s great to find someone to cook for you, hand you things and help you get dressed because you probably won’t be able to take full care of yourself when you get home. Some surgeries also require you to take care of your incision, so if it’s in a hard-to-reach spot, you’ll need help with that as well. Having someone by your side is also practical in case you experience any issues like fever, bleeding or nausea. Your aid can contact your health care provider and get advice on further steps.

Now that you know how to prepare for your surgery and what to expect when you wake up from anesthesia, you can go to your surgery fully concentrated on your recovery. With some good planning and prep, you’ll be back to your old self in no time!

 

Digital Branding

Experiential Marketing – the Future of Advertising is Already Here

The power of content is tremendous. It can capture the attention of millions at one go, and it can drive the reach of a message far and wide. We live in a world where people can share content at the swipe of one finger. At the same time, thousands of companies are bombarding the audience with new ads everywhere. Adblocking technology is evolving across the world. Close to 32% of all internet users now use plug-ins with their browsers to block annoying video ads and pop-up ads. Reaching the target audience was never as much of a challenge as it is now. These are only a few of the reasons that make experiential marketing indispensable today.

Experiential marketing events should provide consumers with the chance to engage with the related product and the brand. It should establish and maintain new channels of communication. In the age of mobile phones and the internet, people want to experience something that is tangible. E-commerce has made life a lot easier for the millennials, but at the same time, it has also raised doubts about customer services, brand relations, and approachability. Marketing is a lot more than product launch and quality control right now. It is about eliciting positive emotions among the target audience.

How lucrative is experiential marketing for new brands?

This year is the perfect timing to kick off any experiential marketing campaign. Here are a few reasons you should consider including experiential marketing into your marketing mix –

  • Almost 80% of the participants state that free samples, live demos, and interactive activities influence their buying decisions.
  • About 70% of all participants turn into regular customers as a result of experiential marketing campaigns.
  • Three-fourth of the companies that have event budgets between $50 million and $100 million state that they expect a 5:1 return from the experiential events.
  • Over 79% of all surveyed brands state that they will begin their experiential journey by next year.
  • More than 80% of the brands that engaged in experiential marketing this year are also likely to invest in new rounds of marketing this year.
  • 65% of all brands state that event-based marketing helps with sales.
  • Over 60% of the CMOs believe that brand experience has the potential to establish ongoing relationships with the key audiences.
  • 90% CMOs state that experiential marketing has opened the avenues for interaction between their brands and their audience.
  • Close to 80% of all millennials value memorable experiences more than material objects.
  • Close to 71% of customers report an increasing sense of loyalty towards a brand after participating in a brand event.
  • Over 80% of all marketers believe that live marketing is the only effective form of marketing that can reach all audiences on all platforms.

Why should you think about experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing is not just a marketing expense for any business. It is a smart investment for the long run. Any brand that wants to capture a new audience or explore a new market requires a tool strong enough to convince the potential consumers to convert. Event marketing undertaken by an experiential marketing agency has the power to do that with finesse. For example – did you know? The Netflix team turned over 200 local cafes into Luke’s Diners to promote the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Each location pulled strong crowds that consisted of old fans, the new fan following, and curious folks, who just wanted a taste of whatever was new on the block. The result? These fans viewed Luke’s Diner Filter on Snapchat a whopping 880,000 times!

Whether it is Selfridges, Lays or Budweiser, every big brand has indulged in experiential marketing at least once. Even the smaller brands, as well as the startups that are just poking their heads, understand the value of something as unique as events in the lives of their millennial customers. Millennials are always doing something – they are driving to concerts, going to music festivals and art exhibitions. If nothing else, they are hanging out cool places and posting selfies. That is one of the most significant trends experiential marketing has leveraged right now. All you need is an event that will convince millennials and Gen Z consumers to participate. Give them enough material to click selfies and post them on Instagram with branded hashtags, and more than half of your marketing work is already complete!

We will admit. We made experiential marketing sound overly simple back there. In reality, there are innumerable intricacies that often result in confusion and failure among inexperienced experiential marketing companies. So when it is time for your brand to try experiential marketing, give the experts a call. The upfront cost might seem insurmountable, but you will save quite a bit in the long run.

Digital Branding

How to Introduce Design Thinking in the Workplace

https://pixabay.com/photos/office-home-glasses-workspace-820390/

Design thinking relies on elements from the designer’s toolkit, such as experimentation and empathy to produce creative solutions. It focuses on making decisions based on what future customers would like instead of relying on historical data. Here are the best six tips on how to stimulate design thinking in your workplace.

Start Small

You can’t change culture and tradition overnight, so your company’s leadership will most likely be skeptical about design thinking in the beginning. Introducing this creative form of thinking in the workplace requires of you to convince the people on leading positions that it’s not just some risky way of making decisions, but an innovative approach to problem-solving.

To prove them that design thinking works and brings positive results, start with a small project with less risk like organizing a company’s party or a smaller event. Get everyone involved in the process by stimulating your bosses and co-workers to use their creativity to plan the event without heavily relying on their previous experience.

Effectively Deliver to Prove Your Point

As stated above, you can’t expect your bosses to flip their mindset in a day, so you have to back your point about design thinking with real success stories. Always do double delivery no matter what type of project you are working on – play by the rules and do things the way you are supposed to but try to involve design thinking as much as possible. In this way, you can both meet your bosses’ expectations and show them the advantages of design thinking.

Even if they aren’t keen on incorporating design thinking in the workplace, their opinion could change once they hear your proof points. Double delivery might sound like too much work, but it can actually result in double success with less effort.

Talk Benefits without Offending

Using too much negativity to prove your point can have the exact opposite effect of what you hoped to achieve. It’s hard to change social norms, so taking an aggressive approach and pointing fingers at what’s wrong won’t be of much help. Instead, talk of the benefits of design thinking and share additive comments that speak of the value of this creative decision-making method. For instance, find out which people or businesses your leaders admire, research how they like to use design thinking and present the gathered facts to your bosses.

Look for Non-Obvious Need

When people deal with problems, especially complex ones they immediately focus on finding a solution. In these cases, it’s worth to search for a non-obvious need and uncover the hidden benefits of the situation instead.

According to this undergraduate program in business design, modern businesses, especially design-oriented companies, consulting firms, design studios, and communication agencies, need professionals who are able to combine design thinking, business, technology, and professional skills together with an entrepreneurial attitude in order to come up with creative ideas and solutions. The program trains future professionals to handle uncertainties by using design thinking and incorporating innovative and non-obvious strategies.

Don’t Miss the Chance to Promote Design Thinking

To convince your bosses and workmates to try design thinking you really have to understand its value first. Design thinking is an approach borrowed from the designer’s tool kit that is about creating ideas that are both emotionally meaningful and functional. Don’t hesitate to bring up design thinking when there is some complex problem that needs to be solved.

Make sure to present these benefits to your work team explaining that through design thinking they can come up with solutions that are technologically feasible, economically viable and desirable from a human point of view.

Use Design Thinking to Inspire

Design thinking is undoubtedly more helpful for people who work in creative roles especially in the area of problem-solving, but any profession can benefit from this approach in different ways. For instance, those who aren’t in traditionally creative roles can use design thinking to connect with the target audience on a deeper level. You should stimulate the people at your workplace to think with design in mind, trying to connect them with the customers who are using their products or services, so they can see how their work makes a difference in these people’s lives.

It might take time until your co-workers and leaders are comfortable with incorporating design thinking in their businesses, but with the right presentation you can make it possible and take all the credit for bringing immensely helpful innovation in your company that could result in non-obvious solutions and breakthrough ideas.