All posts by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.

Digital Branding

Empowering Small Business Tips For 2019

The Small Business Environment Has Changed

A small business can contend with a large enterprise through today’s technological solutions. Consider this as a hypothetical example: totally outsourced infrastructure. Using cloud computing you can outsource the cost of your internal servers, the cost of end-user portals, the cost of office space, and even the cost of certain personnel like those in payroll, or IT. This is all made possible through cloud computing. Computation, Big Data, software design, network management, and more can all be pursued through the cloud, and independent of location. All that is necessary is having valid access information for a given network, and a secure internet connection. One reason so many small businesses are going to the cloud is that they can save tens of thousands of dollars a month. Technology has a lot of little “life hacks” of this kind that businesses who are savvy will employ in 2019 to give themselves a competitive edge, increase profit margins, and decrease operational costs. Today’s business is on the edge of tomorrow, to make a cliché phrase. What this means is that you need to know what comes with the dawn of 2019. One area where you can be the early small business bird who gets the profit worm ahead of competing peers will be in the world of blogging. Following, tips from skilled bloggers with advice for small businesses will be explored to help give you an idea of what you’re facing, and what you can do.

1. Frank Telesphore, SEO BH

I realized a long time ago that my blog only has so much visibility on the web. It’s like a marble on a sheet stretched over an empty space. That marble’s weight is drawn by gravity into the sheet, and it pulls on the fabric’s elasticity, making a dimple. No matter the size of the marble, it only pulls the sheet down in one place. However, if you’ve got multiple marbles of similar weight across the surface area of the sheet, you can pull the whole thing down incrementally. This takes balance, and here the analogy breaks down; because round objects on such a taut surface will group together. The point is, you can make a bigger imprint if you’re pushing on the surface area of marketing outreach from multiple separate “nodes”—or, in this case, on the surface area of the internet from different blogs. Guest blogging is a great way to increase your online visibility. Basically, you send some of your content to blogs which are similar to yours. They have their own audience, and ideally, it has a crossover with yours. Ultimately, you can “double down” on the reach of a single piece of content. In terms of 2019 considerations, you’re going to want to ensure all content is optimized for smartphone use, as mobile web engagement has outpaced that of the desktop variety. Also, you’ll want to create content that is animated, pictorial, film-based, or of the infographic variety. Attention spans are down, but susceptibility to visual stimulus is up.

2. Robert Laumer: Brain Juice

One big trend I’ve noticed businesses following in 2018, and getting primed to be prolific in throughout 2019, involves co-opting user content. The truth is, people are social. They like to talk. They want to talk. They’re going to talk. And they’re not always going to have things to talk about, meaning over time, they’ll get in the habit of providing exposition for any aspect of their daily grind which is of interest to them. When you provide clientele with good products or services, there is a natural likelihood that they’ll go online and write about what you’ve done for them. Get links to that information and post it on your own pages. Whenever you have user reviews, you want that front-and-center. Search engines will key in on words and phrases matching what you do. User reviews can increase your online visibility. Also, you’ll eventually get customers loyal enough they’re essential “apologists” for your company. Think of those who love Apple, and those who love Microsoft. Or Chevy, and Ford. These rivalries cut deep. Co-opt them by contacting passionate customers, and putting their opinions on your blog. Becoming interconnected online, co-opting user content, and finding innovative ways to secure reviews will be key in 2019. As a closing cherry on top, one tactic to get reviews if you don’t have them is to write reviews for customers you know are satisfied, show those clients the review(s) you’ve written, and get their permission to publish in their name.  

3. Simon Cocking: Irish Tech News

Have a clear and logical reason for why you are doing social media, and how it is helping to advance and raise awareness about your business. It is not enough to ‘just hire a millennial’ and tell them ‘to do social media’. You need someone who understands and cares what your business does, and is able to communicate this with others.

4. Tom LeBlanc: Emerald Expositions

Focus on service revenue. Small businesses should take a cue from their much-larger competitors and shift their focus away from selling products in favor of providing consistently valuable solutions to customers via service contracts or managed services. It requires significant infrastructure support and unique selling strategies, but the revenue model improves cash flow and insulates businesses from ebbs and flows in the economy.

5. Arash Asli: Yocale

Always enjoy the journey or the quest you’ve set out on and take some time to embrace your surroundings and be grateful for how far you’ve come and looked forward to where you’re heading. By working on that, you start treating your life and work more as a process of small accomplishments instead of as one big milestone you have to achieve. When you go hiking a mountain, and you have your head down trudging along and all you’re trying to do is get to the top fast as you can. You’re missing out on the best part… The journey and the view along the way. Remind yourself to look around and enjoy the moment.

6. Sunil Khullar: Outsourced Bookkeeping

Now it is a high time where people losing their trust in the largest brands like Amazon, Google and Facebook due to many serious scandals on human rights violations, privacy issue, and even online cheating. It is the best time for the small business owners to revitalize their communities in small towns.
The best suggestion for every entrepreneur is to think out of the box to overcome these aforesaid shortcomings coming in the path of success of your business. We advise the small business owners to outsource their accounting and bookkeeping activities for all betterment of their business.

  • Cost control is one of the most obvious reasons to outsource. It controls capital as well as operating costs.
  • You will get technology and infrastructure without investing in extra capital. As a result, you will be in a better position to invest the fund elsewhere to get the most of it.
  • Avoiding large expenses at early stages gives your start-up and small business the financial stability and strength to compete in the market.
  • You can start a new project right away depending on the outsourcing services. Often it has been seen in-house staffs are not that expert to deal with the circumstances effectively.
  • Outsourcing frees up your staff and reduces their workload. As a result, you will get more time to restructure and deploy the staff force in some other productive work to generate profit.

7) Matthew Osborn, director of marketing: Apruve.com

Being a small business comes with one very large benefit, speed. Without the layers of red tape that exist in a large corporate entity, your business can quickly implement campaigns in less than half of the time. Use this to your advantage by creating numerous campaigns and continually testing what works and what doesn’t. Through marketing automation, small businesses can expand their reach to the size of a large corporate entity without the overhead but with double the speed.

8) Rebecca Winslow, Co-Founder at Flashion Statement

Make sure your website has a great user experience so that your potential clients are not overwhelmed or frustrated (is anything worse than a website that takes foreverrrr to load?!). It is important that potential leads can easily navigate your website, and quickly learn how your company can help them. Creating a separate mobile site, or making sure your website is responsive is increasingly important as more and more people use their phones for shopping and product research. 
 
Once you have an upstanding website, you can further stand out by sharing your company’s story, visuals of your employees, and outline why you stand out from your competition. It is important for small business’ websites to connect and engage.

9) Daniel Miller, Benchmark Email

If you aren’t yet using email marketing to help grow your business, say goodbye to 1999 and enter 2019!

With excuses ranging from “I don’t have time” to “It’s too complicated” here are 3 of the most important things, you can do to win at email marketing in 2019.

Signup Forms with Welcome Automation. If you have a website or presence anywhere on the internet, make sure you have a way to capture email addresses from digital visitors. After that, make sure to set up a welcome email, or better yet, a welcome series. These are just emails that are automatically sent to each subscriber after they signup. Don’t overthink these emails. Just provide your new subscribers with a warm welcome and show them you have competence in your industry. Answer this question with a series of emails: Why should they do business with you?

Cart Abandonment Automation. Over 70% of website visitors will abandon the cart. What better way to increase sales than to set up automation that brings potential buyers back to your store. It will take you less than 45 min to set up and can generate 15% – 25% more sales.

Up-sell Follow-up Automation. The old saying, “Strike while the iron is hot” has come a long way and it’s still relevant. Happy customers are likely to buy from you again. Ride that way and set up follow up automation that offers upgrades, related products, and services or maybe a refer a friend deal. Whatever it is, strike while the iron is hot!

10) Shiv Arora, 3 Wise Bears

As a small business, we make use of cloud software to gain not only operational efficiency but improve client communication. The ability to see the same data at the same time as our clients lead to better conversations about business performance and tax efficiency. If you are a small business owner then we would recommend using either FreeAgent or Xero for your accounting needs.

11) Graham Lee, Marketing Manager at Vonigo

Optimize for your customers’ convenience. In 2019, that means recognizing that most transactions start with some amount of research online and that the bulk of that traffic is on mobile. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and offers customers the most convenient experience possible. Do you do deliveries or perform home services? Offer online booking. Need to confirm appointments or schedules? Use email automation and software tools that keep things up to date and on-task. Increasingly, businesses that recognize the value of their customer’s time will be the ones that win the business. Invest in your company’s infrastructure now, and reap the rewards of building an admired brand that stays ahead of your competition.

12)  Rohan Mendiratta, Marketing @ SendX.io

Despite so many new marketing channels emerging lately, it’s never been a better time for small businesses to enter the market. However, when it comes to actual revenue, Email Marketing still remains one of the highest and most predictable ROI channels there is. Most businesses tend to ignore it because they don’t see enough ROI upfront. Which makes their email marketing investments hard to justify and they end up trying out other channels instead. When it comes to Email Marketing, one thing that is frequently overlooked is optimizing for maximum efficiency throughout. It’s extremely important to focus on speed and on the things that actually move the needle. At the same time, being capital-efficient with software costs must be a high priority for your small business to ensure maximum positive returns. Getting bogged down on creating the most beautiful email or creating the most advanced automation sequence is only going to cost you time and money. Especially if you aren’t at a place where you can justify solid ROI from Email Marketing yet.

13) Jonathan Kruse, founder of How to Start a Clothing Company

The customer is everything. If you only have one customer, or thousands, help them in any way you can so they have the experience you would want. 
 
Digital Branding

How to Generate More Sales with Digital Marketing Campaigns

In 2017, advertisers spent 209 billion USD on digital ads worldwide compared to only 178 billion USD for their more traditional TV counterparts. The statistics show that the future of marketing is increasingly headed towards the digital space, as more and more businesses compete, promote and sell their products and services online.

You may have always wanted to use digital marketing to do the same for your business, but you’ll need to initiate a series of actions known as campaigns to convert a potential customer into a buyer. But how can you generate more sales of your products or services with digital marketing campaigns? Here are some of the ways:

  1. Build a website for your business.

Businesses that originated prior to the Internet’s existence had to have a brick and mortar location so that people knew they were around. However, in recent years, it’s easier to start a business of your own even without the initial need for a physical address. All you need to do is to establish your presence on the Internet through the creation of a website where you can sell whatever products or services that you want your target customers to avail from you.

It’s entirely up to you if you wish to build a website on your own, if you have enough coding and web design skills under your sleeve, or outsource it to a web development agency instead. No matter the current size of your business, you shouldn’t skimp on building an updated website unless you want to earn a bad reputation for being out of touch with the times. Remember, the website is the face of the company.

  1. Optimise your business website for search engines’ top ten results.

Even if you already have a business website built, don’t expect it to generate a decent amount of visitor traffic and eventually sales of whatever products or services you offer on its own. To organically increase the number of potential customers visiting your business website, you should make some adjustments to it such that it would consistently appear in the first page of results of every search engine with the use of search engine optimization (SEO) practices.

A few of those adjustments you can make right off the bat include naturally incorporating keywords throughout your website content that your target customers would most likely type, putting descriptive and relevant alt text in all of your site’s images, and ensuring that every webpage of your business website has an easily readable URL.

After all, you wouldn’t want your business website to die a silent death after it gets listed anywhere other than search results page one.

  1. Make your business website mobile-friendly.

In 2018, mobile users make up a majority of Internet users. It only follows that you should make your business website mobile-friendly so that you can attract more customers who might chance upon it while casually browsing on their preferred handheld device. To optimise your business website for mobile, you should use responsive design wherein its layout as well as all images in it would adjust themselves to scale no matter the size of a device’s screen. All buttons in your business website’s mobile-friendly version should also be large enough to prevent anyone accessing it from tapping on the wrong button or link.

  1. Consider setting up a blog for your business as well.

Even if you’ve already established a website for your business, your target customers would want to seek a more genuine connection with you. They want to feel that they’re more than just mere digits to your business’s sales figures. That’s why aside from putting up a website, you should also consider creating a blog for your business as well where you can connect to your target customers and sell you’re your products or services without sounding too cold and distant. You can incorporate it as part of your business website just like how most others do it – though you can also try making a standalone business blog as well if your budget permits you to do so.

Just make sure to craft content for your business blog that’s uniquely yours, interesting, relevant, informative, and of added value to your target customers all at the same time. For best results, combine long-form content that anyone can easily finish in less than five to ten minutes, the occasional infographic, and video posts in your business blog.

  1. Use social media to your advantage.

Assuming you’ve already built a website and blog for your business, you might find their visitor traffic to be quite lacklustre. You can remedy that by tapping into the vast pool of potential customers known as social media.

You’ll very rarely meet anyone interested to avail of a product or service who still doesn’t have any social media account nowadays that it’s only logical for you to set up at least one for your business as well. However, you should identify which social media platform a majority of your potential customers often use. If most of your target market is on Facebook, for example, it won’t make any sense at all to sell your products or services via Twitter.

Conclusion

While traditional marketing has yet to go completely extinct, its digital counterpart threatens to displace the decades-long monopoly it once had, especially as more and more people learn about the products and services being sold by different businesses online. That’s why as someone who has a business of your own, you should allocate a good portion of your budget on doing the above-listed digital marketing campaigns to generate more sales of the products or services that you offer. But in case you find it difficult to implement them yourself, you can consider hiring a digital marketing agency instead – though you should ensure that they use a large file transfer service whenever they send their work back and forth with you.

Digital Branding

Guest Post and SEO Digital Marketing Training: Your Course Review Benefits

Guest posting and SEO (search engine optimization) digital marketing have become relatively common nowadays in the blogosphere. In our world today, both of these have become crucial in driving traffic to your website and business. Guest posting and SEO digital marketing are excellent strategies to build traffic, establish your brand, and boost search engine rankings.

Assuming you’re already aware of guest posting and SEO digital marketing as online strategies, are you also informed of their benefits? Both of these methods are actually useful for any business in all industries. If done correctly, guest posting and SEO digital marketing can lead to unique hits or traffic to your website or blog allowing you to reach more potential customers. If you’re into e-commerce, blogging business, or just any activity that requires marketing on the internet, you may want to consider training in guest posting and SEO digital marketing. In this article, benefits regarding a guest post and SEO digital marketing training course will be discussed.

1. Effective Guest Posting and SEO Digital Marketing

By joining this type of training course, you’ll be able to make use of more effective guest posting. Guest posting is as simple as having someone else write material on your site — or vice versa. Guest posting works both ways for the site owner and writer. Site owners receive more content to publish, while writers get to feature their content to a new audience. Doing guest posts correctly, you’ll be able to reap the benefits by having more views and traffic.

For SEO Digital Marketing, a training course will guide you on which relevant keywords to choose by having a clear website and quality content. Main goals will be:

  • A user-friendly website
  • Easy navigation
  • SEO keywords
  • Optimized tags and title tags

This course will also teach you to pay attention to details like keyword themes and relevant links to build more web traffic.

2. Guest Posting and SEO Digital Marketing Strategy

Next question you’re probably asking yourself is how posting can earn you traffic. A training course will teach you which ways your guest posting can influence traffic. These include:

  • Direct referrals
  • Social traffic
  • Organic traffic
  • Name recognition
  • + more

These are key strategies that can make your website reach its optimal level.

As for SEO, this makes your website easy to find, navigate and categorize. By helping out customers easily browse through your site, you drive more people to your business and online platforms. Factors that come into play are the selection of right keywords, behavioral marketing, mobile advertisements, banner advertisements, social media marketing, and others. This course will train you on how to achieve just that and more.

3. Increased Rankings

Guest posts earn backlinks that can help you rank higher on Google, which in turn, creates more traffic to your website. SEO will also help you gain higher website ranks in the SERP (search engine result page) by performing well on social media marketing and digital marketing. The perfect guest post and SEO digital marketing training course will help you position yourself as a well-respected blogger as well. The course will teach you how to create the buzz that gets other people curious to look at what your site has to offer.

Digital marketing is a never-ending process, and you must be equipped enough to handle the ever-changing behavior and trends of your target audience — all of which will be taught in the training course. Numerous factors that will affect your site’s popularity and the time viewers spend on your page will be discussed in the training. Be the top ranking webmarketing123.com website by signing up for training today.

SEO and guest post best practices are constantly evolving — and a training course is the best way to stay on the top of the game. Has this article given you a more unobstructed view of the benefits of SEO digital marketing and guest posting? Digital marketing can be challenging and entail a great deal of work, but once you learn the ropes, developing strategies will be a walk in the park. You’ll have a well thought out optimization plan and traffic acquisition strategy once you take a training course if you’re up for it.

Digital BrandingSaaS Branding

6 Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring an SEO Expert

Although search engine optimization can be understood and implemented by most people, businesses should still consider hiring an SEO consultant. Hiring an expert is important, particularly for business owners who are overwhelmed with business responsibilities and lack the time for their website SEO. A professional can also help if the basic techniques applied on your website are not yielding the results that you desire. When hiring an expert for your business, here are a few factors to keep in mind.

Experience

Given the rapid changes in the search engine algorithms, it is crucial to hire an SEO professional who has experience navigating the regular search engine updates without compromising or affecting the effectiveness of your campaigns. When it comes to SEO, you should never judge the experience of a consultant based on the number of years that they have been in operation. Be sure to check case studies that demonstrate the past success of the professionals.

Results

With an SEO consultant, you should pay attention to the results that they promise to provide. You should steer clear of professionals who give big promises like getting your site ranked on the first page of the search engine within a short time frame. Unless your business niche targets the uncompetitive keywords, it is impossible for anyone to predict the time frame required to achieve a higher ranking for any keyword phrases. A trustworthy professional will make realistic promises of results that they can achieve.

Customer reviews

When hiring an SEO professional, you should seek customer references. You should not just rely on the testimonials that are published on their websites. This is because it is easy for anyone to make up these recommendations or even pay other people to write biased reviews. Request the SEO expert to give you the contact information of about five references. Legitimate professionals will have this information available for their clients and you should be wary of consultants who refuse to provide this information. Make sure that you get in touch with these clients and inquire whether their SEO projects were successful and whether they would work with the consultant again. You can get a lot of helpful information from these reference checks to assist you in determining whether the consultant will be a perfect fit for the SEO goals of your business.

Industry presence

When hiring an SEO professional, you should consider their industry presence. You need a professional who has established him/herself in the SEO industry. Such professionals will regularly publish guest posts on renowned search engine industry websites, for example, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal. They will also release white papers based on their experience and research and will be present in popular industry conferences. However, this does not mean that you should not hire upcoming SEO experts for your business just because they have not established themselves in the industry. With experts who have established an industry presence, you will be assured of getting excellent results because they already know their work and what is expected of them.

Provide clear expectations

Hiring an experienced and expert SEO provider is not an assurance that your campaigns will be successful. This is because it is difficult to tell whether your SEO plan will provide results just by looking at it. However, a good SEO consultant should explain to you what to expect when your campaigns are running. If you have already provided your needs and objectives, the professional should provide a detailed report on what he/she will do to meet your objectives. When it comes to SEO, metrics are crucial and by setting up clear expectations, you can easily determine the success of your SEO campaigns.

Cost of SEO services

When seeking SEO services, the fee charged by the consultant is a critical consideration. Very few businesses will have unlimited marketing budgets, and this is why you must consider costs when making your decision. You should be upfront about your SEO budget when speaking with prospective consultants. A good professional will offer ideas on what he/she can do with your specified budget and will inform you whether they are comfortable working within this spending limits. You should avoid consultants who are way out of your budget as it may strain your business financially.

Hiring an SEO consultant to help promote your business is a significant investment. As a business owner or website owner, you should mitigate your risks by hiring the right professional to provide quality SEO services. Therefore, keep the above-mentioned factors in mind when hiring an SEO expert to ensure that they have the knowledge, expertise, and experience to boost your website rankings and improve your business earnings.

Digital BrandingSaaS Branding

5 Ways How Knowledge Base Software Can Prove To Be Useful For Your Organization

The larger an organization becomes, the more important it is for it to ensure speedy communication between its employees. A customer service representative, for example, is going to need to be able to access information at a moment’s notice. After all, making an informed decision is one of the cornerstones of good quality customer service. A great way to make information readily available to all of your customer service representatives is to use a knowledge base software such as the one offered by Kayako. However, you might be wondering what a knowledge base software is in the first place.

A knowledge base is essentially a hub of information. It is a place where an employee of your company can put all of their findings and data in a way that would make it very easy to access. All it would take is a line of text and all of the information relevant to your search query is going to end up being presented to you. A knowledge base can also be used by CSRs to get their questions answered quickly without having to get up from their seat. There are clearly a lot of benefits associated with using a knowledge base. Here are some of the most prominent benefits that we have found.

#1 Boosts Efficiency at Work

If your employee has to scramble every time they need something, they are going to end up wasting a lot of time. Having instant access to the information they need can allow them to cut down on response and resolution times. This time will add up eventually until your employees are saving so much time that the number of customers they are able to serve will end up increasing significantly. A more convenient way of storing information also helps make work more dynamic. If your employee doesn’t have to scroll through endless lines of bland data, they are going to be more energized and therefore more proactive about the job that they are doing. It’s all about making life easier for your employees after all.

#2 Facilitates Employee Cooperation

One of the most important things to work on in your company is making sure that all of your employees are working together. This creates a sense of synergy that can allow your company to move forward because all of the cogs in the machine will be working in perfect harmony with one another. A knowledge base software allows your employees to communicate with each other much more efficiently. Instead of having to get up and go to where their fellow employee is to ask a question, they can just do that through the knowledge base software. Since cooperating and collaborating with their fellow employees will have become so much easier, your CSRs are probably going to end up doing it a lot more often which will definitely contribute to an overall feeling of synergy in your workplace.

#3 Helps Preserve Knowledge

Not all of your employees are going to treat your company as a lifelong employment opportunity. Everyone wants to move up in the world, and for the current generation working for too long in the same place can end up being a boring experience, so you should expect a lot of your employees to move on to greener pastures eventually. However, just because you are losing an employee does not mean that you have to lose the work that they have done. Through a knowledge base software, you can keep your employee’s contribution to your IP secure and easily accessible for all future employees.

#4 Allows Employees to Work Remotely

We live in a day and age where coming to the office is no longer a requirement in order to be a good employee. Nowadays you can work from pretty much anywhere and do a fine job. A knowledge base software can allow your employees to work remotely. It also makes it possible for satellite employees to communicate with one another, sometimes despite never having met each other! This can really improve your prospects by hiring employees that might have seemed impractical before due to how far away that employee is from your office.

#5 Improves Customer Satisfaction

Needless to say, a knowledge base software is going to really improve how your customers feel after they have phoned in with a complaint. Faster response and resolution times mean that your customers will be pleasantly surprised by how quickly they can get done with the call or chat. This is going to keep adding up over time until your company has a stellar reputation for the customer service that it provides. A knowledge base software can thus contribute a lot towards making your company’s future a lot more secure than it might be right now.

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Digital Branding

The Most Common Mistakes in Content Marketing Strategy

If you’re thinking about investing in content marketing or you’re not quite satisfied with the results that the strategy you currently have in place is yielding, you should be aware of the most frequent mistakes that people make.

To begin with, you need to know that content marketing can be one of the most effective marketing strategies, provided it is the designed and executed properly. It’s much more than just publishing the right content day in, day out. It involves many other aspects, such as search engine optimization, use of visuals and others.

Needless to say, the best way to deal with mistakes is to avoid them in the first place. So, why don’t we use the knowledge, expertise and experience of many digital marketers and their clients? Here are just some of the most common mistakes that should be nipped in the bud or dealt with immediately if they already exist.

Wrong content

No matter who great the quality of writing is, if the content you provide is not useful, your strategy will fail miserably. This usually happens when you fail to realise what your target audience is interested in. Even if you don’t miss it by much, you won’t be able to achieve your goals. Let’s say someone is interested in how to replace a tire. Your article may provide the latest info about the types of tires and materials used, you can elaborate on the importance of maintaining your tires, but if you don’t provide correct and easy-to-follow instructions, your reader will look for the answer elsewhere.

Wrong target group

If you’ve misidentified your target audience, your great content will be in vain. This means that the managers have made the wrong decision based on false presumptions and all the effort will be pointless and you’ll lose a lot of precious time and resources before you realise what the problem is. So, make sure you know who you want to address before you create your content marketing strategy.

Educate, rather than sell

Informing and educating readers are the very core of content marketing. People who get in touch with your content want to learn something from you, feel smarter or better educated. If your content makes them feel like that, they’ll be much more likely to respond to the call for action option at the end of the article or video. They’ll also be happy to share the content if they find it informative and insightful, which is a great advertisement for your business.

Lack of SEO

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You can’t drive enough traffic if you don’t use SEO properly. It also helps you minimize the cost of customer acquisition, which is why you should really take it seriously. If you’re uncertain about what the best steps to take are, you should definitely consult professionals, such as these experts in SEO from New York, who’ll be able to help you. The optimisation should also be extended to include your content for social media platforms as well, since the number of people using them to find the right companies, services and products has been rising steadily.

Missing deadlines

Every strategy relies heavily on everybody doing their job on time. Timing is one of the key aspects of a successfully implemented strategy and if only one link in the chain fails to deliver on time, the whole process will be significantly affected. So, make sure you set realistic goals and establish regular checkpoints to monitor the progress. Another good tip is to always allow some leeway when designing the plan by setting deadlines that are due a few days before the moment when you actually need them done.

Needless to say, there are many other mistakes when it comes to designing or implementing a content marketing strategy. Still, these five undoubtedly hinder any progress, which is why they deserve your full attention. Remember that content marketing is a very powerful tool, but only when you know how to use it.

Digital Branding

How to Create a Successful E-commerce Marketing Funnel via Email

It’s frustrating for e-commerce marketers like you to blast emails regularly and still get low to zero conversions. No matter how much effort you exert, it doesn’t seem to work. What’s wrong?

Let’s look at the numbers first. A Statista report showed that e-commerce made up to $2.3 trillion in sales and is predicted to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021. It also represents almost 10% of U.S. retail sales and is expected to grow by nearly 15% annually. E-commerce also influences up to 56% of in-store purchases.

It should go without saying that e-commerce is taking the Internet by storm. This also means that the competition is becoming stiff, and a sound strategy is a must. Sending out generic emails to your contacts doesn’t work anymore. First, you must understand where your customers are coming. From here, you can use an e-commerce marketing funnel to help you map out your email strategies in a way that you’re targeting the right customers with the right message and at the right time.

What Is an E-commerce Marketing Funnel and Why Is It Important?

A marketing funnel illustrates the journey customers go through as they interact with your business, from the first time they learn about your brand to the exact moment they become paying customers. The different stages of the customer journey distinguish the problems customers are trying to solve at that point in time. By adopting this model, you can craft targeted email marketing strategies for your e-commerce business to keep customers engaged and moving in their journey until they take your desired action.

Read on to know how each stage of the customer journey differs and how you can use your email marketing automation software to create a successful e-commerce marketing funnel.

Top Funnel: The Awareness Stage

It begins with the top funnel where potential customers become aware of your e-commerce business and how you’re relevant to their problems. It’s your first contact. At this point, the goal is not to sell your products or promote your business but to ‘attract’ them with relevant information. Here, you are identifying potential customers who have problems you can address. Potential customers, on the other hand, become aware of their needs by showing interest in your e-commerce business.

To meet this objective, use these email marketing strategies for your top funnel:

  • Capture contact information, including email address, through sign-up forms on your website.
  • Offer free content such as guides, cheat sheet, and checklists which potential customers can download in exchange for their email address.
  • Invite your website visitors to subscribe to your newsletters, weekly updates or daily deals.

Once you have their contact information saved in your email marketing automation software, it’s time to educate them and tell more about your e-commerce business.

  • Create a welcome series where you can introduce your e-commerce business and your service, but try not to sell hard.
  • Educate them with helpful blog posts to make them realize the need for your products. It can be tips, hacks or guides. Explore your options.
  • Familiarize them with your brand story as well as your mission and vision. Make them know that you can offer solutions to their pain points.

Middle Funnel: The Consideration Stage

At this point, potential customers are already aware of their problem and are looking for ways on how to solve it. In short, they are considering their options, and you want to be on top of their list without being too pushy. This is where you take your nurturing game a notch higher.

Do this with the following strategies:

  • Teach them tips or ways they can solve their problem.
  • Use their email and website activities to give proper recommendations.
  • Show them testimonials from happy customers to solidify your credibility further.
  • Provide comparison guides to highlight your best features.

Bottom Funnel: The Decision Stage

Now that it’s clear to potential customers that a purchase has to be done, they move to the decision stage. What they need here is a more compelling reason to make a purchase. So it’s time to put your best foot forward and give them some push to finally take action and convert into paying customers.

Implement these strategies to motivate them to click on your Buy Now button:

  • Give special discounts on their desired item to make them feel that they are getting more value from their money.
  • Offer freebies or free shipping to entice them.
  • Use a countdown timer to give a sense of urgency on your expiring promo.
  • Provide more detailed product descriptions highlighting the specs so they can appreciate the fact that they are getting more.
  • Write and design a compelling CTA and make sure that the placement in your email is easily noticeable so they won’t miss it.
  • Use different psychological triggers such as loss aversion, reciprocity, and authority.

Understanding the marketing funnel and knowing how to apply it to your e-commerce business can help you come up with targeted strategies. Again, customers are at different stages of the buyer journey, so use your email marketing to design an efficient e-commerce marketing funnel. Many advanced email marketing automation software today are built with features you can use to set up workflows and strategies for each funnel stage. Use them wisely!

Kimberly Maceda

Kimberly Maceda is a Content Writer for ActiveTrail. She writes for some top online marketing sites and blogging advice on email marketing and marketing automation. ActiveTrail is a leading provider of professional-grade email marketing and automation software for growing businesses.

Digital Branding

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which is the Better E-commerce Platform

Photo credits: https://pixabay.com/en/ecommerce-shopping-credit-card-2607114/ 

Are you in the market for an e-commerce solution? If so, you’ll definitely love this short WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison. I also think you’ll agree creating an online store is a challenging feat. Turns out you can create an online store easily, and in this post, we help you to choose the better e-commerce platform for your needs.

We break down the post into sections such as features, pricing, and support among other things. By the end of it all, you will pick the right platform for your online store. Do you lean towards WooCommerce or Shopify? Let us know that in the comment section at the end.

Without further ado, let us weigh anchor and sail.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Basic Overview

WooCommerce is a plugin that you install on your WordPress-based website. It allows you to add powerful e-commerce features to any WordPress site. On the other hand, Shopify is a subscription-based e-commerce service. You don’t install Shopify; you simply sign up.

WooCommerce requires that you have a WordPress site first. Shopify doesn’t require you to have a website first; it’s a cloud-hosted e-commerce platform. While WooCommerce comes with a long (and often times arduous) configuration process, creating an online store on Shopify is a breeze.

Setting up a site on WooCommerce requires that you’re familiar with web-related things, even though it’s easy stuff once you get the hang of it. Things are a bit tidier with Shopify; setting a store on the platform is akin to signing up for a blog at, say, Blogger.com, or getting an email address at Gmail.com. Well, sort of.

All the same, both platforms come with enough features to launch a highly successful online store, whether big or small. Also, allow me to mention that the e-commerce platform that you end up picking from this comparison post boils down to personal preference and, of course, your needs.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Features

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that ships with enough features to create a basic online store. If you need more features, however, you can count on the wide range of free and premium WooCommerce add-ons.

Out of the box, WooCommerce ships with a ready-to-use cart, a checkout page, shop and a “my account” area where buyers can track orders and view their profiles. On top of that, it comes with five default methods of payment but you can add more.

Other than that, WooCommerce comes with an intuitive admin dashboard that makes managing your online store as easy as A, B, C. And thanks to a dedicated Products menu, you can sell digital and physical products on your e-store like a boss.

In terms of store design, WooCommerce is compatible with most if not all WordPress themes since it’s just a plugin. There are, however, WordPress themes that are specifically made for WooCommerce. As such, designing the perfect e-commerce store is a theme or a developer away.

Shopify, too, shines in the features department what with a slew of nice e-commerce-centric features. Since it is a dedicated e-commerce service, you can expect all the features you need to build small and enterprise-level stores. You also get a free sub-domain (you can add a custom domain later) and free SSL certificate.

On top of that, Shopify comes with a good number of free and premium extensions that allow you to add some nice features to your store. Still, Shopify is incredibly easy to use no matter your experience or coding knowledge.

In the design department, Shopify features hundreds of themes. Well, the number of themes available for Shopify fades in comparison to what’s available for WooCommerce. All the same, the themes are professional and specifically designed for e-commerce.

An intuitive quick-start wizard helps you to set up either, but Shopify’s onboarding process offers you much more convenience. It takes fewer steps and effort to set up a store on Shopify, something we can’t say about WooCommerce.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Performance and SEO

On the web, content is king. Without amazing content, you cannot expect your store to perform well money-wise and on search engines. However, the quality of your content is only one of the more than 200 SEO ranking signals.

Nowadays, page load speed is an important SEO ranking factor. Now, this is where things get tricky, with some users claiming WooCommerce outshines Shopify and/or vice versa. Well, I root for Shopify here because it has dedicated servers that guarantee great speeds and uptimes.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have WooCommerce. The page load times you’ll record on WooCommerce depends on a couple of factors, the most important being the host you choose. Go for dirt-cheap hosts at your own risk – because, come on, what kind of performance do you expect from a host that charges a $1 buck per month.

In terms of performance and SEO, Shopify outshines WooCommerce since Shopify’s engineers do a great work of maintaining the servers for you. You just focus on the business side of things, unlike WooCommerce where you are in charge of site administration among other things.

Both platforms come with great SEO-related features, but that speed thing we just mentioned can be a deal breaker for WooCommerce stores, especially if you end up with a poor host. The chances of getting poor speeds on Shopify are slim.

Photo credits: https://pixabay.com/en/ecommerce-online-shopping-e-commerce-1992280/

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Pricing

As we’ve already mentioned, WooCommerce is a free plugin. However, to add more features, you will need extensions and these don’t come cheap. Your costs can quickly rack up depending on the extensions you choose, and this applies to Shopify as well.

To run a basic e-commerce store, though, you need about $29 bucks a month whether you choose WooCommerce or Shopify. But depending on the time commitment you put towards setting up a store, Shopify is the cheaper option in my opinion.

Besides, Shopify offers you a free 14-day trial to test the waters. You just need a paid plan to start selling. With WooCommerce, you need to find a web host, buy a domain name, set up WordPress, install SSL and then install the e-commerce plugin, before selling.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Support

WooCommerce is open source, meaning you can get help on the support forums at WordPress.org. On top of that, you can sign up on the official WooCommerce site to get support. Shopify, on the other hand, is a commercial e-commerce solution. You get professional 24/7 support via email, chat or phone.

Final Words

Whether you go with Shopify or WooCommerce, running a successful online store is all about providing great value to your users. Endeavor to provide amazing products and user experience, and you’re golden no matter the platform you choose.

WooCommerce has a steeper learning curve compared to Shopify, but once you get used to either of the platforms, the cost, and effort required to run your store depend on the features you need. Shopify is for the entrepreneur who wants to hit the ground running. WooCommerce is perfect for the businessperson who isn’t afraid to play around with myriad settings.

Between WooCommerce and Shopify, which platform do you feel is the better option for your business? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Digital Branding

5 Branding Strategies to Adopt for Vape Products

It is true that there have been speculations about vape branding; many of you would feel that marketing vape products and services would be risky. However, the truth is entirely different.

Ever since reports have come out in support of vape products, people have become more inclined towards switching from smoking to vaping. In fact, new bill has passed in favour of E cigarettes which will encourage businesses to promote vape products. It is being also claimed by NHS that vaping is 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes.

How do these ads affect people?

We all know the role of media in today’s world; people are more likely to pick things from seeing ads. According to the studies conducted by university of Kansas, watching advertisements regarding vape can stimulate one’s mind and attract a person to vape even if they have never vaped in their life.

CDC has also backed these facts claiming that expose to the advertisements about vaping products can definitely alter the brain chemistry of people making them vape. Hence, number of vape users is more likely to increase after being exposed to vape ads.

But how we market vape products?

It sounds like a tricky question, but to be honest, it is further from that. There are ways to brand vape products and spread word-of-mouth among people, like one of the best premium e liquids brand LongHornVapor did very well in its branding. Let’s talk about some of those strategies.

Creating an online presence

If you ever make a guess about someone and say they don’t use social media, you will lose that bet. It is one of the most cost effective strategies compared to conventional branding. According to Tobacco Control, it was reported that in the branding of JUUL, millions of dollars were spent online by the people in vape market. No wonder why there is so much buzz around youngsters wanting to add vaping in their lifestyle. What people see on Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, suddenly becomes a hot commodity. Yes, we are still talking about vape products. Infusing attractive elements of hip-culture, fun and relaxing ads with a bit of sex appeal will do the trick just fine.

Sponsoring events is the game-changer

Be it a movie star, a musician or someone whose who is famous, you can sponsor an event under your company’s banner. Letting a top-performer setting the stage on fire can give the most enthralling experience to the people making them want to vape.

Some of you might think getting sponsorships might be hard because of all the fuss that has been around. At the same time, people have been realizing great things about vaping. And unlike smoking, there are absolutely no restrictions when it comes to promoting vape products in any way you want.

It all starts with the flavor

That’s right! If you are someone who is thinking about spending a huge lump of money on marketing, make sure you set your target market first. You can do that by having the right flavors in your vapestore, Flavors like Cotton-candy, Whipped Cream eJuice, Gummy bear and Candy King can attract the younger lot, while flavors like brain freeze can promise to cater adults’ needs and really increase the footfall.

According to Truth Initiative, more than 40 percent of the people only opt to vape because of the promising flavors.

Go Hollywood!

No, we don’t mean auditioning for roles in a film but fusing your vape brand with the film industry can be the name of the game. Moreover, Product Placement is one of the most sought-after branding strategies in today’s world.

It is not something risky as many have opted to showcase vaping in the movies. Johnny Depp, Kevin Spacey and even Zac Efron have been seen vaping on the big screen. When stars vape, Boom! Everyone starts doing it. That’s the magic of right product placement!

Develop an app

Thanks to Google and Apple, a digital platform has been set for you to make your own mark and let your business flourish. But why would you need an app? It’s a very reasonable question to ask.

Many people who are having problems regarding vaping, the apps can be a way to provide them guidance. Apps like Vape Boss, Vaffle and couple more have been committed to providing useful information to beginners and people who enjoy vape-culture. You can also develop something on those lines. For that, distinguishing yourself from your rivals would be the key and focusing on the needs of people is a way to go.

Local Branding

6 Ways to Improve Brand Positioning (Fast)

Brand positioning is essential for any online business these days. It refers to the way your brand is positioned in your customers’ minds. It occurs whether or not you have a strategy in place because your customers will always have an impression of your business.

But you can help to direct your brand positioning by creating a distinct impression on your customer and ensuring they associate your brand with something desirable.

So, how can you set about improving your brand positioning? There are many ways, but here are six to help you get started—fast.

1. Determine Your Brand’s Personality

The first thing you need to do is determine your brand’s personality. Your brand already has a voice, whether you have made an effort with this or not. Customers will encounter this whenever they land on your website, see your social updates, or click your ads.

You should start by deciding what you want this voice to be. Should it be funny, strict, youthful, serious? Your voice will play a large role in your brand’s personality and how your brand is perceived by your customers. If you do not have a clear brand personality, you are increasing the chances that you will be forgotten all too easily by your customers.

Your personality is determined by the words you use, the design of your website, the types of social updates you post, the ads you run—everything that you do.

So decide what you want your brand personality to be. Create a firm idea of your brand voice, then write down exactly what you are going for and share it with all the stakeholders so they can use this to influence their activities.

2. Decide What Makes You Special

Why is your business different? Why would people want to choose you over your competitors? You need to know this if you want to stand out, and that means you need to know your unique selling proposition (USP).

This will help you to differentiate yourself in a competitive environment. Once you know what makes you special, you can communicate this to your customers.

This can be surprisingly tricky, but one good way to start is to look at your competitors and see what they are doing. As you look over their products, can you pinpoint ways in which your products or services are better?

Perhaps your products have something special about them, or maybe the way you do things is superior. If you were trying to convince someone to choose you, what negative aspects would you highlight about your competition? Do they take too long to deliver orders? Do they charge too much?

A fine example can be seen in the chocolate brand M&Ms. Claiming to melt in your mouth rather than your hand is a simple USP that appeals to a consumer desire that they might not have acknowledged themselves. The chocolate market is one that is heavily saturated, and yet this USP lifts M&Ms above the fray.

Create a list of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and determine what it is about your business that would make your customers want to choose you. Once you know, you can start making sure your customers know about it.

3. Know Who Your Customer Is

You also need to know exactly who your customer is. You may think you know, but do you really? You cannot position your brand properly until you know this; you have to position it at someone.

Create a marketing persona, or a few of them, and determine everything about your target customer. This should include their interests, dislikes, hopes, fears, the movies they watch, and more. See what they do on social media and work out what is important to them.

This can have a huge impact on improving your brand positioning. If you know who they are, what they want, and what matters to them, you can position your brand more effectively.

4. Tell Your Brand Story

Tell your brand story based around how you came into being, the problem you solved, and how your product or service was the solution. You will probably have one main product or product line that determines who you are and how your business came into being. Perhaps this is the product that you started your business around.

Telling your story can help to form a bond with your customers and highlight your shared values, which makes you come across as more trustworthy.

You see this all the time with nascent ecommerce businesses looking to get ahead of competitors in the digital space. For example, electronics websites are a great investment for entrepreneurs. There will always be a market for the latest gadgets and tech, but in such a saturated market it can be tough to stand out.

By creating a unique brand story that resonates with customers, brands can position themselves as more than simply a business. Brands can become relatable, friendly, and human.

5. Create a Positioning Statement

When you have done all of the above, you’ll be ready to create your positioning statement. This is a short statement, just a sentence or two, that communicates your value. It should include details of who your business is targeted at, why it is special, how you meet their expectations and how you fulfill their wishes.

This is an internal state for your business, so don’t worry about how snappy it is. Simply use it to influence your decisions, especially when it comes to marketing.

Your tagline is a shorter version of this that is more customer-focused. This is an external statement that you can use on your website or packaging. It’s usually punchier than a positioning statement and more memorable, and it can help you to quickly communicate your brand value.

6. Connect Emotionally with Your Customers

Finally, focus on connecting with your customers emotionally. You will only reach your customers and have an impact on them with an emotional connection.

One of the best ways to do this is with content, which provides you with an opportunity to go more in depth. Use content on your blog, for example, to engage. Don’t just promote, and instead use your content to educate and inform to connect on an emotional level.

These six tips will help you improve your brand positioning in no time at all. But don’t forget one of the most important things of all: consistency.

You need to be consistent with your brand positioning if you want to maximize its effect. Once you have determined your voice and your values, ensure you remain consistent everywhere, including your blog, advertising, social media, customer support, design, use of words, images—everywhere.

This way, you will help to make your brand more memorable and avoid confusion, creating a stronger connection with your customers that will last.

Patrick Foster, Ecommerce Enthusiast, and Entrepreneur

I’m a freelance ecommerce expert & serial entrepreneur. I love to write articles on ecommerce branding and content marketing for ambitious online sellers and hope to share some useful insight that will help to grow your business.