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.

Uncategorized

5 Best Sick-Leave Practices During the Pandemic

As this year draws to a close, we are hoping to greet 2021 with a brighter outlook and more opportunities to rebuild the economy, as well as our everyday lives. Every company has been affected by the pandemic. Many have had to let go a number of employees, entire businesses have switched to working remotely, and others have had to make sure that, if office-based work is necessary, their teams are as safe as possible. 

In addition to following the government-prescribed rules on social distancing and hygiene, brands are also trying to make it easier for them to spot potential risks and prevent spreading the virus at the office. However, when it does happen, and someone gets sick, companies have also had to adjust their approach to sick leave. The listed ideas on managing your sick leave policies will allow you to keep your teams safe, manage their office time more efficiently, and of course, run your business more seamlessly as a whole. 

Empower transparency in your business

If employees are afraid that they’ll lose their job when they get sick, they might feel reluctant to share that they’re not feeling that well. Then again, if they’ve seen people at the office exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, and they don’t report the situation – they might be causing more harm than they know.

Make sure to communicate your sick leave policy and all of its changes to your employees. Ask them how they feel, check up on them for updates, and always remind them that their wellbeing comes first. Only with such a mindset and a culture based on transparency can you expect your teams to work together to ensure a safe office environment while you adapt your sick leave to match their needs.

Manage office time and schedules with ease

One common challenge for companies during the pandemic is handling office schedules, tracking attendance, and overall task management. To help ensure that employees are working remotely when needed and to have an overview of employees away on sick leave, find the best rostering software for your needs to simplify attendance and time management.

When you have a situation of these proportions, you need a structured, organized system to know who among your staff is at the office and who is on sick leave. This will also help with your accounting and HR processes to make sure employees on sick leave get what they need in terms of healthcare, guidance, information, and office updates while they’re away from the office.

Keep sick leave of appropriate length 

Although consistency in granting sick leave to your employees is essential to make sure you don’t spread the virus at the office, you still need to make sure your policy is flexible. Many employers worry that their business productivity and overall collaboration might suffer as a result of the pandemic and granting sick leave at every turn. 

The simple truth is, all companies are strongly encouraged to provide enough time for their employees to recover before going back to the office. Risking an office-wide outbreak fearing a lack of productivity is no basis for such an irresponsible decision. Most companies are granting at least 14 days of sick leave to give their employees enough time to recover and for any symptoms to disappear. Otherwise, remote work is recommended.

Testing and other health screenings

Some companies have introduced the requirement for their employees to get tested for COVID-19 in order to be deemed ready to go back to work. Depending on the situation in your country, you are also obligated by law to provide leave for employees who get sick, as the situation requires consistent sick leave implementation across the board. 

Keep in mind that symptoms aren’t the full picture 

Although we all know what to do when we get a fever and start coughing, there’s been some confusion around symptom-free infections. The core issue here is that many people remain undiagnosed as a result of the lack of symptoms, which may increase the risk of spreading the virus at the office. If a member of one of your employee’s family gets sick, you will most likely be under the obligation to send that employee home. 

However, this doesn’t warrant sick leave per se. If that employee feels well and their capacity to work is in no way diminished, you can enable them to work remotely until their family recovers completely. If it’s possible for them to get tested and confirm whether or not they are infected, that is always a great precaution, but bear in mind that many will get a false negative result – hence the need for remote work. 

The same goes for employees who get sick but are negative to the virus – even though their infection might not be officially confirmed, you need to approve their sick leave for at least two weeks, or until they get better.

Responding to the coronavirus pandemic has pushed companies to change how they operate, as well as their office policies that will remain in effect for as long as there’s risk of COVID-19 infections. With that in mind, your sick leave policy should reflect these circumstances, the changing needs of your employees, and the elevated mindfulness of employee wellbeing and health. Make sure that you factor in the listed ideas in your policy for sick leave and always keep your employees informed on what they should do in case they get sick. 

Personal Branding

6 Ways to Boost your QA Team’s Productivity

QA managers and team leads are continuously looking for ways to improve their QA process and software testing processes, but they also need to increase the productivity of their team members. However, during different testing activities and building up bug reports, they do not find enough time to perform these changes. Although increasing the productivity of a QA Team should not be complex, it is easy to create targeted wins, that allow them to implement additional ways to keep the team members motivated. Since there are a number of tasks that QA teams have to handle, and there is a lot on their plate, increasing productivity can boost a company’s sales and revenue. However, when QA teams use test case management software, it helps them in saving time and effort instead of managing all test cases manually. 

Following are 6 tips to increase the productivity of your testing team:

  1. Test Automation 

A company does not have to break a bank to improve its processes with the help of automation. It is important to automate the test cases that require significant time when performed manually or test cases that need to be executed multiple times during the development cycles. These include the automation of unit testing, smoke testing, functional testing, regression testing, integration testing, etc. 

  1. Use Effective Communication Tools 

When teams are performing manual testing, they need to collaborate with the team members. Thus it is vital to integrate the communication tools so that they can spend more time on the app rather than turning to their emails with issues or questions that are waiting in queue for answers/replies. Effective communication tools can help in improving the QA process as it speeds up and provides a smooth communication flow between QA teams and the other stakeholders.

Communication is a key to enhance productivity, as communication tools offer chat functionality, group online calls, screen sharing, recordings, document sharing, etc. QA managers also need to observe how often do teams reach out to each other, how they respond to queries and concerns posted by other team members, etc. All these factors are important and should be considered in the QA process. 

  1. Test Case Management Software

Writing unique test cases and executing them is a time-consuming job if performed manually. Gone are the days when teams used Excel Sheets to manage the test cases. Software testing teams now use test case management software that offers a wide range of features to assist their testing efforts. They can also integrate this software with other testing tools for boosting the QA process. 

  1. Providing the Necessary Information 

Another tip to improve QA is to ensure that all proper information is available. This should include the design specifications, documentation, etc. all available at a central location for the entire team. They should pick the right tools designed to keep the teams on track. When choosing a tool, make sure you consider the adaptability, features, functionality, and cost of the tool so that your teams invest more time and effort to improve the QA process. QA teams need access to critical information that is a way to ensure the success of a project. 

  1. Start Testing Early

In order to make the most of your QA team’s time during the initial phase, it is important to engage it in requirement review to find the mistakes before they begin the implementation phase. This type of approach helps in reducing the development costs and gives them a deeper insight into the software app right from the beginning. 

  1. Spread Domain Knowledge

Companies create software for a given domain such as finance, medical sciences, healthcare, etc. This is why the domain knowledge of the testing team can be valuable depending on the project in which they participate. It is important to provide them with considerable knowledge in the given area allows testers to better understand the functional and business requirements of the app under test. this type of understanding can have a huge impact on the productivity of a testing team. So the question remains how to spread this domain knowledge to the testers? Well, QA leads should organize a special training session with someone who knows the context provided for a given project. Providing materials among the QA teams can also assist them in preparing for participating in new projects.

Conclusion 

QA managers can use these six tips to improve the performance of the testing teams and also help them collaborate between different teams within the same project. 

Digital BrandingPersonal Branding

5 Tips To Choose The Best Shoes For Parkour

You being here shows that you’re in search of the best parkour shoes. Choosing something best always requires some real effort. Especially when you’re purchasing something related to sports. When you’re buying shoes for parkour, you need to be very careful because parkour is an intense sport. As a trained player, you need shoes that will help you run faster and have a firmer grip. Parkour shoes come in many shapes, sizes, and unique features to fit various physical exercise aspects. It is obvious that parkour shoes are costly, but if you hunt around, you can find affordable ones too. You need to be very careful about choosing the best parkour shoes to prevent any kind of injury. Here are some helpful tips you need to consider when buying the best parkour shoes

1. Flexible sole

The first and most significant thing you should look for is a flexible sole. The sole you prefer must have a one-piece sole. A shoe with two or more soles will prevent you from performing your best, and they don’t tend to last for a long time. Because these shoes are designed in a way that their parts may get separated while you are running or jumping. The thickness of a sole will affect your balance. And for a parkour player, losing balance is injurious. Thinner soles will make balancing easier for you, but they will get worn down quickly. So you must go with a sole that is neither very thick nor skinny. 

2. Light-weight shoes 

One important thing that must be considered when buying parkour shoes is their weight. Parkour shoes are usually heavier than other shoes. But it would be best if you went for lightweight shoes because they can make jumping, running a lot easier for you. Your shoes must be very comfortable that it makes you feel like they are a part of you. Lightweight shoes will give you the confidence to run as fast as possible and jump as high as you want. Such shoes will be best for you. 

3. Strong grip

The grip of your shoe must not be substantial. Friction between you and your body is very important. You must check the grip of your shoe before purchasing it. When you’re jumping and running, friction must be produced; you will keel over while you’re landing. A shoe with a firmer grip is essential for a parkour player.

4. Durability

You should always check the material used on the top and bottom. The sole must be flat because minimal shoes are more durable. Parkour is an intense sport, so the shoes will not last for a year. In fact, if you wear them every day, they will last a few months. It would help if you went with shoes that have a full 7-8 months of durability. 

5. Breathability 

While choosing parkour shoes, make sure that your shoes are breathable or not. For breathability in shoes, breathable material is used to allow your feet to have good air access. You should buy shoes that have vents in them. These vents will allow the air mesh to go in your shoes and can keep them cool and dry. While running and jumping, air mesh will also prevent the odor from producing in your shoe. 

Conclusion

Parkour shoes must have good quality, comfort, and flexibility. It is a sport that can get you injured if you have not considered any tips before buying it. The tips, as mentioned above, are very important tips to consider. If you consider these tips, you will be able to buy the best parkour shoes. 

Digital BrandingPersonal Branding

Top Strategies for Growing Your Retail Business’s Brand in 2021

Many retailers understandably want to turn the page on the tough year that was 2020 and look forward to a 2021 full of growth and other successes. Having actionable strategies for meeting those goals will help put them in reach. Here are some reliable ways to grow your retail brand this year.

Train Your Staff

 

Your employees are extensions of your brand. If customers walk into your store, engage with workers and typically get bored, misinformed or uncertain replies, they won’t likely have positive impressions of your overall brand.

 

Explore ways to invest in training so your employees collectively provide excellent experiences. For example, you might require workers to engage with all visitors to a physical store within two minutes of their arrival. That approach ensures people don’t feel unseen or make incorrect assumptions about products or services.

 

Ensure workers never say, “Sorry, I’m not sure,” and go back to their tasks when customers ask for information they don’t have. Instead, they could be proactive and say, “Sorry, I’m not sure, but let me get a colleague who can answer that for you.” Additionally, teach employees to engage in gentle upselling efforts or suggest alternatives when the products people want are out of stock. Doing that should raise your overall sales.

Offer Branded Items

 

Anyone who’s been to the Big Apple has almost certainly seen shoppers carrying Bloomingdale’s brown shopping bags — the containers are instantly noticeable with their thin, rounded letters. Each one has the size printed on the front, such as “Big Brown Bag,” with the store name on the side. The simple design is so iconic that the department store sells reusable vinyl zippered totes featuring it.

 

This example proves that branded items keep companies in customers’ minds. They’re also appropriate for organizations that are much smaller than Bloomingdale’s, too. You can give the items out as freebies if your retail brand has a community event presence. Alternatively, keep the goodies near the cash register and give one to each person who buys something.

 

Consider which items people will most likely use and enjoy. For example, pens and notepads are handy things recipients will need often. Also, products such as keychains and magnets are practical items that keep your company’s name in frequent view.

Provide Accurate Stock Information If Possible

 

Most people can’t help but feel disappointed if they arrive at stores and find the products they want are not available. Investigate whether your inventory management system could enable launching a feature that lets people instantly check stock levels on a website or app before arriving at a store.

 

When shoppers want items you don’t have, give them immediate options. For example, you might give them real-time updates about shipments on the way. Alternatively, if you operate more than one store in a consumer’s area, let them check stock at a different location. You can also give employees easy ways to special-order the products customers request. Then, shoppers will realize workers are doing everything they can to assist.

 

Maintaining reliable on-shelf availability (OSA) poses challenges for many retailers. If it’s a persistent problem for you, get to the bottom of what’s happening and fix it. For example, does the issue occur because you wait too long to place orders that replenish the shelves? Perhaps stock levels are too low because of incorrect forecasting that failed to anticipate demand.

Help Consumers Save Time

 

Price is not necessarily the top priority when people choose where to shop. A recent survey found 53% of people intend to shop in ways that save time, even if they don’t provide the lowest prices. Another finding that supports the time-saving trend was that 56% of people would keep shopping in convenient, easy stores.

 

You can strengthen and grow your retail brand this year by highlighting how your store facilitates efficiency. Maybe that means letting people reserve products online and pick them up at the retail outlet. That’s an appealing option for individuals who know what they want and don’t need to browse. If people learn your retail brand lets them make the most of their precious time, they’ll want to keep supporting it.

 

Helping people save time could also mean changing how and where you stock items. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some grocery retailers created dedicated aisles of the products people wanted most — from soap and hand sanitizer to shelf-stable foods. That was a smart and effective strategy that let frazzled shoppers go to one place and find many of the items on their lists.

Cater to Shoppers’ Omnichannel Preferences

 

Despite the ongoing rise of e-commerce, many people still buy what they need in physical stores. Retail analysts point out that the lines between physical and online retail are increasingly blurred. This transition has led to a rise in omnichannel marketing, whereby people expect to shop on numerous channels and get an integrated, smooth experience each time.

 

For example, even when consumers visit physical stores, they often use their phones while inside, relying on those devices to steer their purchasing decisions. Other shoppers let specific product needs influence whether they shop in a store or online. Someone might prefer to buy a new pair of jeans in a store but go to the same retailer’s website within a month to buy a scarf.

 

The main takeaway is to avoid focusing too much on a single retail channel. People often switch between several, and they appreciate high-quality, customer-centric experiences regardless of which ones they choose. Providing those for them will grow your brand and give people more opportunities to interact with it.

Consider Investing in Augmented Reality

 

Experts remain unsure to what extent COVID-19 will continue affecting retail in 2021. That’s why it makes good business sense to evaluate how you can help people feel safe, no matter what the future holds. One way to do that is with augmented reality (AR) tools that help people shop for things with safer processes.

 

For example, Ulta Beauty’s GLAMlab allows people to virtually try different hair colors, brow shapes and makeup as they shop in the stores. The brand does not offer tester products during the pandemic. However, the technology provides a safe substitute and drives sales by removing the uncertainty of buying beauty products blindly.

 

Laura Kohl, the company’s senior vice president of applications, data and integrations, explained, “What’s fun about going into an Ulta store is actually trying on some things or smelling the products or feeling the product, that just can’t happen right now. So at least with this virtual try-on, it quickly shifted into that … It complements the store experience.” Also, AR is increasingly accessible to small businesses. Shopify has an AR tool specifically geared toward smaller companies.

Succeed With Brand Building in 2021

 

Building your brand should be a methodical process. Following the tips here and abiding by other best practices does not bring overnight results, but you should see gradual improvements. If possible, use metrics to track how well different approaches work after using them for at least a few months. Then, it’ll be easier to justify investing more time and money into those approaches for the future.

Author:

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.

Digital Branding

Essential Skills Every Successful Penetration Tester Must Have

Cyber-attacks are one of the fastest-growing threats with the majority of organizations reporting cybercrime. Companies are conscious more than ever before and are considering cybersecurity strategies to protect their businesses from cyber threats. However, it is not enough to respond to these attacks, it is important that they devise strategies like penetration testing and take a proactive approach to protect their business. A penetration testing company ensures hiring the right people for the job so that there can be a proper cybersecurity strategy in place.

 

Following are some essential skills that every successful penetration tester should have:

 

Knowledge of vulnerabilities and tool suites

 

One of the most commonly asked questions when hiring a pen-tester is to determine whether he knows more about modern vulnerabilities. An expert pen-tester should know if a client has a security product that can detect a particular tool. This is a common factor that helps in assessing a candidate for his expertise. Testers should not be helpless when they cannot use modern pen-testing tools. They should not blindly rely on the vulnerability scans. The reported vulnerabilities have known exploit code that can be used to detect system weaknesses. In order to test is a vulnerability exists, they exploit code to leverage and rectify it. Organizations do not just look for exploit writers but pen-testers who know how to modify existing exploits to make them work in specific networks for the purpose of pen-testing.

 

Learning is a continuous process

 

It is not possible for a tester to be an expert in all domains but they should be active learners and develop real-time experiences. Rather than relying on a write-up code from a security firm’s exploit, they should be able to build a virtual machine, obtain the code, and test it themselves. With the help of experience, testers build their muscle memory. Although this skill may not be very helpful in the penetration tests, yet they have the ability to recall their memory to learn new ways.  To become a proficient penetration tester, they can demonstrate continuous learning by sharing videos of their learnings. Videos are a common way to demonstrate expertise and recall all the necessary steps involved in pen-testing.

 

Understanding secure web communications

 

It is extremely important for testers to understand everything from how to register a web domain name to apply it to a cloud IP address and generate certificates for the domain, etc. In addition, they should also understand the web technologies. Web apps are common and pen testers should know how they are built, how to identify input fields, gather information, etc. to exploit the functionality of the app.

 

Writing script or code 

 

Certainly, a tester’s code does not have to be production quality but it can be a plus point if he knows how to code. The main languages that they need for basics are Python, Powershell, Peri, and Bash. besides knowing these languages, they also need to excel keyboard-fu so that they can manipulate data in any format that is required.

 

Soft skills

 

Report writing skills are a must for pen-testers so that they can describe complex issues in ways that even non-technical people can understand. It is important for them to excel in their speaking and writing skills. All these skills add up to their chances of being selected to work for a renowned penetration testing company. Since testers need to work in teams, it also means that everyone needs to know how to set up and tear down an equipment/application. The task of packing up the equipment is not that easy so it may take some time to learn that. As everything moves smoothly, QA teams can manage to achieve their projects in time.

 

Certifications 

 

It is a misconception that pending all time and energy to get certifications will lead to a job in the penetration testing field. Although certifications can be a positive factor, yet they are not a reason to hire. Certifications that pen-testers can acquire include Offensive Security Certification (OSCP/OSCE) or SANS certifications. Also, as penetration testers are there to assist organizations to strengthen their cybersecurity, testers who understand the managerial side of a business are also preferred.

 

The above-mentioned factors are some important aspects that a penetration testing company may consider when hiring penetration testers. Thus, it is crucial for pen-testers to have access to modern tools and expertise in the field so that they can be an active part of the QA team and achieve cybersecurity.

Digital Branding

5 eCommerce Marketing Mistakes to Be Aware of in 2020-2021

With all the marketing efforts and spent resources on getting an eCommerce store to sell more, you surely wouldn’t want to repeat the calamitous errors of others. In this post, we’ll introduce you to the 5 things to be on the lookout for, bring up which mistakes not to repeat, give tips, and mention what you should get your hands on for your own online store if you haven’t up to this point.

1. Optimize your product images

If you know at least something about search engine optimization, you’ve most likely heard that page load times matter. A lot.

Not only is a slowly loading page terrible in terms of SEO (hint: Google won’t rank well a backpedaling page that takes forever to open), but it also causes terrible bounce rates. Users hate wasting their time waiting for the page to load. They get angry when this happens and leave the site.

Why am I bringing this up? Images are responsible for slowing down a page in way too many cases. Thus, being a marketing specialist, do what you can to optimize your eCommerce site’s speed. Consider implementing caching tools, perhaps, turn to your developers for this one as the best-fit tools to use will differ from one eCommerce platform to another.

If you fall short of techy background, try starting with manual image compression and opting for progressive image formats (these are, for instance, WebP or JPG). 

Below is a screenshot from a product page on the official Philipp Plein eCommerce store. As you can see, the site uses pictures of “weight-friendly” JPG format in the gallery. Plus, I ran a page speed test with a free tool just for fun, and this product page (although it has 5 high-resolution images in the gallery) loads in as little as 5.2 seconds which isn’t that bad.

Product gallery image type on the Philipp Plein website  Screenshot taken on the official Philipp Plein website

2. Add user-generated content widgets from socials

Using cross-posting as leverage is a wide-used marketing strategy. So why not solve several problems with one action?

How? By hooking up user-generated posts to your eCommerce website. You’ll enhance your social presence, grow your audience, enrich social media content, make existing clients who make the posts happier, and give other shoppers some inspiration to get your products.

A great example of such a UGC widget is the “Share How You Wear It” section available on the product pages on the official Reebok website. Clients are allured to make posts on personal social media pages, posts should feature the product that they’ve bought and tag the official @reebok account. If these simple terms are met, the person gets a chance to make it to the gallery.

User-generated content widget with client social media posts on the Reebok website  Screenshot taken on the official Reebok website

3. Get the most of your customer reviews

No matter how hard you try to persuade your potential customers to buy something, the words of those who have already purchased the product are still going to be more convincing. This is why it’s vital to not overlook the reviews that your customers give. Even more so, being a marketer, you should put in some effort to encourage people to leave reviews and to react to them too.

A hint here is to enhance your order delivery confirmation emails or communication. Add a short link to the feedback form on your website’s product page and offer several percent off for the future purchase or some other sort of perk to reward the person if they take the time to write a comment on the product they’ve bought.

From a technical perspective, the feedback section itself can be as fancy as you want. A good idea is to place a review summary prior to the specific client comments, this can assist users who are browsing the item in making quicker conclusions.

To provide you with an example of proper implementation and use of client feedback, here’s how customer reviews look like on the official Maybelline New York website. We see a star rating at the top of the page, the number of reviews (43) takes the user straight to the reviews if clicked. The section has a neat summary, every reviewer’s short personal data, and comments are seen.

Product reviews as seen on the Maybelline New York website  Screenshot taken on the official Maybelline New York website

4. Start using personal product picks

General “recommended products” sections are a deal of the past. Pitching items that the person may actually like and making such product choices based on the user’s earlier shopping carts, bought, and browsed items is a whole new thing. It’s a personal approach that everyone should strive for when communicating with clients, even if it’s done via a page on the web (marketers should be aware of that). And this can substantially grow your average check sizes.

This can be reached by getting a hold of modern personal product page functionality. It’s usually artificial intelligence-based, capable of tracking user behavior, and makes bulls-eye item choices that are displayed to the user.

To show you a neat use of this feature below is the “You may also like” product pick example on the official Fendi website.

“You may also like” personalization block on the Fendi website  Screenshot taken on the official Fendi website

5. Create gift finder sections, seriously

As marketers, you must understand the importance of making it easy to sell things. Putting together various guides, collections, and finders that’ll help users make up their minds as they’re in search of what to present as a gift to someone is a fabulous move. You assist your buyers and sell more.

It is considered good practice to place such “Gift Ideas” in the top menu of the online store. Secondly, it makes sense to break down the suitable items by recipient, occasion, or budget. Thirdly, if gift ideas are gathered as category pages, having on-page filters to simplify the search is nice too.

For some inspiration of what this can be like if handled properly, take a look at how the “Gift Guide for Men” is presented on the official Adidas website. As you can see, the guide is assembled as a separate page, furthermore, users can filter the gifts by size, category, product type, color, etc.

Gift ideas section for men on the official Adidas website  Screenshot taken on the official Adidas website

Final Thoughts

To conclude the above, marketers should be on the lookout for the following five mistakes:

  1. Unoptimized images or other factors that negatively influence page load times.
  2. Missing out on user-generated content via social media.
  3. Not using customer feedback properly (which is a mighty and persuasive tool).
  4. Not having your product picks personalized (and people like individualized shopping experiences).
  5. Not having gift ideas or gift-hunting guides up on the store.

We hope that you’ve found this piece handy! If you have any more often-occurring marketing mistakes in eCommerce in mind, feel free to share them in the comments below.

 

About the Author

Alex Husar

Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento migration and Salesforce development services. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.

 

Social media:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-husar
https://twitter.com/AlexHusar1

 

 

Local Branding

How To Leverage Your Shipping Strategy To Enhance Your Brand

Branding in the current landscape goes beyond product differentiation and marketing. It is more about customer experience because it goes a long way in making your brand stand apart. People who get the best experiences are bound to be loyal to your business. They tend to stay and also bring others through word-of-mouth recommendations. So you must go the extra mile to enhance their shopping experiences.
While your products, services, and interactions go a long way, your shipping strategy can also make a difference in your brand’s loyalty. Buyers expect brands to excel in terms of shipping options and fulfillment services, so you must make conscious efforts to deliver on these fronts. Here are some ways to leverage your shipping strategy for enhancing your brand.

Be transparent

E-commerce branding is all about building trust and transparency because customers do not transact with brands physically. You need to extend transparency in shipping services along with everything else. Providing clear estimates about delivery dates and sharing the tracking information with customers makes the entire process more transparent and trustworthy. It is equally important to be available if customers have any queries and concerns about their orders. Maintaining transparency around your returns policy also matters because most online buyers would review it before buying. There shouldn’t be any hidden costs for product returns, while you must also clarify whether the customers will need to bear return shipping costs.

Match expectations around speed and cost

E-commerce customers expect fast and cost-effective delivery of products at the click of a button. Your business may have the best products and pricing, but shipping speed and costs can make all the difference to the buying decision. It is vital to ensure that the shipping options you offer match the expectations of buyers on these fronts.

According to experts at Shipping Vegas, collaborating with a reliable fulfillment provider is the key because it determines the speed and cost of delivery. It becomes all the more important for international businesses because sending across products with speed, efficiency, and affordability is a challenge.

Showcase your brand

Another measure that you can implement for empowering your brand at the shipping stage is by showcasing it with attractive product packaging. For most customers, receiving a package would be their first in-person experience with your brand, so it should be impressive enough to make your brand memorable.

Including your brand logo, colors, and imagery in the package creates a consistent and cohesive experience for the customers. Custom packaging also creates brand awareness and drives loyalty and retention in the long run. Moreover, it serves as a cost-effective branding initiative as compared to other strategies that often cost a fortune.

When it comes to achieving success in the e-commerce domain, it can be a daunting challenge right now. A business needs to excel with everything, from product quality to pricing and customer servicing and support. Additionally, a strong shipping strategy can keep a brand on top-of-mind for customers in the long run because it serves as the mainstay of the experience you deliver.

Digital BrandingPersonal Branding

What are 3 Instagram tools you need to keep up with trends?

If you use Instagram not just for sharing your images with a close circle of friends, you need more than just the app itself. Having an engaging IG page is a perfect opportunity for a business to attract new audiences and interested clients. Do you know that in 2020 Instagram hashtags work similarly to SEO keywords that help get your content exposed to more people? It takes some time to research these words, but if you know what Instagram hashtag generator to use, you can easily find the best hashtags that work for promotion. 

The point is that discovering new Instagram tools will help you better your content strategy and make the most of your online business. In this article, you will find out more about tested Hashtag finder, Instagram font generator, and Profile analyzer – keep on reading to learn why these tools are useful. 

3 tried and tested Instagram tools you need in 2020

#1 Toolzu Hashtag generator

If you try google hashtag tools, you’re gonna see many options on the web. But when you start using them, you realize that most of the tools are not convenient. 

Toolzu is a handy tool that lists over 12 million hashtags, and new ones are added regularly. This tool lets you discover hashtags by keyword or with the help of AI-algorithms. You can simply paste a link to any post or upload a picture. 

In front of a hashtag, you can see how intense the competition will be if you use it (the graph Difficulty). For example, if a hashtag is used in millions of posts, the content is saturated, and your post will be among the recently added for just a couple of minutes. That’s why it’s worth to include in your set medium and more niche-specific hashtags. 

The main upper hand of using a hashtag generator instead of the in-app search is that you can copy them instantly. The app does not allow you to do that to click on a hashtag and view the content. 

What are other benefits:

  • The option of mentioning 5 keywords per search
  • Looking for hashtags in any languages
  • Deep analytics on hashtags including top posts

If you haven’t been using hashtags because you were lazy to discover them via the app, use the effortless yet effective way – the Toolzu hashtag finder. The 7-days trial period is free of charge. 

#2 Fonts generator by Bigbangram

It is getting more and more trendy to use other than IG default fonts. Bloggers who write long captions tend to organize their texts better – with bold headlines, highlighted words. Hence, an IG copy turns into a meaningful article. It’s also helpful to add various fonts into your bio description and IG name. 

If you think that to type in a different font, you need to hack the IG app; you are mistaken. The only thing you need is a proper Instagram fonts tool, and I recommend you to check the one by Bingbangram. 

You need to insert or type any text in the Latin alphabet, and it will be immediately converted into a style you choose. The library lists dozens of fonts in various moods – classical, romantic, minimalist, gothic, etc. 

I like most of all that it is possible to preview how a style will look from a phone screen. There is a simulator, and I advise you to check it if you are looking for a fresh font for your name or bio. 

Try fancy characters for your page – the tool is forever free. 

#3 Profile analyzer by Ingramer

 

Finally, I number 3 on my list is the Analyzer of profiles by Ingramer. This tool will be helpful for those who are growing and looking for some ideas on the accounts of their competitors. Sometimes, spying on strategies of successful accounts helps to get insights. 

What info will you get:

  1. Reals stats, like the engagement rate, to see if the followers are active and the content is interactive
  2. Best-performing content that will help you to get what kind of media your audience consumes better
  3. Top hashtags that you can also try in your captions
  4. Posting schedule that you can consider when deciding what time is better to post to get more interactions

All in all, you need to collect the list of the popular accounts in your niche and paste their names into the Analyzer tool. After, you can use the data to adjust your IG posting and content strategy. 

Conclusion

Having all the mentioned above tools at your fingertips will help you expand the reach of your content, create more eye-grabbing text, and apply some of your competitors’ techniques. Services like Toolzu, Ingramer, Bigbangram are widely-used by influencers, digital marketers, and business people. Do you want to try them too? Hurry up – more people want to see your content. 

Digital Branding

3 Steps To Improving Your Paid Digital Marketing Campaigns

Digital marketing campaigns are always a delicate balancing act. You want to squeeze as much value out of each dollar you spend. Which is why most of us prefer to use strategies that capitalize upon methods that are more organic and produce a greater return on investment. While approaches such as email marketing can be versatile and simple, sometimes you have to go with a more direct method.  

Paid digital marketing has been known to have something of a negative reputation. However, when done correctly it can be a versatile tool. It can be used to produce swift results, support other marketing efforts, and build engagement. That said, it’s not always easy to know strategies to employ. 

Let’s take a look at a handful of good practices for your paid campaign. What tools can you use to keep your goals on track? Where should you be placing your resources? With some additional effort, you can start to see some serious improvements in your paid practices.      

1. Take Care with Your Keywords

One of the main problems companies tend to come up against during their paid marketing campaigns is ineffectual keywords. Not only can choosing the wrong words or phrases result in poor results, but you’re also going to be spending more money than you need to — especially if you’re using a pay per click (PPC) approach. Therefore, it’s important not only to choose your keywords carefully, but to review them throughout your campaign to make changes where necessary. 

Using a keyword planning tool such as Google Adwords is a good start. But you shouldn’t be relying upon it. The problem here is that your competitors are likely to also be using the same tools, so to simply pick from these lists can find you diluting their effectiveness. Such tools are usually best used as a jumping off point. They give you insights into the keywords that are popular in your niche and among your demographic. Use this data as you would any other analysis, and combine it with your own insights and expertise in the subject to find keywords and phrases that other businesses may not have yet stumbled onto.

Don’t forget that the information you gather during this paid campaign can also inform your more organic marketing later on. When you provide data on successful keywords to an expert in SEO they can use this to help formulate a strategy that improves your rankings. Think of your paid campaign not just as a standalone project, but another tool in your expanding arsenal.    

2. Use Your Socials

Your social media can be one of the most effective marketing tools you have at your disposal. This applies to both organic growth and your paid marketing campaign. There is a lot of discussion surrounding whether paid advertising on social media is effective or not. As always, you can’t expect to throw out some marketing copy on your socials and expect the boost you’re paying for to do all the leg work. Its success comes down to how you use it. 

  • Be Relevant. This is the big one. The audience you’re targeting on social media probably aren’t the same people you’re seeking to gain from other methods. Your analysis should have made that clear. Not only that, but there will also be a disparity between who you’re targeting on Facebook as opposed to who you’ll pinpoint on Instagram. These are all likely to be very different people who respond to separate ideas and approaches. Make certain that the content you present — the images, the text, the product — is relevant to the social channel you’re advertising through. 
  • Have Clear Objectives. On both Facebook and Instagram, you have the opportunity to set preferences for your paid campaign goals. This can be to reach a certain demographic, improve engagements, widen your reach, among others. In order to use these correctly, you need to be specific about what you’re hoping to achieve. The tools that these platforms provide are really useful, but you also have to be vigilant about whether you’re using the right tool to suit your overall objectives.
  • Create a Schedule. Like most marketing tools, social media is a scalpel rather than a grenade. Specify your ads to appear on the schedule that matches your demographics’ period of highest engagement. You should already be using a social media management platform for your regular posts, and the best of these also provide insights into user engagement. Use this data for your paid campaign.    

3. Go Multimedia

Paid digital advertising has something of a reputation for being boring. That, or suspicious due to it’s overly commercial approach and intentions. The thing is, everyone you are pitching to with your paid campaign will be made immediately aware that these are marketing posts. Therefore you need to give people a fresh reason to engage with your paid marketing content. 

Be varied in your approach and use a mix of media; videos, blogs, podcasts, images. Yes, you are advertising to your demographic, but you should also be using this as an opportunity to provide them with something they consider to be of value.    

Videos are one of the most versatile ways to approach this. It is most frequently at the top of lists of effective marketing tools. Create something entertaining and informative that features your product or service. Demonstrate how what you do makes a difference to your consumers, and give visual and audio cues to engage with your call to action. There is the added benefit that you can make money from YouTube videos, too. By building up enough engagement you can use this passive income to offset your paid marketing costs.      

Wrapping Up

Paid digital marketing may not have been your first choice of approach, but it can produce valuable results. By taking a few additional steps to optimize your keywords, and use the variety of digital tools at your disposal, you can make a significant impact. 

Digital Branding

When Should Your Startup Expand Into New Verticals

Growing a startup into a successful and viable long-term business is the goal of every entrepreneur. Expanding your idea from a single concept into an expansive business with multiple different revenue streams and geographic distribution is a fun and exciting challenge. Exploring new verticals is an excellent way to grow and protect your business from market fluctuations and changes; diversification is the key to success.

Finding the right time to move into a new vertical can be challenging, though. Move too soon and you risk overextending yourself, but move too late and you risk your business stalling. In the following article, we’ll provide you with some advice on how to find the best time to move your business in exciting new directions.

Expanding Vertically

Vertical expansion is the process of moving your business into a new field, with the goal of diversifying your operations, risk, and revenue streams. When executed at the right time and into the right areas, vertical expansion can take your business to a whole new level, complementing and synergising with your existing business operations.

Aaron Babb, Director of Aevum Health had this to say on the importance of expanding his business, even when he was in a comfortable situation – “New verticals relating to new markets or revenue streams are an incredibly powerful business growth technique that allows for expansion without significant additional costs. In a small to medium-sized business often your biggest issues are cashflow. Seeking out and finding new verticals allows for additional revenue once set overheads have already been established boosting business cash flow.” 

Test the Market

As most startup entrepreneurs will know, not every idea is a golden one. Some things appear great on paper, a sure-fire path to success, but once they are moved into the marketplace they fall apart. Testing your idea for vertical movement is important to not only evaluate whether it is a viable idea that the market will accept, but also if the timing is right. 

Gary Vaynerchuck, prolific social media magnate and business advisor has this to say on testing the market “If you’re worried you won’t be able to communicate your idea to the existing market, maybe your idea needs some rethinking.” 

A small market test may demonstrate that while the move is something your customers are ready for, your business isn’t in a place to make the move with the attention and focus required.

Get the Timing Right

Timing is everything when it comes to expanding your business into a new vertical. If you make the move too soon into your startups’ lifecycle then you risk derailing your core concept by spreading your resources too thin. If you make the move too late, though, you risk being too heavily integrated into the core business platform. Keep vertical expansion constantly in your plans, regularly assessing when the best time is to move forward without diverting mission-critical resources, but while you are still small and agile enough to move and adapt into a new area.

Identify the Motivators

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when considering moving your business into a new vertical is why you are doing so? Identifying the motivations behind the move will help you to thoroughly assess whether now is the best time to be making a change.

Tim Ferris, author of the 4 hour work week “The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”

If the motivation for exploring new business avenues is the wrong thing, then you risk the idea falling flat. Vertical expansion should be done at a time in the business when you have a solid footing in the core business vertical and have maximised your current potential. If the motivation for expanding into a new vertical is because your competitors are doing so or you are just looking for a new challenge then the timing may not be right.

 

Moving your startup into a new vertical will almost certainly be harder than it was launching the idea initially. When a business is just starting it can afford to be much more dynamic in its movements and decisions. It can also afford to make mistakes and recover from them with relative ease. Once a business has been established, pivoting into a new vertical is much more difficult as you have to carefully balance the existing business operations, staff, and customers while trying to launch something new. The cost of failure is much higher, but the benefits of success are too. Identifying the right time to make the move is critically in boosting the chances for a successful expansion.