It goes without saying that the past year has been a time of momentous change for marketers. In previous articles, I addressed how CMOs and leaders have had to navigate an array of emerging trends, from new digital demands and customer preferences to growing workforce dispersion and diversity. These shifts have undoubtedly reshaped the marketing landscape as we know it and led leaders to seek new operating models and digital solutions to keep pace.

Now, as ongoing global disruption ushers in a new digital and hybrid era, it’s time for leaders to embrace that there’s no turning back. According to McKinsey, the future of work is hybrid, and Forrester dubbed 2022 the “year to be bold” as demands only grow stronger. Strategic marketing leaders must reshape their agenda in line with these new realities to find success this year.

So, where should leaders focus as they reenvision their organizations for the road ahead? Let’s look at the top four areas leaders must prioritize to gain a competitive advantage in 2022:

1. The cost of ineffective communication: Overcome the growing business impact of poor communication to adapt and scale.

Success in a digital workplace requires agility to reinvent operations, but one essential—and overlooked—factor hinders marketers from driving growth: ineffective communication.

In fact, new data released by Grammarly and The Harris Poll estimates U.S. businesses lose up to $1.2 trillion annually due to poor workplace communication—or $12,506 per employee every year. This is especially true for communications-heavy functions like marketing. And now, evolving workforce and customer demands are continuing to amplify the impact of poor communication across organizations.

From the surge of e-commerce and omnichannel to the rapid adoption of new digital tools, brands and customers are showing up and interacting in more ways and places than ever before. In this landscape, achieving clear, compelling, and consistent communication—no matter the channel or context—is critical for both productivity and engagement.

By building a foundation of effective communication internally and externally, leaders will build resilience to grow faster, control costs, and create reimagined experiences for customers and employees alike.

2. CX as a growth driver: Address ongoing market disruptors by delivering exceptional experiences that balance quality and efficiency.

New market disruptions are driving a renewed focus on the brand and customer experience, at a time when it’s increasingly critical to business success.

As consumer spending continues to overwhelm supply chains, experts predict that inflation and higher prices will continue to worsen. This will lead to a far higher bar in customer expectations to pay those prices. In response, CX will reach a critical turning point this year as business and marketing leaders must double down on the customer experience to justify rising costs and keep pace with demands.

Success for brands will come down to a delicate balance of meeting customer expectations with both quality and efficiency—i.e., keeping up with high spending patterns while delivering a better, more consistent experience. Leaders must overcome unwanted brand variability across channels and equip teams with the right tools to quickly and consistently meet customer needs.

Those who deliver consistently compelling experiences will gain an advantage so that when supply chains normalize, they’ve cemented a loyal customer base.

3. The rise of employee empowerment: Engage employees—and customers—by building an empowered work environment that promotes confidence.

Marketers can no longer ignore that the employee and customer experience are inextricably linked. Successful CX depends on first building engaged, productive teams who effectively represent the brand.

But from the “Great Resignation” that shows no signs of slowing down to increasing globalization creating more cross-cultural teams, it’s never been more challenging to engage and retain all employees. In a world where employees have increasing choice, delivering exceptional employee experiences will become a foremost differentiator. In fact, research shows business leaders are prioritizing employee satisfaction and retention this year—ahead of team productivity and customer satisfaction. 

Leaders that deliver a new, location-agnostic approach to EX—i.e., reinventing experiences to be engaging and seamless, no matter the location or context—will come out ahead. Employee empowerment will be at the core of this approach as leaders must embrace new tools and strategies designed to enhance employees’ potential, grow their confidence, and help them be more productive wherever they are.

This focus on empowerment will underpin the digital workplace, lead to new customer and brand experiences, and redefine productivity with experience at the center. 

4. Empathy as an imperative: Prioritize the human connection to meet customer and employee needs.

In many ways, the constraints of the past two years often made interactions more impersonal and transactional. This lack of human connection has left customers and employees alike desiring more empathy and emotionally sensitive support from employers and brands.

But that’s a daunting task when paired with the shift to a hybrid workplace and influx of digital touchpoints that have cropped up in recent months. This leaves marketers with a dual challenge: Keep pace with the sheer amount of interactions happening across systems while delivering higher quality in all of those engagements.

In response, leaders must invest in empathy in the workplace as a strategic business priority. Human-centric technologies play a vital role in this process by helping teams move faster while maintaining the humanity of a brand. With automated and integrated solutions like communication augmentation platforms, leaders can infuse more of a human touch, strike the right tone, and create more genuine connections with employees and customers in all the places they’re already engaging.

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As we tread forward, CMOs and marketing leaders must embrace that uncertainty is the only constant they can expect. As Forrester emphasized, the time to be bold is now—and tremendous opportunity awaits for those who reimagine the status quo.

By focusing on the above areas—investing in effective communication, delicately balancing new customer and employee needs, and prioritizing empathy and human connection—marketers will be well-poised to adapt and grow this year and beyond.

___________

For more on how to reimagine success in the hybrid-work era and the business impact of poor communication, download the report, “The State of Business Communication: The Backbone of Business Is Broken,” and visit www.grammarly.com/business

This sponsored article was written by Dorian Stone, head of organizations revenue, Grammarly.

The post CMOs, put these 4 trends at the top of your agenda for success this year appeared first on MarTech.

Marketers who were fretting when Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) last year might have been missing the opportunity brought on by the new policy to build more trust with customers, and ultimately score a higher ROI.

Email performance in the U.K. and EU, where the effects of GDPR were more concentrated and were enacted prior to California CCPA, suggest a brighter future, according to Guy Hanson, Vice President of Customer Engagement at data and email solutions provider Validity.

Positive trends for email performance

Hanson points to a recent email analytics study announced by email optimization company Litmus that showed that ROI for U.K. & EU companies was up to 46:1, compared with 34:1 for U.S. marketers.

Read more: Mail marketing will be a success story in 2022

A compilation of performance stats that Smart Insights updated for 2022 show European marketers outperforming North America in key metrics. Open rates in Europe were at 21.75%, which was higher than North America, at 18.13%. Average click-through rates were also higher in Europe – 2.64% against, in the U.S., 2.41%.

Navigating unsubscribes and other pain points after MPP

Any time new regulations, or company policies like Apple’s MPP, take effect there is an adjustment period where marketers update their strategies and consumers also might respond to the change with their own behavior or voice their concerns.

When Validity looked at the “opens” generated by the pixel fires from Apple’s proxy, the open rate was 32%. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but that’s significantly higher than the EU and North American average open rates in the Smart Insights study.

Post-MPP there was also a decrease in email unsubscribes – one third below the 12-month benchmark of 0.09%.

Unsubscribe drop-off after MPP. Image: Validity

This could be linked to another new Apple feature, Hide My Email, according to Hanson. This feature allows users to generate a unique, random email address to use gated apps and websites, and therefore reduces the flow of unwanted or excessive emails. Consumers are essentially taking advantage of the intent of Apple’s policies by curating and segmenting the emails they want to receive.

According to the Smart Insights study, unsubscribe rates were higher in Europe than North America – 0.15% in Europe versus 0.10% in the U.S.

But while unsubscribes are down after MPP, complaints are up. One Validity client said that 97% of their increase in complaints came from users of the iOS Mail app.

Listen to customers and look past open rates

A lot of marketers were understandably concerned that with Apple’s MPP they wouldn’t be able to measure open rates for email campaigns like in the old days.

“With the ‘pixelgeddon,’ it meant a deep impact on the world of email marketing, but also an opportunity,” said Hanson. “Some insights about customer behavior were traditionally inferred by email opens. But you can use other more reliable metrics, like click-throughs instead of open rates.”

Hanson also suggested that marketers look to email preferences, and offer more of them to customers. This way, marketers will gain more insights from customers about the kinds of emails they do want to receive.

Also, an effective complement to email campaigns in the MPP era is social media listening and analytics. Hanson suggests that marketers analyze consumer response to email-specific keywords on their social channels. If there’s positive buzz about a message in a specific email campaign, this is a good sign that the emails were a hit.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing for marketers to be responsible,” Hanson said. “If marketers do email marketing properly, they may wind up with better performing campaigns.”

The post How email marketers everywhere can learn from privacy success in the UK and EU appeared first on MarTech.

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best cloud hosting company for most people is Hostinger or Scala Hosting.

Cloud web hosting may offer exactly what your business needs. Your data is spread across a network of servers, a cloud environment, instead of a single server.

This guide explains what cloud hosting is, how it works, and reviews the best cloud web hosting providers on the market today.

Best Cloud Hosting Services for 2022

  • Hostinger – Most bang for your buck
  • Scala Hosting – Best cloud hosting for custom resource allocation
  • Cloudways – Best customizable managed cloud hosting
  • HostGator– Best cheap cloud web hosting
  • Nexcess – Best cloud hosting for ecommerce sites
  • DreamHost– Best cloud hosting for developers
  • A2 Hosting – Fastest cloud web hosting
  • InMotion – Best cloud hosting for small businesses
  • SiteGround – Best cloud hosting for scaling resources
How to choose the best cloud web hosting plan. Quicksprout.com's methodology for reviewing cloud web hosting plans.

Read on for detailed reviews of each one to start comparing features and pricing.

Cloud hosting works a little differently than other popular types of hosting, such as shared hosting, VPS (virtual private server) hosting, or dedicated server hosting.

Each host also does things a little differently as well. After the reviews is a short guide that will help you assess each cloud hosting option.

Hostinger — Most Bang for Your Buck

  • Normally $29/month
  • Month-to-month pricing
  • Free domain and SSL certificate
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Get a 74% discount

Hostinger offers quality web hosting at competitively low prices.

In fact, the most affordable plan is currently $9.99 per month. Of course, that’s an annual rate. So expect it to jump up when you have to renew.

But it’s still one of the lowest prices for web hosting out there. Couple that with their 99.9% uptime guarantee and decently fast speeds, and you have yourself an excellent host.

One thing that really sets Hostinger out from the rest of the pack is their dedicated IP. Customers receive free dedicated IP with any of their cloud hosting plans—which is incredible.

Their hPanel dashboard is also very intuitive and user-friendly. Even if you’re new to using a dashboard like that, you’ll have no trouble getting the hang of it.

Full pricing is as follows. Overall, it’s a very lucrative cloud hosting plan that’ll give you the most bang for your buck.

Hostinger pricing plan page.

Scala Hosting — Best for Custom Resource Allocation

  • Fully customizable VPS resources
  • Generous maximums on CPUs, RAM, & storage
  • Affordable at scale
  • Flexibility to adjust on the fly

Create Your Plan

Scala Hosting offers cloud VPS for customers, bringing the granular management of VPS together with the flexibility and scalability of cloud hosting.

But Scala truly rises above the pack in terms of its customization. They’re one of the only hosting providers out there that lets you set a precise, custom set of resources before you even sign up.

That means you can make a bespoke hosting package with the perfect blend of memory, storage, and processing power you need.

Scala Hosting pricing plan page.

Best of all, it’s super easy to do this. Right on Scala’s main cloud VPS page, you can move the sliders for each up and down to your heart’s content. Minimums and maximums depend on whether you choose Scala’s managed or self-managed options.

Scala managed cloud VPS:

  • Starts at $25.95/month
  • CPU cores: minimum of one, maximum of 24, $6/month per each additional core
  • RAM: minimum of 2 GB, maximum of 128 GB, $2/month per each additional GB
  • SSD storage: minimum of 50 GB, maximum of 2 TB, $2/month per each additional 10 GB

Scala self-managed cloud VPS:

  • Starts at $26/month
  • CPU cores: minimum of two, maximum of 24, $4/month per each additional core
  • RAM: minimum of 8 GB, maximum of 64 GB, $1.50/month per each additional GB
  • SSD storage: minimum of 80 GB, maximum of 2 TB, $1/month per each additional 10 GB

Either plan allows you a wide array of potential resource allocation options and Scala doesn’t really gouge you for adding more in any category. They don’t punish you for scaling to any extent.

You can also choose your preferred data center location, as well as your preferred control panel (on managed plans) or operating system (on self-managed plans).

So, Scala Hosting is an excellent option for anyone who knows exactly what they need from their hosting provider—especially if you know of a custom setup that would benefit your site but isn’t commonly offered by other providers (like if you just want blazing speed without a ton of storage space).

And pricing stays competitive despite all the customization you’re allowed. When you get up into the higher ranges of resources, Scala’s custom plans are more than competitive with top-of-the-line cloud hosting offerings from others—even outright beating them on both price and flexibility.

Get exactly what you need, scale freely, and reap the benefits of a precise combination of resources by going with Scala Hosting today.

Cloudways — Best Customizable Managed Cloud Hosting

  • Seven data center options.
  • Very fast managed hosting.
  • Many CMS to choose from.
  • Starts as low as $10 per month.

Try it for free!

Cloudways sets itself apart from many other cloud-based web hosting services with its flexibility and customizable options along with lightning-fast speeds and 24/7/365 support.

In terms of options, you are unlikely to find a host with more of them. As a managed cloud host, Cloudways takes care of server management for you. When getting started, you select your CMS and can be ready to go in moments. Cloudways prides itself on simplicity with exceptional performance.

CMS options include:

  • WordPress
  • Magento
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Koken
  • Media Wiki
  • PHP Stack
  • Prestashop

For plans and pricing, the rates depend on several factors, including selecting from seven data center options (and locations) and what level of RAM, processor cores, storage, and bandwidth you need. The data center options are:

  • Linode
  • DigitalOcean
  • DigitalOcean Premium Droplets
  • Vultr
  • Vultr High Frequency
  • AWS
  • Google Cloud
Cloudways Pricing Home

The plans run the gamut of pricing. The least expensive is $10 per month including DigitalOcean standard hosting charges, with 1 GB of RAM, 1 core processor, 25 GB of storage, and 1 TB bandwidth. The most expensive is $274.33 per month including the AWS hosting charges. That plan includes 16 GB of RAM, 4 vCPU, 20 GB of storage, and 2 GB of bandwidth.

What is more impressive is the pay-as-you-go type of pricing. Cloudways offers some hourly packages that only actually charge you for any time you use, as opposed to paying for an entire month even if you cancel after 2 weeks. Of course, Cloudways also offers regular monthly plans, too.

All plans come with 24/7/365 support, free SSL, CDN add-on, free migration, unlimited application installation, 24/7 real-time monitoring, automated backups, advanced caches, auto healing, and more.

While Cloudways is not perfect — it lacks a cPanel and does not offer domain registration — it does offer a host of add-ons and integrations so it works for your needs. Add-ons include Rackspace email hosting Gmail SMTP, application migration, and more.

You can try Cloudways for free with a three-day free trial that does not require a credit card to get started.

HostGator — Best Cheap Cloud Hosting

  • Starts at $12.95/month
  • $4.95/month if you pay annually
  • Free domain and SSL certificate
  • 45-day money back guarantee

Get up to 45% off

HostGator offers some of the most cost-effective cloud hosting on the market today. They’re certainly the most affordable options on this list.

Let’s take a look at some the three basic cloud hosting plans offered by HostGator:

Hatchling Plan

  • Starting at $4.95
  • 2 CPUs
  • 2 GB of memory
  • Single domain

Baby Plan

  • Starting at $6.57
  • 4 CPUs
  • 4 GB of memory
  • Unlimited domains

Business Plan

  • Starting at $9.95
  • 6 CPUs
  • 6 GB of memory
  • Unlimited domains

These rates are for for 36-month contracts. They are 45% cheaper than the actual price, which you’ll end up paying when you renew your contract.

HostGator pricing plan page.

All HostGator cloud hosting plans come with a free SSL certificate. The Business plan comes with a dedicated IP, free SEO tools, and free domain as well.

Not only are they affordable, but they don’t sacrifice quality either. HostGator’s dashboard makes it easy for you to monitor the performance of your website. You can quickly view data related to page speed, uptime, reach, and more.

Scaling your server resources is simple as well. This can be done with just one click, without any downtime, reboots, or data migrations. Read more about their services in my full HostGator cloud hosting review.

Nexcess — Best for Ecommerce Sites

  • Starts at $49.00/month
  • Great for ecommerce sites
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Choose from 6 different plans

Learn more

Nexcess is a web hosting solution brought to you by the good folks at Liquid Web. We’ve featured them before for their great hosting services, and Nexcess is no exception.

Their primary offerings are managed Magento, WooCommerce, and WordPress hosting (along with a few other CMS). That makes them perfect for ecommerce websites looking to grow.

But they also have a standout cloud hosting service too, that are great for scaling businesses. The specific plans vary depending on what your CMS is, they offer a wide variety of them.

That makes Nexcess perfect for growing businesses who plan to rapidly scale their growth—and are looking for a cloud host that will scale with them.

One tool I really like is Nexcess Cloud Accelerator. This is an additional layer in front of the cloud stack that boosts load times. That means your site will be nice and speedy for your customers.

They also have a dedicated support team on call 24/7 to help your business address any technical issues, or if you want to switch plans.

Here’s a look at the plans they offer:

Nexcess pricing plan page.

Everything is tuned for online business. You’ll be set up for taking payments securely and all customer info is kept secure.

Traffic spikes? No problem. Nexcess cloud hosting lets you scale up for a limited period of time if you need. You’re not going to locked into paying for more than you need to handle the busy hours.

You’re also not spending time making sure that your website is up. Nexcess manages everything on the backend so you can concentrate on selling.

Set up your store with Nexcess cloud hosting today.

DreamHost — Best for Developer Projects

  • Starts at max $4.50/month
  • 100 GB of block storage
  • Free SSD & bandwidth
  • Full root access & control

Get up to 47% off

DreamHost has the easiest cloud setup in the industry. You can get your cloud servers live in less than 30 seconds. With that said, DreamHost cloud is best for developers.

They have server options that are made for databases, web apps, and running tests in addition to websites.

You can continue working the with DevOps tools that you’re already using. DreamHost also gives you full root access for complete control over your cloud servers.

The best part about DreamHost is that you only pay for what you actually use. You’ll get charged for resources on an hourly basis based on the size of your server.

  • 512 MB of RAM Server — $0.0075 per hour (maximum $4.50 per month)
  • 2 GB of RAM Server — $0.02 per hour (maximum $12 per month)
  • 8 GB of RAM Server — $0.08 per hour (max $48 per month)

The 2 GB server is the recommended option for websites.

You will not be billed anything when you sign up. Instead, you’re billed based on your monthly usage.

The only area where DreamHost falls short that I found in my complete review of DreamHost web hosting services is their customer support. You can only contact customer service via email or live chat, which is only available for 16 hours daily. So if you prefer phone support or need help in the middle of the night, you’re out of luck until the morning.

A2 Hosting — Fastest Cloud Web Hosting

  • Starts at $5.00/month
  • Up To 20X Faster Servers
  • Managed & unmanaged options
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Learn More

A2 Hosting offers some of the fastest hosting services out there. Their cloud plans are no exception.

I like the A2 cloud options because the plans are fully customizable based on your needs.

Plans start at $5, $10, and $15 per month, respectively. But you only pay for the resources that you use based on how you configure your cloud servers.

If you want to have cPanel, it’s an extra $19.95 per month and not available with the lowest-tier pricing plan.

As I mention in my full review of A2 web hosting services they offer a 99.9% uptime promise as well as an anytime money-back guarantee. Although there are some contingencies to both, so make sure you read the fine print of your contract.

If customer support is important to you, then you’ll definitely be satisfied with A2’s 24/7/365 guru support team.

This cloud hosting provider is ideal for those of you who want unmanaged cloud hosting with lightning fast page loading speed.

InMotion — Best for Small Businesses

  • Normally $64.99/month
  • Free domain and SSL certificate
  • Free launch assist service
  • 90-day money back guarantee

Get up to 64% off

InMotion offers some of the most understated cloud hosting services out there.

They have cloud hosting solutions for everyone.

  • Small business cloud hosting
  • Agency cloud hosting
  • Application cloud hosting
  • Enterprise cloud hosting plans

Altogether, InMotion has 10 different plans and pricing tiers for cloud hosting, which is the most I’ve seen offered by any provider.

For website owners, you’ll want to focus on the small business plans. InMotion makes it easy for you to scale your resources as your site grows I found in my complete review of InMotion hosting services.

You’ll also get a resource monitoring dashboard, free auto backups, rapid provisioning, and full snapshots of your servers. InMotion offers a free SSL and free cPanel license with all of its cloud business plans.

SiteGround — Best for Scaling Resources

  • Starts at $100.00/month
  • Guaranteed resources
  • Fully managed service
  • 30 day money back guarantee

Learn More

SiteGround cloud hosting is perfect for websites that have outgrown their shared plans.

These plans are fully managed. That means they take care of your account for you.

SiteGround handles the IT of your hosting. This allows you to focus on other areas of your website.

Add resources like RAM and CPU at any time with just one click in your admin settings.

One great feature: turning on auto-scaling. This automatically renders appropriate resources during times of unexpected traffic spikes.

With SiteGround, you can completely configure your own cloud and plan based on the resources you need. But here’s a look at their basic plans:

Jump Start

  • Starting at $100 per month
  • 4 CPUs
  • 8 GB of memory
  • 40 GB of SSD space
  • 5 TB of data transfer

Business Cloud

  • Starting at $200 per month
  • 8 CPUs
  • 16 GB of memory
  • 80 GB of SSD space
  • 5 TB of data transfer

Business Plus Cloud

  • Starting at $300 per month
  • 12 CPUs
  • 16 GB of memory
  • 120 GB of SSD space
  • 5 TB of data transfer

Super Power

  • Starting at $400 per month
  • 16 CPUs
  • 20 GB of memory
  • 160 GB of SSD space
  • 5 TB of data transfer

The Business or Business Plus plans should be more than enough resources for the majority of you, so that’s what I would recommend starting with. As your traffic rises, you can always scale as needed.

SiteGround provides advanced priority support to its cloud hosting clients.

You’ll also benefit from webmaster tools like a dedicated IP, free CDN, free SSL, daily backups, and a private DNS. Check out my in depth SiteGround web hosting review for more information about their overall services.

What Is Cloud Hosting?

Typically, your site is hosted on a single server. It could be your own dedicated server, or maybe there are other tenants who share space on it.

With cloud hosting, your web host isn’t connected to one physical location. Your website resources are maintained across multiple virtual servers in the cloud.

Each cloud server is responsible for specific sets of tasks. If one of the servers in the cloud fails or goes down, the others will automatically pick up the slack to render those required resources.

Your website will continue to run smoothly with cloud hosting, even if there is a problem with one of the servers.

Your website will benefit from increased uptime rates and won’t be as susceptible to unplanned downtime.

With a singular server, you’re essentially putting all of your eggs in one basket. This is a huge risk when you’re dealing with something as important as your website.

In addition to fixing potential problems with one server, cloud hosting will keep your site stable, even as your traffic increases.

Cloud hosting is also extremely easy to set up. For those of you who want to start hosting on the cloud right away, it can be a faster deployment option than something like a dedicated server or shared server.

Who Is Cloud Hosting For?

Cloud web hosting is ideal for medium to larger-sized businesses and websites that are growing rapidly. Cloud web hosting allows businesses to scale rapidly. That’s great for growing businesses.

Most cloud hosting plans have flexible pricing options, meaning you’ll only pay for the resources that you’re actually using.

If you’re anticipating random traffic surges or a steady increase in website traffic in the coming years, then cloud hosting is the perfect option for you.

However, cloud web hosting isn’t right for every business.

For those of you who have a small personal website, small blog, or a micro-business, you probably don’t need to use cloud hosting if there is no growth coming in the future. A shared hosting plan is fine for those types of websites.

When you’re ready to grow your website, you should consider upgrading to a cloud hosting plan as opposed to a VPS. While a virtual private server will be able to deliver enough server resources, a cloud plan is usually more cost-effective.

Enterprise-level websites with the need to customize their server settings would benefit from a dedicated hosting plan rather than a cloud solution.

Any website with more than 50,000 monthly visitors is a viable candidate for cloud hosting. It’s the perfect option for larger websites that can’t afford to have any downtime.

How to Find the Best Cloud Hosting Plan For You

Not every cloud hosting plan is the same. Some hosting providers offer different features and benefits compared to others.

When you’re evaluating a cloud web host, these are the factors that you should take into consideration.

Scalable Resources

You need to make sure that you get a web hosting plan with enough bandwidth, storage, and disc space. To do this, you need to know how much traffic you’ll get. But new websites face a common dilemma when they’re looking for a hosting plan.

They have to decide if they want to get the highest possible bandwidth, even if they won’t come close to exceeding those limits. Or should they start with a lower bandwidth plan and upgrade as their traffic starts to increase?

Cloud hosting solves this dilemma.

Since your website is hosted on multiple servers, you won’t have to worry about exceeding bandwidth. If one server is maxed out, you can always pull resources from another.

Look for a cloud hosting plan that lets you easily manage and configure your server resources in-real time.

Here’s an example of what this looks like on HostGator Cloud, which is a provider that we reviewed earlier in this guide.

Hostgator Resources

I’d recommend a cloud hosting plan that allows you to scale your server resources without needing any approval from the provider. This is something that can be managed from your admin dashboard.

Price

Most traditional hosting plans require you to pay a fixed monthly rate. You’ll be charged this amount even if you don’t use all of the resources on the server.

But cloud hosting is much more flexible in terms of pricing. So I’d look for a hosting provider that charges you based on the resources that you actually use.

Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, where the food options can also be purchased à la carte. The buffet price is $20 per person, which is the most you’ll have to pay, regardless of how much food you eat.

But if you only eat $10 worth of food, then wouldn’t it be nice to get $10 back?

That’s how some of the best cloud hosting plans are structured.

This relates back to our previous point about being able to scale your resources on demand. For example, let’s say you just built a bunch of new backlinks and you’re expecting a particular blog post on your website to go viral.

Rather than upgrading your entire plan (which you’d have to do with other types of web hosting) you can just increase the resources needed during that traffic spike and put everything back to normal when your traffic levels out.

In this case, you’d only pay for the actual server usage during the surge. Here’s an example of this pricing structure from another one of the providers on our list, DreamHost.

Dreamhost Useage

As you can see, pricing is based on usage. Each plan has a maximum monthly rate. Even the fine print at the bottom of the page states that you’ll only be billed for what you use.

So look for a hosting provider that offers a similar pricing structure.

Speed and Performance

If your hosting plan doesn’t deliver the best performance, then it’s a pretty crappy hosting plan.

The majority of cloud hosting servers will increase the capacity of your website, which boosts your page loading speed.

Cloud hosting doesn’t put as much strain on a singular server. If your website has lots of resource-intensive data such as videos, images, and other media content, then cloud hosting is something that you need to take advantage of.

Look for a cloud hosting plan that delivers content from the nearest remote server. This will ensure that all of your loading times are as fast as possible.

At the end of the day, your website visitors don’t care what type of hosting plan you’re using. They just want your site to be responsive and load quickly.

By prioritizing things like uptime and loading speed with cloud hosting, your website will ultimately perform better from the user end.

Security

No matter what type of web hosting plan you have, security always needs to be a priority.

Fortunately, cloud hosting is known to be very safe. That’s because your website is isolated from any potential problems with a physical server. Everything is being handled remotely, which wouldn’t be the case if you were relying on a singular server that’s hosted locally.

If a local server was compromised, then your website would be at risk. Whereas if one server in your cloud network was hacked, failed, or had a system overload, your website would stay up and running without any downtime or delays.

Look for a web host that offers any additional security protection as an incentive with your cloud hosting plan.

The Top Cloud Hosting Plans in Summary

Cloud web hosting is a great solution for growing websites. If your shared plan can no longer accommodate the needs of your site, then you should consider switching to a cloud solution since it can give you more resources, space, and performance power.

The majority of websites can benefit from cloud hosting. The increased flexibility, scalability, and resilience make it ideal for companies that need hosting resources on-demand. It’s a good choice for interactive sites, online stores, web apps, and IoT deployments.

A visitor lands on your site. Browses around. Leaves. It happens all the time. But if you aren’t getting conversions, you’re leaving money on the table. And it’s frustrating… 

How can you possibly get people to stick around? And more importantly, what can you do to turn those one-time visitors into lasting customers? The answer: opt-in pages.

We’ll walk you through what opt-in pages are and why they’re so effective. We’ll also give you some examples to help inspire your own opt-in pages so you can bump up your conversions.

What is an Opt-In Page?

An opt-in page is a landing page that asks visitors to provide their contact information in exchange for something of value. This could be anything from a free eBook to exclusive access to a webinar or even discounts on future purchases.

Opt-in pages are important because they allow you to capture the attention of potential leads. When someone provides their contact information, you can add them to your email list and market to them in the future. 

This usually marks the beginning of a relationship between you and the lead—and you’ll need to build on that relationship by providing valuable content on the regular.

Essential Features of an Opt-In Page

An opt-in page needs to be well-built if you want it to convert visitors into leads. Here are some must-have features to keep in mind:

Value proposition: Your opt-in page should explain what the visitor will get in return for providing their contact information. This could be free content, a discount on a product, or some other type of incentive. The more value you can offer, the more likely someone is to provide their contact information.

Lead form: The lead form asks for someone’s contact information. You should make this as easy as possible to fill out, and avoid asking for too much information at once—the more you ask for, the more likely the user is to bounce.

Call to action: The call to action is the button or link that encourages visitors to submit their information in exchange for something of value. You want it to be distinct from the rest of your page so it stands out to visitors. Plus, you should include a strong directive, such as “download now.”

5 Examples of Opt-In Pages

Now that you know what an opt-in page is and what it needs to be effective, it’s time to look at some real-world examples. Here are five pages that do a great job of enticing visitors.

1. Nomadic Matt’s Pop-up Opt-In Page

Nomadic Matt is a travel blogger who knows the importance of building an email list. His pop-up opt-in page introduces himself, then asks for your name and email to get money-saving travel tips. 

Image courtesy of Nomadic Matt

What works:

  • Matt’s intro is friendly and casual to show off his style. He tells you he knows that “overpaying for travel sucks” and he can show how “you can travel more for less.”
  • The opt-in incentive (money-saving travel tips) is relevant to Matt’s target audience (globetrotters).
  • The CTA copy (“Yes! I want to save money on travel!”) makes it easy for people to feel on board. Note the small faint copy for rejecting the offer that subtly nudges people towards the CTA.

2. HubSpot’s “Inbound Marketing Course” Opt-In Page

HubSpot offers an inbound marketing certification program that companies use as a training tool for their employees.

Image courtesy of HubSpot

What works:

  • The lead form is short and sweet, and it only asks for the basics—name and email address. Plus, it also gives the visitor the option to easily sign up via Gmail.
  • The fact that the course is free is prominently displayed (a big incentive).
  • The page also features a video below the lead form that introduces the program and how it can help employees learn inbound marketing skills. Note that while a video can give useful information, it does not necessarily boost conversions.
Image courtesy of HubSpot

3. Unbounce’s “The Conversion Intelligence Guide to Optimization” Opt-In Page

The Conversion Intelligence Guide to Optimization teaches you how to improve your website’s conversion rate in today’s competitive online market.

What works:

  • The page gives a detailed overview of the sections in the guide, along with a good description of each part. This way, visitors know exactly what they’re getting into.
  • The headline “Keep reading and learn the smartest way to optimize your marketing campaigns” encourages readers to dive in and learn more.
  • The CTA button copy (“Gimme the Full Guide”) is straightforward, yet attention-grabbing, too. 

4. Uberflip’s “Data-Driven Content Marketing” eBook Opt-In Page

The content marketing platform Uberflip helps users create, curate, and publish content. Here they offer a free eBook on collecting data to improve your content marketing: 

Image courtesy of Uberflip

What works:

  • The opt-in page is centered in the middle of the screen, making it easy to see and focus on. 
  • The lead form box does not expand until your mouse clicks on the single form field displayed (work email), which makes the opt-in form appear seemingly less involved.
  • The page highlights three concise points you can expect to learn from the eBook.

5. Rival IQ’s “2022 Instagram Stories Benchmark Report” Opt-In Page

Rival IQ offers a free benchmark report on useful Instagram Stories metrics collected from hundreds of brands.

Image courtesy of Rival IQ

What works:

  • The opt-in page promises an irresistible benefit (a free report) while not requiring too much more info on top of the basics (your name and work email).
  • The bottom of the page lists well-known companies that trust Rival IQ (L’Oréal, JayBaer, and Alumni & Friends).
  • The CTA copy is clear and actionable (“Download”).
Image courtesy of Rival IQ

Generate More Leads With Opt-In Pages

Opt-in pages are a great way to help you increase conversions and capture attention from potential leads. To make the most of your opt-in page, include a strong value proposition that offers something of immediate value, a lead form that’s simple to complete, and a clear call to action.

Remember that opt-in pages are never set-it-and-forget-it pages—you’ll need to work on your design and content regularly to make sure that you’re converting as many visitors as possible.

The best way to do this? Monitor your opt-in pages metrics and analyze the results to see what’s working and what could use some improvement. Better yet, let Smart Traffic do the work for you by automatically directing your visitors to a page variant where they’re more likely to convert. See how Unbounce helps you easily create and test new opt-in page designs to boost conversions. 

Your Guide to Creating High-Performing Landing Pages

Looking to drive more conversions but not sure where to start?

Landing pages are a key component to increasing conversions online—no matter what your goals are.

What exactly is a landing page, and (more importantly) how do you create an effective one?

Below, I’ll cover landing page basics, including tips to create a better landing page design, and tools to streamline the landing page creation and testing process.

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a single webpage that serves a single purpose—usually to drive conversions. Unlike your homepage, which might list all the services your business offers, a landing page encourages users to take one, specific action.

Here’s a landing page example for my tool Ubersuggest:

landing page example: ubersuggest

The page’s main goal is to encourage users to try out the tool by entering a domain or keyword. I also included a short description of what the tool does.

I’ve decided to keep the navigational buttons at the top, but many landing pages will choose to omit those entirely. I recommend testing both ways to see which drives more conversions for your business.

Why You Need Landing Pages

The main benefit of landing pages is to keep the user’s attention focused on one goal. They block noise and distractions that might pull users away from converting.

Here are a few other reasons why you need landing pages to succeed in digital marketing:

  • More Data and Insights: By tracking traffic and behavior on your landing page, you get unique insights into acquisition, user behavior, etc.
  • Improve Paid Ad Performance: Most paid ad platforms use a “quality score” to determine which ad to display. Ads that lead to relevant landing pages tend to have a higher quality score and thus are viewed more often.
  • More Conversions: Landing pages focus on conversions above all else. This sole focus helps lead users in the right direction without distraction. Use them right, and your conversions will go up. (We’ll talk more about how to do this later!)
  • Increase Brand Awareness: Landing pages use the same colors, tone, and logos as the rest of your website. This helps solidify your brand in the minds of customers and prospects.

Landing pages are also highly versatile. You can use them to increase email signups, drive sales, improve paid ad campaigns, and much more.

7 Tips for Creating Killer Landing Pages

Ready to create a landing page that drives business growth? These seven tips will help you create the high-conversion landing pages you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Include Clear Calls to Action on Your Landing Page

Call-to-actions (CTAs) are the most important part of your landing page.

Your call to action should be specifically tied to your goal and should be supported by everything else on your page, from the headline and body copy to images and overall layout.

Keep your CTA clear and make sure users know the next step. Here are a few CTA examples to test:

  • Buy Now
  • Sign Up
  • Get My (X)
  • Start Your Free Trial
  • Book an Appointment

Avoid bland CTAs like “Submit” that don’t tell users what the next steps are.

2. Keep Forms on Your Landing Page Simple

If your page includes a form, make sure it only asks for the most important information. If you’re trying to get visitors to sign up for an email newsletter, make sure you’re just asking them for their name and email address. Don’t overcomplicate things.

If you’re asking them to buy, then ask for billing and shipping information, and include a confirmation screen before they place their order. Wait until after they’ve placed their order to ask for additional information.

Asking for too much information early on decreases the chances a user will complete the action you want them to take.

3. Ensure Landing Page Copy is Clear and Concise

Leave the creative turns-of-phrase for your blog.

Landing page copy should be clear, easy to read, and make a specific point. Use bullet points, headings, and bold font to make content easier to read.

It’s pretty safe to assume that most people who visit your landing page already have some interest in what you have to say since they’ve clicked through from a PPC ad or email. However, just because they’re interested when they arrive doesn’t mean they’ll stay interested if you don’t get to the point.

Every single sentence and word on your landing page should serve a purpose, and that purpose should be to support your call-to-action. If it doesn’t do that, cut it.

4. Include Vital Information Above the Fold on Your Landing Pages

While there’s a lot of debate as to the importance of “the fold” in web design, landing pages are one area where the fold is crucial.

Your CTA should be located near the top of the page, where someone can click it without having to scroll.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your visitors won’t scroll down the page to read more information.

Hopefully, at least a small percentage of your visitors will be ready to buy as soon as they arrive on your landing page. Either because the email or link that brought them there already persuaded them, or because it’s not their first time visiting one of your landing pages.

5. Ensure Your Landing Pages Have the Same Look and Design as Your Campaign/Ads

If your page is tied to an email campaign or PPC campaign, make sure the landing page echoes the look and feel of the ad or email.

If the designs of the two are wildly different, your visitors may wonder if they’ve ended up in the right place. The easiest way to do this is to carry over fonts, images, and colors from your campaign to your landing page. This is especially important for paid ads, as it can increase your quality score.

6. A/B Test Your Landing Page

Finding the most effective landing page design is a matter of trial and error.

A/B testing means running two different landing pages and changing just one element to see which performs best.

For example, you might use two different images and see which one drives the most conversions.

A few other features to test include:

  • CTA
  • heading
  • button size and placement
  • number of form fields
  • images
  • right, left, or center column design
  • colors

Just remember to test each variant one at a time—if you change five different elements, you won’t know which impacted conversions.

7. Use Minimal Images and Large Font on Your Landing Pages

Aim to use one or two images, no more. Visual clutter detracts from the message and CTAs.

Larger font sizes are also a good idea to keep visitors’ eyes focused on what matters and reduce eye strain. Just don’t go overboard and put everything in a headline-size font—no one wants to be yelled at.

The ideal line length for copy readability is 39 characters, so size your font (and column width) accordingly.

Landing Page Creation Tools

You could create your landing pages from scratch, but most of us don’t have the time or the expertise to spend hours coding every time we need something new.

The good news is, there are several tools that make landing creation super simple. Here are a few of my favorite landing page builders and why I like them.

1. Swipe Pages

Swipe Pages is a landing page tool dedicated to creating high-performance landing pages. Where other tools include basic landing page creation in addition to other tools, Swipe Pages focuses specifically on building the best landing pages.

swipe pages landing page tool

Features include tons of templates, a drag and drop editor, a countdown timer, and the ability to add features like forms, carousels, pricing tables, and more—without any coding.

They also offer A/B testing tools, dynamic text features, and faster loading times to give you an edge over your competition.

2. Hubspot

Hubspot offers a free landing page tool. Features include a library of mobile-optimized templates, drag and drop editors, forms, and plenty of customization options.

hubspot landing page tool

It’s worth noting the free version has limited features. You’re also limited to 20 landing pages with Hubspot branding, and can’t use a custom domain.

To get access to features like dynamic content, testing, and optimization features, you’ll have to pay for Hubspot. Paid plans start at $45 per month.

3. MailChimp

MailChimp is best known for their email marketing tools, but they also offer a landing page builder. Features include a wide range of templates, landing page analytics (such as visitors, clicks, and conversions), forms, and testing capabilities.

mailchimp landing page tool

Mailchimp allows you to create unlimited landing pages for free, which is nice. But to access branding-free pages and additional features, you’ll need a paid plan, which starts at $11 per month.

If you already use Mailchimp for email marketing, it’s worth checking out their landing page tool.

Examples of Great Landing Pages

What makes a good landing page? The truth is, different strategies work for different businesses. Let’s take a look at three successful landing pages and discuss what works to give you some inspiration when creating your own.

We Can Code It

We Can Code It connects people with coding boot camps. This landing page is for an ad that displayed for the search “coding boot camps near me.”

part time coding landing page example

The landing page keeps it simple, with only a few lines of text. The image is a little busy, but the bright pink button stands out. The copy is clear and concise—there’s no question what they are promoting. I also like the pop-up chat box where users can get more information.

I do think the button text could be shorter—it’s a little long and not super clear. However, they might have tested and found this text drives more conversions!

SEMrush

SEMrush is an SEO platform, so I figured they’d have pretty solid landing pages. Here’s one for their tool that showed up as an ad in organic search:

semrush landing page example

This one has more content than most landing pages, but the size differences make it easy to read. The button is bright (and on-brand) and makes it clear what your next step would be.

The main headline focuses on the benefit—grow your online visibility—and the third line focuses on another key benefit—you only need one platform. That’s appealing to marketers who are juggling a ton of tools.

Bullet Journal App

Here’s an example that breaks some of the rules, but still works well, in my opinion.

Bullet Journals are a popular style of journaling that helps users stay organized using lists. They also have a companion app. Here’s their landing page for the app:

bullet journal landing page example

Like other landing pages, the content is limited. They use a heading, CTA, and images to show how the app works. Their CTA is “watch the demo,” which is a bit softer compared with what other brands typically use. I suspect they’ve done the research and realized that people on this landing page aren’t quite ready to buy.

The content is pretty sparse; they don’t describe what the companion is or what it does, really. However, I suspect that’s on purpose—people are pretty obsessed with their bullet journals, so page visitors already know what to expect.

This landing page is a perfect example of why A/B testing is crucial—you might be surprised about what works for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions About Landing Pages

Should you optimize your landing pages for SEO?

Yes, landing pages should be optimized to increase organic traffic. Even if your landing page is for a paid ad campaign, focusing on SEO can increase traffic and trust in your landing page.

What should a landing page include?

The main components of a landing page are a headline, subheadline, and CTA. Depending on your goal and what A/B testing tells you, a landing page might also include images, bullet points, etc.

Does Google like landing pages?

Google doesn’t inherently like or dislike landing pages. Landing pages do tend to have less content and fewer links, which are main search algorithm ranking factors. However, a well-optimized landing page can still rank well in organic search.

How many landing pages should you have?

Landing pages focus on just one goal, which means you should have one landing page for each goal. For example, you’d want a landing page for a free trial, a landing page for webinar sign-ups, a landing page for ebook downloads, etc.

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Conclusion: High-Performance Landing Pages

Landing pages are a core component of online marketing. Whether you’re trying to gather email addresses, host webinars to gain leads, or want to sell more products, you need to get familiar with landing pages.

Here’s the thing most people don’t realize—landing pages can be really simple to create. Don’t spend hours debating which heading to use. Instead, use one of the tools listed above, create two versions of your landing page and let your A/B test run.

Get a winner, create a new test, rinse and repeat. Eventually, you’ll have a killer landing page.

Have you created a high-converting landing page? What change had the biggest impact on conversions?

“Instagram, with its huge, highly-engaged audiences who consume millions of pictures and videos daily, is a gold nugget for brands and marketers.” That’s one takeaway from a detailed survey of influencer marketing released by influencer platform HypeAuditor. The report does not, however, underestimate the growing importance of TikTok which hit one billion active users last year and is experimenting with social commerce.

HypeAuditor also estimates that the global influencer marketing market will grow from $13.8 billion in 2021 to $22.2 billion by 2025. The research was based primarily on data from 1.6 million Instagram influencer accounts, over 108.7 thousand YouTube channels, and 86 thousand TikTok accounts.

Instagram versus TikTok. TikTok saw an explosion in numbers of users in 2020 (almost 90%). That slowed in 2021, but it still grew faster than Instagram (18.3% versus 6.2%). Around two thirds of TikTok users are under 24. Instagram saw a small increase in the percentage of users aged 25-34 last year, perhaps reflecting a defection of younger users to TikTok.

Instagram remains, for now, the most important channel for influencer marketing, with 68% of marketing specialists relying on it. Instagram has launched a professional dashboard for creators, extended Reel length to 60 seconds and made link stickers available to all accounts. The majority of influencers (around 40%) have niche audiences of 5,000 or less. The mega-influencers with audiences in seven figures make up less than one percent of all influencers. Small-scale influencers were shown to have the highest engagement with audiences.

TikTok has introduced new live streaming features, an educational creator portal, and a Q&A option to promote engagement between creators and audiences. Small-scale influencers on TikTok surpass 50% of all influencers, but mega-influencers have the highest engagement rate.

Why we care. The growth of interest in short-form video and engagement with social channels that host it (and let’s not forget YouTube with its Shorts offering) was dynamic in 2020 and it’s no surprise that it has slowed somewhat since then. But it’s here to stay and there’s value in it for everyone, from creators with relatively small but highly engaged audiences to brands that know how to deliver the right kinds of experiences.

Put that together with the soaring importance of social commerce, and the appetite among audiences for authentic content rather than just ads, and it’s easy to see influencer marketing as a mainstream marketing channel and not just an interesting add-on.

The post Instagram remains the key channel for influencer marketing campaigns appeared first on MarTech.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is the technology brands use to nurture relationships with their customers. These solutions are designed to help sales and service agents communicate with customers more effectively. And because 91% of businesses with more than 11 employees use a CRM, marketers would be wise to learn about all they have to offer.

In this piece, we’ll dive deep into CRM systems and their impact on marketing teams. We’ll cover:

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

The benefits of CRM

At their core, CRM systems are designed to facilitate customer and sales relationships. From the most basic solutions to the most complex, CRM software stores, organizes and shares customer information to facilitate connections. They collect basic information such as customer websites, emails, phone numbers, purchase dates, social media data and much more. Some even record data in the form of lead scoring based on internal analysis systems.

CRM platforms track user activity across many online channels and seek to guide them through your sales funnel. In essence, they work to paint a picture of the customer to better understand them and, ultimately, fulfill their needs. This approach saves brand resources by focusing on potentially profitable actions, rather than adopting a hit-or-miss approach and hoping customers “bite.”

Organizations of all sizes can take advantage of CRM’s wide range of benefits, including:

  • Improved information organization.
  • Automated data entry.
  • Customer segmentation.
  • Process scaling.
  • Prospect follow-up reminders.
  • Improved reporting.

“Corporations invest in sophisticated CRM, or customer relationship management, programs to effectively oversee their relationship with their customers at every point during the buying process,” says Marc Ostrofsky, entrepreneur and bestselling author of “Get Rich Click.”

CRM platforms can save brands time and resources, yet their ability to enhance customer relationships is their greatest asset. Trust is a bigger success factor than ever in our transformed digital landscape, and brands that fail to keep their customers happy from the get-go will most likely lose out. A CRM system can help organizations combat this challenge by speeding up communication, offering insights to help anticipate needs, and orchestrating marketing activities to deliver relevant information to enhance customer journeys.

Types of CRM systems available

CRM systems are often confused with customer data platforms (CDPs) because they both store customer data, but the two are designed to meet different challenges. CDPs bring together customer data from various sources and unify it, creating shareable profiles in the process, while CRM software enhances the communication and brand relationship with customers, leveraging their data to craft more engaging communications.

At their core, CRM tools offer solutions to help support sales and service agents with customer communications. Unlike CDPs, CRM systems use their technologies to ensure each step of the customer’s experience is as frictionless as possible.

There are a variety of CRM formats available — cloud-based, on-premise, industry-specific, etc. — but there are three main function groups most solutions fall into. Each of these reflects a specific business function designed to address brands’ customer relationship needs.

Operational CRM. The main purpose of operational CRM systems is to help sales, marketing, and service teams better streamline customer interactions. These use various forms of automation to help provide customers with the best experiences. Salesforce and HubSpot are some of the most popular operational CRM tools.

Analytical CRM. Many CRM systems are designed to store vast amounts of data, but not all are effective when it comes to categorizing and drawing insights from it. Analytical CRM software can help marketers determine customer preferences and points of contact more easily through data warehousing, data mining and online analytical processing (OLAP). Zoho Analytics is a good example of an analytical CRM.

Collaborative CRM. Clear communication is key when it comes to sharing customer data across sales, marketing, and customer service departments, which is where collaborative CRM systems thrive. These use interaction and channel management features to give relevant teams a 360-view of customers. Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SAP Customer 360 are popular collaborative CRM systems.

Analyst firm Gartner put together a CRM system ranking for its 2021 Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center report, highlighting the most impactful players in the field. The platforms were categorized into four groups.

Leaders. Salesforce Cloud remains in the top CRM spot, with over 150,000 customers and occupying 19.5% of the market share. It’s followed by Pegasystems, Microsoft, Zendesk and ServiceNow, each taking up other areas of the market.

Challengers. SAP, a growing CRM platform, was the only software in this category. Its geographic reach, cloud service, and customer service management make it a contender for the leader group.

Niche. Verint’s Customer Engagement Platform was marked as an impressive niche option due to its omnichannel capabilities and analytics tools. Appian’s Customer Engagement Operations is also considered an important niche player, offering a variety of full-stack automation capabilities.

Visionaries. Gartner chose Freshworks as its only visionary in its report, but its unique capabilities make it a solid niche option as well. Freshworks’ CRM offers multichannel services and an extensive marketplace to connect customers with partners and developers.

Who uses CRM systems?

CRM software can be a valuable asset to all departments within your organization, which is why many brands have some form of it. 65% of salespeople used CRM tools in 2020, and it’s growing at a rapid pace — spending on CRM is expected to reach $96.5 billion by 2028, according to Grand View Research, Inc.

Enterprises and small businesses alike have found CRM software helpful in their lead management processes. But companies with the following qualities tend to get the most use out of them:

  • Businesses with sales teams.
  • Businesses with dedicated marketing teams.
  • Businesses with accounting teams.
  • Business with human resource departments.

There are also certain industries that use CRM systems more than others due to their innate compatibility.

Retail and e-commerce. While building relationships with customers is important to any enterprise, a CRM’s ability to encourage customer feedback makes it an important piece of retail marketing. It can also help them set goals and provide the product updates customers need.

Banking and financial services. With so much sensitive information involved in finances, brands need tools that can safely handle customer data. CRMs can offer banks and financial institutions custom solutions to ensure their customers’ finances are secure throughout each stage of the process.

Healthcare providers. CRM systems’ ability to synchronize and share vital health information makes them key assets for hospitals, doctors and other healthcare providers. They also assist in the process of gathering patient insights and providing better healthcare experiences.

Hotels and hospitality. The prioritization of customer service in hotels and hospitality is among the highest across industries. To keep up with the demand for good experiences, these organizations use CRM systems to improve communication with customers, ensuring satisfaction levels remain high.

Agriculture. CRM systems help agricultural workers build better relationships with suppliers, which in turn improves the purchasing process. They can also assist with logistics and transportation of equipment.

Consulting. Consulting practices rely heavily on operations, which can experience functionality issues over time. CRM systems help these companies establish consistent processes, all the while helping them keep up with increasing quantities of client work.

Insurance. Companies in the insurance sector often use CRM software to securely store customer information from multiple sources, essentially creating a comprehensive database that customers can access with ease.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in — CRM systems have the potential to improve interactions with customers and within your organization as a whole. At their core, they bring together people, technology and processes.


More B2B marketers are adopting account-based marketing than ever before. Find out why and explore the ABM platforms making it possible in the latest edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

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How to choose a CRM system

CRM software is designed to help growing companies manage their leads by storing the data in one accessible location. There’s no “wrong” time to adopt one (unless it conflicts with specific organizational requirements such as cost).

Many organizations forgo CRM adoption in favor of traditional customer data storage, relying on salespeople to handle the whole process or using a basic data warehouse. This can work for smaller companies such as startups, which would rather invest in other business aspects. But, at some point, these manual systems will likely fail, putting even greater strain on these companies.

Hesitancy for CRM adoption is understandable given the ever-changing marketing landscape. It’s often the case that brands can’t find adequate amounts of time to evaluate an entirely new system, much less train team members to use it.

But there are plenty of advantages that brands should consider before brushing off the idea. If teams are aligned throughout the CRM selection, implementation and optimization tasks, there’s less chance for major disruptions.

Brands dealing with large quantities of sales data coming from multiple sources may opt for a CRM to consolidate the information. Sales analysis is vital to successful customer acquisition, and without consistent processes, teams will find it more different to make decisions, leading to poorer outcomes and wasted resources.

Brands may have too few staff members available to handle the needs of a growing customer base. Companies in these situations may find CRMs helpful in their ability to organize, manage and connect with these customers.

In the end, your brand and customer needs are the determining factors for CRM adoption. If companies are having trouble connecting sales and marketing with their customers in engaging and sustaining ways, it could be time to streamline their efforts with a CRM.

How a CRM platform helps sales and marketing teams collaborate effectively

Many organizations are set up like silos with windows – each department performs its own tasks, isolated, with limited visibility into the other divisions. And in a world where more organizations are working virtually, this trend has only been exacerbated.

The advent of tools like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams and the like has streamlined communications within teams to address this siloing. But brands need solutions that unify these departments and allow them to address customer needs seamlessly. This is where CRM comes into play.

A CRM platform can provide these teams with records and notes of conversations and interactions between departments and with customers, making it easier to sustain long-term relationships. The added transparency of these tools provides the foundation for much-needed trust between each group involved.

Many CRM tools even allow departments to work simultaneously on customer files, further preventing any discrepancies in the data. The increasingly popular cloud-based CRM solutions make this possible.

Historically, sales and marketing teams have had difficulties working together to drive the best outcomes. With a CRM, these departments can align their processes, collaborate effectively and, in turn, drive more sales.

How CRM enables personalization & personalized experiences

Customers want to feel cared for by brands, and brands show this most clearly through personalized experiences. But this is more easily said than done. Research from Forrester Consulting found that only one out of five marketing organizations was effectively personalizing content at scale. And another study from Gartner found that 63% struggle to deliver personalized experiences with digital technology.

To infuse their campaigns with the personalization consumers demand, more sales and marketing departments are turning to CRM solutions. These platforms can aggregate massive amounts of customer information, including prior conversations, preferences, questions, concerns or any other data they’ve consented to share. Brands, using a CRM, can leverage the insights gained to craft personalized customer experiences.

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them,” says Kevin Stirtz, author of “More Loyal Customers.” Companies can ensure they don’t lose touch with customers through CRM software’s relationship-building capabilities, providing salespeople with the most pertinent customer information.

CRM platforms can also help marketing and sales teams predict the next best action for clients. After gaining a more complete understanding of customers, they can more easily guide them to personalized resources on your properties. This helps prove your value as a brand and build customer trust and loyalty.

These personalization capabilities allow CRMs to work effectively with email, social media and website communication; they support over 70% of account-based marketing (ABM) programs, according to the 2020 ABM Benchmark Survey Report.

ABM technology investment chart from survey data

A one-size-fits-all approach to customer relationships will inevitably fail. Brands need solutions like CRM platforms to communicate effectively with their customers, address their concerns in a timely manner and prove that they value their business.

How CRM software can help brands

While CRM software is far from being an all-in-one solution, its capabilities can offer brands much-needed support for their sales, marketing and customer relationship teams. Its ability to automate simple yet mundane tasks free up team members’ time so they can focus on their primary work.

This is perhaps why so many marketers replaced their CRM systems in 2021, opting for new versions to meet their needs.

Businesses that have succeeded with CRM platforms tend to point to the following benefits:

  • Centralized customer data.
  • Improved task tracking.
  • Increased customer retention rates.
  • Automated tasks.
  • Increased sales opportunities.

However, brands shouldn’t expect automatic success with CRM software, especially if their organizational structure isn’t primed to handle it. More marketers are finding issues with many brands’ overreliance on CRM in their B2B stacks, which is why many organizations are demanding more flexible solutions — especially in a post-COVID world. But more than that, brands need to learn how to use whatever CRM system they choose effectively.

“Implementing a CRM system will do absolutely nothing for your business,” says CRM consultant Bobby Darnell. “However, the continued and effective use of it will.”

Building strong relationships between brands and customers is needed now more than ever, and the CRM systems of today seem ready to tackle the challenge. The societal upheaval brought on by the 2020 pandemic left many brands struggling to connect with audiences as they once had, which is most likely why the CRM market grew 10.9% that year and is expected to grow to $128.97 billion by 2028.

The solutions offered by these systems have the potential to help brands effectively connect with customers no matter where they enter the sales cycle. To attract and retain them, marketing and sales teams should consider exploring the capabilities of a CRM.


Snapshot: Marketing automation

For today’s marketers, automation platforms are often the center of the marketing stack. They aren’t shiny new technologies, but rather dependable stalwarts that marketers can rely upon to help them stand out in a crowded inbox and on the web amidst a deluge of content.

HubSpot noted late last year that marketing email volume had increased by as much as 52% compared to pre-COVID levels. And, thankfully, response rates have also risen to between 10% and 20% over their benchmark.

To help marketers win the attention battle, marketing automation vendors have expanded from dependence on static email campaigns to offering dynamic content deployment for email, landing pages, mobile and social. They’ve also incorporated features that rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence for functions such as lead scoring, in addition to investing in the user interface and scalability.

The growing popularity of account-based marketing has also been a force influencing vendors’ roadmaps, as marketers seek to serve the buying group in a holistic manner — speaking to all of its members and their different priorities. And, ideally, these tools let marketers send buyer information through their tight integrations with CRMs, giving the sales team a leg up when it comes to closing the deal. Learn more here.

The post What is CRM and how does it support marketing? appeared first on MarTech.

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best conference call service for most people is Nextiva or RingCentral.

The best conference call services support quick calls, video conferences, team collaboration, and even 100-person webinars.

Regardless of your budget or team size, you’ll find a perfect solution below. This guide contains in-depth reviews on the best free and paid conference call services.

The Best Conference Call Services

  • Nextiva — Best Overall
  • RingCentral — Best Video and Phone Conference Call Combo
  • GoToMeeting— Best for Upgrading (or Creating) Your Conference Room
  • Phone.com — Cheapest Options for Routine Small Conference Calls
  • ClickMeeting — Best Tools for Webinars and Presentations
  • Zoom— Best for Large Teams
  • Google Meet (Formerly Google Hangouts) — Easiest to Set Up and Invite
  • Webex — Best for Team Collaboration
How to choose the best conference call services. Quicksprout.com's methodology for reviewing conference call services.

I looked for providers that offered VoIP (voice over internet protocol), which means you can make calls over the internet instead of a landline. This option costs less and is much easier to manage than a traditional phone line.

Still, if you want to use your traditional phone service, most of the options on my list have you covered.

But which is right for your business? I’ve reviewed each service in detail below to help you compare them.

Nextiva — Best Overall

  • Rock-solid reliability
  • Carrier-grade data centers
  • Voice & video conferencing
  • 24/7 support

Get Started Now

VoIP calling providers often promise crystal-clear HD voice and audio, but calling over the internet can be susceptible to flagging quality because of heavy usage or even environmental factors out of your control.

If you can’t gamble on conference call audio quality, go with the most reliable VoIP network out there—Nextiva.

It’s not just about delivering HD calls when the network isn’t strained. You need uptime reliability, transparent network health insights, and rock-solid quality of service all together. Especially when your conference calls are how your team works together on projects or presents your offerings to potential clients.

Nextiva home page.

Nextiva is a recognizable name in this space. And with that cachet comes technology to match.

With eight points of presence (POPs), you’ll never have to worry about high latency because your VoIP calls are connected to the nearest POP between you and whomever else is on the line with you.

Plus, Nextiva’s infrastructure is carrier grade, meaning its data centers are rated for high availability and built to handle periods of intense usage.

Nextiva even makes sure its network of data centers and POPs are fortified to withstand anything—including natural disasters—and climate controlled to keep the equipment in optimal conditions. So, there’s little that can cause unplanned outages or service interruptions.

But even that can’t guarantee everything will be perfect 100% of the time. Not to worry—Nextiva’s support is also top-notch.

Their representatives are available 24/7 and go the extra mile to solve emergent problems or help you get the most out of your VoIP system. They can even walk you through extra steps to take with your own tech stack to ensure even better conference call quality.

Nextiva offers video calling and conferencing calling as part of their business phone system. There are several plans to choose from, but you will need to pick the Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate plan in order to access these features.

Below you’ll see the pricing for Nextiva’s phone service, excluding the Essentials plan, which doesn’t offer conference calling.

**Nextiva runs promotions often and you can save even more on the plans below. Click here for the current sale prices.

Nextiva pricing page.

The Professional plan limits your conference calls to 40 people–the other two plans allow unlimited participants. You can, however, have up to 250 participants on a video conference with the Professional plan.

If you don’t want to worry about limits at all, an upgrade to Enterprise allows for any number of participants on either conferencing form. Of course, quality may diminish if your network isn’t up to handle hundreds of people on a single call, so make sure your infrastructure can bear it. Enterprise runs $10 more per user per month than Professional at all scales.

Get the best conference call quality and reliability in the biz—get started with Nextiva today.

RingCentral — Best Video and Phone Conference Call Combo

  • Free up to 100 participants
  • Video, screen share, & messaging
  • VoIP phone service plans
  • Small to enterprise solutions

Get Started for Free

RingCentral includes video conferencing all but their most budget-friendly paid phone plans. That’s ideal for any work-from-home business.

There’s free video conferencing software out there that is great for personal stuff, but businesses need a secure connection. RingCentral provides free video conferencing for up to 100 people and unlimited audio conferencing.

Because they are a VoIP phone service, all of this takes no more than an Internet connection.

RingCentral Features

The free plan competes well with others on this list. While you’re capped at 40 minutes per meeting, you can still have up to 100 participants. That’s great for scrappy startups.

You can easily add-on larger meeting options to your plan if you upgrade to one of their several paid plans that start as low as $19.99/month.

The system offers nearly every calling, collaboration, and mobile feature businesses would want from a phone system. Since it is housed in the cloud, there is no equipment to install, and they take care of all the maintenance and upgrades.

RingCentral also has stout enterprise solutions and you can save some money by bundling RingCentral Meetings with a VoIP business phone plan.

Click here to visit RingCentral and get started for free.


GoToMeeting — Best for Upgrading (or Creating) Your Conference Room

  • Free 14-day trial
  • HD video conferencing
  • No time limits for meetings
  • Mobile app and Slack integration

Get Started for Free

GoToMeeting offers straightforward, high-quality solutions for small business conference calls without a bunch of distracting features.

One standout feature is their all-in-one hardware and software kit. They’ll send you everything you need to transform any physical room into a smart conference room.

It doesn’t matter if you have a home office or a massive 12-person boardroom. You’ll be able to create a video and phone conferencing solution with all the screens and audio tools you need for your business. That makes it perfect for teams of all sizes.

Unlike some of the other paid conference call solutions on the market, GoToMeeting does not have a basic free plan. However, you can still try it out at no cost with a 14-day trial.

GoToMeeting home page.

GoToMeeting has three plans:

  • Professional — Starting at $14 per month
  • Business — Starting at $19 per month
  • Enterprise — Custom pricing

The Professional and Business plans can host conference calls with up to 150 and 250 participants, respectively. The Enterprise plan is for up to 3,000 participants.

All plans come with these basic features:

  • HD video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Dial in conference lines
  • No limits on meetings
  • No time limits for meetings
  • Personal meeting rooms
  • Business messaging
  • Mobile app
  • Slack integration
  • Salesforce integration
  • 24/7 customer support

GoToMeeting also has unlimited recording capabilities and automatic transcriptions of your conference calls.

Performance is where GoToMeeting stands out over the competition. Lots of free and paid conference call services out there fall short with audio quality. But GoToMeeting customers rave about the crystal clear sound and connection of their conference calls.

GoToMeeting does not have some of the more advanced features that we’ve seen from other providers. But, personally, I like the simplicity.

You don’t need bells and whistles to make effective conference calls. Plus, I think the price points for these plans provide a great value for the benefits.

Overall, it’s a great choice for those of you who manage large remote teams or if your team is able to work in a physical location—and want to upgrade your conference room.

Click Here to Try GoToMeeting for Free.

Phone.com — Cheapest Options for Routine Small Conference Calls

  • Best value for small-scale calls
  • Starts at just $10.39/user per month
  • Free and unlimited conferencing on all plans
  • Includes texting & dozens of features

Get Started Now

Phone.com strikes a perfect balance for smaller teams that need always-available voice, video, and messaging. They fill in that much needed “middle-of-the-road” option for most people.

That doesn’t mean they skimp on features. They offer a great balance between value and providing you with the tools you need.

Phone.com's home page.

Phone.com starts at $10.39/user per month for its Basic Users plan. You get 300 pooled minutes, 1,000 pooled text messages, and video conferencing for up to 10 people.

Take just one step up to the Plus Users plan–$19.99/user per month—and you won’t have to worry about limits at all. There, you get unlimited minutes and text messages, plus video conferencing for up to 25 participants and video recording.

Notice that the participant limits are just for video calls. A lot of teams and companies prefer video conferencing, especially now with more remote workers involved. But if you just need voice conference calling some or most of the time, Phone.com is even more appealing.

On every plan, you get a free conference bridge that can handle up to 500 participants. And, audio conferencing doesn’t eat into your monthly minute limits. So, that means if you’re doing a bunch of inbound and outbound calling, you can settle on the lowest Phone.com pricing plan and be just fine for all of your conferencing needs.

That makes Phone.com a steal for smaller teams—especially ones with team members spread all over the map—who lean more heavily on conference calling than any other voice product.

Another nice aspect of choosing Phone.com is that you can mix and match plans. This is a big deal because it allows you to get cheap plans for some users and premium plans for people who need unlimited minutes or advanced features.

With most conference call and phone service providers, you have to select a single plan for your whole company–Phone.com lets you outfit your teams with exactly what they need. You’re never paying for more than people are using.

The Basic Users plan doesn’t skimp on additional features, either. It also comes with:

  • Video screen sharing
  • Document sharing
  • Email notifications for voicemails (transcription only available with Plus Users)
  • iOS and Android mobile apps
  • HD voice and video
  • Call logs
  • Call notifications

And that’s just a sampling of the standard features.

You can get started today stress-free because of Phone.com’s 30-day money back guarantee. Don’t wait any longer searching for a conference calling solution, your smaller team has found your perfect fit in Phone.com.


ClickMeeting — Best Tools for Webinars and Presentations

  • Webinar solution w/ conference calls
  • Highly collaborative & engaging
  • Good for onboarding & training
  • Prices start at $25/month

Try 30-days for FREE

ClickMeeting is a bit different from the others on our list. That’s because it’s a webinar solution that gives you a great way to conduct conference calls as well.

It might not seem like a drawback — but it’s actually pretty great if you often hold web events. Not only will you have a way to meet and collaborate with your team, you’ll also have a lead generation engine with webinars.

Their collaboration software is really great for teams and distributed companies. As such, it should stand out to any remote workers out there.

How to record a webinar | Webinar recording with ClickMeeting

When it comes to conference calls, ClickMeeting’s robust set of presenting and agenda tools allows you to conduct highly engaging, fruitful meetings with your team, clients, customers, and more.

It’s a perfect way to let your team walk away with actionable insights as well as easily onboarding and training new employees.

Since it is also a webinar tool, it does come with more features geared towards sharing insights. As such, if you’re looking for a pure conference call tool, you might want to look elsewhere.

However, this is still a fantastic tool if you’re looking for a great conference call solution that’s multifaceted and flexible when it comes to your use.

The customization they offer really facilitates viewer interaction with the material a presenter is discussing. Overall, I’d say it’s great for agencies, teachers and other education professionals.

Their webinar solution also integrates with PayPal, allowing customers to purchase access to your webinars easily and securely.

If you need a highly-customizable webinar and collaboration tool, and also need something that goes beyond conference calling, this is the service for you.

Pricing starts at $25 per month and is billed annually. However, it does come with a free 30-day trial to test it out.



Zoom — Best for Large Teams

  • Free up to 100 participants
  • Pro plan starts at $14.99 mo
  • HD video conferences
  • Cloud recording features

>> Compare Quotes

Zoom shot up in popularity recently—and for good reason. Aside from the global pandemic forcing companies to choose a new video conferencing option, Zoom also rose in popularity due to their reliability, user-friendliness and their cheap price tag.

This cloud-based system offers a wide range of free and paid options to accommodate both individuals and businesses of all sizes.

Zoom home page.

That said, Zoom is best for large or enterprise teams. For $19.99 per month, you can have up to 300 participants in a single call. That’s larger than any of the other providers (outside of enterprise-level plans).

On top of that, you’re going to get world-class performance in audio and video. There’s perhaps no better conference call service out there that offers such sharp image quality with less lag and dropped calls.

There’s a reason they became a major part of society during the pandemic after all.

Their first paid plan should be enough for most of you. You could always upgrade to Zoom Business as your company scales.

Zoom stands out amongst its competitors for video conferencing and cloud conferencing rooms. You’ll definitely want to lean toward this service if you plan to make professional video presentations via conference calls.

While it’s not for everyone, Zoom Enterprise is a top solution for those of you who fall into that category. Big companies like Uber, Zendesk, Ticketmaster, GoDaddy, and Pandora are just a handful of brands that rely on Zoom for conference calling solutions.

Zoom has an extensive knowledge base as well as 24/7 phone support and live training with some of the plans. But the audio quality can be a bit unstable at times.


Google Meet (formerly Google Hangouts) — Easiest to Set Up and Invite

  • Free with your Gmail account
  • Conference with up to 25 people
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Best used with a G Suite account

>> Compare Quotes

Google Meet is a relatively new voice and video conferencing platform that offers the kind of reliable, top-quality service you would expect from a Google product.

You may be familiar with Google Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. These were formerly two separate services but have been rebranded as Google Meet.

It’s free to use, and a great option for anyone with a Gmail account (which is basically everyone).

It automatically connects with your Gmail account and contacts too — so it can be truly seamless. It has Google Calendar integration as well, which makes it easy to schedule meetings with other users.

To set up a conference call, just use your browser, chrome extension, or mobile app.

While it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that some of the other offerings on this list does, it does shine in sheer simplicity. To set up a call, all you need is a Google account— and that’s it. In fact, if you’re reading this right now, you likely can set up a call in less than 10 seconds.

Once you set it up, all you have to do is send the Google Meet link to anyone you want to join the call.

This service is usually used for one-on-one meetings, but can be a viable option for smaller conference calls of up to 25 people. Google Hangouts makes it easy for you to share your screen and facilitate video conference calls as well.

To get the most out of Google Meet, you need to have a G Suite account, which starts at $6 per month. You might already be using G Suite, and if you’re not, you should start.

Google Hangouts home page.

While Google Meet is simple, straightforward, and easy to use, it definitely has a few drawbacks that you should keep in mind.

For starters, there is no customer support if you’re using it for free. So if you have a problem or question, you’ll need to browse through user forums instead. There is no recording feature either, which seems to be standard with most of the other conference call services out there.

Personally, I use Google Meet at least once or twice per month. Most of those meetings are just with a handful of people. Audio quality issues are common. But overall, it’s quick, easy, and free to make conference calls with this service.


Webex — Best for Team Collaboration

  • Free up to 50 participants
  • Cloud collaboration features
  • High-quality audio & video
  • Cloud storage

>> Compare Quotes

Webex is a Cisco product, so you know that the technology used to power this solution is reputable and high-quality. This is one of the best business conference call services to consider for both audio and video calling.

Arguably the best part about this video conferencing software is the cloud collaboration features. It’s easy for teams of any size to share files and screens with other meeting participants to stay organized and make the conference more interactive.

Webex home page.

Not only will you get the great collaboration features you expect from conference call services including screen sharing, whiteboard tools, and meeting recordings, but you’ll also be able to create breakout rooms or send messages and files to teams or individuals in just a few clicks.

They also offer seamless integrations allowing you to collaborate with clients and stakeholders across a host of third party applications and software.

Another very helpful collaboration tool is Webex Assistant, an AI digital assistant that takes notes, gives team members reminders, and also provides real-time transcriptions, closed captions, and even translations. This is great for teams that have folks who speak other languages, are hearing impaired, or would like an accurate record for meeting minutes.

With the top-tier plan maxing out at 200 participants, Webex doesn’t really have an enterprise-level option. Although that shouldn’t be a major concern for most of you. Plans with up to 50 or 100 participants should be more than enough to meet your needs.

Here’s an overview of the four different plans offered by Webex:

Webex Free

  • Free
  • Up to 50 participants
  • 40 minute limit on conference calls
  • 1 GB of cloud storage

Webex Starter

  • Starting at $13.50 per month
  • Up to 50 participants
  • No meeting limits
  • 5 GB of cloud storage

Webex Plus

  • Starting at $17.95 per month
  • Up to 100 participants
  • No meeting limits
  • 5 GB of cloud storage
  • Assign alternate hosts
  • 24/7 customer support

Webex Business

  • Starting at $26.95 per month
  • Up to 200 participants
  • 10 GB of cloud storage
  • Custom branding features

The free plan is fine, but it’s pretty limited. All of the paid plans come with more advanced features like transcription recording, call-in audio, file sharing, and administrative features. To get the best customer support, you’ll need to upgrade to the Webex Plus plan.


How to Find the Best Conference Call Service for You

Compare Quotes From The Best Conference Call Services

Get matched up with a conference call service that fits your specific needs.

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To narrow down your choices, you need to know what to look for when you’re evaluating a potential service.

This is the methodology that we used when researching the solutions in this guide. We benchmarked each of the conference call services against these criteria.

Now, you can use it to help inform your choices.

Number of Participants

The maximum amount of participants is a crucial element to keep in mind. In fact, these limits are the most important numbers when it comes to which plan you ultimately choose.

Some free plans will limit you to just 10 participants and 40 minutes per conference call, while other paid options give you up to 1,000 participants with no limits on call duration.

Pick a service based on what you need. If you have a small business with just a handful of remote employees, you probably don’t need to pay for a conference call service with a limit of 250 participants.

Services with unlimited call durations are your best options. It won’t be effective or productive if you’re forced to cut meetings short based on these limitations.

For example, RingCentral and Zoom are great options if you’re a scrappy entrepreneur looking to host smaller conference calls with your clients. They both give you a free plan that allows 40 minutes for up to 100 participants.

Their paid plans give you even more allowed participants (e.g. Zoom gives you up to 300 participants with their Business plan) with longer call durations.

Whereas a service like Google Meet, which is entirely free, gives you just 25 people max—but call times are unlimited.

Video Conferencing

Businesses are turning to video conferencing now more than ever. In the wake of the global pandemic, it’s been an indispensable tool for schools, businesses, families, friends, and more.

That’s why you should put a premium on a conferencing service that includes video. Not just that, but they also need to include tools that help enhance your experience.

This might include collaboration tools such as screen sharing and audio sharing, text chats for collaborative communication, and whiteboard tools like the ability to write on the screen.

Tools like Dialpad Meetings and Zoom (pictured below) all give you those tools for easy collaboration.

Certain conference call services specialize in video calls. So if you’re planning to use video for the majority of your calls, look for an option that specializes in this area.

Many of the options on this list offer one form of video conferencing or another. However, an offering like Grasshopper only focuses on audio calls and conferencing. If you’re looking for video, you’ll have to turn elsewhere.

Video and Audio Quality

If you’re making calls over the internet, you need a strong connection. It’s not that voice calls put a huge strain on the network–they don’t–it’s that any delay or lag in the connection is a big deal.

When you’re downloading a file, a slight lag is no concern. But when you’re trying to have a conversation, the loss of quality leads to miscommunications. It’s frustrating trying to talk to a single person, and nearly impossible to hold a productive conference call.

You can test your connection right on Nextiva’s website, simulating up to 200 phones.

But even if the internet connection is solid, there’s still potential issues with call quality that the best conference call services can help you address.

Some tools and features to keep an eye out for:

  • On-demand mute buttons for both the participant and the host. This gives everyone more control over their sound and can avoid any unwanted, distracting noise.
  • Voice cancellation. Some video conferencing services cut out certain voices if they overlap with one another (e.g. Zoom) while others allow you to hear everyone talking at once (though you might not understand them in the cacophony).
  • Echo prevention. The audio in a cavernous or empty room can be difficult to listen to. Some services are able to limit the amount of echo through their platforms.

The only way to really know how good the call quality will be is to test it out. Take advantage of any free trials offered by a provider and use it as much as possible to see if you’re happy with the results.

In our research, we found that RingCentral offers the best overall quality if you’re looking for a solid UCaaS platform. From phone calls to video conferencing, they offer consistent, HD-quality audio and video services. If you’re looking for one system to handle both your businesses phones and video calls, they’re definitely a top consideration.

When it comes to purely video calls, though, we found that Zoom offered the best overall quality. The picture tended to be the clearest and (depending on your web connection) rarely encountered any lag or dropped calls. The audio was also very clear.

However, they have a feature that automatically mutes certain audio when people talk over each other. That can be good or bad as it helps lessen the chaos of big meetings but can result in dropped dialogue.

Call Recording

The ability to record your conference calls is another big advantage. Not every free service comes with this option.

There are different levels of call recording capability. Some services will record the call and then force you to store it locally on whatever device you’re using. Others have cloud storage options, based on your plan.

Make sure you understand any storage limits before you sign up for a plan. Otherwise, you might be forced to upgrade when you run out of space.

It’s also worth noting that some call recording plans also come with transcription services. This will make it easier for you to go back and find certain points within a call without having to search through the audio.

If you’re going to take advantage of video calling features, see if the service records the videos or if the recording is just limited to audio calls only.

The ability to share the recorded calls later is also crucial. See what file type the recorded calls are downloaded under and make sure they’re easily shared with others.

Good conference call services like Dialpad make it easy to store and share recordings and will even create a transcript of the recording if you need it. Sharing these recordings takes a few clicks.

Zoom, and GoToMeeting also offer great call recording features. Webex doesn’t record your video or audio, but they do offer call transcription services.

Call Scheduling and Setup

Nothing’s worse than a confusing back-and-forth between you and the person you want to talk to about how you’re going to meet. That’s why being able to easily schedule and set up calls is the foundation of any good conference call service.

Good platforms integrate with your favorite calendar app and put the call on your schedule with a few clicks. These integrations are key to simplifying your scheduling processes.

For example, Google Meet does this with its easy Google Calendar integration. It also automatically connects with your Gmail account so you can easily schedule calls with your existing contacts.

Zoom (pictured above) also has integrations with Google Calendar, Office 365, and iCal. You’ll be able to schedule the day, time, and location (e.g. Zoom room link) and then send an invitation to call participants via email.

Adding new users to a call should also be as simple as sending them a link to the conference “room.” If it’s any more complicated than that, you might want to look elsewhere.

It’s worth mentioning that signing up for some conference calling services shouldn’t take more than seconds to complete. For example, if you’re a G Suite user, all you need to do is navigate to Google Meet to use it.

The Top Conference Call Services in Summary

All conference call services offer the same core functions. But the best conference call solutions stand out with collaboration tools, high-quality video, crystal-clear audio, and other valuable features.

Factors like team size, budget, and primary use case should also be taken into consideration here. A startup with five employees won’t need the same solution as a mid-sized company hosting webinars with hundreds of attendees.

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best online reputation management company for most people is WebiMax or NetReputation.

Your reputation can make or break your company. Consumers and other businesses regularly search online to learn more about your organization and brand before they consider working with you.

A positive brand image can lead to higher sales, while a negative perception deters people from buying your products or services. Online reputation management services can help you build and maintain a positive brand image or repair a damaged one.

The 10 Best Online Reputation Management Companies of 2022

  • WebiMax — Best for small businesses that need hands-on solutions
  • NetReputation – Best for ultra-responsive customer support
  • InternetReputation.com – Best for personal reputation management
  • Podium — Best for getting reviews automatically
  • SEO Image — Best ORM for legal and medical practices
  • Gadook — Best for rebranding after reputation attacks
  • BirdEye — Best for getting Google and Facebook reviews
  • Reputation.com — Best for knowing your competition’s reputation
  • Go Fish Digital — Best for improving Yelp reviews
  • Netmark.com — Best for hands-off, fast responses to reputation hits
How to choose the best online reputation management company. Quicksprout.com's methodology for reviewing online reputation management companies.

Read on for an in-depth review of each company. You will learn more about their services, features, benefits, and other considerations to make your decision easier.

Best Online Reputation Management Company Reviews

WebiMax – Best for Small Businesses Needing Hands-On Solutions

  • Founded in 2008
  • Custom strategies
  • Cost-effective & confidential
  • Highly intuitive

Get a Free Quote

WebiMax is a digital marketing agency that specializes in reputation management for small businesses.

They stand out from the crowd because of their great customized solutions.

WebiMax creates a custom strategy for everyone. They prioritize cost-effective methods to bury negative remarks and promote a positive image.

WebiMax home page.

Their process is confidential and is covered under a non-disclosure agreement. So, nobody will know if you’re using a third-party service to build or repair your reputation online.

They also offer a free comprehensive reputation analysis to get a bead on where your brand needs help and identify how WebiMax can help improve it.

This initial reputation analysis includes:

  • Timeline to achieve your goals
  • Negative content report and deletion
  • Positive content report
  • Unclaimed profiles
  • Custom price quote

All their strategies are customized to a brand’s specific needs, and there is no contractual requirement to use their services. If you’re dissatisfied with the results, you can walk away anytime.

That is great for small businesses with more idiosyncratic needs. It is also a very flexible and budget-friendly approach.

WebiMax is a top option for small businesses. They have the resources, tools, and track record to deliver proven results. Visit WebiMax to learn more and get started.

NetReputation — Best for ultra-responsive customer support

  • Professional, responsive help
  • Branding & PR Assistance
  • 5-step process
  • Full suite of tools

Get a free quote

NetReputation is considered one of the leading reputation management companies in the industry, even being recognized by Newsweek as the “World’s Leading Online Reputation Management Company” in both 2020 and 2021. 

If your business needs negative content removed, inaccurate business listings fixed, and visibility of your assets improved, stop searching.

NetReputation homepage.

NetReputation offers a full range of services for online reputation management, including:

  • Reputation monitoring
  • Review management
  • Branding
  • Public relations
  • SEO
  • Social media management
  • Content removal
  • Wikipedia page solutions
  • Internet privacy solutions for individuals

Beyond their expertise, NetReputation is most known for their professionalism and responsiveness. Users love the compassion, understanding, and quick responses from the NetReputation team. 

After thoroughly interviewing business owners to understand their needs, NetReputation implements a five-step process to manage anyone’s online reputation. It starts with reputation analysis, which means extensive research and identifying potential threats. 

After research comes web property development, where NetReputation creates or adjusts assets your company owns, such as blogs, websites, social media profiles, business directory listings, and YouTube channels.

Then comes the content creation step. NetReputation conceptualizes, creates, and posts content on owned assets through their online platform and creates a publishing schedule.

The final step is content promotion through email lists and blogs, organic feedback, and paid ads. 

For responsive, professional, expert assistance, NetReputation is a great choice. Learn more to start with NetReputation.

InternetReputation.com — Best for Personal Reputation Management

  • Customized reputation strategy
  • Remove personal contact info
  • Branding & privacy control
  • Great knowledge base

Get a free quote

InternetReputation.com takes a holistic approach to helping companies and individuals manage their online reputations. They craft personalized strategies for every client and specialize in overall reputation management, branding, and privacy monitoring.

What sets InternetReputation.com apart from competitors is its focus on individuals. InternetReputation.com is a women-owned boutique firm based in the US. They take a personal approach to every situation and create custom strategies for everyone they work with. Why? Because reputation management isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition.

InternetReputation.com online reputation management solutions homepage.

Besides customized solutions for every client, InternetReputation.com is also ideal for healthcare professionals looking to keep their sensitive information confidential while still garnerering HIPAA-compliant feedback and reviews on industry-leading review sites like HealthGrades and Google.

The company has helped many small medical practices get more and better reviews faster with automated messages right after a visit.

They offer a free consultation with new clients to determine specific reputation management goals. Then, a personalized strategy is developed to help you manage your online reputation, suppress negative information, manage your reviews, or run autosuggest campaigns. Every client has a dedicated account manager to help them throughout the process and provide weekly progress reports.

Get started now with InternetReputation.com.

Podium – Best for Getting Reviews Automatically

  • Specializes in reviews
  • Works across all platforms
  • Reputation management tools
  • Used by 40,000+ businesses

Get a Free Quote

Podium isn’t your typical reputation management company.

Instead of offering “typical” ORM offerings (e.g. trying to bury negative reviews or improving your rankings on search engines), they take a more proactive approach and use automated messaging to generate reviews for you.

For example, if a customer just purchased an item or service from you, Podium will send them a text message asking for a review. Your customer can click on a link in the text that sends them to Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor or whatever site your industry relies on. Once there, they can leave a glowing review for you.

Podium homepage.

It’s an automated way to garner reviews—and one that is actually incredibly effective. There are case studies and testimonials from Podium explaining how businesses went from 3,000 reviews to over 50,000 online reviews after using automated messaging.

With Podium, you’ll also get reviews and customer recommendations across all platforms. Whether it’s Google, Facebook, or third-party niche platforms, your businesses will be highly visible and will attract more reviews.

You can also use Podium to gather feedback from your customers. Gain insight into what your customers like and what could use improvement.

Of course, this is a pretty specific service. If you need more comprehensive rebranding or brand-building measures—or if you just want a more typical kind of reputation management—we recommend choosing a different platform.

But if you want to gain as many reviews as you can across the platforms that mean the most to your business, we would definitely recommend adding Podium as part of your overall strategy.

Click here to learn more and get started with Podium

SEO Image – Best ORM for Legal & Medical Practices

  • Custom solutions for clients
  • Tailored approaches for doctors & lawyers
  • Managing reputations since 2002
  • Dedicated team to help w/ your specific needs

Request a quote today

SEO Image offers—you guessed it—SEO marketing and reputation services. If you want to proactively improve your standing in the eyes of Google, they can help you out.

The firm prides itself on using ethical strategies to boost your standing on social media, search, and review sites.

SEO Image has the know-how to help your company and its needs, whether the most pressing issue is promoting positive news, rebranding your business, quelling negative connotations with your brand, gaining useful insights from reviews that are currently out there, or anything else involving your reputation.

SEO Image homepage.

Where they really shine is in their specific solutions for legal and medical practices. These are two industries for which SEO Image’s employees are very experienced at creating content and improving images.

They offer doctors and lawyers customized solutions for improving their online reputation. After all, no one wants to go to a lawyer with a ton of one-star reviews on Google for their legal help. And no one, especially, wants to go to a doctor with a bunch of bad reviews for their medical care.

Outside of reputation management, they also offer a suite of digital marketing solutions such as social media management and content marketing.

So, if you’d like to combine your digital marketing strategy with your brand-building strategy (and you should, because they’re pretty much one and the same), you can do so with SEO Image.

Overall, there’s a lot that SEO Image can offer you. They’ll apply their vast search engine knowledge to create a targeted, customized, and effective reputation management strategy for you. And you’ll know that you have their complete attention and effort every step of the way.

Get in touch with SEO Image today to start the conversation about your custom solution for online reputation management.

Gadook – Best for Rebranding After Reputation Attacks

  • All-in-one solution
  • Brand building & protection
  • Reputation Management
  • Short & long term plans

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Gadook stands out for their excellent brand building and rebranding solutions. This is ideal for businesses that have experienced some type of brand attack or negative publicity.

Whether you made a mistake or something happened at no fault of your own, your reputation could be damaged beyond repair. Gadook knows that and will work with you to build your reputation back up.

Gadook homepage.

From a website redesign to new domain names and re-branded customer service, they’ll handle everything you need to give you business the shot in the arm it needs to bounce back after controversy.

Here’s a quick overview of what Gadook offers:

  • Brand Building
  • Re-branding
  • Brand Protection
  • Social Media Optimization
  • Reputation Management

The brand protection service is another top consideration. Even if your company has a well-established reputation online, you want to make sure that it stays that way.

Gadook can respond to negative posts online and help enhance the density of positive content related to your website. This will ultimately marginalize any negative reviews.

Reach out to Gadook for your reputation repair needs.

Birdeye – Best for Getting Google & Facebook Reviews

  • Wide range of solutions
  • Benchmarking & insights
  • Review management
  • Used by BMW & Esurance

Get a Free Quote

Birdeye offers a similar service to Podium—and they’re not exactly a typical ORM, either. Instead, Birdeye helps you generate reviews of all stripes through automated systems like customized pop-ups, messages, and emails.

But, they set themselves apart from Podium with their Facebook and Google integrations.

BirdEye online reputation management homepage.

They allow you to automatically send messages to customers on Facebook Messenger to ask for reviews. They also have a great direct integration with Google’s private API. This encourages customers to review your business directly on Google.

You’ll also be notified each time you get a new review. This helps you to swiftly follow-up with customers during a time when their engagement is at its highest.

On top of this, Birdeye offers a great personalized workflow that gives you a very solid way of visualizing and making changes to how a review is generated too.

Like Podium, they also have a survey tool that allows you to gather customer insights and feedback to improve your business.

Birdeye also offers a deep well of review management solutions such as:

  • Review monitoring
  • Review generation
  • Review management
  • Review marketing
  • Listings management
  • Messenger and webchat
  • Surveys
  • Benchmarking
  • Insights
  • Ticketing

If your small business doesn’t have enough online reviews or needs to get more reviews on various platforms, Birdeye should be a top choice for you.

Reputation.com – Best for Knowing Your Competition’s Reputation

  • All-in-one platform
  • Uses AI and machine learning
  • Mobile-first mentality
  • Quality analysis & results

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Reputation.com handles all aspects of online reputation management. They do this with powerful software that monitors thousands of different websites where your brand is mentioned.

They also leverage a unique algorithm for calculating your company’s reputation and giving you a score. The index is measured on a scale from 100-1,000, calculated using nine unique factors.

Your score will also show benchmarks relative to your industry and competitors. Benchmarking your business against the industry and your competitors can be extraordinarily helpful. This will help you know exactly where you are in relation to your competitors, and can better inform your marketing strategy and how to position your brand.

Reputation.com homepage.

Reputation.com works with businesses across 77 different industries. Some of their most popular industry solutions include online reputation management for automotive, healthcare, retail, property management, hospitality, financial services, and senior living.

Some of their top online reputation services include:

  • Online reviews
  • Business listings
  • Directory management
  • Surveys
  • Social suite
  • Search accelerator
  • Managed services for Google

They also have a great mobile app, that allows you to manage your reputation on the go. That’s not really something that we see a lot with ORMs.

Bottom line: This is a good way to know how your business and brand is performing in relation to your industry and competitors.

Catch up to your competition by reaching out to Reputation.com today.

Go Fish – Best for Improving Yelp Reviews

  • Full-service marketing agency
  • Brand building
  • Brand repair
  • Brand protection

Get a Free Quote

Go Fish is another full-service digital marketing company that offers a reputation management solution.

The brand reputation management solutions from Go Fish can be segmented into three main categories:

  • Brand building
  • Brand repair
  • Brand protection

But where they stand out to me is their Yelp review services. If you have lots of negative reviews on Yelp, Go Fish can get them removed. They examine the possibilities for poor reviews that violate Yelp’s guidelines. Then they submit your case to Yelp on your behalf for removal.

Since Yelp only gives brands one chance to make an argument against negative reviews, you’ll definitely want the experts to handle this for you.

Go Fish Digital online reputation management homepage.

They also offer a very interesting Google and Bing auto-complete clean-up solution. This can be great if your business’s name is typically associated with some embarrassing keywords in search engines’ autocomplete features. They’ll help get rid of those using their three-factor targeted solution.

The team over at Go Fish will come up with a custom plan and solution based on the needs of your organization. They’ll handle things like search engine improvement, Yelp and online review management, and public affairs.

Go Fish allows you to track search results on a daily basis. You’ll also be able to see reviews in real-time and view all of your data on an intuitive dashboard.

Overall, Go Fish is a solid choice for any business that relies primarily on Yelp for business and would like help getting rid of bad reviews.

Netmark.com – Best for Hands-Off, Fast Responses to Reputation Hits

  • Wide range of services
  • Proactive approach
  • Focuses on reviews
  • Tons of free resources

Get a Free Quote

Netmark.com focuses on reviews for building, managing, and repairing your reputation online.

The company will help you take a proactive approach to negative reviews by doing the following:

  • Set up alerts to see what people are saying about your brand online
  • Quickly respond to reviews (positive and negative)
  • Encourage customers to write reviews
  • Promote positive reviews
  • Bury negative reviews
Netmark.com reputation management homepage.

Netmark.com works fast too, with speedy responses to any reputation hits and negative reviews.

They will also make it easier and more appealing for your customers to file complaints in private. This is much better than bashing your brand on a public forum.

In addition to Netmark.com’s reputation management services, they have tons of free resources, best practices, and tips for tactics you can apply today.

Bottom line: They’re great if you want a speedy response to reputation hits.

If you need a swift counterattack to slights on your company’s reputation, head over to Netmark.com today.

How to Find the Best Online Reputation Management Company For Your Business

With so many different online reputation management companies to consider, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Not all of these will be ideal for your business. The following methodology will help you narrow your focus to just one or two top options, based on your precise needs.

Ethical Practices and Methods

When it comes to increasing your brand’s reputation and presence online, there are two ways to do it—the ethical way and… the less than ethical way.

Ethical methods are techniques to increase a brand’s reputation through actions like social media monitoring, positive review management, and SEO content creation. Generally, these are proactive ways of responding to customers directly and putting more information out there which accentuates your company’s positive attributes.

Of course, we’ve only selected online reputation management services which follow these ethical methods.

But, you need to know how to recognize the bad actors out there. These are the players that ultimately do more harm than good by being aggressive and shady when describing how they’ll improve your reputation.

Unethical techniques include things like trying to “trick” search engine results with keyword stuffing and link farming. They might even say they’ll threaten or coerce negative reviewers to take down their reviews.

It’s a weird twist, but the online reputation management company’s reputation matters a lot, too. You don’t want to go with one that resorts to sleazy methods to “improve” your reputation.

To make sure that their methods are above board, see how transparent they are with their tactics. Speaking of which, that brings us to our next consideration…

Maximum Transparency

Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting with your ORM company.

Are their methods and techniques clear and obvious to you? Do they leave you with more questions than answers when you take a look at their offerings or have a consultation?

If a service is cagey about how exactly they’ll work to improve your online reputation, that’s a red flag.

Improving a company’s online reputation isn’t some mysterious, magical action. It takes real work doing things that are measurable and demonstrable.

If your reputation management service can’t explain the “what” and “how” of their work for you, you’re better off finding someone who can.

All of the services we’ve chosen in this list offer clear information on how they’ll work with you to attain your reputation goals. WebiMax and SEO Image, in particular, will go the extra mile to show just how much they can do for you.

Channel-Specific Solutions

Every company has its own unique way to improve your company’s reputation online. The type of business you have and your current reputation will dictate the best option for you.

A startup company with no online presence will not need the same online reputation management provider as a well-established brand that just received some negative publicity. The same goes for your specific industry and services (more on that later).

For example, Go Fish Digital is great for Yelp reviews. This is perfect for businesses that rely on Yelp as their primary reputation driver, like local businesses, restaurants, and home and auto services.

Podium leverages omnichannel customer messaging on channels like Facebook to help create positive reviews. That’s great for service-based industries and others that have existing and potential customers contact them on a wide array of platforms.

SEO Image focuses on—you guessed it—search engine optimization and ranking well on Google. If that’s your primary means of customer acquisition, you’ll probably love working with them.

Industry-Specific Expertise

Look for an online reputation management service that has experience working with similar brands to your own.

Some companies specialize in B2B or enterprise-grade organizations, while others are best for small businesses.

There are online reputation services made for specific industries that lean heavily on customer reviews, like retail, healthcare, hospitality, and automotive brands. Find a reputation manager that offers a solution for your business type because they know that industry well.

For example, Reputation.com works across 77 different industries—but they specialize in automotive, healthcare, retail, property management, hospitality, financial services, and senior living. If your business falls in any of those categories, I can’t recommend Reputation.com enough.

WebiMax, for example, will give you a free reputation analysis before you even sign up for their service. That report will explain exactly the timeline they’ll work with you on, data on your negative and positive content online, and a customized quote.

If you’re a small town business, SubmitEdgeSEO is great for local SEO services. They’ll help your rank well for searches within your area.

The Top Online Reputation Management Services in Summary

Whether you’re a startup that needs to build a reputation from scratch or an existing company that needs to repair a damaged brand image, online reputation management services have you covered.

The best online reputation management service is WebiMax. But there are plenty of other great options to consider for managing negative reviews, re-branding your business, or repairing your personal brand image online

Elevated B2B Marketing 2022

Elevated B2B Marketing 2022

B2B marketers have faced unprecedented challenges over the past two years but I am one of those people that genuinely sees these times as an opportunity. Working in the marketing industry, especially at a B2B marketing agency, means being adaptable and engaged in a constant state of improvement aka ABO (always be optimizing).

Information overload, changing buyer behaviors towards digital first information experiences and the dramatic increase in content competition mean B2B marketers cannot win simply be creating more content or chasing the latest shiny object tactic.

In these times of elevated digital savviness and access to digital content consumption, creation and engagement, we are all creators. We are all influential. We are all in market to engage on topics relevant to the brands that serve us. As marketers, we are also increasingly pressed to prove our impact to the business.

Winning at B2B marketing in 2022 and beyond requires a more strategic approach to creating marketing experiences that are more empathetic to customers in ways that are differentiated from competitors that can can connect more authentically through partnerships with trusted voices in the industry at both a macro and micro level. The increased emphasis on marketing to prove its contribution to the business also means improved accountability for impact.

To help B2B marketers elevate their 2022 B2B content marketing more strategically, provide better experiences to customers and demonstrate impact to the business, here are three key areas of focus:

Innovate

Research shows there is more content being created now than ever but B2B company execs do not feel all this content is particularly valuable. To stand out, B2B marketers need to “break free of boring B2B’ to escape the status quo trap of trying to win customer attention simply by creating more content. More than ever, it is important to create content that is more in lime with customer experience expectations.

Our own analysis and research has found that innovation of our content means going beyond creating blog posts, social content, presentations and reports to emphasizing short form videos for thought leadership as well as practical topics, episodic and story form content, publishing on story based platforms like IG reels, TikTok and even leveraging AI avatars for certain content creation.

Content innovation for your B2B brand might be similar or very different. The important thing is to be empathetic towards customer expectations and data informed with an emphasis on looking forward to how buyers are discovering, consuming and engaging with content. Of course there is a cost to experimenting with new content formats and speculating that becoming prominent in emerging publishing channels will help your brand stand out to customers. There is also a cost to reacting to the new challenges of digital first buyers and changing behaviors simply by creating more of the same kinds of content.

Collaborate

Virtually everyone in business is empowered to publish through any of a number of digital devices. Millenial and Gen Z generations are digital natives to electronic content consumption and creation. As B2B buyers increasingly pull themselves through the majorithy of the sales journey through researching solutions options through digital content, peer networks, search engines, social media and industry content, B2B brands have an opportunity to elevate their content marketing with authentic voices.

We’ve all seen statistics about the lack of trust customers have for brands and their advertising / marketing messages. We’ve also become increasingly aware of how important it is to have the trusted voices in the industry talking about and even advocating for our brand. Every day there are conversations about the very topics that drive buyers to choose solutions happening with people influential towards decision making.

B2B brands can either continue trying to push their own messages towards these buyers or they can become part of the conversation by engaging relevant industry experts, media and even prospects/customers in content collaboration. By identifying and targeting key industry influencers, prospects, media and cusotmers for content collaboration, B2B marketers can create value and impact in multiple ways:

  • Content collaborations that create value for contributors builds relationships with the brand
  • Collaborations help elevate visibility and credibility of contributors – which they will appreciate
  • Co-creating content can help create community around topics buyers care about must, building trust for the brand
  • Developing content collaboration can elevate a B2B brand amongst the most trusted voices in the industry
  • Engaging customers, industry experts and internal key opinion leaders can drive conversations that create real value for customers and drive purchase intent

Accelerate

In 2020 many B2B marketing budgets were put on pause and expectations for marketing to deliver impact increased significantly. As brands pivoted and embraced digital transformation, marketing budgets have opened up but those increased expectations for marketing to deliver value to the business have remained. Research has shown that new digital go-to-market models have performed as well better and B2B brands are not going back to their old “boring B2B ways” anytime soon.

With these increased expectations of impact, B2B marketers must focus on acceleration. From moving prospects through the sales journey more quickly and in greater volume to increasing the size of deals, better sales and marketing collaboration and technology integration are essential.  B2B brands must do a better job of leveraging customer insights for more personalized content experiences using strategies like Account Based Experiences supported by platforms like Demandbase (client).

Additionally, improved thought leadership can help B2B brands connect as a “best answer” solution for buyers across the customer lifecycle from awareness to purchase to advocacy. Research being put out by The B2B Institute at Linked is incredibly insightful about these opportunities. B2B brands cannot afford to sit and wait for their content marketing to work like throwing digital spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. They must be proactive at elevating the marketing experience to create trust, credibility, confidence and speed of decision making with what we call “best answer content strategies”.

The changes that have occurred in the past few years in the B2B marketing world are not a speed bump for us to get over, they are a launching pad for something greater for our industry. In marketing and business, if you’re not growing you’re dying. The B2B marketing industry needs to continue the transformation started during the pandemic to elevate the marketing experiences for customers and impact for B2B brands. With a strategic approach to content innovation, collaboration and acceleration, B2B marketers can achieve all of those things and more.

 

 

The post Three Steps to Elevated B2B Marketing in 2022: Innovate, Collaborate, Accelerate appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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