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How to Add Your Hotel to Google, TripAdvisor, and More

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Posted on: September 18, 2021

How to Add Your Hotel to Google, TripAdvisor, and More

Have you ever wondered how competitor’s hotels are ranking on the first page of Google? Most of them use free directories like Google and Tripadvisor to reach prospective customers.

Using those same services, you too can boost the search visibility of your hotel property. Best of all, these services are free and packed full of features.

Let’s dive into the key reasons you should add your hotel to Google, Tripadvisor, and similar hotel booking engines. Then, I’ll show you how to request listings on the top hotel listing websites.

Why Should You Add Your Hotel to Booking Sites

For hotels small and large, it makes sense to list them on well-known hotel booking sites like Google and Tripadvisor. Here are a few key reasons to do so.

1. Increase Visibility

The more platforms your hotel is listed on, the more people will see it. Here is an example of how your hotel could look on Google’s hotel listing search results:

hotel listing visibility on Google for google hotel

With increased visibility, your website will likely see a boost in visitors and inquiries. This increases the odds of bookings for your hotel, especially if your listing provides accurate information and high-quality photos.

2. Build Trustworthiness

Building trust with search engines and customers takes time when using your hotel website and social media profiles.

How can you speed up the process? When you list your hotel on a website like Google, you “borrow” its trustworthiness.

Customers know that business listing services, like Google and Tripadvisor, vet their listings. Similarly, customers know that businesses care about their standing on these platforms. This naturally boosts your hotel’s trustworthiness in the eyes of potential customers.

3. Make It Easier for Customers

A major pain point for customers is the inability to compare services and prices easily. With hotel listing sites, customers can easily compare accommodations to find the one that meets their needs.

A Google hotel or Tripadvisor listing also makes it possible for customers to book a stay at your hotel at any time. When your listing contains all relevant information, including availability and price, customers can make a quick but educated decision. This puts the power into the hands of your customers.

4. Gain Access to Marketing Tools

Platforms like Google and Tripadvisor have many marketing tools available for business owners. While not all of them are free, there are many affordable options.

Google integrates seamlessly with its suite of industry-trusted marketing tools. These include:

  • Google Ads
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Keyword Planner (now part of Google Ads)

Google requires hotels to be running ads with them in order to appear on Google Hotel results. Tripadvisor also has its own suite of tools and services. As a verified Tripadvisor business, you can purchase storefront stickers and marketing materials through their vendors. You can also download free marketing assets, like icons and logos, to add to your website, social media profiles, and more.

5. Incorporate Advertisements

Take your hotel marketing efforts a step further with paid advertisements.

As mentioned, Google My Business incorporates seamlessly with Google Ads. You can create campaigns that boost your hotel listing to the top of search engine results pages and Google My Business results pages. The aim is to target relevant keywords with high volume and low competition.

How to Add Your Hotel to Google

Google makes it easy to add and verify your business. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be a Google-verified hotel in less than a week.

1. Sign Up for Google My Business

First, search to see if your business already exists. A Google business listing can exist without a Google My Business account connected. If it does not yet exist, you can create the listing in minutes.

You will be asked to provide:

  • business name and category
  • location for customers (if applicable)
  • geographic location for customers you serve
  • contact phone number
  • website (if applicable)
  • mailing address (for verification)
  • services
  • business hours
  • whether you accept messages from customers
  • a business description
  • photos of your business

You can make edits to your business profile after you complete the steps above. The changes will not be visible on Google until your business has been verified, though.

2. Engage With Customers Reviews and Post Up-to-Date Photos

For larger businesses like hotels, the listing likely exists on Google already. In this case, you might already have customer reviews.

Once you’re verified as the owner or account manager of the hotel, you can respond to ratings and reviews as the business.

Believe it or not, negative reviews are good for your business. They show potential customers the worst-case scenario, as well as how you respond to it.

You should respond to negative reviews promptly, though it’s important to engage with positive reviews, too. This shows you are an active business owner who is attentive to your customers and their feedback.

You should also add up-to-date photos of the hotel and its amenities. While customer photos may exist on the listing, they may not be current or high quality. You want your photos to be front and center on the listing.

3. Add Hotel Information

Your customers should not need to go to multiple websites to find more in-depth information. This may cause them to find other deals elsewhere.

What should you add to your Google business listing?

  • prices
  • availability
  • hours
  • amenities
  • health and safety guidelines
  • up-to-date photos

The more information you add, the greater the benefit to the customer. For example, one benefit of adding pricing to your business listing is the automatic creation of a free booking link.

This brings customers right to your checkout funnel, which can boost your conversion rates. Just be sure to avoid the top reasons for checkout abandonment!

Now onto amenities. There are various categories you should target in your amenities list. These include:

  • internet
  • food & drink
  • policies & payments
  • activities
  • pools
  • services
  • parking & transportation
  • wellness
  • accessibility
  • pets
  • business & events
  • rooms
  • bathrooms
  • languages spoken

Google provides many options within each category. Check those you offer and add additional information as allowed. For example, whether there is an extra charge or how often a service is performed:

amenities additional information for google hotel

How to Add Your Hotel to Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor provides a streamlined process for requesting your hotel’s listing.

1. Request a Listing

Similar to Google My Business, a listing can be requested without your input. This often occurs when a user writes a review. To see if your hotel already has a listing, go to the Claim Listing page and search your business name.

If your business is not listed, just click the option at the bottom of the search results list that says “List it now:”

Trip Advisor set up new listing for google hotel

2. Add Your Personal Information

With the request initiated, you will first need to establish who you are and your connection with the business. This will include categorization of your business, your role within the business, and whether the place is currently open:

trip advisor request initiation for google hotel

3. Add Your Hotel Information

Now it’s time to add the name of the hotel, a description (optional), address, and contact information.

This information will be available for customers once the listing is live.

For verification purposes, be sure the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date.

4. Include Property Details

Here, you will have the chance to add more information about your hotel and its services.

To start, Tripadvisor will ask numerous questions to ensure the most information is included in your listing. These questions include:

  • What accommodation type best describes this property?
  • How many rooms or units does the property have?
  • How frequently is the front desk or check-in location staffed?
  • What are the check-in hours?

You will also have the chance to select amenities your hotel provides from a list of common options:

Trip Advisor amenities for google hotel

The amenities list is not comprehensive, but you can provide more details once your hotel listing is published.

5. Add a Description and Photos

While a description is not required, it is crucial to distinguish your hotel from the competition. Aim to write a customer-focused description of your hotel.

The more photographs a listing has, the more likely it is to convert. A study from Bright Local found that businesses with more than 100 images on Google My Business get 1038 percent more direct searches than the average business.

That’s not the only benefit. Business listings with more than 100 images also see more calls, direction requests, and website clicks.

6. Submit Your Hotel Listing

The final step is to affirm the information you provided is true, and that you have the authority to request a listing. Once that is done, you can submit your listing for review.

With the listing submitted, Tripadvisor will start verifying your details and confirm your property meets their guidelines. The timeframe may vary, though it typically takes five business days.

How to Add Your Hotel to Booking.com

Google and Tripadvisor are industry leaders, but Booking.com is another popular option for listing your hotel. Follow the steps outlined below to get started now.

1. Sign Up for Booking.com

It takes just a few steps to sign up for Booking.com. The steps are:

  1. Go to the sign-up page and click “Get started.”
  2. Enter your email address and then click “Continue.”
  3. Enter your first and last name, and phone number.
  4. Enter the password of your choice and click “Create account.”

2. Request a Hotel Listing

Using the account you created above, you can now click “List your property under Hotels, B&Bs, and more.

Booking.com list your property for google hotels

You can add property details, including:

  • hotel name
  • hotel address
  • contact information
  • pricing
  • facilities & services
  • amenities
  • policies
  • payments

You will also have the chance to upload photos of your hotel. This is your chance to show the best your hotel has to offer.

You should, of course, include images of amenities and luxury services. However, also be sure to include images of your standard rooms. You do not want to set an expectation for customers that is unrealistic.

3. Add More Details

Once your listing is approved, you will receive access to Booking’s Extranet. This is a portal where you can update your availability calendar, prices, and other listing details.

It will be important to update your details regularly to ensure the best experience for customers.

4. Make the Listing Live

Whenever you’re ready, you can make your property listing live on Booking.

Besides these three mentioned, also consider other platforms to add your hotel listing to, like Oyster, HotWire, Priceline, Travelocity, Yelp, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Adding Hotel Listings

How Do I Add My Hotel to Google Maps?

With a Google My Business listing, your hotel’s address will automatically appear on Google Maps.

Should I Add My New Hotel to Google?

Yes! The sooner you can get your property listed on Google and other hotel booking websites, the sooner you can begin to build visibility and credibility.

What Other Hotel Booking Websites Should I Add My Hotel To?

Aside from Google My Business, Tripadvisor, and Booking.com, other hotel booking engines to consider include:

How Often Should I Update My Google Hotel Listings?

The more often you update your Google hotel listings, the better. You should update prices and availability daily if needed. For services and amenities, update them as their availability changes. You should also respond to reviews regularly.

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Google Hotel Guide Conclusion

With hotel booking engines like Google My Business, Tripadvisor, and Booking.com, you can meet the growing demand for contactless service. These websites let hotels provide all of the information customers need to make an informed decision. This gives the customer greater control over their booking experience.

If you’ve not considered using these booking engines before, this guide will provide you with everything you need to get started. There are many benefits to using these websites, including increased visibility and trustworthiness.

Which of the above hotel booking engines will you sign up for first?

VoiceSage Review

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Posted on: September 18, 2021

VoiceSage is a cloud communication platform offering a variety of different ways for businesses to communicate.

The Interactive Voice Messaging (IVM) solution helps contact centers with inbound calls, with additional capabilities including text-to-speech, voice recording, and transcriptions.

The VoiceSage Console itself features practical messaging tools for both SMS and email and comes with a drag-and-drop builder along with a range of helpful reports.

In other words: it’s the little details that allow VoiceSage to stand out from the competition.

Read on to find out more about this comprehensive platform. 

VoiceSage Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Manage both inbound and outbound comms
  • Easy to learn with limited knowledge required
  • Send messages directly to customers’ mobile devices

Cons

  • No transparent pricing available for the platform
  •  Recording audio quality could be better
  •  Little in the way of real-time monitoring features 

VoiceSage Features

Let’s take a deeper dive into the core features VoiceSage offers its users.

SMS Services

SMS services are a crucial part of VoiceSage’s platform and allow you to send notifications and alerts directly to customers’ mobile devices. Of course, this is a compelling way of reaching customers as people are never too far away from their mobiles, wherever they happen to be.

Essentially, you’ll be able to send marketing notifications and let customers respond to these messages with things like updates to appointment reminders or allowing them to reschedule payment requests.  

Creating and then sending SMS messages is both quick and easy to do—you’ll be able to send active SMS messages and even email campaigns to customers within a few clicks. You can set up automated flows for later, which allow you to spend your time elsewhere and improve customer engagement.

We particularly like the drag-and-drop builder that allows you to use various tools, design elements, and ready-to-go templates to set up new campaigns. This functionality is not something every competitor on the market offers, so it’s a highlight.

Campaigns, therefore, can be set up quickly, but at the same time, they don’t lose their complexity in the process—the best of both worlds. We’ll look at the VoiceSage Console that allows you to do this in more detail a bit later.

SMS messages have an average read rate of 98%, and the usual response rate is around 90 seconds across all mobile devices. In other words, they are highly effective at reaching users. VoiceSage takes this to the next level with proactive chatbot functionality, two-way SMS allowing many conversations to be controlled per agent, and payment alerts.

We’re pleased to see that customers can opt out of further communications if they want to, ensuring you keep your business GDPR-compliant. You’ll be able to measure the perfect length of a given SMS message using the platform’s character monitoring tool too.

An increasingly popular way of using SMS services is to use them to gather customer feedback for marketing projects. You’ll be able to do this with VoiceSage, giving you insights into engagement data and shaping your strategy from there.

When it comes to SMS Services then, VoiceSage has a lot to offer users. You’ll find most of the functionality on other platforms, but there’s greater ease of use available here, and we think that’s a valuable thing indeed.

WhatsApp for Business 

Having the ability to connect with customers via one of the most prevalent messages services on the planet is helpful, to say the least. You can create your business profile on WhatsApp Business and link it up to the VoiceSage platform, allowing customers and other businesses to reach out and find you without hassle.

If you didn’t know, WhatsApp Business is the business version of the mobile app primarily aimed at small companies. The app enables you to connect with customers, highlight services and products, and automate messages.

How does the link between the two messaging platforms occur? Well, through VoiceSage’s WhatsApp API. The API supports two-way conversations meaning customer service queries get solved in the app alone. It’s important to note that companies will need to ask their customers for consent to contact them first, but other than that, what we have here works well.

Key advantages of using WhatsApp include sending multimedia messages without fretting about the word limit and viewing analytics to measure critical metrics such as delivered and read messages. Creating automated rich media messages that make the customer experience more interactive is easy, and you’ll be able to start up conversations with custom QR codes—a helpful extra. 

That’s not all though, VoiceSage can configure chatbots to use WhatsApp as their delivery channel, allowing customers to self-service on a popular and highly accessible platform. This functionality also has the effect of reducing inbound calls to contact centers. For most businesses that need to cut down to manage things better, this is vital.

Customers themselves can start the automated features by interacting with a business and their WhatsApp number. It works as simply as this: a customer sends the first message, whatever that may be, and the system starts up the automated journey—if successful, the chatbot will continue until the issue is solved. A live agent can come in on more complex issues if the chatbot can’t solve the problem. 

Best of all is that you can integrate this functionality with CRM systems, sites, and other messaging channels such as SMS and Rich Media Messaging (RMM) for an effective multi-channel comms strategy.

WhatsApp Business can, of course, integrate with some of VoiceSage’s competitors in the space. Still, the integration here is robust and straightforward, allowing businesses to get ahead and reach more customers. It’s a significant part of the overall package. 

Interactive Voice Messaging 

VoiceSage offers an interactive voice message service (IVM) which allows contact centers to improve areas like first-time resolutions and contact center call avoidance. Essentially, by automating these transactions, customers can make payments, complete call-to-actions, answer surveys, and confirm their ID on their own. Similar to the WhatsApp capability, an agent can step in when required.

You’ll be able to design your routing how you want, developing how the call flows without extensive coding or technical experience, which some other platforms require. Multifaceted customer journeys are easy to set up, and you’ll decrease the number of inbound calls as a result.

Other key features of the interactive voice messaging system include text-to-speech—a simple way of creating personalized voice messages—and you can be sure you are GDPR-compliant by transcribing voice conversations to text. The Agent Whisper mode provides your agents with the appropriate call information before connecting to the customer.

You’ll be able to collect payments 24/7/365 days a year on a secure platform, too, and connect with third-party apps to create encoded payment journeys for customers. The latter isn’t hard to set up either and streamlines the process without the need for additional knowledge, making it ideal for those with limited skills.

It’s important to mention that existing phone systems will work with VoiceSage via the API, saving a great deal of time and effort. As for security concerns, the service uses advanced techniques to verify customers and present call information to cut down on fraud and other identity theft.

Routing calls to another department or agent is as simple as pressing a button, and customers can reschedule calls at a suitable time. You can also send customers automated account alerts, one-time password communications, practical dispatch and confirmation messages, and other notifications to prevent things like overspent accounts, fraudulent activity, fines, and more.

Providing automated appointment reminders via the platform allows people to confirm or reschedule when they need it, and you can complete customer validation and identification before interacting with your current booking system. The opportunity for customers to receive SMS confirmation is available as and when required.

It feels like VoiceSage has thought about various situations here and then offered a solution, which is more than welcome. The only thing we found disappointing was the quality of the voice recording, which at times sounded distant and muffled. These recording issues aren’t present every time, and VoiceSage is aware of them, so it may not be a problem in the future. Other than that, this is a strong area of the overall package. 

VoiceSage Console 

The VoiceSage Console is the platform’s hub and allows users to create their messaging campaigns in multiple different formats. The user management features enable you to create and manage all users with varying access levels from a single location. 

On top of that, the campaign builder we mentioned earlier gets some time to shine; it couldn’t be easier to get started with new campaigns, and the range of templates and tools on offer don’t limit your options either.

For those that want reports on their campaigns, you’ll be able to monitor their success through the central dashboard. The data includes conversation reports, a detailed look at your customers’ actions, and other audience data, allowing you to adapt your marketing strategy as needed. That said, the real-time monitoring support is a bit basic.

We haven’t mentioned some other key features, from the support team that operates 24/7 to answer your inquiries via email and phone or the ability to schedule your messages in advance and adjust the running time of any campaign in progress. There’s also the inbox where you can easily create and organize your agent allocation and workflows.

You’ll be able to cater to customers in different languages and phone numbers depending on location. The VoiceSage platform also supports Secure Access Markup Language (SAML), supporting single sign-on for businesses.

VoiceSage’s Console is where the marketing magic happens, from the drag-and-drop campaign builder to the automated flows. We’re specifically impressed with how easy everything is to carry out. For those looking for a lot of power but with high ease of use, you’ll find it right here. 

VoiceSage Pricing and Package Options 

We like to see clear and transparent pricing, and unfortunately, this is an area where VoiceSage doesn’t have much to offer. In fact, VoiceSage provides users with no pricing information whatsoever—there are no pricing tiers, different package options, or other useful details. 

Anyone interested in the platform will have to contact VoiceSage independently and get a custom quote based on their requests. 

With that said, a free demo is available, which will take you through a variety of platform features, allowing you to see them in action. The free demo requires a simple sign-up, no credit card is required, and you can get started in minutes. That aside, there’s little else here. 

Not all platforms on the market keep their prices private, so it might be best to look elsewhere if you like to see them upfront. Remember that custom quotes are relatively common, too, even if we prefer to see more transparent pricing. 

VoiceSage Reputation 

How does VoiceSage stack up with users across the web? Well, simply put, most users had a positive experience with the platform overall. 

Users enjoy the ease of use of VoiceSage, with most believing there’s a good number of features to enhance their marketing campaigns. Those with limited technical experience are particularly happy. Others have stated that managing both outbound and inbound calls in one place is beyond valuable, saving them time and money. 

Some users believe the customer support could be better; specifically, it could be faster to receive a response and that the answers offered weren’t always the best. Others have said they found the platform challenging to log into with minor problems when requesting passwords. Overall, though, it’s clear most users enjoy using VoiceSage and don’t regret signing up, which has granted the platform a credible reputation in return. 

Summary

We definitely recommend VoiceSage. It’s a solid cloud communication platform that offers many ways for businesses to connect with their customers. With interactive voice messaging, the powerful VoiceSage console, and the ease of use, there’s going to be something here for the majority of users. While other platforms on the market offer similar functionality in several areas, it’s still more than worthy of your time and consideration.

Stensul, an email creation platform, has announced new integrations with Slack and Microsoft Teams. Stensul speeds email creation through simplified collaboration processes, user role optimization, and templates and modules with brand guidelines embedded.

Stakeholder feedback on email creative can be spread across disparate channels, including emails as well as collaboration platforms. These new integrations enable creative activity within the Stensul platform to be shared with teams in dedicated collaboration channels.


Everything you need to know about sending emails that your customers want and that inboxes won’t block. Get MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table.

Click here to download!


Why we care. From personal experience, there is nothing more frustrating than a discussion of a draft of anything — an email, an ebook, and article — going on in several different places at once. Making it easier to discuss creative in one place fits with Stensul’s mission of speeding the whole process.

It also reflects a discernible trend towards working as much as possible in a single digital environment rather than hopping from platform to platform. 

The post Stensul integrates its email creation platform with Slack and Teams appeared first on MarTech.

DataOps Solutions: Software, Tools, and Alternatives

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Posted on: September 18, 2021

DataOps Solutions: Software, Tools, and Alternatives

Data is changing the way we do business. The amount of information available to us as business owners and that we should be processing and using to our advantage is staggering.

The amount of digital data, made and distributed, is 79 zettabytes. A zettabyte is one sextillion bytes. It’s a lot. By 2025, that number may skyrocket to 181 zettabytes.

We call it big data, but even small data is coming at us faster and faster.

It’s what they do with data that matters. It doesn’t mean much unless it’s leveraged.

Data can provide invaluable insights into everything from demographics to customer behavior, even future sales forecasting and more. It can be an unparalleled resource for you as you make decisions moving forward with your business.

Furthermore, data can come in real-time, allowing you to make on-the-fly decisions and pivots to respond to the market and capture live opportunities.

Again, none of this matters if your data is out of data or too hard to access. That’s where DataOps comes in.

What Is DataOps?

DataOps is a relatively new term that encompasses a wide range of tools to solve the problems of what to do with data coming in and how to make it pertinent to those who need it.

When you’re working with a batch of data, there are a few things that need to happen to make it relevant:

  • It needs to be organized in ways that make sense: This means pulling in the relevant data and weeding out unnecessary information.
  • It needs to be analyzed: How does it compare to past data or concurrent data?
  • It needs to be interpreted: What do all those numbers mean for your brand? What should you do in reaction? How can you be proactive knowing this data?

All those things need to happen quickly. Then it needs to continue happening as more data comes in. The cycle needs to continue at speed.

DataOps are the architectures and software developed to do all of this at scale, in an agile, responsive manner.

How to Implement DataOps

Whether you go with a DataOps tool or build something in-house to address your needs, there are a few steps you should take to ensure smooth and effective processes.

1. Use Automated Testing

To rely on your data and the DataOps that are delivering and activating processes, you need to know you can trust the information.

Run automated tests through the programs to look for bugs and ensure that data is coming through as you expect it to. This step is about making sure the actual tools are working properly.

2. Perform Data Monitoring

In addition to automated testing, you’re going to want to conduct data monitoring. Here you will be checking in on the quality of the data being processed.

This goes back to your goals. What are you trying to measure? Use your standards for what qualifies as “good data” and check in regularly. Ensure your processes gather and analyze “good data” and not be tainted by irrelevant or inaccurate information.

These regular check-ins improve confidence in the system.

3. Work in Multiple Environments

Just as in DevOps, DataOps should occur in various environments or spaces. Think of these as levels where you can experiment and test your DataOps. You’ll want environments for developing DataOps, for testing and analyzing, and for going live.

Keeping these separate gives you the freedom to develop new workflows or ideas in a staging environment before moving to a live one. This prevents your data from becoming skewed by bad development or bugs. You can work them out in an earlier environment.

This also allows your team to work concurrently in the early stages of development and idea testing through bug testing, all before you go live. Your team can also work on various ideas concurrently without crossing streams or backtracking, potentially messing up one another’s projects.

4. Containerize Code

A fundamental purpose of DataOps is to stay agile. Containerizing your code keeps it streamlined and simple. Containerizing means packaging in simple, reusable bits of code so that it can be used across platforms or languages.

It also means that it can be repurposed or tweaked slightly and rerun for another project. This keeps the whole operation agile, allowing you to act quickly with updates and new launches as you continue to hone your data operations.

5. Perform Regression Testing

As you’re moving forward with DataOps, regression testing is critical. With each new update and new operation you are utilizing, you’ll want to ensure new problems aren’t introduced and old problems aren’t reintroduced. Regression testing runs a program through its spaces to ensure that it’s still working properly with the new changes. If any bugs do crop up, you can step back to the previous version, ensure that it’s running properly, and then take the update back to development before introducing it again.

5 DataOps Tool Examples

As DataOps evolves, many programs and tools are being developed to support this approach to data analytics and processing. The software you pursue will depend on your goals, the amount of data you are dealing with, and other tasks or tools you need to integrate. Some of the options listed here may be bulkier than you need.

Before purchasing, read up on the features offered and how it works with tools you are already using to determine whether this is the right option for you.

You should know that while all of these promise a certain level of ease and approachability, they do start from a place of general knowledge and confidence with data software and API integration. You may want to turn to your web development team for support here. Some software developers listed here also offer in-house support and consultations that can help get your DataOps off the ground.

1. Fraxses

Fraxses promises to help brands who have access to lots of data, but need help with integrating that data in ways that actually work for them.

In a video example on their homepage, a retail brand was getting lots of great data, but didn’t have a way to access and integrate data directly from their customers that they could integrate in real-time on a single platform or dashboard.

video example mlops tool

Fraxses offers these kinds of solutions in the agile formatting required by DataOps. For example, the tool:

  • doesn’t rely on a single language but can be written in whatever you need
  • is decentralized
  • is low code or no code
  • can be democratized

Fraxses describes itself as a mesh or fabric you can lay over your existing data structures and platforms to pull together and interconnect the information you need.

2. RightData

RightData describes DataOps as DevOps plus analytics. They offer brands DevOps level of support for their analytics and data management, with the constraints of DataOps, which includes:

  • an agile approach
  • continuous delivery of data
  • a quick release times or sprints
DataOps Tools - RightData

RightData is a DevOps integration to support data and analytics management in your brand. Their promise is that they can keep up with the testing and monitoring part of the cycle after you’ve developed a system. This keeps your DataOps rolling forward and working seamlessly and quickly.

RightData also focuses on customer privacy and security, which is a key component to DataOps. Data breaches can cause an instant stop to your DataOps continuous processing and clog up the whole system. Maintaining security is key to moving forward in confidence.

Companies who want to learn more about working with the RightData DataOps tool can contact them directly for a demo and quote.

3. MLflow

MLflow stands for Machine Learning flow and it is a cloud-based platform on which you can run DataOps.

It’s an open-source platform, that can work on any language or with any coding. MLflow can be used by a single user or an entire company with many users.

It was created to solve the problem of too many data analytics tools making it too hard to move through a DataOps cycle with agility and continuity. DataOps relies on seamless reproduction to move ahead in quick sprints, not marathons of time waiting for data to be crunched while it grows irrelevant.

MLflow brings a solution to the community that brands are welcome to try, develop, and work together to make better.

If you’re into this kind of tinkering, you may want to explore MLflow.

4. K2View

K2View brings all the DataOps solutions that a brand needs under one roof so you don’t have to think about integrating this and that or whether your DIY DataOps fabric is covering all the bases.

Its premise is simple. They promise an all-in-one DataOps solution that brings you all the benefits including:

  • a single dashboard to monitor and digest all the information you need, whenever you need it
  • full, in-depth information on any product, customer, location or area, demographic, and more data that is up-to-the-minute and relevant, rather than lagging or growing old
  • continuous delivery of data
  • an adaptable and flexible framework that reacts to the data coming in
  • security support

The various integrations also ensure that anyone at your company who needs access to the data gets the interpolated and real-time information they need, from marketing to point of sales, from management to the floor.

You can contact K2View for a quote and can also check out a Proof of Concept for free for two weeks.

5. Tengu

Tengu is another DataOps platform available to you as a brand owner. Also low or no code, Tengu promises to be an approachable, off-the-shelf option for someone looking to start working with a DataOps solution. It can be used in the cloud for remote or spread out teams or directly at a single physical location if you want something more secure.

Not wanting a lack of knowledge to be a limiting factor, Tengu is built around self-service so users can get access to the features you need, and you can set it up with little technical experience.

They also boast that they are more than just the technology they deliver. They support their customers with consulting on how they can be better using their data and what kinds of systems will help them do that.

Those interested in Tengu can contact them directly to learn more about Tengu’s pricing levels and various consulting services.

Frequently Asked Questions About DataOps

What Is DataOps?

DataOps is a type of agile and continuous methodology, for the managing and interpreting of data for a company. With this approach, brands can process their data faster and more pertinent to their needs.

Why Is DataOps Important?

DataOps works at scale to crunch data quickly and more efficiently, in repeatable sprints, so companies have access to the information they need in real-time, in a single location, across departments.

How Do You Use DataOps in Marketing?

You can continuously gather data from customers, their experiences, the products people are buying, and more to make real-time decisions about how to reach more of your target audience.

What Are DataOps Tools?

DataOps tools integrate into your existing data collection software to process and deliver data information in a primary platform or dashboard. Examples include FraXses, RightData, MLflow, K2View, and Tengu.

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Guide to DataOps: Conclusion

Data is critical to our sales and marketing cycles. While there are plenty of great data analysis software options, sometimes you need that information coming in faster. With speed comes the need for efficiency, accuracy, and security. DataOps is the answer, in flexible and agile environments, constantly dripping in reliable data your brand can use to build better sales processes, respond to customer needs and wants, and hit your goals with more efficiency.

Which DataOps tool are you going to try first?

How to Vlog: A Complete Guide to Start Vlogging in 2021

Posted by:
Posted on: September 18, 2021

how to become a successful vlogger

If I told you that you could become a successful YouTuber/vlogger, would you believe me?

YouTube is certainly saturated; 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are dozens of million-dollar YouTubers and bloggers creating thousands of hours of video a year.

How could you possibly break through the noise?

Well, I’m here to tell you that video blogging still has huge potential.

The Potential of Vlogging and Why You Should Do It

Just look at the growth of video ad investment among brands and agencies and where it’s predicted to go:

average video spend and its impact on successful vloggers

It might not be as easy as it was several years ago to break onto the vlogging scene, but video is more important than ever to build a successful online marketing strategy.

Why?

First, video remains one of the best and most effective ways for people to get to know you.

When leads see you, their brain develops an impression of you that helps to build trust. You’re not just an anonymous content creator trying to drive your business. You’re a real person.

Second, video is a preferred method people have for gaining information. The stats don’t lie. People spend 2.6 times longer on pages with video than those without.

Third, the cost of good equipment keeps on falling, and the cameras in our phones keep getting better.

Fourth, video has a strong impact on the user experience, and therefore SEO. A video on your site can increase organic traffic by 157%. Check out this infographic:

why to invest in video how to become a successful vlogger

Finally, video blogging can be lucrative in itself. The top YouTubers and vloggers make between $14 and $22 million dollars a year.

The power of video is undeniable.

All of this brings up the question: how can you become a successful YouTuber?

Below are the steps you need to take to become a successful YouTuber, from starting a vlog and coming up with concepts for a video series to making a quality video and making sure people find your videos.

How to Come up With a Concept for a Series of Videos

Many people start by coming up with one idea for one video. That would be like starting a blog with an idea for only one article. As you probably know, that wouldn’t get you very far.

I explain how long content marketing takes in this video:

Video, like any other form of content marketing, needs a long-term strategy defined by a subject, tone of voice, and approach.

Here’s a question to ask yourself:

“What am I trying to convey to my audience?”

Once you know what you’re trying to do, you can define your vlogging content concept:

  • What should the format be? Should I do screen capture demos of step-by-step instructions? Should I be out and about talking to people? Should I talk into the camera?
  • What can I do with video that I can’t do in other formats like the written word?
  • How often am I going to make videos? How much time can I dedicate to them?

You have to document your plan to determine if it’s going to be feasible for long enough to achieve your goals.

The reality is people need to see consistency in order to understand why they should subscribe to your channel.

If you are making random, sporadic videos, it’s going to be harder to convince people to follow you.

The content of your video will be what determines your success.

That is, of course, only if you make quality videos.

How to Create Quality Video Content for Your Vlog

Video making is a complicated profession. When you see all of the elements that go into shooting a television broadcast or feature film, you will worry you’ll never be able to create anything like that.

how to become a successful vlogger.

The truth is, you probably can’t- and that’s okay.

People who are going to watch your video on your blog are not expecting a Steven Spielberg production.

People understand what vlogging is.

But that doesn’t mean that you should not care about quality. Quality is still super important.

Luckily, the cost of creating quality videos has been steadily dropping and continues to drop. There are more and more types of equipment available that can make your video go from amateur to professional-looking.

Step 1. Get a Camera and Tripod

You might be tempted to use your iPhone.

And honestly, cameras on smartphones have gotten amazing over the years. You have probably taken some great photos and videos on your phone already.

But smartphone cameras are difficult for serious video blogging for the following reasons:

  • they are hard to mount properly
  • they have very limited field of depth
  • they have very limited exposure options
  • the sound sucks

Selfie videos are best used for things like Instagram Stories.

They can be a part of your video strategy but shouldn’t be the foundation of it.

Cameras range in quality a lot, from basic models that run in the low hundreds to professional gear that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Most DSLR cameras also have video modes, though the options can be just as limited as on smartphones.

If you don’t know, DSLR cameras look like this:

build a successful vlog with camera equipement

The good news is that if you’re not chasing snow leopards in the wild, you won’t need all of those fancy settings.

What you need is a camera with a good lens that’s can take high-quality video. Not 4K necessarily, but enough quality to be able to work with if you want to add any extras.

You can find refurbished HD digital video cameras like this one for under $200.

build a successful vlog with a better video camera

Then, mount that camera onto a tripod. Nothing is worse than shaky video.

You could always place your camera on a table or shelf, but tripods are very affordable and give you 100% control of your filming.

Full-size tripods can go for less than $20, so there’s really no excuse not to have one.

successful vlog get a microphone

Step 2. Get a Microphone

You can either get a camera with a mic-in jack to plug in an external microphone (something you can also do when filming with your smartphone), or you can buy a USB microphone and record the sound directly to your computer.

pasted image 0 713

It depends on the type of conditions you’re filming in, but you usually don’t want to capture sound directly from the camera.

Separating the recording between two devices adds the challenge of having to sync up sound and image later.

You can overcome this by creating a clap sound that spikes up your audio visualizer for each syncing, then you line that up with the audio from the video.

video editing software for a successful vlog

I can’t stress the importance of having great sound in your videos. Sound is one of our fundamental senses and it should be a part of your marketing strategy.

Here are a few ways to leverage the power of sound:

Simply put, poorly recorded audio can turn people off and get in the way of you getting your message across.

Step 3. Create Your Lighting Setup

Lighting videos is an art all unto itself. But it’s surprisingly easy to get a great effect since there are normally only three primary lights in a video setup.

successful vlog with lighting diagram

The important thing is to separate yourself or your subject from the background. You can do this with the focus and depth of field, of course. But it really looks professional when there is a difference in lighting as well.

You don’t even need a professional lighting setup.

You can create a fairly decent lighting setup from lamps that you might have around the house.

You can also buy LED board lights that diffuse really well without getting hot — one of the drawbacks of using incandescent bulbs. You can buy versions that you can mount on your camera if you aren’t shooting in a controlled environment.

successful vlog how to light your videos

As a general rule, it’s better to be brighter. The image is clearer since the camera captures more light and therefore more detail.

Step 4. Get a Teleprompter

It’s great to be able to speak off the cuff effortlessly. There are some YouTubers with a natural style that works really well. Take the beauty YouTuber Freddy My Love. Her effortless and natural style has been honed from years of practice.

successful vlog example

Chances are, you will need help to deliver content in a clear and structured way.

You could memorize talking points and do a couple of takes. Then you can splice together the best parts.

That’s a longer process, though, than using a teleprompter.

A teleprompter makes it easier to hit all of the important points without memorizing or awkwardly transitioning between them. You could even write a script to follow verbatim.

But it’s more than a time saver. It drastically improves the way that you interact with your viewers.

Having notes or something written off screen causes you to break eye contact when you’re addressing your audience directly.

According to a study by Cornell University, humans will naturally increase eye contact with people that we admire or like.

Conversely, we tend to break eye contact when talking about embarrassing or uncomfortable subjects.

Viewers will subscribe to YouTubers and vloggers they respect. You can look directly into the eyes of your viewers while still reading your script or bullet points.

A teleprompter might seem complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple.

Teleprompting uses a slanted piece of glass to reflect the words so you can read them.

As long as there is darkness between the glass and the camera lens, the camera won’t pick up the light reflecting from the text on the glass. The camera will only see you.

You, however, will be able to clearly read the text as it scrolls. It looks like this:

how to use a teleprompter to vlog

You can buy a teleprompting setup and use your iPad or tablet with a teleprompting app.

There are also more advanced models that hook up to pedals for your feet that control how quickly the text scrolls.

If all that sounds like way too much, you can always try to build one yourself with a CD case and your smartphone to see if you like it.

Step 5. Do Your Makeup

This might sound a bit controversial – and I’m OK with that because I want you to have all of the options available to becoming successful – but people like watching videos with people who are put together.

(This explains why so many movie stars can be bad at acting.)

You don’t need to be Brad Pitt, and you definitely shouldn’t go overboard, but make an effort.

You’ve got an HD camera and a lighting setup. People have never seen you as clearly as right now.

For example, when you light yourself there will almost certainly be shiny parts of your skin. That’s your natural skin oil.

The most common makeup is a powder that absorbs oil so that your skin appears smooth without reflecting too much light.

how to vlog: tips on editing

Try testing your lighting setup and seeing where your skin is a bit too shiny.

Just to be clear, this goes for men as much as women.

Then, apply a powder if needed. Your video (and you) will look a whole lot more professional.

Step 6. Edit — A Lot

Making videos is like any other skill. You will get better at it the more you do it.

Video editing makes your life a lot easier by making it easier to cut between the best takes to more rapidly built your content.

Video editing software is easy to find — and use. iMovie comes on all macs and is available as an app on iOS.

The drag-and-drop interface makes it a snap to use.

how to successfully vlog editing tips imovie screenshot

If you are ever wondering how to do something, like shorten a transition or overlay an image, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube.

The bottom line is that you should be creating a lot of content. The majority of it you might not even use. But you get better and better each time you try something new.

And you should be careful to avoid oversharing. Instead, you should focus on a more qualitative approach.

Even if you think you did something great the first time through, force yourself to try it again.

You never know when you’re going to stumble onto something great.

OK, you’ve got the keys to actually making your videos to execute your strategy, now comes the hard part.

How to Get People to See Your Vlogs

When you make a video, you are in control of everything.

You decide how much you can invest time and money into creating your video. You decide who you work with and what you want the outcome to be.

Then, you decide when you put it online.

You don’t decide when other people watch it.

You can only try to grab their attention.

Getting people to watch your video can be difficult, but there are many steps that you can take to maximize your potential audience and get more people to click play.

Step 1. Create an Awesome Thumbnail

The first thing that many people will see is the thumbnail on the player before they start the video.

In fact, this is the piece of communication that reaches all the people that come across your video but don’t play it.

That digital real estate is your little promo box and can drive engagement. Take the time to make it great.

Here are two examples from Gary Vaynerchuk. He varies the style of the thumbnail from a photo collage with the title in a fun YouTube-style:

1 gary vee YouTube 1 how to vlog successfully

To a more elegant and serious tone when his subject matter is more inspirational:

1 gary vee YouTube 2 vlog successfully

There’s one thing you will always see in the thumbnail though: the title.

It’s crucial real estate that you can entirely personalize to get people to click.

You will have to abide by the brand values and guidelines, but you should create something custom to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

To add a thumbnail to your video, click on the video in your video manager.

Then, in the middle of the screen next to the player, you will see a few images that come from your video that you can select as your thumbnail.

how to vlog successfully on Youtube

Click on upload image to add your own custom image. The best size is 1280 x 720 pixels. A 16:9 ratio works best since that’s the format of the layout.

Remember, though, that you have to keep your thumbnail under 2 MB.

Step 2. Optimize Your Video for Search

I’m not just talking about Google search here.

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine by itself. All of those searches are powering an insane amount of views.

To optimize for search, you need to work on your descriptions. YouTube can’t crawl through your videos like Googlebot crawls through your website.

You need to lend a helping hand to get YouTube SEO right. Here are a couple of things you can do:

  • Write a description of at least 250 words that outlines the subjects of the video.
  • Get your keywords in the description in the first few sentences, and use it at least 3 or 4 times in the body of the description.
  • Start the title of your video with your keywords.
  • Add tags. Tags help you show up in the related videos column when people are watching other videos.
vlogging - adding a description and basic info for your video
vlogging - adding tags to your videos

There are also a few of the advanced settings that are helpful to turn on. These features are mostly located under the “Tags” box as seen in the image above.

If your video is focused on a local area, you should add a localization to the video.

Then, you want to drive as many views as possible so you should make sure that the two options are enabled: allow embedding and notify subscribers.

This way people can share your video on their websites, and you can benefit from their traffic to drive views.

And wouldn’t it be silly if your subscribers didn’t know you had a new video? It’s checked on by default but just double-check.

Step 3. Use End Screens to Promote Other Videos

Anyone who has watched your video to its completion is probably very interested in what you have to say. That is the best time of all to catch them.

YouTube developed end screens to keep people’s attention at the end of your video.

20 seconds before the end of your video, and/or for a bit afterward, you can present related or featured videos to your viewers.

To do that, go to your YouTube Studio account and click on Content (the red box with a “play” icon on the left-hand side). This will open your videos. Select the video you want to add an end screen to. The video will open along with data boxes. On the right-hand side, there is an “end screen” box.

The end screen adds extra time to the end of your video where you can do two key things: promote your other videos and get people to subscribe to your channel.

Click on the Add element button.

vlogging - finding and using the end screen

You’ll see a dropdown menu with a few different options. All of them are great for driving traffic.

YouTube provides three options for promoting your other videos and playlists that are pretty great.

how to promote your vlogging content

You can choose to feature your most recently uploaded videos, or you can choose a specific video that you want to promote.

Or you can let YouTube do the work and automatically recommend videos from your channel that would be the most relevant for each viewer.

You could even link out to other people’s videos if you want.

When you add a video, it will display the thumbnail plus the title and the duration of the video:

1 YouTube 7

You can reposition and resize the video.

You can add up to four elements to expose people to as many of your videos as possible.

Step 4. Get People to Subscribe to Your YouTube Channel

If you want to create a successful vlog, you need to increase your subscribers.

Views come and go.

Subscribers are more than people that happened to see your video.

They are people who were so happy with that video that they want to see more. They are anticipating that you will give them something great again.

What’s more, media outlets and brands looking to partner with YouTubers will use subscribers as their key metric when evaluating opportunities.

The most important is adding the subscribe action. When you do you will see your channel’s avatar in a round circle.

You can position this button wherever you want on the screen.

You can also use the end screen we discussed above to increase subscribers.

Don’t forget to add a link to subscribe to your website, email signature, and Instagram bio. It’s not just enough to add the YouTube link. You should tell people something clear like “Subscribe to see more videos.”

Step 6. Go Live

Live video is the new wild west in digital marketing. It represents a lot of opportunities. It’s much easier to be featured on the Live home page than the regular YouTube homepage.

I’ve written all about how you go live on YouTube and why it’s important.

Live also gives you the opportunity to interact directly with people while they watch you.

You can instantaneously respond to people’s questions that come up in the chat. This creates a real-time relationship.

How to Vlog Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a vlog?

Start by choosing a platform. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and many other platforms host videos. Then you’ll want to decide on the content you want to share and start researching your audience.

How much money can I make vlogging?

It varies by industry and how successful you are at reaching your audience. Most channels only pay a few cents per thousand views. However, you can use your vlog to promote other products or services.

Do I need expensive equipement to start a vlog?

No. You can start a vlog with a webcam or even a smartphone. There are also free and affordable editing tools.

How can I use a vlog to market my business?

Vlogging can be part of your overall content marketing strategy or you can use video content to push subscribers to paid products or services. People watch videos to learn and be entertained, so make sure to offer value if you want to use a vlog to market your business.

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How to Vlog Successfully Conclusion

Video blogging is becoming more and more important for content marketing.

And there’s no time like right now to get started in video marketing.

Organize your thoughts, sit down, and create a concept for a video series.

Like all content marketing, your video needs to give the viewer something of value, whether that be informative or educational or entertainment.

Then, make that video with the highest quality that your time and budget allows.

If it’s helpful, read some books about cinematography. I recommend Gustavo Mercado’s The Filmmaker’s Eye. You can skim through to get the basics about things like shot composition.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t forget to get your video in front of people.

You could make the best video the world has ever seen, but that won’t make you a successful YouTuber.

What are your experiences with YouTube and vlogging?

JumpStory Review

Posted by:
Posted on: September 18, 2021

JumpStory is a visual platform that provides access to millions of images, videos, and illustrations. 

Users receive unlimited access to quality photos, specifically high-performing and authentic images, instead of the more noticeable stock images found elsewhere. 

The platform includes a powerful and exclusive AI search tool that scans pages and finds the relevant pictures automatically based on the page text alone. 

There’s a photo editor and background removal tool, and you can convert images to PDF, TIFF, EPS, or PSD without any additional software. 

If you haven’t got the time to look for images, a personal assistant can even find them for you at no extra charge, all within 24 hours. 

JumpStory Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Exclusive and powerful AI search tool
  • Personal assistants find images in 24 hours
  • Pre-approved, high-performing photos only

Cons

  • UI can be slow to navigate
  • More high-quality videos are needed
  • Sometimes shows irrelevant search results

JumpStory Features

Below you’ll find the key features of JumpStory.

AI Text Match

The AI Text Match capability of JumpStory is a powerful feature that helps users save time. It works by scanning the text on your blog and then automatically picking the most relevant images to go with it. We’re talking about images that look good visually and those that will perform the best on the page. In other words, this tool can help a site to rank, boosts traffic in the long run, and saves time.

With AI Text Match, you insert the text and click where it says Match Now. Ideally, you want the text to be no longer than 20 words for the best results—the platform takes more time to find images for longer texts. We found the wait for larger texts wasn’t unbearable, though. 

You’ll be able to sort image search results by relevance and “freshness” or filter them via location, orientation, color, and the people in them. The options here in the search results are impressive, and it feels like quite a bit of thought has gone into them, helping users narrow down their results to be as accurate as possible.

The AI will even suggest topics and keywords for you to ensure search results are more focused. JumpStory continually improves the AI learning and the algorithm, so we expect the feature to get better as it goes along, but what’s here is already a valuable feature.

The AI itself is trained in neuromarketing and learns how images work on human brains, how the eye processes visual content, and how contrast, colors, and the emotions in a photo will predict how the images perform next to the text.

It’s worth noting the AI Text Match feature isn’t one you’ll commonly find elsewhere on other stock photo sites, making it an exclusive part of the platform. If you feel like you haven’t got time to pick images and want an AI-powered solution that will get better as it goes along, well, then look no further.

Image Tools

JumpStory offers a healthy range of image tools, from background removal to converting photo formats. Most of these tools are found elsewhere on other platforms, so we can’t say the offering is as strong as something like the AI Text Match feature, but that’s fine. What’s here is practical and works well. 

First up is the ability to remove the background from images. This tool is useful and one that most users will want to see as standard—after all, nearly everyone has needed to remove a background from an image at some point or another.

The tool is backed up by AI tech once more, allowing you to remove backgrounds in a few clicks. Users can get started by uploading an image from their computer. Even with AI tech powering it, it’s worth mentioning this is still a standard tool on the surface. Don’t expect more than that, and you’ll be happy with the outcome.

The software will detect the background, there’s a small wait, and it will then remove it from there automatically. The results vary, and not every background removal is as smooth as the rest, depending mainly on the complexity of the image. We’ve seen some flawless background removals and others that have looked a bit pixelated around shapes and the people in the photos.

That aside, for most, it’s going to be a useful extra to have while they alter their images.

One of the other tools is an image converter, allowing you to change images from one format to another. You’ll be able to convert any photo to PDF, TIFF, EPS, and PSD. There’s no additional software to install, and we found the speed of conversion respectable. Keep in mind this is only for images, and as of yet, you can’t convert videos, although we expect this to be a feature later.

There are free online tools that perform much of this conversion functionality already, but having it there on the platform in one unified place is helpful. The convertible number of image formats on offer is solid, although some other platforms offer a slightly larger variety. How important this is to you will depend on your professional needs, so think carefully. 

Image Search

JumpStory offers an extensive library of images that are ready to be downloaded. It doesn’t just stop at photos either; you’ll be able to download videos, sound effects, illustrations, vectors, and icons without much in the way of hassle.

Users type into the search bar as they would a search engine, and a list of images, or whatever else you’re looking for, will appear. You can filter your results by relevance, location, and more. Keep in mind that the AI Text Match feature is separate from this, and this is just your standard image search where you download and pick the images yourself—although machine learning helps show you these pictures in the background.

That said, we have found some of the searches we performed returned results that weren’t always accurate—refining our searches helped here, but the occasional discrepancy is worth noting. The selection of videos to download is also relatively small, but on both accounts, we expect these offerings to improve over time, so it’s not an absolute dealbreaker. 

If you’re struggling to find an image or are short on bandwidth, you can ask a personal assistant to find it for you, which helps mitigate any problems you may encounter with the search feature. The personal assistant will get back to you with the images you requested within 24 hours of asking, and even better, you won’t have to pay for this service at all—it’s a convincing part of the package. 

There’s also a helpful feature within the image search that allows you to archive your favorite photos quickly, and from there, you can convert them to the list of image formats we spoke about earlier.

The UI for image searching is comparatively simple, although we think it could be improved and made faster. Navigating was straightforward most of the time, but there is a clunky feel to some parts of the design. We fully expect this to be resolved soon, though, given the continued and rigorous updates to the platform being performed. (And it’s worth remembering that JumpStory only launched a few years back!)

Overall, the library of images available is wide-ranging and growing by the day. While the image search could be more accurate, this is largely made up for elsewhere and doesn’t detract from a positive experience. 

Image Editor

JumpStory comes with an online photo editor that enables you to adjust images as you please. You’ll be able to edit pictures, apply filters, and can add text where needed. A basic but easy-to-use crop function allows you to resize images in a few seconds. Tweaking the lighting and contrast of images is also easy, and you can alter the brightness as well.

Few parts of the image editor offer something you wouldn’t find elsewhere, but we were impressed with the number of options available. For instance, you can add photo frames and borders to make your images stand out, use various brushes and colors to draw on them, and set the radius using a handy slider.

Not to mention you can add shapes to photos, flip or rotate distinct elements, and resize to specific resolutions. The ability to resize your images will benefit many users as it’s an everyday part of working with them professionally. If you have few other options or image editing software available, you could certainly do far worse than JumpStory.

In summary, there’s a lot on offer here, even if most of the image editing capability is available on other platforms. It’s easy to use and practical for many professional purposes. Freelancers, bloggers, and even large sites will find plenty of images they’ll be able to use and then edit in the same place. 

JumpStory Pricing and Package Options 

JumpStory’s pricing couldn’t be more straightforward. 

To use all of the features we’ve talked about, you can either pay monthly for a single account, $25 per month, or pay yearly for a single account, which is $12 per month. Both the pay monthly and yearly options are identical in features, with the only difference being the free trial available on the monthly plan. Worry not, though, as you can still access this free trial just by signing up.

If you’re looking to save money, then the yearly plan is the best choice, but the monthly alternative offers more flexibility, so think about which might be right for you based on your circumstances. If you’re a business and need multiple user accounts, you’ll need to get in touch with JumpStory for a custom quote—no prices are publicly listed.

JumpStory’s 14-day free trial freely allows you to use everything, from the background removal tool to the image editor with an unlimited number of downloads. The offer includes images, videos, vectors, icons, sounds, and daily image updates, essentially the entire platform with no limitations. 

Both the monthly and yearly plans offer online email support?, a dedicated customer support team?, and image search help?, as well as global insurance and HTTPS security. There are no extra costs on either plan, which is welcome, and you can pay in a variety of ways, from Visa to American Express.

It’s fair to say that pricing is rarely as simple and transparent as it is here.

JumpStory Reputation 

The majority of JumpStory’s users are pleased with what the stock image platform has to offer. Most mention the selection of images, the quality, and the relative ease of searching for them. Most users also liked the personal assistant feature and its speed—this saved them a great deal of time—and the intuitive nature of the platform overall, although some found the UI needed work.

Users found the customer service friendly and professional, with any issues solved quickly and without fuss. Most believed the licensing of images was solid, and this gave them the confidence to use them. That said, others think the selection of photos and videos could be better and have noted a few of them can be found for free elsewhere.

A few customers were disappointed the free trial required payment details to access it, and some were unhappy with a lack of transparency here—they wanted the sign-up process to be more explicit. A few have mentioned payments being taken without notice, although this isn’t a common problem. It’s worth noting that JumpStory fully refunded customers when this happened.

Summary 

Overall, we recommend JumpStory and think it’s an excellent platform for professionals that need to find images and not worry about copyright issues. The AI Text Match feature is exclusive and noteworthy, and the personal assistant help is more than welcome. A few inaccurate image searches aside, it’s obvious the platform is improving every day. If you’re still hesitant, be sure to try out the 14-day free trial for the complete experience.

How to Automate Your Instagram Marketing and Get 132% More Engagement

If you know me, you know I love Instagram. Why? Because it is one of the only social networks left that is truly “personable” and the engagement is still decent because of it. 

But just like any social network, it requires a lot of time and work.

Here’s the thing though, by automating your Instagram, you can deliver great content, and also spend less time doing it. 

Over the last three of four months, I have been using a few of the features in MobileMonkey (you can do it with a free account) to automate my Instagram marketing and the results have been great. 

Here’s what it produced:

  • 223 story mentions — more eyes on my brand
  • 431 page views — more followers
  • 1068 DMs — more leads for my ad agency

This adds up to 132 percent more engagement–without doing any extra work past the initial setup. 

What’s crazy is a lot of marketers don’t know how to automate their Instagram marketing beyond scheduling a few posts… which isn’t really much automation at all.

Now I did schedule posts, which does help, and I will talk about that in a bit, but it was the story automation mentions which really drove good results (I will go over that as well). 

So let’s dive into how I automated my Instagram marketing and how you can too…

Strategy #1: Get More Shares With Story Mention Automations  

Imagine you’re getting story mentions. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could respond to them in masses without the manual labor of replying one by one?

And best of all, by responding to them (automatically and personalized), you will build a connection and it will cause you to get more story mentions which will grow your account faster.

Plus it helps you increase your followers and nurture relationships.

You can also use automated story mentions to:

  • Enter people in a contest if they mention you in their stories
  • Create promotional offers
  • Get more mentions

Personally, I use automated story mentions to respond to everyone who mentions me in their @story.

If you mention me in a story here is the response you will get from me.

instagram automation thanks for the story mention

I line up responses ready to go out whenever I get a mention. Although I’m not there manually answering everyone, the responses are much appreciated. 

People love the personal touch, and the ability to send automatic responses helps me build customer loyalty and further establish myself on Instagram.

Here’s how you set up story mentions in MobileMonkey:

  1. In order to automate messages on your Instagram account, you must first link it to a Facebook Business Page, then link it to MobileMonkey.
  2. Log in to your Mobile Money account and click on “Chatbot” and then “Chat starters” on the top bar.
  3. Click “Instagram story mentions” in the left bar and choose “Create Instagram story mention.”
 setup Instagram story mentions in MobileMonkey
  1. Choose “Instagram story mention” in the drop down to create a new, automated response. Thank them for mentioning you in their story, or link to a website you think they could enjoy reading. You can also add widgets like images, forms, SMS opt-ins or attachments.
 setup story mentions in MobileMonkey step 2
  1. Choose what your automated response will be depending if the user replies with text message, email, phone number or multiple responses (like yes or no). 
instagram automation story mentions
  1. Preview and send!

Strategy #2: Schedule Posts in Advance

A lot of people don’t realize it’s possible to schedule posts for Instagram in advance.

That’s because the post scheduler feature was banned for years. Now it’s hidden inside Instagram Creator Studio.

As Instagram puts it: “The Creator Account on Instagram gives you a set of tools that makes it easier to control your online presence, understand your growth and manage your messages.”

I love it because batch-scheduling posts for Instagram saves me so much time.

Creator Studio comes with:

  • Professional Dashboard: See your content performance and see educational content shared by Instagram.
  • Growth insights: Tools to help you understand what content you’re posting is growing your audience.
  • Advanced post scheduling: Fill up your content calendar in advance by scheduling posts for Instagram Feed and Instagram TV.
instagram creator studio Instagram automation

Creator Studio even has a calendar view so you can see all the content published and scheduled to publish, which is awesome for social media teams.

Once you use the Creator Studio Instagram post scheduler, you’ll never go back to the old way of posting one post at a time.

Strategy #3: Automate Direct Messaging Responses 

As you build your Instagram audience, you’re likely to see more direct messages. On one hand, that’s great because people want to talk to you. On the other hand, DMs can easily take up hours of your time, but with automation, you can cut down that time drastically.

Most people I know tend to just ignore the DMs but you shouldn’t do that. Seventy-five percent of consumers want to talk to brands via private messaging. Hence you ideally should try and respond when you can.

Best Instagram Automation Tools - MobileMonkey Instagram Automation tools survey graph image

Through the automated direct messaging feature you can: 

  • Line up automated welcome messages to new followers
  • Send automated replies to Instagram DMs based on keyword triggers
  • Create automated FAQ answers in DMs

Automated Direct Messaging (ADM) can be used for various purposes such as customer service, account management, and marketing campaigns.

The key with automated DMs is it needs to be triggered based on keywords. You don’t want to send out generic DMs to everyone or else it will look like spam and won’t be effective. This absolutely changes the way you add calls to action to Instagram post comments.

instagram automation direct message replies

For example, I would make a post on Instagram and tell people to leave a comment with a specific phrase or word if they wanted a free ebook. This helped me get more engagement, build a bigger audience and best of all generate leads for my ad agency.

Instagram automation tools MobileMonkey keyword feature image

Here’s how you do it: 

  1. In order to automate messages on your Instagram account, you must first link it to a Facebook Business Page, then link it to MobileMonkey.
  2. Log in to your MobileMonkey account and click on “Chatbot” and then “Chat starters” on the top bar.
  3. Click on “Instagram Welcomer” on the left bar and then create a new one. 
  4. Choose what message you want people to automatically receive when they DM you on Instagram. You can also add widgets like images, forms, sms opt-ins or attachments. Here’s one I created: 
automate instagram direct messages example
  1. Preview and send.

Strategy #4: Drip Campaigns in Instagram

You’ve heard of email drip campaigns, but did you know you can do it on Instagram, too? 

You can use the Instagram drip campaign feature that takes the standard automated DM response to the next level. 

Rather than just sending one DM, you can send several links to your blog or other channels over the course of several days.   

For example, you can: 

  1. Respond to their first message with educational content related to their message. 
  2. Send social proof a few days later, such as a case study or short review. 
  3. Once you’ve caught their attention, ask them to sign up for your email list or send a free trial or tool. 

Want to see it in action? DM “growth” to me on Instagram. 

Here are a few other ways to use Instagram drip campaigns: 

  • Kick off lead nurturing campaigns. 
  • Send onboarding messages with educational messages to engage followers.
  • Ask questions for list segmentation and retargeting.
  • Send upsell campaigns.
  • Send instant welcome messages to your new followers. 

Here’s how you set up the Instagram drip campaign:

  1. Click on “Campaigns” in the top bar and “Drip Campaigns” in the left bar. 
  2. Create a new Drip Campaign.
  3. Specify the social media platform. 
automate Instagram drip campaign
  1. Choose the audience(s) that should be sent the campaign. You can include or exclude your audiences.
choose the audience for drip campaigns instagram automation
  1. Choose a schedule during which your drip campaign messages will be sent. Then choose how long before the first message goes out. You can choose minutes, hours, days, weeks and months.
Schedule automated instagram drip campaign
  1. Create a dialogue and add as many follow up messages as you want up to 23 hours. If a user responds to any of your messages, the 24 hour clock starts over. 
Create first drip message automate instagram
automate instagram drip campaign message example 2

Strategy #5: Automate Comment Replies

Do you know what the best way to go viral on Instagram is?

It’s actually similar for most social networks…

It’s not about likes or shares, it’s actually comments. 

Anyone can like or share a post, but it takes a while for someone to leave a thoughtful comment and social networks know that. Hence the more comments you get the more views your content typically gets.

And the best way to encourage more comments is to reply to your comments.

Best of all you can do this in an automated way that is “personalized”.

Here’s how to set it up.

  1. First link it to a Facebook Business Page, then link it to MobileMonkey.
  2. Log in to your Mobile Money account and click on “Chat bot” and then “Chat starters” on the top bar. 
  3. Click on “Instagram comment guard” on the left bar and then create a new one. 
  4. Choose what the Comment Guard will work with, for example all posts and respond to all comments.
automate instagram comment responder
  1. Choose the frequency cap If a user posts more than one comment. 
set frequency of automated responder automate instagram
  1. Create a dialogue to send to users who comment on your Instagram post. You can also add widgets like images, forms, sms opt-ins or attachments.
instagram automation growth example
  1. Preview and send.

Want to see this in action? Comment “growth” on this post to see it in action.

Strategy #6: Use Instagram Guides

Instagram Guides are a relatively new Instagram feature designed to help users easily find recommendations, tips, and other content from their favorite Instagram accounts. 

Originally only for specific types of accounts, it was later expanded to allow all users to use it from anywhere. 

There are three main types of Guides: posts, places, and products, and they’re also shareable in stories, helping to give your content further reach.

While it’s not automation in the same sense as scheduling posts out in advance, Instagram Guides are advantageous to marketers for many reasons. 

First, the feature is ideal for those with a limited marketing budget. Guides is a free tool, and Instagram helps you design your brand pages and then guides you through content promotion.

Secondly, the curation style of Guides makes it an excellent format to automatically share informational content in an engaging way. You can then use the content to educate new customers and followers about what you do and how your products apply to their lifestyles.

Third, it’s a bit of a set it and forget it feature. You can create tons of great content, and it’s just sitting there waiting for users to engage.  

For example, here’s an Instagram Guide I posted at the beginning of last year: 

Instagram automation instagram guide example NP

It lives on my NP Digital Instagram page and is easily discoverable by users. 

Finally, Instagram Guides give you flexibility regarding the types of formats. For instance, you can write articles and turn them into slideshows with images and videos from tutorials. 

Or, you could create videos that walk viewers through task completion.

Strategy #7: Integrate With TikTok

Cross promoting on social media gets your content out in front of a wider audience, attracts more leads, increases brand awareness, and gets you more mileage from your content.

Instagram and TikTok integrate well, and you can connect your accounts with just a few steps.

To connect them, just:

  1. Go to TikTok and select “edit profile.”
  2. Select “Instagram” and enter your user name.
  3. Click connect.
  4. You’re done!

Now all you need to do is start sharing some content. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Begin your story on TikTok and finish it up on Instagram or vice versa. What better way to get in front of two audiences?

This works well with decorating projects, makeovers, recipes, product testing. Anything where you have a starting place and a result. 

A further benefit is you’re not sharing the same content, so you avoid duplication.

You could also repost your Instagram Reels on TikTok, but remember to stick to both platforms’ guidelines and remove watermarks from your TikTok content. 

Whichever approach you take, keep your two audiences in mind, and ensure your content is right for both platforms.

Instagram Automation FAQs

Are tools for automating Instagram functions expensive?

Costs vary. There are some great tools out there that are free. Equally, some paid subscriptions offer a free trial period that you can make the most. Some apps are more expensive but offer an extensive range of features that are definitely worth the investment. Don’t just consider the cost – think of the return value, as well as the time an automation tool could free up for other vital areas of your work and how much this could be worth to your business.

MobileMonkey’s InstaChamp tool has two main packages: VIP Creator & Influencer and the platinum package, including Story Mentions, Q&A keywords, and DM autoresponder tools.

What features of Instagram can I automate?

Instagram tools allow you to automate many of the crucial elements of your account. This includes scheduling posts, responding to story mentions, liking and commenting on posts, and sending automatic responses to Instagram DMs.

Why should marketers automate Instagram functions?

Using Instagram automation is essential for many business owners who need to be more “hands-on” with their Instagram accounts by responding to other users. Still, they just don’t have the time or resources to do this themselves. 

Automating Instagram functions is a great way to save time and be more efficient. For example, you can set up your account to publish at certain times of the day. You can also automate your account, so when someone likes or comments on one of your posts, it will automatically follow them back.

How do I know what Instagram automated tools are best?

There are several ways to find out what Instagram automation tools are best for you. One way is to check the comments on the company’s website and see if they generate any helpful feedback. 

Another way is to check the customer reviews on their website – see what others have said about their experience with these tools, good or bad.

Finally, if the company’s offering a free trial, that’s an excellent way to test out the functions and see how a specific Instagram automation tool meets your needs.

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Instagram Automation Conclusion

Instagram automation is going to make your life easier. 

There are only so many hours in the day, and while being on social media sites like Instagram is essential to brand growth, it’s time-consuming and can take you away from other tasks like outreach and developing content.

With Instagram automation, you can manage the back-end and front-end tasks associated with running a social media account without employing a dedicated manager or virtual assistant to handle these tasks for you.

Additionally, by integrating Instagram automation into your routine, you’re more productive and you can build stronger community links while developing customer loyalty.

Do you use Instagram tools in your business? How do they benefit you?

“When we say the winners, what really makes a winning stack is, does it actually deliver results for your company?” said Scott Brinker, program chair for MarTech, when presenting the winners of the 2021 Stackie Awards this week. “There’s no external judging for that.”

True. But as a judge, Brinker is uniquely qualified in the marketing technology field. He’s editor of chiefmartec.com and serves as VP Platform Ecosystem for HubSpot. Of 29 entries in this year’s awards, just five were given the distinction as top stacks: Juniper Networks, Philips, Itau, Betway and SAS.

As in previous years, entrants submitted a PowerPoint slide mapping out their marketing tech stack, showing the ways each component works with the others. This year, MarTech donated $100 to nonprofit COOP Careers for each stack that was submitted.

At the end of Day 1 of this year’s MarTech conference, Brinker had a chance to discuss the stacks with some of the winners and offered insights into what it was about their design that got these stacks to rise to the top.

Simplicity at scale

Simple design and clear communication are crucial when mapping out a big marketing organization. Brazil-based Itau Unibanco is the largest banking institution in Latin America.

Their “constellation map” withholds the names of specific vendors but uses shapes so that viewers can see common functions at a glance, with lines connecting the flow of functionality through different layers of the stack.

-Itau's marketing stack

“When you actually look at what they’re explaining here in this visualization of the set of capabilities,” Brinker said, “it’s almost like synapses firing, the connections between the capabilities…they’re describing the activities that are being delivered.”

He added, ”Itau’s stack does an incredible job of showing that scope of what [marketing technology] looks like at a financial services company of their size.”

Organizing a winning hand

Gambling platform Betway has loaded the marketing technology deck in their favor with external, as well as internally-developed tools.

“You can take a look at the organization of how they think about the customer journey and going through consideration and getting customers engaged, how they look at analytics on their side and what they do to listen, the way they bring content around the community,” Brinker said.

“One of the things I thought was very useful about this stack visualization is they’re also highlighting within each section the technologies that they built,” Brinker added.

In the spirit of the movement Brinker described in his Day 1 keynote talk about Big Ops, it’s evident in Betway’s stack that they are developing tools to meet specific organizational goals, especially in customer experience.

An important substack in the Betway organization is represented with its own card: responsibility. Making sure customers’ data is stored in a safe and secure environment is always a sure bet against that wild card to any brand, a data breach.

Working with others

SAS is the world’s largest private software company. In looking at their winning submission, it’s possible to see where they use their own products (analytics, email and personalization) and where they look elsewhere (advertising).

“One of the things I love about this is that it’s just so clear what the tools are that they’re using and for which particular capability,” Brinker said. “But one of the other reasons is that SAS is a software company themselves…and you can see where SAS sees its own strengths and its own capabilities, and then how they complement that with other solutions off the market.”

Keeping the customer at the center

Brinker compared the winning entry this year from Philips with their entry last year, and found an important pattern. Philips keeps their customers at the center of their stack. The tools in this year’s graphic extend outward to create a honeycomb design.

The central unit in this design is the customer, and its six-sided neighbors are customer care, sales agent, event, social, website and mobile app — the most important channels for Philips customers. 

Last year, Philips represented the customer as a heart, pumping the lifeblood of the organization.

“We wanted to do something different visually this year, obviously,” said Joost van Dun, Director Experience & Conversion platforms at Philips, who joined Brinker virtually at the Day 1 event. “We wanted to shy away a bit from the functional perspective on what sort of application we have, and look more from a capability perspective, because in the end we believe the capabilities are a combination of the tools, the process and the people.”

Solid foundation and wiring

Juniper Networks used the imagery of housing, the architecture that creates spaces where customer engagement lives.

“When we think about [marketing technology] at Juniper, we think it provides a competitive advantage for us, so much to the point that it’s a critical component to our overall marketing strategy,” said Brian Cooper, Vice President, Demand, Analytics and Information at Juniper Networks.

He added, “The marketing tech strategy we have is based on a really simple concept called the ‘three D’s’ — Deconstruct, Decompose and Design.”

Essentially, map out the customer journey, as well as the specific tactics your marketing team uses to engage customers. The design part comes in by plugging in the right technology to match these tactics in an effective way along the customer journey.

To pull it back out to the housing metaphor, to make the customer journey a modern living space, you have to equip it with the right appliances and wiring.

“I love how everyone has been very on-brand about making sure the visual representation of their stack really leans into what they provide and their corporate mission,” said Brinker, taking in the field of winners, as well as the other impressive entrants that made up the Stackies this year.

Brinker also said that all the companies that entered the Stackies should be applauded for their generosity and openness in contributing to the marketing technology community by providing insight into what technologies allow them to make an impact with customers.

Watch the entire 2021 Stackie Awards presentation here (free registration required).

The post Stackies 2021: How the winning companies think about their marketing stacks appeared first on MarTech.

8 Must-Know SEO Best Practices For Developers

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Posted on: September 17, 2021

8 Must-Know SEO Best Practices for Developers

Web development and search engine optimization (SEO) become increasingly intertwined as search engines become more intelligent. Therefore, experts in both fields need to have a basic understanding of the other. 

Today, I’m speaking to web developers. While you can leave the nitty-gritty to the SEO experts, the best practices I’ll talk about in this piece could help you communicate with your team, raise your brand image, and provide better services to your customers. In this post, learn the 8 best practices for SEO for developers.

What Do Developers Need to Know About SEO?

If you’re responsible for building and maintaining a website, you’re also partially responsible for making sure it can rank in the search engines.

SEO is often broken down into three categories:

  • technical SEO: how search engine bots crawl and index a website
  • on-page SEO: how well the content on the site is optimized for target keywords and user experience
  • off-page SEO: how other websites link to your website to boost its authority

Naturally, developers play a big part in technical SEO, but this isn’t where SEO for developers should end. They also help ensure a positive user experience, which can help with on- and off-page SEO.

Here are eight best SEO practices developers can focus on to take their efforts to the next level.

1. Keep Your Code Clean

Web developers can do so many amazingly intricate things, but it pays to keep things simple more often than not. 

Consumers value convenience more than almost anything else. We want quick access to information, and everything that gets in the way damages the user experience. More complicated code can lead to more roadblocks for site visitors.

Keeping your code clean is one of the first steps in SEO for developers. When people land on a website, they make quick-fire decisions about whether it’s worth the effort.

2. Keep Load Times Fast

Building on the point about complicated code: load times are vital to SEO

Search engines want to send users to websites that quickly and accurately answer their questions.

If another website can deliver comparable information twice as fast as yours, Google will likely prioritize them on search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEO for developers - page load speed

Even if load times weren’t a direct ranking factor, this would still be a big issue.

A page’s load time directly impacts its bounce rate. For example, pages that take two seconds to load have an average bounce rate of six percent. At four seconds, that rate jumps to 24 percent, and once a mere six seconds have passed, 46 percent of visitors are gone.

When Google sees people bouncing straight back to the search results, it likely thinks your page isn’t valuable and assigns less ranking power.

3. Use the Correct Redirects

Websites are constantly evolving. Content gets updated, pages move, new elements are added, and developers make sure this happens smoothly.

The end-user is the most critical factor in this equation because anything you do has to work for them. However, you’ve also got to think about how the crawlers view your website.

This is where it’s essential to understand how redirects work in SEO.

The two most common redirects that affect SEO are 301 and 302 redirects

A 301 redirect indicates to the search engines that a website or pages have permanently moved. When you use a 301 redirect, the search engines will transfer most of the original page’s link equity to the new page.

A 302 redirect, on the other hand, indicates that a page has moved temporarily. You might use this when you’re redesigning or updating your site, but you still want to keep the original page’s link equity.

Using redirects correctly may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in SEO terms.

4. Add a Sitemap

Search engines are very sophisticated, but they don’t experience a website like humans do. They need you to give them clues about how pages link together, and one of the ways you can do this is with your sitemap.

When indexing your site, bots follow every link to see where they go. One way you can help with this process is by adding a sitemap

Google and the other search engines should be able to crawl your entire site if you use good internal linking. However, large sites can get complicated, so a sitemap makes things easier for the search engines and ensures your site will be indexed appropriately.

5. Make Sure the Site Works on Mobile

Mobile devices account for 54.8 percent of website traffic. Google knows this, so it prioritizes websites that offer an excellent mobile experience. 

seo for developers - mobile friendly page

Google now uses mobile-first indexing, which means when its bots crawl your site, they use the mobile version. If your website doesn’t perform on mobile devices, it’s unlikely to rank highly on SERPs.

Even today, too many websites neglect this vital fact.

To check how your website performs for mobile, Google’s mobile-friendly test is a convenient option. It gives you a quick performance check and tells you where you can make improvements.

If you want to dig a little bit deeper, then Google Lighthouse is also a great option for overall UX. 

6. Check the Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file sets rules for how web crawlers crawl different parts of a website. It’s a simple piece of code, but it can have a significant impact. 

A robots.txt file unintentionally blocking crawlers from content can be catastrophic for SEO. If the bots can’t crawl the page, it won’t be indexed—meaning it won’t appear in search results.

Sometimes, webmasters don’t want a page indexed, and a robots.txt file is a valuable tool. However, if your SEO team notices a page that should be getting traffic isn’t, keep an eye out for a rogue robots.txt file.

7. Ensure Follow/No Follow Links Are Used Appropriately

Links are like the language of the search engine, so you’ve got to be able to speak it.

One distinction to be aware of is follow links vs. no-follow links.

Follow links, also called do-follow links, are backlinks where the person linking to the page doesn’t edit the HTML to ensure Google doesn’t associate their site with another. When a site gives a clean backlink with no changes, a crawler sees this as one page vouching for the quality of the other.

Crawlers still look at no-follow links to see where they go, but they don’t ascribe value to the link.

From an SEO standpoint, you want follow links from authoritative websites to yours. However, you should still consider no-follow links valuable. Even if the link itself doesn’t give authority, it can still drive traffic to or from your site.

For developers, this means they’ve got to make sure they’re using the right links to communicate properly with the crawlers.

8. Understand and Implement Structured Data

Structured data can be tricky for many people involved with SEO…and this is where developers can really shine. Developers already know how to format a page so that all parts of it flow well and can be read by both human and search engine searchers.

seo for developers - structured data

When used well, structured data lets Google know exactly what’s on every part of a webpage. Beyond that, it can tell Google precisely what questions you’re answering. In fact, the FAQ below uses a structured data (schema) markup to indicate to Google that we’re answering common questions.

SEO for Developers: Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Developers do SEO?

Developers should be familiar with technical SEO and effective user experience.

Do Web Developers Do SEO?

Web developers do SEO to some extent. A clean, functioning website that offers a great user experience essential to SEO is all the developer’s domain. 

What Is SEO Software Development?

SEO software development is the process of making sure software and web applications are SEO-friendly.

What Is the Role of an SEO Developer?

An SEO developer understands how development decisions will affect a website’s search rankings and organic traffic.

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SEO for Developers Conclusion

Increasing organic traffic is a key goal for most website owners, so SEO for developers is important. 

Good developers naturally aid SEO by creating user-friendly websites, but it pays to understand search engine optimization itself. Even just the basics could allow you to make more informed decisions and offer a better service for your clients. 

SEO for developers doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can make all the difference to a website’s success.

How do you approach SEO as a developer?

18 Ways to Improve Your Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Posted by:
Posted on: September 16, 2021

18 Ways to Improve Your Organic Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

Many times, marketers focus their SEO efforts entirely on discoverability.

They want to tick that careful balance between keyword optimized and “keyword stuffed,” but here’s a secret: being on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) won’t do you any good if searchers aren’t interested in your content.

Instead of focusing all your efforts on creating local SEO content to bag that top spot, you need to understand what turns searchers into readers, and readers into customers, through first improving your organic click-through rate (CTR).

Why Should You Care About Your Organic CTR?

Organic click-through rate refers to the percentage of users who click on a search engine result. In this case, that result would be your URL. While it’s primarily dependent on ranking position (the more people that see your content, the higher chance they’ll click), it is also influenced by a variety of other factors.

If you focus your efforts on improving organic CTR, you can also improve your Google ranking. When URLs are being frequently visited, the search engine algorithm will consider your page to be valuable and relevant to future queries containing your content keywords.

18 Ways to Improve Your Organic CTR

Now that you know what organic CTR is and why it’s important, let’s dive into how you can improve yours.

1. Use Long-Tail Keywords

One of the first ways you can boost your organic CTR is by using long-tail keywords—especially in your headings and title tags. Long-tail keywords are highly descriptive and, as a result, they match your content to search intent.

When users see a descriptive long-tail keyword relevant to what they’re looking for, they’re motivated to click on your URL as they’re confident your post will contain the information they’re looking for.

How do you find long-tail keywords that meet user intent?

Using keyword research tools like Ubersuggest will help. Simply plug in your seed keyword in the search bar and click “search.” Next, click on the “Keyword Ideas” in the left sidebar.

Use tools like Ubersuggest to find long-tail keywords that help boost your organic CTR.

All that’s left is to select the keywords that are relevant to your post, and include them in your new content.

2. Write Effective Meta Descriptions

Another strategic way of improving your organic CTR is to write effective meta descriptions. These are the snippets of text that appear below your title tag in the SERPs. An effective meta description informs users what your page is about and also compels them to click through to your post.

Again, your keywords will come in handy here. Use them to show users that your article solves a problem they’re needing answers for. Other ways of optimizing your meta description include:

  • Answering questions: If you can answer your users’ questions in the meta description, you’ve won half the battle driving your organic click-through rate up.
  • Make it specific and relevant: You only have 160 characters to craft a meta description. That’s why you must make yours as specific and relevant as possible.
  • Powerful language: Use persuasive and powerful language, such as emotionally charged words to elicit strong responses associated with your post to improve your CTR.

Meta descriptions shouldn’t just be a product feature—turn it into an elevator pitch to convince users you have the content and solution for them. If possible, you can also add a CTA (such as “learn more” and “find out how.”)

3. Implement Structured Data

Implementing structured data is a great way to “speak” to search engine algorithms. You can do this by using Schema.org to change your content into code that search engines can easily process. This will help them display rich, interactive search results. These are commonly called rich snippets (which we’ll talk more on later).

Of course, this type of search result attracts more clicks because:

  • They appear at the top of the SERPs.
  • They are more attractive than plain URLs.
  • They give more information about the content at a glance.

Implementing structured data will boost your organic CTR rates as people love interactive content.

4. Create Posts With Images

Using images in your posts is a common practice, but did you know it can improve your organic CTR? Images in your content are a powerful way to boost engagement. They are an essential ingredient to your content appearing in the featured snippets and other infoboxes on the SERPs.

Using images is a great way to boost your organic CTR.

Not only that, but it also improves the chances of your URL being clicked on when users look for search results in the images section. For this to work, you must implement image SEO best practices like naming your images properly and adding alt text.

5. Use Descriptive URLs

Your page URL is one of the main pieces of information shown on SERPs. As such, you must optimize it to help you improve your organic CTR.

One way you can do that is by making it as descriptive as possible.

Using descriptive URLs helps improve your organic CTR.

Try to naturally include your keyword in your URL. This will reinforce the core topic your post is about, thereby showing users that your content is relevant.

Another tip for optimizing your URL is to keep it short. This makes it easier on the eye as well as more attractive. As a result, more people will click on it.

If you’re a WordPress user, you can change your URL in your permalink settings.

6. Simplify Your Title Format

Your title tag is another part of the information displayed on the SERPs, and you must take your time to format it properly. The best way to do so is to keep it simple.

Remember, people usually skim through the search results looking for the most relevant result. If your title is simple and clearly explains what the post is about, you’ll drive more clicks.

Another title tag tip that will optimize your organic CTR is to leverage your corporate or personal branding. Here’s how I do it:

Improve organic CTR by paying attention to your title tag.

This tip will work especially well if you’re already an authority in your niche. Recognizing that the post is from a respected and trusted source will give users the confidence to click on your URL. Make sure you:

  • Don’t frontload your brand: I used to put my name at the front of the title but then I noticed it caused my rankings to drop.
  • Make sure your title is clear: notice that the title in the above screenshot is cut-off, but the topic has already been covered.

Use tools such as Avid Demand to preview what your content will look like on the SERPs.

7. Localize Your Content

Mobile has rapidly overtaken desktop for internet traffic sources. Most mobiles have locations turned on, for map functions, allowing Google to read their location and provide local solutions. Creating localized content is great for SMEs who only operate in certain areas and in-person service businesses.

Increase your organic CTR by localizing your content. Local content is what most mobile users search for.

Through localized content, you can target your audience efficiently—and receive high-intent customers as a result, who are already looking online for something you sell or offer.

One way of localizing your content is to add your location in your content, meta description, and title tag. Another tip is to list your business on Google My Business (GMB). This literally puts you on the map. When local searches are made, your location and other business info will appear in the search results alongside competitors.

Remember, to drive clicks, you must offer relevant information. For local searches, it doesn’t get more relevant than seeing your location in your metadata.

8. Use the Listicle Format

People love lists.

Why? Listicles require minimum cognitive effort to digest.

Include them in your content strategy to improve organic clicks. To do that, make sure to include numbers in your headline and title tag. This will make it clear to users that beyond the click is an easy-to-read listicle.

Another organic CTR boosting reason to use listicles is that they increase your chances of appearing in featured snippets.

Listicles are a great content type that helps boost organic CTR.

Notice how the headline doesn’t include a number, yet Google shows users that the post is a listicle in the featured snippet? Google’s SERP knows what content types are most useful to its audiences, and using listicles is bound to boost your organic CTR.

9. A/B Test Headlines on Social Media

Your headline is your first chance to compel users to click on your article. As it plays such an important role, you must make sure it resonates with your target audience.

One way to do that is by testing it on social media.

Once you’ve optimized your headline with tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, test out your headline by sharing your article on your favorite social media platforms.

Give it a few days and then change the title of your headline and re-publish your post. Share the new article on social media and wait for the same number of days as you gave the first post then check the engagement rates for both.

The headline that drives the most engagement wins and should be the headline to use. This A/B test works best if you have a large audience on social media.

10. Use Yoast Preview (in WordPress)

For WordPress users, Yoast is another SEO tool you can use to improve your organic CTR. Before you publish your post, preview your snippet as it will appear on SERPs. You can then make changes according to the recommendations given.

This will help you see if any keywords are cut off, or even if your snippet makes sense. It also works for mobile, too, so no need to worry about cross-platform searches.

11. Use Google Ads to Preview (Other CDN)

Google AdWords Preview Tool is an alternative to Yoast SEO that also has an extra feature: it allows you to preview Ads.

Ad previews can also be optimized for organic CTR on both mobile and desktop, with alternative titles provided. This is a great way to see how different ideas would work while possibly generating new ideas for content.

12. Identify CTR Winners and Losers

One essential step to improving your organic CTR is to calculate the winners and losers of your current pages. This will show you which pages, titles, and content types are performing well as well as which are performing poorly.

You can easily use Google Analytics for this information.

First, go to “Acquisition,” then “Search Console,” then “Queries” and learn which Google searches lead to your current pages.

Google Analytics shows you the  current organic CTR of your pages.

The report will show you valuable information like the clicks, impressions, CTR, and average SERP position of your pages. It also shows bounce rates, sessions, conversions, and other valuable data.

Next, in the same menu, you can also check your landing pages.

Using these two reports, you can see what works and what doesn’t. You can then revisit old pages and web content to optimize them for more organic click-throughs.

13. Optimize Site Speed

With Google prioritizing Page Experience and Web Core Vitals as ranking factors, site speed has never been more important.

If your website isn’t optimized for speed, people may click on your link but will quickly bounce off, negatively affecting your organic CTR. To put it in perspective, on mobile devices, a leap from one to three seconds in site speed increases bounce rates by 32 percent.

A 3 second lag in page load speed can cost you as much as 32% of your traffic. Your organic CTR will take a hit.

Again, this is where a tool like Ubersuggest comes in handy. To check your site speed, enter your URL into the search bar and click “Search.” Next, head to the left side of the sidebar and click “Site audit.” Scroll down to “Site Speed” and you’ll be shown the loading time for mobile and desktop. In addition to loading time, it also tests:

  • First Contentful Paint
  • Speed Index
  • Time to Interactive
  • First Meaningful Paint
  • First CPU Idle
  • Est. Input Latency

Ubersuggest will outline where you can make site improvements. Take its guidance into consideration, make the necessary changes, and then test your site speed again.

14. Utilize Rich Snippets

As we touched on earlier, rich snippets are another way you can drive clicks to your website. These are search results with data displayed alongside. Here’s an example:

Rich snippets are an excellent way to increase your organic CTR.

The only ways to show those reviews and ratings in search results are either (A) activating a rich snippet plugin or (B) coding it manually. The extra information (like ratings, for example), helps users decide whether to click on your URL or not.

15. Activate Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumb navigation” is coined after the trail of bread crumbs left by Hansel and Gretel to find their way back home. Just like in the fairy tale, its secondary navigation helps you easily trace your steps back on a website.

The primary purpose of bread crumb navigation is to provide users with a positive user experience. This has a snowball effect that results in your website ranking higher and thus results in higher organic CTR.

Activating bread crumb navigation on your website is not an option. It’s vital to your success, and must be a deliberate part of your strategy. Here are detailed instructions on how you can do just that.

16. Leverage Google Analytics Reports

Have you been keeping an eye on your Google Analytics reports? These actually deliver the information you need to improve organic search performance and your landing page conversion rates. This will result in better calls-to-action and, ultimately, a higher quality score.

If you know what to look for, your Analytics Dashboard can tell you exactly how Google’s AI and your users perceive your site’s pages. You can then tailor them to be optimized to rank and for engagement.

17. Build High Converting Landing Pages

Landing pages are an essential element of your digital marketing strategy.

After all, designed well, they are an excellent source of traffic. To ensure your landing pages succeed in doing that you should:

  • Understand landing page anatomy—elements such as a clear and concise headline, high-quality images, well-produced videos, persuasive copy, and calls-to-action should be done right.
  • Optimize for UX—give users a positive experience by ensuring the landing page loads fast and is easy to read.

Doing this will likely increase your conversions and improve your click-through rates.

18. Use Heatmaps to Improve Site Clicks

A smart way to get the most out of your site users is to understand the areas of your web page where they click the most. It’s also an excellent idea to check where most users drop off. This is essential as it will help you know which parts of your website to improve.

Why is this important?

When people spend more time on your website and engage with it by clicking through to other pages, search engines take it as a signal that your content is valuable. On the other hand, if your bounce rate is high, your website will be ranked lower as search engines see that as a sign that your content is unhelpful.

Organic CTR Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Good Organic CTR?

The average organic CTR is between 3-5 percent. However, a good organic CTR is not benchmarked against industry standards but against your own CTR curve.

What Is the Significance of the Organic CTR ?

Organic CTR is an important metric to track as it impacts your rankings and the amount of traffic that comes to your website.

What Are Some Common Reasons for a Low CTR?

Common reasons for low CTR include metadata that’s not compelling enough. It could also be because of not utilizing rich snippets among other things.

Is a High CTR Good or Bad?

Having a high CTR is good for business as it means more traffic to your website. It also means better brand awareness as your rankings will improve.

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Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR) Conclusion

Your organic CTR plays a crucial role in the success of your digital marketing campaigns.

It’s “free” customers coming in to browse your business, brand, products, and services.

Therefore, optimizing your content must be a priority.

With so many options for improving CTRs, it’s no longer a hassle for website and business owners. Plus, the results are certainly worth the effort and speak for themselves.

What strategies do you use to improve your organic CTR?

Real Story on MarTech: Getting to DAM 3.0

Posted by:
Posted on: September 16, 2021

In the last decade of Real Story Group’s coverage of the Digital Asset Management (DAM) marketplace, we’ve seen a marked transition in the complexity of vendor capabilities and buyer objectives. The DAM universe is now segmented into three distinct categories that we label DAM 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.

In nearly every case, DAM buyers find themselves with a desire to advance their enterprises along this phased maturity spectrum. And for better or worse, DAM platforms in the marketplace tend to cater to buyers in one of these phases.

Complexity/value continuum for Digital Asset Management. Source: RSG

As a DAM technology customer, you’ll want to honestly assess where your enterprise sits on this maturity spectrum and where you realistically want to get. Once you make this assessment, you can choose a DAM technology that will help — not hinder — you from getting to where you want to go.

DAM 1.0: DAM as a basic library

The hard truth is that many enterprises are still at DAM “Zero,” with assets scattered across the enterprise in a multitude of shared drives, cloud file-sharing services, or on personal devices.

So a first step in your DAM journey is employing a unified system to serve as a single location for an asset to reside throughout its lifecycle. A packaged Digital Asset Management system can help you manage images, video, and audio files from ingestion to publication to archive.

DAM 1.0-level enterprises have a system that serves as a library, where staff can go to check-in and check-out assets. This is can prove a significant improvement over an uncategorized mess you endured before.

While a DAM 1.0 library is an essential starting point, you’ve potentially just created another (albeit better) silo of content in your enterprise. The DAM is just another destination to store and retrieve assets. In order to actually do something with these assets, you need to download them from the DAM and upload them somewhere else.

DAM 2.0: DAM as a marketing tech service

For years, digital asset management was either not included or marginalized in the marketing technology conversation. People viewed DAM as the tool of creatives, brand managers, and even (wait for it…) librarians.

Today, most enterprises recognize that DAM resides firmly in the MarTech conversation, but that DAM has become an anchor service in enterprise stacks.

In a DAM 2.0 model, a DAM system is a critical part of the asset creation workflow. Serving as the repository of record for work-in-progress and/or completed assets, it is integrated with upstream content creation systems and downstream systems of engagement.

Designers store their work products within the DAM directly from their creative tools. Marketers who spend their days creating experiences in systems like web content management, marketing automation, e-commerce, or social publishing tools can pull or reference assets directly from the DAM.

The most mature DAM 2.0 implementations are characterized by a smooth flow of content from creatives to customer touchpoints where the DAM is often invisible to key participants, including marketers.

Still, a key limitation for most DAM 2.0 deployments is that this flow of content is uni-directional and missing opportunities to integrate analytics in a meaningful way. Moreover, these implementations remain limited to binary image and media files, perhaps with some associated “copy,” so they typically don’t cover the full breadth of your marketing and customer experience micro-content.

Download Enterprise Digital Asset Management Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide

DAM 3.0: DAM as an omnichannel content platform

In recent years, many enterprises have worked hard to modernize and optimize their marketing and digital experience technology stacks. In most cases, however, silos still persist, and enterprises struggle to provide coherent customer experiences and campaigns across touchpoints.

One way some forward-looking firms are trying to combat content silos is by employing an “omnichannel content platform” or OCP. RSG evaluates a large handful of OCP vendors.

The purpose of an OCP is to act as a single source of truth for a highly curated set of reusable enterprise-wide information assets, such as text, data, and media. An OCP manages and distributes the core assets of an enterprise — not all assets, but a select subset needed to provide consistent customer experiences across channels.

While some OCPs have spun off from the headless web content management and marketing asset management markets, the more capable OCPs have emerged primarily from the digital asset management arena. Several DAM vendors have applied their sophisticated component-level management capabilities to handle narrative content and data alongside of media assets.

In addition to managing media, narrative, and data all as first-class objects, a key feature of a DAM 3.0 system is the introduction of two-way flow of information. For example, robust OCPs should be able to track deployments (including automated pulls) as well as ingest and display enterprise analytics in context.

Finally, OCPs need to be able to manage complex parent-child relationships:

  • Between core assets and their many channel-specific derivatives (e.g., the shorter Twitter rendition of a foundational marketing video); and
  • Between core assets and where they get included in compound assets (e.g., an image in a video).

In technology terms, this means that OCPs need to be fully “object oriented,” and it turns out that few DAM platforms are built this way. On RSG’s subway map in the past year, we’ve since broken out OCP as a separate (red) line, to distinguish from the DAM (purple) line, though you’ll notice some substantial overlap.

RSG Vendor Subway Map
The Red and Purple lines are related, but distinct Source: RSG

The right partner for your DAM journey

Every enterprise lives within one stage of this DAM maturity spectrum, but no one has reached their final destination. Even the most sophisticated enterprises are constantly trying to improve the way they can provide experience creators with the most impactful content.

Like it or not, the DAM marketplace is quite fragmented with regard to vendors’ capabilities to serve each of these phases. We’ve definitely seen cases where enterprise ambitions have gotten throttled by their incumbent DAM vendor. By the same token, I’ve seen enterprises overbuy this technology. An object-oriented, DAM 3.0 (OCP) toolset necessarily brings much more complicated interfaces and integration requirements, and a firm that’s unprepared for this complexity will see negative returns here.

So figure out where you are today, and judge where you’ll likely end up in the mid-term, and make technology choices accordingly.

Real Story on MarTech is presented through a partnership between MarTech and Real Story Group, a vendor-agnostic research and advisory organization that helps enterprises make better marketing technology stack and platform selection decisions.

The post Real Story on MarTech: Getting to DAM 3.0 appeared first on MarTech.

How To Optimize Your Landing Page For Better PPC

Posted by:
Posted on: September 16, 2021

As you may have heard, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a competitive game.

PPC is a method of digital advertising in which you aim to get your ads to rank as the highest result displayed for user searches, and you, as the advertiser, pay a fee each time it’s clicked. This means that when a user types in words related to your business, your customized ad will be the first result they see—sometimes.  

Thousands of businesses are willing to spend unbelievable amounts of money to rank at the top of search engine results pages (SERP) and in the most relevant places for their users around the web.

In 2019, small businesses spent between $9,000 and $10,000 per month on PPC, with Google making an average of $116.5 billion in revenue from Google Ads alone the year before.

So, yeah—businesses bid high numbers to play. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play too.

The key to maximizing your return on ad spend (ROAS) is to be highly strategic in your audience targeting, keyword usage, and landing page design.

We’re here to show you how to get the best bang for your buck by cleaning up your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) strategy. 

(Pssssst … Do you have a specific PPC-related question? Hop straight to it here ⬇🙂

  1. How Do Paid Ads Work, Anyway?
  2. The Role of PPC in Marketing Strategies
  3. Why Your PPC Ad Needs a Dedicated Landing Page
  4. A Step-by-Step Guide to Optimizing Your Post-Click Strategy

1. How Do Paid Ads Work, Anyway?

Think of your paid ad as an internet detective. Each platform varies in how you can create your ad sets, but one thing remains the same:

Your ad (internet detective) finds the most relevant spots to be seen by your ideal customers and fights for optimal placements. 

There are two ad formats to choose from once you and your team set your campaign goals: display and search.

Display

Display ads rely on graphic formats to catch user attention, build brand awareness, and guide users to your site. They’re shown based on specific audience targeting criteria such as demographics, interests, or retargeting events and show up in images and video.

You typically see them displayed on the newsfeed of your social media platforms. Although, your display ad isn’t just confined to social media. It can also appear on websites that have similar content and keywords to your business. That way, even when your prospects are considering alternatives—you can still be top of mind.

Image courtesy of Bloomberg Wealth.

Across social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube, standard placements for display ads are:

  • Stories
  • Timelines
  • Video feeds
  • Right column
  • (Facebook) Marketplace
  • (Instagram) Explore section
  • Messenger inbox and sponsored messages
Image courtesy of Kajabi.

Search

Search ads are a wordsmith’s dream. These ad formats rely on short, impactful copy that sends the right message and captures user intent. This is where knowing your audience well will pay off—literally. These ads appear at the top of the SERP.

Image courtesy of Google.

Aside from the above or below search results on Google search, through the Google Search Network, your ads can appear beside, above, or below search results on Google Play, the Shopping tab, Google Images, Google Maps, and the Maps app.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a high bid (or you don’t feel it’s the best use of your budget), then you’ll need to be extra clear on the keywords you use.

Coupling keywords with your offer determines what your winning combination will be. You need to secure space in your market with a relevant keyword while also finding a way to stand out. It might take a couple of tweaks to get the formula right, so make sure you keep track of your ad performance. This way, you can jump into your campaign to move things around while making the necessary changes to your post-click landing page.

Tip: Take a look at your competitors’ performance by typing in a keyword you might share. Take note of where their ads and other pages land on the first search results page and use that insight to determine how you can differentiate your copy/offering.

FYI: Search ads can increase brand awareness by as much as 80%. 👀

Give it time, and you’re sure to strike gold as you refine your ad set.

Retargeting

You can use retargeting ads in both display and search formats on the same platforms you launch your PPC campaigns from (i.e, Google, Facebook, Youtube, Bing, LinkedIn). Retargeting leverages past engagements with your brand to show consumers ads to re-engage them.

For example, when you’re shopping online and leave a website before purchasing the items in your cart, the brand receives an “abandoned cart” notice. If they have retargeting ads in place, you’ll notice reminders to revisit their website through:

📧 Email messages
📱 Social media display ads
🖥 Website banners (even if the website you’re browsing has nothing to do with that brand specifically)

Retargeting ads allow you to finish the job and turn prospects into leads.

You have lots of flexibility when it comes to paid advertising. However, knowing what role you want it to play in your marketing strategy can be the difference between dollars gained and dollars wasted.

2. The Role of PPC in Marketing Strategies

PPC advertising is an efficient way to find ideal customers that would otherwise be difficult to find. After all, you can’t be in all places at once.

But when your PPC ad finds the right audience, you need to make sure that you’ve created it to address the right intent. 

As the name implies, purchase intent is when a consumer shows signs of being ready to buy a product or service. 

A general ad about your business is unlikely to get the conversions you’re hoping for. PPC provides an opportunity to create a sense of urgency by addressing the specific problem your ideal customer is seeking to solve. 

To create an effective PPC campaign, you need to decide what your ultimate goal is.

Is it brand awareness?

If you’ve just launched a business, a new product, or you’re trying to attract new customers, your goal should likely be brand awareness.

Brand awareness can be like a social currency for startups.

Sales will always be a top priority. However, before you can start to grow your revenue, you need to build credibility in your industry, build trust with your ideal customers, and slice out a part of the market.

Think about what messaging resonates with your audience most. Your goal here is to have your ad illustrate your style and expertise in a compact package.

Image courtesy of Squarespace.

Is it increasing sales?

If you need to prove product-market fit, generate more sales, or justify upgrades for a product, this is the goal you want to focus on.

You’ll need to customize your copy and targeting strategy to ensure you’re communicating the transformation your offer provides while also never losing sight of your customer.

In a brand awareness campaign, you may not have been using retargeting ads. But when you’re focused on maximizing each site visit to its fullest potential (i.e., a purchase)—you’ll wanna make sure that potential customers don’t slip through the cracks.

Base your targeting on your buyer personas. Confirm what you know and don’t know about their purchase habits. Then, use those insights to craft a customer journey map that enables you to send them the ads relevant to their journey at the right time.

3. Why Your PPC Ad Needs a Dedicated Landing Page

Look, you can create the most quintessential display ad, craft the most impeccable search ad, and kick your feet up expecting the traffic to roll in like a runaway train—but you’ll only see tumbleweeds if you don’t optimize the post-click. 

Post-click marketing is the practice of engaging with potential customers after they click on your business’s PPC ad. Think of it as your typical marketing funnel. The first click achieves awareness and proves user interest. The next stage is where decisions get made.

Users can either leave your site entirely or travel further down the funnel, depending on how your post-click marketing impacts their consideration of your product. This is your opportunity to personalize the redirect path as much as possible.

Imagine seeing an ad like this:

And being sent here:

Image courtesy of Facet.

It’s a beautiful homepage, but as a user—you’re lost. 

You clicked that ad for one thing only: home extensions. But that homepage requires you to navigate the site to find what you’re looking for. While it wouldn’t be that hard to find, it’s more clicks and content for your brain to consider while browsing. 

When optimizing your post-click strategy, your goal is to limit distractions and bring the user to the exact destination implied by your ad. This is called message matching and, for PPC marketers, conversions are made and lost on the accuracy of this strategy.

That’s why Facet’s ad brings users to the page below instead of their home page.

Well done, Facet

On average, 52% of B2B PPC ads point to their homepage instead of a landing page. Using our landing page analyzer, Unbounce found that dedicated landing pages converted 65% higher than website pages.

Personalized, targeted, and relevant landing pages play a huge part in determining whether your PPC ads convert as intended. 

With each campaign you create, you should also consider how to customize the landing page it leads to. Your PPC ad and landing page need to work together like Batman and Robin to achieve your goals.

But there are a host of variables you need to consider to make that happen.

4. A Step-By-Step Guide to Optimizing Your Post-Click Strategy

Copy

Instead of starting from a blank slate when creating copy for a new ad, why not remix the content from your landing page?

It’s a tall order to jam all the relevant information from your landing page into a headline and a 90-character description that’ll get users past the first click. 

But when you prioritize message match and focus on being clear rather than clever, you’ll find that your headline almost writes itself!

If it doesn’t, here are a few headline formulas you can rely on to help you frame your offer:

The how-to headline: Highlight your expertise by linking it to a common goal your target audience is trying to achieve. You’ll need to make it specific and show some social proof to back up your claim for this one to work.

Image courtesy of Shopify.

The agitator: The goal here is to highlight a pain point for your target audience and provide an alternative solution that they’re unlikely to have considered (i.e., your differentiator). You’ll want to use this strategy as a play on your key search term.

In the example below, Noom leverages the high-yielding keyword “diet” to capture the attention of its target audience and present a bold alternative. In this case, their differentiator is using behavioral science to help people take control of their health.

The listings lab: Show your target audience you know exactly who they are by both highlighting a pain point and naming their demographic. Example: “Stuck at Six Figures in Your Real Estate Business?” The headline speaks directly to the ideal customer. In this case: real estate professionals looking to grow their business.

Remember that, whichever headline you choose, you want to make sure that it mirrors what the user will find on the landing page that comes post-click. 

Marketers need to master a suite of different skills to be effective, but they all boil down to understanding how to manage user expectations. 

It doesn’t mean that your PPC ad needs to be a carbon copy of the copy on your landing page (though, when in doubt, that wouldn’t be the worst option). You can diversify your copy while still keeping it clear, creative, and connected. 

You can use a hierarchy system to leverage the use of your keywords. For example, if you’re advertising a “contactless payment system,” you can leverage keywords associated with that same theme, such as:

  • Accept online payments
  • Online payments
  • Payment processing
  • Remote payments
  • Pre-built payment options
  • Take card payments
  • Secure payment solutions

By adding terms like “best” or “buy,” your keywords are now directly tied to active buyers in comparing and contrasting solutions in the purchase stage of their search.  Just a tip here: 65% of traffic to this type of keyword comes from paid clicks compared to 35% of organic results. 👀

If you don’t feel 100% confident with your first draft of ad copy, don’t hesitate to experiment with different combinations—as long as your copy mirrors what’s on your post-click landing page.

Finding the right keywords to string together will require a bit of tweaking before you discover the right fit for your audience.

You’ll know you’ve found the right fit for your PPC ad when the copy includes three components vital to your campaign’s success:

A compelling tagline: We already touched on headlines, which hold the highest importance for your ad, but your headline and tagline shouldn’t always be the same. Your tagline is a short, memorable phrase that demonstrates the vision behind your offer.

With your headline, it’s better to be clear instead of cute. With your tagline, it’s better to be distinctive than it is to be dry.

Crafting a compelling tagline leverages memory recall, which can be to your advantage since you want to stay top of mind when it’s time for your ideal customer to make a purchase.

Here are a few common taglines that the world has adopted over time:

Nike: Just Do It
Apple: Think Different.
Subway: Eat Fresh.

A clear and strong CTA: Your main goal with your landing page is to get your users to take a specific action. Sometimes, marketers fall into the trap of “selling mode” and neglect the need for a refined call to action focused on the product or service’s value to the end user.

Think of the CTAs you commonly see across different websites and platforms:

“Get started.”
“Sign up now.”
“Subscribe now.”

Yes, technically, they’re telling the user to take a specific action. But that’s just it—they’re telling as opposed to guiding.

Those CTAs don’t communicate value from a user perspective. By changing your language, your CTAs can become more targeted and personalized, converting 42% more visitors into leads than non-targeted CTAs like the ones above.

Here’s how you give those CTAs a personal touch. Notice the word “your” in each line:

“Take charge of your finances.”
“Grow your following.”
“Launch your site.”

Urgency: Listen, there are billions of search entries per day, which means that you need to compete for your audience’s attention.

After you’ve crafted your headline and tagline, it’s time to bring it home with a sense of urgency that signals the value of your commodity.

Set a deadline, offer a bonus incentive, use phrases like “last chance,” “before it’s gone,” and “one time only.”

In part due to advertisers using this strategy, online shopping for Black Friday hit a record $9 billion in 2020. The products are similar to what you’d typically see year-round. But, who wants to miss out on a good deal?

Tip: Writing conversion-focused copy can take more time than you think. You need to research your customers and their past purchase behaviors, test different copy combinations, and create high-quality content quickly to remain competitive.

That’s why we’ve acquired Snazzy AI, an AI content generator that takes the pain out of copywriting to help you create those optimized marketing campaigns way faster. AI-powered copywriting gives you better results with less work. See how you can start optimizing your landing page copy with Snazzy—for free.

Imagery

Your post-click landing page is the user’s first impression of your brand—so you have to be looking your best. 

There are endless theories out there regarding what colors and images you should use on your landing page to bring you closer to converting visitors. Before relying on those “best practices” to provide the results you’re looking for, you should always, always, always let your copy inform your use of imagery. 

One way to get started is to make sure the header on your post-click landing page matches the keywords and/or CTAs used in your PPC ad. 

Let’s use the Deel payroll search ad as an example.

Take a look at their post-click landing page:

Image courtesy of Deel.

The landing page doesn’t imply Deel will do the payroll for you (as they state in their headline). However, the keywords “world,” “work,” and “international” all work in tandem with the image of the young employee dressed in casual clothing, wearing a backpack, and smiling.

Even without reading the descriptive text, you can tell that you’ve landed in alignment with where you expected the ad to take you.

(Excitement and interest sustained ✔.)

As a B2B company, Deel is less likely to be targeting the persona shown in this image. However, research has shown that visitors respond best to landing pages with realistic, human imagery instead of stock images. 

Instead of using the header of this post-click landing page to feature a picture of a hiring manager, Deel creatively uses the image of a satisfied employee (the woman looks ecstatic) able to work remotely from anywhere in the world. 

So, here are some questions to consider when choosing imagery based on the keywords used in your PPC copy:

  1. What does your headline say?
  2. What is it communicating (ease, quality, simplicity, speed)?
  3. Who’s your target persona for this ad?
  4. How can they be reflected in your header image?
  5. What emotions from your ad copy will you mirror in the imagery you choose?

Also, keep in mind that social proof and testimonials can be your best friend.

Word of mouth recommendations from industry friends carries a lot of weight in the B2B world. About 97% of B2B customers stated that testimonials and peer recommendations are the type of content they rely on most.

Business is changing these days, and people are much more skilled at judging the authenticity of a brand from their landing page imagery, clientele, and presence online. 

You can also optimize your landing page to feature images of the product your customers enjoyed the most or had questions about.

Segmentation

Creating personalized experiences for different segments of your audience is no easy feat.

More companies started using an account-based marketing (ABM) approach for this very reason—but even ABM marketers admit that personalizing their strategy is their biggest challenge due to the complexity of scaling campaigns without losing that effect.

Demographic data alone won’t cut it.

You’ll need to know more about your audience segments than just their age, where they live, and how much money they make. 

Your PPC ad will perform better when you use segmentation to target different keyword variations, locations, personas, and events.

Making audience research a continuous process will help inform the details you’ll need for your PPC ads.

If you’re:

  • Conducting customer interviews or distributing micro surveys.
  • Monitoring social media platforms.
  • Comparing competitive data.
  • Monitoring site performance.

Then you have all the data you need to personalize your PPC ads. 

On top of targeting demographic data like age, location, and gender, it also helps to consider the psychographic data of each of your audience segments. Understanding the habits of your ideal customers allows you to take advantage of time targeting

Let’s not beat around the bush: PPC campaigns can get expensive quickly. 

By monitoring the conversion and performance data day by day and comparing it to previous weeks, you’ll be able to spot times of peak engagement that occur on specific days within a defined time frame. It’s a technique called dayparting

You can use the technique to optimize your PPC campaigns and control your ad spend by serving ads at those specific peak times.

Psychographic data can help you with your ad scheduling and assist you in creating variant post-click landing pages that convert visitors. 

You want to be that overeager friend in the group that asks all the questions:

→ What are their working hours?
→ When do they like to shop online?
→ What devices do they use to shop online?
→ What payment options do they prefer for online purchases?
→ What are their hobbies?

This way, you can segment your PPC targeting by topics, interests, and life events.

With Google’s broad match keyword targeting, the keywords in your PPC campaign can show up beside related topics that don’t contain your keyword.

For example, if your keyword were “low-carb diet plan,” it would show up as a result in the associated searches below:

Image courtesy of Google Support.

Broad match keyword targeting can help you find audiences you may not have considered and give you insight into how you can optimize your search terms if you’d like to make them more refined. 

But that ad spend will pile up quickly if you have a broad target with no way of narrowing down your audience. 

The key to saving your ad spend is to use negative keywords in conjunction with your primary keyword terms and phrases. You can continue with your long-tail keyword “low-carb diet plan” while excluding the common search term “diet” so you won’t serve your ad to general audiences. 

Once you find the proper targeting parameters for your various audience segments, you need to make sure that to maintain your personalized message on your post-click landing page.

You can create various post-click landing pages by simply adding a few thoughtful edits to your original creation.

Let’s continue with the low-carb diet plan idea:

  •  If one audience segment is women, 25-30, living in Los Angeles, searching for low-carb diet plans, tired of going to the gym, and making $70K annually, modify the imagery and CTAs on your post-click landing page to appeal to that persona.
  • If another audience segment is men, 35-40, living in Manhattan, searching for low-carb diet plans, tired of eating fast food, with no time for the gym, and making $50K annually, modify the imagery and CTAs on your post-click landing page to appeal to that persona.

Creating variants may take more time, but your audience will be far more likely to respond to an offer that shows an intimate understanding of their situation.

If you need help expediting this process, check out Unbounce’s Smart Traffic tool. 

Page structure, design & hierarchy

Once a user lands on your post-click landing page, the heat is on. 

This is the consideration stage at which that visitor either becomes a customer or chooses to leave your site.

Tip: Keep in mind that site bounces aren’t always a bad thing. Of course, we always want visitors to convert, but that’s not realistic for most first-time visitors. Learn how to leverage remarketing here, so you never lose touch with a potential customer.

You have two main goals with your post-click landing page:

1. Ensure that PPC ad messaging is maintained
2. Reduce friction along the path to purchase 

Advertisements above the fold have about 73% more viewability than CTAs below the fold. If your site visitor needs more convincing, then they’ll scroll down for supporting info. But make sure your main message is prominent on your page. 

It also helps to have data on the device your target audience uses most frequently to browse online. For example, heat mapping shows how users navigate your page, including where they click and how far they scroll.

You can leverage this data to make changes to where you place information and structure your page with a user interface (UI) design delivering a great customer experience for both mobile and desktop devices. 

In July 2021, a study found that 49.71 percent of total web visits come via mobile, compared to 50.29 percent from desktops. Even if the ratio favors desktop over mobile, optimizing the mobile user experience (UX) is still good practice.

There’s one way you can ensure your design transfers well between devices: visual hierarchy.

If you follow the law of visual hierarchy, you increase your chances of getting your visitor to convert. Users will spend an average of 6 seconds above the fold on your post-click landing page. You’ll want to make sure you’re as clear as possible, that you sustain the excitement from the PPC ad, and that there are no interruptions.

Learn more about visual hierarchy.

Speaking of interruptions, don’t do this:

Even if your newsletter has thousands of subscribers and you feel that any interested page visitor could benefit from it, now is not the time.

Remember: Reduce friction along the path to purchase.

This brings us to the length of the forms you might be hosting on your post-click landing page.

First, you’ll need to confirm what type of information is critical for this step of the signup process and whether you need new leads or higher-quality leads

If you need new leads, short and straightforward forms make the best first impression. You just need to make sure you have enough information to contact these new leads.

Ask for their:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email

If you deem it necessary, you can also ask for their job function and the company they work for. But for locking in new leads, this form shouldn’t exceed five questions. 

In the B2B world, you’ll often need to sift through hundreds of forms to segment higher-quality leads. You’ll want to make sure the people filling your forms can pay for your offer and are confident in your solution. 

For longer forms, it’s common to ask questions like:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email
  • Job function
  • Company
  • Industry
  • CRM system(or alternative tech inquiries)

Again, knowing your audience segments will help you create the right forms for the right clientele.

Tip: B2B doesn’t have to be boring. The colors, images, and graphics on your forms have a big influence on that last click. We’re not saying, “Grab a CSS expert and go wild!”

Use the styling of your landing page forms to stay aligned with the personality of your audience segments. Oh, and don’t be afraid of white space. Having a bit of white space around your forms increases its readability.

Using a tool like Hotjar across different pages you’ve published can help you understand how your audience navigates content. This practice of heat mapping shows you how visitors interact with individual website pages, where they get stuck, and what elements they spend the most time on to optimize your landing pages based on real-time interaction data. 

That’s one step closer to working smarter instead of harder if you ask us. 

Streamlining your strategy 

Once you make sure your landing page and PPC ad copy are in complete alignment, it’s time to set some goals and get into campaign mode. 

Throughout this guide, we’ve been talking as if you’re selling a product or service. In truth, we don’t know what your goal is.

That’s because whether it’s brand awareness, lead generation, or sales, the same principle still applies: Optimize the post-click experience through message matching.

Copy, segmentation, and page design are the tools you’ll need to make that happen. And once it does, there are a few metrics that will matter more than others. These include:

  • Landing page views: Page views are the first indication your PPC ad struck a chord with someone (hooray!). The number of page views your PPC ad generates shows you two things: Whether your ad copy reaches your audience (or not) and attracts the right audience (or not).
  • Sessions by Source: When you’re able to see where traffic to your post-click landing page is coming from, it saves you from guessing how to optimize your campaigns. Whether people are reaching your post-click landing page from a blog post, a referral website, a display ad, or a search ad, these insights reveal where your target audience spends their time online and your best way of reaching them. Once that’s discovered, you can refine your targeting to base your ad spend on demographics, timing, and trigger events that have already shown positive results.
  • Bounce rate: As we mentioned above, as much as we dislike it, bounce happens. Bounce rates represent the percentage of visitors that come to your page and leave without viewing other pages or converting. Your bounce rate doesn’t mean you failed. It’s an opportunity to figure out what isn’t resonating with visitors. 
  • Goal completions: Here’s a metric that shows you when you’re winning! Whether it’s a purchase, a subscription, or a resource download, conversions are what make your efforts worthwhile. Just make sure that you’re tracking the goal completions that justify your investment in the PPC campaign compared to company revenue. 
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): This is the metric that shows how much money you’re spending. CPA is the average amount you pay for a customer to take action like:
    • 🖱 Clicking
    • 📝 Filling out a form
    • ⬇ Downloading a resource
    • 💵Purchasing a product
    • 👓 Signing up for a newsletter

Here’s a simple formula to calculate CPA: ad spend ÷ number of actions taken. 

You don’t want to wait for this number to get high and out of control before optimizing your campaign, so improving your CPA and making the most of your marketing budget is essential.

Put It All Together and What Do You Get? 

A dedicated landing page for your PPC ads (rather than just a generic homepage) enables you to streamline content and reduce friction along the path to purchase.

Cha-ching.

With this guide, you can rest assured that, regardless of the format you choose for your PPC campaign, your post-click landing pages will be ready to go. 

Remember why your PPC ads need a dedicated landing page:

1. To align to the user.
2. To increase personalization for your audience segments.
3. To increase conversions, of course!

To achieve those goals, you’ll need to focus on a combination of copy, imagery, page design/structure, and audience targeting. It may sound like a lot, but it’s all about connecting the dots. Make sure you keep your messaging consistent, and you’ll be well on your way to optimizing a post-click landing page that delivers better results in your PPC campaign.

If you need help testing out variants of your landing page, try Smart Traffic and let machine learning speed up your results to get the best conversion rates possible.

How to Win Customers' Hearts and Pockets with These 7 Email Strategies

Are you frustrated with email marketing? Does it seem like everyone simply hits send on a single email and rakes in the big bucks?

Or maybe you have heard how for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 and that it has the broadest reach of all the platforms.

Yet you have a non-existent list that barely even opens your emails, let alone buys one of your offers.

On September 20 at 8 am PST, I’m hosting a free webinar that exposes my team’s strategies to create successful email campaigns that entice people to click “add to cart.”

Along with my co-hosts Vignesh Kumar, VP of Email Marketing at NP Accel (the SMB division of NP Digital), and Colin Cornwell, VP of Growth Marketing at NP Digital, we’ll break down how you can write better subject lines, create simple yet effective email workflows, and boost your conversion rates.

It’s free. Register here.

What Will You Learn?

My blog has racked up dozens of accolades for entrepreneurship and attracts millions of views every month.

I took what I’ve learned from its success and applied it to my marketing agency, NP Digital. Over the years, we’ve worked with companies worldwide and helped them hit their digital marketing goals.

The result?

My team and I have spent hours analyzing what works (and what doesn’t) and distilling our knowledge into unique email marketing strategies that work for everyone.

Whether you have yet to send out your first email blast, or you’ve been trying to perfect your strategy for years, this is the webinar for you.

Here are some of the things we will teach you:

  1. How to Write Emails That Convert: Learn how to craft an email that delivers value to your list, converts subscribers, and keeps them coming back for more.
  2. Tried and Tested Email Marketing Tactics: Discover the rinse-and-repeat email marketing strategies my team and I have used to grow NP Digital into one of the Top 100 Most Brilliant Companies.
  3. Creating a Winning Email Marketing Strategy: By the end of the webinar, you’ll have a clear idea of how to put our tactics into an email marketing strategy that works for your business.

And these are only some of the things you’ll learn during this free webinar.

Conclusion

Email may be one of the oldest forms of online communication, but it still packs a punch. Not only is it one of the cheapest ways to engage with potential customers, but it has an unbeatable reach and drives conversions.

All you need to reap email marketing results is a firm understanding of which strategies work and which ones you need to ditch.

That’s exactly what my team and I will show you how to do.

Register for the webinar, and I’ll see you on September 20 at 8 am PST.

PS: If you want my team to implement these hacks and manage your email marketing for your business, go here.

How to Start an LLC in Wyoming

Posted by:
Posted on: September 16, 2021

Wyoming offers tons of benefits and has business-friendly laws to attract budding entrepreneurs, especially those wanting to reduce their tax liability.

The procedure to start an LLC in Wyoming doesn’t deviate much from the standard process used in the other states. But there are a few considerations you must keep in mind.

This Quick Sprout guide will give you a step-by-step rundown of launching a Wyoming LLC to help you get your business up and running in no time.

The Easy Parts of Starting an LLC in Wyoming

Typically, government processes are bureaucratic and tedious. However, the state of Wyoming makes it easier for business owners to form an LLC, offering online formation and registration services. 

What’s more, you can simplify the process further by signing up with Incfile that offers well-rounded LLC services in the state. It takes full responsibility of the formation and registration process, as well as assigns a registered agent to your LLC to meet state requirements. 

Wyoming also has a business-friendly tax climate. This means you save plenty of tax money, which can be used for other business endeavors.

The state doesn’t levy any corporate state income tax, personal state income tax, inventory taxes, franchise taxes, occupation tax, or value-added tax. Moreover, Wyoming also has a minimal state and average local sales tax rate of 5.34%, which is considerably lower than most U.S. states.

You aren’t liable for your LLC‘s debts as well. 

A properly formed LLC with its own EIN is recognized as a separate legal entity in Wyoming. All its members and managers are assured of a high degree of protection from lawsuits. Plus, thanks to minimal reporting and disclosure obligations and the fact that LLC ownership details aren’t maintained on Wyoming public records, owners also enjoy unparalleled security and privacy.

Other benefits include relatively low filing fees and minimum corporate formalities.

The Difficult Parts of Starting an LLC in Wyoming

Wyoming is a good state for ensuring privacy because the state doesn’t require a list of the owners and managers of the LLC. However, this anonymity is incomplete because newly-passed statutes allow the state to demand the list of names and personal information of the owners and managers of the LLC from the registered agent. 

While this isn’t a significant issue yet, it may not sit well with owners who want full privacy.

Wyoming also has complicated asset protection policies when it comes to foreign operations. People running an LLC in Wyoming from a different state might run into conflicting laws, which could even cause them to lose asset protection.

Additionally, if you fail to pay the annual fee in Wyoming for two years, you can never reinstate your LLC. You’ll have to start all over again and file a new LLC. This isn’t an issue in other states, where owners can revive a company no matter how long it has been defunct.

Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC

Choosing your business name is the first step in starting your Wyoming LLC. 

While there are no serious restrictions, your LLC’s name must comply with Wyoming naming requirements and should be easily searchable by potential clients. In addition to following state requirements, it’s also better to check URL availability if you plan to launch a website down the line.

Follow Naming Guidelines

Here’s a list of factors to keep in mind when picking an LLC name in Wyoming:

  • LLC name must be distinguishable from other Wyoming LLCs, corporations, and partnerships
  • LLC name must include the phrase “limited liability company“ or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.)
  • LLC name cannot include words that could potentially confuse your company with a government agency (Treasury, FBI, State Department, etc.)
  • You’ll have to file additional paperwork and include a licensed individual, like a doctor or attorney, if the LLC name includes restricted words (Bank, Attorney, University, etc.)

All the above regulations are important to follow. Failing to meet even one of the above guidelines may land you in trouble with the state.

Check Name and URL Availability

Wyoming, like most states, prohibits different companies from doing business under the same names. So if you use a name that’s already taken by another Wyoming business, you’ll have to pay a sizable fine. 

To avoid this, check name availability via a quick search on the Wyoming Secretary of State website. Only proceed with the name once you’re sure the name hasn’t been taken by any other businesses.

Similarly, you want to make sure that no one else is using the web domain you want–you won’t get penalized by the state if this happens, but you will lose out on valuable online exposure. So check online to see if your chosen business name is available as a URL. 

Reserve Your LLC Name (Optional)

Legally organizing your business in the state will take some time. You can consider reserving your LLC name with the Secretary of State to prevent another Wyoming business entity from using it.

File an application for Reservation of Name with the Wyoming Secretary of State by mail and pay the filing fee of $50. This will reserve your name for up to 120 days. 

Note: Currently, an online filing option isn’t available for name reservation.

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent in Wyoming

Another strict requirement is nominating a Wyoming registered agent for your LLC.

A registered agent is a state resident or business entity with a street address in Wyoming responsible for receiving your legal documents and will be your business’s point of contact with the state. In case the appointed individual or business is based out of state, they must have a business office in Wyoming.

Being your own registered agent is also an option, but I highly recommend using a registered agent service. 

A registered agent must be available (in person) during normal business hours, which may not always be possible for you. Hence, it’s better to assign this responsibility to someone else.

Get Written Consent From Registered Agent

Your chosen registered agent must consent to appointment in written or electronic form. The statement of consent should include the following details:

  • The name of your LLC
  • An express statement confirming the person designated consents to serve as the LLC’s registered agent
  • The name of the person designated as registered agent
  • The signature of the registered agent
  • The date of execution

You need the written consent when filing your Articles of Organization in Step 3.

Hire an LLC Service

You can even consider enlisting an LLC service to act as your registered agent. These companies can make your life seriously easier by offering a wide range of LLC services, including LLC formation, registered agents, and tax filing.

Below are my top three LLC service choices that offer reliable registered agent services:

Incfile

Incfile is a nationwide registered agent service provider that can effectively manage all your vital legal documents and prevent unnecessary complications. It also sends email and SMS notifications whenever they receive documents for your business.

Incfile’s registered agent service is free for the first year, after which you have to pay $119 annually.

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness can handle all correspondence with the Secretary of State—or any other agency overseeing business formation in Wyoming—to ensure all your legal and tax documents are properly managed and communicated. Not only does the service protect and manage your paperwork, but it also helps ensure compliance.

The registered agent service is only available as a part of subscription plans. At the moment, you can choose between two plans priced at $99 and $149 respectively.

Rocket Lawyer

Rocket Lawyer offers registered agent services to simplify compliance in all 50 states. It keeps all your legal notices online and easily accessible, and scans and emails all official documents to ensure you never miss any important legal notifications.

What’s more, these agents are experienced professionals who have served thousands of growing businesses.

Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization

To start an LLC in Wyoming, you have to file the Articles of Organization with the Wyoming Secretary of State. You can do this online or via mail, plus you’ll also have to carry out a few other procedures. Let’s take a look.

Prepare the Articles of Organization Document 

Your Articles of Organization should include key details, without which it won’t be valid. These include the following:

  • Your company name (note this must comply with Wyoming LLC naming requirements).
  • Your business name and address.
  • A signed “consent to appointment“ by your chosen registered agent. When filing online, be sure to check the box stating you have to send. In case you file by paper, include a signed document by your agent.
  • An email address for future correspondences
  • Name and signature of the LLC organizer
  • Filing fees ($100- $102)

File the Articles of Organization

The final step to make your LLC official in the state of Wyoming involves filing the Articles of Organization through the Secretary of State. You can do this either online or by mail.

To file the document online, go to the Wyoming Secretary of State website and pay the $102 filing fee.

To file the document by mail, you have to first download the form, fill it up, and then mail it to this address:

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

If you submit and pay for the Articles of Organization online, your LLC formation will be immediate. However, if you file it by mail, the process could take 5-7 business days.

Step 4: Draft Your Wyoming LLC Operating Agreement

Wyoming hasn’t made it compulsory for LLC owners to have an operating agreement, but it’s a recommended practice to avoid any misunderstandings down the road.

An operating agreement is a legal document detailing the ownership and operating procedures of your LLC. It’s a comprehensive agreement that ensures all business owners are on the same page concerning operation and management, reducing risks of future conflicts.

Create the LLC Operating Agreement 

The operating agreement should contain the following information:

  • The products and services offered by the company
  • Every member‘s name and address (and even the managers, if there is one)
  • Members’ financial contributions or percentage interest in the company
  • Every member’s rights and responsibilities
  • Every member’s voting powers
  • How profits and losses will be allocated
  • Rules for holding meetings and taking votes
  • Procedure for admitting new members
  • Buyout or buy-sell provisions that outline what happens when a member wants to sell their interest, dies, or becomes disabled
  • Dissolution procedure

After drafting, store the agreement internally and keep it on file for future reference. You don’t have to file your operating agreement with the state.

Step 5: Carry Out Your Post-LLC Formation Duties

At this stage, you already have an official LLC that’s recognized in Wyoming. But there are a few other legal requirements you must fulfill to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number 

All newly founded LLCs in the United States are required to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That said, you can skip this step if you are a single-member LLC.

An EIN is a nine-digit number that helps the IRS identify businesses for tax purposes. Think of it as a Social Security number for your business. You’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, file and manage federal and state taxes, and hire employees.

You can get your EIN for free. Head over to the IRS website to apply.

Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Wyoming LLCs may have to obtain one or more state or locally issued business licenses, permits, or certifications depending on the nature of the business and location.

To find out which licenses and permits apply to your business, visit the Licensing and Permitting page of the Wyoming Business Council website for more information on state business licenses and permits. Contact a county or city clerk in the county or municipality where your LLC is based to learn about local licensing requirements.

Register With the Wyoming Department of Revenue

LLCs doing business in Wyoming must register with the Wyoming Department of Revenue depending on whether the company has employees or collects sales tax on retail goods and services. You can learn more about DOR registration, as well as file the necessary forms online, at the Department of Revenue website.

The Beginner’s Guide to Part-Time Business Ideas

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Posted on: September 15, 2021

Having a part-time business can introduce extra income and flexibility to your life. Whether you’re looking for multiple streams of income, you want to pursue a passion project, or you have a craving to flex your entrepreneurial muscles, a part-time business could be for you. People typically feel unsure about where to start, but with a few tips and tricks, it’ll be more clear than ever about how to come up with ideas for your future business and begin to implement them.

What is a Part-Time Business?

A part-time business can take many forms, but at its bare bones, it is a business that people work at less than the typical 40-hour-a-week day job. Anyone can have one, from retirees to stay-at-home parents to corporate employees. Often called “side hustles” these businesses allow people to have more creativity, financial freedom, and opportunity than ever before.

The Basics of Part-Time Business Ideas

So, now that you know all the background and benefits of having a part-time business, you may be wondering how to come up with an idea for your own. Let’s delve into some of the basic qualities that make the best part-time businesses.

It Solves a Problem

If you don’t take anything else away from this article, remember this: the best businesses work to solve a problem. While side hustles have many benefits for the entrepreneurs who start them, none of those perks will come to fruition if people are not being helped by the business. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that the problem you solve has to be impossibly huge and daunting. Maybe you’ve noticed that people are having a difficult time explaining how viruses work to children in the age of COVID-19, like Valene Campbell who wrote a series of books about it. Or, you discovered that you can make high-quality, custom jewelry at a much lower rate than your competitors, like Alexis Jae. These people both had day jobs, noticed a problem, worked to solve it, and are now making hundreds to thousands of dollars a month from their ideas.

Ultimately, when coming up with your part-time business, it is crucial that it adds value to the life of your customer. Solving a problem will help your hustle thrive, and you can rest easy knowing that your business is making other’s lives easier.

Focus on Expertise and Passion

By thinking about catering your business to topics you are knowledgeable and passionate about, you will be able to better understand the problems of those communities. 

To begin, ask yourself, what do I care about? What am I an expert on? These questions will allow you to think critically about the areas of life you are most familiar with and passionate about. Keep in mind that being knowledgeable doesn’t mean that it has to be related to any full-time jobs that you may have done in the past. It can be anything, from baking Challah bread to 3-D printing to LGBTQ+ books to facemasks. 

Low Start-Up Costs

Spending money is always an option, but for beginners looking to start a part-time business, it can be wise to try some low-cost options first. There are a ton of great choices out there, no matter what kind of side-business you’re looking to start. 

  • WordPress – This is a fantastic choice for those just starting out with building their own websites. It is free to use (yes, free) and the setup is incredibly user-friendly. There is no coding on your part required, and it is very customizable. This means that you can make your website reflect your brand, as well as be indistinguishable from other websites using WordPress.
  • Google Analytics – A free tool featured in our post about content marketing that allows users to better understand their business’s data. By using this, you’ll better understand what is and isn’t working for your business, and how you should approach marketing over time.
  • Trello – This is an incredible organizational tool that is great for individuals looking to manage all of their tasks in one place. Users can also collaborate with others, so if you ever decide to grow your team, Trello can grow with you and aid with remote collaboration.

These are just some of the most common fan favorites to get your entrepreneurial feet wet. Some side hustlers stick with them for years, while others reinvest their profits into buying higher-end versions of these products that cost a little more.

3 Tools to Improve Part-Time Businesses

Once you have your idea, try implementing some of these resources in order to get your new part-time business to start garnering traffic and customers.

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are one of the best marketing tools to use to start getting traffic to businesses. They are incredibly user-friendly, whether or not the person using them has had experience with marketing. Facebook ads are simple to set up, and it comes with a variety of benefits. For example, Facebook provides analytics for their users, so when you publish your advertisements you’ll be able to see metrics about your weekly reach, post engagement, page likes, and which of your ads receive the most engagement. Facebook also walks users through the process of creating an ad, and helps people determine the right choice for their business goals.

Not only that, but Facebook ads also allow users to target their exact audiences. When you publish your ads, you can select the interests, behaviors, demographics, age ranges, connections, locations, and languages of the people you want to attract. This way, you know that your product will be shown to your ideal audience. 

All of these features come at a relatively affordable price. Rather than having a set rate for ad space, the company allows users to submit bids. On the website, it says that it wants to make sure that people can buy ads no matter what their budget looks like. Some users spend as little as $1 a day to use the service. 

Shopify

When it comes to e-commerce businesses, Shopify is an excellent choice for beginners. The program is incredibly user-friendly, and allows people to set up their websites with just a push of a few buttons. With its ease of use, it helps users avoid the complexities and costs of self-hosting platforms.

Shopify has strong SEO capabilities, as well as many different kinds of integrations for users to implement, including Google Ad Campaigns. It also includes analytic information, allowing you to see how people are discovering your website and which marketing techniques you should invest more time and money into.

Shopify also has quite a few additional benefits, with 24/7 customer support, a strong mobile version, and high-quality security, including data encryption, for your customer’s payment data.

Chatfuel

Chatfuel allows users to build a chatbot for your business’s Facebook page with no code. It is incredibly user-friendly, and even includes a drag and drop builder. By using Chatfuel, your website will have an extra layer of credibility, and you’ll be able to quickly communicate with your customers about their most common questions.

If that wasn’t enough, Chatfuel is one of the most affordable chatbot builders out there. It has a free plan for up to 50 users, and if your business grows beyond that, the other plans cost about $15 a month. It’s one of the best of the best – at least Netflix, Adidas, and Visa seem to think so.

3 Tricks for Part-Time Business Ideas

Buy a Domain Name

When you’re ready, try to buy your own domain name for your business. While there are some free options, having a clean, simple domain name will take your professionalism and credibility to the next level. Plus, you can buy most domain names for under $10 a year, and sometimes as low as $2.99.

There are quite a few places where you can purchase a domain name, but the most user-friendly experience I have had is through GoDaddy.com. Customers can look up the domain names they are considering and compare prices easily. Not only that, but once you purchase the domain you can easily link it to your WordPress account. In addition, web hosting through GoDaddy usually costs between $6 and $13 a year, which is as much as a few cups of coffee.

Learn From Others

In recent years, the idea of side hustles has garnered a ton of attention globally. There are all kinds of resources available, from books to podcasts and more. One of the best tools you can implement quickly is delving into some of them.

  • Side Hustle School Podcast by Chris Guillebeau – this is an excellent resource for current and future side hustlers to gain inspiration, knowledge, and community. Side Hustle School is a daily podcast that features a variety… They feature stories of successful part-time businesses, highlight pitfalls and how to avoid them on Failure Fridays, and even Q&As with the host about all kinds of topics, from how to offer discounts to customers to how to become a travel agent. The best part? It’s free to listen to and the episodes are almost always under 10 minutes, give or take. 
  • What If It Does Work Out? by Susie Moore – this book is perfect for those who feel intimidated by the idea of starting a side business. Moore challenges her readers to reframe the question of “what if it doesn’t work out?” and shows her audience how to best harness their skills to create their side-business.
  • Spend time on blogs centered around side hustles. Websites like Side Hustle Nation and Millennial Money Man are epicenters of knowledge about part-time businesses and can help you get to know others in the community, as well as explore a wealth of other tried and true resources. 

Investing your time into exploring these resources takes very little time every day, and you’ll get exposure to all kinds of different ideas and tools that could spark inspiration and community.

Be Consistent

While this tip is a bit more conceptual than the others, it is just as important. There is a reason that the phrase “consistency is key” has become a cliche – because it’s true and very important.

When it comes to engaging your audience and building up a customer base, there is nothing more important than regularly engaging with your patrons. If you start strong with posting on a blog, creating products, engaging in social media, or releasing podcast episodes, then suddenly drop off, your new audience will likely forget about you. Not only that, but it makes your product and voice seem less credible.

It is always important to take breaks if necessary, but inform your audience and don’t leave them high and dry. Ultimately, get ready to do the hard, consistent work upfront. Eventually, the income may become passive, but not without commitment in the beginning.

What to Do Next 

More than anything else, just start. Try something, even if you’re scared. The only way that it will become less daunting is by dipping your toes in and learning what the world of entrepreneurship is really like. The steps don’t have to be complex or time-consuming. Small, frequent actions, like creating a WordPress to familiarize yourself with the platform or listening to a 10-minute episode of Side Hustle School are great steps to get more comfortable with entrepreneurship.

Take ten minutes to write a list of topics you are interested in or passionate about. From there, spend time listening to when people complain, or when you feel frustrated, and see if there is a way that you can solve a problem for yourself and others. Pay attention to the gripes of people in your communities, and find a way to help them.

Over time, potential business ideas will be able to emerge through the cracks, and from there you can work to make them a reality. For some more inspiration, check out our recent post about online business ideas.

Once you have your idea, consider trademarking your business, especially once it gets bigger. Learn more about whether a trademark could be right for you and how to request one by reading our step-by-step guide.

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