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2 Feasible Ways Entrepreneurs Can Use Their Marketing Development Funds

By | Marketing | One Comment

Most entrepreneurs are aware that marketing is a very expensive and risky activity. They have to dig very deep into their pockets to carry out this important function. Some of them even have to ask for money from their value-added resellers. Industry experts refer to this form of financial assistance as marketing development funds.  Only then can they expect to attract the attention of their target audience to their brand products. However, there is no guarantee; they can get the kind of results they are looking for. The last thing these businessmen want is to squander such resources. They need to show a corresponding increase in their bottom-line revenues for the amount they spend.

How can entrepreneurs use the resources of the value-added reseller to promote their products?

Value-added resellers provide monetary assistance to businessmen for a reason. It is to boost their marketing efforts. Only then can they expect the public to know about their products and buy them. Otherwise, such proprietors find it very difficult to strive in the marketplace. However, these investors do expect to earn lucrative returns. This is the reason why industry experts suggest the following 2 useful ways such proprietors can spend this money:

  1. Invest the money in a suitable software platform to monitor the results

Entrepreneurs need to work alongside their trading partners. This is the only way they are going to succeed in marketing their products to the public. They need a software platform to communicate and monitor the activities of all their associates. In the process, it also streamlines the activities they perform for such businessmen. This is where a convenient ‘partner relationship software system’ comes into the picture. It makes sense for them to invest their market development funds in this technology. It benefits all the proprietors who form an integral part of their marketing chain. This is a fact which they cannot afford to overlook.

 

  1. Consider sponsoring a special event for your customers

All businessmen need to know who their potential customers are to succeed in the market. After all, they focus their activities on catering to the needs of such people. This is how they aspire to make their fortune and stay one step ahead of their competitors. One way to achieve this objective is to hold special events for such individuals. This helps to promote greater engagement. They can also encourage their trading partners to participate in this activity. However, they need to think outside the box. Entrepreneurs need to give members of their target audience something worthwhile for the time they spend. This is where the funds they receive from their value-added resellers play a vital role. They need to look beyond renting out a popular venue and providing refreshment.

Entrepreneurs need to streamline the efforts of all their trading partners when comes to marketing their products. For this, they need to consider both their long-term and short-term priorities seriously. Only then can properly spend the money their value-added resellers provide them with. Investing the resources in the above 2 ways can help them in their endeavor. In the process, they also are increasing their bottom-line products and promoting better customer engagement.

How to Turn Online Reviews into Powerful PR Tools

By | Marketing | One Comment

Have you made a purchase with an assistance of online reviews? Chances are that you have, and thousands of other people rely on them, too. Thus, for business owners, they represent a great opportunity for PR.

What can be done to take advantage of this opportunity? Let’s find out.

Let’s begin with a simple demonstration of the potential of online reviews. Imagine a situation: your job has you relocating to Boston, Massachusetts. You bought a nice home there for you and your family, but the lawn is far from perfect.

Something needs to be done about that lawn but you’re super busy with moving and adapting to a new city. So, to resolve this problem, you turn to Google and type “lawn renovation Boston MA” in the search bar.

Here’s what the search returned. Obviously, there are many companies providing these services, so you’ll have to choose one. Who do you call first?

Most people would choose Lawn Doctor of Boston. Why? Well, it’s simple: they have a 4.7-star rating based on many reviews. The other businesses on the list clearly cannot compete with that, so they don’t appear as credible as Lawn Doctor of Boston.

This simple experiment shows that online reviews play a critically important role for businesses these days. A wide range of marketing surveys and studies back up this claim; for example, the 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey found the following:

  • 85 percent of online customers say they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family
  • 49 percent of online customers say they need at least a 4-star rating to choose a business
  • 30 percent say that if a business responds to online reviews, their perception of it will more likely to be positive.

As you can see, online reviews are important for online businesses than ever before. To get ahead of the competition, you absolutely have to get as many reviews as you can and use them to showcase how trustworthy and great your business really is.

Let’s see how it’s done.

How to Get Positive Online Reviews

If you want online reviews to work for you, the first thing you have to do is ask for them. Of course, this implies that you’re asking for positive reviews.

Unfortunately, many online customers don’t leave reviews unless prompted or asked, but many businesses choose not to ask because they think it’s a bit awkward.

Well, yeah, but if you ask properly, no one will feel awkward.

And that’s what you’re about to learn right now.

Ask Them Directly Using Email

A perfect time to ask directly is shortly after the customer has made a purchase. But instead of simply asking to leave a review, try something like this:

Thank you for your purchase! Can you please share your experience with our business on Yelp [social media page of your business, your website etc.]? We promise it’ll take less than 30 seconds!

[Link]

Brian

Why this message is good:

  • “Experience” is more neutral than “review”
  • It estimates the time needed to leave a review which is important since customers don’t generally want to spend a lot of time writing reviews
  • It uses a simple, conversational language and comes from a real person.

Make it Easy to Leave Reviews

The easier you’ll make it for your customers to leave reviews, the more of them will actually do it. Here’s what you can do to get as many reviews as you can:

  • Avoid asking for information you don’t really need (address, gender, age etc.)
  • Don’t ask more than 3 questions
  • Use rating scales instead of asking to write a review in words, which takes longer.

Now let’s suppose that you’ve got a bunch of reviews. It’s time to turn them into powerful PR tools! Here’s how.

  1. Proudly Display Reviews at a Prominent Spot on Your Website

Since online reviews have that much power over people, featuring them on your website at prominent spots is definitely a good idea. This way, they’ll be one of the first things the visitors see when they land there, so you’ll have a better chance to lure them to purchase your products.

Let’s see how Best Buy does it.

This selection of popular products is featured on the homepage. Each of them has a great rating marked by a bright yellow color, so it’s impossible not to notice it.

A clothing brand Ugmonk is another great example who uses another approach to increasing credibility of reviews: showing only reviews of people who actually bought their products:

But you can do it even better by following these tips:

  • Feature the name and a photo of the customer who left the review (don’t forget to ask their permission!) to improve credibility
  • Let people know who is a real buyer
  • Create an entire page dedicated to great testimonials
  1. Share Positive Reviews on Social Media

Establishing and maintaining social media presence is critical for every company. Since a lot of your customers spend a lot of time there, it’s a good idea to let them know how awesome your business is.

Besides, the 2016 DigitasLBi’s Connected Commerce Report found that Facebook influenced 52 percent of online customers’ online and offline purchases, so it definitely has the power to influence the minds of your customers as well.

“Collect and share positive customer reviews on Facebook and other social media platforms you’re using. They will help you find new customers in a very genuine way” – says Frank F. Nix, marketing specialist an A-writer. Here are some examples of how other businesses do it.

Although rather succinct, this review can greatly influence purchasing decisions of other people because the review comes from a real person.

Next post provides a more detailed review, which may be more useful for customers who want more information on the experience that they can get from your business.

 

Reviews like these can greatly improve social media image of your business, so don’t hesitate to share a positive review.

  1. Use Reviews in Email Marketing

Email marketing is a serious promotion tool that remains incredibly effective. According to Year in Review report from Campaign Monitor, the average return for email marketing in 2017 was $44 for every $1 spent. Clearly, taking advantage of this marketing method is a good idea.

This requires you to send a lot of emails, but don’t worry: there are free automation tools like Mail Chimp to provide an email marketing assignment help for you.

Besides, online reviews can help to improve its effectiveness.

Here’s an example of an email from a British insurance company Aviva that features well-added reviews.

  1. Respond to Reviews

This is a critical part of leveraging the power of online reviews because if you ignore them (especially negative ones), the viewers can perceive your business as indifferent to the opinions of customers.

In other words, being lazy in this situation can cost you a lot. Besides, it’s not like writing college papers, so it won’t take a lot of time off your schedule. You can always use such tools as Prowritingpartner, Proessaywriting or College Papers if you have some struggles.

This is something that should avoid at all cost, so here’s how you can respond to reviews in a proper way.

Let’s begin with positive ones. In the example below, a user gave a 5-star rating to an Italian restaurant and thanked them for a great celebration of her 50th birthday.

Clearly, not responding to such an incredible review would be a crime!

Here’s what the responder did to ensure a good response:

  • Loved the review
  • Wrote a short but meaningful answer that thanked the reviewer and encouraged to come back.

Now, let’s see how to deal with negative reviews. Responding to them in a proper way is just as important because 53 percent of online customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week, according to 2018 ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey.

The same source also revealed that only 63 percent of online customers received a response to their negative reviews. Well, it’s safe to assume that the businesses that failed to respond were never contained again.

This response rate is simply unacceptable.

This means that your business should be better and don’t ignore opinions of those who have chosen to buy from you.

So, here’s how to respond to negative reviews, courtesy of a popular NYC-based restaurant Vapiano.

Why it’s good?

  • The business actually responded (this is important because many businesses choose to ignore negative reviews)
  • They offered to help with resolving the issue (and they did it publicly, which demonstrates a commitment to improving customers’ experience).

Conclusion

The power of online reviews should not be underestimated because they greatly influence purchasing decisions of online customers. It’s simple: telling people that your business is the best won’t compel anyone to buy from you, but hearing the same message from fellow customers surely can.

Use these tips to get as many positive reviews as you can and make your business an obvious choice among others!

 

Lucy Benton is a marketing specialist, a business consultant who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger, and currently works at www.assignmenthelper.com.au. She is constantly looking for  ways to improve her skills and expertise. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on Twitter.

Why designers must pay more attention to functionalities over aesthetics when creating business websites

By | Marketing, SEO | One Comment

The aspect of functionality is more important for business related websites even though aesthetics matter a lot to attract visitors. Since lead generation and conversions are the cornerstones of business websites, it is natural that you must give more emphasis to it. If you want to capitalize on the monetizing aspects of websites, you cannot help but pay more attention to the functionalities over aesthetics. WordPress websites are SEO friendly, but when choosing a theme, you must look at the default functionalities and evaluate the prospects of enhancing it by using WordPress plugins. User friendliness, page load speed, the responsiveness of web design and ease of navigation have a deep impact on SEO, and there are many other functionalities less impacting but not less important that you must incorporate in the design.  The experts at Alex Furfaro Columbus Ohio create websites that are attractive to search engines and provide the best user experience.

Web design impacts SEO

Web design is important for marketers because it influences search rankings which in turn affects SEO performance. Search rankings depend on how well search spiders can crawl and index websites. To ensure good ranks in search results, it is important to ensure that the web design supports the crawling activity very well because if not done satisfactorily it will affect rankings negatively. The website design must facilitate crawling by search engine spiders so that indexing is proper, and the content visibility increases that facilitates better ranking.

Web designers must create designs that are oriented towards business by considering the design aspects that impact business.

Smooth and easy navigation across the website

Search engine friendly design should be the guiding force behind all websites whether it is for business or any other purpose because search rankings are equally important as it impacts website visibility. To ensure that the design facilitates easy and smooth crawling by search spiders across the website it is essential to arrange for smooth navigation so that the search crawlers can access all content. Failing to crawl every part of the website would result in some content being left out from indexing that would affect ranking and SEO prospects.

Smooth navigation is important for users too because if navigation is jerky and users have to wander aimlessly around the website to look for information, it results in poor user experience that increases bounce rate and affects ranking. Easy to navigate websites are attractive and keep viewers engaged for long hours that increases the chances of lead generation and conversion.  Use suitable navigation techniques that satisfy both users and search engines.

Graphics intensive design is not good for SEO

Remember that you must place the functional aspects of design above aesthetics which means that you must not rely on a design that uses too much graphics. Excessive use of graphics is bad for SEO because it hinders website optimization. Moreover, text inserted within graphics does not help the SEO cause because when search spiders crawl the page, it does not read the text within the animation or graphics barring the text present in the ALT tag.   As a result, the web page ranks low in search results and weakens the SEO prospects. In case you are bent upon using graphics heavy design, it is better to create an HTML website together with graphics intensive website or Flash website. It would work well and help to improve search rankings thereby giving more power to online marketing as well as more options to users because they can choose between Flash and HTML according to the resource available with them.

Website size

Do not be surprised to know that the size of the website or the number of pages has a bearing on how it ranks in search results because it is an indirect way of judging the quality of the website. Good quality quantity can be quite lengthy, and the website should have enough pages to accommodate such content although it does not mean that a website that runs into several pages is of good quality. However, websites with just a few pages appear shallow and flimsy that discourages search engines from ranking it, and this can be detrimental for SEO.

Mobile friendly web design

Creating mobile-friendly websites is no more a choice but a necessity because Google wants it and even has plans of implementing mobile first indexing. The web design must be versatile so that it displays with the same degree of perfection on all sizes of screens including smartphones, tablets as well as computers and laptops. Having a responsive web design make websites mobile friendly and expands the reach many more times that drive more traffic and enhances the business prospects.

In addition to the above, ensure that you use efficiently written codes that are clean too because it enhances the ranking prospects. Optimizing the HTML codes is another way of improving rankings.

 

5 Important Elements of Good UX in 2018 (And Beyond)

By | Marketing | One Comment

User experience plays an important role in the purchase decision. Slow and clumsy websites have fewer conversions and revenue.

A good UX design improves customer satisfaction and encourages trust. Modern consumers value experience and customer service higher than products. If your website doesn’t deliver a good experience, your reputation is at risk.

Consumers are aware of their power and rarely compromise. That’s why you need to spend some time and effort on your website’s UX. This article explains the five elements of design in detail:

 

  1. Simplifying the Journey

People online want to get from point A to Point B quickly. They have short attention spans and usually are in no mood for a long, complicated process. Designers need to keep this in mind when they create websites. Consider the following factors:

  • What will be the user’s purpose when they visit your site? Do they want to read a particular article? Do they want to purchase a particular product? Do they wish to reserve a service?
  • How do you help the user attain their purpose in the shortest and easiest way possible? Provide in-site search so users can find content easily. Make the checkout process streamlined. Make reserving a service easier.
  • Is the journey simple on all platforms? Ensure people can get to their goal directly whether they visit the site on a desktop or mobile platforms.

The goal is to reduce the number of steps a user has to take to reach their purpose. You can create a simple journey by:

  • Anticipating user needs
  • Creating a linear design
  • Providing context-based information
  • Providing information only when users need it

All of these factors will enhance user experience and help them complete interactions satisfactorily.

 

  1. Personalization

People are used to personalization on platforms they interact with often when they’re online. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., provide personalized experiences so users only see and get what they like.

Many users expect some level of personalization from other online properties as well. Most website owners and developers are intimidated by the prospect, but personalization isn’t difficult. You can:

  • Tailor your content based on the visitor’s location. For example, if you have visitors from New York City, show content and products that are available in NYC.
  • Offer recommendations based on user behavior on your website. For example, if the user has placed an order for a particular product, show them related products to improve their shopping experience.
  • Customize what they see based on their account activity. If the user has an account, you can customize what kind of products, services, or content they see based on their account setting or activity.

As you can see, personalization isn’t that difficult. You can come up with creative and innovative ways to make the user experience personal and enhance their loyalty to the brand.

 

  1. Focus on Multiple-Device Experiences

 

 

Mobile has been dominating the search engine traffic since 2016. In 2018, Google has shifted to the mobile-first index, which ranks your website based on its performance on mobile.

These factors might compel you to focus on just the mobile performance, but it is important to revisit that thought in 2018. While mobile does dominate search and is a vital ranking factor, you need to focus on multi-device performance.

Your website and content should perform well on mobile, desktop, tablet, smart TVs, and other such smart devices. In the world of the Internet of Things, modern businesses can’t afford to completely ignore one platform in favor of other.

It is difficult to optimize a website for all of these devices, which is where the device-agnostic UX trend comes in. Your website will provide a more refined user experience of it is consistent on all platforms.

If your user can have the same experience if they request a service through Google Home and conduct the payment through their laptop, you have succeeded.

 

  1. Minimalist Design with Focus on Content

Modern consumers face many distractions when they’re online. Everything from social media notifications to cute cat videos can draw their attention from your content. A cluttered website with numerous pop-up ads and a lot of links on all sides of the content can also create a disruptive environment.

That’s one of the reasons why modern website designers favor clean and minimalist design. This allows the content to be the star of the show and ensure users don’t have any distraction. Here are some factors to consider when creating content-focused environments:

  • White Space – Make sure the content has ample white space so people can easily scroll without clicking on links.
  • Visual Order –The human brain loves order and organized information. If you present the information in a clear order, it will understand it well. Make sure the content has headlines, subheadings, and bullet points. Include proper color-ordination and font sizes. If the order is predictable and clean, people will enjoy the content.
  • Declutter – Remove everything that you don’t need from the page for a smoother user experience. Useless details and filler content removes focus from what is truly important.

A minimalist, content-focused design will also help you. They can lead to increased conversions and help improve your reputation.

 

  1. Human Experiences

AI assistants and Machine Learning have made interactions between users and technology much more human-like. Instead of typing out keywords, we ask our digital assistants to provide information.

The presence of Voice-Based interfaces has made traditional interactions much more limiting. Users now want apps and websites that respond to voice commands.

Beyond that, users also like design choices that enhance trust as well as the feeling of accomplishment. Even something as simple as a simple “Tick” at the end of the transaction can give users a feeling of satisfaction.

It is important to check the end user experience regularly. Visit your website and use all of its features as a regular user might. This will allow you to identify issues quickly and resolve them before it causes problems to the visitors.

A great UX is a worthwhile investment because it impacts conversions, revenue, and reputation. Hire an experienced designer with a good portfolio to get the job done.

 

Author Bio:

Aella Johns is a Web developer working with EthaneWebTechnologies. She has been writing articles on many topics related to Web designing, Website development, SEO,SMO and many more.

Why Small Business Owners Should Engage in PR?

By | Marketing | One Comment

If you are running a small business, you are probably very well aware of all the challenges and obstacles you have face every day, be it the lack of finances, resources, or skilled staff. However, all of those can be made up for with a good marketing plan, and one of the best things you can do for your small business on a budget is to focus your efforts on PR. For instance, millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs and social media, which means that utilizing PR should be at the top of your list. On top of that, PR is usually free, and if done right, it can create a bigger impact than paid ads.

For instance, having other people talk about your small business sounds more credible that tooting your own horn. What you can do is reach out to local journalists who are looking for their next story, or even your local TV station and convince them to do a piece on your business. You can even round up all of your latest news and provide them with content that is already created for them. Finally, there are always industry bloggers and influencers which can give you a push if you can manage to get on their good side.

If all of this hasn’t convinced you yet, let’s take a look at five reasons why your small business needs PR.

  1. Your Marketing Dollars Will Last Longer

According to Mark Kinsley, who works as a marketing manager for essayontime.co.uk, PR allows you to make up for your lack of marketing dollars by simply putting in more effort in building credibility and authority of your business and brand, as well as by developing relationships with influencers. This organic, word-of-mouth approach might take longer, but all that positive buzz will make your marketing more organic, and your customers will be more likely to trust you because you don’t rely on pushy sales tactics like everyone else.

  1. It Beats Advertising

Speaking of trust and organic buzz, Nielsen research also shows that PR is 90% more effective than advertising when it comes to influencing the customers. These days, an average person is exposed to as many as 5,000 ads per day! However, they are more likely to purchase a product if it has been endorsed by an influencer or someone like them, which explains why so many companies sponsor YouTube vloggers nowadays. As opposed to trusting corporations, customers are more inclined to trust people, and with PR, you get exactly that, a human voice for your small business.

  1. PR Is Ideal for Damage Control

While it’s not that easy to get people to say nice things about your small business, it is very easy for them to do the opposite. Negative reviews and disgruntled customers can deal a huge blow to your brand unless you can get on the ball quickly. With PR, you can resolve disputes, conflicts, and mitigate the effects of negative feedback and faulty products. Ultimately, it is not just about turning the negative into a positive, but also about making sure that the information being spread about you and your business is accurate.

  1. It Boosts Your Brand’s Visibility

The great thing about the Internet is that online media can remain relevant for a really long time, which isn’t the case with traditional media. Your video or blog posts will stay online forever, and they can even become more valuable over time. If you can make sure that your stories are relevant and valuable for users and share them on earned, social, and owned channels, your business will climb up in terms of ranking, not to mention that you will get an influx on new customers.

  1. It Complements Your Marketing

Another thing that’s great about PR is that it’s not a substitute for your marketing efforts, nor does it compete against them. In fact, you can use PR to bolster your marketing efforts even further. Focus on providing something of real value to your target audience through PR. Think about what their problems and pain points are, and create something that will help, inspire, or educate them. If you can empathize with them on any level, rest assured that you will win their attention and trust.

Summary

Regardless of what you may have read online, getting free PR is possible, and it only takes some time and effort to develop a good relationship with reputable people, such as influencers and journalists. If you can set aside an hour each week to work on your PR, in half a year you will be able to generate enough buzz so that your brand gets positive mentions in the media, Good luck!

 

Terence Murray has been working as a professional editor in London publishing agency for 4 years. Now he is journalist-freelancer and wide ranged professional content developer

Your Guide To Creating Marketing Videos That Work

By | Marketing | No Comments

Anyone paying close attention to digital marketing trends understands the immense promotional power of video. Smartphones increasingly dominate online activity, and with the intensity of social media feeds making most content blend together, video has the inherent advantage of being relatively eye-catching — and once it has grabbed that attention, it can maintain it far better than written content.

Video content isn’t a magic bullet, though. If you produce low-quality videos, they won’t achieve anything more than low-quality articles would. They might even prove counterproductive by making your company look bad. In this guide, we’re going to cover how you can create marketing videos that actually work, boosting brand recognition and driving conversions.

Review the digital landscape

Research is always a good preliminary move when you’re planning a marketing campaign of any kind, and it’s important here because video has a high creative ceiling. That means you can achieve some really interesting things with it, but it also means you can get it massively wrong — and if you want to avoid the latter, you must see what other companies in your industry are doing. This will also give you an idea of which topics haven’t been covered well (or at all).

Go to relevant pages on Facebook, channels on YouTube, and accounts on Twitter, and see what video ads show up (if any). Visit your competitors’ websites and look for their YouTube channels. Are any of your rivals doing TV marketing? It’s getting less common, but it’s possible, depending on your industry.

What titles are being used? What’s the typical presentation like? Is it slick or gritty? Are the videos based on narratives or presented as purely informational? Think about what your target audience will like, and what will fit your brand. Take all the inspiration you can and use it to come up with some ideas that will work for you.

Define your desired outcome

What action do you want someone to take when they’ve watched your marketing video? Order your product, sign up to your newsletter, follow you on social media? There are various ways in which you can add a CTA to a video: you can provide a clickable overlay on YouTube, or add a QR code with a link, or just make the video itself a link (as is common in PPC ads).

Whatever that action may be, your video must be built around it. Don’t get distracted by the creative possibilities and spend so much time playing around with the edits that you forget about the goal. Think about how a long-time YouTuber will address the same points in each video (“like this video, leave a comment, subscribe to the channel, follow me on Twitter”, etc.) and make sure your video is similarly actionable.

Remember that your video is providing value to the viewer for free, entertaining and/or informing them for nothing — don’t be demanding, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you’d like in return.

Choose the most relevant video type (or types)

There are numerous types of video that can be used for marketing. There’s the product review, the testimonial, the feature highlight, the abstract promo, the guide (informing customers is huge for branding), the behind-the-scenes exploration — if you’re just trying to get more attention for your company, then almost any kind of video can function well for marketing.

That said, keep the following things in mind: firstly, some video types are much harder to produce than others, and secondly, you need to aim for a stylistic match. Making an existential short film might get you some attention in the world of cinema, but unless that also happens to be your target audience, it will prove a waste of time.

Particularly while you’re starting out with video content, it’s best to focus on quality and forget about quantity. If you get somewhere with your videos, you can always scale up production at a later date. Accordingly, stick to maybe one or two types at first, and make them exceptional.

Script your content

Don’t just start recording and improvise your content. It looks incredibly amateurish, and though there are rare occasions on which it’s good to come across that way, it’s usually a bad idea. You want to seem professional, competent, and skilled — plus the more tightly you script your content, the less time you’ll waste in the footage. If you can fit your points into a 20-second video, the viewers will appreciate it.

This doesn’t mean you have to write your script before you do any recording, though. It can be useful to play around with the recording, improvising different things and seeing what works, before using that experimentation to finish the script. That way, you’ll get wording that feels natural without wasting any time.

Use solid recording equipment

I’ve said “solid” here, but not “expensive”, because it doesn’t need to cost a lot to record decent video footage. The average smartphone today can handle smooth HD footage, after all — set up a tripod in an environment with good lighting and you should achieve a level of quality that’s perfectly sufficient for general online marketing.

Something you might want to spend more on, though, is the microphone. Sound quality is really important, particularly for guides and anything with speech. Look up podcasting microphones and find something that fits your budget — spend as much as you can within that restriction, because a good mic will last you for years and more than return its value.

As for the editing, you don’t need to invest in high-end software at this stage. Tech advancement hasn’t just improved hardware accessibility — software is now easier and cheaper to use than ever before. As a result, you can edit audio without spending anything at all. If you start making a lot of money through your video marketing, you can think about buying an industry-leading video suite.

Get the distribution right

Let’s say that you’ve created a video on a topic you think is relevant and valuable for your audience, complete with a solid CTA that returns value to you. We’ll call it “4 Reasons You’re Paying Too Much in Taxes”, a slick listicle video that leads up to a CTA guiding viewers to try your simple tax-handling software because it will save them money. What do you do with it?

Well, you don’t want to just upload it to some sites and leave it there. In fact, that’s going to prove disastrous for YouTube, because upload timing is critical on that platform. Get the timing right and you go viral — get it wrong and you’re never noticed. And once you’ve added it, get maximum value from it through embedding the link elsewhere. If you’ve created a product guide, for instance, you should place it front and centre on the corresponding product page: if you’ve used a code-free store creator like Shopify, adding video content to will be as simple as taking the YouTube embed code and inserting it via the text editor.

And when you’re using your video for PPC through a platform such as Facebook, you need to think not only about the timing of your ads but also about your targeting. Facebook allows you to target so many niche parameters that you can get incredibly in-depth about your target audience. If you’re selling simple tax software, for instance, then there’s no point in targeting people who work in accountancy — they’ll already have much more sophisticated systems.

Tie in other marketing tactics

Video is incredibly effective when used well, but the best marketing strategies today are broad, bringing numerous channels together to pursue specific goals. That means not stopping with video — if you’re providing a guide, for instance, transcribe it and offer it as a script as well, and strip the video to make it a podcast you can let people download.

People have so many media options now that you need a flexible campaign capable of reaching them anywhere they go: websites, social media networks, messaging channels, video platforms, even streaming services such as Twitch. Spread your marketing videos wherever your audience is likely to see them, and complement them with other forms of marketing (text ads, infographics, templates, etc.).

Follow each of these steps, then keep a close eye on feedback from commenters and followers. How are people responding to your video content? Don’t make knee-jerk alterations to your strategy based on the occasional negative comment, but also don’t persist with a video strategy if it clearly isn’t working. Use the metrics at your disposal to make sensible choices, and keep experimenting until you gain some traction.

The Perfect Name For Your Business Is Out There—Here’s How You Can Discover It

By | Marketing | One Comment

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur then you are probably well aware of how important it is to choose the perfect name for your business when launching your brand. The name is the very first thing a customer will learn about your company so it’s important that it fits your brand well. A good name should draw customers in and summarize the brand’s true identity. If you’re creating a company for the first time, don’t worry, choosing a brand name is easy and a great way to set your business up for success!

 

Although coming up with a name can be challenge for some business owners, it can be a really fun experience! Selecting a name is not like stepping off the edge of a cliff blindfolded, it should be a well-thought out experience. If you follow these three simple steps you will be able to organize your ideas and get the most out of your perfect brand name.

Step One: Mission and Vision

Decide on your brand

When selecting a name for your new business, it is useful to gather all of your ideas in one place. It’s a smart idea to save your idea to a place that you can look back on throughout the naming process. Make sure you start by writing down any key aspects of what you want your brand to be. Be sure to include what your business does, the values and why what you’re doing is important. If your customers can sense that you’re passionate about your brand, they will also start to care about your brand.

 

Once you’ve written about your brand ideals, then you can compile a list of eight to ten of your current favorite business names. After that, then you should begin to analyze them and choose your favorites. It’s important to do some research on your top business name ideas. Then, you should write down a few of notes about why you like about the specific business names and why you think it works for that specific corporation. This will help give you some direction for your own naming process.

Decide on your target audience

It’s important to ensure that your brand reflects your target audience of your new company. For example, a fashion brand for successful middle-aged professional women will sound nothing like a hip clothing line for students. There’s a good reason two different brands like that wouldn’t sound alike even despite being in the same industry. The best brand names specifically target your audience, and draw them in with values and emotions that your audience relates to.

Look ahead to the future

Think about where you want to see your brand at in five years. Now, where would you like to see your business in ten years? Thinking about the future can prevent you from choose a name that pigeonholes your brand into a specific service. At the beginning, you may be launch a brand of socks, and you think the name CrazySocks could be a great fit, but if you plan to expand into producing hats and scarves, CrazySocks would no longer an appropriate name. If you plan ahead with your brand name, you can avoid an expensive rebranding process down the line.

 

Step Two: Get Creative

Think of some names

This is the best part of the naming process for aspiring entrepreneurs! All you have to do is write down every name you can think of that could fit the brand you’re creating. Don’t worry or put pressure on yourself. Instead, feel free to think out of the box and get creative. Also, don’t be afraid of writing down names you don’t like. The more names you have on your list, the more you can cross off which will make it easier to narrow down the list to your favorites.

 

Make sure to start broad when brainstorming names. Some names can be obvious, abstract, expressive, or classic. You can even combine two or more words to form a new name, or you can use two separate words to represent your brand. Try writing down a brand name for every business name type. This exercise will help you see what names work best for your company.

Cut your list down

It’s time to start cutting down your long list of names. You can begin crossing off names that don’t work for your brand. Continue crossing off names until you have five or six favorites. This is a great change for you to get second opinions on names from friends, family, and members of your brand’s target market.

 

When you ask your family and friends about the potential names, don’t ask “Which of these names is your personal favorite?” You should avoid potential bias by asking something more vague like, “Which brand intrigues you?”

Step Three: Check your Boxes

Secure your domain name and assess your risk

 

Trademark validation for your business name is last step in securing your name for your business. Don’t worry if you’ve never created a business before, it’s quick and easy to run a trademark risk test to make sure that your name isn’t already taken by a similar business. If you discover your brand name is too similar to another name for a business that offers comparable services, you could run into trouble with trademark law later down the line. This is why it’s important to be proactive about trademark risk because it can help you avoid messy legal issues in the future.

Conclusion

While searching for the perfect name for your brand is a daunting task for some aspiring entrepreneurs, you now know how to break it up into three easy steps. Your name should be the sum of your brand’s identity, because it is the first point of connection between your business and the customer. If you’re stressed that all the good brand names are taken, take a deep breath. Don’t worry, the perfect brand name for your new business is out there, it just takes a bit of prospecting and brainstorming to find it.

 

Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning brand name ideas.

How Can You Build A Video Sharing Website of your own?

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Currently, it is a notable fact that internet users are spending a vital portion of their online time on video sharing websites like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. In fact, studies have proven that almost 80% of internet traffic in 2019 will be video traffic (Source: SmallBizTrends). Video sharing platforms, by offering a central location for entertainment, learning, and marketing, are becoming everyone’s favorite. A video sharing website boasts of a remarkable business model that lets-

  • Platform owners to earn through Ads, and content publication.
  • Content creators to earn through brand promotion, copyrighting, and sponsorships.

What’s big in creating a video sharing website of your own?

Video sharing websites in 2018 remain not just a platform to upload videos, but sites like YouTube are inspiring and building a community of content creators. A single platform is acting as a prominent medium to connect content creators, viewers and brands together.

Of course, it takes a plentiful time to come up with a site like YouTube or Netflix, and much more than that to start earning with the business. However, it is also safe to state that video streaming as a business has just started and is not going to fade any sooner. Until that time, entrepreneurs have enough frames to create a video sharing website like YouTube and earn with it.

You just require an ideal business model and a highly targeted niche to squeeze out the maximum from this high grossing market. Consider YouTube and Netflix; both are video sharing platforms but operate with unique business models. YouTube, on one hand, utilizes Ad-based revenue model (A-VOD), while Netflix employs Subscription-based revenue model(S-VOD). YouTube in one hand chiefly relies on user-generated content; Netflix leverages both third-party content and Netflix Originals.

Can you build a Video sharing business without coding?

 

Conceivably, an Affirmative!

A few years ago, the answer would have been “NO” for sure. However, this is almost 2019, and web technology has made practically everything reachable to the mainstream people, indeed launching a video sharing website is no more a tough nut to crack. Readymade video sharing scripts have been working like a charm and have encouraged numerous entrepreneurs to venture in the market of VOD and Live-video streaming. There are YouTube Clone scripts offering the same capabilities as of YouTube, and Netflix clone with UI and monetization models identical to Netflix. If you are aiming for a business-grade video sharing website, you can invariably select a video CMS or a ready-made clone script to launch your business in no time.

How to choose a video sharing script or video CMS?

There is a catch, not all video CMS in the market are competent to fulfill all your goals. Some might offer VOD features, but miss out Live-streaming capabilities. While some might offer both, but not as a white-label solution.

In this case, a white label video sharing script is your safest bet. Such scripts are fully customizable, and one can revamp their UI completely to match their expectations and brand identity. Streaming engines and streaming servers generally power these scripts. As a result, one can also choose to utilize any third party streaming engine in spite of using one provided by the clone script vendor. Hence, always make sure to confirm if your clone script is hardcoded for a dedicated streaming server or they can also customize it to accommodate any third party server you wish for your business development.

In addition to the above affirmations, take an assurance on the flowing aspects from your video CMS or clone script vendor. These features and measures are of utmost importance for running a professional grade video streaming platform-

1.    Stream Type support-

The platform must offer support for at least two major formats of video streaming platforms – VOD and Live Streaming. Do not hesitate to invest a little extra amount if they are willing to include both the features on a single platform with some customization cost. Retaining both the options will eventually pay-off.

2.    Payment gateways-

The platform must offer integrated payment systems for on-site transactions. Based on your monetization method, users will be paying per-video or for the membership plans. Revenue generation is hard to achieve without a safer payment security on your platform. For example, PayPal or Stripe payment gateways.

3.    HD content streaming-

Now that content consumers are getting used to 4K video streaming from Netflix, it has become even more crucial to offer something like that with your own streaming platform too. Let users stream in the highest quality possible. To make that sure, inquire a little deeper about the Streaming server, which has been incorporated in the particular video sharing script. For example, if Wowza or Nginx servers power the platform, it can definitely support HD quality streaming.

4.    Multi bit-rate streaming-

If streaming in 4K or HD quality is crucial, streaming in multi-bit rate is even more crucial. Not all users have access to high-end devices or high-speed internet. By sticking only to the HD quality stream, you would be losing a considerable number of users who do not have access to high-speed internet or high-end mobile phones. Hence, make sure, if your streaming server is capable of offering dynamic switching of stream quality according to corresponding bandwidth or streaming device.

5.    Multi-platform streaming-

Users these days consume video content across numerous platforms. Be it a mobile phone, computer, tablet, or smart TV video streaming platforms are offering applications and solutions on each of the popular platforms. A competent clone script will always offer cross-platform support for video streaming capabilities. Take Netflix for example, they have a web version in addition to their mobile apps and Smart TV apps.

6.    Monetization methods-

Video streaming businesses are built on multiple revenue generation models. Some of the crucial monetization methods are Subscription (SVOD-Like Netflix), Advertisement (AVOD- like YouTube), and Transactional (TVOD- like YouTube’s Premium content). A competent streaming business in 2018 must necessarily support all the monetization methods to leverage every business opportunity in the market. YouTube sets an excellent example of a Hybrid revenue model by utilizing SVOD, TVOD, as well as the AVOD model.

7.    Security features-

The business of multimedia or video content streaming is always prone to piracy. Despite all critical efforts, pirates do find ways to distribute content without authorization. There are ways to put a tab piracy through Advanced IP access control, Video encryption and Digital Rights Management. Always go for a solution that offers at least the above three measures to prevent piracy and unauthorized distribution of your content.

8.    Social media login support-

The platform must allow social media integrations employing which users can be allowed to sign up quickly without manually filling the account registration forms. The features will additionally allow the platform to let users share and promote the service to maximize the user base.

9.    Video performance analytics-

It is important to comprehend the performance level of each content being posted on the platform. The numbers must offer an insight into the reachability and revenue generated through a particular content on the platform. Moreover, the platform must also offer a seamless integration with Google Analytics and other platforms to evaluate the content performance with deeper insights like Gender, Age group, Geo-location etc.

10. Platform Customizability-

Above all, the platform must offer a sleek design and back-end architecture in addition to customizability for further enhancements in all the features. Looking out on these aspects will ensure your business does not run out of options for extending the technical feasibilities and other requirements in long run. Hence, invariably choose a platform backed by a futuristic technology. As of now, a script based on Node.JS is a safer bet. In fact, the biggest video streaming services of the century run on Node.Js: Netflix and YouTube.

What is the cost of building your own video sharing website?

It depends!

It depends on various factors. There are many Video Sharing script providers in the market. All of them have their own set of features and functionalities to offer in a particular price range. Moreover, before looking out for a competent YouTube clone or any video sharing clone script, you have to decide one more thing-SaaS or Open Source code?

Recurring cost– SaaS providers generally do not share the code with the clients and charge on a per-month or annual basis. However, the popular companies in this niche are well known for their high-end features and dedicated customer support in a 24×7 environment. Your platform will remain updated with the latest features as they regularly roll out security and feature upgrades.

One-time cost– The other option is Open-source-code scripts where you can purchase and own the script for good. These scripts are generally white-labeled and possess maximum customizability, as codes are constantly available with you. Moreover, you will not be paying monthly or annual subscription charges. You can always consult any third party or the same developer to add or customize a feature. You are also liberated to choose Hosting Server Provider (e.g. Bluehost and HostGator) and Streaming Server Provider (e.g. Wowza and Nginx) of your choice.

Make a wise decision

Now that you are aware of all the options you possess, you can evaluate your platform requirements and business goals to select the most reliable option that suits the most. The final cost of building your Netflix or YouTube-like video streaming website depends on the features and customization you demand on the base scripts. It is always wise to select a clone that offers maximum features in the base script alone.

Author:

Amanda Smith:

A marketing professional with expertise in strategies to engage customers and improve business opportunities. Interested in marketing communications and like to keep abreast of new trends and developments.

Why is Black Friday footfall in decline?

By | Marketing | One Comment

Black Friday may have grown in recognition over the last decade, however, recent trends show that footfall in Britain during Black Friday has fallen year-on-year. Early data from indicated that Black Friday footfall was down 8% over the Black Friday weekend.

According to Barclaycard, online transactions were up. Despite , the amount spent per transaction online failing, Black Friday is clearly no longer an event that necessarily helps bricks and mortar stores. According to marketing and insights director at Springboard, Diane Wehrle, “while online transactions are up, the vast majority of spending is still in shops, so this indicates there was a fall in spending”.

It seems that Black Friday campaigns have managed to engage customers and that trends are moving away from stores, with customers preferring to shop online and avoid the shopping centre mayhem. In the past, customers have been known to queue from early hours of the morning in order to grab the best deals. However, due to the large criticism received it seems as though the UK has distanced itself from the US version …

The growth of online

The largest contributing factor to this year’s footfall was online sales. Many consumers opted to shop online, rather than queue in stores to snap up a bargain. Trust in online shopping continues to grow, making online shopping a more convenient method for customers. In addition, many online retailers began their Black Friday sales earlier, with some sales lasting till the end of the month, making customer less inclined to visit in store.

With the use of mobile phone on the rise, a large number of customers snapped up deals using their mobile phone.  According to Argos, half of its orders on Friday morning had been made on a handset, up from 40% last year.

Black Friday no longer the main sale event

Furthermore, there are also indications that shoppers are growing accustomed to continuous sales and discounts throughout the year. This, paired with the ubiquitous argument around whether Black Friday discounts are better than the rest of the sales throughout the year. According to studies, 9 out of 10 Black Friday products are cheaper at other times of the year. The study showed that out of 21,047 products, in a course of 12 months, only laptops were offered at a favourable bargain price.

Payday far away

Another contributing factor is that customers have less disposable income. Despite the already doubtful nature of Black Friday discounts, Black Friday took place a week earlier this year and most shoppers only get paid the week after. Therefore, we’ve seen many ‘low value’ sales this Black Friday, with many shoppers opting to ‘treat’ themselves instead.

Avoiding the mayhem

Another contributing reason is the controversial nature of Black Friday. Previously there have been known reports of shoplifting, fighting, and even deaths (such as the two men who shot each other after a fight broke out in a Texas Toys-R-Us). Whilst most of these stories originate from the US, in the UK, consumers have had no problem adopting the US attitude to Black Friday. A clip-on YouTube from 2008 shows people trampling over other customers in Asda (a subsidiary of Walmart) as security open the shop doors and were overwhelmed by the sudden rush of people pouring in. There have been efforts to deal with this problem, with stores increasing their opening times and even stretching the sales over several days, weeks and sometimes a month in efforts to deal with the chaos. However, it seems as though shoppers remain reluctant to shop in stores, preferring to avoid the madness and shop from the comfort of their homes

 

To give you a better idea of some of the insane Black Friday incidents, we’ve created a list of the top 5 Black Friday disasters, ranging from controversial marketing campaigns to shopping mayhem.

  1. Super-Flop – Online store “SuperGurl” in Singapore created a particularly distasteful ad campaign showing a young woman in a suggestive pose with the phrase “rape us now”. The advert was heavily criticized on social media with many stating that rape should never be used as a synonym for ‘shop now’, especially when their audience is young women and teens.

 

  1. Asda shambolic PR disaster – In Northern Ireland Asda (a subsidiary of Walmart) attempted to replicate the US Black Friday shopping spree frenzy. The campaign was highly advertised and even backed by a PR push on BBC radio, advertising heavily discounted goods that would be on sale at their stores. The campaign proved successful with queues gathering outside stores across the country, in the early hours of Friday morning. However when stores opened it became clear that there were limited numbers of goods on offer, and in some stores, at least some goods advertised were not available at all. In frustration, the large crowds turned into chaos with one woman reportedly suffering a broken arm in the mayhem.

 

  1. Pepper Spray Tactic – In 2011 at Porter Ranch Walmart in California, an unknown woman used pepper spray to prevent other customers from shopping. Reports say that there were over 100 people waiting in line, pushing and shoving before they realised they were attacked with pepper spray. Customers coughed and itched as the woman continued with what was dubbed as ‘competitive shopping’.

 

  1. Shopping Stampede – In 2008 at a Walmart in Long Island was overwhelmed with 2,000 customers storming in at 5 am, 5 minutes before the store was due to open. The store never in fact opened. It was said, that customers stormed into the store, knocking the doors off their hinges and literally blasted their way in. In the midst of the chaos, a 34-year-old temporary worker fell and was trampled to death!

 

  1. Black Friday Crash! – In 2017, both GAME and Debenhams, some of the two biggest UK high street retailers experienced website crashes due to the large traffic of people who were looking to grab a bargain, in the Black Friday sales. Whilst Debenhams acted promptly placing customers in a 30-second queue in order to deal with the traffic, customers who visited GAME were greeted with a

 

 

How to Manage a Distributed Marketing Team

By | Marketing | One Comment

The modern office has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. One of the most important aspects of this change is the fact that more and more people are working remotely, especially in companies that mainly sell their products or services online.

This also means that a growing number of marketing teams are distributed, which can become a problem if the challenges are not recognized and addressed properly.

So, how do you do that? How do you manage a distributed marketing team so that it is as successful (perhaps even more) as a collocated one?

Set up structured processes

The processes that we are talking about here do not entail setting up a step-by-step procedure for every little thing that a member of a distributed marketing team will be doing. However, a distributed marketing team does need to employ certain templates, checklists and guidelines to establish a certain way of doing things.

This is not because marketers on distributed teams are bad at their jobs. This is because it can be tiresome to chase around for a certain piece of information on Slack, waiting until someone finally answers to your email, or having to spend hours scouring the team’s Google Drive.

Setting up structured processes saves time and prevents miscommunication that is more likely in distributed teams.

Be smart about technology

One of the factors that contributed to the widespread practice of remote work is the availability of affordable and truly useful technology that makes it possible to even try to manage a team distributed around the world.

Unfortunately, this has opened up a whole other can of worms as badly managed distributed teams are told to use a dozen tools just for their day-to-day work.

If you want to manage your distributed marketing team the right way, you will make sure to do your research into different kinds of tools your team might need, keeping the number to a minimum and getting feedback from your team.

In case you are managing an agile marketing team, you will have to take this into consideration and review agile tools that will support your team in its efforts.

In addition to software, you might want to think about investing in some hardware, or more precisely quality cameras, headphones and microphones which brings us to our next piece of advice.

Communication. Communication. Communication

Sure, email is great for getting a piece of information across to another member of them and okay, Slack is a nifty piece of software. However, no matter how well you use chat and other forms of text communication, something will be lacking. Nothing can come close to audio and especially video, which is why you should seriously consider these options.

For example, you should at least do a quick daily video meeting at a time that suits everyone. People can call in and share what they have been doing and what they are planning to do in the period until the next meeting. This is an Agile practice that can do wonders for coordinating the team and keeping things transparent.

Some remote teams also practice pairing up two random people via audio for the day, as if they were sitting at the same desk. This can go a long way toward building a team that is more than just employees who work on the same projects.

Regardless of the way in which your distributed marketing team communicates, it is essential that you do not curb casual talk, personal stories, jokes and everything else that is a part of a traditional office.

Simply put, you have to encourage constant feedback from your team and consult them for ways in which you can promote communication even more. You have to be proactive about this and do not count on this just happening.

Meet in person

Depending on how dispersed your remote marketing team is and how big your budget is, you will be able to organize meetups where the entire team will get together in person and get to know each other better. Some teams may afford to meet every month or two, while others might only afford a single, yearly meetup.


The important thing is that you do it.

There is absolutely nothing that can replace face-to-face interaction and a single day that your team spends together at the same location will be more conducive to team building than spending a month together on Slack.

You can decide how formal to keep things, whether you want to have a structured team building meetup or whether you want to keep things casual. Both options will work and you will want to feel out your team what they would prefer.

One very important thing to remember here – either everyone meets or no one meets.

Trust your team

Some managers find it difficult to trust remote team members and they adopt an overbearing approach. They demand that everyone is at their computers not a second too late and they track every second of their time. These managers also often demand constant updates about every little thing their team members do.

This is not the way to manage a remote marketing team. You are working with adults who take pride in what they do and who want to do their best. You are working with people who want their team and their company to benefit from their work. As long as the team collaborates on planning the projects and pulls in the same direction, you can let go of the micromanagement.


Not only are you disrespecting them by demanding constant updates, but you are also wasting their time which can be spent on doing actual work instead of reporting.

Trust your team. Of course, you will want to track the progress of your projects and communicate on what can be improved. But, please, do not treat them like you would a remote team of five-year-olds.

Hire and onboard smartly

It can be quite difficult to do proper hiring and onboarding for a distributed marketing team. Adding new people to any kind of a marketing team can be challenging, let alone one that is distributed and faces additional obstacles.

For example, you will have to put more emphasis on certain skills and characteristics, such as:

  • Assertiveness and directness in communication
  • Ability to autonomously solve problems
  • High level of self-organization and self-discipline
  • Openness to giving and receiving feedback

Onboarding is also extremely important when adding new people to remote marketing teams since there is very little of that organic onboarding that happens in a traditional office. You will want to have a structured onboarding process in place to ensure that the bureaucratic stuff is handled with ease. This will enable the team to provide a personal, informal welcome to the new member, giving them an insight into the culture of the team.

If it can be done logistically, it would also be a good idea to hire new people shortly before meetups in person so that they can meet their new colleagues face-to-face.

Closing Word

Managing a distributed marketing team is not easy. It requires a lot of trust, even more communication and the ability to be realistic about how the team will grow organically and what has to be actively supported.

The good news is that it can be done and done well.

AUTHOR: Jug Babic works at VivifyScrum. He is a member of an agile marketing team with remote members. You can find him on Twitter.