Say it with stickers!

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say. In those moments…sticker away! With the latest Gboard for Android update, you can now easily share our new downloadable stickers or Bitmoji in any app that supports image pasting, including your favorite messaging apps on Android. Whatever you’re feeling—happy or sad, silly or sleepy, courageous or cuddly, wired or weird—you can find a way to say it with stickers.

bitmoji

To get started, make sure you’ve got the latest version of Gboard, Google’s keyboard for Android. The new update will be rolling out over the next few days, so check back in a day or two if you don’t see it today. Once you’ve updated Gboard, download some sticker packs or the Bitmoji app from the Play Store. Then, whenever you’re using Gboard to chat or type, just tap on the emoji button then either the sticker button or the Bimoji button to easily search and share your favorite stickers and Bitmoji.

omw final

We’ve worked with closely with a handful of partners to make an awesome collection of stickers available—including Mickey Mouse, NBAmoji, Google Allo selfie stickers, Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty, Garfield, Powe Rangers, Star Wars™, and more. Whether you’re on the basketball court or a galaxy far, far away, it’s easier than ever to add some fun to your conversations. To get new sticker packs any time, just tap the “+” button when you’re in the sticker tab of Gboard or by visiting the Play Store.  

disney

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We’ll be adding even more sticker packs will be added in the coming weeks, so make sure to check back regularly. Try it out—a sticker is worth a thousand words.

Source: Search (Original

21 Tips for Running Your WordPress Business from Your Laptop

Working in a field like web development has some pretty awesome perks. By far one of the best benefits of working as a freelance web developer is that you have the freedom and flexibility to work for whoever you want, whenever you want, and wherever you want. Right?

Technically, yes, but…

But it’s not that simple. From the outside looking in, life as a digital nomad probably seems amazing. Wake up when you want. Pick and choose clients you want to work with. Travel as frequently as your bank account will allow. As The Oatmeal has wisely shown, though, working from your laptop isn’t always aces.

The good:

 

The Oatmeal nails it.

The bad:

I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit watching funny videos online.

If you’ve decided that the “location independent” work life is for you, then there are some things you should know in order to properly navigate it. While it will likely seem like a lot of fun at first, it can slowly turn sour if you don’t manage your time, resources, or relationships properly.

Tips for Running Your Business from Your Laptop

There are many annoying things about working in the corporate world. There’s the commute that could realistically add an hour or two to the time spent away from your non-work life. There are the office politics that are never a pleasant experience trying to navigate.

And, oh yeah, there’s the whole “I need it right now” mentality that every single one of your coworkers seems to have and is always directed at you at the most inconvenient of times.

Once you get a taste of what it can be like to work from your laptop—the empowerment, the freedom, the sense of control—you’re not going to want to let that go.

But don’t let the increasing sense of relaxation and comfort from working for yourself get in the way of your business succeeding (which can happen). Sure, you own your time, control your resources, and plan your workflow however you want. But just because you don’t have to pay for that much overhead, doesn’t mean you can afford to slack.

Here are 21 tips on how you can successfully run your WordPress business from your laptop.

General Business Tips

Tip #1: Dress the part

You may not be reporting to anyone but yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should treat your work hours any differently than you would if you went into an office every day. Time is money and all that jazz, right? No one’s saying you have to wear a three-piece suit or heels, but busting out of those pajamas when you sit down to your laptop will help put you in the right frame of mind for work.

Tip #2: Create a professional workspace

Again, this is about training your mind and body to work even if you’re in a comfortable setting like your home or a distracting one like the local coffee shop. The key is to create a professional workspace, one that inspires you to stay productive as you work throughout the day.

Rafat Ali, the CEO and founder of Skift, says: “Working on a startup means working all the time, it consumes all of you. It is not a part-time game, it is not even a full-time game, it is an every-fiber-of-your-being-wedded-to-it game. But that doesn’t mean you lose yourself and what defines you. How and where you choose to work defines you as much as the work itself.”

Tip #3: Get a good desk

There are some digital nomads like Richard Branson who work remotely but opt for non-traditional work setups (he prefers to sit in a hammock). For those of us who aren’t taking calls and writing emails all day, however, a good desk and chair that support proper posture, lumbar support, and eye-to-laptop levels is important.

Tip #4: Get a business line

There will come a time when you land a client who abuses the relationship you have with them and starts calling or texting you outside of work hours. This is why I suggest every freelancer sign up for a separate phone number and email for their business. It’ll be much easier to block out those unwanted distractions from your personal life.

Tip #5: Invest in a good computer

You’re going to spend a lot of time on your laptop. Make sure you have a reliable one to work from.

Productivity Tips

Tip #6: Set work hours

You’re running a business. Unless you’re hoping to become the 7-Eleven of web developers, there’s absolutely no need for you to be available 24 hours a day. Be sure to define your work hours ahead of time and communicate them to everyone, both professional and personal contacts.

Tip #7: Switch off distractions

Probably the worst thing about working from your laptop is how easy it is to find distractions within it. Of all the distraction blocking tools I’ve seen, I think Freedom is perhaps the most comprehensive solution for phones and computers.

Tip #8: Use a scheduling tool

You can make as many promises to yourself that you’ll stick within that pre-defined daily schedule, but how well will you actually stick to it when left to your own devices? Don’t try and do it on your own. Use a scheduling tool like Asana for time management.

Tip #9: Work when you’re most productive

Chris Guillebeau ditched the traditional corporate life in lieu of one in which he had more control. Now he teaches people to do the same. One of the most recent tips he gave? Work when you’re most productive: “The answer isn’t only ‘work hard all the time’, because of course you can work hard all the time on the wrong things. But I don’t think the answer is to coast either. It’s more like: find the right thing, then give it all you’ve got.”

Tip #10: Create deadlines for everything

While it’s always nice when you meet clients who are lax about deadlines, that’s not always ideal for freelance work because you can keep pushing it off. If you want to keep order over your schedule, create a deadline for everything and stick to it.

Tip #11: Minimize travel the first year

Your first year in business is going to take some getting used to. That’s why you should minimize (or avoid) travel as much as possible. It’s really a tough balancing act to work while you’re on the road and is something you most definitely won’t be able to do until you understand your business’s natural ebb and flow. Once you do get the hang of it, you can totally pull a James Hamilton, an engineer at Amazon, who works most of the time from his boat, whether he’s in Seattle or sailing down to Hawaii.

Organization Tips

Tip #12: Move to the cloud

The cloud just makes more sense. It’ll increase security, provide you with a built-in backup, and will also save you time in sending files and communications to other people.

Tip #13: Get a business management tool

There are a number of things you’re going to need to keep tabs on as a freelance web developer, most of which pertain to your workflow. However, there are other things you need to be mindful of in order to keep your business afloat. Until you’re able to hire someone to do this for you, get a comprehensive business and finance tool like Zoho. Or, if you want to save money, just invest in QuickBooks to streamline your finances.

Tip #14: Get a project management tool

If you work with a team or if you have a decent amount of clients (say, more than 5), you’ll want to get a project management tool like Trello or Basecamp in order to keep everything straight—projects, client contacts, communications, files, job progress, etc.

Communication Tips

Tip #15: Get a scheduling tool

Scheduling calls with clients or meetings with teams can get complicated when you never meet face-to-face with any of them. Scheduling tools like Doodle will cut down on the confusion of differing time zones, limited availability, and having to play phone tag.

Tip #16: Don’t be afraid of video chat

Sure, video chat can be intimidating, but it beats the possible confusion and crossed lines that come with using email. Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still speak to clients in real time—especially if you have a new website to show them. Bill Gates is a proponent of video chat technology: “If you’ve got development centers all over the world, you’ve got a sales force out with the customers, the fact that tools like Skype [and] digital collaboration are letting people work better at a distance—that is a wonderful thing.”

Tip #17: Have quick communication tools, too

For quick chats with team members and clients, tools like Slack are a great supplement to your communications toolset.

Don’t-Drive-Yourself-Crazy Tips

Tip #18: Give yourself time to breathe

Don’t work seven days a week if you don’t have to or want to. Burnout sucks and could hurt your business. If that means it’s time to scale your business and start outsourcing, then so be it.

Tip #19: Get outside at least once a day

Jeff Weiner, the CEO at LinkedIn, doesn’t work from home, but he does take time to get out every day. “I started doing walking meetings early last year at the suggestion of a colleague who used them as a means to reduce meeting room scheduling issues while getting some exercise at the same time.” (I’d suggest not taking your work outside with you though.)

Tip #20: Make new connections

Freelancing is a solitary existence. Even if you talk to team members or clients every day, it’s still pretty much just you sitting in front of your laptop alone. Take some time to explore local communities and meet up with other location-independent professionals, ideally ones in a related field.

Tip #21: Create clear divisions between work and life

Perhaps the biggest problem in working from your laptop is the lack of respect or understanding that others have about it. They think that because you’re physically at home that you can watch the kids for an hour. Or they think that you can be called on over the weekend to take care of this one “quick” task. This is your business so it’s up to you to establish clear boundaries between where and when work starts and ends—physically, mentally, and digitally. This isn’t just for family, friends, clients, and coworkers. This is for you, too.

Wrapping Up

Remember that freelancing is just as much of a business as any other. You may not have the four walls of a huge corporate structure surrounding you, but you can still build an environment—physical or digital—that mimics that same level of professionalism, security, and control.

The key to running your web development business from a laptop and continuing to kill it day in and day out is to make your work fit around your life, but never lose sight of the fact that there is still work to be done… and done well. Basically, it’s all about finding the right balance in all things.

Like Andrew Wilkinson of MetaLab (the makers of Slack) says: “You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful. It’s natural to look back and mythologize the long nights and manic moments of genius, but success isn’t about working hard, it’s about working smart.”

Source: The WordPress Experts – WPMU.org (Original

5 New Facebook Updates and Tests Spotted This Week

It’s amazing to consider the vast array of tests and variations running on Facebook’s platform at any given time. Every day there are new features being discovered, new elements being tried out, some of them will lead to new updates, while others will get dropped and disappear without a trace.

Take, for example, the platform’s recent update of the News Feed layout – earlier this month, Facebook announced a range of smaller tweaks and changes to how the News Feed is presented which are designed to encourage more engagement. And while those changes are mostly subtle, the background insight into the amount of options they tried out in the development process is amazing.

Really, when you’re dealing with more than 2 billion users, even the smallest change can have a huge effect – getting each monthly user to spend an extra second in-app would result in an equivalent increase of some 63 years in cumulative usage time. While the former is also true – get it wrong and user interest can drop significantly.

There’s a lot riding on Facebook’s tests. Which is what also makes them so fascinating to monitor.

Here are five new Facebook tests and updates from the past week which are worthy of note.

1. New Colleague/Alumni Listings

You’ve always been able to find colleagues and former school friends on Facebook, and The Social Network has tried several methods to make this easier over the years. Their latest option on this front provides a clickable link to defined lists of people from a certain workplace, or who attended a certain school.

As you can see, you can now click on the relevant linked titles from your profile and you’ll be shown a listing. You can then add colleagues and alumni as friends as you see fit.

The listing only works in the mobile app – clicking on the linked Pages on desktop simply takes you to those Pages – and it’s unclear whether this is available to all, and/or how long it’s been present (some say they’ve seen it for some time), but it adds another way to connect with relevant users, while also helping you keep track of who’s listed as an employee on Facebook.

2. Verified Pages on WhatsApp

Not on Facebook-specifically, but Facebook-owned WhatsApp has also revealed its next step towards wider business use, with the introduction of verified profiles for businesses.

As you can see, verified WhatsApp profiles will soon have a green tick next to their name.

According to The Verge, the new badges will function in the same way as Facebook’s grey verification badges for businesses do – you won’t need to be a celebrity or high profile brand to qualify, necessarily, you’ll simply need a business phone number and/or relevant contact info linked to your official account.

In addition, WhatsApp will also switch the text bubbles when engaging with brand pages to yellow, which will make it easier for users to know when they’re communicating with a business.

WhatsApp, which now has more than a billion daily active users, is not as big a concern in western markets, but it’s huge in a global sense, and will increasingly provide more international opportunities for those businesses who can utilize the platform to best effect.

At this stage, WhatsApp is on what Facebook would call ‘the second phase’ of its business development framework, and as those options develop, it’ll be worth watching WhatsApp and keeping track of potential opportunities.

3. ‘Top Live’ Recommendations

This is a particularly interesting one – while live-streaming has taken off and become a key digital marketing trend of the moment, one of the biggest problems with live-streaming, as an entertainment option, is that the quality is very hit and miss.

Sure, Facebook has their Live Map, through which you can connect to all the happening streams at any given time, but as anyone who’s actually used the Live Map knows, there’s a heap of junk.

This is the key issue that lead to the demise of Blab and Meerkat – while providing people with the capacity to live-stream anything and everything is great, in that it democratizes real-time video connection, it also highlights the fact that creating entertaining, engaging live content for an audience is hard. Very few can do it well.

Facebook’s latest tool to counter this is a new ‘Top Live’ listing, which is now available to some users on iOS.

As you can see, the new option is listed in the functions menu – how, exactly, Facebook defines ‘top’ live content is not clear at this stage, but there may be a way for Facebook to use a combination of general audience signals combined with user preferences to give you a personally curated listing of good quality, in-progress, live content of most relevance to you, at any given time.

If they can perfect it, that would be a big step in advancing Live, and may become the default live content listing on a separate tab, or within the new Watch platform.

4. Facebook TV

And speaking of Watch, Facebook has also revealed more information about their new TV shows which will start airing on their Watch platform this week.

As reported by Digiday, a range of new Facebook-exclusive programs will be made available shortly, including Business Insider’s ‘The Great Cheese Hunt’, Attn’s ‘Health Hacks’ (fronted by Jessica Alba), Hearst’s ‘’Wiki What?’ (in which celebrities review their own Wikipedia pages) and ‘Ball in the Family’, a new reality show focused on the life of the family of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

These are just some of the ‘hundreds’ of new shows coming to Facebook, which, as explained by Digiday, will come in the form of short, ‘snackable’ style programming.

“Most of the shows Facebook is funding are described as “spotlight shows,” with most episode lengths between four and 10 minutes. Facebook’s paying $10,000 to $40,000 per episode for these types of shows.”

Watch is Facebook’s big bet, their big leap into original programming. Going on the rising trend of more people consuming video content online, and particularly via mobile device, as opposed to declining rates of TV viewership, Facebook’s hoping to tap into those TV ad dollars by building their own alternative platform.

Of course, YouTube’s doing much the same, and Amazon’s also looking into more TV-like content deals, but Facebook, with its size and scale, has a significant attention advantage, which could best position it to win out, particularly if it can get its content mix right.

You might not think you’d bother watching TV-like content on Facebook, but if they start airing a show that becomes a ‘must-see’, you might change your mind. If Facebook can also make it even easier to view that content on home TV sets, it’s not hard to imagine The Social Network will be able to take up more of your time, and attract more ad dollars as a result.

Definitely a key area to watch.

5. Camera Effects for Events?

And the last interesting test seen ‘in the wild’ this week relates to a new button seen on some events pages prompting users to add an associated Camera Effect.

The suggestion here is that Facebook will be looking to push the use of their advancing video masks and tools as more of a promotional tool – which makes sense, and they’re already doing so for big film houses.

But in this context, it seems more low-fi – events managers won’t necessarily have the budget of film houses, but through the Camera Effects Platform, anyone could create an associated video mask or overlay, which can be a great way to prompt users to share user-generated content, and get involved in the event.

If Facebook can push more use of these tools, that could heap more pressure onto Snapchat, which has been the home of this type of promotion. If more events organizers are prompted to create their own visual promotion tools, that’ll keep more people on Facebook using them, which a) keeps them away from Snapchat and b) enables Facebook to showcase just how good their effects are.

It’s not clear how widespread this new button is, but it’s an interesting test to consider.

Source: Social Media Today (Original

4 Real Time Uses Of Chatbots In Social Media Marketing

chatbots

During the summit of 2011, Gartner predicted that by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions with a business wouldn’t involve humans. The heavy use of chatbots in social media marketing that started in 2016 might turn this prediction true. These programs run by artificial intelligence (AI) offer great opportunities for enhancing customer service and other business aspects. Most importantly, they are available to companies of any size, which gives small businesses an opportunity to compete with established brands.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) says that by 2018 75% of all developers will include some measure of AI solutions to each of their digital products. The time of futuristic technologies and ‘advising robots’ is already here, so every business must start using their benefits as to not be left behind. You can learn how to do this from the examples of leading brands:

Ideas How to Use Chatbots in Social Media Marketing

1. Personalized Shopping: Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger, a renowned fashion brand was the first to use chatbots on Facebook Messenger. By now the company has it down to art as their chatbot can give fashion advice, show off the latest TH fashion shows, or offer a glimpse of ‘behind the scenes.’ The customers choose their route by chatting with the responsive and fast-learning AI.

Any business today can build a similar chatbot using free platforms, like Chatfuel. Detailed instructions are provided by the service and their website promises you’ll be able to ‘launch a full-featured chatbot in 7 minutes. This particular platform doesn’t require any understanding of coding if you use only basic features. However, anything more complicated will need professional knowledge. You also need to understand that a Facebook Messenger bot will be dependent on the app’s functionality and updates.

2. Simplifying Buying Procedures: Domino’s

Domino’s Pizza chatbot runs on multiple platforms and allows ordering within seconds. The customer can choose from their menu or make a custom pizza. The AI will guide them through the list of possible options and offer suggestions.

Domino’s innovation was allowing customers to order through Messenger without creating a Domino’s account first. It’s one of the greatest advancements in the use of chatbots in business as it increases convenience. This improves customer experience as well as allows gathering analytics.

FlowXO is a good chatbot building platform to try if you want to benefit from AI analytics on Messenger orders. It allows creating bots that will analyze the data from customer orders and customize replies based on it. Use this information to make changes to your product catalog, marketing strategy, etc.

3. Customer Help: Match.com

image

Most businesses use chatbots in social media marketing to provide some variety of customer support. Match.com with its Lara bot helps people find a date. It’s another Facebook Messenger bot but this one is highly complex. It has 50 categories to judge its choices by (interests, imperfections, profession, etc.)

Such complexities will require a sophisticated chatbot. However, if you have a database of information to draw from, you can make a basic version of it using platforms, like Botsify. It allows for easy integration with the website that will provide information for the bot’s AI to use. This chatbot can uphold an informative linear conversation, though it lacks an ‘emotional’ component.

4. Better Use Of Analytics: Statsbot

image

Statsbot offers an indirect way to use chatbots in social media marketing. Instead of directly interacting with customers, this bot boosts the business itself, and any company can use it.

The program allows connecting your Google Analytics and Mixpanel accounts and tracking the data they deliver more efficiently. Not only does this bot provide you with a real-time ‘report’ of the most relevant business analytics, but it can also alert you to specific changes.

Limitations Of Chatbots In Social Media Marketing

For all their advantages, chatbots are far from perfect. It’s essential that you understand their limitations and disadvantages in order to use this tool efficiently.

The problem is that AI is not yet developed enough to substitute human interaction. This means that if your customers’ questions get outside of its parameters, the program won’t be able to help.

In fact, it can actually harm your customer relationships as poorly-developed bots are annoying. In addition, if a person can’t resolve their issue, you will likely lose them. Some people might even get offended and go as far as posting negative reviews. Thus, one program failure can deal a big blow to your reputation.

To avoid problems like this you’ll need:

  • A top-quality chatbot with the highest degree of automation
  • A backup customer support service

It’s essential to have a ‘plan B’. So, even if you can’t afford to have a call center deal with inquiries that go beyond chatbot’s abilities, you must have some direct contact feature. Be sure to respond to those inquiries as quickly as possible.

You can also reduce the number of these issues by planning your chatbot’s AI very thoroughly. Your goal must be to find out the way regular customer inquiries go and develop a pattern that will respond to them best.

One of the chatbots’ benefits is that they learn and improve on their own. Although, some news tabloids misinterpret this information and breed scandals surrounding the entire field of AI. This recently happened with Facebook as their report on chatbot experimentation was presented as ‘a ban on chatbot AI after the bots developed their own language’.

The truth of the matter is that current chatbots are yet far from Skynet and still do only what they are prescribed to do. Though, some of the programs learn to handle the situation parameters more creatively.

The Future Of Using Chatbots In Social Media Marketing

There can be no doubt that chatbots will continue getting more popular as the technology develops. The AI of today can learn and provide customers with an intelligent and responsive conversation. The risk of the imperfect service because of moody employee will be substituted by the stable high quality customer care. As the amount of time people spend using their smartphones grows, their level of interactions with bots will increase.

This means that incorporating this tool into your social media marketing strategy has become a requirement today. You can do this easily using a variety of chatbot building platforms. Most of them don’t require the knowledge of coding so that any business can create a bot of their own. You can always hire a professional development agency for something more sophisticated.

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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com

Source: Search Engine People Blog (Original

Ranking #1 is Pointless – Here’s Why Your SEO Goal is Leads, Not Rankings by @gmehrguth

Every SEO conversation starts with “rankings.”

Every SEO KPI starts with “#1.”

But here’s the thing.

Both of those are wrong.

Your only goal in SEO is new leads and sales. So in that sense, ranking #1 is pointless.

Ranking first feels nice, but if you’re focusing just on Rank 1, you’re ignoring a huge part of the customer acquisition process.

Generating leads – and consequently revenue – requires a different approach.

It forces you to re-think little details, like how you’re optimizing title tags. And it forces you to re-think big details, like how your team is organized.

The end result, though, is that you can often drive more leads and sales without ranking in the first position, for less money and time spent.

We’ll look at why that is, and what three things you can do to land as many leads as possible.

Do Rankings Still Matter?

Yes and no.

Ranking #1 is obviously great. There are some solid theories on how to outfox the competition.

But it just isn’t always possible. And it’s becoming less important over time.

Your goal isn’t just ranks and clicks after all. It’s leads and sales.

So that often requires a “long and indirect way of thinking.” Increasing traffic will increase leads, but that doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient way to do so.

SEO is just one piece of the puzzle. If you want to make your marketing strategy the best it can be, you’ll want to ditch the siloed approach and divide your efforts equally among all parts of your campaign.

The metric that should reign supreme is Cost Per Sale (or acquisition).

What’s the amount that you paid for each sale? How many dollars did it take you to get one sale?

This one single metric tells you (almost) everything you need to know about how your campaigns are performing. Regardless if we’re talking about SEO or PPC.

Cost Per Sale helps you set the appropriate context, too.

For example, is a $30 cost per click expensive? Maybe. Depends on who you’re trying to reach and what you’re selling.

Let’s you’re considering splashing the cash on a new ad campaign for work Crocs (yes, those exist).

Crocs At Work Instagram Post

If these things retail for $30-50 bucks already, you can’t afford a single click worth $30. It’s simple math. And you won’t have enough left-over profitability to reinvest in other areas.

However, if your average order value is a few thousand bucks for each new client, that $30 CPC might barely make a dent.

ROI > cost per click, click-through rate, and every other metric above.

Regardless of if you run a B2B company or an online store, your goal isn’t just to “rank #1.” Or even have the top AdWords spot.

Your goal is to maximize the amount of money you’re driving from search. And that typically involves a bunch of different things working together, like using featured snippets or showing up in directory listings to increase your odds at getting the most clicks.

Ranking in the first position on Google is obviously great.

If you can do it. And if it doesn’t require a tremendous amount of resources that could be better used elsewhere to give you the same (if not better) results for the money.

It’s about identifying the opportunity cost.

And then determining if it can be put to better use in these other areas.

How to Maximize SEO Leads (Not Rankings)

Now, how can you generate leads?

What will make prospective consumers click on your link? How can you customize your ad and landing page to increase the chance that visitors will convert?

Here are three things you can do to turn web surfers with a mild interest in your services into paying customers.

1. Improve Your CTR

Your paid click-through rate has a direct impact on conversions.

Generally speaking, the better the CTR the better the conversion rates you’ll see.

WordStream - Better CTR is equal to Better Conversion Rates

You can start by benchmarking each type against the industry to see where you should be (vs. where you are right now).

Google AdWords Industry Benchmarks

In general, average search ad CTR is clocking in at about 1.91 percent, and you can expect display ad CTR to fall somewhere near 0.35 percent.

CTR is becoming a big deal for organic search, too.

Studies have started to show that you can ‘steal’ traffic away from people ranking above you simply by having a more clickable title tag and description.

Convert more SERP clicks than the person above you, and Google might even swap your two positions.

So instead of over-optimizing your page meta data for keywords, you can focus on maximizing clicks.

Next up, we’ll look at the oldest trick in the book to turn a passerby into a clicking customer: the catchy headline.

Example of Enticing Headline in SERPs

2. Write a Better Headline

If the word “clickbait” makes you feel like you’ve fallen short of your purpose in life, don’t think of it as clickbait!

The more intriguing your headline is, the more impossible it will be for potential leads to resist clicking it. It’s not witchcraft and it’s not rocket science. It’s barely even journalism 101.

But if knowing that is the easy part, then what’s the hard part?

The answer: Finding a diamond in the headline rough.

The trick is to use PPC to test this.

You can create multiple headline variations in ads and get real feedback within hours. Then you can determine which internet marketing tactic works best to go use on your landing pages and even for optimizing organic SERP CTR.

The trick is to brainstorm 10 headlines that will spark your customers’ interest. You may not be a headline-writing expert, but you know what they say: a broken clock is right twice a day.

If you come up with enough headlines, you, too, could be right twice a day.

High aspirations, I know.

The first thing you’ll want to consider as you write your new headlines is emotional drivers. In short, these are feelings that compel people to take action, such as:

Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

The pie-shaped emotions in the middle are going to be your best bets when it comes to driving someone to click. Don’t just distract people with Obi Wan’s reaction. Amaze them.

For each headline, try working with a different emotional driver. Your headline might enrage people about an everyday problem your services can fix or spark admiration for the number of hours your services can save in a person’s day.

In this case, you won’t just be testing headlines. You’ll be testing the underlying motivations that resonate best with your customers.

Now that you have an angle for your headlines, it’s time to get down to the formula.

Keep these four elements in mind as delineated by Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo:

  1. Content Type: When someone clicks on your link, what is it going to take them to?
  2. Topic: What’s the general keyword associated with your content?
  3. Format: Will visitors be redirected to a website? A PDF? An article?
  4. Promise Element: As a visitor, what will clicking on this link do for me? Next, add in your emotional driver/emotional hook, and you’ll get a finished product that looks something like this:

Anatomy of a Viral Headline

Congratulations – your new CTR will be on the rise shortly!

Now that visitors are actually visiting your page, it’s your job to make sure they convert once they get there.

3. Move CTAs from “Dead Zones”

When you designed a landing page, you probably didn’t slap things on the page at random and cross your fingers for success.

However, you may not have known how to optimize your page for conversions, either.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to place CTAs and important info on your landing page.

The wrong way is irrelevant, but the right way looks like the letter “F.” Essentially, that means it looks like this:

You’re going to want to place the things you want read on the blue lines. Why? This study, which found that website visitors typically start reading at the top left corner of a page, then continue reading lines that fit an F-shaped pattern.

Wondering what this looks like when executed correctly? Wonder no further:

We can also see this method in action on the website:

Los Angeles Times Home Page

And if you can’t trust the Los Angeles Times, who can you trust?

Designing your page a la the F pattern is your first and most important step to optimizing your CTA placement and generating leads. Once you’ve got your CTAs placed to your liking, access a heat map tool like Crazy Egg to track where your visitors are clicking most and adjust your design accordingly.

For example, if people aren’t clicking on your CTAs, that’s a problem!

The best rankings in the world won’t solve this problem for you.

But now you know how and why results are low. And more importantly, how to fix them.

Conclusion

Nobody’s going to argue with a #1 ranking.

Except, if you should be trying to rank for something else instead. Or if it’s going to be nearly impossible to ever hit #1 for that keyword.

For one thing, if your primary keyword is a phrase nobody’s searching, appearing at the top of that page isn’t going to do you any good. For another thing, tweaking and tweaking your SEO tactics and neglecting everything else won’t give you the kind of balanced, powerful marketing strategy that generates leads.

There’s a lot of nuance at play. And you have limited resources.

That means you need to constantly weigh your SEO opportunity cost.

Start by identifying your best-performing SERPs. Once you do that, work to improve your CTR, hone your clickbait-writing abilities, and redesign your page so that CTAs are placed in your visitor’s natural line of sight.

Ranking #1 is pointless if you’re able to still generate as many new leads and customers.

And you’ll often save time, effort, and money in the process, too.


Image Credits
In-Post Image 1: Moz
In-Post Image 2: Hubspot
In-Post Image 3: Screenshot taken by author.
In-Post Image 4: Wikimedia
In-Post Image 5: Buzzsumo
In-Post Images 6 & 7: Nielsen Norman Group
In-Post Image 8: Envato Tuts+

Source: Search Engine Journal (Original

5 Reasons Why Chatbots Need to Be Part of Your Social Strategy by @LWilson1980

We are in the midst of technological change – people are growing tired of apps, social media messenger services have exceeded the growth of social media, and users are demanding quicker access to information without the need to go through traditional search engine results pages (SERPs), or text based interaction.

To cater for this changing behavior, and to facilitate effective conversation based user demands, chatbots – a computer program which you can create to facilitate and encourage conversation with people online – have been filling a gap, driving forward a new wave of marketing and business success tied to conversational UI.

This post explores the top five reasons why you need to start incorporating chatbots into your social media strategy.

1. Make the Most of Emerging Trends

Since 2015, messaging apps have overtaken social networks, and a contributing factor for this is the fact that people rarely download new apps, but do have a basic humanistic need to remain within the conversation when it comes to social media.

Across the globe, 46 percent of consumers with a digital device still use social media to make informed purchases, so deploying chatbots enables you to combine the growing messaging trend and the existing social media reach for greater business gain.

Some of the most common messaging apps include:

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Snapchat
  • Viber
  • WhatsApp
  • BlackBerry Messenger
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Yahoo Messenger

The growth of active messaging apps users can be seen below:

Research - messaging apps have overtaken social networks

Social Media Messaging Services

Emerging trends like social media messenger services create new opportunities for business to converse with their active audience throughout their information seeking and buying process.

By using chatbot based messaging services businesses can help solve user problems, drive the user journey towards an intended outcome, and become available as a brand and business offering 24/7.

The Facebook Messenger interface can be accessed by clicking on the ‘Message’ icon within Facebook.

2. Access Information Faster

access to information online - user and computer

Consider the success of technology advancements like search engine optimization (SEO), mobile devices, voice search, and personal assistants (such as Amazon and Alexa). The one thing these all have in common: they help people access information faster.

When people are active on social media platforms and microblogging platforms like Twitter, sessions (and attention spans) are typically short. The typical social media user isn’t expecting to spend long on the platform within a single session and is often “on the move” when consuming content.

Chatbots empower your business to provide direct access to any information you wish to provide without the need to click through search results, navigate a website, or use text-based search functionality.

This means that text or voice word triggers can be used to speed up the process from search to discovery as well as control the variables by delivering the content you user should see, as opposed to the content they may discover for themselves.

3. Consistent & Controllable Social Media Conversation

A primary purpose of a business presence on social media channels is the ability to manage business reputation, answer questions, and react to changing conversation based needs. Through chatbots, businesses are able to fulfill specific customer services roles to a level unsurpassed with traditional “manned” response.

A chatbot follows a specific and stipulated decision tree/process map that is activated based on trigger terms and events, with the ability to be refined (or taught) with each new piece of information the chatbot comes in contact with.

Practically speaking this means that the chatbot will always:

  • Stay on message
  • Provide the preferred/latest/accurate information
  • Be available to help 24/7
  • Drive the user towards intended end results
  • Be consistent (and never flag on a Friday afternoon for example)
  • Retain data ready for re-combination and process (likely service) improvement

4. Integrate Social Media and Sales

A key aspect of every sales process is reducing stages within the information seeking and buying process, to create a streamlined experience from initial interest through to effective first purchase.

A common social media through to e-commerce sale process can often include the following steps:

Initial user interest triggered on social platform > click on ad/promotion > land on a targeted website page > searches for related products > adds item to cart > looks for trust signals including products reviews prior to proceeding > finds company address and contact details > completes supplemental search comparing wider ranges and price options > returns to site triggered by social media advert > review shipping information > progresses to payment

All of the following stages requiring user discovery could be completed with a single chatbot conversation plus, the user can ask everything else they may not have spent time searching for an answer to as well:

  • Land on a targeted website page
  • Searches for related products
  • Looks for trust signals including products reviews prior to proceeding
  • Finds company address and contact details
  • Completes supplemental search comparing wider ranges and price options
  • Returns to site triggered by social media advert
  • Review shipping information

This ability to use chatbots to shorten your path to purchase is important for any business.

5. Informal Brand Chats & Early Stages Communication

Formality is the killer of conversation. Few people would call a company to ask “what are the latest offers,” or email a business to find out “what star rating the x5000 hoover has,” or “who’s the closest pizza shop,” but through spoken search, digital personal assistants, and chatbots, people ask these things and more, all of the time.

In fact, one of the most common voice commands for Amazon Echo is adding an item to a shopping cart:

Amazon echo use stats

Once your business and brand are able to actively engage with your audience (current and potential) through social media platforms using chatbots, you are able to become an integral part of the conversation sooner and drive that conversation towards a number of progressive results.

Being the first brand to engage positions you as the expert and authority in your niche, it empowers your company to lead the conversation, and be involved within the various stages on communication from initial education and advice, through to final product comparison and ultimately purchase.

What Now?

Taking your first steps toward chatbot and social media integration can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be.

You can start by using some of the pre-existing social media messenger services that utilize chatbot technology. Alternatively, you can create your own chatbot to integrate with social media and other user interfaces.

Creating Your Own Chatbot

Initially, you need to scope out the types of problems and associated decision trees and processes that you would want “chatbot one” to service. This can be as simple as a yes/no approach leading to final decisions.

For each communication point, you will likely have a specific webpage or information resource that you will want to direct the user to (include this at the same time).

Once you have this, you will in effect have your chatbot brief. Then you will need to speak to a developer who has experience creating and refining (teaching) chatbots. Seek out an established digital agency that has case studies on the topic and is active in the chatbot space.

From there, it will be a case of any typical development project.

Good luck with your chatbot projects!


Image Credits
Featured Image: Pexels.com
In-Post Images: Pexels.com
Screenshots taken by author, August 2017

Source: Search Engine Journal (Original

5 Key Social Media Takeaways from the 2017 Internet Trends Report

Social media marketing enables businesses to target consumers where they spend the most time online, however to get the most bang for your marketing buck in social, you need stay up-to-date on the latest social media advertising trends, best practices, and consumer expectations.

Thankfully, Mary Meeker of Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers (KPCB) hit it out of the park once again with her annual gift to digital marketers: the Internet Trends Report. This year, some of Meeker’s noteworthy insights revolve around social media – she reveals which social media platforms are leading advertising growth, which are driving the most sales, and also highlights new trends emerging in how consumers want to interact with brands on social media.

In this post, I’m going to discuss five important social media takeaways from the 2017 KPCB report that digital marketers need to know. After all, the better we understand recent social media trends, the better we can leverage them in our digital marketing strategies.

1. Google and Facebook Lead Advertising Growth

Increasing internet usage and online advertising go hand-in-hand, and both continued to rise last year.

Brands and businesses reportedly spent $73 billion on internet advertising across all platforms in 2016, but more specifically, brands are spending more on Google and Facebook ads than ever before.

Spending on Google ads jumped by 30% from 2015 to 2016, earning the search giant a cool $35 billion in ad revenue last year.

5 Key Social Media Takeaways from the 2017 Internet Trends Report | Social Media Today

Though Facebook’s earnings from paid ads were less than half as much as Google’s – around $13 billion – the social media platform experienced an impressive 62% hike in ad spending in 2016. This intense growth is more telling than the total spending, and we can expect Facebook ad revenue to continue to rise in the next few years.

On the other hand, most other social media platforms are still struggling to monetize and advertise effectively. Advertising on every other online platform combined only increased by 9%.

2. Facebook and Pinterest Ads Result in More Purchases

According to Meeker, Pinterest and Facebook are the driving forces behind online purchases – users on both platforms are more likely to browse and buy than users online anywhere else.

Even though Pinterest advertising hasn’t gone up significantly, the platform manages to drive almost as many sales as Facebook – and both Pinterest and Facebook beat Google in terms of online sales. (That said, geo-targeted Google ads now account for more foot traffic than ever.)

5 Key Social Media Takeaways from the 2017 Internet Trends Report | Social Media Today

Meeker reported that 26% of consumers who clicked on a Facebook ad went on to make a purchase. The same survey found that 24% of consumers made purchasing decisions based on something they saw on Pinterest.

So what can digital marketers learn from this? That it pays to advertise where consumers spend time online – and they’re primed to buy when scrolling through appealing images on visual platforms like Pinterest.

3. Social Media Advertisers Prefer Measurable Metrics

As with offline advertising, one of the hardest parts of social media is tracking a campaign’s success.

Marketers understandably want hard results they can point to as evidence of a job well done – but the type of evidence they seek is shifting.

5 Key Social Media Takeaways from the 2017 Internet Trends Report | Social Media Today

For example, 56% of social media marketers now view user engagement as the ultimate indicator of a successful ad, while another 21% prioritize conversion and revenue above all else. In addition, 15% claimed their main goal is simply to increase brand awareness.

Of course, engagement, conversion, and amplification all play into one another – a balanced approach would be to create specific campaigns designed to boost each metric, and then track the results to see what worked – and what didn’t.

As many discover, tracking social media metrics is often easier said than done.

4. Marketers Still Struggle to Track Social Media ROI

The biggest challenges for social media advertisers are in tracking results. Even though marketers rank measurable metrics among the top indicators of social media success, many still struggle to quantify their return on investment.

5 Key Social Media Takeaways from the 2017 Internet Trends Report | Social Media Today

In fact, 61% named measuring ROI as the top obstacle to successful social media marketing. Another 38% of marketers, meanwhile, said their main challenge was the lack of budget and resources. This makes complete sense, considering that decision-makers are likely hesitant to spend on social media marketing (despite the major benefits of doing so) because the metrics are so tough to nail down.

Another 34% of marketers said they struggle to tie social media campaigns to tangible business goals – which in turn would make tracking real-world results almost impossible.

5. Consumers Expect More from Customer Service

In a world where consumers have everything they could possibly need at their fingertips, standards for customer service are on the rise.

Consumers want more accessible customer support, and expect brands to be more available and responsive to their questions.

More specifically, 60% of consumers want easier access to online support, and 54% want faster responses.

5 Key Social Media Takeaways from the 2017 Internet Trends Report | Social Media Today

As advertisers continue to invest in social media marketing, brands should also start using social platforms to offer better online support. By opening up the lines of communication to their audience, brands can put the ‘social’ back into social media – and boost sales too.

Allowing consumers to message them through Facebook Messenger, for example, puts brands in direct contact with customers. This makes it possible to resolve concerns that may be holding a consumer back from making a purchase in real-time – and that benefits the customer and the business.

The Intersection of Social, Mobile and Local – Where Businesses and Consumers Meet

Social, mobile and local ​make up the intersection at which brands and businesses can find the consumers that want and need their products and services. While I’ve only highlighted the social media-related trends above, KPCB’s 350+ page slide deck of metrics demonstrates that consumers want more than we’re giving them right now.

Join the ranks of the social-savvy and start implementing business marketing strategies to meet these consumers’ needs today.

Source: Social Media Today (Original

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics

SaaS companies come and SaaS companies go,

I watch closely. Sometimes from the outside. Sometimes from within.

The death rate of SaaS companies can be discouraging, but on the other hand, the long and growing list of mega-success stories in the software subscription business is downright inspiring. The continued growth of the industry is too:

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

Source: Trends in SaaS for Enterprise IT

The overall SaaS market will reach $164.29 billion by 2022.

So what’s the difference between the movers and shakers of the cloud wars and the dearly departed?  Well, I sit (virtually, that is) in their marketing departments, so from my point of view, the answer is the marketing tools they choose and the tactics they use.

Most of my clients are SaaS companies. Most offer B2B platforms. Staying on top of effective B2B SaaS marketing strategy is critical to my business. If you can say the same, this post’s for you.

1. Identify your ideal customer

Many companies fail to identify their ideal customers and understand their needs. You need to.

Start by creating personas to characterize your customer.

  • What’s his or her profession?
  • What’s his or her position in the company?
  • What problems does he or she face?

Dig into the process:

  • Interview customers.
  • Survey prospects.
  • Pick the brains of the people in your company with customer-facing roles.
  • Sort through the data in your CRM.
  • Examine social mentions, user reviews, feedback, and queries.

The idea is to uncover characteristics and behavioral patterns that can help you create a realistic persona – or several.

2. Think inbound

Accomplished SaaS companies differentiate themselves and achieve growth by embracing inbound marketing.

HubSpot defines “inbound marketing” as an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful—not interruptive. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media. Inbound marketing enables SaaS marketers to:

  • Lower cost of customer acquisition
  • Increase the lifetime value of customers
  • Increase conversion and retention
  • Establish authority

Effective inbound marketers embrace content marketing and view their brand as a publisher. They define an editorial strategy that creates ongoing value for target audiences.

A blog is often the foundation of your content. Your business blog and content should focus on addressing customer pain points at each stage.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

Source: New Breed blog

It’s important to examine the decision-making process as a series of stages and create content to satisfy the needs across the board (or down the funnel). The content you’ll create for someone in the awareness phase is different than what you’ll need for subsequent consideration and decision phases. Research and document exactly what this looks like for your customers (as shown above).

3. Buy traffic

Drive targeted traffic to your website with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Some of the popular and proven methods for doing so include:

  • Google AdWords
    Here’s a guide to getting started with AdWords.
  • Retargeting (Or remarketing)
    Your ads are served to browsers who have been on your site – after they’ve moved on.
  • Paid social media ads
    Including – but not limited to – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. 

4. Make hyper-focused landing pages

You’ll make your ads, social media campaigns, and other traffic-generating strategies more effective when your offers are tied to the channel and topic that drove the click.

Consider the stages of the buyer journey and create landing pages with offers and content that are optimized for conversion. Here are copywriting tips for landing pages and 11 tips to increase conversion.

5. Publish lead magnets

Build an email list, generate leads, and position yourself as an authority, by creating eBooks and white papers to serve as cornerstone content for your most prominent B2B SaaS marketing campaigns.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today
Above are examples of lead magnets created by (and in some cases, for) Feldman Creative. Many of them were the basis for blog posts, emails, infographics, webinars, social media posts and more.

6. Create industry research reports

Publishing original research is one of the most effective tactics you can use to position your brand as an industry leader and earn media mentions and backlinks.

Your options to create industry research are many:

  • Conduct surveys with your customers and target market
  • Use data collected by your web properties
  • Partner with an association or complementary brand
  • Find published reports and repurpose the most relevant data for your audience

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

7. Create vertical market content

Analyze your customer data to identify the most lucrative vertical markets you serve. Then, create and promote a market-specific report or some form of downloadable content specifically for the top verticals.

8. Create comparison content

Your potential buyers are using search and the various web-based tools at their fingertips to compare your brand to your competition. X vs. Y is an amazingly popular search and if your content appears in the search engine results, you’re bound to generate traffic, leads and sales.

Create the comparison content. Be fair. Optimize it for Google searches containing “vs.”

Another effective approach for accomplishing this strategy is to create a buying guide for your niche profiling your solution and competitors.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

buying guide for selecting cloud storage solutions compares OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. However, I got it from CNet, so it’s a missed opportunity for the cloud storage companies who could have become my resource instead.

9. Answer relevant questions

You want to be the leading answer source for questions your prospects ask. So you need to gather and list the questions and create content that answers them.

Find out what questions are asked via chat, calls or however you field questions. And, of course, talk to your sales and support teams.

Review what’s searched on your website. Research the questions asked via search engines. You might also use social media, especially Q&A sites (such as Quora) and forums, to uncover the questions that need to be answered.

Here’s a guide to perfecting this strategy, which I’ve titled, The Most Effective Content Marketing Tip Ever. 

10. Create a content hub

I’ve covered a lot of content marketing strategies, not all of them are strictly blog posts. And I haven’t even got to case studies, videos, and some other popular branded content types.

Make it easy for customers and prospects to locate, preview and download your content by creating a content hub or resources page.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

Certify nicely organizes a variety of content on a hub page to help visitors find whatever type of content they’re interested in.

11. Contribute guest posts

Unsurprisingly, it’s not easy to earn a good-size audience by publishing blog posts on your website. The competition is immense and the media noise is infinite.

The solution is to seek and snag guest post opportunities. Simply put, bring your conent to where your audience is already active.

Identify the most reputable and well-read online publications in your field and contact their editors with:

  • A compelling idea (or several) for a post
  • An outline, sampling or a complete article
  • An brief explanation of why your contribution will be of value
  • Links to your best written work
  • Your credentials

In some cases, you may have to dig into the website or LinkedIn to find the right editor to contact, however in many instances, it’s easier than that because if you search you’ll find many blogs solicit guest posts and publish guidelines for submitting your ideas or work.

Often, when your guest posts are hits, editors may like the idea of having you become a regular contributor, or even allow you to syndicate previously published content on their website.

12. Create infographics

As Neil Patel notes:

“Infographics are one of the most compelling pieces of content you can create.”

How right he is.

Infographics are great branding tools for many reasons.

Great infographics will:

  • Attract readers
  • Get shared like crazy
  • Get republished on other websites and blog to help build your brand
  • Open doors for guest blogging opportunities

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

13. Become a social media marketer

Of course, simply publishing content is not enough. You need to promote it.

Therefore it’s essential to create and maintain a strong presence on social media. You can organically reach your ideal customers with valuable content, and, as mentioned earlier, buy social media ads to promote your strongest posts.

Stay on top of the social media networks you choose to use and follow through daily. SaaS companies that gain little or no value in social media often neglect or abandon their profiles.

Listen to what’s said about your brand and platform. Any mentions of your company – good or bad – call for a response.

Resist the urge to constantly pitch your wares on social. Follow your customers and invite them to converse, exchange ideas, and share. Show them you care about them as people.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

14. Invite customers to interact

Interactive content: it’s big and getting bigger.

Why? It’s a win-win.

  • Prospects may learn, win, and have fun and share.
  • SaaS marketers draw prospects closer to their brand and can capture meaningful data about them.

Interactive content also helps your brand by inspiring user-generated content, which can be used in a variety of ways. 

ShortStack provides a platform that makes it easy to create interactive content including:

  • Contests
  • Giveaways
  • Quizzes
  • Assessments

These are just a few examples. Calculators or any type of online tool are powerful too. I cover nine types of interactive content in this post.

15. Optimize for conversion

Create conversion points all across your website.

  • In your home page header, or somewhere near the top of the page, you can include opt-in forms and present calls-to-action for a free trial, demonstration, video, and more.
  • Your website’s footer can feature a contact form, email opt-in, and additional offers.
  • Your blog should feature conversion-focused items in sidebars, at the conclusion of posts and/or in relevant links.
  • Landing pages, as we covered earlier, should be designed to feature specific offers to meet the needs of specific visitors.
  • Present opt-in forms for relevant offers via pop-ups, slide-ins or even “welcome mat” style pages and exit intent offers.

Get started by using Google Analytics to identify pages and posts that get the most traffic and make sure there are strong calls to action on them.

Keep in mind, the key to conversion rate optimization (CRO) is providing clear and contextually relevant next steps for visitors to take. It’s also important to test and optimize your messaging, calls-to-action, and design.

16. Offer live chat

Why not try to engage visitors and answer their questions the moment they arrive on your website?

You can do this by integrating a live chat feature – no need to be pushy, simply make the feature available, make an attempt to start a conversation, and, of course, enable visitors to instantly close the chat if they want.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

17. Offer live Q&As

Consider offering video chats with in-house experts or industry experts at regular intervals.

The video conference service Zoom – which I’m a big fan of – makes it easy to conduct live Q&As.

18. Stand up and speak

Clearly, public speaking isn’t for everyone, however having one or more experts from within your company speaking at industry conferences, MeetUps, or local events is a major opportunity to position your company as a leader in its field.

If the CEO or CMO of your company doesn’t love the idea of taking the podium, you might find someone in your company – or affiliated with it – to become a brand ambassador.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

19. Publish a book

The self-publishing revolution is in full gear – you may want to join it.

Publishing a book may be the ultimate way to establish yourself as a leader and expert industry resource. If finding the time to write a 200-page book sounds crazy impossible, consider some approaches to make it a more manageable task:

  • Create a series of blog posts that will be “bound” together as a book.
  • Dictate your thoughts into a recorder and work with a professional editor.
  • Hire a ghostwriter.
  • Collaborate with other industry leaders to “crowd source” a book.
  • Write a booklet or shorter book, which can be a quick read.

20. Host webinars

 Webinars will generate new leads and nurture existing ones.

Your use of webinars will help you:

  • Qualify leads,
  • Teach valuable lessons relevant to your platform,
  • Showcase success stories,
  • Survey and poll participants.
  • Answer questions.
  • Make offers.
  • Lower sales costs.

The speaker or speaking panel for your webinars might simply be appropriate experts within your company, however you should consider featuring guest presenters that can offer valuable lessons.

21. Target review sites

70% of Americans say they read product reviews before making a purchase, according to a Google report. The purchase of SaaS platforms is no exception.

Early in the process, software buyers are bound to conduct due diligence on review sites that collate and review SaaS offerings. Make sure to target software review sites such as Capterra and G2Crowd. Send the editorial team all the information they need and encourage customers to review and rate your service.

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy: 27 Smart Marketing Tools and Tactics | Social Media Today

“G2 Crowd has quickly become a staple for both our marketing and sales programs. The marketing department is able to leverage G2 Crowd as a key component in their word-of-mouth branding and content marketing efforts for driving leads, and the sales department is able to use G2 Crowd to educate buyers.”

~ Heath MacArthur, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Certify

22. Deliver amazing service and support

SaaS is an abbreviation for “Software as a Service”. Note the fourth word.

Your SaaS platform may or may not win every feature shootout or close more deals based on price. But you can – and should – win customers over by delivering the best service and support in your niche.

  • Make it easy to get one-on-one help via phone.
  • Arm your Twitter account for quick response support.
  • Answer email support inquiries fast.
  • Create the best help section or user forum in your field.
  • Create helpful content continuously.

Your customers are not only going to appreciate the support they get; they’ll talk about it. They’ll also stick around, renew, and buy more. A Zendesk survey claims 62% of B2B customers bought more after experiencing good customer service.

“The principles of good customer service don’t really change in social. Make it as easy and pleasant for your customers to do business with you and give them a reason to be so happy that they’ll tell their friends about you. What changes most is speed. Compared to email, where most customer are happy to wait up to 24 hours for a response, 32% of social users expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect a response within an hour. So if you’re going to invest in social customer service—and the research suggests that you probably should—understand that your customers expect you to be quick.”

~ Len Markidan, head of marketing, Groove

23. Automate and nurture leads

When your website begins to generate leads, your next task is to move them “down the funnel.”

Marketing automation makes the process more efficient and effective. Your marketing automation platform will help you learn more about your leads and how they interact with your business.

Using automation for lead nurturing will help you create a lead scoring system and increase the rate at which you convert prospects to customers.

You’ll want to setup workflows for:

  • Welcoming new prospects
  • Welcoming new customers (user onboarding, getting started tips, etc.)
  • Recognizing milestones
  • Offering upsells and announcing special offers
  • Offering premium content
  • Encouraging renewals
  • Satisfaction surveys
  • Addressing expired trials and dormant accounts

24. Get serious about sales enablement

A modern, and important, B2B SaaS marketing strategy goes by the clunky name of ‘sales enablement’.

Sales enablement is marketers supporting salespeople with the content, tools, technology, training, and analytics they need to build relationships and win business.

“The glue between sales and marketing, sales enablement helps measure the effectiveness of content assets, messaging, and collateral that’s sent to buyers,” writes social selling expert Jamie Shanks of SalesforLife. “There’s a significant uplift with organizations that have solidified this alignment.”

Jamie examines how best-in-class sales enablement teams operate, and shares Aberdeen Group research that finds companies with a sales enablement content strategy in place excelled at creating a reliable pipeline with higher revenues.

The research found best-in-class sales-enabled companies:

  • Outperformed the competition, on average, generating twice as much total company revenue
  • Earned twice the average deal size
  • Massively outperform their competitors in lead conversion

25. Get your marketing stack together

I don’t want to extend this marathon post with a long list of marketing technology solutions. Suffice to say, it’s critical to get your core marketing technology solutions together, including, at a minimum:

  • Content management system (CMS)
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Marketing automation
  • Website analytics
  • Social media management

26. Invest in marketing

According to research from Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce, high performers are increasing digital marketing spend 70% and budgets will double in all areas within three years.

Executives have to “buy in,” figuratively and literally. I don’t have a precise formula to force on you, but Matthew has all kinds of great ideas. Be sure to check out slide #26 to see the range of investments it takes to (1) maintain branding, (2) fall within the average range, or (3) achieve fast growth

27. Measure, measure and measure some more

You must be committed to a perpetual measure and refine process. The faster you’re able to discover what does and doesn’t work, the faster you’ll grow your business.

Matthew Buckley of New Breed, puts it nicely in 3 Keys to a Data-Driven Marketing Strategy. 

He proposes to follow the scientific method:

  1. Start with the data.
  2. Ask a question of what information you have available to you.
  3. Construct a hypothesis.
  4. Test with an experiment.
  5. Confirm the test/procedure worked as planned.
  6. Analyze the data and draw conclusions.
  7. Present results and determine the next steps.

Paul Roetzer, of PR 20/20, says it elegantly…

“The most successful content marketers turn data into intelligence, intelligence into action, and action into measurable outcomes.”

Source: Social Media Today (Original