Best Business Insurance

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Every business needs insurance. Depending on your business type and industry, some of you will need more protection than others. 

Without insurance, you could be liable for potentially hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

What happens if one of your vehicles is involved in an accident? How will you pay for the damages of a fire or flood in your office? What if an employee or customer slips and falls on your property? 

You need to have insurance, or you’ll be paying these costs out of pocket.

But finding the best business insurance package for your organization can be tricky. On the one hand, you want to make sure that you’re covered, but on the other, you don’t want to overpay on premiums. 

The best way to start your search is by choosing a reputable business insurance provider—I’ve narrowed down the top business insurance companies in this guide. 

The Top 6 Options For Business Insurance

  1. Chubb
  2. CNA
  3. Hiscox
  4. Insureon
  5. Progressive
  6. The Hartford

How to Choose the Best Business Insurance For You

There is no “one-size-fits-all” plan for business insurance. Every organization is unique, so you’ll need custom protection based on your needs. Certain insurance providers are definitely better for specific types of insurance, as well as other factors. 

As you’re browsing and getting quotes from different providers, make sure you keep the following considerations in mind:

Industry

Some insurance providers have more experience covering businesses within certain industries. 

For example, a restaurant would have very different insurance needs from a construction company. A dental practice won’t have the same needs as an ecommerce website. You get the idea. 

So as you’re evaluating a potential provider, take a look at their existing clients and industries served. Do they have experience covering businesses in your industry? If not, look elsewhere.

Customer Service

If you have to submit a claim, you want to make sure that your insurance provider has your back. When you pick up the phone, will someone answer?

Any delay in the claims process will cost your business money. Let’s say there is a flood at your retail storefront. If your insurance company drags their feet, you might not be able to re-open. How soon will someone come to evaluate the property? How quickly can they approve a contractor to repair the damages?

Choose an insurance company that will go the extra mile to serve your business in times when you need their help the most—that’s what you’re paying them for.

Reputation of Provider

There are literally thousands of insurance companies in the United States. Some are brand new, some have been around since the inception of insurance, and many fall somewhere in between.

In most cases, I prefer to go with an older insurance company with a long-standing reputation. These providers have seen it all, and they’ve survived the test of time. You run some risk if you go with a newer company. Let’s say you have some obscure or rare situation with a claim. It could be a first for a new company, and they might not know how to handle it. 

Coverage Options

We’ll talk about the different types of business insurance in greater detail shortly. But in a perfect world, you’d like to get all of your business insurance coverage under one roof. 

Getting property insurance from one provider, vehicle insurance from another, and general liability from a third company is just too confusing. So look for an insurance company that has a wide array of coverage options that accommodate your needs. 

Premiums

Getting proper coverage is obviously important, but how much is this going to cost you?

If you choose the cheapest plan you can find, you’ll probably be exposed to some more out of pocket costs. But if you choose the most expensive plan on the market, do you actually need all of that coverage?

Look for a balance between these two extremes. When it comes to insurance, I typically like to be a bit more conservative. I’d rather overpay a little bit than risk not being fully covered. But this all depends on your individual risk tolerance. 

The Different Types of Business Insurance

There are dozens of different business insurance types. But for the purposes of this guide, I’m going to focus on the ones that are the most common and applicable to the masses. 

General Liability Insurance

General liability coverage protects you from risks like bodily injuries and property damage. This typically includes medical payments if someone is hurt on your company’s property. General liability can also protect you from lawsuits related to things like libel, slander, privacy violations, copyright infringement, wrongful evictions, and more. 

Most businesses will need some type of general liability coverage.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability and general liability are often confused with each other, although the two are not one in the same.

Professional liability insurance is also referred to as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. This protects businesses sued by clients claiming damages for professional services that you provide. Things like an accountant making a mistake on a tax return or a web developer making mistakes on a site that they manage would be examples where professional liability insurance is necessary. 

BOP Insurance

Business owners insurance (better known as BOP) is a policy that combines liability and property into one package. It’s very common for small and mid-sized business owners across a wide range of industries. Most contractors will carry some form of BOP insurance as well.

BOP packages do not cover your employees—it’s specific to business owners.  

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Once you hire your first employee, workers’ compensation should be immediately added to your business insurance policy. Most states require workers’ comp insurance by law. 

The coverage pays for things like medical expenses and disability for employees who were injured on the job. This could include minor slip and fall injuries to long-term conditions (like carpal tunnel) or even death.

Business Interruption Insurance

This type of insurance will protect your company if your operations are interrupted during some type of disaster or catastrophic event. Organizations with physical locations that could lose income due to these types of interruptions can benefit from a business interruption policy.

Your business can be compensated for lost income in these types of scenarios. 

Vehicle Insurance

This type of business insurance policy is pretty-self explanatory. Just like you need insurance for your personal vehicle, you’ll need to cover any vehicles used for business purposes. If an accident occurs with one of your vehicles (whether you’re driving or not), you’ll need this type of coverage. 

Property Insurance

Whether you own or lease physical space, you need to have property insurance. Again, it’s similar to the type of insurance you’d have to protect your home or apartment. 

This type of insurance will protect your business from events like fires or theft. Your equipment, inventory, furniture, etc. should all be covered in this policy. However, it’s worth noting that some types of natural disasters, like earthquakes, aren’t always covered in a standard property insurance policy. You might have to pay extra for this type of coverage, depending on your area and the insurance provider. 

Product Liability Insurance

If your company manufactures products that are sold to the general public, you must have product liability insurance. This coverage will protect your company from lawsuits related to damages caused by your products. 

For example, if someone is injured using one of your products, they could sue your company directly for their medical expenses. That’s when product liability insurance would kick in. 

#1 – Chubb Review — Most Versatile Business Insurance Packages

Chubb is one of the most reputable business insurance providers on the market today. They are known for exceptional customer service.

This provider has a wide range of plans for small businesses, commercial insurance, industry-specific policies, and more. 

Compared to other insurance providers on the market, Chubb has one of the most extensive coverage portfolios that you can find. Some examples of these policy categories include:

  • Accident and health
  • General liability
  • Cyber insurance
  • Environmental packages (premises pollution liability and contractor pollution liability)
  • International insurance packages
  • Management liability
  • Inland and ocean marine 
  • Product recall liability
  • Professional liability
  • Workers’ compensation

Chubb has over 200 years of experience in the business insurance space. Just be aware that their premiums tend to be a bit higher than other options—but you’re paying for the best.  

#2 – CNA Review — The Best Custom Business Insurance Plans

CNA is another reputable provider in the business insurance world. They have 120+ years of expertise in this field. 

With CNA, you’ll benefit from a custom insurance package to help manage your risks and liabilities.

There are certain industries that CNA has the most experience working with; these include construction, education, manufacturing, healthcare, real estate, wholesale, technology, professional services, finance, and more.

Here’s a quick glance at some of the types of business insurance offered by CNA:

  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Professional liability insurance (errors and omissions)
  • Property insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Business interruption insurance
  • General liability insurance
  • Equipment breakdown insurance

I like CNA because you can pick and choose which types of coverage you need, and get them bundled into a single policy that’s custom fit to your needs. 

#3 – Hiscox Review — Best For Small Business Insurance

Hiscox is my top recommendation for small business owners. Their policies are affordable, while still providing you with enough coverage to protect your organization from a wide range of potential scenarios.

When I say that Hiscox is great for small businesses, I mean ALL small businesses. They’re currently providing protection to organizations in 180+ different industries. 

The list of coverage types offered by Hiscox isn’t quite as extensive as some of the other options on the market today. But they still have more than enough options to accommodate the needs of most businesses.

  • General liability insurance for small business
  • Professional liability (E&O) insurance for small business
  • Business owners policy (BOP) for small business
  • Short-term liability insurance for small business
  • Cyber insurance for small business
  • Workers’ comp for small business
  • Commercial auto insurance for small business
  • Umbrella insurance for small business
  • Employment practices liability insurance for small business

Hiscox is an established name in the business insurance world. They’ve been around since 1901 and insure 300,000+ small businesses across the US.

#4 – Insureon Review — Best Business Insurance Marketplace

Technically speaking, Insureon isn’t actually an insurance provider; it’s an online marketplace for business insurance.

But this robust platform definitely deserves a spot on my list. Insureon is super easy to use, and it’s the best way to compare coverage options from different providers in a single place.

If you’re looking to get the best possible rate, I strongly recommend Insureon. Otherwise, you’d have to get quotes from different providers individually, which is much more of a hassle.

Insureon allows you to compare free quotes from some of the top-rated and well-known business insurance providers on the market today (including some of the options on our list).

  • Travelers
  • Chubb
  • Hiscox
  • Hannover
  • The Hartford
  • Liberty Mutual
  • AmTrust Financial

The list goes on and on. You can browse policies for professional liability insurance, cyber liability insurance, BOP policies, general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and more.

Insureon is typically geared toward smaller businesses. But it’s used across a wide range of different industries. 

#5 – Progressive Review — The Best For Commercial Auto Insurance

Progressive is an industry leader in the commercial auto coverage space. 

With 45+ years of experience, they aren’t quite as old as some other players in the industry. However, Progressive is definitely a well-established and trustworthy provider for commercial auto policies.

Here’s a list of some common types of business vehicles insured by Progressive:

  • Buses
  • Limousines
  • Trucks
  • Vans
  • Landscaping vehicles
  • Tow trucks
  • Box trucks
  • Snow plows
  • Sports utility vehicles (for hauling cargo and transporting products)
  • Pickup trucks
  • Trailers

It’s worth noting that there are certain types of vehicles that Progressive will NOT insure. This includes emergency vehicles (like fire trucks and ambulances), golf carts, double-decker buses, monster trucks, race cars, wheelchair buses, and a few others. 

In addition to the commercial policies, Progressive also has coverage for general liability, BOP, professional liability, workers’ comp, and more. 

#6 – The Hartford Review — The Best For Workers’ Comp

For those of you who don’t know, Hartford, Connecticut is known as the “insurance capital of the world.” So it’s no surprise to see The Hartford (named for its headquarters’ namesake) on our list.

This company was founded more than two centuries ago, back in 1810. To say they are a well-established name in the business insurance industry would be a drastic understatement. 

The Hartford has an extensive list of product offerings for business insurance. Some of their most popular policies include:

  • Business owners’ policy (BOP) insurance
  • General liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Business income insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Commercial flood insurance
  • Home-based business insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Multinational business insurance

Overall, the workers’ comp coverages provided by The Hartford are second to none. If you want to give your employees the very best protection, look no further than The Hartford. 

Summary

In a market saturated with business insurance options, there are really only six choices that I’d consider. 

If you choose one of the names reviewed above, you can rest easy knowing that your business is being protected from a well-established and reputable provider. 

Be sure to use the methodology I described earlier as you’re shopping around and evaluating different options. That’s the only way to get the best possible business insurance policy for your company. 

The post Best Business Insurance appeared first on Neil Patel.


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The 6 Best Digital Strategy Companies of 2020

According to Smart Insights, 49 percent of organizations don’t have a clearly defined digital strategy. 

Choosing the right digital strategy for your business is essential. Experience helps you sift through what to do differently, what not to do, and where to focus your energy. Having a fresh perspective from an outside eye can make all the difference. What’s more important is choosing a company that can execute that strategy. 

When you need to choose the best digital strategy company, you may be wondering where to start. Here’s a list of our picks for the best digital strategy companies in the world.

1. Neil Patel Digital — Best For Content Marketing & Digital Strategy

I’ve written more than 4,294 blog posts in 10 years. I’ve created millions of words and I’ve used content marketing to build three companies of my own. I used content marketing to generate 195,013 visitors a month and I’ve done the same things for my fortune 500 clients. When it comes to digital strategy and content marketing I’ve shown it can work. 

I do the same thing for clients with my agency, NP Digital. We help our clients develop a digital strategy that maximizes the results they achieve with their content marketing, advertising, and SEO campaigns. 

The focus with our digital strategy is revenue. Everything we do is focused on producing real results for businesses whether that’s more traffic, leads, or revenue. 

NP Digital’s client list includes:

  • Facebook
  • Viacom
  • Google
  • GM
  • eBay
  • NBC
  • Thomson Reuters foundation
  • TechCrunch
  • Cheezburger
  • American Greetings

2. REQ – Best for Enterprise Business Strategy

REQ is a Washington DC based, award-winning agency with enterprise-level experience. They’re industry veterans with some of the best talent in the business. 

Projects start at $50,000. They offer a comprehensive suite of solutions for your marketing and digital strategy needs. Including: 

  • Advertising & Media
  • Digital Advocacy
  • Brand Strategy
  • Reputation Management
  • Public Relations
  • Data & Analytics

They’ve been named to both the Inc.500 and Deloitte Fast 500 lists – they’re one of the fastest growing companies in America. They have offices in Washington, DC, New York, Boston, San Diego, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.

REQ’s client list includes:

  • eBay
  • Amazon
  • StubHub
  • Sweet Green
  • Mastercard
  • Empire State Building
  • Constellation Energy

3. Usman Group – Best for Mid-market Business Strategy

With 80% of its clients in mid-market range, earning between 10M – 1B, the Usman Group specializes in digital strategy and market research. They provide analysis, strategy, execution, and measurement to help clients deploy successful campaigns.   

They apply the four key principles of design thinking, learn from people, identify patterns, make solutions tangible, iterate continuously, in all of their client engagements.

Projects start at $10,000. You get a hand-picked team that will provide evidence-based, practical strategy and recommendations.

Usman Group’s client list includes:

  • Red Prairie
  • University of Chicago
  • National Safety Council
  • Chicago Sun Times
  • Priceline
  • Baird

4. DeSantis Breindel – Best for Branding Strategy

DeSantis Breindel is a New York City based digital strategy company that specializes in end-to-end branding strategy. They help businesses with brand differentiation, customer experience, merger & acquisition branding, brand valuation, brand launch, and employee engagement.

Projects start at $75,000. They offer thorough research and measurement for your digital branding, brand identity and strategy, content marketing, customer experience design, and film production services.

DeSantis Breindel’s client list includes:

  • Verifone
  • Lathrop Gage
  • OneSpan
  • SailPoint
  • Lincoln International
  • Lewis Roca

5. Mabbly – Best for Data Analysis, Channel Strategy

Mabbly is a Chicago based strategic design agency that relies on digital strategy, market research, and data analytics. They focus on turning complex problems into growth opportunities. Supporting human connection with digital experiences, via sophisticated design and data-backed digital strategy.

Mabbly’s team of digital and brand strategists work together to curate a channel strategy that combines the message along with the medium that’s right for your business opportunity. Projects start at $25,000. 

Mabbly’s client list includes:

  • Edelman
  • Microsoft
  • Berkshire Group
  • Griffith Foods
  • 21st Century Fox
  • Limitless Coffee & Tea
  • ShopRunner

6. Ironpaper – Best for Small Business 

Ironpaper bills itself as a B2B growth agency. Their conversion growth strategy is focused on gaining traction with growth up to 1 percent. The growth phase is set at 1 to 3 percent, with anything above 3 percent listed as scaling. 

What’s interesting about Ironpaper is the fact that they discuss the elephant in the room. 

“Oftentimes, enterprises try to answer the question, ‘What is a good conversion rate?’’ without any context. What is a good conversion rate? When establishing conversion rates, context is everything.

A lack of context can actually do harm to a marketing team, because it causes teams to make the wrong assumptions.”

This tells you that Ironpaper isn’t focused on vanity metrics or conversion manipulation. They know the difference between high and low value conversions. Their projects start at $10,000 and are focused on small businesses.

Iron Paper’s client list includes:

  • Nokia
  • Echo226
  • Telmar
  • Mformation
  • Arago

3 Characteristics That Make a Great Digital Strategy Company

Your digital strategy company should be able to provide you with specifics ahead of time. While many companies are able to provide you with amazing strategies, many are unwilling to demonstrate this ahead of time. 

1. Your agency asks the right questions

Creating an exceptional digital strategy begins with your agency asking the right questions. These questions determine what will be answered and where your answers will go. Here’s a small sample of the questions your agency should be asking. 

  • How is our business currently performing? 
  • Which parts of your business are underperforming?
  • What’s our goal for each area of our business? 
  • What do customers expect from our product and our business?
  • Which marketing channels are our customers active on?
  • Which marketing channels should we use to accomplish our goals?
  • Which metrics and KPIs will we use to evaluate performance?
  • How should we promote our products and services in the market to achieve our goals? 

These questions inform your digital strategy. 

  1. Why are we in business?
  2. Where are we right now?
  3. Where do we want to go? 
  4. How will we get there?

Your digital strategy framework should answer four high-level questions. Good digital marketing agencies should be asking these questions at the beginning of the engagement process. 

2. Your agency is willing to share strategy

The agency you choose should be willing to share sample strategies with you. This doesn’t mean that you should expect your agency to provide the entire strategy upfront, for free. Spec work isn’t ideal and that’s not what you’re looking for.

You’re looking for one example. 

They can share this with you over the phone, in your proposal or quote, or in a sample report. You’re looking for them to share a small snippet, a piece of their proposed digital strategy. This is important for several reasons. With sample data you can: 

  • Evaluate your agency’s competence 
  • Use sample data to evaluate potential performance
  • Assess their digital strategy or marketing priorities
  • Outline knowledge gaps and weak points in their process

You’re not asking for a comprehensive strategy document, you’re simply asking your agency to pick one part of your business and create a strategy around that; ask your agency a question (e.g., how would you increase sales for one of my products?). 

3. Your agency can implement Strategy

Venture Capitalist Arthur Rock, believes strategy is important, but not as important as people who can execute that strategy

“Over the past 30 years, I estimate that I’ve looked at an average of one business plan per day, or about 300 a year, in addition to the large numbers of phone calls and business plans that simply are not appropriate. Of the 300 likely plans, I may invest in only one or two a year; and even among those carefully chosen few, I’d say that a good half fail to perform up to expectations. 

The problem with those companies (and with the ventures I choose not to take part in) is rarely one of strategy. Good ideas and good products are a dime a dozen. Good execution and good management in a word, good people are rare.”

A great strategy isn’t enough. You need amazing people who can implement your digital strategy and produce the results you need to grow. 

Your agency should have two things: 

  1. A team that can implement your digital strategy
  2. A proven track record showing that they’ve achieved this consistently in the past

If they can provide you with both or they’re willing to provide you with a trial period where you’re able to test their ability to execute your digital strategy, then it may be a good fit. 

What To Expect From a Great Digital Strategy Company

Your agency should provide you with detailed specifics for each of these points. If you have more questions or concerns, you’ll want to bring those up with your agency. 

  • A clear track record: Your agency should be able to show you samples, references, case studies, and reviews showing that they’ve achieved results for other clients.
  • Clear milestones: You’re looking for clear milestones, timelines, and deliverables that show you’re able to create and implement a plan successfully. Your agency should be able to provide you with a timeline, explaining how long everything will take to implement, and when they anticipate you’ll begin seeing results.
  • Agency procedures: You’ll want to see how your agency plans on approaching your campaign or project. They should be able to break down the approach that goes into their strategy document; this document should clarify how they’ll approach your campaign, what you should expect, what their goals are and more.

The digital strategy company you choose should provide you with the options you need to implement the plan successfully.  

Conclusion

Choosing the right digital strategy for your business is essential. You need a plan to guide you, outlining where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. Having a fresh perspective from an outside eye can mean the difference between success and failure. 

Remember, executing your digital strategy plan is even more important than simply having a plan.  Use this pool to choose a digital strategy company that will partner with you to achieve your business goals.

The post The 6 Best Digital Strategy Companies of 2020 appeared first on Neil Patel.


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How to Find Any Business Email Address

find any email address

The internet has made communication between businesses more accessible than ever. Collaboration and outreach can often be done with the touch of a button.

But sometimes, finding the email address of someone you’d like to communicate with can be such a hassle.

Getting someone’s contact info doesn’t have to be a headache. Today, I’ll show you how to get anyone’s business email address and teach you how to follow up with them effectively.

All it takes is a simple tool.

Why Would You Need to Find Someone’s Email Address?

You probably know sending unsolicited spam is a terrible idea. So what reason would you have to go tracking down someone’s email address?

Perhaps you need to get in direct contact with someone hard to reach like a CEO, manager, or investor. Maybe you’re trying to recruit a specialist or subject matter expert for contract work. Or you’re trying to get the email of a website or blog owner as a part of a link reclamation strategy.

Some of the examples listed above are forms of email prospecting, the process of researching and connecting with potential leads. Usually, the goal is to get a sale. But you may be after some other benefit like a review, information, or a collaboration.

While people can use the tools we discuss in this article for nefarious purposes, like sending unwanted spam, there are very legitimate reasons to track down someone’s email address.

Rather than waiting around for people to visit your site and reach out, you’re taking matters into your own hands. When done well, it can be one of the best ways to engage with leads and collaborators.

Cold outreach is a contentious subject, but it can be quite useful if you know what you’re doing. The problem is, most marketers are doing it wrong.

Don’t want to be one of them? Keep reading.

How Not to Use Email Search

While there are legitimate reasons to use email search, you’ll want to tread carefully to ensure you’re not sending spam.

What’s the big deal? Well, it could impact your email deliverability. If your domain gets reported frequently, even your legitimate messages will go straight to your target’s spam folder.

And in some countries, it’s downright illegal. In the US, due to the CAN-SPAM Act, it could get your business fined up to $43,280 for each spam email. That’s enough to put almost any small business into bankruptcy.

On top of these consequences, being spammy is going to get your messages ignored. It doesn’t work.

Cold emails and spam are very different things. Spam is an “unsolicited bulk email.” Cold outreach is identified by its personalization and relationship building.

Of course, it’s very easy to cross this line, so make sure you’re not breaking the CAN-SPAM Act.

  • If your message includes simple correspondence rather than an advertisement, only the following applies: Don’t use deceptive subject lines or To/From headers.
  • If it is an ad, identify it as such and include a way to opt-out of future emails.
  • Remove anyone who opts out from any mailing lists within ten days. (Better yet, don’t add people to your mailing lists without their permission.)
  • Include a physical address where you can be contacted.

This step also builds trust with users as they know the reason behind your email and how they can contact you to not receive more email if needed.

Don’t Just Advertise

It’s better to use email search to make meaningful connections with other businesses. Don’t use it solely to advertise, as it could turn your the people you’re trying to contact away.

If you’re sending the same carbon copy email to dozens of people, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s not the vest idea to buy email lists. While it may not be technically illegal, doing so may violate CAN-SPAM. It’s an easy way to get your domain blacklisted.

No one likes receiving unsolicited advertisements. All it does is ruin your reputation for a nominal clickthrough rate.

Instead of sending annoying spam and ensuring potential leads ignore you, let’s learn how to do it right.

Finding Your Target’s Email Address

First step: getting your prospect’s email.

How are we going to do that? It’s simple: with an email finder. When you can’t locate someone’s contact info, these tools are a lifesaver.

All you have to do is input someone’s name or website URL, and you instantly get their email. Sometimes these are scraped from the web. Other times, they are a guess based on other employees’ emails.

The Best Email Finders

It’s important to choose a reliable service, as high bounce rate affects your deliverability. One I recommend is Hunter because it’s easy to use and you get fifty free searches per month.

Hunter’s domain search product gives you access to the emails behind a website, while the Email Finder product gets you any person’s contact info. Let’s try it.

Visit the Email Finder page and type in the name of your prospect and their company’s domain. The results will pop up immediately.

hunter email finder

One cool thing you’ll notice is Hunter cites its sources. You can see where the suggestion came from and check yourself to ensure the information is correct.

It’s good to try out a range of email finders, as they may have different contact info. So if Hunter isn’t helping, FindThatLead and VoilaNorbert are two other services worth trying.

FindThatLead is made for B2B companies. With this tool, you can find leads, search by audience segment, or get someone’s email through social media.

findthatlead email finder

FindThatLead’s Email Sender is a great extra feature. It handles email automation for you and helps you build a campaign targeting the leads you gather.

VoilaNorbert brings a more sophisticated touch to email search. It’s not just a simple tool you plug a domain into; it’s a full service with bulk actions, integrations, and an API.

It runs primarily on a subscription model, but you can also buy one-use credits. Signing up gets you fifty leads for free.

Hunter is perfect if you need a simple email finder. FindThatLead is great for B2B businesses, and VoilaNorbert offers you a full suite of products that are worth the price tag.

Other Ways to Get a Prospect’s Email Address

Before you spend money on a tool you may not need, you might want to consider other ways of obtaining a prospect’s email.

First up: Google your prospect’s name and check if they have a personal website. Chances are, you can find their email on their site’s “About” page, or at least a “Contact” form. If you’re after someone who’s part of a company, you could also try using their business’ contact form on their site and ask to get connected to them.

Check their social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. If you’re lucky, their email will be right there in their bio.

You can also try Twitter Advanced Search.

Add your prospect’s Twitter name under “Accounts,” then try words like “contact,” “reach,” “email,” and “dot.”

Try ticking “Only show replies.” You’ll skip the irrelevant posts and get straight to previous contact requests.

Let’s see it in action with my Twitter profile.

find email twitter advanced search

There’s my email. Easy as that.

Reaching Out and Getting a Response

Cold emailing can make establishing the new relationship more difficult. Because it’s unsolicited, you’ll need to clearly state why you’re emailing them right off the bat.

You don’t want to blow it before you’ve even started, so let’s make sure you’re doing it right.

Use Templates as Inspiration

Below I provide some examples and templates you can use for your email sending. You can find plenty of others online, too.

But I don’t recommend copying and pasting your email to multiple prospects. People will see right through you if your emails aren’t personalized.

Templates are a good way to get an idea of what you should be doing. But sending impersonal, carbon copy emails to dozens of people usually won’t get many responses, as most email readers know how to spot something that isn’t personalized to them.

Use a template as a base, then build on it for your business’ needs.

Personalize Your Cold Outreach Email

Personalizing your emails is the best way to increase engagement. And it’s especially important when conducting cold outreach.

How do you personalize your email? Do your research! Subscribe to your prospect’s newsletter, read their articles, skim their books, etc. Find a conversation starter and something to leverage to get their attention.

Here’s an example:

Hey {name},

I just read your book {book title}, and it was insightful. {Mention something specific you liked about it.}

I run a {industry} business, and I still have some questions. Mind if I send them your way?

Thanks,

{your name}

You can also just include the questions in the email.

Another way to personalize your cold email is by bringing up a clear pain point you know your target is experiencing. Example:

Hi,

I was browsing your website, and I noticed a few typos. {Link to page and description of the errors.}

I work for {company}. We provide affordable editing services for bloggers like you. Typos in your work can throw off readers, so we’d like to help you patch those up. Our services page is here if you’re interested {link}.

Regards,

{your name}

Here we present an exact problem and point out where your prospect is experiencing it, then offer a solution. If you have any statistics to prove your service works, throw those in as well.

Email Image Best Practices

As you may know, including images in email marketing is a must, but what about professional B2B emails?

People have come up with plenty of creative ways to use images in cold outreach campaigns. The right image could make your pitch more memorable.

For correspondence and conversation-starters, simple is likely the best way to go.

Presentation is important, but your offer should stand on its own.

That said, if being simple isn’t working for you, give images a try. It could be a good way to increase engagement.

Make a Connection

Cold outreach is all well and good, but one of the best things you can do is to warm those emails up a little bit. You can do that by establishing a connection beforehand.

One way to warm up for an email campaign is to contact your target via their social media accounts. Shooting them a simple direct message through Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. might make them more receptive to your offer.

Unfortunately, sometimes you can do hours of research, write the perfect personalized email, and still get ignored.

But what if you strike up a dialogue and get to know your prospect first? Or even reach out and ask for their email directly rather than going around them to find it?

That’s a much better way of getting results.

Conclusion

Email finders are a vital part of an outreach strategy, but finding someone’s email is only half the battle.

You need to put work in, do your research, write a personalized email, and make it creative, so it doesn’t get sent to the trash.

Your goal isn’t just to advertise your services. It’s to create a real relationship that’s mutually beneficial to both parties.

Use email finders for good intentions, like making connections, reaching out, and establishing working relationships. Do not use it for evil, like spamming and sending mindless sales emails.

What are your cold outreach strategies that have gotten the best results?

The post How to Find Any Business Email Address appeared first on Neil Patel.


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The Best VoIP Phone Services (In-Depth Review)

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

The best VoIP phone services create exceptional customer experiences. And exceptional customer experiences work wonders for your bottom line. 

Imagine this: a potential customer calls the sales number listed on your website. Six states away, a personal cell phone rings. Your sales person picks it up, answers a few questions, and closes the sale. 

Within a matter of seconds, that potential customer turns into a paying customer rather than being transferred from employee to employee, wasting their time and testing their patience. 

With the right VoIP service, you can streamline and automate the customer journey, resulting in more money for less work. Furthermore, these services are easy to set up, easy to use, and most of the leg work happens behind the scenes. 

But choosing the right service feels like a daunting task. With countless options out there, how do you decide which one’s right for you? 

If you’re not sure how to answer that question, you’re in the right place. In this article, I cover how to choose the right service for your needs, the different types of VoIP services, and my top recommendations. 

Let’s dive in!

The top 6 options for VoIP phone service:

  1. Ooma – best for small businesses
  2. Nextiva – best for remote teams
  3. RingCentral – best for fast-growth
  4. Grasshopper – best for mobile teams
  5. Verizon – best for large businesses
  6. 8×8 – most affordable VoIP service

How to choose the best VoIP phone services for you

With countless VoIP service providers to choose from, finding the perfect solution for your business isn’t always easy. To make things easier, I want to share the criteria I considered when making this list and some must-haves regardless of the company you choose. 

You can use these to help narrow things down as you go through the process. 

Deployment options

Some VoIP phone services work with the hardware you already have, while others require proper installation. In some cases, you may need to buy an adapter or something else to enable the system. 

But others are as simple as a mobile app you download on your phone. 

So, carefully consider the amount of time and the level of support you have when making a decision. The simpler the system, the easier it is, and the less support you need to get things up and running. 

The size of your business

Most VoIP phone service providers charge per user per month. 

And while some offer discounts if you have a large team, those prices can quickly add up and get expensive. 

So it’s essential to understand how many users you have and how to get the best deal with the features you need at a reasonable price point. 

Phone call capabilities

It’s important to consider the phone call capabilities you need because each provider offers different capabilities at different price points. 

Do you need automatic call rejection, call forwarding, or caller ID? What about voicemail, voicemail transcription, and hold music? 

You may also want to consider other capabilities like:

  • Call forwarding and routing
  • Automatic attendants
  • Phone number types
  • Extensions
  • Blocking and auto rejections
  • Voicemail to text
  • Call recording
  • Call history
  • Instant responding
  • Custom greetings

Make a list of everything you need so you can choose the right provider and the right plan. 

Other forms of communication

Most VoIP providers also offer other forms of communication like SMS messaging, document sharing, online faxing, and video conferencing. 

However, they may not all be available on basic plans. 

With that said, you may not need all of them, either. So, carefully consider the additional forms of communication you need your team to have. 

Reliability

Your internet, VoIP provider’s uptime, and power source affect the quality of your phone calls.

With reliable, high-speed internet, you probably won’t have any issues. But what happens if the power goes out? 

If you use your mobile device, you’re probably fine. 

But desk phones aren’t. However, some come with battery backups that may last up to a few hours. So, make sure this is an option if you rent or buy hardware from your VoIP service provider. 

Furthermore, some VoIP providers offer network monitoring that lets them switch to wireless backups if wired data links fail. And you should also expect nothing less than 99.99% uptime, as well. 

The different types of VoIP phone service 

Device-based

For this type of service, you need to buy an adapter from the service provider and connect it to an existing phone (or a phone they provide). 

Software-based

These services are desktop programs. Skype and Google Talk are two good examples. You have to install the program and connect to the internet to use them.

However, most providers offer cloud-hosted and software-based systems.

Cloud-hosted

Cloud-hosted VoIP, or “virtual private-branch-exchange” (PBX), services are available as well. The only hardware you need is a networking router or switch and the provider handles the rest

This includes mobile VoIP services, too. These mobile apps run on Android and Apple devices through cellular internet or a local Wi-Fi network.

All of the options on this list are a combination of cloud-hosted and software-based, with most offering both types of systems. 

#1 – Ooma Review — The best VoIP phone service for small businesses

If you’re a small business looking for a reliable, no-contract VoIP phone service, Ooma is a great choice. They provide everything you need (i.e. hardware, software, and know-how) so you can start using their services in as little as 15 minutes.

Everything is ready to go straight out of the box. And you can keep your existing phone number or swap it out for a new one — for free. 

Ooma offers 35 powerful features, including:

  • A mobile app
  • Virtual receptionist
  • SMS messaging
  • Call blocking 
  • Voicemail and caller ID
  • Unlimited calls in North America
  • One complimentary toll-free number
  • One direct-dial number per user

Furthermore, Ooma has an excellent customer service team ready to help you get up and running, navigate snags, and create a seamless experience for your customers. 

However, the service is missing more advanced features. But it’s incredibly affordable and accessible for small businesses with a tight budget. 

Plus, you don’t have to worry about complicated contracts. Ooma’s pricing is simple and straightforward with two business plans, including:

  • Ooma Office — $19.95 per user per month
  • Ooma Office Pro — $24.95 per user per month

Ooma Office is suitable for most users. But you can upgrade to the Pro plan if you need a desktop application, call recording, or higher usage limits. 

#2 – Nextiva Review — The best VoIP phone service for remote teams

Remote teams face unique challenges. And they need a VoIP provider equipped with the tools and features required to conquer those challenges.

Nextiva is “made for business owners, not IT wizards” and built with remote teams of all sizes in mind. They offer solutions for small businesses, midsize businesses, and large enterprise companies alike. 

Plus, their in-house customer service team is ready to help every step of the way. 

Nextiva includes a wide variety of VoIP features, including:

  • Android and iOS applications
  • Unlimited text messaging
  • Customizable hold music
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Unlimited calls in the US and Canada
  • Free local OR toll-free number
  • Video and audio meetings
  • Internet faxing

Furthermore, you can make and receive business phone calls straight from your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. This service completely replaces an in-office phone system, empowering your remote team to stay connected. 

Alternatively, you can use it in conjunction with your current phone system. So, it’s also a great fit for call centers and non-remote teams, as well. 

Nextiva offers simple and affordable pricing. Their plans include:

  1. Essential — $19.95 per user per month
  2. Professional — $20.95 per user per month
  3. Enterprise — $27.95 per line per month

Nextiva boasts an “ultra-high uptime of 99.999%,” with around-the-clock network monitoring and zero outages in 2019. With relatively reliable service, various essential features, and reasonable prices, their service is among the best.

#3 – RingCentral Review — The best VoIP phone service for fast-growth businesses

RingCentral is an excellent option for fast-growth businesses. They’re the world’s #1 business communications platform with plans and features for business communications as well as customer support. 

Plus, RingCentral offers discounts depending on the size of your team. So, as your team grows (regardless of how fast), your phone service affordably scales to match your needs. 

They promise 99.99% uptime, and they maintain countless global data centers. This means you get excellent coverage and phone quality wherever you are on the globe. 

Furthermore, installation and setup are a breeze, thanks to RingCentral’s step-by-step installation and intuitive admin panel. 

You can set up new users from the admin panel, monitor service quality, and view your analytics all in one centralized place. Plus, you can even access it on the go. 

Their services include features like:

  • Unlimited calls in the US and Canada
  • Voicemail to text
  • Team messaging
  • Document sharing
  • Unlimited text messaging
  • Unlimited faxing and conferencing
  • Call recording
  • Developer platform
  • Custom integrations

RingCentral’s most affordable plan starts at $19.99 per user per month, making them a top contender for affordability. 

Their paid plans include:

  1. Essentials — $19.99 per user per month
  2. Standard — $24.99 per user per month
  3. Premium — $34.99 per user per month
  4. Ultimate — $49.99 per user per month

While their basic plans are suitable for smaller teams, their Premium and Ultimate plans allow teams to create custom-fit solutions, regardless of how fast they grow. 

#4 – Grasshopper Review — The best VoIP phone service for mobile teams

If your team works in the field, works from home, or works from anywhere in the world, Grasshopper is a smart choice. 

It’s a mobile (or desktop) app that adds a business line and an integrated phone system to your employee’s phones. So, they don’t need to carry around two phones or be present in the office to message customers and accept business calls. 

Plus, you can access and manage your entire phone system with mobile and desktop apps anywhere with an internet connection. 

The best part is that Grasshopper integrates seamlessly with the phones you already have. 

There’s no need to buy any fancy equipment or go through the hassle of messy and time-consuming installations. It’s as easy as picking a number and a plan, downloading the app, and configuring your settings. 

Plus, with Grasshopper, you get access to intuitive, yet powerful, features like:

  • Business text messaging
  • Call forwarding
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Phone extensions
  • Online faxing
  • Custom greetings
  • Instant responses
  • Ruby Receptionist

And while Grasshopper doesn’t automatically enable VoIP calling, you can quickly turn it on for free using the mobile app if you have poor cell service or prefer internet calling instead. 

Their paid plans include:

  1. Solo — $26/mo for one number and three extensions
  2. Partner — $44/mo for three numbers and six extensions
  3. Small Business — $80/mo for five numbers and unlimited extensions

Extensions can forward to any number you want. So, you can operate with three employees using Grasshopper’s solo plan. 

This is a breath of fresh air instead of per-user pricing with the other services on this list. 

#5 – Verizon Review — The best VoIP phone service for large businesses

Known for the stability of its network, Verizon provides VoIP business features for medium and large-scale businesses. However, it’s overkill for most small companies and very expensive compared to other options on this list. 

Furthermore, it’s most suitable for businesses that need to be available for customer calls, route calls to the right teams/people, or respond quickly to customer requests. 

Verizon’s VoIP phone service includes 45 features, including:

  • Customized hold announcements/music
  • A virtual receptionist
  • Complete call history
  • Administration web portal
  • Make and receive calls on your phone
  • Visual voicemail features
  • Call transfers
  • Do not disturb mode
  • Inbound caller ID
  • Selective call rejection
  • Instant messaging

You can purchase or rent desk phones through Verizon or purchase a converter to continue using your current equipment. 

Furthermore, you get free access to mobile and desktop apps to access or manage your phone system from anywhere in the world. However, Verizon’s services aren’t available everywhere, so you may not be able to use their services. 

Verizon business phone plans start at $35 per user per month plus any additional fees, taxes, or equipment charges. However, their pricing is confusing when you start reading the fine print. And you have to commit to a two-year contract, as well. 

So, keep that in mind as you’re making your final decisions. 

#6 – 8×8 Review — The most affordable VoIP phone service

If you’re looking for a basic, affordable VoIP phone service, 8×8 is a smart choice. 

Their 8×8 Express Business Phone System plan starts at $12 per user per month (with a free trial). This low pricing makes it the most affordable option on this list. 

However, with that low price point comes limited features. The Express plan includes:

  • Unlimited calling in the US and Canada
  • Global and direct toll-free numbers
  • Basic auto attendant
  • Ring groups
  • Call routing
  • Business SMS

And to access their more advanced features, you have to pay between $25 – $45 per user per month. Which… is more expensive than some of the other options listed here. 

So I don’t recommend it unless you go with the Express Plan. 

Summary

My #1 recommendation for most small businesses is Ooma. It’s affordable, reliable, and easy to set up in about 15 minutes. However, if you’re looking for a large-scale solution, Verizon is your best bet. 

Furthermore, Nextiva is perfect for remote teams, and Grasshopper is a simple, yet powerful, mobile app for small teams who are frequently out of the office. 

If you’re on a tight budget, 8×8 is the cheapest VoIP phone service, starting at $12 per user per month. However, it’s features are limited. 

Regardless of the route you go, don’t forget to consider your requirements, budget, and the criteria we talked about as you go through the process of choosing the best VoIP phone service for your business.  

Have you used a VoIP service provider in the past? What was your experience like?

The post The Best VoIP Phone Services (In-Depth Review) appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: New feed 2

Best VPS Hosting Plans

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

In a world filled with different web hosting options, VPS hosting has become a popular choice for websites in various categories.

Upgrading to a virtual private server (VPS for short) will drastically improve your site performance if you’re currently on a shared hosting plan. 

For those of you who are starting a new site from scratch and expecting tons of traffic from the beginning, getting a VPS hosting plan out of the gate is a viable option as well. 

There are literally hundreds of thousands of web hosting providers on the market today. That’s why finding the right web hosting plan for your site can be such a tough decision. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place—this guide will provide you with everything you need to know about VPS hosting.  

The Top 5 Options For VPS Web Hosting

  1. HostGator
  2. InMotion
  3. GoDaddy
  4. Media Temple
  5. InterServer

How to Choose the Best VPS Hosting Plan For You

As previously stated, the list of web hosting providers is seemingly a mile long. But in terms of actual contenders, there are a couple dozen at most. When it comes to VPS hosting, specifically, the list is even shorter.

But as you’re shopping around and evaluating different VPS hosting providers, these are the factors that you’ve got to take into consideration:

Site Performance Metrics

Site performance needs to be the top priority for everyone seeking a VPS plan. The term “performance” can be pretty subjective, but there are two metrics that matter the most:

  1. Uptime
  2. Speed

Most people searching for a VPS are upgrading from a shared hosting plan that they’ve outgrown. Uptime and speed are the first two things to be affected when you’re sharing server resources with other sites.

You want to make sure that your VPS plan can accommodate your traffic needs. If performance is affected at scale, then you need to look elsewhere. Lots of web hosting providers will give you a guaranteed uptime rate. However, those offers typically come with some contingencies (like planned outages). 

Some sites can’t afford any downtime or slow loading times. If you fall into that category, make sure you get a premium VPS plan. For those of you who would rather save some money, just know that your site performance might be affected.

Dedicated Resources

Technically speaking, you’re still sharing server resources with other websites on a VPS hosting plan. However, the number of sites on the same main server is much lower compared to shared hosting. Plus, each virtual server will have its own dedicated resources.

As you’re evaluating plans, consider the following:

  • RAM
  • Storage
  • Bandwidth
  • CPUs

These resources will have a direct impact on your site speed and uptime (mentioned previously). If you’re maxing out your resources, you can’t expect your site to run at peak performance. 

Optional Root Access

Not everyone needs root access. This feature only really matters if you’re a developer or need the ability to make custom changes to your virtual server at an advanced level.

If that’s the case, then you should be looking for a self-managed VPS plan. Most people will be better off with a fully managed plan (no need for root access here). It’s also worth noting that you can find fully managed VPS plans with optional root access, but that feature won’t really be utilized by the average user. 

Operating System

On the technical side, there are two main options for VPS hosting—Windows VPS and Linux VPS. 

A Windows-based platform will provide you with access levels and performance that’s similar to a dedicated server. If you’re on a self-managed plan, you would be able to install common windows databases and applications like Microsoft SQL, ASP, SharePoint, and ASP.NET.

With a Linux VPS, your virtual servers will support web features like PHP, MySQL, and POP3. Since Linux is an open-source OS, these hosting plans are usually more cost-effective. You could eventually convert your Linux server into a Windows server, but doing the opposite would be much more complex. 

Customer Service

Customer support piggybacks on our last point, especially true if you’re on a fully managed plan. 

You want to make sure that your web hosting provider has your back. What happens if something goes wrong? Who do you contact if you have a problem or question? How do you resolve a time-sensitive issue?

If your site crashes at 10:00 PM on Friday night, waiting to contact a customer support representative at 9:00 AM Monday morning isn’t going to cut it. Look for a VPS provider with 24/7/365 support via phone and live chat. 

Features like free migrations from another provider or hosting type to your new VPS plan would also fall into the support category. Some hosting providers are undoubtedly better than others when it comes to customer service. 

Budget

The price for VPS web hosting varies significantly from provider to provider and plan to plan. We’ve seen VPS hosting plans starting as low as $6 per month. Other plans start at $250+ per month. Most of you will likely fall somewhere between these two extremes. 

In many cases, you can expect to get what you pay for.

If you’re signing up for the cheapest VPS hosting plan that you can find, don’t expect to have extremely high uptime rates and fast page loading speeds. For those of you who want as many dedicated resources as possible, just know that they come at higher price points. 

So you’ll have to weigh your performance and resource needs against your budget.

The Different Types of VPS Web Hosting

There are essentially two different types of VPS hosting—managed and unmanaged plans. I’ll explain the differences between these choices below, and I’ll also provide you with more information on alternative options for web hosting (to make sure a VPS plan is right for you).

Managed VPS

If you’re not very technically inclined and don’t have a dedicated IT team, a managed VPS plan is definitely the best option for you. In short, you won’t have to really handle anything on your own. You’ll be able to just focus on running your website while the hosting provider takes care of the server behind the scenes. 

Here are a handful of examples of what most VPS hosting providers will do for you on a fully managed plan:

  • Set up the server from the start
  • Install your control panel, applications, and OS
  • Handle all application updates and OS updates
  • Server monitoring and maintenance
  • Automated backups
  • Security patches

Some providers will offer a little more or maybe even a little less, but this is generally what you should expect if you choose this type of VPS plan.

Unmanaged VPS

An unmanaged, or self-managed VPS, is just the opposite of a managed plan. You’ll be completely on your own when it comes to installing your software, control panel, security, maintenance, updates, and everything else listed above.

If you experience a hardware failure or an outage, don’t expect a ton of support from your hosting provider either. This type of VPS plan is really intended for those of you who need complete customization at the server level. 

Self-managed plans are usually cheaper as well since the hosting provider doesn’t have to do nearly as much. 

Other Types of Web Hosting

VPS hosting isn’t for everyone. So if you’re new to the world of web hosting, I want to quickly take a moment to explain your other options.

  • Shared Hosting — Shared web hosting is the best option for new websites that aren’t expecting a ton of traffic. You’ll be sharing resources with other sites on the same server. These plans are cheap, but performance can be an issue. If another site on your shared server has a traffic spike and uses up the shared resources, it can impact the uptime and loading speeds on your site. 
  • Cloud Hosting — Cloud hosting is pretty similar to VPS hosting. Think of this as a hybrid version of a virtual private server. Cloud plans come with several remote servers, each one with different responsibilities. If something goes wrong with one of those servers, the others will pick up the slack and keep your site running smoothly. Cloud hosting is generally cheaper than VPS hosting, and it’s easier to scale resources on-demand. However, customization is limited with cloud plans.
  • Dedicated Hosting — Dedicated hosting is the top of the line in the world of web hosting. It’s designed for large sites with tons of traffic. As the name implies, you’ll have one server completely dedicated to your website. This also gives you ultimate control in terms of customizations at the server level. Dedicated hosting comes at a higher price point, but the performance is second to none. 

With all of this in mind, let’s dive into the top VPS hosting plans on the market today:

#1 – HostGator Review — The Best For Reliable VPS Hosting

HostGator has been around for roughly two decades. The hosting provider powers 2+ million websites worldwide.

As one of the most trusted names in the web hosting industry, you really can’t go wrong with a HostGator VPS plan. Here’s a look at the different plans and price points:

The VPS hosting plans from HostGator come with full root access and dedicated resources. You’ll also benefit from features like:

  • Complete customization and total control of your virtual server
  • Free off-site backups of your server data every week
  • Script installers, site templates, and development tools
  • Unlimited domains, databases, email addresses, and FTP accounts
  • Ability to scale CPUs, RAM, and disk space
  • Exceptional customer support, 24/7/365

In addition to traditional web hosting, HostGator’s virtual private servers are commonly used for ecommerce sites, testing environments, gaming, and heavy application use.

All plans are backed by a 45-day money-back guarantee. 

#2 – InMotion Review — Best VPS Plans For Ecommerce Sites

InMotion has a wide range of VPS hosting plans for you to choose from. They offer managed VPS hosting and self-managed cloud VPS hosting, both powered by Linux SSD servers.

Managed plans start at $29.99 per month, and the entry-level self-managed VPS starts at $5 per month. 

Most of you will benefit from the managed plans, as these virtual servers are optimized for ecommerce out of the box. These plans are configured for speed and reliability with ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, Prestashop, and more. 

Other advantages of using InMotion for VPS hosting include:

  • Free private SSLs and scheduled snapshots
  • Update databases, email, and domain settings with cPanel
  • Security updates and server management (with a managed plan)
  • DDoS protection and secure SSH keys (with a self-managed plan)
  • Fast and automatic software installs, like NGINX

Overall, InMotion’s virtual private servers are fast and reliable. Even the managed plans come with full root access. InMotion’s 90-day money-back guarantee is arguably the best in the hosting industry. 

#3 – GoDaddy Review — Best Self-Managed VPS Hosting

GoDaddy is a name that’s usually synonymous with domain registration and controversial marketing strategies. 

But if you’re in the market for a self-managed VPS plan, this will be a top option for you to consider.

Standard RAM VPS plans from GoDaddy start as low as $4.99 per month. The high RAM plans start at $9.99.

The self-managed plans are perfect for developers and system admins. Features and benefits of using GoDaddy’s virtual private servers include:

  • Full root access with SSH keys
  • Command line for complete power and flexibility
  • Scalable performance options and a wide range of custom server configurations
  • Unlimited hosting accounts with easy administration
  • Easy monitoring and alert notifications
  • DDoS protection and free SSL certificate
  • Ability to choose your data center (North America, Asia-Pacific, EMEA)
  • Backups and recovery console

These plans are great for testing environments, database servers, resource-heavy apps, email servers, and admins running multiple websites. 

GoDaddy does have fully-managed VPS plans starting at $99.99, but the self-managed option is definitely the standout from this provider. 

#4 – Media Temple Review — Best Managed VPS Hosting Plans

For businesses, ecommerce websites, agencies, and resellers, Media Temple is my top recommendation for managed VPS hosting.

The pros at Media Temple will handle all of the technical aspects of managing your server. So you can spend more time focusing on your website and business.

In addition to the best customer support team in the world of web hosting, your managed VPS plan comes with benefits like:

  • Ability to choose your control panel (cPanel or Plesk) and version
  • MySQL, PHP, Python, and Perl come pre-installed
  • Customize your virtual server with any Linux-based app, software, or OS component
  • Easily resell your hosting to clients with built-in reseller tools
  • 99.99% uptime guaranteed
  • Scale your server resources on-demand with just a few clicks

Media Temple’s servers are fast and reliable. These managed VPS hosting plans start as low as $55 per month. 

#5 – InterServer Review — The Best Cheap VPS Hosting Plans

InterServer definitely isn’t the most well-recognized name in web hosting. But for those of you who want a cost-effective VPS plan, InterServer is worth taking a closer look at.

This hosting provider offers managed and unmanaged VPS hosting, starting at just $6 per month.

Let’s takes a closer look at some of the features, benefits, and highlights of using InterServer for VPS hosting:

  • 450+ cloud apps supported with one-click installs
  • No limits on accessing or updating data
  • Full root access with total control of your OS and control panel
  • Automatically redirect server issues to another node
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • No fees for incoming or outgoing site transfers
  • Remote backup service to keep data safe and secure

Unlike other hosting providers on the market today, InterServer doesn’t offer a free trial or any money-back guarantees. However, they do offer month-to-month pricing, so you can cancel at any time.

The performance of these servers won’t be as high as some of the other plans on our list. But when you’re paying rock bottom rates, top of the line performance probably isn’t your first priority. 

Summary

VPS (virtual private server) hosting is an excellent option for sites that have outgrown a shared hosting plan. 

Which VPS is the best? Naming just one as the top pick is a tough call. But you’ll be happy with any of the options on this list. Just make sure you follow the methodology described earlier in this guide for choosing the best VPS plan. 

For self-managed and managed plans alike, there’s something for everyone on my list.

The post Best VPS Hosting Plans appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: New feed 2

How to Find Instagram Influencers

How to find instagram influencers

It’s hard to believe Instagram started in 2010. It has turned into a marketing powerhouse.

There are 1 billion monthly active Instagram users, and more than half of them use the platform every day. US businesses also love the social channel, and about 71% use it to connect with their market.

While Instagram isn’t the biggest social media platform (that spot belongs to Facebook), it’s still the most impactful influencer marketing channel.

There’s just no denying the power of Instagram in this social media age.

As the site continues to grow exponentially, businesses and brands everywhere are also leveraging the social network by working with Instagram influencers.

So, how do you go about finding the best Instagram influencers for your marketing campaigns?

Why You Need Instagram Influencers

To appreciate how powerful Instagram is, you first need to understand what engagement rates are and what they mean for your marketing campaigns.

Engagement rates refer to the number of likes, comments, and shares an influencer gets when posting content online. It turns out Instagram has the highest engagement rates of any social network.

SproutSocial found Instagram influencers receive an average engagement rate of 1.6 percent, while Rival IQ discovered  Facebook considerably lags at an average engagement rate of 0.09 percent.

Higher engagement rates mean that when you work with influencers on Instagram, their followers will more interact notice content than on Facebook.

People Learn About New Brands From Instagram

Another eye-opening statistic is how influential the platform is in helping people learn about new brands.

For instance, 60% of Instagram users say they learn about new products on the social network.

sponsored instagram post example

This is excellent news for startups and small businesses.

While digital marketing has opened the door to businesses of all sizes to connect with their markets in a more affordable way than traditional marketing, the reality is, the playing field isn’t level.

Big companies and organizations have bigger budgets. They can generally put larger teams behind their marketing campaigns and quickly raise awareness about their new products as a result.

On Instagram, users frequently notice new brands and products—sometimes even those without all the bells and whistles of a full-blown marketing campaign.

Many Users on Instagram Have Disposable Incomes

It’s great that there are high engagement rates and people can learn about your products from Instagram. But the perhaps most important data is that a good number of Instagram users have money—and they’re willing to spend it.

A study from Snowmad found Instagram is used by:

  • 31% of people who garner more than $75k annually
  • 32% of people who earn $50k to $74k annually
  • 32% of people who make $30k to $49k per year

Additionally, 70% of Instagram users browse products on the site, and 80% follow at least one brand.

All these numbers are great for brands that want to raise brand awareness and make sales.

But one thing isn’t so clear – how do you begin to find the right influencers who will make sense for your brand and bring in great ROI?

How to Find Instagram Influencers For Marketing Campaigns

Did you know there are 500,000 active influencers on Instagram?

Although there are many influencers to choose from, they’re not all created equal. In addition to varying amounts of reach, many are probably not right for your brand.

This step-by-step guide is here to help you connect with influencers who are followed by your target audience.

Outline Your Goals and Metrics

First, you need to decide what this Instagram influencer campaign is all about.

  • Are you trying to drive sales?
  • Is it about raising brand awareness?
  • Are you about to launch a new product?

Your goals form the core of your campaign, and these goals should guide every decision you make.

In addition to understanding your goals, you also need to define your metrics clearly. How will you measure the success of your Instagram marketing campaign?

Let’s say you’re working for a youthful beauty brand that is releasing a new selection of lipsticks.

Here’s an example of what your goals can look like:

  1. For the campaign, we’ll work with young beauty influencers on Instagram.
  2. These beauty influencers will review the product range for their followers.
  3. In addition to product reviews, we want Influencers to speak about the product through their Instagram stories since these are powerful marketing tools.
  4. We aim to exceed the sales of our last lipstick line by 30% within the first month.

The more detailed and specific plan is, the easier it may be to monitor your campaign to see how successful you are and what you may need to tweak.

Define the Right Influencer For Your Brand

Your brand voice is essential to all your digital marketing campaigns. Yet, many marketers and brands struggle to define theirs.

Your “brand voice” is the way you talk to your customers. It includes language style, brand values, and personality.

The more defined and consistent your brand voice is, the more trustworthy your audience may perceive you. Who trusts a brand with a constantly-shifting message?

Defining a solid brand voice can take time. To help get you started, you can use a free online brand quiz.

An insightful one is Kaye Putnam’s brand personality quiz.

All you have to do is answer 16 questions, like:

brand personality quiz
kaye putnam quiz

This quiz is not just fun—it’s effective. When you’re done, you’ll get a detailed report about your top brand archetypes. This information could give you valuable insights into better positioning your brand to communicate with your market.

You don’t have to use all the pointers from the guidelines of these free tools. However, having a detailed analysis of a possible brand style, look, and feel is a great way to find inspiration.

Once you understand your brand, you now need to figure out who your market is.

  • Who are they, and what do they do for a living?
  • Who do they follow and engage with on their social networks?

Performing thorough target market research can help you understand your market better, including finding influencers they follow.

Along with creating influencer campaigns, if you want to learn how to grow your personal or company’s Instagram account, check out my Instagram Unlocked course on Youtube:

Try Google First

Now that you know your goals, brand, and target market, a Google search could help you get a good pool of Instagram influencers to choose from.

Let’s use the beauty brand example from earlier.

To get started, do a general search for something like “top Instagram beauty influencers.”

After searching, make sure you have the most relevant search results. A beauty influencer who was great six months ago may not be so relevant today.

Start by navigating to the Advanced Search Section. You’ll find this in your settings.

advanced search for instagram influencers

From there, you can change the last update section. I changed mine to the past month. This will give you the latest results on the topic.

region and last updated SERP preferences

In the Advanced Search section, you can also narrow your search results by region. This little tool is perfect if your product will only be available in certain areas. What’s the point of getting search results of top European or Asian influencers if your product is only available in the States?

When you get the SERPs, use the first couple of pages to see if any influencers who spark your interest.

Search on an Influencer Platform

There are many influencer platforms on the market, each with pros and cons.

The best part about an influencer platform is that, unlike doing a Google search and sifting through hundreds or even thousands of influencers, an influencer platform does the hard work for you.

You also get more details about your potential influencer.

For example, here’s a profile on an influencer from HYPR, an influencer platform.

instagram influencer profile example

You get information on your influencer, their demographics, their niche industries, and more.

Influencer platforms also give you details on audience psychographics and locations, as well as influencers’ engagement rates.

As you look  through influencers and start compiling a list of potential people to work with, remember to:

Analyze the Content They Create

  • Does it connect with your brand voice?
  • Look into their content on other social channels to ensure the influencer can be a true representative of your brand.

Measure Their Engagement Rates

As highlighted earlier, a good engagement rate means when the influencer posts content about your brand, their audience takes notice.

There are multiple ways to calculate this. You can check out this post about it on Hootsuite to discover different methods.

Appreciate the Value of Micro-Influencers

A study from Markerly, an influencer marketing platform, found Instagram influencers with more followers see less engagement.

This proves micro-influencers—those with good followings, but not overwhelming ones—can be more effective in your social media campaigns than macro-influencers or celebrities.

Micro-influencers have gained followers who respect their expertise and opinions on specific topics. They often create content they’re knowledgeable about and care about. Their social following is more of a community than an audience.

Therefore, working with a few relevant micro-influencers may help you get your content in front of the right audience.

Conclusion

Using Instagram can often be a fantastic way to get people to notice—and purchase—your products.

But it is a double-edged sword. While you have many options, it’s challenging to know who will be the right fit.

Don’t forget to outline your goals and brand voice. Then, consider influencers’ engagement rates.

Who is the right influencer for your brand?

The post How to Find Instagram Influencers appeared first on Neil Patel.


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