How to Fix Schema Validation Errors

Everyone wants to log in to Google Search Console to find their website is error-free and running perfectly. This is rarely the case, unfortunately.

The good news is schema validation error notifications offer important information you can use to fix your site.

Good SEO is about consistently taking care of the small details, and that’s exactly what Google Search Console errors allow you to do. What exactly are schema validation errors though, and how do you fix them?

In this guide we will go over schema validation errors in more detail; specifically, the most common one, called “either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregate rating” should be specified.”

What Are Schema Validation Errors?

Schema validation errors are mistakes in the formatting of your Schema data, making it difficult for Google to understand that data.

Schema is the structured data that helps the search engines understand what your page is about. By interpreting the schema of your page, the search engines can show rich results, like the ones below.

Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregate rating” should be specified schema error - example of schema in action

While the traditional search engine listing might just be a link and meta description, rich results show a wide variety of information designed to improve the user experience.

The right schema markup can result in an increased CTR, but your rich results might not show up correctly if you have schema validation errors.

Many website builders or plugins such as Yoast SEO help take care of schema for you, but sometimes, you might still see schema validation errors in your Google Search Console (GSC).

Here’s a little more information on adding structured data to your website before we start to look at specific errors.

What Does a Schema Validation Error Mean?

If you’re not using Google Search Console to keep track of your progress with your website, then you’re missing out. It’s full of so many important insights into how your site acquires traffic and the errors that are holding back your SEO, so it’s something you should be checking in with regularly.

When you log in to GSC, a common error you might see is a schema validation error. These errors simply refer to issues with the way you have structured your data, causing Google to have problems interpreting it.

This isn’t likely to directly affect your rankings too much, but as we know, rich results help click-through rates, and this is a big part of SEO. Schema.org allows for a huge amount of information about your product to be included in your code, and all of this helps search engines better understand what you’re offering.

A search engine results page (SERP) is a competitive place, and it’s important to use all of its features to stand out from the crowd. You don’t have many opportunities to earn someone’s click, so you want your schema to be in order so you can use the extra features to grab people’s attention.

Here are some of the most common schema markups you might use:

  • organization: provides important details about the organization
  • person: provides important details about a person
  • local business: information about a local business such as an address, contact details, opening times
  • product and offer: specifications of a product and offers
  • articles: for blog posts and news
  • video: helps Google to index the video content on your site
  • event: gives people information about upcoming events
  • review: shows reviews about a product or business
  • rating: shows an aggregated rating for a product or business

If this information isn’t formatted correctly, or Google doesn’t see the information it thinks it should be seeing, it will show a schema validation error.

Three Schemas You Need to Avoid the “Either “Offers”, “Review”, or “aggregateRating” Should be Specified” Error

This is one of the most common schema markup errors and it can be a little complex to fix (you’ll actually need three schemas). Don’t stress, though, I am going to walk you through it.

Google encourages product pages to make use of all product markups because it increases CTR and results in more sales.

As consumers, we’re attracted to offers and social proof plays a huge part in the buying decision. With rich results, you can use these tools right from the get-go, attracting people to click on your pages, and giving yourself a shot at the sale.

However, some pages don’t contain the right schema markup, leading to schema validation errors in your GSC.

Three errors you will commonly see are for “offers,” “review,” and “aggregate rating,” which show up in a “either”offers “,”review “, or “aggregateRating” should be specified” warning.

Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregateRating” should be specified - screenshot of error

To fix this error, you’ll need to use these three schemas.

Offers

If you’ve got some great offers on your products, then you want to tell everyone. When you run ads, your offers are often one of the most prominent aspects, so it makes sense to aim for the same thing with your organic listings.

Sales promotions work, so be creative with your offers and make sure people are aware of them. Cost might not be everything, but it’s certainly important when it comes to selling your products, and this is an area where schema can be incredibly helpful.

That’s where the offer Schema comes in.

Review

Social proof has always been important in marketing. As long as people have been selling things, there have always been people recommending them to their family and friends, and this has a huge effect.

Today, the internet has supercharged the idea of social proof.

We have immediate access to the thoughts and experiences of people all over the world who have bought the product we’re looking at. Modern consumers want to see this, and it has a big impact on their purchasing decisions.

If reviews are a big part of the buying decision, then they’re also going to help earn you clicks, but they can only do this if you’ve got the correct schema.

Rating

We’re all accustomed to seeing star ratings for all the products we buy. It’s so ubiquitous that we’d think something was up if a product didn’t show a rating.

Ratings are like reviews, just even more convenient. They give you an immediate snapshot of people’s experiences with a certain product. This is highly beneficial for businesses that can display a good level of social proof, and naturally, they want to make the most of it wherever they can.

If you’ve got a great rating score for your product, then you want to showcase it, and where better than on Google using the rating schema?

How to Fix the Schema Validation Error “Either “Offers”, “Review”, or “aggregateRating” Should be Specified”

If you click on your “Either “Offers”, “Review”, or “aggregateRating” Should be Specified” warnings in Google Search Console, it will show you the pages they’re affecting.

For most people using WooCommerce (who seem to be the main people affected by this), you’ll find the warning isn’t actually for product pages, it’s for category pages.

This is because WooCommerce automatically sets your product pages up with the following schema: Name, Description, URL, SKU, Availability, Image, Offers, AggregateRating, Price, Review, and more.

Thus, the problem isn’t with product pages. Instead, they’re normally on archived products and category pages. This is because WooCommerce has included some of the product schema on these pages, but Google says archive and categories pages shouldn’t have this markup.

Again, this isn’t something to be unduly worried about and it’s not going to destroy your rankings.

It is worth fixing, though. Since the error is caused by WooCommerce adding schema to a page that isn’t a dedicated product page, the answer is to remove the product schema markup for those pages.

The way to do it is by adding a snippet of code to your theme’s function.php file.

When you mention code, things start to sound very technical, but it’s not too complicated. Of course, if you’re not comfortable making changes on your site’s back-end, then you can always get a developer to do this for you:

  1. head to your dashboard in WordPress
  2. hover over “appearance” in the left sidebar and select “theme editor”
  3. select “functions.php” from the “theme files box on the right
  4. scroll to the bottom of the text box
  5. insert the following code:

/**

* Remove the generated product schema markup from Product Category and Shop pages.

*/

function wc_remove_product_schema_product_archive() {

remove_action( ‘woocommerce_shop_loop’, array( WC()->structured_data, ‘generate_product_data’ ), 10, 0 );

}

add_action( ‘woocommerce_init’, ‘wc_remove_product_schema_product_archive’ );

Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregateRating” should be specified implementing the fix
Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregateRating” should be specified - making changes to your code

This piece of code should fix the schema errors on your category and archive pages and remove the warning from your GSC. It might take a little bit of time for the Search Console to recognize the changes, so don’t worry if the warnings don’t disappear immediately.

Other Schema Validation Errors

Schema is like a language that allows you to speak with search engines. Sometimes, there are errors in our communication and the message doesn’t get passed on.

There are lots of different things you can communicate through your schema, so occasionally, there may be slight errors.

Google Search Console helps give you a good picture of how your website is performing on schema, but it also offers other tools to help you spot issues. The rich results test gives you a good visual breakdown of how your page looks in Google’s eyes, and when used in conjunction with GSC can give you a much clearer picture.

Here are some of the errors you are likely to see, what they mean, and how to fix them.

Missing Field Price

If you see a missing field price error in your GSC, you may have entered the price in the wrong format. It needs to be entered as xx.xx without the dollar sign. For example, if your product is $42.99, then it needs to be entered as 42.99.

Rating Is Missing Best and/or Worst Values

If you include an aggregate rating in your schema, then you need to enter the highest rating and lowest rating possible. Most of the time, this means one star is the lowest possible value and five stars is the highest value.

Value in Property “ratingCount” Must Be Positive

This number represents the number of ratings a product has so it cannot be negative. Your product page might not have any ratings, and in this case, the value will be zero, but it can never be negative.

Conclusion

Schema is an important part of how your website communicates with the search engines, so it needs to be correct—otherwise you’re wasting time. If your Google Search Console is showing schema validation errors, it doesn’t mean your website is about to tank in the rankings, but it is important to fix.

A common error many people see is the “Either “Offers”, “Review”, or “aggregateRating” Should be Specified” error, and this can be an easy fix.

When you successfully use schema, it can boost your site, improve your CTR, and ultimately bring more traffic to your site. It might only take a few small tweaks to fix your schema validation errors, so it’s well worth the effort.

Several elements come together for an SEO strategy, and making sure your schema markup is correct is one of them.

If this all sounds too overwhelming and you need help with your SEO strategy, let our team know. We can help!

Have you been getting lots of schema validation errors lately?


Source: New feed 2

How to Run Nonprofit Marketing Ads

How to Run Nonprofit Marketing Ads

One of a for-profit business’s best investments is often their online marketing strategy.

Is the same for true for nonprofits?

Let’s take a look at how nonprofit marketing strategy is different from for-profit strategy and how nonprofit corporations may be able to better reach their goals by further leveraging digital marketing.

What Makes Nonprofit Marketing Different From Marketing in Other Fields?

The main difference for nonprofit marketing is about the goals. Often, with a for-profit company, the goal in advertising is the sale at the end. A nonprofit may have other needs in mind, and therefore other goals for the marketing campaign. We will dive more into detail on this in a bit.

It Has More Complicated Messaging

Think about your messaging. It’s not just about a transactional sale, so you want to be clear as well as inspiring. This is part of what makes nonprofit marketing difficult. People are used to being shown ads for a shoe or a new table. They can filter that out mentally or get on board and buy the product.

With nonprofit marketing, you’ve got a taller order. You’re not just trying to convert a sale. You may be trying to convert a mindset, or at least connect with a mindset that the person already has. You’re trying to appeal to values and aspirations for the world at large.

That’s asking a lot of a small social media ad, a video, a banner, or whatever other method you are using.

Its Main Goal Is Making It about Others

However, it’s not impossible. In fact, in some ways, you could think of this as more straightforward. Why? One thing people struggle with when trying to sell a product is not making it all about themselves and the product. There’s always the “why” question. Why should a customer care about what you’re selling?

With a nonprofit, the mission is built in. Usually, your message isn’t even really about you. It’s about those you serve. That’s the story you can tell in your nonprofit marketing and automatically, you’re the good guy or the hero others want to rally around.

charity water instagram nonprofit marketing

Here is an example from Charity: Water’s Instagram account. There’s a lot of faces there, with, of course, some water thrown in. Their pictures are about the results and what they are trying to do, rather than about the organization. They draw you in and entice you to click to learn more.

All the Working Parts are Different

As you’re working through your nonprofit marketing campaign components, everything is going to be different. For instance, the imagery you choose may tell a story instead of showcase a product.

Where you run the ad might change too. You can’t use a shopping ad on Google for a donation, for instance. You want to be thoughtful about where you are placing your nonprofit marketing ads and whether that’s the place people will be in the headspace to convert.

You’ll also want to think about where they are going to learn more. It’s not just an e-commerce shop. You will probably want places on your website dedicated to telling stories about what your nonprofit does, with longer-form narratives and videos, as well as plenty of opportunities to engage, such as donate buttons and email newsletter sign-ups.

Goals of Nonprofit Marketing Ads

As we just talked about, there are a lot of differences between typical marketing and nonprofit marketing. The most fundamental difference is in the goals. Sometimes with e-commerce or for-profit advertising, the goal is very obvious. Nonprofit marketing goals may be more complicated. It’s not necessarily about making a sale; rather, the advertising goals might include:

  • gathering donations
  • spreading awareness
  • building follower base
  • recruiting volunteers
  • promoting an event
  • encouraging involvement

Of course, every organization needs to gather money one way or another, just to keep the doors open. That’s just the nature of things.

With nonprofit marketing though, it can all feel complex. When you ask someone what the goal of an ad is, the answers may include any number of the above, maybe more.

That’s because, with nonprofits, it’s all about the mission. When you’re working in this field, you just want to keep doing better at what you’re doing. You want to reach more, make more of a difference. When you think about marketing, you want all those goals. You want more people involved, more money to run the organization, more awareness of the problems, and more awareness of the solution you provide.

However, it’s going to be key to drill down as much as you can. Get a handle on what you want this marketing campaign or set of ads to do in particular. If you have to, maybe there are a couple of subgoals, but keep it as specific as you can.

Knowing exactly what you want out of your nonprofit marketing campaign will help you evaluate how well it’s working so you can pivot and leverage the parts that are succeeding. This will help your marketing stay cost-efficient in the long term, and you will have more to show your board of directors and other key players.

5 Tips to Make Effective Nonprofit Marketing Ads

As we’ve discussed, nonprofit marketing ads can be so different from other types of ads, not only in the messaging but also in what you’re trying to accomplish. Measuring effectiveness will come down to what exactly the goal is and how you’re going to track it. Once you know that, you can start designing and developing your nonprofit marketing campaign. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you are creating it to leverage maximum results for your goals.

1. Appeal to Emotions

We touched on this above, but let’s take a closer look at the emotional aspect of your nonprofit marketing. This comes down to the mission of your organization. what are you about? Why is your mission so vitally important?

Emotions of “Why?”

First, let’s talk about how emotions are relevant to any kind of marketing. Even if you’re selling a shoe, people want to know why they should buy that shoe. As in, why should they really? How are they going to feel after having that shoe? What kind of connections will they have with others because of the shoe?

Does that sound far-fetched? Well, think about Michael Jordan’s sneakers for a moment and it’s suddenly not so crazy.

The great thing about your nonprofit marketing is the emotional appeal is not a stretch. It won’t take you long to come up with stories and testimonials that speak to why your organization is changing lives and the planet.

Lean into those and let them drive your marketing.

Emotions of Urgency

Urgency is part of the emotional appeal, but with a specific drive. You want people to understand why your work is vital now, as well as why their support is vital.

Getting people to act is the foundational goal of any ad so building in urgency can help that happen faster.

Don’t fake it, though. This isn’t about drumming up fake urgency, which makes your organization sound slimy. Look at your data and share the numbers to help people understand why what you’re doing is important and why you need them.

feeding america facebook ad nonprofit marketing

In their Facebook sponsored ads, Feeding America highlights the number of meals they have distributed as well as highlight the urgency of needing to deliver even more. It ends with a call to action to learn more about the organization.

2. Clear CTAs

If you want to know if your ad is effective, you’re going to need to track how people interact with it. Beyond that, it needs to be very obvious what you want them to do next and how they can go about doing it.

Think about goals, and write calls to action that speak to those goals. Here are some examples:

  • If you need donations, say “Donate Now.”
  • If you need awareness, say “Learn More.”
  • If you need followers and volunteers, say “Join Us.”

Make sure once they click or do what you’ve asked them to do, the next step is just as easy. Build a great landing page that shares more of your story and inspires action.

3. Make Donate Options Easy

You may not be trying to sell a product, but you may be gathering donations. Whether it’s an annual fund drive or a critical need that needs to be covered, nonprofit marketing can help raise awareness of that need for donations.

To be as effective as possible with a donation drive, include as many ways to donate as possible:

  • Set up an easy and automatic payment via credit card, PayPal, Venmo, and other integrations.
  • Make it clear where they can send donations if they prefer a slower method, such as a check.
  • Give a phone option, or at least email, for anyone having trouble donating online.

Make sure to include an opportunity to sign up for your newsletter or otherwise stay in touch with you as they are donating.

4. Gather Followers

With nonprofit marketing, it isn’t always about immediate action. Sure, you may want some donations or shares of your content, but there’s also an important long game driving your initiative.

As you are creating your campaigns, make it clear how to join the mission and align with what you’re about.

You can gather email addresses or provide a section on your website where people can learn more about local events or gatherings.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to include links to your social media accounts. Make sure your social media is filled with pictures and videos that highlight what you do. If your accounts are new, be sure to upload a dozen or so photos and videos to make them look full and scrollable. Use the daily features, such as Instagram Stories, to make it clear it’s an active account. Make it enticing to follow, with recent updates so they know if they follow, they will continue to learn more.

5. Look for Grants and Other Opportunities

For nonprofit marketing, grant opportunities exist to help get your message out there for a reduced price or costs covered. Depending on your goals and where you want to place your ads, you may want to take the time to apply for these, save money, and learn more from the provider about how to create effective ads. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Google Ad Grants

Google Ad Grants provide some free search ads to eligible nonprofit organizations as account support and other resources. You can also browse the Google Ad Grants site to see examples of other nonprofits running effective campaigns.

Twitter for Good

Twitter for Good provides free ads, as well as marketing campaign support and a variety of resources, such as custom emoji options, to nonprofits that join. This program focuses on areas of interest like internet safety, freedom of speech, equality, environmental conservation, and crisis management. Organizations involved in those areas may wish to apply.

How to Make Successful Nonprofit Marketing Ads

5 Ways to Ensure Your Nonprofit Ads Achieve Their Goals

  1. Appeal to emotion

    Tug on your reader’s heartstrings so they open their pursestrings.

  2. Include clear CTAs

    Include buttons and clear statements that make it obvious to your users what action they should take next (like donate, follow, share, etc.)

  3. Make donate options easy

    Give clear instructions on how users can provide donations and offer as many methods of payment as you can.

  4. Gather followers

    The more followers you have, the more likely you are to get donations and spread awareness about the causes behind your nonprofit. To gain followers, be active on social media, host events, network, etc.

  5. Look for Grants and Other Opportunities

    Some platforms, like Google and Twitter, allow you to run ads for free. Be on the lookout for opportunities like these!

Conclusion

Nonprofit marketing can seem more complicated on the surface, with a larger mission and lots of different ways to engage with people. However, when you dive into the messaging, it often becomes a little easier. Nonprofits have a great story to tell, which can work into content marketing with ease. As you develop ads for your nonprofit marketing, focusing on an achievable goal can help ensure your ads are effective and keep your spending at a minimum.

If you are a nonprofit needing help with your digital strategy, reach out. Our team of experts can help!

How are you going to evolve your next nonprofit marketing campaign to make it more effective?


Source: New feed 2

How to Launch a Business With PPC Ads

How to Launch a Business With PPC Ads

You came up with an idea, did your research, maybe even found some funding. You are ready to launch a business — but how do you get people to your website or store?

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are one of the most effective ways to drive growth for your new business. Unlike brand building, content marketing, and social media, PPC ads can drive traffic today. There’s no need to wait weeks or months for your efforts to pay off.

Even if you have years of business experience behind you and are pretty well-versed in marketing, PPC ads for a new business need to be handled differently. Below, you can learn more about why PPC ads may be the way to go for your business and find tips for to make the most of them.

Why Should You Launch a Business With PPC Ads?

PPC ads can be a great way to launch a business because they allow you to reach your specific target market through keywords and target demographics. 

With PPC ads, you create an ad and pay only when someone clicks on it. The ad should do something to draw the audience’s eye and make them want to click.

This type of ad is for new businesses for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is since they’re paid, you don’t have to wait to get to the top of search engine results organically. They show up at the top of the list automatically. 

Some other reasons include:

Reach Only Your Target Audience

PPC ads are highly targeted. When creating a PPC ad, you get to enter a ton of details about who you want to see the ad. The ad is then shown to people who fit that description. For example, you can target people based on their location, age, income, likes, family status, and even what shows they like.

Budget-Friendly

While the platform requirements vary, you can set a budget limit upfront with PPC ads. You know the absolute max you’ll spend on an ad campaign when you start, then you can track the success of your PPC ad and make alterations for future ones. 

This also makes it easy to scale; when you a ready for more traffic, just up your budget.

Trackability 

Because PPC ads are based on each click or interaction with the ad, you can follow how people respond. If an ad isn’t getting the responses you want—though remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day—you can alter the way the ad looks and see if that works better. 

Being able to track the ROI of your ads directly makes it easier to pivot if things aren’t going well — or spend more money when they are.

How Are PPC Ad Campaigns for Launching a Business Different From PPC Ad Campaigns for Existing Businesses?

Existing businesses have name recognition working in their favor, while new companies don’t. So, your PPC ads need to work a bit differently. While both types involve keyword research and target audiences, your research and focus on both factors need to be more intensive. 

Keywords and PPC Ads for New Businesses

You need to use keywords specific to your brand and products in your PPC ads. Businesses that have been around for a while already know what keywords drive their traffic; you need to do a lot more digging as a new business owner.

Start with a keyword research tool. Search for words relating to your brand, determine which combinations seem to drive the most traffic for other brands, and tailor them for your needs. 

Once you’ve chosen your keywords, make sure they’re in your copy so potential customers know exactly what it is you’re selling, why they should choose you, and call them to action.

Here’s an example. When we search for tomato seeds, we get a selection of ads from various sellers:

PPC Ad Campaigns for Launching a Business - tomato seed PPC ads on Google

The ones that stand out showcase the tomato seeds keywords, as well as related keywords such as heirloom and organic. Unless a user searched for a specific brand, they’re likely to be drawn in by your keywords and not your brand name.

Target Audiences and New Business PPC Ads

Your target audience is the group you want to see your ads. You can define them by location, age, gender, income, and more. Again, this is about being as specific as possible, figuring out who you want to buy your product via intensive research.

Your potential customers are more than just data, though. They like specific things. When you launch your first campaign, you should find out what types of ads they’re most likely to click on and create ads lining up with those details. You also need to find out where they’re most likely to click on them. Are they on Google or social media?

If they’re on social media, use strong visuals to stand out. As a bonus, you can often have a bit more copy with social media PPC ads than with search engine PPC ads. To grab their attention, use your picture and content to make it clear your new business meets your audience’s needs.

Let’s take TapRm. When you see this ad, specially targeted for those who live in NYC, you know immediately what they are all about. The various selling points, such as same-day delivery, may entice you to click and learn more.

PPC Ad Campaigns for Launching a Business - TapRm Facebook PPC ad

5 Tips for Launching a Business With a PPC Ad Campaign

Are you ready to dive into PPC ads to launch your business? Here are some actionable steps.

1. Get Really Focused 

One way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your PPC ads is to zone in on exactly who you are targeting and what you want them to do right now. Don’t get distracted by possibilities down the line. 

Stay focused on the market your business is best designed for and limit your reach to the most qualified buyers. These early days are the time to build buzz among your most potentially loyal customers, who will fall in love with your business

2. Decide Where Your Audience Should Go 

Your audience likely found you because they searched for a resolution to a specific problem, so avoid the temptation to send them to your homepage.

Instead, think through exactly where you want them to go when they click your ad. Maybe it’s a product page, sign-up page, or landing page created just for this campaign. Since customers are likely new to your website, you want to keep the conversion journey short and straightforward.

3. Start Small

You could create a wide range of PPC ads when you launch a business, focusing on different aspects of your business and showing up in various online spaces. But in these early days, keep it simple. Choose one of the platforms where your target audience is likely to be, either on social media or search engines, and focus on solving specific problems your customers have. 

Keeping things this focused at first can help you figure out what types of ads people click on to find your site and whether or not they convert. Later, you can use this information to expand your types of PPC ads.

4. Analyze the Data

Once you launch your PPC campaign, keep an eye on how your ads perform. Luckily, most paid platforms track this data automatically, making it relatively easy to see how many people see the ads versus how many click.

Are people seeing the ads but not clicking? Maybe you aren’t speaking to your customers’ needs.

Are people clicking but not converting? Maybe you’re sending them to a page that doesn’t immediately solve their problem.

Keep watching the ads, figure out when and how people are converting, and change tactics accordingly.

5. Build on What’s Working

As you continue your PPC efforts, create campaigns using campaign strategies that worked in the past, making them better each time. If you had a copy-only ad at first, you could take that copy and use it to create a PPC ad with a photo or video, for instance. 

Measuring the Success of Your PPC Campaign When You Launch a Business

Watching your PPC campaign’s metrics can provide the feedback you need so you can create paid ads that actually convert.

The metrics you should pay attention to include:

Impressions 

These tell you how many people see your ads. Knowing how many people see the ad lets you know if your audience is too broad or narrow, particularly when compared to the number who click.

Click-Through Rates

Click-through rates show you how well your ad design and copy are performing. If people are clicking through, you’ve made a good first step.

Conversion Rates

Once you notice those click-throughs, you’ll need to watch for conversion. Are people buying, signing up, or other actions? If not, find out why and change accordingly.

Social Interactions

If your ads are on social media, look for interactions such as likes or shares. With your new business, these metrics may not be about conversions but to show some growth in brand awareness

When you launch a business, you’re bound to try things that aren’t going to work. Don’t be afraid to scrap an idea and start fresh. Success in PPC ads involves trial and error until you connect with your ideal target market with a message they respond to. 

Conclusion 

You’ve launched your big idea. As a struggling startup, what’s next? 

It’s time to get out there and start advertising. PPC ads can help you narrow down your focus, provide valuable feedback about how customers respond to your new business, and help you understand how to meet their needs.

What kind of PPC ads are you going to use for your next business venture?


Source: New feed 2

Landing Page: What is it, Examples, Tips & Best Practices

Landing Page: What is it, Examples, Tips & Best Practices

A well-designed landing page can greatly increase conversions for your PPC or email marketing campaigns.

Rather than directing visitors from those sources to your general website (where they may have a hard time finding what they’re looking for), you can direct them to a specifically designed landing page that steers them in exactly the right direction.

Creating effective landing pages isn’t the same as crafting a successful website or email newsletter. There are certain guidelines you should adhere to in order to maximize your page’s success.

Here is what you need to know to create an effective landing page.

Set a Goal For Your Landing Page

Landing pages, like any other part of your online marketing strategy, need goals. Without concrete, specific goals, there’s no way to create an effective page. Your goal should be clear before you begin designing your page.

For example, your page might be designed to encourage:

  • sales
  • email list sign-ups
  • white paper downloads
  • software trials
  • webinar sign-ups

You also need specific expectations for your landing page, on which to gauge its success. These expectations can be based on previous experience, anecdotal evidence, or simply wishful thinking.

It’s helpful to have a specific number to compare your actual results with. This could be the total number of conversions, or the number of people who make it past your landing page, or some other number, based on your own goals.

A Clear Call to Action is Vital

Once you know what your goal for the page is, you need to come up with a clear call to action. This is possibly the single most important part of any landing page.

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

37 signals backpack landing page example

The Backpack landing page has a very clear call to action, though they opt to first direct visitors to more information about their plans and pricing, rather than going straight for the signup.

Keep Copy Clear and Concise

Your copy should be clear and concise. It should be persuasive, too. Landing pages are not the place to show off your creativity, unless that creativity is clear, concise, and persuasive. Leave the creative turns-of-phrase for your blog.

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

Every single sentence and word on your landing page should serve a purpose, and that purpose should be to support your call to action. If it doesn’t do that, cut it. Be ruthless in editing your copy. Tell your visitors what they want to know in as few words as possible, and get them to respond to your call to action as quickly as possible.

videowizard landing page example

The VideoWizard example has a simple design with clear copy that has definite goals.

Keep Your Landing Page Form Simple

If your page includes a form, make sure it’s only asking for the most vital information. If you’re trying to get visitors to sign up for an email newsletter, make sure you’re just asking them for their email address. Anything more than that decreases the chances that they’ll finish and submit the form.

If you’re asking them to make a purchase, keep it simple. Just ask for the vitals: billing and shipping information, plus a confirmation screen before placing their order. Wait to ask them for additional information until after their order has been placed.

vitals landing page example

This form only asks for name and email address, neither of which are likely to deter sign-ups.

clickable landing page example

This form, on the other hand, has too many fields. Do they really need a phone number and company name? And wouldn’t it make more sense to just ask for a name in one field, rather than two?

Remove Navigation Elements

The major difference between your normal website and your landing pages is your landing pages shouldn’t include the usual site navigation. Instead, the only clickable links should be your call to action, and possibly a link to more information for those who are undecided.

Linking your logo to your regular home page can also be a good idea.

verisign landing page example

This example shows just the vital links, without a ton of extraneous navigation.

Forget about links to everything else. All they do is clutter up the page and increase the likelihood that your visitors will abandon your landing page (and ultimately, your site) without converting.

Simplify Your Normal Site Design

Your landing page should still echo the design of your regular website, though, to reinforce your branding. This can be done through the graphics, general look and feel, or your color scheme and font choices.

This is important for branding and lets users know they are on the right page.

Choose Long Page or Series of Pages

There are some questions about whether it’s better to use a single page for your landing page that requires scrolling, or if visitors respond better to a series of short pages (sometimes referred to as a “mini-site”).

Mini sites generally have multiple pages with short content that funnel visitors from one step to the next along the conversion process. This has the advantage of getting users in the habit of moving from one page to the next, which can help get them in the right psychological frame of mind to convert.

The downside to mini sites is that they work best for conversion funnels that need a lot of content.

Landing pages, on the other hand, are perfectly suited to shorter content. They also only have to load once, which can be a big consideration for companies targeting people in rural areas or developing nations, where bandwidth and connection speeds could be an issue.

The downside is a lot of content can get overwhelming and can come across as spammy if not well-designed.

cameraplus landing page example

The CameraPlus page is quite long, with all the information you need about the app. (The image above is split, as the entire page would be several thousand pixels long.)

groupon landing page example

Compare this page, which barely fills a single screen, and uses multiple steps to gather information.

Pay Attention to the Fold

While there’s a lot of debate as to the importance of “the fold” in web design, landing pages are one area where the fold is crucial. Make sure that your call to action is located near the top of the page, where someone can click it without having to scroll.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your visitors won’t scroll down the page to read more information. Hopefully, at least some percentage of your visitors will be ready to buy as soon as they arrive on your landing page, either because the email or link that brought them there already persuaded them, or because it’s not their first time visiting the page.

Putting a call to action right near the top of the page makes things easier on these visitors. (Plus, it can increase your conversion rates.)

hummingbird landing page example

The most important navigation elements are located just above the fold, with the call to action well above the fold.

magnetize landing page example

The signup button is well above the fold here, too.

Below-The-Fold Calls to Action

That doesn’t mean you should neglect those users who scroll. Make sure calls to action appear at regular intervals on your page, tied into the page’s copy.

This becomes more and more important as your pages get longer. Make sure that your users have to do minimal scrolling once they decide to convert.

freshbooks landing page example

FreshBooks includes links to a free trial or tour throughout their landing page.

Use Minimal Images and Larger Fonts

Your landing pages should use only one or, at most, two images. You want to avoid visual clutter on the page, or anything that detracts from the message and call to action.

Larger font sizes are also a good idea to keep visitor’s eyes focuses on what matters and reduce eye strain. Just don’t go overboard and put everything in a headline-size font.

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

purdue landing page example

The typography becomes a major part of the visuals of this landing page, minimizing the need for graphics.

Start With a Centered, Single-Column Design

Studies show that centered, single-column landing pages convert best. Yet, there are still plenty of marketers out there who are opting for two-column designs.

Make sure that you test single-column versions against any two-column versions prior to committing to a design.

campaignmonitor landing page example

This is a great example of a centered page that makes great use of the available space.

Match the Look and Feel of Your Campaign

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

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

Use the Landing Page Tools to Get it Right

If you don’t want to have to use a web designer for your landing pages, there are options for creating great pages without any technical knowledge.

Unbounce is one of the easiest to use and lets you create landing pages without any IT experience. They have best-practices templates available that you can customize (or design your own page entirely from scratch), and flexible pricing (including a free plan for sites with limited traffic). Unbounce also integrates with Google Analytics for tracking your traffic, and Qualaroo for gathering user input.

Don’t Forget To Test Your Landing Page

Creating effective landing pages isn’t a one-size-fits-all project. What works for one site might not work so well for another. Finding the most effective page design is a matter of trial and error.

It’s important to test the different versions of your landing page (called A/B testing)to find the one that works the best for your particular situation. Without doing so, you might be leaving a lot of potential conversions on the table.

A few features to consider testing include:

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

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

Landing Page Guide

Time needed: 6 minutes.

A well-designed landing page can greatly increase conversions for your PPC or email marketing campaigns.  Here’s how to do it.

  1. Set a Goal For Your Landing Page

    Without concrete, specific goals, there’s no way to create an effective page. Your goal should be clear before you begin designing your page.

  2. A Clear Call to Action is Vital

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

  3. Keep Copy Clear and Concise

    Landing pages are not the place to show off your creativity, unless that creativity is clear, concise, and persuasive. Leave the creative turns-of-phrase for your blog.

  4. Keep Your Landing Page Form Simple

    If your landing page includes a form, make sure it’s only asking for the most vital information.

  5. Remove Navigation Elements

    Your landing pages shouldn’t have your usual site navigation. Instead, the only clickable links should be your call to action, and possibly a link to more information for those who are undecided. 

  6. Simplify Your Normal Site Design

    Your landing page should still echo the design of your regular website, though, to reinforce your branding. 

  7. Pay Attention To The Fold

    Make sure that your call to action is located near the top of the page, where someone can click it without having to scroll.

  8. Use Minimal Images and Larger Fonts

    Your landing pages should use only one or, at most, two images. You want to avoid visual clutter on the page, or anything that detracts from the message and call to action.

  9. Start With a Centered, Single-Column Design

    Studies show centered, single-column landing pages convert best, so test that version first.

  10. Match the Look and Feel of Your Campaign

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

  11. Use the Landing Page Tools to Get it Right

    You don’t need a masters in computer science to design a landing page. Instead, use tools like Unbounce to create great looking landing pages.

  12. Don’t Forget To Test Your Landing Page

    Creating effective landing pages isn’t a one-size-fits-all project. What works for one site might not work so well for another. Finding the most effective page design is a matter of trial and error.

Conclusion

Landing pages are website pages designed with one goal in mind — conversions. Following the tips above will help you create a powerful page that drives users towards your business.

Just make sure to keep it simple. This is because landing pages have very specific goals and shouldn’t include any extraneous information that might distract your visitors and prevent them from converting.

Are you considering creating a landing page? What is your landing page goal?


Source: New feed 2

How to Run a Breakeven Analysis for Paid Marketing

how to run a breakeven analysis for ppc

Starting a new paid marketing campaign is no easy feat.

There are logistical considerations, financial considerations, audience considerations, duration considerations.

Let’s imagine you’ve decided to start a new Google Ads campaign. You have a vague idea how much everything will cost, and you’re eager to get started.

Before you hit the green light on your new campaign, you need to know about your future profitability, particularly when your profits will break even with your costs.

Why does that matter?

At that point in your campaign’s lifespan, you’re primed to start turning a profit rather than existing in the red.

How do you determine that point?

By conducting a breakeven analysis.

What Is a Breakeven Analysis?

Whether you’re running a PPC campaign, adding a new advertising stream to your ongoing strategy, setting up an e-commerce store, or even opening a brick-and-mortar store, you need to conduct a breakeven analysis.

As we mentioned above, it lets you know when you can anticipate your endeavor to start paying off.

Beyond that, this analysis lets you know if your endeavor is viable or if it will be impossible to achieve financial success given your business model.

By helping you determine fixed costs (expenses like rent) and variable costs (like materials), you can set prices that reflect these expenses and predict when your business will move into the liminal space between expense and profit.

This stage of in-between profit and expense is referred to as the breakeven point (BEP), the stage when revenues equal costs. Once you’ve identified your BEP, assess all your costs from rent to labor to pricing structure to ensure you’re not spending any unnecessary money.

First, determine if your costs are too high or your prices too low to reach your BEP in a manageable timeframe.

Next, decide if your plan will be sustainable.

Not only does your BEP alert you to a specific event that should signal your move out of the red, but it also lets you know if you need to adjust your business spend.

Why You Should Do a Breakeven Analysis

The breakeven analysis is a hallmark of every good business plan. It allows you to determine cost structures and if you should move forward.

While it may seem like a breakeven analysis can only be completed before starting your business, this process can be helpful well beyond business launch.

By assessing and reassessing your business’ cost structures, you can forecast several different outcomes regardless of where you are in your company’s lifespan.

Benefits to conducting this type of analysis include:

  • correct pricing of product or service
  • view of profitability
  • provides information to adjust strategies for progressing
graph of break even analysis equivocation point

When Should You Complete a breakeven Analysis?

A breakeven analysis can be conducted at any time. However, there are four distinct actions that should trigger this analysis at your business:

New Business

As we mentioned above, conducting a breakeven analysis for a new business is vital for determining viability and pricing structure.

New Product

If you’re adding a costly new product to your business, you must calculate your BEP to ensure the potential gain is worth the cost.

New Sales Channel

Costs change whenever you incorporate a new sales channel. Whether those costs are contingent on the channel itself or the associated marketing expenses, be sure to conduct a breakeven analysis every time you add a new sales channel.

New Business Model

When you switch to a new business model, your costs can change drastically. To make sure the new model is sustainable, conduct a breakeven analysis.

2 Steps to Run a Breakeven Analysis

Hopefully, we’ve conveyed the value of this type of analysis, regardless of where you are in your campaign or business journey.

Below, we break down the steps to run an analysis.

Aggregate Data

Identify all the expenditures you foresee for your business and divide those costs into two categories: fixed and variable.

  • Fixed costs: These expenditures refer to any expenses that stay the same, regardless of your business’ success or failure. Categories include rent, labor (if full-time/set), and software subscriptions.
  • Variable costs: These costs refer to any expenditures that are contingent upon how much you sell. Consider materials, payment processing, labor (if part-time/fluid).

After you’ve identified all of these costs, decide on an average amount for each expenditure. These aren’t set in stone, but they should be within the realm of possibility for each commodity.

Compute

The formula for breakeven analysis is a two-step process.

  1. Calculate how many breakeven units are necessary using this formula: fixed costs divided by (revenue per unit minus variable costs per unit).
  2. Determine your breakeven sales volume by using unit sales price times breakeven units.

This final breakeven sales volume point allows you to determine if your business is sustainable if your goals are reasonable, and how to adjust your pricing and spend accordingly.

break even analysis formula graphic

How to Track a Breakeven Analysis

While your breakeven point isn’t the final word in the ultimate success of your venture, it’s still a milestone indicative of your business’ growth.

As you launch your campaign, store, or product, keep an eye on your breakeven analysis and adjust as revenue rolls in or unforeseen expenses occur.

To keep your analysis up-to-date, you could use Microsoft Excel to crunch the numbers for you.

Use Excel’s Goal Seek, a tool that allows users to define by either unit or price.

The Goal Seek function allows users to break out specific amounts and conduct auditable adjustments.

To complete this function, follow these five steps:

  1. Enter the terms seen in the image below step two in column A of your spreadsheet.
  2. Key in the below formulas to calculate revenue, variable cost, and profit
  • Revenue = Unit Price x Unit Sold
  • Variable Costs = Cost per Unit x Unit Sold
  • Profit = Revenue – Variable Cost – Fixed Costs
excel breakeven analysis
  1. Select Data > What-If Analysis > Goal Seek.
  2. In the open Goal Seek dialog box, please complete the four below actions:
  • Specify the “Set Cell” as the Profit cell (B7 in this example).
  • Specify the “To value” as 0.
  • Specify the “By changing cell” as the Unit Price cell (B1 in this example).
  • Select OK.
excel breakeven analysis

Using Excel’s Goal Seek functionality, you can plug and play different scenarios as they arise. This tool also allows users to forecast what-ifs, enabling planning for eventualities that may or may not occur.

Through experimentation, you can help prepare your campaign, business, or product for any eventuality.

What to Do If Your Breakeven Analysis Was Wrong

While a breakeven analysis can be highly beneficial for assessing the sustainability of your campaign or project, the formula is not without its limitations.

Unanticipated external factors can wreak havoc on your formula, resulting in incorrect projections and measurements.

These factors can include:

  • lack of demand
  • incorrect data
  • lack of nuance in the formula
  • time fluctuations
  • competitors

These five factors can dramatically impact your breakeven analysis.

In addition to these external forces, what if the result of the breakeven formula is unattainable for your budget?

Should you ditch that new advertising channel altogether or give up on your dreams of a brick-and-mortar store?

The answer is no.

Below, we break down three strategies to enact if your breakeven analysis shows unsustainability for your next venture.

Reduce Fixed Costs

Is there an opportunity to reduce your fixed costs? Take it. The lower your fixed costs can go, the fewer units you need to sell to reach your breakeven point.

Increase Your Prices

When you increase your prices, you reduce the number of units you need to sell to break even. A general caveat is to be mindful of the expectations that come with an increased price and what the market will realistically pay. The more you charge, the better product or service your consumers expect.

Reduce Variable Costs

Reducing variable costs can be challenging, but the more you can scale, the more you can lower variable costs. Regardless of what industry you’re in, consider changing your processes, negotiating with your suppliers, or changing materials.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you’ve decided to start advertising on Instagram for the first time or are opening the doors to a brick-and-mortar store, the accuracy of a breakeven analysis is complicated.

To ensure you get as close as possible to the correct figure, be sure to get into granular detail on the costs and prices that correlate with your business.

In addition to possessing a thorough understanding of the costs associated with delivering your message or product to consumers, you must know the right price to charge for your product. Miscellaneous expenses add up; consider all possible variable and set costs.

To ensure you’re identifying the right price points for these items, analyze every product, service, or resource your business uses, produces, sells, or plans to sell. By organizing these items by profitability priority, you can further reduce costs and potentially reach your BEP sooner.

As you near the breakeven point, be sure to continuously monitor your performance through other metrics—breakeven analysis is just a tool in many that can help your business succeed.

What’s your best practice for identifying all variable and fixed expenses?


Source: New feed 2

What a Unique Selling Proposition Really Means & Why Your Business MUST Have One

What a Unique Selling Proposition Really Means & Why Your Business MUST Have One

If you’re interested in business and marketing, at some point you’ll learn about the need to have a unique selling proposition. The Entrepreneur.com encyclopedia defines a unique selling proposition as follows:

The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.

But what does that mean? How will a unique selling proposition help your business?

The problem with book definitions is that they rarely help with understanding what a term like this means. You can read textbook definition after textbook definition and never truly understand the core meaning.

So what exactly is a unique selling proposition, and how will having one help your business to succeed?

The Real Definition of a Unique Selling Proposition

A unique selling proposition is what your business stands for. It’s what sets your business apart from others because of what your business makes a stand about. Instead of attempting to be known for everything, businesses with a unique selling proposition stand for something specific, and it becomes what you’re known for. Let me explain.

Many businesses make the mistake of attempting to stand for everything when they first get started. They want to do everything well, and they want to be all things to all people. They want to be known for having the highest quality products AND the lowest prices. They want to have the best food AND the cheapest prices. They want to be known for the best burgers AND the most delicious salads AND the juiciest steaks and ribs.

The problem is this:

When you attempt to be known for everything, you don’t become known for anything..

Let’s look at two hypothetical companies as an example.

Company number one offers web design, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting, conversion optimization, PPC, and more. Company number two offers SEO and copywriting services, but they don’t offer web design, social media marketing, conversion optimization, etc.

Now let’s consider a customer – an experienced CEO who’s looking for an SEO copywriter who can write content for his website. He also knows about both companies.

When he considers company one, he thinks of them as a web design company, and he doesn’t even know they do SEO copywriting because they’re best known for their web design. When he thinks about company two, he thinks of them as an SEO copywriting company, since that’s their specialty.

When it comes time to choose a business to provide this service, which do you think he’ll choose? The one who’s known for web design generally, or the one who’s known for SEO copywriting specifically?

The answer is number two.

Now of course, there are always exceptions. A large digital marketing agency can become known for many services and can fulfill all of those services since they have many employees and multiple departments.

But if a smaller business wants to steal some market share from a larger competitor, they’re better off making a stand for something and becoming known for that thing rather than trying to do everything. Remember, if you want to stand out, i.e. if you want to “have a unique selling proposition,” your business needs to stand for something because that’s what you’ll become known for. It’s impossible to stand for everything.

Let’s look at a few more examples.

Basecamp Unique Selling Proposition

Basecamp is a project management software developed by 37Signals, and it provides an excellent example of a successful unique selling proposition.

According to their website, Basecamp is used by millions of people as an “online project collaboration tool,” and it’s “the top choice of entrepreneurs, freelancers, small businesses, and groups inside big organizations.” If you pay close attention to the second statement, you’ll notice that it doesn’t say that Basecamp is the top choice for large organizations and multi-national corporations. Instead, it talks about being the top choice for freelancers and smaller organizations. This is done on purpose.

37 Signals made the decision to create Basecamp as on online project collaboration tool for smaller organizations. They realized that if they tried to appeal to everyone, i.e. smaller organizations AND multi-national corporations, then the product wouldn’t be awesome for anyone. The product would become too complicated for smaller organizations and would have the danger of being too simple for larger corporations.

basecamp unique selling proposition

For Basecamp their unique selling proposition becomes second nature. Their entire philosophy is about creating software the meets very minimal requirements and not feature-rich software aimed to please everyone.

Instead of compromising and making the product less effective by trying to appeal to everyone, 37 Signals took a stand to create a product for smaller organizations. Because of this, they’ve become the online project collaboration tool of choice for freelancers and smaller organizations. Instead of creating a product made for everyone but appealing to no one, they’ve become known for having the best tool on the market for a specific segment of the market.

Starbucks Unique Selling Proposition

Starbucks is another successful business that makes for a great case study on unique selling propositions. They went from a small coffee shop in Washington to one of the most recognized brands in America, and they transformed this country from a nation of Folgers drinkers to a nation of coffee connoisseurs.

How did they do it? You guessed it–they developed a unique selling proposition.

To become familiar with Starbucks’ unique selling proposition, you can ask this question: “What does Starbucks stand for, and what is it that they’re known for?” The answer is simple: They stand for premium coffee beverages, and they’re known for the same.

They don’t stand for premium coffee beverages AND the lowest prices. If they did, they wouldn’t stand out from corner gas stations. Because they take a stand to provide premium coffee, they stand out from the corner gas stations that sell cups of coffee for $0.99. If they instead tried to compete head to head with gas stations on price, quality would suffer, and their product wouldn’t be unique. They wouldn’t be able to stand for premium coffee.

They also don’t stand for premium coffee AND gourmet breakfast sandwiches AND the most amazing smoothies AND the best prices. Yes, they’ve offered those products in different forms for different periods of time, but that’s not what they stand for.

They’re not trying to be known as the amazing coffee, sandwich, AND smoothie place, and they’re not trying to compete head to head with McDonald’s or Jamba Juice. Instead, they’re the convenient premium coffee cafe that happens to also sell breakfast sandwiches and smoothies if you want one while you’re picking up your delicious coffee.

food on display

Don’t be fooled! Although Starbucks does offer items other than coffee drinks, what they are uniquely known for is making high-quality coffee beverages.

If they tried to be known for everything, there wouldn’t be anything to make Starbucks unique. Taking a stand as the premium coffee company makes sure they’re unique and that they’re known for something.

Zappos Unique Selling Proposition

Zappos is another company with an excellent unique selling proposition. They’re known as the most convenient, customer-friendly online store for buying shoes. They’ve attained this position by offering free shipping and free return shipping. The result is that people order multiple shoes at a time and return the ones they don’t want. Sometimes this works in Zappos favor when customers keep the extra pairs, but other times it cuts into their margin and lowers profits.

Regardless, Zappos is known as the most convenient, customer-friendly online store for purchasing shoes. But they aren’t known as the most convenient store for purchasing shoes AND the lowest prices. It would be impossible to do both. If they offered the lowest prices, there’s no way they could offer free shipping and return shipping on multiple pairs of shoes for each customer.

Zappos has a unique selling proposition that is quite simple: have the best return policy ever. A return policy that removes the fear of buying online and buying shoes that might not fit.

Not only would this be impossible and force them into bankruptcy, but they also wouldn’t stand out from the competition. Since many online stores compete on price, only offering the lowest prices wouldn’t make Zappos stand out for any reason. By offering the most customer-friendly shipping policies and being known for the best customer service in their industry, Zappos stands out from the crowd by making a stand for the best customer service and free shipping, and they’re able to sell shoes at a higher price due to the fact that they stand out from the competition.

Unique Selling Proposition FAQs

How does a unique selling proposition benefit my business?

By helping your business to stand out amongst your competitors. Put another way, it’s offfering something different that is unlike what your competitors offer.

How can I find my unique selling proposition?

Think about your business’ qualities, values, and attributes that are different from other similar businesses. Is there one aspect of your business that is different than what others offer? How are you ‘better’ than competitors?

What are some ways to find my unique selling proposition?

Ask! Ask your customers, employees, leadership team, and sales teams what comes to mind when they think about what makes your business special.

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What Will Your Business Stand For?

In order to have a unique selling proposition, you can’t attempt to be known for everything. You have to make a stand for something. You have to choose what your business will stand for and what you’ll be known for. By making a stand and choosing something that makes your business unique, you’ll become known for that unique quality and stand out from the crowd.

So what will your business make a stand for? What will you be known for? Or what makes your current business unique? Please share in the comments.

About the Author: Joe Putnam is the founder of ConversionEngine, an agency that combines CRO with PPC to help businesses run profitable paid ad campaigns. He’s helped organizations increase SEO traffic 10X, cut their cost per acquisition in half, and 20X their leads from AdWords. Visit now to learn more.


Source: New feed 2

How to Merge Instagram Accounts

How to Merge Instagram Accounts

Managing one social media account is a lot of work. In many cases, managing two or more (when you don’t need both) can be a nightmare.

That’s why if you have many accounts on the same platform, it’s best to merge them.

Thankfully, platforms like Facebook make this easy as long as you’re the admin of both accounts you want to merge and the two accounts have similar audience demographics.

Can you merge Instagram accounts, though?

The simple answer is no, not at the present moment.

However, there are ways in which you can merge Instagram accounts. We’ll be looking at them in a moment.

Why Should You Merge Your Instagram Accounts?

Before we get into how you can merge your Instagram accounts, you need to determine why you want to merge your accounts.

What do you want to accomplish by merging your accounts?

Are you merging business and personal accounts?

Do you have multiple business pages and are struggling to maintain them?

Instagram marketing is a powerful tool for achieving your business goals. If you’re running two or more Instagram accounts, it’s a good idea to merge them. Here’s why.

Consolidate Your Content

One primary reason many businesses choose to merge Instagram accounts is to consolidate their content.

For example, if you have multiple accounts for different locations, you may want to consolidate your content to make it easier to manage your account.

Provide a Better User Experience for Your Followers

Another good reason for merging your Instagram accounts is it helps you give your followers a positive user experience (UX).

This is because they won’t have to hop from one account to another to get the most out of your content. A better UX will also help you build a stronger following.

Create a Stronger Brand

Bringing all your assets under one roof, whether merging a business and personal account or two (or more) business accounts, is a great way to create a stronger brand.

Humanize Your Brand

It’s easier for people to follow a personality than a brand.

Merging your personal and business Instagram accounts humanizes your brand and empowers you to connect better with your audience.

Adds Variety

Another excellent reason to merge your Instagram accounts is that it helps you add variety to your account. It helps add diversity in terms of content, audience, and even monetization methods.

Merging Instagram accounts is a great way to keep your followers engaged, too. That’s because it allows you to post different kinds of content, thereby spicing up your feed. Apart from that, it also helps you streamline your marketing efforts, resulting in your generating more leads and revenue.

Now, how do you merge Instagram accounts?

How to Manage Two Instagram Accounts When a Business Consolidation Occurs

Business consolidation occurs when two organizations merge into a single business operation.

When this happens, you will have to handle the Instagram accounts of both businesses. To make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible, keep your followers posted on the changes.

People don’t like change—especially when it happens fast.

That’s why you must always keep them in the loop concerning your consolidation. From both Instagram accounts, create posts explaining to your audience what the consolidation means and how it will benefit them. Make sure to tag the other account when you post.

Once your followers are notified, you can continue with the merge.

Merging Your Instagram Accounts

It’s advisable to merge Instagram accounts when a business consolidation occurs. Remember, Instagram doesn’t allow the merging of two or more accounts. However, there are ways to circumvent this. Here are a couple of ways to go about it:

Create a New Account

One way to merge your two accounts is to create a new account and manually transfer the content from the other accounts to the new account. You can make this process easier by using a third-party tool to repost your content.

This lengthy and tedious process also has the downside of losing all the likes and comments on your posts. However, it’s one of the best ways to ensure that all your content from your other accounts is in one place.

When creating an account to merge your other Instagram accounts, it’s advisable to set the live accounts to private. Doing so helps avoid any new engagement while you’re moving your content.

Move Your Followers

There’s no way to move your followers to your new account automatically. The only way then is to create a post notifying your followers of your new account and asking them to follow.

Make it easy for them to do so by tagging your new account in your posts. You can also edit your bios to redirect your followers to your new account.

Delete Defunct Accounts

Once all content has been moved to the account, and you’re sure most followers have come on board, you should delete the old accounts.

While this may sound counterintuitive, it’s necessary to prevent people from following and engaging with the defunct accounts. These are precious interactions that would better serve you on your new account.

Creating a new Instagram account for two businesses that have consolidated is the best viable option for merging your Instagram accounts. It may take a lot of work to move your followers and establish a strong brand presence, but the hard work will pay off in the long run.

How to Manage Your Instagram Accounts When a Business Acquisition Occurs

Taking over another business means taking over all their assets—including their social media accounts.

When an acquisition takes place, how do you manage the Instagram accounts of both brands?

The first thing to determine is whether the acquisition brings all business operations under one umbrella or whether the acquired company will maintain its brand image.

If the latter is the case, you’ll have to run the two social media accounts independently.

However, if the company you’ve bought will assume your brand, you must merge Instagram accounts. The easiest way to do this is move the followers from the business you’ve acquired to your main Instagram account.

To do that, alert your followers of the change and encourage them to follow your main Instagram. You will have to post several times and give your followers time to make the move.

How to Manage Your Instagram Accounts When You Change Your Business Name

If you’ve changed your business name, it goes without saying you’ll also have to change your social media profiles.

Thankfully, Instagram makes it very easy to do this. However, despite it being easy to change your business name on Instagram, there are a couple of considerations you must make:

Instagram Name or Username—Which One Are You Changing?

When you change your business name, you have two options to change your identity on Instagram.

When you merge Instagram accounts, you may need to change your Instagram name or username.

You can either change your Instagram name or your username.

  • Instagram name: This is the name displayed on your profile and under your posts.
  • Username: Your username defines your account and is the one preceded by “@.” It also determines your URL.

You can easily change your Instagram name without any impact on the backend of your account. However, changing your username has a huge impact on what happens on your backend. That brings us to the next point.

Your URL Will Change and Engagement May Drop

Your username is part of your Instagram URL. Changing it means altering your URL.

When you merge Instagram accounts and change your username, it changes your URL.

Once that happens, it may take a few weeks for search engines to index your new URL. As a result, the traffic and engagement you get from other places you’ve linked your Instagram account to will be affected. This includes other posts your account has been tagged in.

3 Quick Tips to Manage Your Instagram Account Name Change

Most people complain of losing followers and engagement when they change their business name. Here are a few tips to help you make the transitions smoothly.

1. Alert Your Followers of the Name Change

Before you change your business name, make sure to let your followers know that you’re rebranding. Doing so will let your followers know you’re still active, even if at times, they may not find your account when they search for it.

2. Change Your Handle On All Other Platforms

Changing your business name affects all your other social media platforms. So make sure to change your handle on all of them.

3. Edit Links to Your Account

Remember, your username affects your URL. Once you change it, your old URL becomes useless.

That’s why you must visit all blogs and other platforms you’ve posted your URL on and edit them with the new URL. Sure, this may be a lot of work, but it must be done if you’re to reduce the negative impact of the name change.

Changing your business name on Instagram can have some negative ramifications. Make sure you only do it when it’s absolutely necessary.

How to Manage Your Instagram Accounts if Your Business Has Multiple Accounts for Different Departments

If your business has multiple Instagram accounts for each department, juggling them can be quite a daunting task. In many cases, the hard work will be worth it as having multiple accounts will help you:

  • Customize your messaging for each of your target audiences.
  • Cater to the preferences of audiences in different geographic locations.

One of the easiest ways to manage multiple accounts is by switching between accounts. To do this, you must add the other accounts you want to manage on your Instagram app. On mobile, you can do this by:

  • Going to settings.
  • Under the “Login” section, click on “Add Account.”
  • Enter the login details of the account you want to add and log in.

You can then easily switch between accounts by clicking on the profile icon.

Another way to manage multiple accounts is by setting up Multi-Account Log In. To do this:

  • Go to settings.
  • Select “Multi-Account Log In.”
  • Choose the account you want to use to access the other accounts.

Anyone with access to the account you have chosen to use as the administrator account will have access to all other accounts.

Once you’ve set up your accounts this way, it becomes easier to manage multiple accounts without having to log in and out.

How do you manage multiple Instagram accounts on a desktop?

To manage multiple Instagram accounts on desktop, you’ll have to use Facebook’s free dashboard dubbed Creator Studio.

Connecting your Instagram accounts to Creator Studio is super easy:

  • Switch to a business profile.
  • Click on the Instagram icon in Creator Studio.
  • Sign in to Instagram from Creator Studio.

With Creator Studio, you can post and schedule content to multiple accounts. You also get access to Instagram Insights, the native Instagram analytics tool.

Leverage a Social Media Management Tool

Managing multiple Instagram accounts from the platform itself can be laborious and time-consuming. An easier way to do it is to use a third-party tool that allows you to manage all your accounts from a single dashboard. Examples of such tools include:

  • Hootsuite
  • CoSchedule
  • Sprout Social
  • Buffer

Using a social media management tool will give you a bird’s-eye view of what’s happening across all your accounts from a single dashboard. It also has the advantage of assigning tasks to teammates, making collaboration much easier.

Managing multiple Instagram accounts for different departments may seem like a daunting task. However, with Instagram’s account switching function or the use of a third-party tool, it becomes easy.

Conclusion

Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for growing your business.

With over 1.2 billion active monthly users and as the fourth-most popular social networking site, you can’t afford to ignore it. It’s undoubtedly one network you must include in your social media marketing strategy.

That’s also why you must tread carefully when merging Instagram accounts. Executed well, the worst that could happen is losing a few followers. However, if you don’t do it well, you may end up having to start building your brand on Instagram from scratch.

What’s your experience with merging Instagram accounts?


Source: New feed 2

5 Steps for Using Paid Internet Advertising to Drive Conversions

5 Things You Must Do Before Jumping Into Paid Internet Advertising

Paid advertising is a great way to guide more traffic to your site and increase business, but it can become expensive quickly — especially if you aren’t careful. How do you make sure you are getting the most out of your paid ads?

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a business owner in my community. They recently started an aggressive Google AdWords campaign that was working, sort of. They getting tons of new leads, but the leads were for services they didn’t offer! The problem was their campain was way too broad, and they were paying tons of cash for useless leads.

Don’t let that happen to you. Here are five simple things you can do to make sure you are getting the most for your paid ad dollars.

1. Understand (and Use) Long Tail Keywords

Longtail keywords are keywords that are several words long. Rather than targeting “plumber,” you might target “emergency plumber near me” or “plumber to unblock a drain.” These are critical because they are more likely to match the words searchers use and they also indicate the searcher is ready to hire or buy.

Ubersuggest is a great resource for discovering keywords in your industry.

When using Ubersuggest, remember that you aren’t necessarily looking for the highest-traffic keywords. You are looking for the words your customers use to look for you.

Be on the lookout for long-tail keywords that are longer, more specific keywords that make up the majority of search-driven traffic.

Here’s a simple system you can use:

Step #1: Enter Your Head Keyword and Click “Search”

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest

Step #2: Click “Keyword Ideas” in the Left Sidebar

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest 2

Step #3: Analyze the Results

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest keyword ideas

In the example above, the term “social media marketing” is considered a “head” keyword, which means it is searched for very frequently. The much less popular term “social media marketing strategy” receives fewer searches, but indicates the searcher is looking for something more specfic.

You might go even further and try something like “the best social media marketing strategy.”

To find even more keywords, click the “Related” tab next to “Suggestions.”

For this particular keyword, doing so gives you nearly 16,000 more keywords, the majority of which are long-tail. For example, here’s what you see as you scroll down the results:

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest keyword ideas

Once you find a long-tail keyword that piques your interest, click on it for a better idea of your competitors, both for paid ads and organic search.

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest kewyord overview

The big mistake that many first-time marketers make with SEO or pay-per-click advertising is choosing the wrong keywords.

When you purchase head keywords like “social media marketing,” you will spend significantly more money and reduce your ROI dramatically.

The key that you have to remember is you get a lot more bang for your buck by targeting a large number of lower-traffic terms than by targeting a small number of higher-traffic terms.

Finally, the best source of keywords can come from your own website. Consider using a survey tool like Qualaroo to find out what your customers are looking for or why they decided to do business with you (after checkout for example). The language they use can be very effective ad copy for internet advertisements.

2. Understand the Different Types of Paid Ads

There are a lot of places to buy ads and each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Before getting started, you should understand the major types of paid advertising as well as their pros and cons.

paid internet advertising examples

Display Ads or Banner Ads

Banner ads immediately come to mind when we think about online advertising because they stand out. They are very common and come in a variety of sizes. These ads can be effective, but they tend to target customers who are not actively looking for something new.

For example, a person may be reading a newspaper article and not be interested in a new social media course. Display ads can be successful, but they need to be used properly. Display ads can be purchased using a pay-per-click model or they simply can be displayed for a certain length of time.

different type of internet ads display ad example

Text ads are the type you usually see on the primary Google search page. These ads generally are less expensive than display ads and target customers that actually are looking for something specific. They can be very effective but depend heavily on good keyword research and A/B testing (a topic we will discuss later in this post).

Here are a few of the places you should try listing your ads, though there certainly are many others:

Google Ads

Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) are an obvious choice for many businesses. They offer display and text ads in association with highly targeted keywords. AdWords are a clear choice for any campaign.

Bonus Tip: Your Google Adwords ads will produce a better return on investment the longer you use Adwords. Google rewards long-term customers with better “quality scores”.

Bing or Yahoo

Bing and Yahoo both offer alternative ad platforms that work similarly to Google’s. They combine display and text ads with targeted search terms. Some brands find that, while these options bring less traffic, the overall ROI is a bit better.

Social Media Ads

Social media advertising has grown enormously in popularity over the last few years. These ads combine text and display elements and are targeted based on user preferences, demographics, and location. Depending on your business type, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok are valid options to consider.

BuySellAds or Direct Buy

BuySellAds.com is a great place to go to find additional display ad opportunities. These usually allow you to “rent” space on a site or a blog for a fixed cost. Additional opportunities like this can exist if you contact some of your favorite bloggers directly.

Can’t decide between Facebook or Google (two popular options)? Then check out this video for some guidance:

Start by trying several of these options and use hard data to make final decisions about where you want to put your money. Rely on hard data, not guesses, to understand what platforms provide the best return.

3. Track Your Paid Ad Results

If you aren’t able to see how each of your ads is performing, then you shouldn’t be buying paid advertising at all. The beautiful thing about online advertising is that you get the opportunity to track everything. Google Analytics is an absolute must when it comes to online ad buying. This analytics package is free and easy to install.

Once you have it set up, you should become very familiar with Google Analytics Custom Campaigns. These options allow you to create a customized URL for each ad that will help you see overall performance for all of your advertising. Using Google Analytics in this way will give you a single dashboard for comparing all of your advertising campaigns.

4. Create a Landing Page

It is important to send incoming visitors to a unique page (called a landing page) on your website, rather than your homepage. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there are three very good reasons for using this strategy:

  1. Landing pages allow you to customize your message for incoming visitors. This means that you can continue the message you started with your ads, which creates a more cohesive experience.
  2. Custom landing pages allow you to push visitors toward specific actions, such as downloading a free ebook. (Displaying traditional navigation may distract your visitors.)
  3. Landing pages make tracking your visits very easy. This is especially important.

When you combine this strategy with easy funnel-tracking tools, you quickly can gain a lot of information about how to reach and sell to your new visitors.

In some cases, you can create a single landing page for an entire ad campaign. In other cases, you may want to create a specific landing page for each keyword that you purchase.

landing page example paid internet advertising

This landing page helps us track who comes to the page and exactly how effective our ads are.

It is important to remember to block your custom landing pages from search engines. This can be done with a simple edit to your “robots.txt” file. This is an important step that will make your ad tracking more reliable. If you allow Google and Bing to send non-paid visitors to your page, you may get a false sense of how your page is performing.

Here are two more tips to create high-converting landing pages.

Create a Call to Action

Once you have a visitor on your landing page, how do you convert them into a lead or a customer? Every page you send them to should have a clear call to action. Think about this one carefully, because it’s the difference between a sale and wasted money.

I like to decide what the “number one” desired outcome for each page is before I design a landing page. Simply ask yourself, “What do I want them to do the most?” Then create the page accordingly.

a good call to action example paid advertising guide

A good call to action will tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do.

Everything on your page should push your visitors toward the action you want them to take. Without considering this, you’re throwing money away.

Use A/B Testing

You may have launched your page, but you aren’t done yet. Small tweaks and adjustments can make a huge difference in your overall conversion rate. If you’ve followed the tips above, you should have the proper landing page and conversion tracking to make this task very easy.

A/B testing is being scientific about testing which methods work best. When you go about A/B testing, it is important that you make only a single, testable, change each time. For example, you could test the effectiveness of your page’s headline or button placement, but not both at the same time.

By testing a single change, you will be able to see conclusive results about what works best. A/B testing is an ongoing process, too, so don’t stop. Keep testing and modifying your page. You might be surprised at what it does to your overall conversion rate.

5. Review Your Paid Ad Results Regularly

Whatever you do, don’t look at your results every day. This practice can lead to hasty changes based on incomplete data. It is best to wait so that your analytics have time to accumulate accurate trends and information. Then determine a set time period for reviewing your statistics and making changes. It might be monthly, it might be weekly. Checking monthly is a good plan for picking up broad shifts.

Consider setting up spreadsheets to track your statistics. It’s easier to pick up on trends and understand what you’re seeing when you dig into your analytics to pull out the numbers for your spreadsheet.

tracking metrics for paid internet advertising

Use simple spreadsheets to track your incoming ad traffic.

Be prepared to kill keywords that are under-performing. Remember, conversion rates are your most important statistics, not clicks. Clicks just waste money if they aren’t driving leads or sales.

In paid advertising, the longer you run your ads, the better your rates and quality score will become. This will be true particularly if you rely heavily on good A/B testing and are constantly refining your ad buy.

5 Steps to Getting Started with Paid Ads

Time needed: 6 minutes.

Not sure how to get started with paid ads? Here’s five steps to make sure you don’t waste your investment.

  1. Understand (and Use) Long Tail Keywords

    Long tail keywords are less competitive and mimic the way people search.

  2.  Understand the Different Types of Paid Ads

    Each type of ad has different costs, audiences, and reaches. Understand the difference so you don’t waste ad spend!

  3. Track Your Paid Ad Results

    If you aren’t able to see how each of your ads is performing, then you shouldn’t be buying paid advertising at all. T

  4. Create a Landing Page

    Landing pages help drive conversions and make it easier to track. Don’t forget to add a CTA and use A/B testing.

  5. Review Your Paid Ad Results Regularly

    Check your results weekly or monthly to make sure your ads are driving results, not just clicks.

Conclusion

Paid ads are not a get-rich-quick scheme. Don’t expect to be finished in a week or two. Give your ads time and finesse your plan to get the best results. Cumulative trends and information will give you a clearer picture of which ads actually convert.

Start by setting a small budget, and increase it as you gain confidence. If you need help getting started, feel free to reach out to my team. We can help create an advertising plan that works for your business.

Are you considering adding paid ads to your online advertising strategy? What is holding you back?


Source: New feed 2

How to Humanize AI-Generated Marketing Content

How to Humanize AI-Generated Marketing Content

While future writers likely aren’t robots, artificial intelligence (AI) has enabled robot-human hybrid systems to create and edit content.

However, there’s no need to worry about your job as a blogger or writer.

AI-generated marketing content still lacks the human touch.

We’ll still need writers and marketers to edit and revise content to fit our desired context and avoid misunderstandings in the online world. Instead, using AI can speed up the writing process and enable marketers to churn out more content for the sales funnel.

How do you humanize AI content? Here’s what you need to know.

What is AI-Generated Content?

True to its name, AI-generated content simply means content written by AI.

Most AI technologies can perform activities that usually require human reasoning, intelligence, learning, or decision-making.

In terms of the content marketing process, AI is capable of creating a written narrative through “natural language generation (NLG).” This capability enables it to write business reports, predict consumer behavior, schedule content, and offer personalized product recommendations.

We bet you’ve been using AI-powered marketing tools without even realizing it.

Not only that, but you’ve also probably read content written with the help of AI.

The UK Press Association has utilized AI to write around 30,000 local news stories per month. Tech company OpenAI (co-founded by Elon Musk) launched the AI tool “GPT-3,” which can write like a human. Researchers have allegedly used it to write stories, share philosophical knowledge, and answer medical inquiries.

Interestingly, Econsultancy reports 18 percent of North America-based marketers use AI for content creation. Meanwhile, 23 percent use it for creative and design work.

These statistics show AI-generated content has a place in the marketing realm.

AI Subsets Used for Content

AI can create content through its subset called “content intelligence.”

Content intelligence leverages AI capabilities to help marketers create compelling posts and get research-backed advice on their marketing strategies.

This is made possible with a simple three-step process:

  1. Data collection: AI gathers data from CRM, surveys, social media results, website visitor behavior, and other relevant sources of information.
  2. Analysis: At this stage, AI analyzes and interprets the data to find trends and patterns.
  3. Insights and recommendations: AI can develop insights to modify your content and make it more effective and valuable to your target audience. It may also predict trends so you can boost your content ROI in the long term.

To sum it up, content intelligence lets marketers interpret the data to make research-backed decisions and boost their content marketing results.

Why Is it Important to Humanize AI-Generated Content?

In recent years, we’ve seen AI automate a lot of processes, but it still can’t act unsupervised. Even if AI can write thousands of words, the message must still be humanized to make a lasting impact on its readers.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of AI you should consider.

1. Humanize Content to Boost Personalization

People don’t want marketing messages that seem robotic and repetitive.

We see tons of marketing messages each day, so AI-generated content alone won’t let you stand out in the online world.

An interesting study by Adobe found 67 percent of people surveyed believe it’s crucial for businesses to modify their content based on context. When it’s not done right, 42 percent get annoyed because the content is not personalized.

While AI can automate the writing process, humanizing its output is still necessary so you can communicate with your audience in an authentic and sincere way.

2. AI Is Still Not Perfect

AI can follow the basic grammatical structure, but its outputs aren’t always perfect.

For instance, The Guardian commissioned the GPT-3 AI tool to write their content.

Here’s a paragraph of the results:

humanize AI-generated marketing content - example guardian

Some of the outputs were concise and cleverly written. However, AI technologies may ramble, make nonsense paragraphs, and go way beyond the specified word count.

Though AI has impressive writing capabilities, its dense articles mimic what you would find in Wikipedia. Spam text could find its way in the draft, or it could include out-of-context words or disparaging remarks.

Even if it can string paragraphs, editors would still need to pick out the information that ends up in the final draft.

The bottom line? Marketers still need to humanize the draft and edit the content for human consumption.

3. Humanize Content to Maximize Data

Sure, AI can quickly analyze the data and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

However, it still doesn’t have the capability to truly understand and empathize with readers.

It can’t work alone to create compelling scripts for your advertisements or video campaigns. You’ll still need to edit its outputs to fit your brand voice, framing and narrative.

Even if you have the necessary data, it requires human input to ensure the content resonates with your audience.

Rather than making AI go it alone, add a human touch to get the best of both worlds.

7 Tips to Humanize AI-Generated Content

AI can bring a lot of benefits to your content marketing funnel. Now, how can you humanize the output to create effective marketing content? Here’s how to do it.

1. Humanize Your Strategy

AI tools can conduct keyword research, suggest on-trend topics, and suggest blog post ideas based on your competitors’ top-performing content.

Despite the long list of article ideas, you still need to humanize your content strategy.

Let’s say you’re planning to assign an article on “X Tips for YouTube Marketing” based on the suggestion of your AI.

For the best results, discuss with your team to pick out little-known advanced tips. After all, your AI tool may pick out generic strategies that everybody knows.

Some articles may be a sensitive topic, so it requires delicate framing and prior discussion. In other cases, you may need the input of your client-facing employees (such as salespeople) to humanize the output so it feels relatable to your target audience.

2. Consider AI-Generated Content As a First Draft

A big challenge for many writers is starting from scratch.

It can be difficult to get the ample motivation you need to write a 1000-word article when you’re at point zero.

The good news is AI-generated content can act as an “ugly first draft.”

The Washington Post has published 850 articles with the help of a homegrown AI robot named Heliograf that can write short reports and posts. The initial draft helps writers overcome their slump and get in the groove by simply modifying AI-generated content.

Tools like Articoolo can also write AI-generated content. Writers just need to insert the topic and choose their preference.

Let’s say you’re writing a brief article about a “content marketing plan.”

Here’s an example of how this might look:

humanize AI-generated marketing content - example articoolo

Safe to say, it’s not perfect. However, a bit of editing could help you add a few introductory paragraphs or map out an outline.

As you write the article, you could use AI to generate drafts for more specific sections by placing more specific keywords like “content marketing benefits” or “how to create a content marketing plan.”

3. Stick to Your Brand’s Voice

Brand voice refers to the emotions and personality your brand wants to incite in your audience.

Are you supposed to be funny or approachable? If you want to seem more friendly and relatable, consider using a casual tone or a bit of slang. Likewise, if you want to exude a luxurious feeling, stick to a formal tone.

Here’s a brand voice chart that can help you pick out the characteristics of your brand:

humanize your AI-generated content by following this brand voice chart

How does a brand voice fit into AI-generated marketing content? AI-generated content may be grammatically perfect but seem robotic.

By keeping your brand voice in mind, you can make AI output seem more personal and genuine.

4. Consider Context

One of AI’s limitations is that it can’t consider context just yet.

It can create generic text for a general audience but not for a specific target consumer.

This is why remembering buyer personas are important. Before writing or editing AI-generated text, answer the following questions:

  • Who are my target readers?
  • Why is my content relevant to them?
  • How do I want to communicate with them?

If you collaborate with a variety of writers or editors, you may want to create article outlines. Ideally, this should have notes for each section of the content or details about your target audience.

This way, when an editor revises the AI-generated content, they will ensure it aligns with the desired context.

5. Make It Concise

As shown in the previous example, AI-generated marketing content could look like a long paragraph with hundreds of words.

Of course, readers don’t like to read long lines of text.

To humanize your content, consider breaking up a paragraph into two to three lines of text (60 to 90 characters). Make it conversational by asking questions now and then to mimic human conversation. You can occasionally keep sentences short or in a single line to make a point.

6. Personalize Content at Every Stage of the Sales Process

Eighty percent of shoppers are more likely to buy from brands that deliver personalized experiences.

Humanizing your sales and marketing funnel entails building personalized experiences. While this may take time and effort, AI technologies can speed up and automate the process.

With data-based personalization, marketers can enable consumers to view information that is directly relevant to them based on their behavior and interests.

Here are a few ways AI can humanize your sales funnel:

  • Deliver automated emails with personalized product recommendations or abandoned shopping cart reminders.
  • Utilize chatbots to answer customer inquiries or direct customers to the appropriate FAQ section so they can resolve the issue without waiting for customer support.
  • Show pop-ups based or send downloadable resources from previously viewed content.

Again, AI can identify data and automate the process, but you’ll need human input to connect the dots. Maybe your sales teams will have to occasionally modify the chatbot scripts based on previous customer interactions in order to boost engagement.

For email marketers, you may want to look at the design and content of the top-performing emails. Conduct A/B tests to find out the most compelling CTAs, ideal text, or image placement.

With this process, you can humanize AI-generated content and make it relevant to your consumers.

7. Use a Mix of Tools

Just like humans, AI tools have specializations too.

Some are good at writing, while others are built specifically for editing or conducting plagiarism checks. Humanizing AI content involves finding the right tool for each step of the process.

Let’s say you want to write a blog post. Here’s a brief outline of how the process might look:

  1. Brainstorm blog topics (30 minutes)
  2. Research (2 hours and 30 minutes)
  3. Write (5 hours)
  4. Edit (1 hour)
  5. Publish (10 minutes)

To streamline the writing process, try to find tools that can help you at each stage. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Atomic Reach: to analyze current content to identify the topics that will resonate with your audience
  • Articoolo: to generate first drafts of an article instantly
  • Grammarly: for vocabulary enhancement, spell checks, plagiarism checks, and eliminating grammatical errors
  • Hemingway: to make your writing more conversational by highlighting hard-to-read sentences and suggesting simpler alternative phrases
  • Frase: for revealing the questions searchers are asking to create SEO-optimized content that dominates the SERPs

Conclusion

AI can power up your content creation process, but it still requires human input.

To ensure AI-generated content is correct and accurate, get it checked by a writer or editor. Make it concise and ensure it aligns with the intended context.

Keep your brand voice in mind to humanize the content and add a bit of personality.

There are a variety of AI digital assistants that can optimize for SEO, write a draft, or edit the content. Once you become familiar with these next-generation content writing tools, you can speed up and automate the writing process.

How will you humanize AI-generated marketing content?


Source: New feed 2

How to Use Data as a Service (DaaS) Tools in Your Marketing Analysis

How to Use Data as a Service (DaaS) Tools in Your Marketing Analysis

Data as a service (DaaS) is becoming increasingly popular. New advancements in cloud computing technology have made remote, cloud-based data storage and management easier to use and more accessible.

Businesses using DaaS platforms can see improvements in data collection, usage, and management. Additionally, offloading data management to DaaS companies means more internal capacity for business development.

Interested in getting started with a DaaS platform? Below, we’ll outline the benefits, solutions, and tools you can use to improve your data management strategies.

What Is Data as a Service (DaaS)?

Data as a service uses a cloud computing strategy to make business data readily available to stakeholders and third parties.

DaaS functions similarly to software as a service (SaaS), which removes the need for managing and downloading software locally. Unlike SaaS, which has been popular for the last decade, DaaS has only recently seen widespread adoption, primarily due to advancements in cloud computing technology.

Now, with low-cost cloud storage and bandwidth and cloud-based platforms explicitly designed for DaaS available, more businesses are moving their data storage out of local servers and into the cloud.

With DaaS services, businesses are no longer tied to local servers and storage systems, allowing them to securely store and access data remotely, collaborate with global partners, and find important business insights to drive new growth.

To put it simply, by using DaaS, you can access critical business data from anywhere at any time.

On the Gartner Hype Cycle, data and analytics services have already reached the Plateau of Productivity, showing their staying power in the market.

data as a service gartner hype cycle graph

What Are the Benefits of Using Data as a Service Tools?

Businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit from using data as a service tools.

Here are a few ways data as a service tools can improve your current data management processes:

  • Remote collaboration: DaaS allows partners in different locations to collaborate because employees can easily access the data from their devices regardless of location.
  • Seamless data access: Cloud storage also means team members don’t need to go into the office to download a file or check their analytics, saving individual employees valuable time and energy.
  • Simple setup: Businesses that adopt these platforms can begin storing and processing their data immediately, with very little setup time.
  • Crash protection: Cloud infrastructure is less likely to crash than traditional storage methods. This makes working on a DaaS server more secure and less prone to complications.
  • Improved financial reporting: Data as a service also improves financial reporting as businesses can convert IT costs from capital expenditures into operational expenditures.
  • Cost-effective: DaaS solutions are more cost-effective, allowing businesses to direct money where it’s most needed. Automated maintenance further alleviates internal management needs.
  • Insights and improvements: With features like data marketplaces, businesses can buy, sell, and trade data to drive new business growth. Each platform offers different insight and optimization methods to improve overall data management.

Who Benefits Most from DaaS Tools?

Data as a service is beneficial to any business model informed by data.

Whether you’re a marketing company focused on improving consumer insights or a product-based company with a global distribution process, there are many ways to leverage these exciting cloud-based services.

For example, if a company regularly tracks, mines, stores, and implements data insights, they can benefit from DaaS.

Or, if the business’s success is dependent on being aligned with customer needs and product offerings, data services can give important insights into improving this alignment.

Companies with remote teams can benefit from DaaS tools because they allow easy access to data from anywhere in the world.

DaaS also minimizes the need for in-house data management, which is a good strategy for companies looking to divert resources to other departments.

Additionally, companies that want access to data-backed analytics to improve internal processes or enhance customer relations can also benefit from this service.

Data collected by RocketSource has shown one of the greatest benefits of DaaS is improved customer experiences. This is due to the ability of these platforms to simplify data management both internally and externally.

For businesses, DaaS tools make it easy to understand and optimize decisions and campaigns. For customers, it can result in more tailored experiences overall.

benefits of data as a service chart

Using DaaS Tools in Your Marketing Analysis

Data as a service tools give businesses the ability to segment unique data sets generated from Big Data. This information can be collected from six specific categories:

  1. web mining: data compiled by mining the open internet
  2. search information: data compiled from browser activity and intent behavior
  3. social media: data compiled from shares, comments, check-ins, and other actions taken on social media
  4. crowdsourcing: data collected from the public through surveys, polls, forums, and so on
  5. transactional: data created from financial, logistical, and other such business practices, including withdrawals, deposits, insurance claims, flight reservations, and more
  6. mobile: data compiled from apps and services working in the background of mobile phones

The ability to collect, analyze, and store all of this user-specific data is a huge advantage to marketers, allowing for more cohesive and clear market research.

Here are a few ways you can use this data to improve your marketing tactics:

Benchmarking Reports

DaaS makes comparing your performance against competitors easy. With simple, global access to organizational data, marketers can create benchmarking reports to gather data on financials, turnover, and leadership efforts and back everything up with percentile breakdowns. Workday is one data as a service provider offering exceptional benchmarking tools.

Business Intelligence Sharing

Data as a Service tools make data standardization easy by bringing together data sources and analytics with unique data visualizations. Companies can then offer this data to internal users to help facilitate business intelligence processes.

Access to Data Marketplaces

DaaS tools can give businesses access to data marketplaces where users can buy and sell different data sets from multiple sources. This data can then be repurposed and monetized for future business growth.

Consumer Research

Many data as a service platforms offer consumer insights and research options. These insights can alleviate internal research for marketing teams and give more refined solutions to improving consumer relationships.

How to Pick the Right DaaS Tool for You

Getting set up with data as a service is relatively simple, as most setup and preparation work is done through the service rather than on-site.

Most DaaS providers offer technical support solutions that alleviate this management from the business side.

How to Pick a DaaS Tool

Consider your business needs. Depending on your size, growth goals, and team, you may need different features in a data as a service tool.

Points to consider when choosing a data as a service tool are:

  • price
  • scalability
  • reliability
  • flexibility
  • infrastructure integrations
  • team access requirements
  • existing workflows and needs

Once you have these points laid out, it’s time to choose a data as a service tool and get your business signed up.

7 Great Data as a Service Tools

1. Snowflake

Snowflake offers data engineering, data lakes, data applications, data warehouses, and data sharing. Some of their biggest value propositions include unlimited scale, seamless access across clouds, and near-zero maintenance. Snowflake is a good choice for large, international businesses needing scalability and high-security features.

snowflake data as a service tool

2. SAP HANA Cloud

SAP HANA Cloud is the cloud-based data foundation for SAP Business Technology Platform. It integrates data from across its enterprise system, creating live data solutions. This DaaS platform offers a low total cost of ownership and high processing performance through hybrid multimodal transactions. Real-time analytic processing allows for quick, data-backed decisions. SAP HANA is best for businesses already working in the AP Business Technology Platform.

sap hana data as a service program on computer screen

3. Oracle

Oracle is the world’s leading converged, multi-model database management system. It offers NoSQL and MySQL databases, simplifies recreational database access, and reduces internal management workloads. Oracle boasts high-level performance, scalability, and availability for its clients. This DaaS tool is optimal for businesses looking for a hands-off approach to data management.

oracle database data as a service

4. Kantar Marketplace

Kantar Marketplace is a data as a service platform designed to deliver market research insights to marketers and agencies. Their platform includes insights into ad testing and development, consumer and retail trends, product development, media planning and effectiveness, and provides custom survey options.

kantar data as a service platform

5. D&B M-DaaS

The dun & bradstreet M-DaaS: Master Data as a Service platform allows companies to integrate master data into native workflows seamlessly. Pre-mastered commercial content is delivered through a consistent and dependable platform, allowing brands to improve their master data management programs. This tool is a good choice for large or legacy companies with complex, large data sets to manage.

d&b data cloud data as a service

6. Refinitiv

Refinitiv is a data as a service platform providing risk intelligence data for financial institutions. They offer a centralized view of the legal entity of a company, supplier, or issuer so entity relationships and risks can be easily identified and managed. Regulatory compliance and requirements are the backbones of this service. Refinitiv is an excellent choice for businesses with high compliance requirements and diverse entity partnerships.

refinitiv logo data as a service

7. Dynata

Dynata is the world’s largest first-party data and insights platform, reaching over 62 million consumers and business professionals worldwide. Their service offers real-time feedback loops so marketers can understand what’s working and what’s not. Dynata is driven to maximize ROI at every stage of a campaign for continuous optimization.

How to Use DaaS Tools in Your Marketing Analysis

  1. In Your Competitor Benchmarking Reports:

    You can use DaaS tools to gather benchmarking data based on competitors.

  2. In Your Business Intelligence Sharing:

    You can use DaaS tools to get images of your brand’s performance across data points.

  3. In Data Marketplaces:

    DaaS tools buy and sell audience data from multiple marketplaces.

  4. In Consumer Research:

    DaaS tools can offer consumer insights.

Conclusion

Data as a service platforms allow for cohesive and accurate data management that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

DaaS can also alleviate some internal management and IT needs, allowing businesses to move budgets towards more profitable markets and employees to focus on big picture issues.

Internal platform insights from DaaS platforms can be beneficial to marketers looking to improve consumer research and optimize existing data sets.

With improved data visualization, storage, access, and consumer data insights, data as a service offers growth and ease to partners and affiliates alike.

Once you have a DaaS system in place, you can start levering the data and investing in your marketing strategy. Let us know if we can help you reach your audience!

What excites you about data as a service?


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