Search specialist shares five ways to adapt your search strategy in uncertain times

Search specialist shares five ways to adapt your search strategy in uncertain times

The events of the last few weeks have had a dramatic effect on millions of people’s lives. Uncertainty over health, childcare, work, food and the wellbeing of loved ones has dominated all of our thinking over the past few days.

Not only has it changed the way we’re shopping and interacting with others, an expert at online search specialist Epiphany, Paul Norris, has looked at how it has impacted what users are turning to the internet for and advises how businesses can adapt their search strategy during this tricky time.

The Prime Minister’s speech on 13th March 2020 served as a catalyst for many to search for “working from home essentials” with searches such as computer chairs increasing by 185%.

As a nation, we also considered our options for emergency deliveries, including “wine delivery” services, which nearly tripled in just one week.

search strategy and trends in tricky times

As people’s searches change to reflect new (increasingly home-based and socially distant) situations, it’s important that marketers adapt to the shifts in search behavior.

Here are a few ways to navigate the next few weeks and to prepare for when we emerge from the current situation:

1. Identify and capitalize on emerging trends

Monitor your search query reports closely – look for increased use of convenience and supply modifiers as availability and fulfillment is valued more. Searches containing “near me” have started to fall as queries for “online” services have increased.

If your business offers quick deliveries (and can still fulfill them), ensure it’s prominent in messaging, listings and on-site. Searches for next and same-day delivery will only continue to grow.

2. Listen to your visitors – use your site search reports and Hotjar polls

Your on-site search function is an absolute gold mine in times like these – demand and behavioral changes from your visitors are picked up directly. Use the Site Search report in GA (found under “Behaviour” on the left-hand side) as a listening board.

closely monitor site search reports to effectively work on your search strategy

Surface the most-searched-for products and services on relevant high traffic pages. Rethink, test and measure your carousels and other key product and service listing elements where relevant. Enabling Hotjar (or similar) polls can also enable you to get more specific insight.

3. Shift budget into investment channels

If you’re pulling back on sales activation because demand is dropping, look to move that budget and resource into a medium and longer-term activity that will pay dividends when demand picks up. With the previous points in mind, conduct a meta-data review and weave more highly valued services such as next day delivery into titles and descriptions. Has content taken a back seat? There are some definite benefits to content strategy, planning, and creation with the headspace you’re afforded when working from home.

4. Bypass dev queues and do what you can from your CMS

Prioritizing your activity in a busy dev queue can be difficult at the best of times. If dev time is booked up because the team is completely promo and sales activation focused, do what you can. Are you able to edit content and optimize existing pages in the CMS? Can you create new landing pages in your CMS without tech intervention? If so, now is the time to utilize those capabilities.

5. Maximize performance where demand is strong

Identify where demand remains strong (or has even picked up) and do what you can to capture and convert it. Your top landing pages and product reports are a good first port of call and can provide you with some quick wins. Segmenting and analyzing site performance by product/area/service (depending on your sector) can help you identify and capitalize on bigger emerging trends. If you’re a retailer, think about splitting out essential and non-essential products.

Paul Norris is Senior Strategist & Head of London Operations at Epiphany.

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4 Ways to Manage Remote Workers When You Don’t Know How Long They’ll Be Working From Home

4 Ways to Manage Remote Workers When You Don’t Know How Long They’ll Be Working From Home

The remote worker is almost as old as the internet itself, so we’ve had more than a couple of decades to learn how to manage employees who aren’t physically present. But as we see this trend increase, it’s clear that effectively managing an employee whose “office” is in their home with an internet connection and a computer doesn’t mean that there’s a truly symbiotic relationship between a manager and their remote, work-from-home reports. It’s a lot more complicated than that. In fact, the learning curve has turned out to be steeper than any of us anticipated, and this specific employee group continues to be severely underrepresented despite their very unique needs.

A recent survey of 2,000 frontline workers and 2,000 managers in the U.S. and the U.K. shows that there is a major disconnect between workers on the front lines and business leaders. In fact, almost 90% of these employees feel connected to direct coworkers, but less than 15% feel connected to HQ. Worse, just 3% feel connected to their C-suite. That disconnect is affecting the bottom line. Less than half of workers say they share ideas with senior team members, and more than half say they feel voiceless. That can contribute to an environment where suggestions go unsaid and innovative ideas are stifled.

These numbers provide some important food for thought. Are you at risk of losing exceptional remote-based talent because you’re unclear on how to best manage and retain those workers, especially if your “work from home” policy extends longer than previously anticipated? (Which we know many companies are facing now, with COVID-19 impacting businesses worldwide.) During a crisis—or if someone is at home with family, or sick, etc.—people may need to take a more flexible approach. To better accommodate families and work in general during these times, have frequent team check-ins to understand your team’s needs and be sensitive to their well-being.

It’s time to meet these challenges head-on because the future is only getting more distributed. Here’s how leadership can navigate this evolving modern work environment and create an organization that values each employee.

Onboarding, training, and managing remote workers

For an in-office worker, the first day on the job is usually filled with introductions, new equipment, and the crucial first lunch. But the first day for remote workers looks very different.

Just because a remote or deskless worker isn’t at the office doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same onboarding experience and training as the rest of your team. Send a welcome package in the mail along with necessary equipment (where applicable) and include a training schedule as well as some introductory instructions (login information for work accounts, for example). Also include handbooks and style guides. Assign a work mentor to whom the new employee can turn for help and advice. Better yet, take advantage of the tools at your disposal, like creating a bot that will automate monthly check-ins, or create a direct chat where you can take advantage of immediate, one-on-one feedback. Entire businesses can also benefit from newer technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and more. We must be open to these ideas and be unafraid of pushing the boundaries of innovation that enable greater and more interesting connections.

From the beginning, managers of remote and distributed employees should be asking questions about preferences for minor things that make a big difference, such as feedback style and meeting preferences (for example, do they prefer videoconferencing for one-on-ones or group catch-ups?). Create a “How I Work” document and ask your direct reports to fill it out. You can capture very important information, and it shows you’re being mindful, thoughtful, and preferential to what works for them. It’s also important to regularly communicate and check for context. When teams are dispersed, it is difficult to know who has been exposed to project knowledge and updates, so reinforcing context in writing, during one-on-ones, and team meetings is important.

Managers should also make a list of where remote employees can find helpful resources, from important company updates to how to reach IT for technical issues. Ensure your organization has enterprise tools that are available on mobile devices and have little barrier to entry for frontline employees who may not be in a home office.

Encourage engagement while your workforce is distributed

The old saying “Out of sight, out of mind” can certainly apply to those not in the office. It’s easy for remote workers to feel they aren’t heard, and it can be difficult to collaborate with people who aren’t physically present.

It would seem obvious that the correct way to address this disconnect would be to invest heavily in collaboration tools. But the same survey shows that while 95% of business leaders recognize the value of collaboration tools, only 56% have rolled them out.

If your organization is serious about tapping into the potential of remote workers, it needs to invest in the best technologies to make sure collaboration tools are not just suggested but are incorporated into all processes to ensure that all workers, remote or at HQ, can have their contributions equally seen and heard.

So why not make this a fun process for your workforce while they work distributed? Perhaps make a company-wide “work where you want” day and have your workers send a photo to your HR team for them to post on a company forum somewhere to showcase all the different places and ways that your colleagues work, best practices, or work-from-home hacks that colleagues can share with each other.

Remote workers also need to be included in things such as all-hands meetings hosted by the CEO via videoconferencing and Q&As that can be watched live or bookmarked to view later in local time zones.

Adapting to changing environments and work culture

As organizations become more global and increasingly mobile, leaders need new ways to build, scale, and sustain culture across their organizations. Technology is the key to creating an open, transparent culture. After all, when you connect people and give them access to information, you can change culture and transform your business. It’s no surprise that working alone can be isolating, so it’s important to leverage the right technology that not only connects everyone, but makes them feel physically present.

However, technology is only one influential part here. The people make the largest impact. If you have your mission and vision written on your website, provide some swag for your remote workers to keep on their desks at home—for instance, printed on a calendar, a water bottle, a notepad, etc. Remote workers aren’t just looking for a connection to each other but to the very vision they believed in when accepting their current role.

Helping change managers’ mindsets about distributed/remote organizations

Managers, executives, and C-suite leaders should focus on where the best talent resides and realize that those employees may not always be located in the corporate headquarters or local office. Alternatively, as the world changes, it may be a safety precaution or requirement that must be taken and may be prolonged due to unexpected conditions.

This means understanding that what’s best for your organization may mean enabling workers across the globe who are best suited to meet your bottom line, assist your customers, and serve your business, from a desk or the front line. Leadership must embrace this as well and ensure that employees know that the quality of their work will remain more important than the location they’re getting their work done. As leadership encourages a forward-thinking organization, you will retain and attract like-minded employees who end up being great colleagues.

When there are annual meetings, remote and distributed employees need to be there. And if they can’t attend holiday functions, make sure to make them feel seen and valued by sending a treat (cookies can do wonders). Remember that all the perks of being an in-office employee extend to distributed and remote employees.

When it comes to being a distributed organization, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. The trick is to get strategic about the tools at your disposal and ensure your leadership team is equipped with a set of tools to best manage their direct reports, whether in-office or online. You’ll also need to shift the organization’s mindset to recognize that teams extend beyond just the people in the office.

Leadership teams and managers also need to ensure they’re collecting feedback and sentiment about the distributed employees they manage. That will ensure that corporate offices are aware of pain points and how to best incorporate and provide feedback with the goal of creating a unified, collaborative environment that prioritizes open communication and support.

While we can’t predict what will happen with the world in a few months, weeks, or days, we can follow the trends that point to the fact that remote workers aren’t going anywhere, and companies need to adapt to remain competitive. Hopefully, leadership teams will equip managers with tools to feel heard, gather feedback, celebrate wins, understand work preferences, and ensure connection to global headquarters.

Christine Trodella is head of Americas at Workplace from Facebook.


This article was written by Christine Trodella from Fast Company and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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Customer Trust Is the New Gold, and the Original Gold┃5 Ways to Build It

Customer Trust Is the New Gold, and the Original Gold┃5 Ways to Build It

Trust has never been unimportant in business, but it has also never been more important. Human relationships breathe the air of trust, within organizations, with colleagues, co-workers, partners, suppliers, clients, and customers.

Within your organization, trust is what keeps business moving. Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a whole book about it called The Speed of Trust. He talks about the relationship between trust, speed, and cost. “When trust goes down,” he says, “speed decreases with it. Everything takes longer. Simultaneously, costs increase.”

But let’s talk about customers.

Customer trust has eroded over the past few years on several fronts. The more that consumers learn about how their data is gathered, used, sold, and compromised, the less they trust organizations to use it only to create better experiences or offer more relevant products. Earning and keeping customer trust has never been as important or as difficult. But it is possible.

With trust in such a precarious and fragile state, it takes an instant to gain or lose a customer. And it could be for anything, any indicator that your company is not worth trusting if the risks seem to outweigh the benefits of doing business with you.

Take steps to gain trust on the first try. Because you will likely only have that one chance. You must make a great first impression, and every time a customer engages with your branding, your products and services, and your organization is the first impression. After you’ve made thousands of positive first impressions, even with the same customer, it only takes one bad first impression (every customer interaction is the first impression) to lose them.

The cost of acquiring a new customer can be five times more than retaining existing ones. According to research by Bain and Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25 to 95 percent. Clearly, the research supports Covey’s theory of customer trust.

Here are some steps you can take to demonstrate to customers that their trust in your company is well-placed.

1. Be transparent about who you are, what you offer, and how you do business

Let’s start with some recent research that says 86 percent of American customers say that transparency from businesses has never been more important. Also, 86 percent who see a lack of transparency from businesses on social media are likely to do business with the competition. However, 85 percent of consumers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand that has demonstrated past transparency prior to a bad experience.

Recent Pew Research Center findings show that among U.S. adult respondents:

  • 81 percent feel that the risks outweigh the benefits when companies collect data
  • 79 percent are very concerned about how the data that companies collect is used
  • 79 percent are not convinced that a company would admit mishandling consumer data and take responsibility for those mistakes
  • 75 percent do not believe that the government will hold companies accountable for misusing consumer data

As the age of data breaches continues to pull back the curtain on how companies have been behaving behind closed doors with customer data, the only thing stunning about those statistics is that the numbers aren’t higher. Without question, one of the fastest ways to establish trust with customers is to understand what kinds of transparency they value and why and make that a defining quality of your organization.

2. Help your customers live out their values

The need for transparency goes beyond and deeper than data practices to the root of your organizational values. Customers evaluate your company based on many criteria, but increasingly important among them are your core values.

Some of the business behaviors that your customers and potential customers evaluate and factor into their decision to do or continue doing business with you include:

  • What issues and causes – social, environmental, and otherwise – do you support and engage with as a company?
  • Who are your business partners?
  • Do you and your partners pay fairly when sourcing labor and material, especially from developing countries?
  • What kind of working conditions and work environments do you foster, from the C-suite to the warehouse to the call center?
  • What are your company positions, policies, and initiatives regarding environmental responsibility and sustainability efforts?

Earning and maintaining customer trust rests heavily on how well your business supports, enacts, and helps consumers live their values as they do business with you. Remember, your customer wants to be the hero, and they expect you to help them make that a reality.

3. Enact empathy for your customers

In the experience economy, the companies that deliver the best customer experiences enjoy a great competitive advantage. Key to improved CX is understanding customer needs, wants, feelings, and motivations. In short: empathy.

Increased empathy benefits the entire organization, from inside out. As discussed in Entrepreneur, greater empathy leads to a boost in productivity, innovation, sales, loyalty, referrals, and more.

4. Be authentic and genuine with your customers

Gathering relevant and useful data and customer information to analyze can help inform how you engage your customers across their entire journey, and to do so in a meaningful and authentic way. The saying “fake it till you make it” can work in many contexts, but faking empathy will only make it clear to your customers that you still don’t get it – or them.

5. Deliver exceptional customer experience and customer service

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Walk the walk. Practice what you preach. Use whichever clichés you want; just don’t be one. You work so hard to convince customers to do business with you, so make sure they don’t regret their decision after enduring a bad experience or poor customer service.

A lot of things are the new gold: data, blockchain, crypto, silicon, water, and the list goes on. Trust is the old gold. In fact, trust is the OG: the original gold. Trust was gold before gold was gold. And now trust is the new gold, too. It only takes a moment to lose a customer forever. So, make every moment and engagement count.

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Top Ways to Make Money on Social Media in 2020

Top Ways to Make Money on Social Media in 2020

Want to learn know the top ways to make money on social media in 2020?

Today I am telling you how to monetize social media in 2020 and how do youtubers make money in 2020 and many other ways to make money on social media in 2020.

And it doesn’t matter if you have a large following, I am going to show you how to make money on social media with a small following too. So if you want to know how to use social media for business in 2020 this video is for you.

#socialmediatips #businesstips #onlinemarketing

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4. Merchandise Sales with Facebook Ads
5. Sell your Services with Pinterest

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In this video, Nakisha Wynn, work at home single mom of 4 is telling you how to make money on instagram in 2020 and how to get monetized on youtube in 2020.


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7 Ways to Write More Like-able Social Media Copy

7 Ways to Write More Like-able Social Media Copy

So your company decided that it’s about time to start engaging with an audience on social media. That probably means you’re going to run some social advertising (Facebook Ads, anyone?) and establish a brand presence on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and maybe even some other social media networks.

social media copy graphs

Image source

Let’s be honest, there are so many platforms with different length and tone requirements that it can be hard to figure out where to start when it comes to writing social copy. Luckily, we’ve got some best practices you can follow to get you started. Here are seven ways to write more likable—or more shareable, more heart-able, more tweetable—social copy:

  1. Create brand guidelines for social media copywriting
  2. Establish a goal for each social post
  3. Write for the audience on each social platform
  4. Encourage engagement
  5. Complement the visual with relevant copy
  6. Use hashtags and emojis wisely
  7. Stay on top of social media trends

Let’s get started.

1. Create brand guidelines for social media copy

First and foremost, you need to decide who your brand wants to be on social media. While this may seem simple, it can get more complicated than you’d initially expect. For instance, do you want to have the same voice on social as you do on your website? In local advertising or email marketing? What about out-of-home advertising campaigns?

Social media provides a unique opportunity to show off the fun side of your brand, whether that is through consistently playful social copywriting or through showing off your fun employees. Don’t believe me? Check out this tweet.

You wouldn’t see Pop-Tarts make the same jokes during a TV commercial or in its customer service.

If you’re not sure where to start when writing brand guidelines, we’ve got you covered. If you’re already working with some solid brand copywriting guides, that’s even better. Simply add social media to your book of rules and jump off from there.

2. Establish a goal for each social post

While it may be easy to establish a goal for each ad on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, this can be tricky when it comes to organic posts.

ICYMI: When you’re building out social ad campaigns, each platform will have you select a goal to focus your advertising and increase performance. That goal could be anything from branding to clicks or conversions. If you’re wondering how to establish a goal for your organic social media posts, why not start with the goals you apply to paid ads and expand your options from there? Consider these, for instance:

  • Branding
  • Clicks
  • Shares
  • Conversions
  • Followers
  • Likes
  • Comments or inbox replies

Once you have set the goal, you can measure how successful a post is. Then, it’s time to get copywriting.

3. Write for the audience on each social platform

Here’s the thing about copywriting for social media: Each social media network is created differently to serve different needs for different audiences. Which means you shouldn’t use the copy you write for LinkedIn on Twitter and vice versa. In fact, when you’re writing those brand guidelines, try to identify the *most* formal and informal you’ll be on social media to establish some boundaries.

For an exercise in social copywriting, let’s pretend your office hosted a Halloween party with some clients and you’d like to put the photos up on social. We’ll use the most popular platforms as an example.

LinkedIn: “Had a spooky time with @Client1, @Client2, and @Client3 last night at our annual Halloween Monster Mash—let’s haunt together again soon.”

Tags are important on any platform, but especially if you’d like your clients to repost!

Facebook: I’d feel comfortable posting the same copy on Facebook, but you may want to consider posting more than one photo and tagging more people. Facebook lends itself to photo albums, and you’re far more likely to see your “friends” interacting with a post that has plenty of visuals.

Twitter: “It’s getting spooky up in here. The annual Monster Mash is under way, see you on the other side.”

This platform lends itself to live updates, so you should try to tweet during the party. While that leaves less time for copy review, keep it short, sweet and throw in a picture.

Instagram: “Happy Halloween from these spooky characters!”

Like Twitter, Instagram can be used in real-time. If you had a Halloween fashion show or costume contest, you could snap pics and add them to your story right away. The day after, you can choose the best of the party photos and post it to your timeline, keeping the copy simple, casual, and direct.

4. Encourage engagement

If you’ve decided to dig into social media, your brand is probably looking to tap into an audience that they cannot engage through other mediums. There is almost no other place that you can engage with potential customers like you can on social platforms. Yes, that should make you a bit cautious, but it should also be exciting!

Voss holds the crown for engaging their social media audience through contests and giveaways. The company’s follower counts have exploded, and it has a very distinct brand on Instagram (and note all the co-branding tags!).

social media copy voss

A lot of companies tend to just talk about themselves on social, whether that means professing their mission, showing off their products or employees, or announcing company changes. Sure, that’s great and all—but if you only do that, your followers will get pretty bored. Or no one will see the value in following your accounts to begin with. Bring your brand down to Earth and start with something simple, like user-generated content from a relevant product giveaway or customer appreciation post.

5. Complement the visual with relevant copy

If there is anything that most B2B brands could do better, it’s connecting the visual to the copy. Hey, direct-to-consumer brands could use help here too! I’ve found that sometimes, we just want to have something, anything to post alongside a big brand statement like, “We believe sharing is caring, which is why we’re launching this new initiative. Check it out now.” But that copy is below the image of … a puppy? Why??

As part of their Proud to Belong campaign, Ray-Bans posted a series of re-cut videos and photos on their social accounts. It provided the company a unique opportunity to pair those visuals with copy that can add to or explain the campaign.

social media copy rayban

The best thing you can do is work hand-in-hand with your designer to make sure the messaging is cohesive throughout the post.

6. Use hashtags and emojis wisely

Remember when everyone used hashtags all the time, on every single post? You’d have some copy for the caption and then *at least* five hashtags. I did it, too! I’m not ashamed!

Here’s the thing. Hashtags still work; they function the same exact way they used to, at the beginning of social media platforms taking off. And people still use them to discover new content; influencers are still leveraging them. It’s up to you to decide if you want to include them in the posts you publish for your brand. If you want to contribute to a trending topic on Twitter, go for it. But outside of Twitter, I recommend making it a brand choice. Don’t post copy with a ton of hashtags … and then write the next post without any.

Nike is definitely one of those brands that uses its own hashtags consistently and well. We all know #justdoit, no matter what the current campaign is.

social media copy nike

Similarly, emojis drive engagement and show that you’re keeping up with the cool kids. However, make sure that emoji definitely means what you think it means before you post it.

7. Stay on top of social media trends

Though this probably sounds fairly obvious, make sure you (or whoever is in charge of writing your social media copy) is active on social media. That means they should be following a variety of accounts across platforms, looking at trending topics, and be able to comment on silly things like, “going to tell my kids this is…” or the recent Dolly Parton challenge comparing LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder.

This tweet from Netflix was right on top of the internet poking fun at IHOP rebranding to IHOB.

social media copy netflix

Opportunities for comments and jokes like this get stale quickly, so stay on top of trends—plus, this is going to be your best defense against an accidental social media snafu. We’ve all seen them, we’ve all heard corporate apologies for them, try not to be one of them.

Bonus tip: Just start drafting that social media copy

Finally, as with any copywriting, you just have to write. A lot. Write a ton of different versions of the same copy, then start all over again with a different idea. Talk to your team about the messaging—feedback is essential. All this gets easier when you plan ahead, so you can knock a full month of copywriting out in a couple days.

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Six great ways to get more out of your digital marketing campaigns in 2020 Search Engine Watch

Six great ways to get more out of your digital marketing campaigns in 2020 Search Engine Watch

Six great ways to get more out of your digital marketing campaigns in 2020

As we enter 2020, it’s time to leave behind old marketing strategies and adopt new ones. After all, there is a lot of innovation happening. From AI in customer service to influencers taking over social media, a lot has changed in the last year. Digital marketing campaigns now sprawl across different channels, tools, and processes.

While some strategies might remain partially the same, they will get a facelift in 2020. If you are looking to take your marketing to the next level in 2020, we’ve got some tips for you.

Here are some of the best ways to get more out of your marketing campaigns this year:

1. Create more video content

Videos have transformed the content marketing landscape. They have changed the way brands promote their products and create content. And video content is also becoming more popular. Wondering why?

Because people like watching videos.

In fact, 72% of people said that they would like to watch videos to learn about a product or service.

If you haven’t been using video content, you’re losing out on a lot of opportunities to grow your brand. With the evolution of social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, the video content game has changed dramatically. Video content is a versatile tool to increase brand awareness and drive engagement.

So, what kind of videos can brands create for promotion?

There are many different options — educational videos, onboarding videos, meet-the-team videos, customer journey videos, event videos, and more.

Looking for inspiration?

Take a look at the Reebok video marketing campaign

They created a video for their #HonourYourDays campaign which shows a woman’s relationship with running in reverse mentioning that the average human life is about 25,915 days.

While it doesn’t directly promote their products, it does highlight the importance of fitness. It’s a great way to spread awareness without being too promotional.

Source: YouTube

2. Use chatbots to enhance customer experience

With the help of intelligent chatbots, you can also leverage customer data. These virtual assistants are capable of collecting data from customer interactions and giving you insights into how your brand can improve.

For example, if customers are complaining about a specific product, you can dive deep into the issue and understand the problem on a granular level.

Providing a great customer experience can help brands increase lead generation and revenue. What’s more, it can also help you improve your customer experience and lower your customer acquisition cost.

One of the biggest benefits of customer service chatbots is that they are available 24×7 and give quick responses to queries.

Chatbots are also great tools for helping customers keep track of their purchases.

Mastercard’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger

For example, Mastercard’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger allows its users to ask specific questions. On it, a user can ask how much they’ve spent on food or on Uber.

For each user, the answer is personalized based on their bank statement. Users can also send submit questions to ask for more information about a particular product.

Mastercard's Facebook Messenger chatbot used for digital marketing

Image via Mastercard

3. Focus on personalization

Most content marketers believe that when a prospect customer engages with their brand and makes a purchase, it’s a win.

But what’s next?

A customer journey starts right from when a target customer engages with your brand and it continues through conversion. But it also includes providing customer support and elevating their buyers’ journey to turn them into cheerleaders of your brand.

So, it is essential to reach out to your audience and provide valuable services that are not solely revenue-centric. 76% of consumers believe that it’s easy to switch to a different brand to find an experience that will match their expectations.

So, how can you provide a memorable experience to your customers?

That’s where personalization comes into play. Not only can it improve the customer experience you deliver, but it can also boost your sales.

Providing a personalized experience can significantly impact your relationships with your customers. So, how can you create a more personalized experience for your customers?

Tools like Google Analytics and Cortex can help you get insights into your audience’s behavior. By using that data, you can find out what kind of content your audience is looking for and then optimize your content creation strategy accordingly.

4. Leverage influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has grown to become a whopping five to ten billion-dollar industry. It has helped marketers reach their target audiences, generate brand awareness, get more leads, and boost sales.

Collaborating with social media influencers has become a great way for brands to promote their products and services. When an influencer endorses your brand or reviews your product, it can get you a lot of publicity.


Take a leaf from Daniel Wellington’s digital marketing strategy

To create buzz about their brand, they send their watches to multiple influencers. They encourage those influencers to create posts with the hashtag #DanielWellington to help promote their products.

Daniel Wellington’s digital marketing strategy

Source: Instagram

Another example of great influencer marketing is Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner campaign

In this campaign, the company reached out to influencers from diverse backgrounds. One of the biggest influencers in their campaign was Devin Graham (@devinsupertramp) with over five million YouTube subscribers at the time. He is known for his daredevilry.

By partnering with Devin, Subaru was able to reach out to outdoor adventure junkies. Graham’s sponsored video with Subaru gained around 1.3 million views and 1.1k comments.

Source: YouTube

5. Automate your email marketing campaigns

About 73% of marketers consider email marketing to be crucial to their company’s success.

But it can be a time-consuming strategy. If you’re short on time, there is a way out – automate your email marketing campaigns. Not only can it help you save a ton of time, but it can also help you create more personalized content.

With this strategy, you can ensure that your content is delivered to your customers at the right times.

For instance, if a customer has abandoned their cart, you can send them a reminder to complete the transaction.

Here’s an example of how American technology company, FiftyThree, notifies their customers about abandoned carts with an appealing message.

example of automating email marketing campaigns

Source: Shopify

Marketers often use these emails to encourage their customers to take another step or get closer to a purchase.

Emails also provide you with an opportunity to upsell your products.

For example, an email that includes a section containing products similar to a user’s previous purchases can trigger their engagement.

Amazon's example of using product suggestions via email marketing

Source: Smartrmail

Email automation saves the time and efforts that are otherwise invested into following up with each action of a user. It also reduces the potential for errors such as hitting the send button prematurely when the user might not be ready.

6. Build a community

Building a community around your brand will help you improve your brand awareness, drive higher engagement, and organically boost your SEO.

When users create and share content around your brand, you are likely to get noticed by search engines. Brand mentions, post shares, comments, and likes — all of these help your cause.

Further, having a community of followers also helps strengthen your branding.

When you share valuable content that helps your target audience or aligns with their interests, they tend to associate more with your brand and become loyal customers.

Some companies even have brand ambassadors who regularly create content for them in return for benefits such as free products, invites to product launches or other events.

A great example of a community is GoPro, an action camera company that has solidified its position in the market by building a strong community of sports enthusiasts, photographers, and adventurers across the world.

The brand builds personal relationships with their customers while maintaining a focus on its target audience of sports enthusiasts.

example of GoPro's digital marketing campaign

Source: Instagram


Videos, chatbots, influencer marketing, personalization, and more — there is a lot of innovation happening in the digital marketing space. Anyone, from big brands to mom-and-pop stores, can use these strategies to grow their business. What are you waiting for? It’s time to incorporate these strategies into your marketing plan for 2020.

Have you used any of these strategies before? Please share your experiences and insights in the comments section.

Shane Barker is a Digital Strategist, Brand and Influencer Consultant. He can be found on Twitter .

Related reading

Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020
12 Unique social media marketing methods that work wonders
Seven content marketing strategies you should try [With examples]
Hootsuite social trends report for 2020

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3 Ways To Save Time and Automate Your Sales Process

3 Ways To Save Time and Automate Your Sales Process

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Deploy website

4 Easy Ways to Deploy Your Website or App — Front End Development

A website is not truly live until it comes online. Having a solid plan at deploy time will make or break the release of new features. When it comes to deciding what service to use for hosting and deploying a site, it’s critical to understand the purpose of the site you want to deploy. Do you wish for automatic deploys of your primary branch or would you rather have more control? How important is continuous integration (CI)? Do you have a static site or a huge database of user information? 

In this article, we will cover four happy deploy paths to getting your website online, and the benefits and costs of each plan. I’ll also discuss one potential integration plan for your Shopify app environment. No matter your skill level or experience, at least one of these paths should work for you. 

Before we start, you should have something to deploy (a codebase or repository) as well as a domain name you’d like to use. Shopify offers domain name registration if you need to grab one. If you’d like to skip straight to my favorite choice for deploying with Shopify, check out the section on Heroku.

So which option is the best for my Shopify app?

1. I have a static website and a GitHub account: GitHub Pages

If your page is completely static, that is, the completed site’s code is compiled before you add it to the repository (usually into a “build” or “dist” directory), there are a number of hosting and deployment options that cost nothing. One of the most basic (and completely free) options is to host your site on GitHub Pages

To deploy your first site with GitHub Pages

1. Log in to GitHub and create a new repository at “” where “username” is your account username. You may create a page for your GitHub Organization instead.

Deploy website- Deploying with GitHub, create repository

2. On the “create a repository” screen is an option to either choose a theme and automatically populate your repository with an empty Jekyll template, or you can do what I do and write your own static pages on a primary or master branch. 

Deploy website- Using GitHub, choose a theme

3. If you’d like to add a custom domain, you can do that on the “create a repository” page as well. There are a few more steps to adding your own domain, such as telling your domain service provider the IP address of GitHub Pages and waiting a tick for things to populate. Detailed instructions are available in GitHub’s help section.

Enforce HTTPS if you’d like—I would suggest you do, as it makes your site more secure and establishes trust with your user. Plus, GitHub will generate the certificate for you for free. 

Deploy website- GitHub, enforce HTTPS

4. Once you’ve set up your repository this way, GitHub Pages will look for an index.html file either in the root of the project or in a docs folder. And with that index.html file in your chosen deploy branch, your site is live!

Deploy website- GitHub successfully deployed site

5. To deploy updates to your page, all you need to do is add commits onto your main branch, either directly or via a pull request. 

Deploy website- Deploy updates screen

GitHub Pages does have a few major drawbacks. First, you are tied to GitHub as your version control platform. It wouldn’t make much sense to take your code to another service, like BitBucket, because you wouldn’t be able to push to GitHub Pages. You are also limited to one GitHub Pages site per account, and it must be a static site. Additionally, this is a no-frills path to deploying online. There isn’t an integrated CI pipeline, and you don’t get much feedback other than refreshing the page and seeing that things are updated. 

There is some benefit to the one-page setup and automated HTTPS generation. For example, my personal “I’m a developer and here is my contact information” website is still hosted on my GitHub Pages account and probably will be for the foreseeable future. When I’m looking for a more robust static site hosting option, I turn to Netlify. 

2. I have a static site, or a site built with a static site generator: Netlify

The first, and most glaring, benefit to using Netlify over GitHub Pages is the option to choose your git repository location. Any of the big three (GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket) are able to be fully integrated. For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to stick with GitHub for my git cloud storage service. After you create an account on Netlify, you’re just a few steps away from a deployed artifact.

To deploy your first site with Netlify

1. Select the “add a site” option from the dashboard and you’ll be directed to choose your git repository storage provider.

Deploy website- deploying with Netlify

2. Once you’ve followed the onscreen prompts to connect a git provider with your Netlify account, you need to choose a repository to deploy. You have the option to enable Netlify permissions for all repositories in your organization or specific, named repositories. For security reasons, I like to add repositories piecemeal.

Deploy website- Netlify, choose repository

3. Netlify will give you a few more options to choose from, such as which branch and directory to deploy.

Deploy website- Netlify continued options webpage

4. I recommend making a pull or merge request from GitHub (or wherever your repository is located) to take a look at the automatically-included continuous integration options. This CI is pretty bare-bones to start with, but you have the opportunity to create quite a robust system with Netlify itself.

Deploy website- Netlify, pull or merge request

5. There, your site is deployed! Out of the box, Netlify gives you a unique subdomain to view your app, but you may wish to supply a personal domain. You can do this from the settings tab on your dashboard.

Deploy website- Netlify deployed website dashboard

I use Netlify for my copy of the Gatsby Blog Starter as it comes complete with a “deploy to Netlify” button right in the documentation. I appreciate Netlify because of its low cost (free for my tier), integrated CI, and automated deploys whenever I merge PRs. It also offers support for functions as a service, form handling, and split tests, as well as any static-site generator you may want to use.

At Sparkbox, we have recently used Netlify for a couple of client sites, and the process has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s a great option for static or frontend projects. For apps that require a server-side piece, we like to use Heroku. 

You might also like: The Shopify App CLI: A Tool to Help You Build Faster.

3. I want to take advantage of a more custom pipeline: Heroku

Both Heroku and Netlify meet the requirements of quality deployment pipelines; however, Heroku is unarguably more robust. Heroku offers a free tier, with apps that “sleep” after 30 minutes—perfect for us developers who like to mess around with tools before paying for them. I also like that Heroku offers a “hobby” level hosting option for $7 USD/month, which meets the needs of quite a few of Sparkbox’s client sites. The “hobby” level is usually necessary for anything more than test apps.Heroku offers multiple deploy paths; you can deploy with GitHub, command line git, or Docker. For the sake of consistency, I’ll step through the minimum effort, lowest-thought-required option: GitHub.

The best pipelines don’t require our teams to think about deploying. Instead, the team just decides if code is ready to be shared via a push to GitHub (or your favorite Git hosting service). The pipeline takes care of the rest.

To deploy your first site with Heroku

1. Make your account on Heroku. On the main page, select “New”, then “Create new app.”

Deploy website- Heroku, deploying

2. Choose a unique name for your application and continue to “Create app.”

Deploy website- Heroku, choose app name

3. You may choose to create a pipeline for your app, which allows you to connect multiple apps and create review apps. For now, I will focus on deploying our site without specifying a pipeline. Select “GitHub” from the deployment method options and search for the repository you wish to deploy. Then hit “connect.”

Note: You may need to create an OAuth token for your GitHub account. Heroku is very good at walking through the process on-screen.

With GitHub properly configured, the response from GitHub should come fairly quickly (about 12 seconds for me). If you’d like, enable automatic deploys by selecting your desired branch and hitting the corresponding button. Automatic deploys keep your app up to date every time you add new code to the selected branch.

Deploy website- Heroku, create pipeline enable automatic deploys

4. Whether or not you choose automatic deployments, your first deploy needs to be a manual one. Luckily, you only need to select the branch you’d like to be live and then select “Deploy Branch.”

Deploy website- Heroku manual first deployment

5. After a few more seconds, you should be able to view your app live at the Heroku domain. Heroku is generally smart enough to determine what tasks to run. However, if you’d like to run specific or custom build tasks, you can adjust those under your app’s settings. Configuring your own custom domain is also available in the settings menu. 

Deploy website- Heroku, configuring custom domains

Pro tip: Check out the “Activity” page from the app dashboard for one-click rollbacks. You can also view server logs and run console commands under the “More” toggle.

Deploy website- Heroku 'Activity' page

Heroku should work for the majority of your needs as a developer, including your Shopify sites, depending on the chosen price tier and the number of “dynos” you’d like. For massive ecommerce applications, or really anything with a dedicated product team, you may want something more expansive. 

You might also like: How to Use Relative Pagination In Your Application.

4. I am a confident developer, and my site is pretty big: AWS, Azure, Low End Box, and DigitalOcean

The ecommerce team I work with uses a large, scalable cloud hosting service, due to the expansive needs of a full-function web app. This is a massive, multi-brand website with thousands of unique data scenarios. Multiple services are available at this scale. Here are some of the most popular services currently available: 

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made huge waves in the past few years by providing numerous hosting options and a highly customizable experience. 
  • Microsoft’s Azure is ridiculously popular, too, as its pay-as-you-go pricing model and top tier scalability make it an easy choice.
  • If you’re looking for bare bones hosting and super cheap prices, Low End Box offers just that. 
  • I have a personal attachment to DigitalOcean, one of the smaller fish (hehe) in this list. DigitalOcean’s extensive documentation and welcoming community make it an easy choice for me.

I was first introduced to DigitalOcean via Hacktoberfest, an event they sponsor every October designed to get more people contributing to open source projects. I’ll walk through how to set up a “Droplet” (virtual machine) on DigitalOcean.

To set up to deploy with DigitalOcean

1. You can sign up for DigitalOcean via GitHub, Google, or just by making an account. I’m going to sign up via GitHub. Unfortunately, as soon as you get past that easy step, you hit a paywall. DigitalOcean currently doesn’t offer any free tier for their services (though there are a number of those options above). I’ve luckily got a little credit, so I can still walk you through the setup process. Hosting a single Droplet will cost you around $5 USD/month.

Deploy website- DigitalOcean det up to deploy

2. After you figure out payment, you’ll be asked a few survey questions. Here you’ll name your app and get set up with a couple of technologies by default. I skipped a few of the nosier questions and went right on to the dashboard. 

Note: The “app” here is what we’ll call our complete pipeline. Meanwhile a “Droplet” is the virtual machine your app uses to run, like a digital computer on a server.

Deploy website- DigitalOcean dashboard

3. In this case, I’m deploying a Node.js app. So, I clicked the “Node” option and have a pre-populated Droplet I can click on the next page.

Deploy website- DigitalOcean finalize and create dashboard

4. You can scroll through options for the plan/storage size, server location, authentication, and more. Again, you’ll have to name your Droplet—I’ve just named mine after the app. When you’re ready, select the “Create Droplet” button to continue. 

Note: For long-term use, you’ll want to set up SSH (Secure Shell Protocol) to establish a strong, simple way for the service to identify your machine. DigitalOcean offers an in-depth tutorial on setting up SSH in their documentation.

Deploy website- DigitalOcean app dashboard

5. From this point, you’ll want to SSH into the virtual machine from your local console or use the in-browser console to clone your project onto your virtual machine from GitHub (or wherever your repository is located). Install dependencies as per your build requirements, and start up your app. You should be able to cURL your localhost and get a return with content from your app’s homepage. For example, if your site was running at port 8000, you could run curl http://localhost:8000/ and hopefully get a response.

Deploy website- DigitalOcean next steps

There is a bit more to do here to get your site fully live, such as setting up a proxy server (like Nginx). However, there is a whole lot more customization and nuance than I could ever cover in a single blog post. I heartily recommend checking out the DigitalOcean blog and their recently acquired learning platform for more detailed tutorials from this point forward.

Once your app is up and running on the server, you can access it by typing the server IP into your browser window. Custom domains are available on DigitalOcean and setup is very similar to the previous services on the list. However, you will likely not need a full-feature service like DigitalOcean for most small-scale Shopify apps.

So which option is the best for my Shopify app? 

For the quickest, cheapest, and most feature-rich option to deploy and host your Shopify apps, I recommend Heroku. Although my tutorial represented the browser-based GitHub deploys on Heroku, you also have the opportunity to deploy via the heroku-cli—which could be helpful in some situations.

Either way, Shopify provides a Ruby gem called the shipit-engine which makes your Shopify deploys quick and worry-free. All you need is a GitHub repository, a branch with some code, and a deployment environment like Heroku. So, head over to Shopify’s repository and follow the readme to install the ShipIt Engine gem—you’ll be online in no time.

And that’s it! There are numerous hosting and deploying services available to you, but these are some of my favorites. Whatever you choose, I recommend keeping your most recent codebase site safe in an online version control storage service like GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket. A repository provides the opportunity to quickly change deployment strategy in the future. As your traffic scales, you’ll learn and adjust to best serve your clients and users. Hopefully, I’ve equipped you with knowledge of a variety of options to prepare you to make good decisions when the time comes. 

What’s your favorite deploy method? Share your thoughts below!

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7 Ways to Make Money on Social Media in 2020

7 Ways to Make Money on Social Media in 2020

So how do you make money on social media, but without having a billion views and 100k followers, subscriber tiktokers?

7 ways to make money on social media

Build a Brand to even be considered, now you don’t really need a massive audience. Maybe between 5k plus you should be solid.
– Pick the main platform
– Pick a niche
– Be consistent
– Be active
Example: I know this one guy, that a friend of a friend and he travels for free by offering to take pictures for the hotel.

Pick a social media influencer Network
– Grapevine
– Brand watch
– AspireIQ
Tip: they all have fancy stories and brands they work with, just sign up to as many you can handle and see what gigs you can find

1. Affiliate marketing
Beg: By far one of the most popular ways to make money on social media.
Complex: That why you see a bunch of influencers with links in bio, descriptions and more.
Ending: commission is usually 1% all the way up to sometimes 55-65%.

Joke: green tea and teeth whitening: but in reality, those discount links are just a way to track who bought it.

– Amazon affiliates
– Fitness products
– Clickbank ( and they 1000s of product you can sell for a high commission)
Do me a favour: please make sure you like the product before you sell it.

2. Paid per post/ Promote the post
Beg: This one is kind of harder because you need to have proof of audience. Either through likes, followers or views and so on
Climax: This why Kylie Jenner Chargers 1m per post
But I honestly think that just a number they use to start the negotiation
– Usually, the advertiser will reach out to you
– Not all money is good money ( sometimes no is better )
– Be consistent and focus on building your audience
– Join one of those network groups they have a lot of deals going on

3. Ads integrated platform
Beg: to get ads on your videos you have to qualify
Climax: YOutube its 1000 subs and 4k watch hours
Facebook its 1000 followers or 15k post engagements or 180k minutes watched in 60 days or 30k 1 minute views on 3m videos ( this for short content, and you also have to follow the platform policies
Ending: they both are pretty cool, however, facebook is a little more tricky.

– Google AdSense ( youtube)
– Now Facebook has a way also

Tip: make content for both of them, you can’t really reuse content unless you reformat it.

4. Spokesperson
Beg: this is where the big money comes from
Climax: Im talking, the rock with underarmer, Kim Kardashian with Alexa, And even Kevin heart with chase
Beg: to be the spoke person the face almost of a company, theirs a lot of money and lot of risk ( if they go down something you go down: and backwards)

To do this:
You’ll either need to approach a small company in the development phase and help them. And then maybe you can be the spokesperson

However, to do it on a high level, you’ll need a big following.

5. Helping people use social media and also social media stars create content ( like what I did for Bela and forever world)
Beg: I did them both, I helped business and also youtube make content by editing
Climax: I ended up quitting in most situations, but did I learn a lot
Ending: it’s like what they say, the best way to learn is by watching someone do

What to do:
– Editing
– Manage social media for business

How: just reach out

6. self-advertising
Example: im accountant, and although I might give everything for free, people would still want to hire me and pay me. So the more value you give the more customers you’ll attract. ( but your reputation is on the line always)

7. Last way if we have time: Patreon: give people exclusive content
– For me, it’s against my idea of just giving all the knowledge I have.

Overall Tip: You can make money in a lot of ways, believe me. But I say no to 99% of all the campaigns I get, why because most of them just want to take and not give to the audience





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