The simplest definition of workflow is how you get your work done. It’s the series of tasks you do to meet a repeatable business goal, like onboarding a new employee.
The “repeatable” part is particularly important for a workflow, because a workflow task isn’t a one-off event or a group of tasks for something that’s a one-off, such as a special client project. These tasks happen in a logical order and are done regularly.
For example, consider a simple workflow to approve employee expenses. First, the employee submits the expense report. The employee’s manager then reviews and approves it. The manager sends the expense report to payroll, and payroll adds the reimbursement to the employee’s paycheck. In the final step of the workflow, the employee receives their paycheck, including the reimbursed expenses.
Often, workflows are represented visually, in diagrams, which helps you plan for contingencies. For example, if the manager rejects the employee’s expenses because that employee exceeded the $50 per diem allowance for meals, the workflow diagram would point to a box that indicates the employee revises their expense report, then resubmits the expense report to their manager.
Workflows sound simple, and that’s because they generally are once you break down end goals into repeatable tasks. They work for repeatable projects, like web design, as well as for standard business procedures. The key to workflows is understanding their components, managing them, and possibly using automation for them.
This guide will cover what workflow is and how to get the most out of your workflows, including
If you’re ready to learn more about workflow and how you can make the best of it to improve your business, this guide will help you get started.Components of a workflow
Because workflows are a series of repeatable tasks that are performed to reach a repeatable goal, they have several different components. Workflow models vary, but every workflow component or step is described in one of three ways — input, transformation, or output:
Workflows also have four main components to describe who’s in charge of something or what happens in the workflow — actors, activities, results, and state:
One thing you may hear a lot about as you research workflow is business process management, or BPM. The two may seem very similar since they both deal with workflow.
However, the biggest difference in BPM vs workflow is that BPM is all about designing processes, executing those processes, managing tasks, and continually optimizing everything. Workflow is part of BPM, but it focuses more on managing the tasks and making sure they’re repeatable. BPM incorporates multiple workflows.
One example of how BPM relates to workflow is hiring a new employee. There are several workflows and departments involved in getting this new hire on board. One workflow is for posting a job description, another is for screening resumes, and a third is for scheduling interviews.
BPM works together to create an ideal end result — hiring a great employee — while workflows are the individual sets of tasks to get to that result.Workflow vs process
Another area of workflow that may seem confusing is the distinction between workflow and process. They are very similar in nature, but while process is a series of tasks (like sending the W-2 form to the employee, the employee filling it out and sending it back), workflow is a way to be more efficient with processes.
Processes flow naturally, but workflows are modeled and automated with a purpose in mind. The resulting workflow is a consequence of the process. In other words, a workflow is a very streamlined process, and more and more often, it uses automation to complete the tasks and reach the desired outcome.
For example, to institute a workflow for the new employee, you’d create a packet of forms the employee could fill out from their computer, without downloading any files, and send quickly to HR for processing. An automation component would consist of emailing the employee a link to the forms as soon as they’re added to the system as a new employee. Then, when they click Submit to send the forms, the information would automatically be populated into payroll and other systems.What is a workflow process?
We touched on workflow vs process above, but what is a workflow process? If you’re working with a workflow automation tool, a workflow process is the series of tasks that are completed based on rules that you set up.
In workflow process modeling, which is setting up the workflow process, you create a linear, logical flow for the tasks, identify which tasks are automated, and set up rules for when the process moves to the next step.
In the case of approving expense reports, you could set up a workflow process to automatically approve reports when employees submit them. However, you could also set up rules for the expense reports so that they’ll be routed to the employee’s manager if there’s a large amount that exceeds a certain threshold, or bounced back to the employee if they spent more than a preapproved amount on client gifts or entertainment.
A workflow process isn’t necessarily confined to one department. The expense report example spans the employee’s department and the department responsible for reimbursing employees for expenses.How to create a workflow
If you already have processes in place, you have the foundation for creating a workflow. If not, here are the steps to create a workflow:
Once you’ve mapped out some workflows, you can get the most from them with workflow management. The next chapter will explain what workflow management is and how to implement it in your organization.Workflow management
After you’ve created workflows, the best way to take advantage of them is to set up workflow management. When you use workflow management, you coordinate the tasks involved in the workflow to reach the desired end result more efficiently (or more cost-effectively).
You don’t need software for workflow management, but since the idea is to streamline and automate workflows, you may want to use software tools to keep track of workflows and automate them where possible. Workflow management includes the tasks performed by both people and software systems, and because it provides visibility into processes, it’s helpful if you’re looking to improve your workflows.
Workflow management isn’t the same as project management. They’re similar, but workflow management deals more with automation and applying repeatable processes to repeatable business goals, like paying invoices. Project management is a much larger process that deals with responding to the changes that crop up on individual projects.Using a workflow management system
A workflow management system is software that helps track, control, and coordinate your workflows. This can include automation, such as routing tasks to the appropriate person or processing invoices for payment if they meet certain criteria. The workflow management system will include ways for you to define your workflows and set rules around them.
For example, if you use a workflow management system to process invoices, you could set up the system to automatically approve invoices from specific vendors that are under $50. If the invoice submitted is over $50, you could set up a rule to have the invoice routed to a manager for their approval.
A typical workflow management system will include these automation capabilities, as well as ways to integrate with existing systems so that it can route tasks appropriately. It can also combine multiple processes from multiple systems to streamline them, notify people when there’s a task they need to complete, and follow up with the person if they don’t complete the task.
The idea behind using workflow management systems is to make your workflows as much of a part of your office procedures as switching the phones from night mode and starting a pot of coffee when you come in.
Granted, you don’t have to use a workflow management system or manage your workflow processes. But this can lead to missed opportunities, unnecessary costs, and lost productivity.
Workflow management eliminates unnecessary steps and processes, and makes sure the right person is being assigned tasks. It provides a way to track progress, automate some decisions that would normally take up an employee’s time, and keep records of previous processes. Without it, an organization can succeed — but it will take a lot more time and resources.
There are still a lot of companies that don’t manage the invoice processing workflow. An employee will receive an invoice and scan it as a PDF, then email the invoice to accounts payable. Accounts payable will print the invoice, fill in relevant information like the vendor code, and then re-scan it as a PDF to save for record-keeping. Finally, payment is issued in the form of a paper check, and accounts payable enters the payment into the finance system. This isn’t a well-managed workflow.
On the other hand, a company that manages this workflow can speed along this process, saving valuable employee time and making sure the vendor gets paid much faster.
For example, the employee who receives the invoice scans it directly into the accounts payable system, which processes the invoice. If it’s an invoice that needs approval, an authorized employee is alerted to complete the task. After the invoice is approved, the payment is sent to the vendor (ideally using an electronic payment method), and the transaction record is automatically stored in the system.Important workflow management system features
There are some critical things any workflow management system should have. These include integration with other systems, the ability to build forms or use an outside form system to collect information from employees and customers, a workflow engine to make decisions, reporting tools, and a self-service portal to create requests and manage tasks.
However, this should be a low-code system. This is one thing that’s often overlooked. A low-code system doesn’t require the user to know a programming language to create their own workflows; they can use a graphical user interface to pull in workflow elements, then test them on their own without having to find a programmer to set it up for them.
Workflows are used outside the IT department, and a lot of managers in other departments will want to set up workflow management for their processes, especially simpler ones.
These managers know where their processes need to be improved and how to use technology. But they don’t know programming languages fluently enough to hard code those workflows into the system. A workflow management system that lets them drag and drop workflow elements into place can not only make it easier to get other departments to adopt the software but also save valuable time for the IT department.
Cloud-based workflow management software has become more popular in recent years. As companies tend to have a more distributed workforce, either through multiple offices or with remote employees, this makes it easier for them to implement workflows across all locations, as well as access the software from any device, including smartphones. The very nature of cloud-based software, which is a pay-as-you-go model instead of a big, up-front capital investment, also makes sense for companies that use workflow management software to cut costs.
Most of the top workflow management systems available have, at the very least, a cloud-based version, and several are cloud-only. For example, Integrify, HighGear, and Nintex, three of the best workflow management systems, all have cloud and on-premises versions. On the other hand, products like Smartsheet, Workfront, Asana, and Wrike, all widely used workflow management systems, are only available in the cloud.
Ultimately, the best workflow management system for your organization will depend on the features you need and the workflows you plan to automate. In the next chapter, you’ll learn more about workflow automation and the importance of low-code workflow solutions to encourage adoption.Workflow automation
We’ve already covered workflow management in previous chapters. However, workflow automation is a big part of workflow management. Workflow automation is how processes are designed, executed, and automated based on the rules you set up to route tasks, data, and files between people or systems.
Workflow management software is used for a lot of workflow automation. It can help companies save time and money, be more efficient, and minimize errors by removing the human element from some business processes.
Automation is ideal if you’re trying to streamline how you handle a lot of repetitive tasks in your business, from simple processes like expense approval to more complex ones like marketing campaign management. Basically, if you rely on the same series of tasks to get things done, workflow automation can make it easier.Manual workflow vs automated workflow
Even the most streamlined manual workflows are still less efficient than automated workflows, especially in a complex process like getting a report approved for a client. Someone receives the data that needs to be compiled in a digestible format for clients. The writing is the easy part, but then comes the approvals process.
First, someone has to review the report to make sure there aren’t any trade secrets or proprietary information included in it. If the report needs to be revised, it’s sent back to the author via email. After the security review, an editor needs to read the report for grammar, style, and spelling issues. That may involve several rounds of revisions as well.
Once the writing is done and edited, you’ll want to include illustrations and charts. You have to get your art department to create the graphics, then get approval for them. Someone will need to go over the layout, even if the report is only being produced as a PDF. Finally, someone approves the final draft, and it’s uploaded to the client portal for download.
With an automated workflow, instead of downloading and sending the files back and forth, the document stays in one format and is sent automatically to the next person in line for review as soon as someone finishes with their part. A request for graphics is created automatically. And in the meantime, the automated workflow collects data regarding the status of tasks, so you can check to see if the security review is complete or confirm that the designer has started working on illustrations. If the editor is taking too long, the automated workflow can send them a reminder.
This example of putting together a report illustrates three big benefits of using workflow automation. For starters, it streamlines communication between those responsible for different tasks related to the report. No one has to tell someone that it’s their turn to do something; as soon as the editor submits the request for revisions, the author is notified and can begin work.
It also creates accountability because everyone knows what they’re responsible for completing. Employees can manage their own time; they know what they’re supposed to do and when they’re supposed to do it. Their managers don’t have to ask them for status updates; they can go directly into the system to check on the status, something that hands-on managers will appreciate.
In other areas of the business, workflow automation also helps reduce costs and errors because it prevents tasks from slipping through the cracks.
For example, without workflow automation, an invoice submitted for payment might get forgotten. In the best case scenario, the company is charged interest on the overdue balance. In the worst case scenario, like for an ongoing service, the service is stopped until payment is received.
Additionally, companies can assign responsibilities to someone else no matter what the current management hierarchy is, so if the person who usually approves invoices manually is out on leave, someone else can be assigned that role.Why low-code workflow automation is important
While there are plenty of IT processes that can benefit from workflow automation, that’s just one department in a business. Sales, marketing, finance, human resources, procurement, legal, and other departments also have processes that can quickly get unwieldy, and they can be more productive by automating their workflows as well.
However, most employees aren’t fluent coders, so if they want to construct workflows and automate processes, they need a solution that doesn’t require them to hard code anything.
For example, a marketing department manager may want to create a content request workflow so that sales can request a marketing asset for a new product launch. Without a low-code product, the manager needs to put in a request to IT for a content request workflow. If the IT department is backed up with other projects, it could take a while for them to even get started on this workflow, much less test and deploy it.
Low-code workflow automation systems let line-of-business managers and users create their own workflows using a graphical user interface, which eliminates the need to get a programmer involved. If the product is easy enough to use, the marketing manager could create a simple content request workflow for the sales team to use and set up business rules to route it to the appropriate person in the department.
This not only speeds up the time to deploy a new workflow, but it also speeds up the content request process. In addition, this frees up IT to work on the larger automation projects or other strategic initiatives, instead of coding different workflows for other departments.
A low-code workflow system empowers these business units to streamline their processes. As they build a workflow, the accounts payable department may realize they can eliminate steps that involve printing invoices and scanning them back in after they’ve added notations, for example. They can also manage workflows, so as they discover new ways to improve them, they can make those tweaks, like removing paper checks as much as possible from the payment process.
This chapter has touched on a few different types of workflows that can be automated, but there are many more. In the next chapter, you’ll learn about some of the most common types of workflows that can benefit from workflow automation.Well-known workflow types
As you’ve probably guessed from previous chapters, there are a lot of different workflows. The preceding chapters have used examples from HR, accounting, and marketing, but those just scratch the surface of what workflows can help you accomplish.
Most businesses have a lot of paperwork that well-known workflow types can manage. These are also known as document management workflows, which create, track, edit, store, and manage any document that’s associated with a business process, like expense reports, requests for new login credentials, or employee onboarding.
HR and IT departments tend to benefit a lot from workflows, but other departments can also take advantage of them to streamline their processes and boost efficiency. The most common types of workflows most people will encounter revolve around approvals: Someone submits a form to make a request, and the request is automatically approved or routed to a manager for approval.
Here are 12 well-known workflow types that you can use in your organization, along with examples of what they might look like.New order workflow
You can create a new order workflow for customer orders, whether the customer submits the order or a salesperson puts in the order for them. This workflow collects all the information related to the order, then makes sure each step is completed before the order is shipped: invoicing, payment, shipping, and delivery.
Once the new order workflow is completed, the order is archived.Sales invoice workflow
If a salesperson creates an order for a customer, a sales invoice workflow can ensure that the customer is invoiced, pays, and receives their product. The workflow matches the customer invoice to the customer payment and sends a reminder if the due date for payment is approaching. It automatically routes payments to the bank and credits the customer’s account.Sale quotation workflow
A sale quotation workflow starts when a salesperson fills out a form that details what the customer wants. If this is something that can be easily populated with existing information in the system, a quote is generated automatically. If not, the sales quotation request is sent to the operations team to get information on how much it would cost to produce what the customer wants. The quote is routed to the sales manager to finalize the price, and then the quote is sent to the customer for approval.Vacation approval workflow
Most companies have some sort of vacation approval process in place. A vacation approval workflow can speed up this process, especially if employees usually just email their managers.
In a vacation approval workflow, the employee submits a form, which is routed to their manager for approval. If the request is approved, both the employee and human resources are notified so they can mark it in their calendars. If the request is denied, the employee can modify dates and resubmit the request.Employee onboarding workflow
These days, employee onboarding requires tax forms, direct deposit information for payroll, new computer logins, and sign-offs on procedures manuals. An employee onboarding workflow will already have the employee in the system and assign them a computer login before the employee even starts work.
The workflow also asks the new employee to complete their onboarding forms and routes the forms to the appropriate department. The workflow can then schedule the employee’s orientation and welcome lunch, order business cards, and assign a one-month check-in for the employee and their manager.Employee performance appraisal workflow
Depending on how many employees there are at your organization, it can be easy to let a performance review slip through the cracks.
An employee performance appraisal workflow can trigger a reminder to the employee’s supervisor to schedule the review and send a self-assessment form to the employee. The supervisor reviews the self-assessment and sends a draft appraisal to the employee, then schedules a meeting to discuss it. Both the employee and supervisor sign the final appraisal, and a manager approves it before it’s added to the employee’s file.Purchase order workflow
To keep track of purchases and create a document trail, you can set up a purchase order workflow. This workflow begins with the employee creating a request, which is then either automatically approved if it meets certain criteria or routed to a manager and/or the finance department for approval.
The supplier is then notified so they can review the purchase order and accept or decline it. If the supplier accepts the purchase order, the delivery date is confirmed and payment requested.Marketing newsletter workflow
In a marketing newsletter workflow, the process begins when someone signs up for your newsletter. They’re tagged based on how they respond to questions (e.g., job title, geographic area) so that you can send them the right kind of content.
They receive a welcome email, and a couple of days later, get a message that includes a curated list of articles tailored to their preferences. You can customize this workflow based on how often you want to send email newsletters to a subscriber and the type of content you want them to receive.Marketing campaign workflow
A marketing campaign workflow covers the entire campaign you’re running, from the time the creative brief is created to when it goes live.
A sample marketing campaign workflow starts with the creative brief: Once it’s approved, it goes to the copywriter so they can begin writing and to the graphic designer so they can start creating images. A subject matter expert reviews these drafts, and any necessary revisions are made.
Once the revisions are approved, they’re uploaded into the content management system and reviewed again. If necessary, they go through user testing (this is often required for assets like quizzes). After they pass user testing, the assets are published.Content request workflow
A sales manager might need a specific asset to help sell a new product, like a sell sheet. A content request workflow starts when the sales manager submits a form requesting the new sell sheet. That request is routed to the marketing department, which assigns it to a writer. The editor approves the content and requests images, and the final product is sent to the sales manager for distribution.Budget approval workflow
With a budget approval workflow, you can streamline the process of getting a company-wide budget in place. Each department head gets a reminder to create and submit their budget, which is then reviewed by the finance team and either approved or rejected before being compiled into a company-wide document. This ensures that every department has adequate funding.Employee reimbursement workflow
As has been discussed in previous chapters, an employee reimbursement workflow can make it easier and faster for employees to get paid for their expenses. The employee submits a reimbursement request, and if it meets certain criteria, it’s automatically approved. Otherwise, it’s routed to a manager for manual approval, then sent to the finance team to reimburse the employee and generate a record of the expenses.How JotForm can help
The above examples are all real workflow types used in many businesses. There are also more abstract types of workflows that can’t be fully automated, like a photography workflow.
However, there are ways to streamline these workflows by using forms, like those provided by JotForm. For example, a photographer could build a customizable online form for their clients to fill out requesting shot lists, or a baker could create a form for customers to order customized cakes.
While the process in between will require a lot of manual intervention, setting up these types of workflows can also trigger follow-up emails to remind clients of their photography sessions or to request feedback about their cakes.A solution from Japan: Kanban workflow
Finally, one last useful workflow type is the kanban workflow, which is based on a Japanese productivity technique. Kanban is a fairly simple concept: It visually shows the steps in a process. You separate projects across a single board, then divide the board into columns to show what the status is. There’s a column for “to do,” “in progress,” and “completed,” for example.
You can use kanban with something as simple as sticky notes on a wall or as complex as a software program like Asana or Trello. Kanban can help you identify where the hang-ups are in your workflows and create more efficient processes.
These are just a few of the common workflow types used in organizations. Though every company will have specific needs, you can use these examples for inspiration when creating your own workflows.
However, workflows are best represented in pictures, not words. In the next chapter, you’ll learn more about how to visualize workflows, including how to create workflow charts and activity diagrams.Workflow diagrams
A visual representation of your workflow will make that workflow easier to understand. This, in turn, can help you find ways to improve the process. It can also help employees better understand their roles and the order they need to complete tasks.
Once you’ve examined your business processes and are ready to create workflows, you’ll need an easy way to view them. Enter the workflow diagram. It creates a graphic overview of the business process you’re streamlining.
When you create a workflow diagram, also known as a workflow chart, you can see what the previous step was, what step you’re currently on, what’s coming next, and what might cause delays. You can also anticipate any decisions that need to be made and know who’s responsible for completing tasks. Having all this laid out in visual chunks makes it easier to move a step forward or back, eliminate a step, or just see the logical progression of your workflow.
For example, you might create a workflow diagram for a new customer order. The diagram would start with the event (the customer submitting the order), then progress to payment being confirmed, the item being sent to the fulfillment center, and the item being shipped to the customer. That’s a simple workflow.
The good news is, you don’t have to start building workflow diagrams from scratch, especially if you’re working with more complex workflows or activity diagrams. You can use a workflow chart template to help you visualize your workflows and add and remove steps as needed. These templates provide the different symbols and other elements necessary to build a workflow diagram, also known as a flowchart, that you can use and revise as you see fit.What are activity diagrams?
An activity diagram is similar to a workflow diagram, but it supports different choices and processes occurring in parallel. While a workflow diagram may depict a process as a single series of actions, an activity diagram could branch off after the request is made and route tasks to two different departments. It could also require making a choice that determines how the workflow progresses.
For example, an activity diagram for the customer order could require a choice at the payment confirmation stage. If the payment is confirmed, the workflow proceeds to fulfillment and shipping. But if payment is rejected, the workflow moves in a different direction; it can terminate the process, or it can request a different payment method from the customer.
Some activities can be done in parallel. These can also be represented in an activity diagram. In the case of creating content for a marketing campaign, activities like graphic design and copywriting can be done at about the same time so that, when it’s time to lay out the different content assets, everything’s ready to go.Workflow maps
Building a workflow map is the process of creating a diagram of your existing processes before you create workflows and workflow charts. The workflow map helps you find out where you can improve your process. This is usually something a department does as a team.
You don’t need to create workflow maps for every process. Workflows function best when they’re used to document and streamline processes that lead to a repeatable result. Instead, use workflow maps as a way to find bottlenecks in your processes and departments.
For example, as you map out the new vendor contract approval process, you may discover that no one is following up to make sure the other party is countersigning the contract, which creates delays in adding the new party as a vendor.Workflow symbols and flowchart symbols
Workflow diagrams, workflow charts, and flowcharts all use a set of common symbols. The symbols used in different diagrams can vary. Depending on how complex the workflow gets, a lot of different symbols can be used in the workflow diagram. However, the four basic ones you need to know are
Creating workflow diagrams can get a little complex, but there are a lot of different workflow diagram software packages to choose from. Making these diagrams from scratch can be difficult and time-consuming if you don’t have the right tools, especially if you’re trying to create workflow charts from a word processing program or presentation software.
When you’re looking at workflow diagram software, choose a package that has the following features:
Workflow visualization will help you map out existing processes and streamline them into workflows that can improve efficiency in your organization. If you use workflow diagram software, you may find it simpler to create these visual representations, as long as you choose software that’s easy to use.
Since such a large part of creating workflows is optimizing them, the next chapter will cover workflow analysis and how to optimize your workflows.Workflow analysis and optimization
Why is workflow software with drag-and-drop capabilities so popular? Because, as business needs change and teams identify inefficiencies in their workflows, the workflows themselves need to be modified. Workflows are a living way to document your business processes, and workflow analysis and workflow optimization ensure that the workflows you create improve efficiency and reduce costs.
When you conduct workflow analysis, you break down how well your workflow performs and look for places where you can improve on that workflow. By closely examining your workflow, you can start changing your processes to make them even more efficient.
For example, you might start a workflow analysis on your existing expense reimbursement process. Employees fill out an expense reimbursement form and email it to their managers for approval. This is often reimbursement for the same expenses, like their mobile phones or home internet services, as well as meals when they’re traveling for business.
The manager has to download the form and review each expense manually, then print the form, sign it, scan it to a PDF, and email it to the finance department. The finance department then has to enter the expenses, tag them appropriately in the system, and issue a check to the employee.
Workflow analysis would discover the inefficiencies in this process, as well as any gaps. The manager might be on vacation and forget about the expense report, or finance may accidentally delete the email from the manager. It is also time-consuming for the manager to print, sign, and scan documents, taking away time they could use to mentor employees or work on departmental strategies.
When you conduct workflow analysis, particularly after you implement automated workflows, look at how many times that workflow began over a period of time, as well as how many times it was completed. Examine how long it took for each task in the workflow to be completed and how many times a task was sent back or rejected.
Also look at where the hang-ups are; for example, you may discover that the manager takes a couple of days to approve expense reports because the employees don’t enter the correct expense codes. The manager then has to email the report back to the employee and attach the list of expense codes.Workflow optimization
When you engage in workflow optimization, you use the results of your workflow analysis to improve your workflows. Examine all of the inefficiencies, gaps, and bottlenecks so you can remove them and keep your business processes moving toward completion. This may include introducing automation, removing steps from the workflow, or reassigning tasks to different employees to streamline the process.
In the expense reimbursement workflow, you might decide to improve the inefficiencies by implementing an automated approval system. You set up rules to automatically approve expenses up to a certain dollar amount in certain categories.
For example, if the employee is regularly reimbursed for their mobile phone and home internet service, and their expense report every month is usually just for those two amounts, you can set the amounts and have the expense report automatically sent to finance, skipping the manager approval process. Other expenses in the form would cause the expense report to be flagged and sent to the manager for approval.
You can also remove the step requiring the manager to print, sign, and scan the expense report by using a form that lets them approve expenses automatically. Ideally, the data would be preserved in the form and would populate the finance department’s system with the expense report information, as well as trigger reimbursement on the employee’s next paycheck.
As you continue to optimize your workflow, you might discover that you can simplify the codes your company uses for employee expenses, making it easier for them to use the correct codes and get reimbursed faster. You might also use a system that triggers alerts to the manager, the employee, or the finance department when action is needed, making it harder for the expense report to slip through the cracks.
Keep in mind, however, that automation may not solve all your workflow problems. The goal of workflow optimization is to make workflows more efficient. While automation can certainly do that, it can also just make bad processes run faster.
It’s possible to create too many workflows for the same situation. You might want to consider creating conditional workflows with parallel paths as part of your workflow optimization efforts.
For example, in a content request workflow, both a sales sheet and a blog post start and end the same way (with finalized content), but there are different steps in the middle — a sales sheet gets laid out and printed as hard copies, while the blog post is published online. You can create one workflow with tasks that happen only in certain situations, like layout or coding checks.
As part of workflow optimization, you can also separate lengthy workflows into multiple workflows. The sales process is a good one to look at.
One long sales workflow from lead capture to customer support is unwieldy and can make it difficult to optimize the entire workflow from start to finish. It makes more sense to break it up into chunks like lead nurturing, order and fulfillment, and customer support, and then set triggers so that when one workflow ends, a second begins.
Ultimately, workflow analysis and workflow optimization will be critical to ensuring you get the most from your workflows and keep them healthy. You don’t want your workflows to stay the same, particularly as your business processes change.
In this chapter, we’ve talked a lot about automating workflows, including adding forms. But what’s the best way to do that, including integrating forms with different software programs? In the next chapter, you’ll learn how you can integrate JotForm into your workflows and your workflow tools.JotForm as part of your workflow
In previous chapters, you read about using forms as part of your workflows: forms to request content, submit expense reports, and onboard new employees. JotForm can help you create these forms and become an integral part of your workflow, not only because you can customize forms using JotForm, but because JotForm integrates with several workflow tools.
There’s also a tool that can help you create your own approval workflows. This makes it easy to create short, simple workflows, particularly if you’re just starting to use workflow optimization in your organization.JotForm workflow integrations
One way JotForm fits seamlessly into your workflows is with its integrations. ProcessMaker, a low-code workflow platform, has a JotForm integration known as Approval Workflow for JotForm. This integration helps you simplify workflows and the approval process surrounding them to create an approval flow for things like purchase orders, expense reports, and content requests.
If you use Approval Workflow for JotForm, you can receive notifications via email or Slack when someone makes a request. You can also create multilevel approvals and threaded comments. This integration lets you set up an audit trail so you know who approved something and when.
Approval Workflow for JotForm is fairly simple to set up, and it’s a great choice if you’re just getting started with automated workflows. Even if you’ve been using workflows for awhile, this integration might help you simplify some of them.
For example, you could use the integration to set up an approval workflow for a content request. When a salesperson requests a new product data sheet through the form you’ve set up, you can execute the entire approval workflow via Slack or email.
You’re alerted to the request and you can comment on and assign tasks directly, as well as view the workflow history. Once you receive the request, you can easily assign the product data sheet to one of your in-house writers and keep track of their progress.
Setting up an approval workflow in Approval Workflow for JotForm is pretty straightforward. All you need is a free JotForm account. Once you’ve set up a form to collect data, you’ll go to www.workflowforjotform.com to add a workflow to your form. Click “Add workflow to my JotForms,” and the integration will walk you through a five-step process.
When setting up your approval workflow, connect the form you want to use, assuming you’ve already set up a form in JotForm. If not, you’ll need to do that. Approval Workflow for JotForm will automatically show you a list of the forms you’ve created in JotForm, so it’s easy to select the form for your approval workflow.
Select the variables from the form that you want show up in your request, and choose where to send the request, i.e., to the person responsible for approvals. Finally, set up approval and denial emails that will be triggered automatically depending on the action taken from the approval request.
Approval Workflow for JotForm takes you through everything you need to do to set up your first approval workflow. You can create it in just a few minutes.
JotForm also integrates with Integromat, a tool that connects your data to apps. This integration lets you collect data in forms created with JotForm, then populates your apps with that data.
Integromat uses a drag-and-drop interface, which makes it a good choice for those who want to automate their workflows. One of the apps you can connect to is Slack. Every time someone submits a form, you’ll get a message in Slack.
Finally, a third choice for integrating workflows with JotForm is JotForm PDF Editor. Not only does this tool let you collect data and turn it into polished-looking PDFs that can be distributed internally and externally, but it also lets you automate this process. You can drag and drop elements to build a PDF form, then collect data that’s automatically turned into a PDF.
For example, you might use JotForm PDF Editor to automate your contract creation workflow. When you need to create a contract with a new vendor, the vendor will fill out a form with their information. JotForm PDF Editor will automatically generate the contract from a template you’ve provided, and that PDF contract will either be routed to you for review or to the vendor to sign and return.
JotForm also integrates with a host of other workflow management software, including Zoho. The JotForm integration with Zoho can automatically create contacts and subscribers from JotForm entries, as well as trigger emails and Slack messages from JotForm submissions.
These are just a few of the ways JotForm can become part of your workflows and integrate with existing tools to improve your processes. JotForm has dozens of integrations that automatically send the data collected through your forms to different applications.
Because so much of workflow optimization is eliminating redundant steps, using JotForm to collect data and route it automatically to different programs eliminates the need for a human to do it — a step that also reduces the likelihood of error. It’s worth it to examine all the ways JotForm can help you with your workflows, even if you’re new to creating and optimizing workflows.Conclusion
Workflow is a way to map out and streamline how you get work done. In some cases, that may mean automating tasks and using software to build custom workflows.
You’ve learned a lot about the basics of workflow, including how to create a workflow by examining your existing processes, and why you need to manage your workflows to be more efficient.
One of the ways that companies improve their workflows is through automation. It’s important to use a low-code workflow management software product so that business users can create their own workflows without involving IT.
This guide covered different types of workflows: sales invoicing, vacation approval, content requests, and expense reimbursements, to name a few. Workflow diagrams that model these workflows can help you visualize them.
Workflow analysis and workflow optimization can help make your workflows run even more smoothly. Integrations, like Approval Workflow for JotForm, can help you create workflows as well.
Now, you’re ready to start getting the most from your workflows. Use this guide as a reference as you revisit and refine your workflows, and your processes will run more efficiently.
It doesn’t take most web designers long to realize that the most critical objective you have when starting your freelance career is to find web design clients.
Because, without clients, you’re basically just playing “house” in business. It doesn’t matter how professional your logo is or how many business cards you’ve printed.
If you don’t have clients, you’re not in business.
There’s nothing better than getting your first client either. Getting someone to agree to pay you money for work you actually enjoy is one of the best feelings in the world.
With that in mind, I’d like to share how you can find your first web design client in 48 hours or less.
These techniques have worked for myself and thousands of other freelancers who I have coached and mentored for more than a decade through my blog and podcast.
They are tried and tested. And they work.Here’s how to find your first web design client in 48 hours or less: Start with quality freelance job boards
While some freelance job boards have a bad reputation for low-quality clients, the truth is lots of freelancers are making a good living through work exclusively found through freelance job sites.
To get started, review this list of remote web design jobs sites and select 3-5 sites you’ll sign up for and try out.
Not every site will work perfectly for your business, but more and more freelance web design clients are hiring through sites like these and, if it’s a good match for your working style, you can find clients very quickly on them.
A word of warning, however: you can’t just phone in your success on these web design job sites.
You’ll be most successful as you take the time to stand out from other freelancers with a quality user profile, share examples, and even proactively reach out to potential clients on the platform instead of waiting for jobs to land in their lap.Use your personal & professional network
Many freelancers searching for ways to get web design clients don’t realize there’s one asset sitting right under their nose and probably not being fully utilized.
That asset is your personal and professional network.
If you’ve been designing websites for long, you probably have some great connections from former jobs you’ve had. These connections often have friends or associates who need help with some sort of web design project.
If you’re new to web design, you’ll likely have friends in your personal network who know someone needing a beginner site done quickly.
These are golden opportunities for finding your first web design clients quickly.
But posting on Facebook or TikTok won’t be enough to get your first client within a 48-hour window.
Instead, consider calling, texting, or direct-messaging your closest connections—the people you know will take your request seriously—and asking them for help in finding new web design clients.
You’ll be surprised just how many people will come out of the shadows requesting web design work if you can just hustle to find them through your own networks. Once someone shows interest, send them a really high-quality proposal they won’t dare say “no” to.Leverage the power of social media
Since this article is all about quick wins and short-term client acquisitions, there will be no advice in this section on how to get more likes on Instagram (although, we’ve got you covered here).
Instead, to get new clients in 48 hours or less, leverage the power of instantaneous social connection by using some under-utilized tools on social media.
For example, try searching Twitter for phrases like “hiring web designer” or “need a web designer” or “does anyone know a good web designer” to find people who are in need of an immediate solution. Send them a DM.
You can also use Linkedin to find employees at agencies that frequently subcontract with freelance web designers to complete client projects on-time. Combine that with a tool like Hunter.io, and you can reach out via email to just about anyone in the world.
Once you’ve used these powerful short-term options and you have a few clients keeping you in business, you should consider developing a more in-depth social media plan for the long term success of your business.Give something of value to the world
Depending on how quickly you can spin something up, you may want to consider adding some real value to the world with a free download of some sort.
For example, offer to audit the speed and design of local business’s websites by setting up a lead generation form and then collecting website information and contact details.
Send a high-quality website audit along with a friendly pitch offering your freelance web design services.
If an audit isn’t quite your style, it could be something less labor-intensive like a simple checklist or ebook that helps small businesses with their own website.
From there, find online directories—like those posted by Chamber of Commerce or even Google—and send as many emails or make as many phone calls as you can in the next 24 hours featuring your offer.Start straight-up cold calling and emailing strangers
Finally, if you’re serious about finding your first client(s) in 48 hours or less, you might just have to pick up the phone or open up your laptop and start contacting people out-of-the-blue.
Fair warning, this method is all about scale. You have to contact a LOT of people in order for this method to make sense (which is why it’s not terribly sustainable over time.
But for finding your first few clients, it can be rather effective—particularly if you don’t have many other resources.
Of course, there are ways to improve your chances of success. You can follow a proven cold calling script to improve your close rate or you can test various subject lines until you find the one that gets the highest response.
Tools like Reply.io can also help you quickly scale your email outreach while maintaining a personal feel.
Honestly, cold outreach is just good, old-fashioned hard work. And like most hard work, you can’t do it forever, but it almost always pays off.Getting clients is just the beginning
Remember, getting your first web design client is just the beginning. So while it’s important (remember, you’re not in business until you actually have clients), it’s not the end of the world when someone says “no.”
Keep working hard, hustling to get your first few clients, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself swamped with new and exciting projects. Those projects will all turn into referrals and repeat business and, eventually, you’ll find yourself hustling less on outbound sales and fielding more inbound requests.
You’ve got this. Now get out there and get your first web design client!
Although no one knows exactly what factors search engines use to return entries in their SERPs (search engine results pages), we know that backlinks are incredibly important. Backlinks are any form of a link from another website that points to your website (or web pages).
Whilst there has been plenty of research to suggest there is a positive correlation between the number of backlinks and high-ranking pages, it’s a seriously tough cookie to crack. The main issues businesses face are time, money, and effort.
Many people don’t have enough time to write guest posts and reach out to other sites, and certainly not enough to regularly churn out lots of fresh and unique content.
It’s true that creating relevant and high-quality content can get you high-quality links. However, there are other strategies you can use to get ahead in this game. Don’t let an inability to create content stop you from earning links.
Here are 3 of the best ways to build backlinks without writing any content.1. Broken Link Building
Broken links lower the value of a website. As a user, there’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a link, only to find it doesn’t exist or it’s broken. However, broken links can serve a great purpose as a way to build backlinks without writing content.
How? Well, you can run any website you want through a broken link checker, then get in touch with the site owner to let them know. How does that help you? It’s simple. Ask them to replace the broken link with one of yours in return of your favour.
While it may seem a little sneaky, broken link building is an incredibly effective way of acquiring links. You don’t have to rely on writing content and you can pick and choose which websites you want linking to you. This offers a lot of control, allowing you to filter out sites with low authority or high spam scores.Benefits of broken link building
Before doing anything, you’ll want to consider your desired keyword to start finding relevant websites you can target. Once you have this in mind, you can use a tool to identify broken links:
72% of marketers report that visual content is more effective than text-based marketing. The beauty of using infographics to build backlinks is that you don’t have to create your own infographic content if you’re not able to.
There are plenty of websites you can use to hire designers to create infographics for you, or you may want to consider signing up for WordPress hosting so you can make use of WordPress’s infographic plugins. Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend a load of money on fresh infographics, you can curate them from elsewhere.
Ideally, the best way to build backlinks is by offering your audience a mix of content; written content, videos, and infographics.Benefits of curating infographics
There are a lot of opportunities out there for sharing infographics made by marketing teams who don’t know how to share them with the correct audience. You can be the middle man, helping them promote their infographics, while building up your link profile, and increasing your website’s authority.How does curating infographics work?
I recommend finding around 5 relevant and high-value infographics to start with by following this simple process:
Often when people research how to build backlinks, there’s plenty of information for new businesses, or for businesses who haven’t yet built much of a portfolio. However, there’s rarely relevant information for successful and established businesses.
If your business has been around for a while it probably already has many positive brand mentions across the internet. However, many of them won’t contain a backlink to your website. That’s where the issue lies. This method relies on turning that around.Benefits of Brand Mentions
Although there are tools out there that you can pay for, we recommend using a free trial at first or making use of Google. The best free method is to use advanced search operators like the ones below to find link acquisition opportunities:
Google’s algorithm keeps us all on our toes, and earning high-quality backlinks without writing content is not something most site owners consider. However, there are certainly ways in which you can build authoritative backlinks without writing fresh content.
But, although you’ll see success with these methods, we recommend striking a balance between creating fresh content, reusing existing content, creating infographics and keeping up with brand mentions.
We doubt content will be stepping down off its throne any time soon. However, link building is just as important to promoting your brand, generating leads, increasing revenue and, ultimately, building a stronger brand.
The COVID 19 pandemic may have shut many doors for businesses. Still, there is a growing trend in online shopping—people feel more comfortable purchasing products online than risk going out to buy from physical stores. This is why SEO for e-commerce is becoming vital for e-commerce shops now more than ever.
You see, with more and more consumers preferring to buy from online stores since the pandemic, thousands of business owners are also setting up their e-commerce websites (or are now paying more attention to their online shops) to better sell their products that may be similar to yours. Therefore, you are gaining more competitors each day.
In order to keep your sweet spot or ranking on the search engines, gain more visibility, drive quality web traffic to your online store pages, and increase your shop’s conversion, you must bank on your e-commerce SEO efforts.
So, in this article, we will explain how SEO can help your e-commerce business thrive during a pandemic and beyond.
Let’s begin.What is SEO Commerce?
Commerce SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is the method of optimizing your online store so that it can rank better in the search engines, such as Google and Bing, drive more organic traffic to your site pages, gain more traction from your target market, provide a great experience to your buyers, and ultimately, help you boost your shop’s conversion.
Moreover, e-commerce SEO is an extensive method that requires time, patience, and some nitty-gritty work, and it has four main branches:On-Page SEO
On-page optimization refers to the efforts done inside your online store, such as optimizing your product pages and category pages, publishing blog posts, and planning your internal links.Off-Page SEO
Off-page optimization refers to the efforts done outside your online shop, such as link building, guest posting, and content marketing through email, social media, and forums.Technical SEO
Technical optimization refers to the efforts done to optimize the technical aspects and experience of your users when navigating your website, such as fixing backend codes, improving your site structure, making sure you have no duplicate content on your web pages, ensuring that your site loads fast and is mobile-friendly.Local SEO
Local optimization is highly recommended to online businesses that also have physical stores. It can help big time when you’re trying to drive more foot traffic to your location by appearing on top of local search.
Ecommerce SEO helps you get more visibility and site visitors by ranking on top of the search results.
Visibility is one of the crucial factors that will help your online store thrive in the e-commerce industry, which is growing competitively.
Did you know that 71% of consumers click on the first page of Google, the leading search engine globally?
Therefore, it’s safe to say that your potential buyers won’t even care to go to the second page, especially if the results on the first page, which typically includes 10 results, show them what they’re looking for or provide them what they need.
Now, when you look at the click-through rate (CTR), meaning the number of clicks that each result gets, the top-ranking positions also get the lion’s share. In May 2020 alone, the CTR of the #1 spot reaches up to 32% while the second spot gets a measly 16%, and the number dramatically declines from there.
So, ranking on top of the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs) can really pay dividends.
How do I rank on the first page of the SERP? Glad you asked.
The short answer is to invest in your SEO commerce efforts.
You can start with the following:Keyword Research
Keywords or terms are considered to be the foundation of every optimization—without knowing which key terms to target for your web pages; your SEO may be deemed futile.
So, it’s very important that you do data-driven term research, including long-tail keywords for your blog posts, category pages, and, most importantly, product pages.Pro Tips on Keyword Research:
Now, take note that the search volume depends on your niche—while some treat 110 volume as too low, other niches may find it desirable to target.High-quality, Useful, and User-Intent Driven Site Content
Your site content is what attracts your target audience—from your catchy headline to your call-to-action (CTA). So, it is crucial to publish quality, helpful, and relevant content, even though it’s a “selling page,” such as a product page.
Other than doing data-driven research on keywords, the other thing that you can do to achieve high-quality content is to research or study the user intent.Pro Tips on User Intent Research:
SEO ecommerce helps you convert site visitors into buyers
Of course, ranking on top of the SERPS and being visible to your target market is not enough. At the end of the day, you will be looking at conversions, sales, cash flow.
Well, if you get the sweet spot on the SERPs, though, you are winning half of the battle. Thanks to SEO.
However, the other half of the battle happens inside your site—your online store visitors must become your raving fans, helping you cash despite these extra challenging times.
How do I do that? Glad you asked.
Besides writing useful content and compelling copies that sell, you also need to make sure that your visitors are having a pleasant time when they are navigating your e-commerce store.
Take note of the following factors:Fast Load Speed
Did you know that 47% of your online store visitors expect your website to load within 2 seconds or less? And 40% of online shoppers will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
And the longer it takes for your store to be up and running, the higher your bounce rate will become—the percentage of potential buyers abandoning your online shop for reasons, such as slow load speed, poor mobile responsiveness, and lousy navigation experience.
You can check the speed of your web pages by running a test on Google’s PageSpeed Insight. What’s more, you can heed the recommendations of this free tool to improve your site speed.Mobile-Friendliness
Did you know that four out of five Americans are now fond of shopping online? Plus, more than half of these consumers use mobile devices when buying products online.
So, it is imperative that your online store is mobile-friendly, which means that the overall website design must look good and must be responsive when users are navigating your store using their mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
You can check if your online shop is mobile-friendly by running a test on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Just like the PageSpeed Insight, the tool also gives recommendations to improve the responsiveness of your web pages.Overall Great User Experience
Besides making sure that your online store loads fast, is mobile-responsive, has great and compelling content, there are other factors that you need to consider to make sure that your potential buyers are having such a great experience in your online shop.
These factors include:
E-commerce SEO is crucial if you want your online business to thrive—it is one of the single biggest actions you need to take in order to keep your authority in your niche (or become one) and set yourself apart from a growing sea of competitors. If you think that your online store is having a hard time staying afloat during these challenging pandemic times, feel free to ask the e-commerce and SEO experts for help so that you can get started with an even profitable business.
Email marketing has been around for a long time, and with a good reason. It’s an effective method of generating, nurturing, and converting leads into loyal customers.
Email marketing also enables you to consistently reach out to your customers. As long as your subscribers are getting valuable content, influencing them to buy from you would be easy.Why email marketing still matters
Considering that 99% of consumers check their email every day, email marketing is still one of the best communication channels. It also converts better and generates an ROI of 4200%, which is a lot higher than that of social media.
And if this doesn’t sound convincing, here are a few more stats showing the effectiveness of implementing email marketing strategies:
Implementing email marketing tactics in your business offers a lot of benefits. Some of the advantages include:Saving time and budget
Email marketing is cheaper than most mainstream marketing channels. It requires no printing or postage costs, except when investing in automation or tracking software.Boosting revenue and traffic
Using email is excellent for maximizing impulse buying. With its help, you can drive higher sales as compared to other marketing strategies, as well as generate leads faster and more effectively. Besides, including relevant links in your email content can help drive targeted traffic to your website.Improving customer relationships
Email marketing makes it easy to engage and involve your subscribers with your brand. It’s also important in providing value to your audience and gradually driving the user to a final buying stage.Positively affecting brand recognition
With its help, you can develop a solid brand identity. Email marketing connects you directly with the customers’ inbox. Providing value is the key to standing out among other competitors.Reaching the right people at the right time
You can segment your list and send emails depending on this email segment to generate the desired conversion.How to boost email marketing productivity Focus on personalization
Email personalization deals with sending targeted content to your subscribers by taking advantage of specific information about them. Personalizing emails helps increase email open rate by 26% and increase email revenue by 760%. Personalization shows your subscribers that you care about who they are and your achievements together.
Take a look at how Grammarly and Mint do this:
The first step to successful personalization is collecting relevant data about your audience by offering a valuable product or information. It will then be used to create a personalized email message. This goes beyond using someone’s name in the subject line. It involves creating engaging content that addresses their pain points, objectives, and desires.Automate for better result
Email automation involves sending a transactional or promotional email to your subscribers based on specific events or triggers. For example, you can send a welcome email after a customer joins a mailing list:
Or you can send a reminder to a client who has a product in their cart without checking out:
Automation runs in the background and handles repetitive tasks, which creates more time for other valuable goals. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the content would be boring, ineffective, or generic. Advanced automation can be highly convertible, personalized, and filled with engaging content.Write short emails and test subject lines
Long emails waste not only your time but also the time of your audience. To increase productivity, learn to write letters that are brief and straight to the point.
The ideal email length is between 50 to 125 words, as such letters have a response rate that is above 50%. Emails with the highest click-through rate have about 20 lines of text and up to 200 words. So, it’s better to keep your copies short and below 200 words.
The subject line of your email plays an important part in your open rate. Therefore, deciding on shortcodes to use in your subject lines is one of the efficient ways of increasing your email productivity.Make sure your email list is clean
A clean email list is required to achieve peak performance for your email marketing campaign. Email verification can help discover and remove invalid addresses, increase your deliverability, and improve sender reputation. Also, users who constantly validate emails experience higher conversion rates, lower bounce rates, and more accurate email statistics.
An unsubscribe link is another important solution that can help avoid being marked as spam. With its help, you can keep your audience happy and create a healthy email list.Use segmentation and email preferences
In email segmentation, you divide your mailing list based on specific conditions and similarities to send relevant messages to a targeted group of people. It helps you turn mass emails and email blasts into a more logical and specific process.
Segmentation can be based on the users’ behavior, interests, geographical location, buying history, age, gender, and other factors. You can also add an “update your email preferences” link to let your subscribers choose what kind of content they want to receive.
For example, these are options that Zapier offers:Perform A/B testing
The main objective of A/B testing is to optimize your email marketing metrics, increase engagements, and improve conversion rates. You can discover the type of emails that are more engaging and converting after sending two different types of letters to your audience.
Typical elements that can be A/B tested in your email campaign are your email subject lines, content, personalization, design, preview text, sending time and frequency, CTAs, and so on. A/B testing is about creating assumptions about any of these elements and performing a test to validate them. The best results can then be used to improve and launch better email campaigns.Track and analyze your results
One major advantage of email marketing is the ability to track everything from the opens, clicks, and location. Tracking the performance of email campaigns will enable you to focus on more effective strategies, compare them with other marketing channels, and prioritize your time accordingly.
Besides, marketers need to go beyond measuring just the traditional KPIs such as the number of subscribers, opens, clicks, and delivery rates. It’s important to also consider long-term subscriber activity, the health of email lists, as well as optimization and engagement trends, to get the most from your marketing strategy.Get the time and frequency right
The time and frequency of your email sending have a lot of impact on your open and unsubscribe rates. Studies have shown that the first letter often has the highest open rates. But the more you launch your email campaigns, the higher open rate can be generated.
Of course, you can’t just send more emails. The best time for generating a positive response from your mailing list without seeing a rise in unsubscribes is every two weeks. However, it’s important to test and discover the perfect time and frequency that works best for you.Ensure emails are mobile-friendly
Sending mobile-friendly email campaigns is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity. About 68% of email recipients view their emails on a mobile device. Therefore, it’s important to consider the appearance of your email on all devices to avoid missing out on the possibilities of engaging a considerable number of your subscribers that will generate results.
What you can do:
Productive email marketing requires time, effort, and most importantly, an effective strategy. It goes beyond creating a message and hitting the “send” button. It requires maintaining a healthy email list and ensuring that your audiences are happy with your offers.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to grow your business. And integrating automation can help generate results without spending too much time working on them repeatedly.
Several changes are seen in the IT architecture as Big data is rolled out within the system, especially big data teams to handle such a vast amount of information.
Today DevOps procedures are implemented throughout the software development cycle to collect more actionable insights from unstructured data. And DevOps automation is one of the significant keys that can streamline the product development for enhanced productivity. The activity of such nature reduces the risk of losing time which is the most essential in the world of business.
With the emergence of 5G and IoT, big data is now a reality as businesses are looking to secure maximum information to assist them in decision making. Cuelogic is a leading DevOps service provider for global businesses to assist big data teams by effectively incorporating DevOps Automation.
Here are the 5 ways Big data teams can efficiently leverage the DevOps automation for benefiting their organizations.Build a Systematic platform
Big data organizations need a more stable, sophisticated, and manageable environment for multiple teams of developers and operators to work on the same project. Here DevOps automated systems can help organizations with a more collaborative environment. DevOps provides that additional agility and flexibility for businesses to discover more opportunities instantly. Especially when building large and new complex products, these platforms assist with the complete software development cycle. These DevOps solutions offered by DevOps solution providers can accurately identify, plan, design, build, test, and deploy new products with more reliability.
Hera a System must be able to adapt to the changes when presented with new data. Artificial Intelligence algorithms play a major role in altering their operations to meet the organization’s goals and objectives. They can quickly bring more insights, trends, and patterns for businesses to use efficiently.Streamlining operational procedures
Today, Big data can have sizes of around petabytes 250 bytes or one thousand million million data information. So, these DevOps automation becomes the foremost criteria for organizations to shorten the mundane tasks by incorporating streamlined workflows and thus, assisting professionals to quicken the pace to get a more structured date from the unorganized information. Similarly, several testing processes are also automated to find bugs and issues for fixing instantly.
Overall the focus should be to streamline the whole process for the software development lifecycle (SDLS). Slow results can impact the progress of the organization while too fast results can bring bugs on release. So this balance of speed with quality solutions is a must. Especially for developing new products, this DevOps automation can bring more optimized results. Continuously delivering new products can be quite complex as quicker solutions are demanded without compromising on the quality factor.Seamless integration from multiple teams
Big data projects are huge, making it impossible for a single business to cover all the important aspects of the organization. And one of the key challenges of Big data is to organize the efforts of hundreds of professionals working remotely for helping businesses to get more actionable insights. Herewith DevOps automation can even group these vast amounts of information to develop strategic plans and projection into the future by prioritizing the key factors for success and vertical growth. So, working in this collective environment is easy and more purposeful with DevOps automation.
Several platforms offer this transparency and accessibility to manage this large data environment such as JFrog with artefact repository for combining cloud and on-premises infrastructure.Uncover bottlenecks and their solutions
In managing Big data, several organizations face certain issues or problems affecting their performance. DevOps automation can help you discover these potential bottlenecks and then build solutions to further refine the process for more productivity. DevOps services focus on collaboration from each team member and easily streamline the mundane tasks to pave the path for quick development as well as pinpoint the success factors for optimized performance. Big Data teams provide a lot of actionable insights for businesses to use in their strategic planning.
The key point in this DevOps success lies with continuous monitoring and continuous improvement. The system is always looking to improve from its current situation and further smooth the business operations in bringing more profits for the organization.Implementing Uniform Standards through the System
All organizations look for uniformity and a specific level of quality control in their procedures. And generally, it is one of the biggest challenges to maintain this consistency throughout the whole cycle. As thousands of professionals work together on the same project, a lot of variable practices result in inconsistencies. With DevOps automation, organizations can follow and implement uniform standards across complex projects for better productivity.
Here consistency is crucial to lowering the error percentage in business operations thus keep delivering at a higher potential.Awareness, Transparency, and Adaptability
DevOps can seamlessly build data transparency while still following security protocols by promoting data locally near the team. With DevOps, organizations can build a centralized collaboration environment, thus closing the gap between the developers, project managers, security, and even the IT operators. This transparency in the DevOps procedures helps to bring more productivity and drive innovation for continuous improvement.
With a huge amount of data coming from the inter-connectivity of devices in IoT, organizations have to be more adaptable to handle various streams of data simultaneously. DevOps automation eases the path for organizations to understand unstructured data efficiently and discover hidden patterns to further refine the development cycle by self-assessing.Conclusion
DevOps automation is one of the main factors in handling Big Data as organizations face several challenges in handling multiple teams, remote collaboration, constant releases, and maintaining optimum performance. Though the process looks quite simple and easy, in real-time, it is full of complexities as big data requires constant improvisation in the complete software development cycle.
Organizations are always looking for smarter solutions, and these benefits highlight the reason for big data companies to follow the DevOps process and automation. Professionals nowadays are continuously searching for more optimized solutions with huge demand for big data and data analysis in the market.
Remember when your mailbox was inundated with postcards, mail order catalogs, and flyers advertising sales?
Not too long ago, snail mail was the best way to reach prospective customers or clients, but that’s gradually changing as more people rely on email to get work done, exchange ideas, and communicate with one another quickly.
A 2019 study by The Radicati Group found that close to 3.9 billion people worldwide — more than half of the world’s population — use email for personal or business reasons.
If this upward trend continues to grow by 3 percent each year, more than 4.3 billion people will be using email by the end of 2023.
You need an email address to create all kinds of accounts, from social networking sites and software solutions to loyalty programs and online banking services, but it’s clear that email is growing as a popular form of communication.
In fact, The Radicati Group study estimates that the more than 293.6 billion emails exchanged each day in 2019 will grow by 4 percent each year and exceed 347.3 billion by the end of 2023.
For businesses of all sizes, this stable growth in email usage presents an opportunity to reach more people in more places.
Since people receive so many emails each day, they are particular about which ones they read. But there’s a good chance that they’ll take action immediately after seeing a message about a sale, new product, or even the latest blog post from a thought leader.
Quite a bit of strategy goes into creating, building, and maintaining an effective email marketing campaign.
Getting people to read an email that’s marketing your products or services is only half the battle. You’ll want to know how many people opened an email and what they clicked on. You also need to master the art of grabbing their attention within seconds, avoiding their spam filters, and creating customized messages that stand out among competitors. There are even ways to analyze a marketing campaign’s potential success by sending out different versions of an email.
That may sound like a lot to digest, but this step-by-step guide to email marketing will touch on all of these points and more. We’ll explore
Crafting an effective email marketing campaign requires time, creativity, and planning, but the gains you earn can be significant over time. Engaging email content can not only motivate people to take action but also turn them into loyal customers, clients, or users.What is email marketing?
Before venturing too deep into the weeds, let’s define email marketing.
Email marketing involves sending emails to external stakeholders, such as clients, customers, or business partners. These messages typically provide promotional or educational content and encourage people to take some sort of action, whether it’s to buy a product or donate to a cause.
Marketers define email marketing as a digital strategy that uses email to reach people who are existing or potential customers. Email gives marketers the ability to reach people almost anywhere. They can interact with their target audience, promote their business, and, above all, drive sales or web traffic to their company.
As people spend more time online and carry out daily tasks there, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to have some sort of digital presence. A user-friendly website and social media account used to be enough, but those are now staples for almost any business. The same can be said of marketing campaigns, which historically consisted of print advertisements and direct mail strategies, such as postcards, brochures, and letters.
Nowadays, businesses should have a visually appealing website that works well on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. They also need accounts on several social media platforms where they post engaging content. Marketing campaigns should also consist of some digital strategies, including online advertisements and — you guessed it — email marketing.Why is email marketing important?
Good question. Here are a few answers.There’s a high likelihood people will see your message
Research has shown that checking emails is becoming a regular routine for many adults in the United States.
A 2018 study by digital marketing company Fluent found that 81 percent of Americans check their personal email at least once a day. Of the 2,667 survey participants who had a work email address, 74 percent of them said they check it a few times each day.
Although there’s no guarantee people will read your email, connecting with them on a platform they use each day is a good idea. And, as surprising as it may seem, there’s also a good chance that people will open your email.
The Fluent study found that 49 percent of people open marketing emails at least sometimes. The remaining 51 percent said they either never or rarely open marketing emails. Almost 50-50 odds is good enough to make creating relevant, engaging, thoughtful, and attention-grabbing content a cornerstone of your digital strategy.Email marketing is becoming a must-have strategy for businesses
Companies need some sort of email marketing strategy to keep up with the times — and competitors.
An annual report from Salesforce found that 74 percent of senior marketing leaders use email marketing to reach existing and prospective clients. Another 21 percent of the 4,100 marketing leaders surveyed said they would integrate email marketing into their workflows within the next year.
Even though businesses see the value of social media platforms as marketing vehicles, it’s clear that email marketing isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, email marketing even secured a slight lead in the Salesforce study over social advertising and publishing, which is projected to be used by 94 and 91 percent of marketing leaders, respectively, by the end of 2019.Email marketing provides a high return on investment
On the whole, email is the most cost-effective marketing medium compared to other options, including social media marketing.
A 2018 report from the Data & Marketing Association, a trade organization for marketers, found that companies spent an average of $10.23 on email marketing campaigns to acquire a single paying customer. By comparison, it would take about $21.95 in social media campaigns and $27.35 in direct mail marketing, respectively, to secure a paying customer.
You can send a message to your intended audience in a number of ways. The methods you use should be determined by your budget, the nature of your business, and how people want to hear from you.
Above all, it’s important to select communication channels that your customers use regularly and that will generate a positive response from them, whether it’s to buy a new product or read a new company blog post.Benefits? Yeah, we got ’em
These are just a few of the benefits that give email marketing an edge over other alternatives, such as social media, direct mail, and search engine marketing (SEM):
The Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization estimates that 77.9 billion pieces of direct mail — except catalogs — were sent out in 2014, a 16.3 percent drop from 93.1 billion in 2008.
It doesn’t take a statistician to realize that’s a lot of paper, and not all of it is filed away or thrown into recycling bins.
Direct mail suppliers have made strides to reduce their environmental impact, such as adopting sustainable sourcing practices and supporting reforestation efforts, but at the end of the day, there’s no way for marketers to control where all of that paper goes.
People can always print the marketing emails they receive, but they usually do so for a good reason. They may, for instance, want to print out a coupon or details about an offer as a reference during their visit to a store.
Direct mail can sometimes complement your digital marketing efforts, especially if you need to reach large groups of people, but the costs to carry out both strategies can add up and ultimately limit a campaign’s overall effectiveness.
According to the Data & Marketing Association report from 2018, securing a paying customer through direct mail or social media advertisements is more than twice as expensive as email marketing.
Advertising on search engines and websites or applications will generally cost businesses an average of $21.50 and $19.50, respectively, to secure a paying customer. The Data & Marketing Association report notes that the overall return on investment hovers around 25 percent for search engine marketing and 18 percent for display marketing. Email marketing, meanwhile, generates a 122 percent return on investment for businesses.
This practice, called market segmentation, can be expensive or difficult to achieve with digital and direct mail marketing, which typically relies on a single message to jibe with a broad group of people.
You may, for example, want people to buy a new product, but it’s likely that your pitch to existing customers will be different from the one you’d give to people who know little about what your business offers in the first place.
Personalization goes beyond market segmentation to take into account individual behaviors and characteristics, as opposed to demographic and other group characteristics. Whereas market segmentation is based on marketers’ needs, personalization is based on consumers’ needs.
Like market segmentation, personalization can be costly with digital or direct mail marketing campaigns. In both cases, you must come up with a meaningful pitch, create design assets for it, put up some money, and wait until ads are published or distributed before determining whether they’re resonating with people.
Email marketing campaigns, on the other hand, are cheaper to carry out. If you want certain groups of people to receive different messages, you can create separate email distribution lists, draw up unique designs for each email, and write content for each one based on the unique needs of your customers, clients, or buyers. You can also autopopulate the recipient’s name in each email.
If you’re using an email marketing automation platform that can send out emails and analyze who’s interacting with them, you can tell if your emails are getting the results you want.
Before launching the entire campaign, you can run an A/B test by sending out at least two variations of the same email with slight changes to each one, such as different subject lines or design elements. This low-cost testing method allows you to see how your emails resonate with a portion of your overall target audience.
The results, in turn, allow you to refine your email marketing strategy and select which email the rest of your target audience will receive.
In practice, email A/B testing doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money before you can tell whether your email marketing campaign is on the right track. Not so for advertising, whether print or online.
You have to pay to run an ad before determining whether it’s working or not. And though digital marketing provides valuable information about people who interact with an advertisement, changing an ad isn’t easy or quick.
Making edits to a search engine, display, or social media marketing campaign can take time, since ad platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Bing, must vet and approve content before it can go live.
Once you’ve decided to roll out an email marketing campaign, putting together a game plan will help you carry out your ideas effectively and stay on the right path. Your strategy should be comprehensive and cover everything from creating engaging content to mobile-friendly design elements that help your message stand out.
At the same time, your plans should be flexible so you can test which type of emails work best, analyze the results, and use those findings to adjust your approach. This could mean rethinking who your target audience is, reprioritizing content, and modifying how your emails are written or designed to make them more appealing.
Creating an email marketing strategy can be tedious, but it will help you organize your ideas and channel your energy toward targeted goals.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re developing an email marketing campaign:
When it comes to email marketing, the devil is in the details.
Even if your emails are visually appealing and look great on any computer or mobile device, it won’t matter if people ignore or discard your message once it lands in their inbox.
Investing effort into your content and following some time-tested methods that actually entice people to open your emails will ensure your message reaches your target audience.
Above all, knowing how to write emails like a marketing pro will help you establish a good rapport with your target audience and motivate them to take action, whether it’s to check out a flash sale, participate in a contest, or try out a new product or feature.
If done right, your emails could turn prospective leads into regular patrons, users, visitors, clients, customers, or even fervent fans.
Here are a few quick and dirty tips on how to write a marketing email that can deliver results:
A 2016 survey of 1,361 U.S. adults by Fluent and email marketing platform Litmus, found that 42 percent of all respondents looked at the sender or “from” name in an email before deciding whether to open it.
This suggests that people look for names they know and trust while filtering through their emails. It’s also no secret that the prevalence of phishing scams and spam emails have led people to be more careful about what they open.
Using a reputable name as the sender of a marketing email reduces the chances that your message will be deleted or end up in someone’s spam folder.
Choosing a name and email address that are familiar to your target audience is an important step in getting their attention. This could mean using the name of your company or a well-known person in your organization that an email recipient will recognize immediately.
You could even lean on your company’s brand recognition or reputation to reach your target audience.
As a general rule, it’s also important for the email address and name in the sender field to match so your target audience won’t mistake your message for spam.
That said, you should try to avoid using a “no-reply” email address for marketing emails. No-reply addresses can be disregarded as spam or overlooked. It also gives people the impression that you don’t want to hear from them. This strategy can backfire when people have support-related questions and need an easy way to contact you. Replying to you directly is easier than searching for contact information buried in the body of your email.
There are always exceptions, though. For instance, you could use a “no-reply” email address or get away with having a sender name and corresponding email address that don’t match if people have signed up for regularly scheduled product updates, newsletters, or promotions from your company.
The 2016 survey by Fluent and Litmus found that 34 percent of the 1,361 respondents initially looked at the subject line of an email when deciding whether or not to open it.
That same survey, however, also found that 54 percent of all respondents said they’ve felt cheated, tricked, or deceived into opening an email based on its subject line.
This means the subject line of each email serves as a promise between you and your target audience. It’s important for these people to see your message and take action, but if you mislead them, they may either ignore future emails from you or mark you as spam.
Email subject lines should accurately summarize your intended message so you can establish some credibility off the bat and build on it over time. Making subject lines relevant, pithy, and descriptive will not only make your message easy to read but also allow your target audience to decide whether it may benefit them.
Subject lines carry a lot of power because they can motivate people to take action immediately, even if they don’t actually open an email and read it. As counterintuitive as that may sound, the 2016 Fluent and Litmus survey found that 35 percent of all respondents visited a company’s brick-and-mortar store or website after receiving a marketing email but not opening it.
In a similar fashion, 33 percent of all survey respondents said they bought something from a business after receiving a marketing email but not opening it.
Perhaps there’s some rhyme and reason after all behind those emails that declare “Your pick-up-in-store order is ready for pickup” or “Don’t delay — Save 50 percent today only.”
In fact, Litmus’s analysis of billions of opened emails found that the average time people spent reading emails increased by nearly 7 percent between 2011 and 2016, from 10.4 to 11.1 seconds. This average increased to 13.4 seconds in 2018, when Litmus conducted a follow-up analysis of 10 billion opened emails.
Perhaps more surprising is that the percentage of emails read for more than 18 seconds rose to 44.4 percent in 2016 from 38.4 percent in 2011. By 2018, 61 percent of emails were read for more than 8 seconds.
The most important benefits for readers should appear in the top half of an email, or above the fold, to grab their attention. It may be tempting to cram as much information as possible into that space, but Litmus’s findings suggest that people will read longer emails with relevant, meaningful, and engaging content. That means you should develop momentum at the beginning of your email and keep readers engaged with your content until the very end.
In some cases, these visual design elements can convey your message to readers without relying too much on text to do the heavy lifting. This can be particularly helpful since marketers have seconds, not minutes, to capture a reader’s attention.
There is, however, a caveat to this strategy: Too many photos, images, or graphics can increase the amount of time that it takes for an email to load.
Delays that last longer than two seconds can convince people to close an email and either ignore or delete your message. Reducing the size of the photos, images, and graphics in your email and conducting tests on multiple devices should ensure that your message loads properly.
Even if someone scans through an email, they can still glean enough information to make an informed decision. The key, however, is to keep your bullet points brief and start each one with an action verb.
If you’ve already trimmed down the amount of text in an email, try dividing the remaining text into sections with subheads, bullet points, images, or video files. This strategy will make your message more engaging, easier to read, and less daunting.
Determine whether infographics, instructional videos, or other visual aids can replace some of your written content. Using these elements will allow you to get your point across without bogging readers down with blocks of text.
Although it’s typically placed at the end of an email, a CTA can also appear at the end of each section in an email. This strategy is particularly important when you’re introducing several topics and asking your target audience to carry out different actions for each one.
As an example, a newsletter with sections about a flash sale, an ongoing contest, and a new product will likely have a CTA in each one, asking readers to see what’s on sale, participate in the contest, and check out the new product.
In many cases, a CTA is a command button or hyperlink in a sentence that encourages readers to do something, whether it’s to read a blog post, watch a video, or upgrade their account.
A CTA within a command button should contain only a few words, be written in active voice, and clearly explain what you want people to do. Sentences with a CTA, meanwhile, should highlight the value, timeliness, usefulness, or importance of the desired action.
There was a time when businesses could get away with crafting generic messages to successfully reach a broad range of people. These days, traditional one-size-fits-all emails will likely end up in someone’s spam folder, and you may lose these current or potential customers altogether.
You can cut through the white noise and make your message stand out by dividing your email subscribers into smaller groups based on a wide variety of factors, such as geographic location, income, job title, and previous purchases or interactions with your business.
Once you do that, you can craft messages that cater to a group’s specific needs, wants, or interests. This process, called email segmentation, allows you to share relevant information with all of your email subscribers and outline benefits that they can actually use.
A 2017 analysis by Mailchimp found that campaigns were more effective when businesses separated email subscribers into smaller segments and developed unique messages for each group. The in-house analysis covered 2,000 Mailchimp users who used the platform’s email segmentation tools and collectively sent about 11,000 campaigns to almost 9 million people.
The results of these campaigns were markedly different than ones carried out by Mailchimp users who didn’t employ email segmentation.
The analysis looked at key metrics that gauge the success of campaigns, including total open rates, which track the total number of times an email was opened or reopened, and click rates, which measure how often at least one link in an email was clicked.
Mailchimp found that total open and click rates for segmented campaigns were 14.31 and 100.95 percent higher than those that were unsegmented, respectively. Unique open rates, which track how many individual recipients opened an email, were 10.64 percent higher for segmented campaigns than those that were unsegmented.
Unsubscribe rates, which monitor how often people removed themselves from an email subscription list, were 9.37 percent lower for segmented campaigns, compared to unsegmented ones.Get to the point and personalize your message
People get dozens of emails each day, so it’s no wonder they quickly scan through a message and discard it in a matter of seconds. The same can be said for traditional, direct mail alternatives, which were long seen as the best way to connect with people on a personal level.
As more businesses turn to email as a cheaper and arguably more effective marketing tactic, software solutions are developing ways to personalize messages intended for different groups of people.
A 2018 Salesforce report found that 72 percent of consumers and business buyers worldwide expect vendors to personalize engagement efforts to their unique needs. Of the 6,723 people who participated in the double-blind survey, 84 percent said the key to winning them over is to treat them like a person, not a number.
The bottom line is that email personalization is now an essential marketing strategy. Here are a few general tips on writing emails that speak directly to your target audience:
For instance, you can use loyalty programs to track a customer’s purchases, as well as how and when they take advantage of certain services or products. You can then use this data to determine what kind of promotions, notifications, offers, or other content certain people will receive.
As this level of email personalization becomes more common, people increasingly expect businesses to direct relevant information, products, services, and offers their way based on what they want or need.
The Salesforce report found that 70 percent of survey respondents felt it was important for businesses to understand how they use products and services. Another key factor for 59 percent of survey respondents was seeing engagement efforts tailored around their past interactions with a business.
Targeted email marketing campaigns that leverage data about existing or prospective customers will not only provide them with engaging, helpful, and relevant information but also allow you to become a reliable resource.
This strategy, however, depends on the relationship you’d like to have with your target audience and vice versa. There are also instances when your target audience may not expect this level of personalization. An email promoting a flash sale may not need to address someone by name since the message is broadly intended for all loyalty program members.
You can test whether this method works for your business by sending out separate emails — one with a person’s name and one without it — to a small portion of your target audience and see if it has a measurable impact on open and click rates.
Since it essentially serves as a final appeal to your target audience, a P.S. can underscore why customers should take action immediately, provide an enticing offer that could push them to take action, pitch a final important key benefit, or showcase a customer success story that demonstrates value.
If you use a P.S. in an email, it should be quick and snappy, no more than a few sentences.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when people could only check their emails on their desktops or laptops.
But with smartphones and tablets, you can now check your emails almost anywhere. As a result, these mobile devices have gradually reshaped the way people access, view, and respond to their emails.
A Litmus analysis of 10 billion opened emails from 2018 to 2019 found that 42 percent of emails were opened on mobile devices.
Since most people access and read emails on mobile devices, marketers must adapt by ensuring their messages can be viewed on any computer, smartphone, or tablet.
If mobile-friendly emails aren’t incorporated into an email marketing strategy, a business’s messages may fall on deaf ears.
A 2016 survey by Litmus and Fluent found that 43 percent of the 1,107 U.S. adults who responded said they marked promotional emails as spam because they didn’t display or work well on their smartphones.
Of the 1,212 people who responded to another survey question, 51 percent said they unsubscribed from a brand’s promotional emails because the emails or website didn’t display well on their smartphone.
To that end, there are several different design approaches that marketers can take to create mobile-friendly emails:
More specifically, mobile-aware emails typically adhere to at least three key principles:
This type of approach, however, is a little more complex because it requires some knowledge of CSS, a coding language used to define the layout of an email, including the font size, font color, image size, page orientation, and order of sections.
In the case of emails with responsive design, a CSS technique, called media queries, detects the screen size of a device and makes the appropriate style or layout changes based on preset conditions and size limits for specific elements.
The problem is that these emails generally require some planning and testing to ensure everything looks nice on mobile devices and computers.
Rather than enabling different styles when screen sizes reach a specific threshold, hybrid design elements are set and adjusted based on changes to the area around them. Emails, in turn, are restricted to a maximum width so elements don’t appear too large on desktops and laptops.
Although hybrid email coding will allow you to send messages that display and work well in any email client, it’s also time-consuming when you want to design a complex email layout that covers more than two columns.
Trying to do email marketing all on your own can be tedious and exhaust your resources.
Investing in email marketing automation tools will cut the amount of time you need to carry out campaigns that can help you raise money, drive sales, convert prospects into customers, convince people to take action, and build awareness around your products and services.
Email marketing automation services, including Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and HubSpot, can be particularly helpful if you plan to roll out more than just a few campaigns or send segmented ones with a series of emails.
Email marketing automation tools can streamline the process by helping you build an email list, manage it, and segment users. Once you create the designs for each email, write the content, and determine when you want to send the emails, these platforms can send targeted messages at specific times or when people conduct certain actions.
The best part is that many email marketing automation platforms have reporting tools that provide key insights, such as open and click rates, so you can gauge whether or not your campaign is working as it should. This data can also empower you to make informed decisions and strategic changes to your campaign quickly.
With email marketing platforms, you no longer need to send individual marketing emails, keep track of when specific people should receive follow-up messages, and measure the overall progress of your campaign manually.
Data-collection tools like JotForm can supplement these efforts by providing email marketing platforms with the information needed to build or kick off a campaign, such as names, email addresses, interests, and preferences.
Native integrations, or connections through third-party integration tools, allow information to flow seamlessly from a data-collection tool to an email marketing automation platform. This process creates a frictionless workflow so you don’t need to manually copy information from one place and paste it into another.Conduct A/B tests to see what sticks
Your email marketing platform should allow you to see which messages resonate with your target audience. This is especially helpful when you can’t seem to pick a clear winner from your options.
You may, for instance, want to promote two great products but can’t decide which one should take precedence in the subject line and body of your email.
Or let’s say you’re planning to run a flash sale during an upcoming holiday, offering two particular promotions that should appeal to your customers — 50 percent off of everything in-store and a $10 credit for every $25 spent.
Which promotion should appear at the top of an email that’s going out to everyone who signed up for exclusive deals from your business? It’s a tough decision that could impact how many people read your email, visit your website, go to your store, and ultimately buy something.
In this case, A/B testing should make your decision a little easier, since you can send two versions of a message to a small sample of your target audience. Although the content and design elements should be similar, each email should prioritize different promotions in the subject line and body of the message.
For a little more context, let’s say you select 20 percent of your overall audience to receive emails as part of the A/B test. Half of those people, or 10 percent of your overall audience, will receive an email called Version A, which highlights the 50-percent discount. The remaining people, the other 10 percent of your overall audience, will receive a different email called Version B, which promotes the $10 credit for every $25 spent.
With the help of email marketing automation platforms, you can then analyze key metrics, including open, click, and bounce rates, that will help you determine whether people are opening your emails, taking the time to read them, clicking on hyperlinks, and spending time on your website.
Email A/B testing does take some time, but it helps you to nail down a message that can really resonate with people and prompt them to take action. At the end of the day, the strategic changes that you make to your email marketing campaign can drive sales, signups, website visits, web page views, and brand awareness.Just to be clear, here’s a breakdown of the A/B methodology:
Version A: This is the unaltered, or original, version of your email without any changes. This email, sent to your control group, will serve as an established standard and be compared against a new version of your email that has all the changes you’d like to make.
Version B: This email includes all the changes that you have in mind. Your A/B test will compare interactions with this email — sent to your experimental group — to similar interactions with your original, unaltered email.
Use these tips to ensure that your results are as accurate as possible:
There is, however, a key caveat that you should take to heart. It’s best to have an open mind and not make any assumptions about your target audience before conducting an A/B test. That’s because preconceived notions may make it easier for you to overlook valuable yet counterintuitive insights that arise from your experiment.
As an example, an A/B test aimed at 30 percent of your overall target audience should be divided in half, so 15 percent will receive version A, and the remaining 15 percent will receive version B.
You should choose a test group based on strategic factors, such as geographic location, industry, level of interest in your business, or type of customer. Regardless of which or how many factors you consider, they should be consistent throughout your test because any changes may generate inaccurate data and make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions.
In many cases, you should isolate a single element that you want to test in the two emails, such as an image, content, a call to action, a design element, or the subject line. Doing this will help you tie test results to specific changes in an email. Although a test with changes to multiple elements can work, it will be more difficult to determine which one will have the most significant impact.
Since emails display differently on desktops and mobile devices, there’s a chance that this may affect your test results, especially open and click-through rates. For example, when your emails look good on desktops but not mobile devices, key metrics may be skewed if a disproportionate number of people receive Version A or Version B and try to read it on their mobile devices. Creating emails that display well on both mobile devices and desktops should ensure key metrics, such as open and click-through rates, aren’t impacted by the devices people use to access your emails.
If you run a test that’s either too short or too long, you may either base important decisions on incomplete data or encounter issues that could undermine the integrity of your data.
While experiments on web pages can last for days, weeks, or months, it generally takes no more than two days to complete an email A/B test and declare a winner, especially if there are only two variants — a control and challenger — to test.
The duration of your test, however, will vary based on several key factors, including the size of your email list, the percentage of email subscribers included in your test, your desired conversion rate, and your current conversion rate.
To save you some time, several software solutions offer free online tools that can help you determine the length of your email A/B test, including
Some benchmarks that determine the length of your test are subjective and will likely align with the goals that your team — or company as a whole — wants to achieve. You should work with your team and key stakeholders in your company to establish clear goals and expectations before setting up an A/B test.
But when should you stop an A/B test? Is it when you see the statistical significance level in your A/B testing tool inching closer to 100 percent?
Statistical significance is achieved when there’s high confidence that the patterns observed in your A/B test aren’t happening by chance. Statistical significance is an important metric to monitor when you’re running your experiment, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor in stopping your A/B test.
As a general rule, the chance of having incorrect findings should be no higher than 5 percent — this means there should be at least a 95-percent chance that your findings are correct.
The size of your test group also needs to be large enough for your results to be statistically significant. There are free sample size calculators that can help you determine the size of your email A/B test group, including
But if you stop a test just because your results have reached a statistically significant point, there’s a chance that your analysis may be based on incomplete data. This could, in effect, lead you to draw inaccurate conclusions and formulate faulty recommendations.
The key here is stopping your test once your email variations have been sent out to your entire test group, especially if you’re sending out your emails in phases over a period of hours or days.
Changing anything, including the test settings and the design of any of the emails, will erode the integrity of your test, pollute your data, and perhaps lead to outcome bias.
Even reallocating the number of people who receive each variation during your email A/B test will skew your results and produce results that are inconclusive at best.
Email marketing can seem like a daunting, time-consuming, and frustrating task, and let’s be honest, sometimes it is. But if you put some effort into it, and you’re willing to learn by trial and error, the seeds you sow today will allow you to reap benefits over time. That ultimately translates to gaining more customers, users, clients, sales, and subscriptions without making a huge dent in your marketing budget.
Are you an artist and wondering how to kick-start selling your artwork online? If yes, this post is for you.
In fact, artists and designers like you always look for various ways to sell their artworks and earn their livelihood. And nothing can be better than the online avenue that lets you showcase your art to the global customers.
As a designer, you must be looking for ways to establish your own graphic design business. But it is a time-consuming process, and you can’t achieve overnight. Until then, you can make good passive income by selling your artworks/designs online.
But which online platform is the best?
There are plenty of marketplaces out there that allow artists to open an account with them, enlist their products, and start selling. This overwhelming number may sometimes confuse you which platform to go with. That’s why we’ve shortlisted a few marketplaces based on comprehensive research.Top 10 best places to sell your artwork online 1. PrintShop By Designhill
PrintShop by Designhill is the world’s #1 creative marketplace that brings artists/ graphic designers and design seekers together. While artists can use this marketplace for selling their designs on over 50 unique products, business owners and individuals can explore a plethora of designs created by designers across the world. You get an opportunity to showcase your artworks to millions of visitors.
Just open an account with the platform and start selling your designs.2. Etsy
Etsy is just like a craft fair. This is yet another globally recognized online platform where you can sell almost all sorts of designs. But the website is more focused on selling handmade products and vintage items. Since the platform has millions of registered shoppers, the probability of getting you reasonable prices for your designs will always be high.
You can list your artworks @$0.20 per piece for four months. With millions of shoppers, the platform also has a massive number of artists creating fierce competition. This means only high-quality designs get noticed and sold. So, if you’re sure that your design is outstanding, then only list.
Redbubble is another reputed print-on-demand platform for independent artists. It allows you to set your profit margin, which means you decide your earning on your own. The platform is also home to many artist groups that serve as a source of inspiration to designers. You can register yourself for selling your artworks and making passive money online.
The platform is free to sign up. It lets you fully control what products you sell your design on and set price over the base price for each product.4. Creative Market
Creative Market offers a robust marketplace on which to put your designs. Being a graphic designer, you may be creating fonts, templates, themes, or clip art. This platform allows you to showcase them all to millions of visitors from different corners of the world.
The main advantage of selling your artworks here is that you won’t be bound by any lock-in period. You’re free to set prices for your design on your own. You can make up to 70% of the sales price.
Also, the site doesn’t ask you for any exclusivity, which means you’re free to sell your designs elsewhere as well.5. DeviantArt
Having over 47 million users, DeviantArt claims itself the most extensive online art gallery and community. The company is around two decades old, which has gained a good rapport by hosting a wide range of designs from global graphic designers. The platform allows artists to host their artworks in their own personal gallery for free.
The website also helps designers monetize their designs through DeviantArt Prints if DeviantArt approves your art. You can offer your designs on a variety of products such as canvas, fridge magnets, calendars, postcards, etc.
You can’t set the price on these items as a free user, and you can expect to earn around 16% of the product selling price. But if you become a core member by paying $15 quarterly or $50 annually, you can be able to set prices on your own; which means you can maximize your commission.6. Threadless
Threadless is a free site. You can open an online store for free to sell your art to millions of potential customers from across the world. You can find a community of like-minded artists there. You can also put your designs for public review, and if your art gets a favorable vote by the majority of the community, the platform will help you promote your work.7. Zazzle
Zazzle is also a great online marketplace where you can sell your designs to a wide range of audiences.
The platform allows you to open an online store for free and access to its top-notch tools to sell all sorts of designs on products such as business cards, stamps, tote bags, t-shirts, and many more.8. Society6
Society6 has become one of the most prominent marketplaces for artists today and has nurtured thousands of global artists to date.
The platform allows you to open an account for free. Uploading your artworks in the correct resolution is incredibly seamless on this site. It offers framed prints, fine art prints, and stretched canvases in traditional art formats.
Society6 also provides plenty of resources to help you with pricing and marketing competitively. You get complete freedom to set your margin on per sale. The site releases payments on the first of every month.9. Shopify
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that you can integrate with your own website. If you own a website but unable to sell products through it, integrate your site for boosting sales. The platform boasts over half-a-million participating stores representing nearly $82 billion in sales over the last 14 years.
The site charges for using its platform—pricing starts at $29/month. However, the platform allows you to use its 14-day free trial before you finally become a regular member. Your membership price covers your own store, free SSL certificate, unlimited products, sales channels, and many more.
And if your business grows, you can upgrade your plan to either $79/month or $299/month for larger-scale operations.10. Fiverr
What initially launched for the freelancers to sell their services, Fiverr has now also turned as a popular platform for selling graphic design ideas, skills, and expertise. The site allows you to directly engage with your prospective buyers of design services and ideas to get your artwork’s desired prices.Final thought
Online stores are the perfect places for selling artworks. The precise list of these online platforms will help you sell your artworks online. Since each site offers different profit margins, you must analyze them all and open stores with one that provides the optimum margins and best services.
Although messengers can be considered as newcomers to the business scene, they already offer new opportunities for brands. They have a broad user base and regularly roll out new features and even apps that support doing business — such as Whatsapp for business. It’s no surprise that these newly available tools and platforms have been triggering new business approaches and one of them is Messenger-Based Sales.
Let’s define Messenger-Based Sales: a concept or an approach that prioritizes messengers as the primary communication channel between a buyer and a business throughout the sales process. Simply put, Messenger-Based Sales aims to produce a convenient and seamless buying journey via chat apps — communication platforms that customers use most.
It’s no surprise that it’s much easier to open up an app that is already installed on your phone if you want to send a message than write an email or make a phone call. We’re also getting more and more casual, favoring short bursts of messages over formal emails or sometimes even face-to-face conversations.
Let’s dive into the benefits of Messenger-Based Sales deeper and understand what makes it convenient for customers and businesses.Why Messenger-Based Sales? Asynchronous communication
One of the reasons why messaging apps are convenient is because of asynchronous communication. Unlike traditional communication methods, such as phone calls, emails, or even live chat, messengers allow us to respond in our own time, removing the pressure and the expectation of having to answer immediately.Emoji, stickers & GIFs
Messengers can also be more interactive than other platforms. For example, adding an emoji to a chat can convey emotion and an animated GIF can make the conversation more entertaining.
No wonder why Facebook Messenger has even introduced larger-sized emoji — people love visual messages so much that every day on, they send over 900 million emoji-only messages on Facebook Messenger alone.Automated responses
To save time and keep your audience engaged, messaging apps offer automated responses, also known as auto or instant replies. This means that if someone wants to start chatting with a messenger company, then the company can customize automatic answers to provide or gather information. This may include the company’s location or contact information.Chat history
Another advantage of communicating with your potential and existing customers via messengers is because chat history is always available. It’s easy to miss something when you’re taking on the phone — you may lose the detail of the conversation. Live chats don’t always save your conversation history. By using messengers, on the other hand, you can know who you’re talking to, have access and review conversations with your clients, as well as access files and documents that you’ve shared.Suitable for B2C & B2B buyers
Not only messaging apps can increase sales for B2C companies by offering advice, answering efficiently and offering options to submit inquiries, they’re also proving to be useful for B2B business.
Think about it, if people like chatting with each other, wouldn’t they like to connect with a B2B company just as quickly, especially in a lengthy purchase process such as B2B?
Moreover, B2B buyers demand that their buying journey is intuitive, secure and accessible. Research shows that 70% of customers say that convenience is essential.High open rate & engagement
Although email is doing better at open rate and engagement when compared to a phone call, according to statistics, the open rate of mailing lists is still low, with just 2.4% of the audience who follow the links inside the emails. In addition, many emails end up in spam folders that would never get read.
It’s no surprise that today, people are far more likely to view and click a message in the messaging app. Firstly, the texts are usually short and thus much faster to read. Secondly, we always get notified about them right on our screen. Last but not least, conversations via chat apps just tend to be lighter and less formal.Convenient for marketing, sales & customer support
Nowadays, customers expect immediate responses — they want companies to reach back to them as quickly as they can. And although messengers haven’t been utilized in the majority of businesses across the globe, they have already started to gain traction in various departments, including marketing, sales, and customer support.Marketing team
Whether it’s sending out polls, delivering the latest blog posts or running ads, messengers have been used as marketing automation tools. Many companies already employ messaging apps for marketing purposes.Sales team
With messengers, the sales team can carry the conversation throughout their entire pipeline. Payment can be made directly from the chat.Support team
With messaging apps, the support team can do a much better job. Messengers are much quicker than emails; they have fewer formalities, offer asynchronous communication and multimedia exchange. Additionally, by creating a chatbot for frequently asked questions and replying to many users simultaneously 24/7, sales and support teams can save their time and focus on the more important stuff.
Fantasy is a great genre, whether the setting takes on the problems that humanity faces or just provides pure escapism. It’s been around for a long time, and it’ll be. So why not make your computer’s desktop or phone’s main page stand out by updating it with a badass fantasy wallpaper?
We have compiled a list of digital artwork that you can use as fantasy wallpapers and fantasy backgrounds around the web for you to do just that!Fantasy Wallpapers Taurus by Huang Guangjian
It doesn’t get more epic than that, does itQueen of Pain of Data by Akreon, Art Director: Boyang Zhu
If you are familiar with DOTA, you sure know about the ranged carry Queen of Pain. This artwork was created for the DOTA 2’s battle pass release.Vader by Brad Pascual
Brad Pascual works at Disney as a Sr VFX Designer, and his works are amazing. Besides, who wouldn’t want Vader to be sitting on their background when they pick up their phone to call their grandmother?Grave Keeper by Avant Choi
If you are into dark imagery, this one will suit you both theme and colorwise.Gun Girl by Wanjie Li
Watch out for the, erm, gun, because it’s smokin’ hot.Discovery by Jose Vega
A caped and heavily armored hero looking down from a cliff, possibly calculating the next move? Sign us up.Knight by Taras Susak
Shield and a long sword-wielding warrior standing on top of a defeated dragon? That fantastic enough for you?Misty Mountains by Justin Oaksford
Far over the misty mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.Aquaponics by Luke Berliner
I mean, how in-depth and real is that?Blood Glutton by Akreon, Art Director: Taylor Ingvarsson
Some savor the hunt. I savor the kill.
This one was created for Magic the Gathering’s Core Set 2021.Strigoi Hunter by Eyardt
Strigoi Hunter from Wild Wild Vampires.Fields of Silence by Julian Bauer
Silent yet so loud. This one is an incredible work by Julian Bauer.
These are some of our favorite CG artwork around the web that you can also use as fantasy wallpapers. Make sure to check the artist’s personal websites, ArtStation, Dribble, and social media accounts to appreciate more of their art.
Let us know which one is your favorite in the comments down below!
There is no denying that acquiring links from websites with high authority can translate to a better search engine ranking of your website.
But the thing about link building is that it is not always easy. That’s why an effective link building strategy is essential, and you must stick to it no matter what.
This guide will show you powerful link building strategies that you can apply to earn more high-quality backlinks and brand mentions, from various channels and relevant websites.1. Guest Blogging
So, you’re probably familiar with guest blogging. In fact, this is a common component of link building services. That’s because guest blogging is one of the most common ways to help build your links.
The entire concept of guest blogging is simple, as long as you know which sites to approach. Look for relevant sites in your niche and then come up with a write-up or do a collaboration with them.
In return for your content and efforts, you’ll get at least one backlink in return. This could either be found in your content or in the bio section at the bottom of the page.2. Internal Link Building
Internal links are the links that go from one page to another on a website. Although often dismissed, or forgotten, this is a great way for users to dig in more content on your site.
When creating these internal links, always look for a great keyword phrase in your site content, then linking to your homepage, or any inner page.
As a result, the user will stay longer on your site, exploring your site even further.3. Broken Link Building
Broken links usually happen when someone removes a particular page that has the backlink or the third-party site or publisher mistyped it.
Now, your job is to look for all these broken links to help strengthen your link building strategy. Broken link building is broken down into three simple steps:
Additionally, you can also install the Broken Link Checker of Google Chrome so that you can easily find broken links on relevant websites and try to fix them.4. Competitor Analysis
Do you know your competitors’ current backlinking strategies? If you observe them carefully, you’ll know where their links are coming from, as well as the anchor texts they use.
Now, why is it vital to check on your competitors’ backlinks? Because it helps you stay on top of things.
Keep in mind that Google is constantly switching things up. And in the process, you might notice that your competitors are getting links from high authority sites.
Instead of feeling frustrated, allow them to do the work and be inspired by their efforts. While we don’t advise that you copy them, you can take inspiration from them. Whatever your competitors are doing, always strive to do a better job.
For instance, you can also get in touch with sites that link back to your competitors and provide them with much better content.
Give them a reason to link back to you. In this way, you’re increasing the chances of getting backlinks from these sites.5. Infographics
Crafting infographics is another great way to promote links. This is one of the most effective ways to maximize your reach and play a key role in your current link building strategy.
One of the benefits of using infographics is that you do not need to generate traffic from your blog constantly. You will also be earning quality links even if you do not ask for them.6. Unlinked Mentions
Another simple way to gain links is to be on the lookout for brand mentions online regularly.
You can use a tool like BrandMentions to do a quick search of your brand, and then analyze the data that you get.
Check out each site under the web category, and the same thing goes for posts under the social media category. Then, see if any of these links back to you.
If they do not, you could still convert these mentions into links. You can also contact the author of the article or the webmaster if they could add a link that mentions your brand.7. Link Roundups
These are usually made up of daily, weekly, or monthly summaries of the best content in the industry.
Link roundups are an excellent way to build links and receive a decent amount of referral traffic.8. Testimonial Links
Testimonials are also great if you want to boost your backlink strategy. With it, you can create strong relationships and build your site authority, which will eventually lead to solid homepage links.
You need to come up with a testimonial for a business where you purchased a great product or hired an excellent service. You then have the chance to be featured on their site along with an active link to your site.
This isn’t difficult to do, and this will be a win-win for both parties in the end.9. Link Reclamation
Have you checked all the links you’ve earned in the past? Do they still exist?
If you couldn’t find them anymore, then chances are, they’re either broken or removed by the publisher.
Get in touch with the webmaster or publisher of that site to get your links back.10. Resource Pages
Although this might be similar to a link roundup, there are a couple of differences:
Link roundups take place regularly and feature content that has been published recently. On the other hand, a resource page is like a one-time page update that links out to evergreen content. Meaning, your site is included in the page resources of a website.
So, make sure that you create high-quality content. That way, site owners would want to link out to you voluntarily. You’re also doing them a favor by providing them with an excellent resource.
A solid link building strategy takes time, but it is worth it because it will help you earn a better position on SERPs and gain more site traffic. So, put these techniques into action and start seeing the results!
Event management can be a time-consuming and daunting task if you don’t have the right tools. No matter if you hold the event for office meetings, classes, seminars, or anniversaries, proper event management should begin far before the scheduled date.
The way you promote your event, the booking tools and procedures you use, and the communication with attendees before the event all carry weight in your success.
It doesn’t end here since you should have plans to increase engagement on the event’s day and also after it finishes. It should come as no surprise to go wrong in any of these steps unless you have the necessary tools for them.
We all know about the way WordPress has made website management easy, and fortunately, it applies to event management as well. In this article, we introduce Modern Events Calendar (MEC), which is the best WordPress event calendar plugin on the market and go through an overview of its capabilities.
Without further ado, let’s find out about the features of this fantastic tool.Modern Events Calendar introduction
Modern Events Calendar is a stylish and feature-heavy event management platform that comes in two versions, Lite and Pro. It is the best event calendar that can equip your website with whatever tool you need for managing events online.
The Webnus team is streets ahead of its counterparts as their product offers numerous features and advantages compared to other event management plugins of WordPress. To put in perspective, more than ten additional add-ons were published in less than a year despite the complete set of pre-made options for creating and managing events. The total number of active installations achieved exceptional growth in 2019, and by the end of the year, it reached 40,000. MEC currently has above 60,000 active installations and is by far the most practical tool for this purpose.
Watch the following video to get familiar with the general features of this professional tool.Modern Events Calendar features
Customizability and modern design are the two principles that have been prioritized in the development of MEC. The provided features can accommodate both beginner and advanced users most conveniently. Some important free features of MEC are only made available in premium versions of similar WordPress event management plugins such as The Events Calendar, and EventOn. With that in mind, you can rest assured to get the most out of this plugin if you don’t want to set a budget for your event management tool.
You can set various views for your events in different sizes, let it be full-screen sliders, countdown displays, or small-sized widgets on the sidebar of pages. Purchasing a premium license allows you to add extra capabilities that can come in handy in many aspects.
For instance, if you are stuck selling tickets for your events and allowing participants to book their reservations in advance, there is no need for other plugins since it is included in the premium version of MEC. By activating this feature, your participants will be able to pay the fees using different gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, and credit card. Additionally, instead of using one standard layout for all, you can design customized tickets and increase user engagement even more.
The following comparison displays the differences and similarities between MEC and other popular WordPress event management plugins.
The next paragraphs cover a more detailed description of the satisfying features offered in this top-rating WordPress plugin.Creating events with MEC
Businesses could hold one-time events or recurring ones that repeat on specific intervals based on their needs. Event creation options of the Modern Events Calendar plugin include all types of single and repeated ones that allow you to make them customized to the last details. For example, you can add an hourly schedule to each event to let people know accurately what happens during that day.
Proper categorization of events helps your website visitors find what they require in a more straightforward approach, especially if you hold events regularly. The events of MEC can be put into different categories by tags, colors, labels, and even the host or organizers of each one.
Moreover, you can define the location of each event on the map and display it in a stylish format so that people would be able to find it much more comfortable. Sharing options are likewise made available in the best way, and you can use a QR code for each occasion to inform others about it more conveniently.Displaying events on a website
A proper and engaging approach for displaying events is a potential game changer in increasing the number of headcounts on the scheduled date. The variety of display features is considered to be an additional distinguishable option for this product.
Events appear sharp and clean, and you can promote them using an array of display options on your site. Countdown views are great for conveying a sense of necessity to people, and map views can be best used to showcase that your business is not limited to a single city or country.
All the view options can be customized and used through shortcodes that are fully integrated with Elementor, the widely-used WordPress page builder all around the world. On the other hand, it’s a no-brainer that people now use their mobile and tablet devices more than PC to surf the internet, and your event announcements should likewise be responsive to adapt to those screens. All the display options of MEC are mobile-friendly and support translation to other languages, even the RTL ones.Integration of Modern Events Calendar
If you currently use other products for managing events and find MEC a better solution, there is nothing to worry about. There are integration features available in the plugin’s control panel that let you import data from other tools most flawlessly.
Furthermore, you can link your Facebook, Google Maps, and MailChimp accounts to MEC and synchronizes data between them. This feature assists you pursue your Mailchimp marketing plans and social interactions on other platforms within your event management tool and make everything synchronized to the best of your ability.The ground-breaking add-ons of MEC
As earlier stated out, there are a number of custom-made add-ons for MEC to let you make more in-depth and professional use of it for your event management.
Here is a list of these amazing extensions.
Modern Events Calendar is an Elementor based tool by default. However, you can add more functionality to it using its additional add-ons. Dedicated shortcode builder, form and single builders, shortcode designer, and Woo Plus bundle are some of the practical add-ons in this regard.
This innovative solution can dramatically help those who sell products or services on their site. By installing the WooCommerce add-on, every ticket of your paid events will turn into a separate product to be added to the users’ cart. It comes in convenient as people don’t’ fancy entering the details of their credit card multiple times and prefer to finalize their purchase with a single payment.
Many times website owners prefer to share their events on other related websites to their business and let a larger circle of the audience find out about it. Event API is a perfect solution to this end since you can display all the details of your personalized events on other websites that don’t have MEC installed through a dedicated API.
You have probably come across larger businesses that have multiple authors, editors, and even managers for their WordPress website. User Dashboard add-on allows you to customize the accessibility of users to your events and will enable them to make changes according to the permissions of your grant.
Businesses sometimes have subdomains or multiple other websites that are related to each other. If that is the case for you, and don’t want to create everything from scratch on every single one of them, then you need the Multisite Event Sync add-on. Using this tool means creating an event once, and then displaying it on other websites while the other displays automatically inherit changes from the parent one.
Making customized and different tickets are the right approach to friendlier communication with the audience. The Ticket and Invoice add-on lets you personalize tickets and invoices and send custom-made emails while having better control over user invoices.
We talked about map view in display features of MEC and the way it benefits your business. The Advanced Map add-on replaces the standard map views with OpenStreetMap to provide users with more options and tools on the map.
If you have a lot of reservations on your site, you’d probably need the Advanced Reports add-on. It helps you make use of in-depth reports for bookings while being able to filter them based on different criteria. Similarly, you can compare the incomes and export all the reports in CSV, XML, and JSON formats.
Fluent View Layouts add-on adds more neat and stylish displays to your event display list. Those who keep an eye on the latest trends should know that these updated layouts follow the updated global UX/UI principles and are available for free. Make your event views more engaging by installing this free add-on right away.How much does MEC cost?
Premium plans of MEC are priced reasonably, and you can enjoy a year of full support alongside lifetime auto-updates with every license. A single license costs you $75, and if you want to install the plugin on more websites, you can enjoy the discounts provided in 5-license and 10-license plans.
The fair price applies to the mentioned add-ons as well. For instance, the Advanced Reports tool only charges you $15, which has continual updates and one-year support, too.
Managing website events could cause a stir for you or your team if you don’t own appropriate tools. In this review, we introduced MEC and its great features, which is by far the best WordPress event calendar and can open new doors for easy and efficient online event management experience.
The plugin is ready to be used right out of the box, and you can put all the mentioned options into use in a few minutes. We suggest you use the free version today and find out about the way it helps your business yourself.
The Coronavirus pandemic and its aftereffects have got the marketing realms overwhelmed as a result of which marketers have been compelled to alter their marketing strategy in view of the current situation. From being empathetic to drafting the right message for the audience, marketers have to spend several hours on their marketing plan.
Things are no different for email marketers. They have to rethink the tone of the email, the language, the kind of offers highlighted, and of course, the overall goal of their campaigns.
It is not advisable to carry out email marketing as usual or set automation workflows and forget about it. In this article, we shall shed light on how to adapt your email automation during such times.Adapting to the COVID-19 Crisis 1. Try to understand your audience
37% marketers have given special consideration to segmentation during the pandemic. Your automated email campaigns should consider parameters like geographical location, previous interaction, and any change in their behavior or buying patterns. Rather than sending batch-and-blast emails to everyone on the list, revamp your emails to have only relevant information.2. Determine the goals of your emails
Your prospects or customers might not be thinking about purchasing at the moment. Therefore, you must redefine the goals of your email campaigns. While you executed email automation to ‘convert’ maximum subscribers into customers in a pre-COVID-19 world, your goals during the crisis might be to offer maximum support to them rather than bringing in sales.3. Let them know any changes in your business model
Use your automated emails to “inform” rather than “sell”. Keep your subscribers updated about any changes that you make in the way you are rendering your services or delivering your products. Let them know if you are organizing a donation drive to help the underprivileged and encourage them to come forward to do their bit.
Having discussed how you can adapt to the COVID-19 crisis, let’s get into the details about how you can revise the kind of automated emails that you have in your workflow.1. Welcome Emails
Getting a subscriber during such times is indeed a matter of great fortune. You must leave no stone unturned to create an impressive brand appeal so that the prospect remembers you and purchases from you whenever a need arises. With the pandemic spreading its tentacles throughout the world, it has become important to assure the subscribers that they can avail your email marketing services without being apprehensive of contracting the virus.
Take a look at this welcome email by RepairSmith.
As soon as a user signs up on their website, they receive this email that informs them about their services and how they have started a “No-contact car repair service” taking into consideration COVID-19 crisis. The email includes a personal message by the CEO along with his headshot and that increases the brand credibility.
Target sets another fine example for welcome email. It lets the subscriber know how they are doing the best to cater to the subscriber’s needs during these trying times.
While it is not the right time to promote your products with an idea to capitalize on the opportunity and generate sales, you can lend a helping hand to your subscribers by letting them know that you are there for them.
Timeshifter has sent out an empathetic email that informs the subscribers that they do not need to pay when they are not flying. It subtly promotes the jet lag plan credit which would help the users during these times of crisis.3. Cart Abandonment Emails
During these difficult times, every conversion matters. Therefore, you must send out cart recovery emails to the cart abandoners or subscribers who leave the checkout page without making the purchase. These emails become all the more important during such times when each conversion paves avenues to keep the business afloat.4. Re-engagement Emails
COVID-19 has brought a situation in which subscribers might not be able to open your email or engage with it. During such times, you must gently remind those inactive subscribers that you remember them and care for them. You can let them know about the new initiatives or donation drives that you have launched in the light of the pandemic.
Alternatively, you can segment them into people who have not engaged with your brand in the last 60 days, 90 days, and 120 days, according to your business and industry.
Campaign Monitor has taken a commendable approach in this direction and sent out an email that allows the user to pause the emails for 30 days.Wrapping Up
Whether you are in the education industry, ecommerce, healthcare sector, or any other field, it is inevitable to adapt your communication to match the vulnerable minds of your subscribers, financial crisis, and health issues.
These tips will surely empower your email automation strategy and help you adjust it according to the situation.
Competition is a fact of life for business owners. You can’t avoid it. Regardless of what you do, you’re sure to be competing with other companies.
Fortunately, there are tricks and tools available to help you stay one step ahead of the competition and claim your share of the market. This process starts with understanding who your direct competitors are and what they’re doing.
Enter competitor intelligence.What is competitor intelligence?
Competitor intelligence, also called competitor analysis, is the process of studying who your competitors are and what they do. It involves analyzing their strengths and weaknesses to learn from both their successes and failures.
Competitor analysis should form a central component of your business and marketing strategy. If you ignore it or do it halfheartedly, you are missing a significant opportunity. It provides you with a more rounded understanding of the landscape in which you’re operating, giving you vital insight and new ideas that will help you to stand out.How do you do competitor intelligence?
Exactly how you do your competitor analysis will depend upon the nature of your business. In this section, I’ll talk you through some of the most effective strategies I’ve found and some of the tools you can use.Work out who your competitors are
I know this seems obvious, but it’s perhaps the most critical step. Not every company operating in your industry will be a direct competitor. Myk Ponos defines a direct competitor as another company serving the same customer with the same problem and solving that problem with a similar product or service to yours.
I suggest focusing your initial competitor analysis on these direct competitors. You can always branch out later to include indirect threats, such as companies solving the same problem with a very different product or service, or using a similar product or service to solve a different issue.Start with a company overview
Before you can carefully analyze a competitor, you need to understand the similarities and differences between their company and yours. So make a note of their founding date, number of employees, and annual turnover.
This information helps to contextualize the rest of your competitor analysis. If you’re running a startup, you will be in a very different position to a company that has been going for a decade. However, you can still draw insight and inspiration from that company’s current situation and the path it took to get there.Put yourself in the position of the customer
Ultimately, your goal is to have customers choose your business over your competitors’. Therefore one of the best competitor intelligence strategies is to put yourself in the customer’s position. By stepping into their shoes, you can understand their needs and what would make them choose one company over another.
Start with your customer persona. This should give you a clear picture of your ideal client. Fill in some information about their demographics, professional position, what problems they have, and how your product solves those problems.Source: Oberlo
Once you know who your customer is, look at your customer journey. What stages does a customer go through between awareness (learning that your business exists) and conversion (making a purchase)?
How does your customer journey compare to your competitor’s? Ideally, you should sign up for their mailing list or go through the process of making a purchase on their e-commerce site, paying close attention to each phase of the journey. Is the process easy and painless? Are there any apparent chokepoints? Make a note of what you learn and use the information to improve your processes.Product or service comparison
If you and your competitor make similar products or offer similar services, it makes sense to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the products or services and their features. This process will show up any weaknesses in your offering.
Ask yourself these questions about your own and competitors’ product or service:
Be brutally honest. There is no point in doing competitor intelligence if your goal is to reassure yourself that you’re the best. Be as objective as you can about your strengths and weaknesses.
Everything you learn will help you improve your offering and make the next product or service you release even better.Competitor keyword analysis
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential if you want your business to stand out online. You need to implement a robust SEO strategy to ensure your site ranks highly in search engine results for the relevant keywords, allowing prospective customers to find you.
Therefore, competitor analysis should form part of your keyword research process. Ahrefs is a fantastic tool that will show you the traffic figures, backlink profile, and best performing keywords for any website.
Enter your competitor’s website URL, and use the “organic keywords” tab to see which pages and keyword searches generated the most clicks.
You can also use Moz’s Keyword Explorer and its Ranking Keywords analysis. The Ranking Keywords analysis allows you to make a direct comparison between your site and competitor’s. By making a direct comparison of keyword use and search engine rankings, you can spot keyword gaps.Analyze PPC spend
Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising solution that allows website owners to “bid” for spaces at the top of search engine results for specific keywords. Here’s an example:
As you can see, the first four results are all PPC ads.
Analyzing your competitors’ PPC spend and their chosen keywords will give you valuable information around which to build your campaigns, including which keywords work well and which to avoid. SEMrush is a fantastic all-in-one SEO tool which comes into its own for competitor PPC research. This tool will show you your competitors’ PPC budgets, traffic, and top keywords.Social media analysis
Love it or hate it, social media is not going away any time soon. With 97% of digital consumers using social media each month, it’s an essential sales and marketing channel. Therefore, you should spend time analyzing what your competitors are doing on social media and how well it works.
First, check which platforms they’re on. Study metrics including number of followers, audience growth or stagnation, and the average number of engagements on each post. Do they have thousands of followers but very little engagement? This implies that their content is not of a high enough standard. Do they have a small but loyal and engaged following? Does one channel perform significantly better than others?
Once you’ve analyzed the social media presence of a few of your direct competitors, perform a SWOT analysis – a breakdown of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in your social media strategy.Source: Wordstream
BuzzSumo is a useful tool for competitor social media analysis. This tool allows you to see your competitors’ most popular content based on specific keywords, broken down by platform:
You can use this analysis to identify both threats and gaps you may be able to fill. The paid version of Buzzsumo gives you detailed competitor reports, including content format, length, publication date, and average shares on each platform.Content strategy analysis
Perhaps I’m biased as an SEO marketer, but I still believe content is king. Therefore, take the time to analyze your competitors’ content strategy and how well it is working.
Does your competitor have a blog, and what content do they publish on it? Do they publish e-books, whitepapers, podcasts, videos, or any other form of content? Identify gaps in their coverage that you could fill in and what resonates with their audience. Use Moz’s Link Explorer and the Top Pages tab to see which pages on your competitors’ site are linked to the most often.
Pay particular attention to content your competitors are giving away for free. Offering value from the moment someone lands on your website for the first time is one of the most crucial aspects of successful marketing. Therefore, it is essential to ensure your free content is second to none if you expect your target customers to part with their hard-earned cash.What not to do
Don’t be tempted to steal or directly copy your competitors’ ideas. The goal of competitor intelligence is to gain insight and inspiration, not to mimic exactly what other companies are doing. Not only is this a waste of time, but you could run into legal issues.
Other competitor intelligence mistakes to be aware of include focusing your efforts either too broadly or too narrowly, and conducting an analysis once and then forgetting about it. Your competitors will keep growing and innovating, and you must keep on top of what they’re doing if you want to keep your edge.Competitor intelligence is time well spent
Competitor intelligence might seem like a lot of work. However, if you invest time in it, you will reap the benefits.
Understanding the full context of the marketplace in which you’re operating is vital to business success. Therefore, understanding your competitors is a critical piece of that puzzle.
No business exists in a vacuum. By keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing, you’ll be better equipped to develop fantastic products, provide amazing customer service, and ensure your digital marketing strategy is up to scratch.
By this time, you might have heard of many small retail businesses going online amid this Covid-19 pandemic while many big brands are making use of market segmentation to the full extent to reach their customers.
However, many small business owners are still not aware of how to make the most of customer segmentation and behaviour analysis to their benefit as well as to offer a great customer experience.
This piece of writing will explain how customer segmentation and behaviour analysis can help e-commerce businesses to drive growth by reaching potential customers.
Before moving onto discussing customer segmentation and behaviour analysis, let’s have a quick look at the history and evolution of e-commerce over the years.History of E-commerce
By definition, E-commerce means buying or selling of any products and services via the internet. According to Wikipedia, online shopping was invented by Michael Aldrich back in 1979.
However, online shopping only became possible when the internet was made available to the public. Amazon was one of the first e-commerce sites that began selling products online in the US. Since then, e-commerce has revolutionised the retail and supply chain industries.
The convenience offered by online shopping has been a significant factor that has helped e-commerce to grow at an unprecedented rate. At present the market is flooded with lots of e-commerce websites ranging from small to big brands. Online shopping has influenced us in such a way that a world without e-commerce is unimaginable.Why There is a Sudden Increase in Demand for E-commerce?
While the pandemic has hard hit all the sectors, the e-commerce industry is witnessing an unexpected increase in demand. The interesting fact is that many small scale e-commerce websites, especially those providing home essentials, health and wellness products have been witnessing a massive increase in their website traffic recently. It seems the spread of COVID-19 has changed the way consumers buy things. Consumers are now turning to online shopping during this crisis, thus creating new opportunities for many online retailers.
This change in consumer behaviour was gradually happening, but the subsequent lockdown and social distancing due to Covid-19 have expedited this change. Many experts believe that this change in consumer behaviour is expected to stay even after everything goes back to normal. Realising this fact, many offline retailers have already started moving their business online.
But the problem is, many of these online retailers don’t have a clear cut idea about who their customers are and how to target them. Even customer segmentation up to a small level can benefit their business in many ways.What is Customer Segmentation?
Customer segmentation, in short, is the idea of splitting up your customers to separate small groups based on many factors such as age, shopping habits, geography, gender, interests, etc. By splitting customers into separate groups, brands can individually target each group of customers, with various marketing strategies, thus ensuring better reach and customer satisfaction.
For easy understanding, let’s take an example of an e-commerce store primarily dealing in online clothes sales. As far as an online cloth store is considered, their customers are people who are planning to purchase clothes from them. It can be people of different age groups, interests, etc. Each group of customers will have their own needs and desires.
If the same marketing techniques are used on all these different groups of customers, it may only work on some of them and lead to wastage of valuable time and resources of the company. Instead, the cloth store can provide a personalized experience to their customers by segmenting them and targeting each group of customers with different offers based on their interests. Such marketing strategies can help businesses to attract their customers.Different Types of Customer Segmentation
Customer segmentation allows brands to target a specific group of customers and offer tailored marketing strategies. Targeting customers based on their unique characteristics help to increase sales, revenue and customer satisfaction.
Four types of customer segmentation exist, and they are as follows,
To achieve success in your business, you need to provide better service to your customers. Customer segmentation is one way in which you can accomplish that. Now let’s move onto discussing the various benefits of customer segmentation for an e-commerce business.
In today’s world expectations of the customers are very high, and businesses have to keep pace with these growing demands and expectations. Due to this factor, many e-commerce companies feel the need to adopt new strategies that can help them in offering better customer experience.
Customer segmentation is a crucial tool for all the businesses; however, to meet the growing needs of the customers’, companies have to come with a more advanced strategy rather than sticking with the traditional segmentation methods.
Many experts believe that in the coming years, we will see an increase in the role of AI in customer segmentation. Using AI to segment your customers offers a lot of benefits for your business. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using AI instead of manual segmentation.
After going through this blog, you might have got an idea about customer segmentation and its benefits. As we mentioned before, customer segmentation allows you to divide your customers into separate groups based on their interests, behaviour, spending habits, etc.
One thing you should remember is the fact that customer segmentation should be done very carefully as your whole e-commerce marketing plan depends on the data you collect.
Creator, Vinoth Kumar Balakrishnan has been the project lead at Webandcrafts, An Ecommerce Development Company, since 2014.
A graphic designer is a highly-demanding profession that requires not only a wide array of skills and vast expertise but also thinking ahead and breaking the rules.
Even veterans must continuously upgrade their skills and expand their knowledge to stay on top of the game. To be able to do that, they keep tabs on modern trends that delight their clients. After all, the design is the top driver of web and mobile users’ positive first impressions. Considering this, graphic designers’ work is essential for a fruitful online presence. With 1.7 billion active websites of competitors, every single pixel matters.What popular trends are going out of style in graphic design? Strong and complex gradients
Over the course of the last few years, we have seen a trend of using very sophisticated and robust gradients. This design theme was very prominent across the globe, with the big brands like Instagram, Tinder for example, and as a part of smaller interface elements (buttons on Asana brand applications). In my honest opinion, this trend is transforming into a less aggressive color selection and fewer colors used in gradient in general. This is by no means a suggestion that we will not see any gradients used at all, but some of the applications will evolve into different approaches like the use of holographic patterns.Isometric design
Isometric perspective in design is a trend that comes and goes. It was a very prominent way to approach the topic of illustrations and iconography in web and mobile interfaces over the last few years. Isometric design often feels more technical and stiff than the current trend of a more “humane” way to present illustrations with a lot of sketch and abstract silhouettes and proportions. This trend will remain to be seen, but we think that it will be used in more specific cases and mainly for a very technical field of design because it’s a relatively easy way to show a product from a wide-angle and perspective on a single image.Outlined typography
Outlined typography creates a unique visual effect for typography, but it can very often collide with the User Experience. We want to make sure that the app you are using is easy to use and navigate, content blocks are visually appealing. This can be easily ruined with a part of a design that has a crucial meaning to users, and a pixel-wide outline mixed with a low contrasting color can turn that into an almost invisible object. Outlined typography is one of the most concerning parts of typography when looking at components with the simple “UX Squint Test.” If your brand revolves around an outlined typography, a small object that uses this technique will be almost impossible to see if you try to look at it with a squint eye. This is a clear indication of a problem for users across various devices.Strict grid structure
We are all used to ensuring that everything is perfectly aligned with Grid, fits the proper column with a tidy, pixel-perfect gutter in between. With the ever-improving front-end capabilities of various code languages & frameworks that allow for easier implementation of more fancy and imaginative interfaces, we are finally able to create a more asymmetrical layout. This is by no means a way to do a „chaotic” design and still requires a lot of practice to get right, but we should see way more unorthodox designs in the near future.Stiff, technical copywriting
Web and mobile apps are finally changing the very technical, overcomplicated headers and descriptions. With the increasing number of major brands that are more aware of the importance of good copywriting can bring, microcopy rises in power. With the right approach, you can push the same information to your beloved user base without needing some (or most of them) to check the dictionary. Microcopy with a more relaxed tone, clear description of values is by far one of the most welcome changes to what’s going on in copywriting and design in general.What cliches inexperienced graphic designers overuse? Overuse of color
If the app you are designing has a single primary color, you should not add three, four, or more colors to the used palette. We know that it’s tempting, but keep in mind that brand awareness should be a big part of a design planning process. If the app you have designed will see mostly green color, but the client brand is strictly using blue, it could lead to confusion if the app belongs to the same band.
In addition, as we said in the previous section, we think that a lot of designers treat gradients as an easy way to make the interface look more advanced than it would look like with a solid set of colors. We still tend to use gradients, depending on the app – but if you can achieve your design work with the basic set of colors, you should be able to resist the use of gradients.Mixing outlined and filled icons at random
It might be a bit nitpicky, but this is a common sight in a lot of early designer portfolios, where you can see a set of 3-4 navigation icons and one of them – often the least important from a User perspective – is filled and appears bolder, while the rest is a less intrusive outline styled. It’s a common practice in design to stick to one style, or apply an outlined icon for inactive and filled with the active state (for example heart or bookmark icons)Breaking design principles “just because”
Since we have had access to tools and resources to design, Designers always wanted to experiment with the various components of user interface design. This is an essential part of making your style and a unique product in general, but some things are better done the way we are common with. So you should not really over experiment with the Checkbox, to replace a checkmark with a Triangle, or make a triangle button. This often leads to confusion and a drastic drop in readability and user experience for the sake of making a change.Key takeaway
One of the means of staying up-to-date is continually getting inspired by accomplished masters of the trade, like Jeffrey Zeldman, Mike Kus, or Ethan Marcotte. To amp up your design skills, I recommend reading the articles 10 Lessons Learned From Top Web Designers and WOW Your Users With These 31 UX Best Practices for Mobile Design.
Now that you know what trends are out of style, breathe new life into your UX/UI design by applying these emerging user interface and experience trends that will be taking off in 2020.
For your next digital product choose experts who will create a neat and responsive UX design by not only keeping up with the newest trends, but also by anticipating them and broadening the horizons through turning to modern art, architecture, and even traditional fashion.
Though it may not seem like an obvious choice, a landing page — or two or three — can help generate leads and grow your business. A landing page is a web page with a singular focus: to convert website visitors into leads. When visitors click on a link from an ad or a post on social media, they go to a landing page that describes what the offer in the ad or post is and what they need to do to get it.
If they’re designed well, landing pages can drive conversions at a higher rate than your website’s homepage. The median conversion rate from a landing page is between 3 and 5.5 percent, compared to the average e-commerce conversion rate of 2.9 percent.
The beauty of a landing page is its simplicity. It targets visitors who are interested in one specific thing (like an e-book or a free trial) and gives them clear directions on how to get it. Most landing pages include text, pictures, and a call to action (CTA) to get visitors to convert.
Landing pages offer a few major benefits, but one of the biggest is their ability to capture leads. For example, a landing page to download an e-book might require a person to fill out a contact form before getting access to the e-book. Once the visitor downloads the e-book, the company can reach out later and see if the visitor has any questions or needs more information — effectively pulling them into the sales funnel.
Your company should have at least a few landing pages on your website to optimize lead generation. In this guide, you’ll learn
Since the sole purpose of a landing page is to convert visitors into leads or customers, it’s very different from the standard web pages on your site. Your “About” page, product pages, and homepage all have navigation options so that visitors can click around your site.
For example, a visitor may land on a blog post, then navigate to a product page, and finally check out your “About” page to learn more about the brand. A landing page doesn’t have that — it’s a standalone page without the distraction of navigation, and it exists for the main purpose of converting visitors into leads.
Theoretically, you could send someone to a standard page on your website from an advertising or social media campaign. But you can’t rely on regular web pages to convert visitors into leads. They’re often too general and not geared toward the visitor’s intent. Without a direct and obvious next step, the visitor will likely end up visiting a few pages on the website and eventually leaving without completing an action.
If the goal for your website is to convert leads into customers, landing pages are an effective way to do this. They have content that’s targeted toward specific products or offers, which makes them more relevant to the visitors who land there.
More relevant content and more targeted traffic translates into higher conversions. That’s good news for your sales team, as HubSpot’s 2018 State of Inbound Marketing report found that 75 percent of North America-based sales teams list closing more deals as a top priority. Leads that have already expressed interest in your products and services can go a long way toward hitting those sales goals.
Landing pages also provide a way to test how to improve conversions. You can put up different landing pages with different layouts and content to see which one actually gets people to sign up, download an e-book, or buy your product. This can help you figure out what elements (such as images, content, and layout) will work best for you. You’ll learn more about landing page optimization — including testing — later in this guide.Make onboarding easier with landing pages
Landing pages are most often associated with advertising campaigns, but they can also be used for other functions, such as user onboarding. The goal of user onboarding is to introduce users to a new product and explain how it works. A typical onboarding process takes a user through the signup, the product tour and tutorial, and finally turns them loose to start trying the features.
When you onboard new users for your product, like a new application or software product, you want them to immediately find value so that they’ll keep using the product and paying for their subscription. Right out of the gate, a good landing page can set the tone for the relationship and let the user know what to expect.
If your onboarding landing page is targeted, user-friendly, and streamlined, the user will be more likely to use more of the product’s features and become a long-term customer.
Landing pages can also be part of the product tour of an app or software product. The text and imagery on a landing page can provide a preview of what the user can expect after signing up.
After signup, the landing page can segue directly into the app, using similar imagery to reassure the user that they’re in the right place. The onboarding sequence can continue, showing the user how to customize the app to their preferences and get started with it.
For example, a landing page for a website builder might promise that it’s easy to set up the website and, therefore, show images of the user interface. After signup, the user would be taken into a tutorial with popup guides that show them how to choose a website template, add images, and add text to their websites.Landing pages improve lead generation
All companies want to close more deals and boost sales. To do that, they need a consistent stream of new leads that can be moved down the sales funnel. Landing pages play a critical role in the lead generation process by capturing website visitors’ information and converting them into leads who can be contacted by the sales team.
You can also use landing pages to help your sales team upsell, and make their jobs a whole lot easier. Landing pages optimize the lead generation process because they take visitors to pages tailored to their specific interests and intent.
For example, a T-shirt maker could run ads promoting a new line of kids’ T-shirts, and users who clicked on that ad would go to a landing page where they would see only information about the company’s line of children’s products.
Once visitors complete an action — such as filling out a web form — a salesperson or customer service rep will know what types of products each visitor is interested in. They can then tailor their sales pitch or messaging to better meet each lead’s expectations. Salespeople can also provide targeted educational or product information, like case studies, to help persuade each prospect to become a customer. This gives your sales team an edge and can help them improve their close rates.
Landing pages aren’t a “nice-to-have” part of your marketing campaign — they’re a “must-have.” But where should you start with your landing pages, and how do you create them?
In the next section, you’ll learn how to lay the foundation for a strong landing page by identifying your target audience and choosing the right landing page builder. You’ll also learn about calls to action and how to use them effectively on your landing pages.Where to start with landing pages
The goal of a landing page isn’t to get as much traffic as possible — it’s to attract the visitors who are most likely to convert, whether that means they’re making a purchase or handing over contact information in exchange for a discount or useful piece of content.
But before you start driving targeted visitors to your landing pages, you first need to know who your target audience is and why they’d want to take that action.
To do this, you need to research your target audience and what motivates them. Start by looking at the following audience characteristics in your existing website analytics platform (like Google Analytics), social analytics platforms (like Facebook Analytics), and even your e-commerce platform analytics:
Once you better understand your target audience and what they’re looking for, you can begin to sketch out what your landing page will look like.
This is where landing page builders comes in handy — they allow you to choose from different templates so that you won’t have to code a web page or add a page to your website’s standard content management system. Instead, the landing page builder will do this for you.
A good landing page builder should include
When choosing from the many different landing page builders available, make sure you can easily customize anything you create to suit the look and feel of your website. Using readymade templates can help speed up this process, but you’ll still need to add your own images and visuals, and change fonts and colors.
If the purpose of your landing page is to capture leads, you’ll need a form or form integration that allows you to do that. You’ll also need a way to send the data you collect straight to the database you’re using. For example, if you’re already using JotForm to collect data and have integrated it with your CRM system or other third-party applications, it may make more sense to look at landing page builders that allow easy integration with JotForm.Selecting a landing page template
Be sure to choose a landing page template that will best convert visitors based on the offer on your landing page. Regardless of which template you choose, make sure it has a responsive design — meaning it works well on mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
Beyond that, think about how you’ll use your landing page. Will visitors be downloading an e-book, going through an app setup process, or something else? The function of your landing page will help decide which design elements to prioritize. For example, a landing page to download an e-book will likely use just one image, versus a landing page for an app, which will have more screenshots and other visuals.
Work on crafting the right ask or offer to persuade your visitors to act. When you create content for your target audience, whether it’s a blog post or an ad, the goal is to develop messaging that gets readers to convert, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase.
Also, look at loading speed for the landing page. While a landing page that promotes a highly visual product will need lots of high-resolution images, you don’t want visitors to get bored while waiting for images or videos to load. Your template should be optimized for a fast load time to keep visitors on your page.
There are several types of landing pages to choose from:
As you look at landing page templates, be sure to choose the one that most closely matches the type of page you’re trying to create.The call to action
Possibly the most important part of any landing page is the call to action (CTA). The CTA is a very clear instruction to your visitor: Buy this now, download this e-book, sign up for our newsletter, etc. You need to give visitors a reason to take that action, so start with a strong command and use words that will inspire emotion or enthusiasm.
One useful tactic is to instill a little fear of missing out, such as a call to action that says, “Buy this today! Sale ends Tuesday!” By evoking enthusiasm or emotion, this tactic gives your visitors a reason to take action now, instead of leaving your landing page and then forgetting about the offer.
Now that you know where to start with your landing page, the next step is to learn how different industries use landing pages and what some of the different use cases are.Landing page uses
In the previous section, you learned about the different types of landing pages and how to start creating your own landing page strategy. We also talked about the many different ways landing pages can be used: to capture leads, sell a product, or onboard new users.
The industry you’re in can also affect the type of landing page you use, and it’s important to know what’s already working for your industry before creating your landing page.
This section will discuss ways that industries like real estate, consulting, and education can leverage landing pages, as well as how “coming soon” landing pages can help capture leads before you’ve officially launched a new business.Landing on your next home
Real estate landing pages, like other landing pages, are highly targeted and focus much of their content on highlighting specific property listings.
Most real estate landing pages feature short, direct copy, along with images or videos of a specific property. There are three standard types of real estate landing pages that Realtors and brokers frequently use:
The home search landing page is probably the simplest of the three because it gives the visitor a place to start searching for real estate listings. As the visitor browses listings, they’re encouraged to save favorites and leave their contact information so they can come back and look at the listings later.
The home value landing page offers a tool, such as a home valuation calculator. The visitor inputs their address and has to enter their contact information before getting their home valuation. These can either be instant home values, where the visitor immediately receives an estimated value for their home, or a comparative market analysis (CMA) value, where the visitor leaves contact information in exchange for a more accurate, professional home valuation.
Real estate agents also offer free content, like guides for buying or selling homes, in exchange for contact information. These landing pages give potential leads valuable content and let the real estate agent know what they’re interested in.Capturing consulting leads
Business consulting firms can also leverage landing pages to capture leads. To do this, they provide a download, like an e-book or a checklist, in exchange for contact information.
Best practices for consultant landing pages include keeping the copy short and using a bold headline with a question that taps into a common industry pain point, like “Are you as efficient as you could be?” Follow this with a few sentences explaining the benefits of the consulting firm and bullet points outlining what visitors can expect after they download the gated content (usually an e-book or whitepaper).Traveling to higher revenues
Travel industry landing pages can also be great for lead capture. These pages tend to have a lot of stunning imagery of the location, along with simple, persuasive language. Often, the travel landing page is designed to get the visitor to book a vacation now, so it has to have compelling visuals and copy to get them to hand over their hard-earned money.
Alternatively, travel landing pages can also offer a downloadable guide, like “The 10 Things You Need to See in Italy.” Not only does this provide the visitor with interesting and useful information, but it also lets the travel company know what they’re interested in — in this case, a trip to Italy.Educating potential customers
Even higher education can benefit from landing pages. Education landing pages typically have the contact information form at the top, with a call to action to apply to the institution. Below that, they often highlight the benefits of attending the school and testimonials from successful alumni.
Educational institutions also use landing pages to encourage the visitor to request more information. In exchange for their contact information, visitors get a downloadable brochure or other piece of content regarding a major they’re interested in.
This is the natural evolution of the way people used to request information about schools — by sending a letter asking for a print brochure — and it helps the institution follow up with the visitor by offering more details about the specific program they’re interested in.Coming soon to an inbox near you
For companies that haven’t yet launched, a “coming soon” landing page can help build buzz. These are fairly simple pages that lay out the benefits of the business and ask for the visitor’s email address. Often, they include a countdown to launch and encourage visitors to sign up for early access to the service or for a newsletter where early subscribers can get perks.
These types of landing pages focus on providing visitors with information about what to expect once a service or product launches. For example, they can include a demo video or screenshots of a product in development to help visitors decide whether they want to be notified when the launch happens.
There are a lot of uses for landing pages in a variety of industries; these are just a few. In the next section, you’ll learn about optimizing and tracking your landing pages so you can get the most out of them.Landing page optimization and tracking
Choosing a landing page builder and template, deciding what you’ll offer in exchange for valuable contact information, and populating the landing page with content takes a lot of time.
Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your landing page performs at its absolute best. That’s where landing page optimization and tracking come in.Landing page optimization
Landing page optimization is the process of testing different elements of your landing page to see what gets visitors to take action. You may find that using certain words or images works better when it comes to getting visitors to provide their contact information or make a purchase.
When you optimize your landing page, you use methods like A/B testing to see how well different elements work. With A/B testing, you change one element of your landing page and serve both versions (Version A and Version B) to a set of visitors to see how the change affects the conversion rate.
For example, you might use a red signup button on one version of your page and a blue one on the other. The only thing you change is the color of the button. The goal is to see which small changes produce an increase in conversions.
Optimizing your landing pages begins with understanding where your traffic comes from. Visitors may be coming from social media, ads, or email campaigns.
If you’re running a Google AdWords campaign and bidding on a particular keyword, like “Omaha real estate,” you’ll want to make sure that your landing page for that campaign is geared toward people who are looking to buy real estate in Omaha.
Conversely, if someone is coming through a social media link looking for information on selling their home, make sure the landing page they go to is geared toward how to do this.
From there, you can try different tactics to optimize your landing page:
To help with landing page optimization, you should track certain metrics. These will help you evaluate the success of your landing page.
Tracking these metrics can help you figure out if you need to further optimize your landing pages. But there’s another factor you’ll need to consider: mobile devices. In the next section, you’ll learn the difference between a landing page for a desktop computer and a mobile device, and how to optimize for both.How to create mobile landing pages
When you create landing pages, don’t forget about mobile. Most organic search traffic in the U.S. originates from mobile phones, meaning that a lot of people use their smartphones to browse the internet. A mobile landing page can help you convert those visitors into customers.
But a mobile landing page is different than a desktop landing page. Whereas a desktop landing page is designed for visitors with more time to spend on your site and gives you more screen real estate to use, a mobile landing page is supposed to get visitors to convert quickly on a small screen. Mobile landing pages need to be built so that visitors can find what they need quickly and complete the suggested action without endlessly scrolling.
The small screen size of mobile devices probably poses the biggest problem for mobile landing pages. When visitors scroll, the call to action button might not be visible on the section of the page they’re reading. Some mobile device users may also have data limitations. For companies that have very visual products, this makes it harder to translate their full desktop landing page to a mobile page.
You must create a separate mobile landing page. Responsive design isn’t enough; all the elements on a responsive page are designed for a desktop, and mobile users search and browse sites differently than desktop users. Mobile landing pages also need shorter copy: bullet points, short sentences, and paragraphs. Don’t pack the page with images and videos; that takes up valuable screen real estate and can eat into a visitor’s data plan.
Also consider how scrolling affects your mobile landing page. You can create a shorter landing page with a “click to scroll” option that lets users go to a longer, scrolling page. On a longer page, use a sticky header or footer with your call to action. This will help users find what they’re looking for quickly and complete the action you want them to take.Click-to-call landing pages
Sometimes you won’t be able to fit key information on your mobile landing page, like inventory, business hours, and pricing. A click-to-call landing page makes it easy for visitors to contact you to get this information. If your business offers complex products or services, a click-to-call landing page may be the best option for a mobile landing page since it gets right to the point.
Unlike a desktop landing page, where the visitor’s call to action is to fill out a form, the click-to-call landing page features a large button that will launch directly into a phone call. This makes use of both the browser and the mobile phone’s dialing capabilities, whether it’s through the phone or a service like Skype. Visitors don’t have to go to your main website to search for the information they need; they can just click on a button and get a representative on the phone to answer their questions.
Naturally, you should optimize this type of mobile landing page to encourage visitors to call you. First, make sure that the code for dialing is embedded in the page. Your landing page template should be able to handle this. Next, make sure your call to action is clear: Ask the visitor to call for more information.
A simple click-to-call landing page usually focuses on one specific product. A good example is a mobile landing page for an automobile. These types of landing pages are typically designed with one goal in mind: to get the visitor to schedule a test drive at their local dealership.
A mobile landing page for an auto dealership would include elements like a short, direct headline, a photo of the vehicle, and likely some pricing information for that model. A large “Call for Details” button will encourage the visitor to call the dealership to find out when they can schedule a test drive, what it costs for the model with a sunroof, or how many of the vehicles the dealer has in stock.App download landing pages
If you’re an app developer, it makes sense for you to have a mobile landing page so that visitors can download your app. A mobile app landing page is the starting point for your user’s journey with your product. In Chapter 2, you learned that landing pages are effective ways of onboarding new customers; this is also the case with a mobile app landing page.
The landing page for your mobile app should clearly explain what problem your app solves. This is likely the first time your visitor has come into contact with you, and the content on your mobile app landing page needs to be compelling enough to capture their attention. A simple way to do this is by describing your app’s features and benefits in short, snappy bullet points, along with the app’s value proposition.
Another effective tactic is to provide social proof, like a testimonial, and a visual that can be easily viewed on a mobile device. Testimonials show your visitors that your app is trustworthy and really does solve problems, and a strong visual gives visitors an idea of what to expect once they launch the app on their mobile device.
But remember, that call to action button is key. Make it as easy as possible for users to see it, click on it, and go the appropriate app store for the download. Now that you know some best practices for creating landing pages, including mobile landing pages, you’ll want to know what to avoid. The next section discusses the worst practices for landing pages and how to avoid them.The 7 deadly sins of landing pages
You’ve learned about landing page strategy and different uses for landing pages, and by now, you should have a good idea of how you’re going to structure your landing page. However, there’s plenty you shouldn’t do when creating a landing page.
Your visitors should know exactly what to do when they’re on your landing page: Provide their information, whether it’s to get a free trial or downloadable resource; click a button to call you; or download an app. Your landing page should be enticing enough to get them to convert.
If you’re making the following mistakes, you’re missing the point of a landing page.Your landing page redirects visitors to another page
When a visitor attempts to go to your landing page, they’re redirected but to a slightly different page. Redirects can be useful for regular websites if the original site moves or you want to track what’s referring visitors to your site. But for landing pages, it’s not necessary. It slows down your site load time.
To avoid landing page redirects, make sure you send visitors to a URL that doesn’t take them somewhere else. Also, make sure that resources like images are being called directly so that there aren’t any redirects to load these files.Your offer or call to action isn’t clear
Most people want to find easily readable, digestible, and valuable information when they’re online. Your visitors are no exception. But if they get to your landing page and can’t figure out quickly why the page even exists, they’ll go elsewhere. Your landing page needs to lay out the offer, whether it’s a free download or an app, and make the benefits clear.
In addition, your visitors can’t take action if they don’t know what to do. When you create your landing page, highlight the important parts of your product or service, the parts that are the most relevant to your ideal visitor.
The call to action should be positioned so your visitors will immediately see it. Use a color that contrasts with the background of the page. Make sure the button provides a clear direction, e.g., “Start my free trial.” The center of the page is a good place for the CTA.The landing page loads slowly
This guide mentioned the importance of page load speed, but it can’t be stressed enough: If your landing page takes too long to load, you can lose your visitors’ attention, and they’ll leave your site.
To make sure your page is loading quickly, use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to help you identify the causes of any bottlenecks. You might need to compress your image size or store static content on a cloud storage service so that your server doesn’t get bogged down with traffic requests.There aren’t any visuals on your landing page
While too many visuals or visuals with too-large file sizes can slow down your landing page, you still need to use visuals to entice your visitors, especially if you sell a highly visual product.
Screenshots, product images, short videos, or a simple illustration of the resource you offer can all help convert visitors. Visuals can also help point your visitors to the call to action on your page. For example, a photo of a person looking in a certain direction — which just happens to be where your call to action is — can help draw your visitor’s eye to that spot.Your landing page is cluttered
Your visitors should understand the benefits of taking advantage of your offer. But if you have too much on your landing page, including multiple offers, they’ll get overwhelmed and confused. Keep your landing pages simple and clean, with a single offer and just enough visual elements to assist with the conversion.You don’t test your landing pages
What works well for a competitor may not work at all on your landing page, which is why A/B testing is so important. It will help you identify the elements that work for you and the ones that drive visitors away.
Create different variations of your landing page, changing just one element: the background color, page headline, type of offer, or call to action text, for example. Use one landing page with a video and another with a static image to see which one gets more people to convert.Your landing page doesn’t match your ad
How many times have you clicked on an ad, only to be taken to a landing page that has nothing to do with the ad? When this happens to your visitors, they feel a little betrayed, like you’ve pulled a bait-and-switch on them, and they won’t be inclined to convert.
In some cases, this will leave them with such a bad taste in their mouths that they won’t trust you — for example, if you promise them a free trial but then ask them to provide their credit card information. Make sure your landing page imagery and content is consistent with your ad imagery and content.
These tips should help you avoid creating landing pages that don’t get the results you want. In the next section, you’ll learn about how JotForm can help you make the most of your landing pages.How JotForm can enhance landing pages
As we’ve discussed, two of the main purposes of landing pages are onboarding new users and collecting contact information in exchange for a freebie. Both require a form that can integrate with your landing pages, reliably collect information, and deliver it to your backend system.
JotForm makes this process easy. You can create forms using JotForm’s drag-and-drop form builder, adding the fields you need visitors to fill out. You can also place a button on your landing page to direct visitors to the form.
JotForm allows you to style your form so it will match the look and feel of your landing page and your overall branding. With over 10,000 templates to choose from, it’s quick and easy to design and implement a contact form for your landing page.
The forms come already optimized for mobile devices, so you can embed one directly into the landing page, or you can send visitors to a JotForm mobile form to collect their information.
JotForm integrates on the backend with most CRM systems and databases, storing the data where you want it while your user continues on their journey.
JotForm ensures the data your visitors submit is safe. A 256-bit SSL connection with a SHA-256 certificate, the same level of protection used by online banking providers, keeps all of your lead and customer data safe. You can also encrypt your forms to make sure that submission data is transferred and stored securely. JotForm uses high-grade RSA-2048 on the user’s computer. If you collect payment data, JotForm is fully PCI DSS compliant.
In addition, if any of your users are in the European Union, you need to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which applies to any business that collects information from customers in the EU. JotForm is GDPR compliant, which makes it easier for you to expand your global reach.
JotForm helps ensure you collect useful data from visitors. While you’ll get a lot of valuable leads or new users if you’ve followed the advice in this guide, you’re also likely to get your fair share of spam bots filling out your lead capture forms. JotForm lets you use Captchas in your forms and provides options to protect yourself from spammers. For example, you can restrict submissions to just one per IP address, or you can disable your form after a certain number of submissions.
Finally, JotForm lets you run A/B tests on your forms so you can see if eliminating a form field or changing the color of the submit button leads to more conversions.Examples of JotForm in landing pages
There are a lot of ways that JotForm can enhance your landing pages, no matter the sector. One example is summer camp registration. Your landing page can direct prospective campers to a registration form. By integrating JotForm, you can register campers, accept payments, and populate your system with the relevant information on your campers automatically. You can even build a form for other purposes: collecting medical information, accepting a payment, arranging for arrivals, or getting feedback.
You can also use JotForm to create a PayPal form. A PayPal form lets you collect payments directly from your landing page, as opposed to collecting information to make a sale later on. JotForm has several PayPal payment tools available, including support for both PayPal Pro and PayPal Checkout.
You can create HIPAA-compliant forms with JotForm. Access to HIPAA compliance features requires a Silver plan. If your visitors need to submit medical information, you can rest assured that you’re following HIPAA regulations. Users can also upload images or electronically sign documents. With HIPAA compliance, you can integrate with other HIPAA-compliant software, such as Google Sheets. JotForm even has HIPAA-compliant templates you can use so you don’t have to start from scratch.
With JotForm, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the forms you use to collect visitor data. Whether you embed the form into your landing page or direct visitors to a separate form via a button, JotForm lets you focus on building a stunning landing page that inspires visitors to complete the call to action. It’s one less thing you have to worry about, and it makes the conversion process that much easier.Conclusion
Landing pages are effective ways of generating leads, onboarding new users, and collecting visitor information so that you can move them further along the sales cycle. In this guide, you learned about the importance of building a landing page that’s separate from your homepage or product page so that your visitors know exactly what you want them to do.
Getting started with landing pages can seem daunting, but once you identify your target audience, find the right landing page builder or template, and craft a call to action that will resonate with visitors, you have a better chance of getting them to convert.
You also learned about the seven deadly sins of landing pages, like landing page redirects and unclear calls to action. Using best practices will help increase conversions because your landing page will display quickly, provide visitors with the information they need, and make it clear what you expect them to do.
Finally, this guide also covered how you can use JotForm to enhance your landing pages. The primary goal of many landing pages is to collect information, and JotForm gives you an easy way to capture visitor data and store it securely.
The tips in this guide will help you build landing pages that convert website visitors into paying customers. Follow our tips and best practices, and keep testing different elements on your pages to make improvements over time, and you’ll see the results start to roll in.
With the years passing us by, attracting prospects to your business and resources is also changing. Businesses are going online and copywriting is playing an important role in promoting them on the internet.
But what is that one thing that’s compelling people to buy products and services by just searching a few queries on a search bar?
The answer is content.
Today we see many web pages that are loaded with content; content that is convincing enough to convert your readers into customers.
So here it is, copywriting is the practice of utilizing any piece of content that implies the art and science of using words in a copy, promotional enough to sell products or services and forces a prospect to take action.
Many factors come into play for growing a business effectively including:
But the major portion that contributes to business growth is high-quality content. Check out these stats:
So now that we have checked the definition of copywriting, let’s move ahead to check the importance of copywriting.Copywriting: Why Is It Crucial For Business?
We have seen the best marketers investing most in developing a content strategy for their business growth. So stating that copywriting is crucial for your business would be an understatement.
Let me cover the importance of copywriting for a business and why you should invest in good copy.
Great content is the core of a great copy. Also, a good content strategy costs 62% less and generates 3 times more leads.
A copy loaded with great content is much more engaging than television advertisements or a cold email.
About 60% of people prefer buying a product or service after reading informative content about it. Talking about branding, 70% of the audience would prefer learning about an organization through articles rather than an advertisement.
The stats until now have shown how important it is for a business to curate a great copy for:
Still not convinced?
Let’s consider more statistics.
Business owners have started to realize the importance of a good copy to reach their customers’ minds. Thus, it’s not surprising that on an average 25% of the budget is spent on content marketing.
As business owners, it’s very necessary to plan a good copywriting strategy due to the omnipresence of content. Content is present to make people aware of your ideas. We on a daily basis create and engage with content on various channels such as:Social Media
If you want to reach your audience using limited words and thoughts, social media copywriting can be the perfect solution. Social media is a platform with an ever-increasing number of audiences towards 3.1 billion in 2021, which makes it an important area to promote business.
Number of social media users worldwide 2010-2021(in billions)Website
Having a website today is nothing new but to make people aware of it is the real task. A good copy plays an important role in making your website rank on top of search engine result pages (SERPs).
As per Julia McCoy, a serial content writer, entrepreneur, and author, 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.Email
Email is amongst the first and oldest forms of personalized marketing in the digital world. Many alternative channels are becoming popular, but still, emails play a prominent role in the marketing world.
From an engaging subject and interesting body to a compelling call-to-action(CTA), copywriting is needed everywhere.
So these are some well-known areas where copywriting is indispensable for any business organization.Types of Copywriting
Based on the site owners’ need and dependability, copywriting can fall in 2 categories:
If your goal is to top the SERPs and gain some organic traffic for your website, SEO copywriting is the right choice.
SEO copywriting is all about writing content that uses relevant, niche-oriented keywords and focuses on a target audience.
For creating an SEO friendly copy, you need to ask yourself one question:
Who is your target audience?
The minute you answer this question correctly, the path to ranking your content on the SERPs will become easier.
Many content curators forget the real goal of writing for the audience. Instead, they write for keywords.
Let’s have a look at different components that contribute to Google’s Ranking Algorithm.
You’ll see “trust” and “authority” having the largest share as compared to other components.
To summarize, I would say that SEO copywriting is all about creating content that shares some value to its readers and is compelling enough to be ranked on top of the SERPs.3 SEO Copywriting Takeaways
Let’s have a look at some of the best practices for SEO Copywriting.Headline
The headline is the first thing that is read by the readers and is an important element in leaving a lasting impression on your readers.
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. —David Ogilvy”
A headline in SEO copywriting is all about creating an attraction for the visitors so that they could scroll further to read.
The headline also plays an important role in boosting the click-through-rates(CTRs) when your page appears in SERPs. To become a successful copywriter, think, and plan on your title first. Then carry it forward with your content.
This is arguably the best practice regarding headlines but some people might take a different approach.Bonus Tip:
After the headline comes the most vital part of any SEO copy i.e. content. After all, the whole copy is based and relies on its content. Before beginning right away, understand your readers (target audience) and the information to be shared with them.
Google Panda 4.1 update talked about penalizing thin or shallow content. As per the experts, a typical post (SEO copy) is approximately 1000 words. It is not about the length but how much value you share with your visitors. Many find it difficult to rank highly dense content due to the shallow information they provide whereas small articles might rank at the top as readers find it highly informational.Bonus Tip
The number of times your keyword or keywords appearing in the content is keyword frequency.
Take an example:
“An article that targets best ps4 controls as a keyphrase, then how many times it is used in an article is considered as the keyword density for best ps4 controls.”
Here is the formula for checking the exact keyword density:
For a Keyword:
Where Nk is the total count of keywords and Tw is the total number of words used in your content.
For a Keyword Phrase:
Here Np is the total number of words in a phrase.
The ideal keyword density is considered as 1 to 2 percent for getting SEO benefits. I would advise you not to be too calculative; just avoid some common SEO mistakes like:
To make it brief, SEO copywriting is all about implementing SEO best practices and naturally pushing your content upwards in the SERPs. Also, SEO copywriting is all about captivating your audience by leveraging psychology and persuasion.Direct Response Copywriting
Direct response copywriting is a derivative of TV advertising where the motive of the writers is to engage people not only in reading but also memorizing their copy. The main goal behind a direct response copy is sharing value while raking in conversions.
If you analyze closely, it is much more than a normal television advertisement. The idea is to generate content by which the reader is ready to take action upon digesting the words.
Here are some examples of actions that you may want your readers to take:
Let me share some tips that can make your copy a powerhouse of conversions.3 Tips Before Writing Your Copy #1 Determine your goal:
Before curating the copy, determine the goal behind its creation. Every author should decide what action they want their readers to take after reading the copy. If the publisher wants the reader to buy a product, download something, or subscribe to articles or newsletters, the mode of conversion has to be predetermined.#2 Plan your path:
Now that you’ve decided your goal, this is the time when you have to be particular about what channel or medium you will use. Some common paths chosen by marketers are:
Try to share value with your copy. Instead of telling the community how much value you’re bringing to the community, try to bring a positive change. Tell people how your product is going to add value to their lives instead of showing how valuable your product is.4 Takeaways While Writing your Copy
Once you have decided on your goal and found your medium where you want to publish your copy, it’s time to get into action.#1 It all starts with a headline
As mentioned in the SEO Copywriting section, the headline is the first thing that the user reads.
The legendary copywriter David Ogilvy has said it much better:
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
If the heading doesn’t capture the attention of the reader and fails to arouse any curiosity, your copy goes in vain.
Have a look at David Ogilvy’s best selling copy that used a heading to arouse curiosity:#2 Adding Compelling CTAs to your Copy
The main goal behind writing a Direct Response copy is to drive actions. Thus, placing CTAs in the copy is the best way to capture reader action.
The characteristics of a good CTA are:
Above is an example from SEMrush that showcases some of the perfect CTAs needed in a copy.
The reader knows exactly what’s going to happen when they click the button.#3 Write to define your readers
Each and every word of your copy should define your readers. By defining the readers I mean that the reader should be convinced that the copy is exclusively written for him or her.
Upon reading your copy they should understand that the product or service is going to bring a positive change in their current scenario. Many business owners try to work upon the fallacy of how great their product is, which is a wrong approach.
While writing the copy keep the readers in focus instead of creating a hype of the product.
Have a look at another example by SEMrush.# 4 Invest time in Long Form Copy
We have become too busy in our lives. Everyone needs quick results within a span of a few microseconds. There is a misconception that short-form content outperforms longer forms of content every single time but that isn’t the case.
When it comes to direct response copy, try to invest time in a long-form copy.
Here are some benefits of writing a long-form copy:
Here is an example from WordStream’s own analytics that depicts their progress when they switched to long-form copies.
The above screenshot depicts how the average visit duration rose gradually after they focussed on more words from late 2012.
Direct Response copywriting is all about crafting words in a fashion that targets your readers’ emotions and most importantly addresses their worries, fears, and immediate needs.Copywriting in 2020
Having discussed the important forms of copywriting and how crucial it is for a business, let’s have a look at the future of copywriting in 2020.
Copywriting, a traditional tool of marketers to promote a product, has already passed through major changes over the years. Copywriting started as a method for persuading readers to become potential customers.
Modern copywriting is an outcome of what I call a digital earthquake. With the introduction of the internet, everything changed and thus changed the role of copywriters. The digital earthquake brought the culture of blogging, SEO, eCommerce, social networking, personalized marketing, and much more.
This means in the coming years we will experience more transitions in copywriting. Let’s go through some copywriting trends for 2020.5 Copywriting Trends 2020
Here are the top 5 copywriting trends for 2020 that are essential for a successful content marketing strategy:#Trend 1: Channelize or Repurpose the Copy
Let me ask you, readers, a question:
What is the main motive behind curating great content?
The answer is to make your copy reachable to as many people as possible. Thus in 2020, it would be necessary to channelize or repurpose your copy on various platforms regularly.
What does this mean? Does it mean that one has to create a unique copy for each platform on a daily basis?
That seems to be a daunting task.
If you thought so, then you got me wrong. By channelizing I mean picking up a single copy and publishing it across various platforms.
Just pick one of your best copies. It could be anything, consider your email newsletter with the highest open rate. Turn that email content into a social post or a website blog.
Here is the average share of different forms of content:
By repurposing a unique copy across various platforms, one can :
Apart from textual and readable content, visual content is also becoming a huge move in the copywriting world. Video content has already established itself as a go-to option for many B2B and B2C organizations.
Many marketers consider videos an effective way of building trust among their audience. In the present scenario business owners are much more focused on building a long-term relationship with their audience instead of just selling them a product.
As said by Mark Schaefer, Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions:
“The new era demands a focus on ignition, not just content, on trust, not just traffic, and on the elite people in your audience who are spreading and advocating your content.”
Videos are a great way of igniting emotions. Therefore I have included videos as an important point of copywriting trends 2020. Popular video platforms include:
Voice search has been a booming technology in the recent past, with the invention of smart devices such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Thus, I would encourage optimizing your copy with the users’ voice intent.
Another big reason for voice search optimization is mobile as a preference for searching for information. As per Statista, the global mobile users count is increasing exponentially.
Number of smartphone users worldwide from 2016 to 2021 (in billions)
Thus, audiences in 2020 will embrace voice search with open arms. This means that copywriters will have to keep a watch on their copy and optimize it for voice search.#Trend 4: Understanding User Intent
Before writing a copy, one needs to understand the purpose behind curating it. This is where understanding user intent becomes even more important. User intent plays a key role if one wants to make the copy rank on top of the SERPs.
Typically there are four forms of user intent:Navigational
These are specific queries when the user wants to visit a specific site or page.
(eg., “makewebbetter.com”, “facebook.com”)Informational
These are broad or general queries when the user is looking for some sort of information.
( eg., “why is Sahara so hot”). The informational queries end up returning thousands of results on the search engine result pages.Transactional
Transactional intent focusses on action-based queries where the user is ready to perform any sort of activity. (eg., “buy Adidas sneakers” or “book tickets for Paris”).Investigational
Queries that intend to research about any piece of information are known as investigational intent.
(eg., “best headphones for gaming”, “bose headphones customer reviews”).
The importance of understanding user intent has become even more important after Google made the announcement of their new BERT update.
With the vision of giving its searchers freedom from keywords and paving a way that makes searching natural in 2020, the search engines will focus more on understanding the intent behind the query instead of the query itself.#Trend 5: Aim for the Featured Snippet What is a featured snippet?
Featured Snippets are some selected search results that appear on top of the search result pages. The main motive of featured snippets is to answer user queries right away upon searching.Why are featured snippets important?
If we look from the searcher’s perspective, featured snippets are quick results or answers to queries being searched. Featured snippets help a copy to get good click-through rates and are a perfect opportunity to drive organic traffic to a site.
Featured snippets are important for a copywriter to increase the awareness of a brand, increase traffic, and consequently increase conversion rates.
As per Ahrefs, if a copy ranks first for a search term and owes a featured snippet in the SERPs, then there is a chance of getting 31% more traffic on the page. This is compared to a result that only has the first position on SERPs.How are featured snippets important in 2020?
As we are stepping our foot into the future, the nature of searchers is also changing. 2020 will be all about what Alice Corner refers to as “no-click users”. Thus, copywriters need to focus on the long-form copy that answers the audiences’ urging questions. In addition to that, the copy should be backed by a short yet highly descriptive headline.Copywriting Strategies for 2020
Soon we will be witnessing a whole new era of copywriting. Thus, content curators need to get ready for the upcoming year. Here, I’ll be discussing three copywriting strategies for creating a compelling copy.#1 Joseph Sugerman’s Slippery Slide Concept
Joseph Sugerman, a legendary copywriter and the author of The Adweek Copywriting Handbook started his business with JS&A and laid the foundation of the Slippery Slide concept.
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook is a perfect tool for copywriters to understand the mentality and philosophy which is required to excel as a successful copywriter.
As per the handbook,
“our readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slide.”
The job of every copywriter is to make a copy that arouses readers to engage with the copy. The reader should be compelled to read until the end.
This is where the Slippery Slide concept comes into play. As depicted in the image below:
Thus, as a copywriting strategy for 2020, it’s important to engage your readers and compel them to read until the end.#2 AIDA Formula
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
It is a conventional formula used by copywriters and marketers to develop continuity in a copy. Also, the AIDA formula is an effective way of implementing the Slippery Slide concept in your copy.
Let’s understand each and every element of the formula in detail:Attention
The first thing that a copy needs is your reader’s attention. A visitor must be compelled to read the complete copy. Once the job of garnering attention is done, it’s time to develop an interest in your readers to read more.
Here are some tips to capture your readers’ attention:
Example for hero image:Interest
Most visitors have a short attention span, thus it’s very necessary to develop an interest in your readers. There are two ways to achieve this:
Many have the tendency of scrolling and scanning a page upon landing on the page. Considering such readers, the copy has to be curated in a way that develops an interest in their minds. To achieve this, the copy has to have elements such as images, videos, CSS, etc. that can beautify it.
After a catchy headline, the next thing that needs attention is the opening paragraph. An opening paragraph can turn the tables for your copy and its performance.
If upon reading the opening paragraph, the readers don’t get curious enough, then there is a possibility that they might lose interest in reading the copy further.Desire
Interest ultimately leads to desire and makes readers search for more information.
Here are some strategies that are helpful in creating that desire:
Once the reader has read your copy, all you want is your reader taking some action. That action can be a purchase, a file download, a subscription, a like or share on the content piece.
The user action can be achieved with the help of the following methodologies:Using Clear CTAs
One of the conventional methods is using clear Call to Actions (CTAs). CTAs are distinct buttons that have some text which is action-oriented and allows the users to call for action.Creating Urgency
Creating urgency is an old technique of playing with the psychological mindset of the reader. With the help of urgency, a marketer compels a user to make a quick decision.
Countdown timers on product pages are the best examples of creating urgency.Incentives and Offers
This is another technique of making the reader take action. Adding a small offer for your readers not only helps in getting quick actions but also in winning the trust and loyalty of the readers.#3 Social Proof
As per Nielsen Norman Group:
“People are guided by other people’s behavior, so we can represent the actions, beliefs, and advice of the crowd in a design to influence users.”
This means when people are confused about what to do next, then they look up to what others have done. In brief, social proof plays an important role in influencing the actions of an individual.
Thus, for 2020 it becomes even more important to back your copy with good social proof.
Check the SEMRush homepage:
But the challenge is:
To show social proof, one needs to have enough social proof.
Many copywriters find it difficult in backing up their copy with enough social proof but the following two techniques can make it easier for you:
Thus, these are two best approaches for backing up the copy with social proof.Over To You
If you have reached the end, this means I’ve been successful in keeping up your interest with my copy.
We have covered all about copywriting including the types of copywriting, its importance in business, trends for 2020, and some strategies that will step up your copywriting game in 2020 and coming years.
To sum it up, I perceive copywriting in 2020 to be revolutionized with the latest technologies like voice search and copywriters would have to work upon various other opportunities like visual content to stay ahead of the curve.
Irrespective of which year it is, the basics of copywriting(just like any other concept) will always remain the same such as keeping your readers interest, using engaging headlines, and maintaining flow in your content. Copywriting in 2020 will be all about implementing new technologies while keeping up the conventional strategies.
Also please ensure to measure the performance of your content to understand what’s working for you and what’s not.
I hope I was able to cover all there is about copywriting and its best practices, and you all gained some useful insights from my copy.
Which of these copywriting strategies and trends would rule the year 2020? Do you plan to use any of these in your marketing plan? Did I miss out on something?
Please have your say. I am listening.
The past six months have been for the most part a tough experience for scores of people the world over, as the coronavirus has made its way around the globe.
Countries closed off their borders, and many businesses closed down. Those that didn’t shut their doors, asked their employees to work from home instead of risking their health by coming to work.
Working from the office as opposed to home are two very different beasts. In addition to productivity, another issue you need to be aware of while working remotely, is your cybersecurity.
When at the office, you’re probably working on a network that the company protects. Your home network probably won’t measure up with the same level of cybersecurity. Subsequently, you need to be extra-sure that documents won’t be leaked or given unauthorized access to your companies’ data.
While your home computer security won’t be that comprehensive, there are ways to strengthen your cybersecurity while working from home. Here are a few tips on how you can do that.10 Tips and Tricks To Keep You Secure While Working Remotely 1. Antivirus Apps Are Your Friend
Most companies put a premium on data security. This is why firms invest heavily in security solutions that prevent malware infections. They also often restrict access to websites and prevent employees from installing programs. It is far more difficult to achieve this level of computer security with your home office setup, but leaving your computer vulnerable should never be a consideration.
So how do you prevent unauthorized access to your work documents? One solution is the use of antivirus apps. You simply install an antivirus program on the devices you use to access company data.
If you’re worried about the price-tag on some of these apps, there are also free antivirus programs you can use to decrease the odds that your computer will become infected with viruses and malware.2. Keep Your Computer And Devices Updated
Keeping your devices updated can be painstaking since it takes time to update your devices and you are required to restart your computer several times during the process. With this in mind, here’s what you need to understand about system updates.
People often discover security vulnerabilities in apps and operating systems. Many of these vulnerabilities can leave your computer or device open to being taken over by a hacker. A computer that hasn’t undergone any updates is a prime target for cybercriminals.
Fortunately, system updates are one way to patch over these vulnerabilities. The bottom line is, if you want to keep your data safe, be sure you update all of your apps and devices you use for your work.3. Secure Your Wi-Fi
As necessary as it is, securing your devices isn’t enough. You also need to be sure you don’t have any unauthorized persons accessing your wi-fi network, or worse, gaining control of your router. If an attacker gets into your network or router, they will gain access to your data, including passwords and emails. This makes it critical you secure your wi-fi network.
To start, turn off your wi-fi router’s ability to broadcast your network name, or SSID. You will also want to change the wi-fi password to something stronger. Next, be sure you encrypt your password. For best results, use WPA2, considered the most secure encryption method to date. And while you’re at it…4. Secure Your Router Login And Password Too
If you are still using the default login and password for your router, then now is the best time to change them. The default login name and passwords on many router models are on the internet and are easy to search for. Change your router login details and keep attackers off your network.5. Use A VPN
If you’re connected to a public internet network or sending an important email, be sure you use a VPN. Many wi-fi networks, including public ones, are unencrypted. Using a VPN encrypts your data and prevents unauthorized people from viewing your data.6. Lock Your Device
Make it a habit to lock your device or computer whenever you leave the table. Whether it’s for a quick trip to the bathroom or a brief coffee break, locking up ensures no one can catch a peek of your work or correspondence.
Even if you are working at home with no one around, it’s always best you lock your screen when you take a break. You probably don’t want your children to hit buttons on your computer, nor would you want an errant house pet to send a blank email to your coworkers. Another thing to remember is to password protect your computer too!7. Stick To Corporate Tools And Resources
While at work, refrain from using non-company tools and resources for work-related activities. Companies spend money to configure their tools for their employee’s use, and for confidentiality and security. This also means there is less risk of emailing the wrong email address, or accidentally misplacing a saved file.8. Learn To Spot Suspicious Emails
Don’t be in a rush to respond to emails you receive on your work email address. Sometimes, a malicious email can make it past your company’s email server while disguised as something legitimate. Read each email carefully and keep an eye out for any red flags.
Don’t hesitate to contact your coworkers or your boss if you need clarification on the contents of an email you receive. Be also wary of any links in the emails that end up in your inbox, and avoid clicking on them.9. Be Transparent With Your Work Progress
Remember to log your work progress in your company’s work tracker. This lets your supervisors know you are working and you aren’t wasting company time. Always be ready to report on your work and the progress you have made with your tasks.
One more thing: Try to keep your work hours reasonable. When people work from home, they forget time, starting work early and ending late. This causes you to become tired faster and contributes to stress. Bottom line is, stick to normal working hours.10. A Comfortable Workplace Is a Must
Your health is important, so be sure you use a comfortable chair with adequate support for your back, and a desk that’s at the correct height. These adjustments will help make working on your computer easier, and far more comfortable.
Lighting is also important. You don’t want to end up straining your eyes. So remember to stand up periodically, stretch your arms and legs, and stay hydrated by drinking enough water. Take a break if you need to, and it’s best you don’t skip eating lunch or dinner.The Bottom Line
Working from home doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By keeping these handy tips in mind, and your remote working experience will not only be a secure one, but a pleasant one.
With the development of artificial intelligence and technologies to analyze big data, the value of this information has increased greatly. So have the opportunities for its use by scammers.
Sensitive data is the biggest target for hackers of all types, and because of this, confidential medical records are considered even more valuable than credit card and bank account information.
If you plan to create a website, application, or Internet of Things (IoT) technology that will collect and store confidential health records of your users, then HIPAA rules are a major consideration. In this article, we will explain the issues in more detail and help you avoid problems.HIPAA Rules and Sensitive Data
If you plan to create a technical solution for a company in the field of medicine and/or health, then the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations must be followed. HIPPA defines the procedure for storing, processing, and deleting data to ensure sensitive medical information collected through sites and applications stays secure. This means that your web development project must meet the criteria to be considered HIPAA compliant.
Health information has the greatest value on the black market, which can make it difficult to detect the theft of medical information. Your ability to protect the personal information of your users is a direct indicator of the site’s reputation and the basis for trust with the client.
In comparison, when fraudsters hack your credit card, you will know about it once you review your statement or when the card issuer’s fraud department alerts you. But in the case of health information, the patient may never suspect that his or her sensitive data has landed in the hands of criminals. This information can be used to illegally purchase prescription drugs, traffic drugs and commit organ transplant fraud, or to blackmail a person whose information has been stolen. One of the primary tasks of the site developer is to protect this data by handling it in accordance with the standards.How to Make Your Website or App HIPAA Compliant
Below are the basic HIPPA requirements for sites that store sensitive medical data.SSL Protection
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for the site is how one can recognize that the personal data of users on the site is protected. The absence of this certificate is the reason why a browser displays a warning about an insecure connection, which leads to user distrust. Some web surfers leave the site as quickly as possible fearing that hackers can gain access to data stored on their personal computers using an open connection. As for the healthcare industry, the absence of such a certificate is a big mistake because the site will run afoul of HIPAA regulations, and users will be hesitant to store their data in a place where it can be compromised.Full Data Encryption
This requirement means that all data that you store in the cloud must also be fully encrypted. That means you need to choose your cloud provider with the utmost care to ensure that sensitive data is protected. You need to choose a reliable host that adheres to HIPAA requirements and takes Protected Health Information (PHI) seriously.Full Data Backup
If your site, application, or device works with sensitive medical data, you must have copies of the data, and it must be stored in an even more reliable place with stronger encryption than the original source.Permanent Data Deletion
There is a flip side of the coin: as soon as the storage of personal client information is no longer necessary (for example, when the client no longer uses your services), you must immediately get rid of all the information related to the person. It’s not enough to just click the delete button. The information should be deleted correctly so the server does not store traces of it to make it impossible to restore personal data that is no longer relevant to your business.HIPAA Compliance Officer
If your company works with medical data of a type that allows patient identification, you need to constantly monitor the database it is stored in and verify compliance with the HIPPPA requirements. As with any regulation, changes to HIPAA laws are also possible, especially with further development of big data technologies and machine learning. Unfortunately, hackers are coming up with more and more new methods of tricking security systems. Therefore, it is better to hire a responsible person whose primary task will be to monitor changes in legislative regulations and immediately make appropriate suggestions to strengthen security measures on the site.Limited Access
The human factor must also be taken into account. Both the user interface and back end of your site should be designed in a way that only the users have access to their data, and only one administrator (the most trusted person possible) has access to the administrative panel of the site and the information stored. Moreover, both users and the administrator need to change passwords as often as possible. This is a general security requirement, but practice shows that this action has saved data from theft on many occasions.Summary
The procedure for working with data and ensuring its security is one of the most important requirements for creating IT solutions in the healthcare sector. That is why it makes sense to choose developers and vendors who have a clear understanding of the HIPAA guidelines. For example, the Archer Software team can help you with the implementation of such a solution with all the necessary data protection standards.