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What Is Data Management?

Noupe.com - il y a 4 heures 5 min

Ninety-five percent of C-suite executives list data management as key to business strategy. Data management allows business leaders to leverage the data they collect from customers and suppliers to propel growth.

Data management is how you extract answers and insights from raw data to meet your information needs. The proliferation of electronic data-collection methods in recent years has created the impression data management is all about technology, but its roots are firmly in accounting, statistics, and planning.

In the 1960s, the Association of Data Processing Service Organizations (ADAPSO) was one of several groups that advocated for data management standards for training and data quality. By the 1970s, the relational database management strategy provided a way to consistently process data and reduce duplicates. Throughout the 1980s, the Data Management Association International (DAMA International) worked to improve education and training in data management.

As computer use became widespread, IT professionals built data warehouses that used relational techniques for offline data analysis. This gave managers powerful new ways to use data for decision-making purposes.

Today, data management shapes corporate strategy and guides decision-makers searching for a competitive edge. Research firm IDC predicts that by 2025 users will be creating 463 billion GB of data per day. That mind-boggling volume is priceless with good data management but just noise without it.

Data management includes storage, data security, data sharing, data governance, data architecture, database management, and records management. Once your data management strategy is in place, you’ll glean important insights by using your data to its full potential.

In this guide, you’ll learn why data management is so important. We’ll begin with an overview of data management techniques you can use to collect and maintain your data, review best practices for data management, and examine the top three data management solutions available.

Why is data management important?

Data is the lifeblood of dynamic organizations. It can help you retain customers and attract new ones, improve your customer service, fine-tune your marketing, and reveal sales trends. But to get the most out of your data, you need to manage it.

There are a lot of advantages to data management:

  • You’ll be more productive. Data management makes it easier for you and your employees to find, understand, and communicate information to each other and to customers.
  • You’ll save money. By making you more productive, data management reduces costs. Your employees won’t waste time searching for data or duplicating efforts.
  • You can react quicker. Data management reveals trends so you can act sooner than your competition.
  • You’ll mitigate security risks. Think of all the big security breaches that have been in the news. Since data security is an integral part of data management, you’ll lock down your data and avoid ending up in the news for all the wrong reasons.
  • You’ll be able to make more accurate decisions. Data management ensures that you and your employees are reacting to the most up-to-date data.
Common data management strategies

Formulating a data management strategy seems daunting, but there are well-established best practices and proven strategies to choose from. The two basic data management strategies to consider are offense and defense.

In the offensive data management strategy, you’re engaged in customer-focused activities, like sales and marketing. The goal is to increase revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction. You’ll use this strategy to conduct data analysis and modeling or integrate different data sources into dashboards.

In the defensive data management strategy, you’re focused on security and compliance. Your goal is to demonstrably comply with regulations protecting customer data and privacy while using analytics to detect and prevent fraud.

A good data management strategy is solid on both offense and defense. There are five additional core components that should be part of your data management strategy:

  • Identification of data and what it means, how it’s structured, where it came from, or where it’s located
  • Storage that lets you easily access, share, and process your data
  • Provisioning that lets you package your data so that it can be reused and shared, and lets you add rules and guidelines for accessing the data
  • Governance to establish, manage, and communicate the policies and mechanisms in place for using data
  • Processing that lets you move and combine data stored in different systems to provide a single, unified view
How to develop a data management plan

Begin developing your data management plan by considering your goals. Use aspects of both offensive and defensive strategies, and include the five core components of data management. The details of your plan will depend on your company type as well; an educational institution has different data concerns than a healthcare provider.

Evaluate how you currently manage data and identify any shortcomings in your existing plan. If you don’t have a plan, create a wish list of things you’d like to have: real-time access to data, predictive analytics, and role-based dashboards, for example.

Once you’ve created your list, it’s time to start looking at data management systems. Investing in one will increase productivity by making your data easily accessible and consistent.

Only consider data management systems that will work with your existing software, including CRM systems, marketing databases, and accounting systems, so you can pull information from your key business systems, analyze it, and make more informed decisions.

Carefully consider the security features of these platforms, how easy it is to integrate data from multiple sources, and how easy it will be to access your data. Later in this guide, we’ll dive into the features and benefits of three common data management systems.

If all of this is overwhelming, consider hiring a data manager. A capable manager can track and analyze your data and refine your data management plan, freeing you to focus on your business.

Regardless of which data management strategy you’re tackling first, make sure your data is protected. Privacy and security should be central to your data management plan. This includes security controls for your database; encrypting data in transit and at rest; educating your employees; and establishing data best practices.

Now that you have a head start on data management, you’ll want to know more about enterprise data management. The next section discusses what enterprise data management is, what master data management is, and the tools you can use for it.

What you need to know about enterprise data management

Enterprise data management is how you put your data management strategy into action.

Think of data management as an administrative process that encompasses data acquisition, validation, storage, protection, and processing. Enterprise data management (EDM) is the next level. It’s how your company creates, integrates, disseminates, and manages all the data that flows in and out of your applications and processes.

EDM creates a structure for delivering actionable insights from raw data that’s often disorganized and full of duplicates. EDM encompasses software, hardware, infrastructure, business logic, and company policies. It requires far-reaching collaboration, including every department from frontline sales staff to the back-office team.

Managing data internally across departments is central to EDM. Three top challenges are data organization, data processing, and efficient data entry. You can collect data from customers and prospects with readily available tools from JotForm.

Effective EDM begins with listening to stakeholders to learn what problems they need to solve. Once you have their buy-in, you can determine your platform requirements, establish policies and procedures, and create data definitions and tagging. Take into account stakeholder requirements, workflow, data dependencies, and the organization’s resilience in case of disruption.

EDM requires explicit policies and procedures for change management, data management, security, and data dependencies. You’ll need to standardize the terms and definitions used to classify data, known as metadata, and choose technology to help you do all of this.

The early stages of formulating your EDM strategy is a good time to begin familiarizing yourself with master data management (MDM), which you’ll need to take your capabilities a step further. MDM is how you develop a “single source of truth,” the data that everyone in the organization uses when making business decisions.

What is master data management?

MDM consolidates enterprise data into a single master reference source to provide consistent, accurate, and complete data across the enterprise. Vigilant MDM is a multistep process of data cleansing, data transformation, and data integration.

Integrating your data management software into your business systems, like CRM and accounting, as we discussed in the last chapter, positions you for an effective MDM initiative. Some key MDM processes include

  • Administering business rules
  • Aggregating data
  • Classifying data
  • Collecting data
  • Consolidating data
  • Distributing data
  • Data governance
  • Mapping data
  • Matching data
  • Normalizing data

As you add more data sources, the MDM system identifies, collects, transforms, and repairs your data. As you set quality standards and taxonomies for your data, your MDM software will take care of the rest. In the end, you get accurate, up-to-date, and consistent data that can be used throughout your organization.

One of the ways companies use MDM is to update customer information. For example, you might have customer data in your CRM, order fulfillment, and accounting systems. If the customer contact information changes in the accounting system, MDM updates all three of these systems so you’re not shipping products to the wrong location or following up on service calls at the wrong phone number.

MDM helps companies comply with regulations, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). With master data management, companies can show regulators that they have clean, consistent, and accurate data that meets compliance requirements.

Companies also use MDM to improve the customer experience because it pulls in data from multiple systems, giving them that elusive 360-degree view of the customer. This data is used in customer service, sales, and marketing departments to upsell and cross-sell, send personalized offers, or troubleshoot a problem.

For example, a customer may contact a company about a recent purchase. With the data all in one place, the customer care agent can quickly see what the customer is calling about and provide faster service.

The top master data management tools

There are plenty of tools available for companies that want to embark on MDM. According to research firm Gartner, MDM tools need to include workflow, data modeling, data governance, and support for multiple domains, multiple usage scenarios, and multiple implementation styles.

The leaders in MDM tools are Informatica and Orchestra Networks (which has been acquired by TIBCO). Informatica’s customers give Informatica MDM products above average scores for initial implementation and deployment as well as account management. Orchestra Networks’s single, integrated offering also scored above average with its customers, as the majority of them can integrate data in real time or near real time.

Gartner identifies SAP Master Data Governance and SAP Commerce Cloud Product Management as top MDM tools. These two products are easy to integrate, especially with other SAP offerings, and have proven multidomain capabilities. Other vendors that scored high on the Gartner Magic Quadrant, a vendor comparison chart to rate technology companies, are Semarchy, ProfiseeStibo Systems, and IBM.

Now that you know more about EDM and MDM, you’re ready to learn about data management techniques.

In the next chapter, you’ll find out about the best ways to manage your data, including how to improve data management. You’ll discover why controlling the point of data entry can help you improve data quality and how controlling backup and replacement of data affects the management process. You’ll also learn how regular maintenance can ensure data quality.

Top data management techniques

Reaping the full benefits of enterprise data management and master data management requires you to implement a data management strategy. Here we explore the top data management techniques for collecting and storing the clean, reliable data essential to making informed business decisions.

Inventory your existing data

Managing your data begins with identifying your existing data assets so you can integrate different databases to achieve a single source of truth.

Many companies store data in multiple locations, for example, in separate databases for each application, along with cloud-based storage apps like Dropbox for easy employee access. Talk to stakeholders in multiple departments to gather this information and begin mapping out where all of your data is currently stored.

Next, you’ll need to create a way to track this data. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as using a tool to help you create a full data inventory. Start by including where the data is stored, its purpose, the file type (for example, you may have a bunch of Excel spreadsheets full of customer data), subjects or keywords for the data, and how often it’s updated.

Review your business goals

Top data management techniques take into account what you want to get out of your data and how it lines up with what you want from your business. For example, do you want to create or improve automation and processes, or do you want insight into customer buying habits and patterns? What you do with your data needs to align with your business goals.

Make data security your top priority

Data security is critical to data management. Regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) all come with stringent data security standards.

If you handle payment information, you also have to contend with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Running afoul of regulations or industry standards can cost your company hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and damage your reputation.

Encryption is one of the most effective techniques for keeping your data secure. Encrypt your data both when it’s in transit and at rest, with decryption keys stored separately.

In addition, limit who has access to your data by creating role-based user accounts. Make sure employees and partners have access to enough data to do their jobs effectively but not full access to all company data.

Immediately revoke access to data when an employee leaves the company. Require everyone to use strong passwords that include uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers, and special characters.

Make your data accessible

A big part of data management is striking a balance between data security and easy access to the data your team needs to do their jobs. For example, customer service agents need immediate access to customer data. Set up role-based permissions for data so that team members get what they need without compromising the security of your entire data inventory.

Give employees tools so they can quickly find the data they need. For example, a natural language interface allows employees to ask, “What percentage of our sales were awesome widgets?” Other helpful tools allow you to easily add role-based dashboards.

Data management isn’t a “set it and forget it” procedure. Review your data management plan regularly to ensure it still meets your company’s needs. Regular reviews are also crucial for data security, as external threats only get more sophisticated. These top data management techniques can help keep your data accessible, reliable, and secure.

Limit your data entry points

The more data entry points you have, the bigger your risk of duplicate or incorrect data. According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the error rate in manually input lab results was 3.7 percent, while the standard in most industries is less than 1 percent.

For instance, your customers may fill out paper forms. Team members then have to manually input these forms into your system. They may not be able to read a customer’s handwriting. Or perhaps your team members take information from customers over the phone, and they mistype the customer’s address. Human error can cause all sorts of data problems, so it’s important to consider where your data is coming from.

The key to accurately inputting data is to streamline data entry points. JotForm allows you to create customized forms, including order formsfeedback forms, and contact forms that dramatically reduce the potential for data entry errors.

Update your data frequently

More than half of surveyed executives report feeling overwhelmed by too much data. They only want what’s relevant to make better decisions, but frenzied data collection has swept up data that’s irrelevant or redundant along with what’s useful.

Removing irrelevant data through “data cleansing” frees up much-needed space and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed. Data cleansing is a one-off process that involves purging data anomalies and unnecessary data.

In addition to standardizing the entry point for your data, look for tools that can help you validate the accuracy of your data and identify duplicates. List imports and email hygiene tools can help you verify accuracy.

As you cleanse your data, report back to the different departments so that they’re on board with new data accuracy and collection standards. Always back up your existing data before you begin a data cleansing effort, in case something goes wrong.

Control data backup and recovery

It’s extremely important to control data backup and recovery in case the worst happens. Even a minor error can cost you valuable lines of data. There are two ways you can do this: Back up data onsite, which can be costly, or use a cloud-based service. Make sure that whatever you choose will be accessible in the event of an emergency so that you can quickly restore your data and minimize the disruption to your business.

An onsite data backup can be on hard drives or servers stored at your location. As you collect more data, you’ll need to expand your storage space. Cloud-based backups range from consumer-grade options like Carbonite to enterprise-grade services from AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Ensure quality by reviewing and maintaining data

It’s important to review and maintain data to ensure you’re working with quality data sets. Unlike data cleansing, data maintenance is an ongoing process. Regularly review and verify your data to be certain it’s still reliable and usable. Reviewing and maintaining data also makes your database run faster by removing unnecessary files.

Rebuilding your database indexes is an important part of data maintenance. As you delete irrelevant data and verify it, you’ll create index fragmentation, which causes gaps in your data and slows down access to your data.

Use these data management techniques to keep your data clean and usable. In the next section, you’ll learn about data management best practices, including data privacy, storage, and archiving.

Top data management best practices

There are well established best practices for data management that help maximize your results. These best practices deal with data access, documentation, data privacy, data sharing channels, storage, and archiving. Using these best practices will ensure your data is secure, accessible, and usable.

You need trained staff who know how to use standard data management processes. Technology allows you to set access privileges, create data-sharing channels, ensure data privacy, and set up storage and archiving. Here’s what you need to know.

Make data access and data collaboration simple

Everyone on your team needs access to your single source of truth so they can collaborate on solutions with teammates, partners, suppliers, and other relevant third parties. The best practices for data access and data collaboration are to set role-based permissions for different types of employees and partners. Strike a balance between convenience and security that allows individuals access to the data they need, but no more.

Create data documentation users can understand

Data documentation includes data dictionaries, readme files, and embedded metadata. Good data documentation gives users meaning and context so they understand the data and can use it to solve business problems. Your data documentation should explain how to interpret data correctly. The documentation can vary according to the complexity of the data and the needs of your team. 

Data documentation needs to be in place before you begin collecting data. A data dictionary is necessary to answer key questions about your data. Check out standards for data documentation as a starting point for your own use cases.

Ensure data privacy 

Protecting data requires establishing procedures for handling data correctly, beginning with how data is collected and stored, regulatory compliance, and protocols for how it’s shared with third parties.

Data privacy differs from data security in that it deals with your internal processes versus mitigating external threats. For example, good data security keeps hackers from accessing your data. Data privacy makes sure you have permission to share users’ information with third parties.

Data protection is a key part of data privacy. Your team will need to be trained on best practices for keeping your company data secure. This includes the processes and procedures you use to make sure your data is collected, shared, and used in accordance with your policies and applicable regulations.

Data privacy has always been a serious responsibility but is now a major potential liability as well. Poor data privacy practices risk serious violations of the regulations discussed earlier in this guide. Liability for a major data breach can cost your company millions of dollars.

Have the proper data sharing channels available

A key part of your data management plan is enabling data sharing channels. Data sharing is essentially sharing your data with multiple applications and/or users. Most companies share their information with outside partners and suppliers as well as employees.

The channels you use will vary based on how your users consume data. For example, executives may want to view data on dashboards to see the overall metrics of the business. Customer care agents may want a list of purchases that a customer has made so they can help that customer.

You might use an analytics dashboard to dive into sales metrics or use a CRM system to examine a customer’s service call history. You can make all of this data available by integrating CRM systems and analytics dashboards, as well as other systems that employees and partners may use, with your master database.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) selectively open up data to third parties, such as your suppliers. An API restricts access to only relevant data and systems while shielding the rest of your data. Many APIs are readily available. You don’t necessarily have to program one from scratch.

Choose the right data storage

How you store your data will affect how well you manage your data. When you choose a data storage solution, you can select on-premises servers, a cloud-based solution, or a combination of both, known as hybrid storage. Cloud storage is an affordable way to store massive volumes of data without purchasing expensive servers.

There are also several on-premises storage types available. Direct attached storage, like USB drives and external hard drives, can be connected directly to your computers. Network-attached storage (NAS) is the central server storage model, where everything is kept on servers and shared across the network. Some companies still use offline storage like optical disk (CD or DVD) backups as well.

What you need to keep in mind, regardless of the storage method you choose, is how available your data will be and how secure it is. Look for storage with high uptime (99.999 percent availability), as well as automatic backup and disaster recovery. You’ll also need to know how much it will cost to get more storage, as well as how secure it is. This includes how it’s encrypted, both when it’s being stored and when in transit.

Archive old data to reduce costs

You can archive old data that you need but aren’t currently using to free up space and reduce costs. Typical archived data includes older data that’s still important to the company or data that needs to be kept for compliance reasons, such as spreadsheets, email, and other communications.

Storage meant for data archiving often costs significantly less than storage for active data because you’re not accessing the data multiple times a day and piping it through your applications. It also reduces the amount of data you back up, so your backup storage costs will be lower.

Now that you know more about the top data management techniques, let’s look at data management solutions. The final chapter of this guide discusses the common data management solutions available, what they provide, and how data management tools and applications can aid the overall process.

Top data management solutions

The success of your data management initiative depends on how well you collect, organize, and use your data. To do all well, you need data management software.

Data management platforms collect and manage data from both online and offline sources. Data management software aggregates your data so you can use it. Data management tools and applications connect to your data source via APIs, webhooks, or direct database connections to help you accomplish tasks like creating data visualizations for reports.

These data management solutions are critical to managing your data effectively. JotForm has tools to quickly and easily integrate data collection with your data management tools so you can get the most out of your data.

Here’s a rundown of how data management platforms, software, and tools and applications help you extract the most value from your data.

What a data management platform provides

A data management platform is a centralized system for collecting and analyzing your data. In its most basic form, it imports data from all of your systems to a single place. In a more complex setup, it includes tools to aggregate data from multiple sources and data analytics tools for discerning trends within that data.

Your data management platform must be able to collect data from multiple sources, including online forms, mobile devices, partner systems, and internal sources. This includes both structured data from spreadsheets and relational databases and unstructured data like social media posts, PDFs, and Word documents. All this data must be integrated and stored so that it’s usable.

Using a data management platform provides you with control over your data for multiple use cases. For example, a data management platform could collect customer data from multiple sources, then analyze and organize it to segment your customers by purchase history.

Data management platforms can be housed onsite. However, cloud-based data management platforms running on AWS, Oracle, and other services, as well as open-source platforms like EDB Postgres are also available.

What data management software provides

Different from a data management platform, data management software is a program like Microsoft MySQLPostgreSQLMicrosoft Access, or Oracle that handles queries on your data. Use it to create, edit, and maintain your database files and records in the form of structured tables, fields, and columns.

The term “data management software” is used interchangeably with database management software. Both aggregate and secure your data, ensure its integrity, and handle different types of queries.

Some data management software requires a lot of coding knowledge to create databases and add-on applications. The better systems allow you to quickly build databases and begin using applications without any coding knowledge.

Data management software prepares your data for analysis, secures it, and lets you apply policies to identify and manage it. Your data is kept throughout its lifecycle. You can create policies and rules for your data, like what constitutes personal information or how long you retain customer data. You can also automate tasks, like importing data and populating your database fields with it.

The software can help with data quality by standardizing data into fields, eliminating duplicate data, and protecting it against unintentional changes. This, in turn, prepares your data for analytics and reporting, which you’ll do with data management tools and applications.

How data management tools and applications can help

With so many ways to manage your data, you should look into data management tools and applications to import and integrate data, create policies, and run analytics. Some data management platforms and software suites come with these capabilities built in. However, you may want to explore other standalone options that have specific functionality.

Data management tools and applications are particularly helpful for data analysis. Some tools will cleanse your data and perform quality checks beyond what your data management software does. You can then run analytics and use tools with AI and machine learning to glean insights from your data, like forecasting sales for the winter holiday season.

These tools use learning algorithms to pick up on trends that they find in data sets. Data visualization tools can create graphic representations of your data, like pie charts and line graphs, that can be easily (and quickly) consumed by busy executives and employees.

You can also use data management tools to import and export data from your data management platform in different formats, like Excel and CSV. Some tools will let you search for submissions and then delete them, like when you test out new forms on your website. Others will combine data from different forms into a single file.

Data management applications let you access your data on mobile devices. You can build an application that allows customers to book service appointments.

Data management requires technology, and using data management platforms, software, and applications and tools in concert with one another can help you get the most out of your data.

Conclusion

You’ve learned a lot about data management, from why it’s important to the tools you’ll need to make it a reality in your organization. This guide discussed common data management strategies and how to start developing a data management plan. You also learned about enterprise data management, master data management, and the top master data management tools.

Data management techniques, along with data management best practices, are necessary for an effective data management strategy. It’s important to control your data entry point to improve your overall data management, remove irrelevant data, and control the backup and replacement of your data. It’s also important to continually review and conduct maintenance on your data to ensure its quality.

This guide also discussed data management best practices, from making sure all relevant parties can easily access and collaborate on data to the importance of data documentation, data privacy, data sharing, and storage and archiving.

With this knowledge, you can now start implementing a data management strategy. As you continue to collect, store, and analyze data, continually revisit your strategy and toolkit to make sure it still meets your needs and gives you the useful data you require.

Catégories: News dév web

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Email Open Rate

Noupe.com - 26 février, 2020 - 09:14

As an email marketer, your no. 1 goal is to boost your open rates and get people to click through that awesome content you create. While good copywriting techniques will help, there are other things you can do to get your emails in front of more eyeballs. The great news is that these things are so easy to implement that you’ll want to get to work today. 

Let’s dive in!

Remove invalid email addresses

This may sound like a no-brainer, but still, there are marketers out there who continue to email invalid addresses. Although they bounce, some senders believe it’s no big deal, since everyone else is getting their emails. But that’s not how email marketing works. 

When you get lots of bounces, your sender reputation starts to decline. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) look at you and see someone who doesn’t care about best practices. As a result, they’ll start delivering your emails in people’s spam folder. Even worse, you may end up on a blacklist and be banned from sending any email at all.

So, what to do? Before sending your next email, prune out all the invalid addresses from your list. It’s fast and easy – use an email list verification service and it’ll do the job within minutes. 

Are you getting spam complaints?

You work hard to come up with the most engaging emails for your audience. But at some point, you’re going to get a spam complaint. Either the person forgot they ever subscribed to your emails, or they find your content to be spammy – it’s just going to happen.

What’s important is for you to stay on top of your spam complaints, because they’re a real risk to your sender reputation. As soon as you notice a subscriber labeling your message as spam, remove that person from your list. They clearly don’t want to hear from you, so let them go. 

Also, if you want to protect your reputation, you can prevent known complainers from getting on your list in the first place. By installing an email validation API, you’ll keep your database free of abuse emails. The API checks every email address in real time and rejects the bad ones automatically – so you get to maintain good email hygiene at all times. 

Let go of role-based email addresses

They’re necessary – especially to larger companies – but they have very little value to your email marketing. You’ll recognize them easily: contact@, office@ or @team@ are email addresses usually monitored by a group of people, not a single person.

Why do they sabotage your open rates? 

  • They get so much email that whoever checks them tends to delete messages en masse. Your chances to sell anything are slim.
  • Because of the volume of email they receive, they’re prone to soft bounces (as mailboxes get full)
  • Because your emails are at a risk of getting deleted or archived without being open, role-based accounts affect your overall engagement. That, in turn, will have a negative impact on your sender reputation. 

Ideally, you would only communicate with people who want to receive content from you, and role-based accounts are not among them. 

Inactive subscribers: should you keep them?

In a nutshell: no. As you’ve seen earlier, your engagement metrics have a significant influence on your sender reputation. 

When people open your emails and click through your content, they’re showing ISPs that you’re doing a good job at email marketing. On the other hand, low open and click rates are a clear indication that people don’t care so much about what you send them. So, you’ll land in the junk pile or in Google’s Promotions tab. 

Subscribers who never engage with your content aren’t doing you any service. As hard as it may be, say goodbye to them and move on. 

When should you do that? The ideal frequency is every six months. If someone hasn’t clicked on anything you’ve sent in more than half a year, chances are they’re a lost cause. 

Test your subject lines

They’re crucial to your open rates: 47% of people open emails based on the subject line alone. So how can you make your subject lines more compelling?

Uwe Dreissigacker, founder and CEO of InvoiceBerry, shared one of his team’s rules when it comes to subject lines. “We never write them in title case. Instead, we use sentence case to make our emails look like they’re coming from someone familiar,” Uwe said. It makes sense: when you get an email from a friend, the subject line is never in title case, right?

Apart from that, consider writing down several subject lines before you choose a winner. It will force you to get creative and come up with more ideas – and more ideas are always better than one. 

Finally, you can test your subject lines. Split your list and use different subjects for each segment. In a couple of days, check your reports and see which one performed best. Then, use that insight to boost your open rates in the long run. 

Let’s wrap up: how to increase your email open rates
  • Start with a clean email list: use an email verification system periodically to weed out bad contacts.
  • Break up with people who mark you as spam: you’ll probably never win them back.
  • Avoid emailing role-based email addresses: they only eat up your email marketing budget without bringing you anything in return.
  • Let go of subscribers who haven’t engaged with your content in more than six months.
  • Test your subject lines and use the sentence case as opposed to the title case.

Increasing your open rates can take time, so be patient. Email your list consistently and send out the best content you can produce. In time, your subscribers will become more familiar with your brand and that helps you build trust and steady results.

Catégories: News dév web

Top Wireframe Tools for UI/UX designers 2020

Noupe.com - 26 février, 2020 - 09:00

Wireframe tools, Prototyping tools, and mockup tools play a vital role in the development of an app or website. UI/UX is the main feature, and you need the best wireframe tool to design these features for your app or website. If you are planning to build a new website or an app, a wireframe tool will help you create a high-quality UI/UX design.

In this blog, we will cover the best wireframe tools, which will make it easy for you to design the UI/UX for your app or website.

List of best Wireframe tools for UI/UX designers in 2020
  • Adobe XD
  • Moqups
  • Wireframe.cc
  • Balsamiq Mockups
  • Fluid UI
1. Adobe XD

Adobe XD has all the tools for creating the concepts in the UX/UI toolbox. It is a member of the creative suite along with an illustrator and Photoshop.

Pros:
  • It comes with Responsive resize. Designers can use this feature to resize multiple objects for web and mobile app views.
  • You can tag developers, teammates, and stakeholders in real-time right in the app for reviews, remarks, and presentations.
  • You can share your designs and communicate with the Adobe support team.
  • Easy to use.
  • It has various tools and plugins to expedite up the development process.
  • You can create your prototype design.
Cons:
  • Many features are accessible in premium versions only.
  • It has less reshaping tools and has no layer panel tools for vector design.
  • The platform has many tools, but designers want those tools that can solve specific problems.
Cost:

Adobe XD for teams: Per user cost is 22.99 $/month. It will have unlimited design specs and prototypes. Also, it will have 100 GB of Adobe hosted storage, Adobe font library, admin controls, and onboarding.

2. Moqups

Moqups is an all in one design tool for UI/UX designers. It is a web-based software that you can use in creating a wireframe for your mobile and web applications. You can use Moqups for developing diagrams and prototypes, and this platform has more than 1.5 million designers globally.

Pros:
  • Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and web are compatible with this platform.
  • It comes with drag and drops pre-made templates for simple access.
  • Lots of font and styling options are available for users.
  • It has integrated stencil kits for use. 
  • Moqups has plenty of icon-sets available for use.
  • Paid plans range from 13$ to 19$ pm. The no of users also comes defined with it.
Cons:
  • The free version only allows one project.
  • Provides only 5 MB of storage
  • Restricted to 300 objects. 
Cost:

Personal Plan: 13$ per month. It allows only one user with unlimited projects, storage, and objects.
Creative Plan: 20$ – 345$ per month. It allows 3-50 users with unlimited projects, storage, and objects. It comes with team management features.

3. Wireframe.cc

An organized and simple wireframe tool, Wireframe.cc has a clean interface and doesn’t have many toolbar and icons, unlike other wireframe software. It gives people the option to sketch their ideas as fresh as they come into their minds. A free browser-based wireframing tool, Wireframe.cc comes with a basic UI that is perfect for quick mockups.

Pros:
  • You get the freedom to draw anything you want with a mouse. Drag the mouse over the canvas and start creating your sketch.
  • Variety of stencils to pick.
  • Simple features, and it doesn’t have any complicated handlings.
  • It can deliver excellent results.
  • Wireframe.cc provides seven days of the free trial.
  • After saving a wireframe, you will receive a URL that can get shared with others. Although, this feature is available on premium version only.
  • The simple UI makes it easy for designers to design their UI/UX.
  • You can send live wireframes to other members of your team through the team features.
Cons:
  •  You cannot create your account with the free version.
  • If you are developing a wireframe in the free version, it will be public by default.
  • You can only develop single-page wireframe in the free version.
  • Lack of integrations.
Cost:

Free version: 0$, all wireframes are public, no user accounts, and one wireframe per page only.
Solo version: 16$ per month, wireframes are private, one user account, multi-wireframe pages, revision, and exporting features included.
Trio version: 39$ per month, three user accounts, includes all features from the solo version.

Enterprise version: 99$ per month, unlimited users, and includes all features.

4. Balsamiq Mockups

You can design a wireframe quickly with Balsamiq Mockups. With this digital tool, you will get a unique feeling of drawing with a pencil.

Pros:
  • Platforms such as Windows, macOS, and Web-based are supported.
  • You will get simple to use drag and drop interface for smooth handling.
  • You can print prototypes and perform online tests.
  • The platform has a lot of wireframe skins and sketch skins.
  • You can work offline.
  • It supports integration with third-party apps.
  • It will provide you a vast library of UI elements.
Cons:
  • The trial version comes with limited access to UI elements.
  • It offers only 30-days of free trial.
Cost:

Basic plan: 9$ per month, two projects, and one user. It comes with all the wireframing features.
Team: 49$ per month, 20 projects, and multiple users. It comes with all the features of the basic plan.
Enterprise: 199$ per month, 200 projects, and multiple users. It includes all the features of the other plans.
On-premise: 89$ for a single-user license for Windows or Mac systems.

5. Fluid UI

An open-source, designer tool, Fluid UI can deliver high-quality wireframes very quickly. It uses the newest technologies, such as HTML5, CSS, and Javascript.

Pros:
  • It comes with three premium plans, which you can select as per your needs.
  • The maintenance feature is easy to use.
  • iOS and Android are compatible with Fluid UI.
  • You can choose from over 2000 in-built components.
  • You can use any device to test your wireframe.
  • It has a Skype chat and a live video calling for user feedback.
  • Fluid UI allows you to communicate with the UI design through different screens such as Tablet, Mobile, Wearables, and Desktop.
Cons:
  • The free plan comes with only one project.
  • You can create only ten pages.
  • No feedback and comments
  • The video presentation cannot be uploaded.
  • Uploading is not allowed.
Cost:

Solo: 8.25$ per month, one user, and five projects. It comes with all libraries, unlimited reviewers, and multi-device playback.
Pro: 19.08 $ per month. One user and ten active projects. Exporting, commenting, and all the features of the solo tier gets included.
Team: 41.58$ per month. Five users and unlimited projects. Team collaboration, reviewers, and all the features of Pro tier gets included.

Conclusion

When you shortlist the wireframing tool that is best for you, make sure to consider all the features that you need. You may require various wireframing tools to solve different problems. We hope you found this blog useful in determining the right wireframe tool for yourself.

Catégories: News dév web

B2C Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide

Noupe.com - 25 février, 2020 - 15:46

No business-to-consumer (B2C) company could survive —never mind thrive— without doing some kind of marketing. B2C marketing, which differs from business-to-business (B2B) marketing in that it focuses on promoting goods and services to individual consumers (rather than other organizations), is the wizardry that makes a company both visible and attractive to their target audience. 

It’s how you create interest in your offering, how you bring in new customers (acquisition), how you hold onto existing ones (retention), how you boost sales, and how you turn your hard work into profit. It is, in many ways, the lifeblood of a business.

But “doing” B2C marketing isn’t as simple as shouting from the rooftops about your new clothing line or app. You need to know who you’re talking to. You need to be familiar with the channels available to you. And fortunately, thanks to digital transformation, there are now plenty. 

The rise of online media and technologies has laid the foundation for a heap of new ways to engage with customers — alternatives that allow for greater personalization, interactivity, automation, and measurability. Think social media marketing, email marketing, video marketing, etc.

A world of possibilities awaits you. But where do you start? That’s where this guide comes in. 

We’ll discuss the B2C model, highlight the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, and review some of the most effective B2C marketing channels. We’ll also explore various tried-and-tested tactics and strategies that business owners and marketing professionals can apply today to achieve results tomorrow. By the end, you should be well positioned to help your company not just survive but thrive.

What is B2C marketing?

Before diving into the ins and outs of B2C marketing, it’s worth exploring what B2C is more generally. After all, you need a clear understanding of this professional operating model in order to target your B2C marketing efforts more effectively.

Broadly speaking, B2C business refers to commercial transactions and exchanges between companies and individual consumers. B2C companies sell products and services directly to the public for personal use, often via an online platform. The everyday consumer as the target market is what ultimately differentiates B2C enterprises from business-to-business (B2B) companies, which, as the name suggests, focus on selling their wares to other companies.

Apple, Tesco, Starbucks, Amazon, YouTube, and Lyft are just a few examples of successful B2C businesses. 

The B2C business model: Definitions, considerations, types, and examples

While definitions of the term “business model” vary widely, it’s helpful to think of the concept as a framework that outlines how an enterprise operates, how it makes money, who it caters to, and how it creates and delivers value to customers.

A business operating under a B2C business model earns revenue by catering to the needs and wants of everyday individuals. Over time, many different types of business models have popped up under the B2C umbrella, especially as new digital technologies and platforms have created novel means of making money.

Whatever sort of B2C model your company subscribes to, it’s critical that you have a good grasp of what it entails and what kind of assumptions it makes so that you can design a marketing campaign that will achieve results. Naturally, it would be nearly impossible to develop targeted messaging that appeals to your audience if you don’t fully understand what your customers consider important and how your company is set up to solve key problems.

Developing a sound understanding of your B2C business model

Swiss business theorist and consultant Alexander Osterwalder developed a “business model canvas” that helps founders of both small startups and large enterprises choose the right model for their business, refine hypotheses about their company’s operating structure, and better understand their value proposition. 

He recommends asking the following questions (among others) to improve your understanding of what makes your organization tick (and, as a result, your ability to market it effectively):

  • Who are our most important customers?
  • Which one of our customers’ problems are we helping to solve?
  • What are our customers really willing to pay for?
  • What do they currently pay for?
  • What key activities do our value propositions require?
  • What key resources do our value propositions require?
  • Through which channels do our customer segments want to be reached?
  • How do other companies reach them now?
5 successful B2C business models for profit seekers

If you’re not sure which B2C business model is the best option for your business, you might find it useful to consider some of the most popular and successful models out there today. Below you’ll find five options: Weigh the pros and cons of each when deciding what works for you, and use this information to design both a sound commercial framework and a winning B2C marketing strategy.

  1. Freemium model
  2. Subscription model
  3. Advertising revenue model
  4. Marketplace/ platform-based/ brokerage / aggregator model
  5. Razor-razor blade model

1. Freemium model. Customers can access the basic product/service for free but must pay for additional (premium) features and functionality.

Pros:

  • Easy to get a foot in the door: Customers are more open to trying out products/services when there’s no fee attached
  • Once buyers are hooked on your offering, it’s not too difficult to convert them to paid plans
  • Fairly easy to obtain word-of-mouth marketing exposure

Cons:

  • You can fall into the trap of giving away too much for free.
  • Constant innovation is required to keep increasing the value of premium services.
  • Costs can outweigh earnings in the early stages of business.

Examples: LinkedIn, Dropbox, Spotify

2. Subscription model. Rather than paying a high price once, customers pay a recurring flat fee (every month or year) for consistent access to a service/product.

Pros:

  • Fairly predictable and reliable income stream
  • Improved customer retention
  • Ongoing servicing allows for close study of customer behavior over time

Cons:

  • Small issues can disrupt an entire product/service delivery cycle.
  • Most customers are only willing to subscribe to a limited number of services (so the pool of prospects is smaller).

Examples: Netflix, Adobe, Birchbox

3. Advertising revenue model. Customers get the product/service for free. The business earns money from advertisers.

Pros:

  • Easy to attract and retain customers
  • Fairly simple strategy to execute

Cons:

  • Audience/viewership stats must be significant before advertisers will sign up (it can, therefore, take quite some time before you start making money).
  • The revenue stream can easily dry up during economic downturns.

Examples: Facebook, Google, Instagram

4. Marketplace/ platform-based/ brokerage / aggregator model. The business serves as a platform that brings together buyers and sellers, and takes a small cut of every transaction.

Pros:

  • No major overhead or need to own/store stock
  • Potential for rapid growth
  • Gives platform operators access to user data

Cons:

  • You need to reach a critical mass of buyers and sellers before others are tempted to join/engage.
  • Reputation management can be tricky as the business has limited control over the quality of transactions.

Examples: Airbnb, Uber, eBay

5. Razor-razor blade model. The business sells the base unit (a durable good) at below or only slightly above cost price and makes most of their profit from ongoing sales of complementary consumable products sold at a high markup.

Pros:

  • Easy to attract new customers (as price of base product is low)
  • Fairly steady and reliable revenue stream (as customers are “forced” to buy replacement consumables on an ongoing basis)
  • Encourages brand loyalty

Cons:

  • This model requires lots of capital to start out.
  • Competitors selling replacement consumables that fit with your business’s base product can easily steal sales away from you.
  • Customers might feel conned.

Examples: Gillette razors and razor blades, Xbox video game consoles and individual games, Printers and ink/toner cartridges

What is B2C marketing? Everything you need to know in a nutshell

Now that we’ve covered B2C business in general, it’s time to dig a little deeper and answer some more pointed questions: “What is B2C marketing?” and “How do you go about mastering it?”

B2C marketing refers to all the strategies and tactics a B2C business uses to promote and sell their products and/or services directly to individual consumers. More specifically, it covers all practices used to both acquire and retain customers—to bring in new leads (prospects) and nurture them through the decision-making process to convert them into loyal customers that keep coming back for more.

B2C marketing efforts tend to focus on building trust and cultivating desire, and they rely fairly heavily on the power of emotion and shared values to convince and persuade.

All of the following are examples of B2C marketing in practice:

  • Organizing a promotional event to encourage prospects to try your new product
  • Publishing blog posts on your company’s website to educate and entertain clientele
  • Cold emailing prospective customers to promote your business’s new service
  • Running a contest on Facebook to drive traffic to your website
  • Installing roadside billboards to build awareness
  • Sending personalized text message reminders to prompt customers to book their car in for a service
  • Launching a loyalty app to offer customers mobile-exclusive discounts
A whole new world: How digital transformation is changing B2C marketing

Some of the above examples reflect more traditional forms of B2C marketing; others are newer alternatives that have emerged as the digital world has expanded and evolved. The rise of online platforms, channels, and technologies has completely revolutionized the way companies carry out marketing activities

Marketers and business owners now have a heap of new benefits and opportunities, and it’s important to understand what these are so that you can leverage them appropriately in your marketing efforts. 

We explore a few below:

A slew of new ways to engage. Thanks to digital transformation, the realm of marketing has welcomed a variety of new subdisciplines, including social media marketing, email marketingcontent marketing, search engine marketing, and even augmented reality marketing. Brands can now engage with customers through blog posts, newsletters, tweets, online videos, podcasts, display ads, and many other powerful mediums.

Access to actionable data. The move to digital has made it possible for marketing professionals to carefully track user behavior and assess what’s working and what’s not. Businesses can now take advantage of the precise data available to them to streamline promotional activities, tweak ineffective strategies, and make more informed decisions about where they put their marketing money.

More control at each stage of the customer journey. Before marketing went online, it was difficult to know where a prospective customer was on the journey between awareness and purchase. Now, companies can use analytics to monitor buyers’ actions and can then intervene at each crucial point in the process to guide them along the sales funnel.

Greater personalization. B2C consumers of today respond best to tailored messaging, and digital software now makes marketing personalization easier than ever. Armed with information about customers’ inclinations, habits, likes, and dislikes, marketing professionals can send out targeted communications that win prospects over by speaking directly to their hearts and minds.

Enhanced interactivity. Once upon a time, B2C marketingwas all abouttalking to prospective customers; today, it’s more about talking with them. Digital mediums give consumers the ability to interact directly with brands, and marketing professionals and business owners need to prioritize two-way engagement, communication, and relationship management.   

Automation. Digitization has made it possible to automate many marketing tasks and activities (think triggered emails) to save people time and effort and to improve the customer experience. In an automated online world, businesses can engage with consumers 24-7 and influence buying decisions in real time, even when the lights are out. 

A quick how-to: 9 steps to B2C marketing success

Knowing how marketing has changed over the years will help you make the most of the latest trends and opportunities. But how do you actually do B2C marketing? What does putting together and carrying out an effective promotional plan entail? 

We dive into specific channels and strategies you should be considering a little later in this guide, but first, on a broad level, here are nine steps you can follow to master the art of marketing.

1. Consider the “7 Ps of marketing.” You want to create value for customers while also making a profit. Giving careful thought to what’s known as the “7 Ps of marketing” will help ensure you achieve this objective and assist with your promotional efforts. Before launching any kind of marketing plan, take time to consider each of the following:

1.Product. The “thing” you’re offering customers

Questions to ask yourself

  • What is our product/service?
  • Is our product/service suitable for the market of today?
  • Does our product/service meet customers’ needs?

2. Price. How you price your product/service

Questions to ask yourself

  • What is the optimal price for our product/service based on the value it offers customers?
  • How much are customers willing to pay for our offering?
  • What are our competitors charging?

3. Promotion. The tactics you use to build awareness, create desire for your offering, and convert prospects into customers

Questions to ask yourself

  • Which channels should we use to tell customers about our products/services?
  • How do we want to talk to customers about our offering?
  • Which features should we emphasize in our communications?

4. Place. Where customers interface with your brand and where your product/service is seen/experienced and sold

Questions to ask yourself

  • Where do our customers prefer to shop (e.g., online, at a physical store)?
  • How easily can our clientele access our product/service?
  • Where else could we sell our offering?

5. People. The individuals who work for/with your business and are responsible for product development, customer service, and sales and marketing activities

Questions to ask yourself

  • What skills do we need our employees and consultants to have?
  • Do our employees do a good job of casting our business in a positive light?
  • How do we retain standout staff members?

6. Process. The process you follow to deliver your service or to get your product into customers’ hands

Questions to ask yourself

  • Is it easy for customers to do business with us?
  • Do we repeatedly deliver the same standard of service to our clientele?
  • How do we make the purchasing process more efficient?

7. Physical evidence. The external appearance of your brand — the environment within which products/services are sold and all visible branding (e.g., your website, product packaging, store layout, employee dress code)

Questions to ask yourself

  • What do our customers see along the journey from awareness to purchase?
  • Do the visual elements of our business inspire confidence in our offering?
  • How do we improve our branding?

2. Identify and study your target audience. Before you can design B2C marketing tactics that appeal to customers, you have to understand what makes your prospects tick, what drives them to buy, and what their needs and wants are. Conduct in-depth market research to learn more about the demographics, preferences, browsing habits, and pain points of your target audience.

3. Segment your audience and develop buyer personas. Depending on your business, you might target various groups of people with slightly different needs and expectations. Take the time to segment your audience into categories and then create a detailed buyer persona (a fictional but research-based representation of a customer type) for each. This information will help you tailor and focus your marketing efforts so you drive conversions by saying the right things to the right people on the right platforms.

4. Conduct a competitive analysis. Who are your competitors? What differentiates your product/service from theirs? How are they currently marketing their offering? Do research to get answers to these questions so you can pinpoint what makes your business special (your unique selling proposition) and what you should be calling attention to in your marketing material.

5. Refine your understanding of the customer journey. What happens between the time your customers first become aware of your brand and the point of purchase? What happens beyond this? Map out the journey that buyers are likely to take when interacting with your company so you can deliver precisely what they need, at precisely the right time, each step of the way.

6. Choose appropriate B2C marketing channels. Use the information you have about your target audience and their habits to select marketing channels that’ll help you reach customers most effectively. Will you use Facebook? YouTube? Emails? Direct mail? Blog posts? Messaging apps? Flyers? Paid search? Display advertisements? Choose wisely and consider using multiple avenues to engage prospects.

7. Develop appropriate marketing strategies. Identify and employ tactics that a) excite and delight customers (focus on experience), b) build trust and loyalty, c) keep your brand top of mind, d) speak to customers’ emotional needs, e) maintain ongoing relationships with prospects, and f) help you connect with customers on a human level.

8. Define your goals and allocate marketing budget. What results do you want to achieve from your B2C marketing efforts? Do you want to increase web traffic by 20 percent over the next six months? Increase conversions by 15 percent by the end of a campaign? You need to set goals that are specific and measurable so you can ensure you’re on track to success. You’ll also need to assign a budget to each component of your marketing plan.

9.   Track performance and tweak accordingly. Analytics allow you to closely monitor the performance of all your digital marketing activities. Track what’s working — and what’s not — so you can turn up the dial on effective strategies, abandon futile tactics, and generally respond with agility to move closer to your goals.

What’s the difference between B2C and B2B marketing?

Perfecting your B2C marketing approach also means understanding the fundamental differences between B2C and B2B marketing.

As mentioned previously, the aim of B2C marketing is to convince individual consumers to buy products and services for personal use, usually based on the benefits they expect to enjoy from their purchase or because of some sense of connection they feel to the brand and what it represents.

In contrast, B2B marketing focuses on decision makers at businesses and other organizations who make their purchasing decisions based on what’s best for the growth and sustainability of the for-profit and nonprofit organizations they represent.

Because purchasing aims and motivations for businesses differ from those of individual consumers, B2B marketing, as compared to B2C, tends to involve

  • A longer decision-making process
  • Multiple decision makers, often from more than one department
  • Multiple sources of marketing content, each with its own aim and focus
  • A focus on value in the form of money, time, or resources saved, or increased sales for the customer
  • An emphasis on logical appeals
  • Individualized pricing structures

Distinguishing B2C business from B2B business

B2C sellingB2B sellingThe buyer is an individual consumer purchasing a product or service for their own use/for their house old/friends/family members. The buyer is a business/representative of an organization purchasing on behalf of senior management.Generally just one or two people make the buying decision. Multiple stakeholders make the buying decision collectively.The sales cycle is typically short, and buying decisions are made fairly quickly (sometimes within minutes). The sales cycle is typically quite long, and customers are often slow to make purchasing decisions.The pool of potential buyers is usually large. The pool of prospects is fairly limited.The customer pool is constantly evolving — relationships with buyer are often short-lived, and one-off transactions are common. Companies build long-term relationships with customers.Purchase volume is usually low. Purchase volume can be very high.Customer spend is often quite low. Customer spend can be in the billions.

Apart from the differing motivations of the key audiences, another important difference between B2B and B2C marketing is that B2B purchasing decisions tend to be more complex. 

More specifically, the B2B prospects you’re trying to turn into customers often need to build a business case for other stakeholders in their organization that what you’re selling will give them the most return on investment (ROI). 

As a general rule, the larger the B2B purchase, the more people within the organization you’ll need to convince of your product’s value. Even if the purchase is small and can be authorized by a single contact within the organization, they will likely need to justify its value to the company’s bottom line.

This means that it typically takes a business much longer to make a purchasing decision than it takes the typical consumer. You’ll likely need to make multiple appeals over time.

In fact, most B2B decision makers report reading between three and five sources of content before even talking to a sales representative. For this reason, you should be prepared to produce more content for your B2B marketing program than for a B2C marketing strategy. These might include

  • A brochure or flyer (most likely provided as PDFs)
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • White papers
  • Blog posts
  • Sample pricing materials

You’ll need to have patience and develop a relationship over time as you provide more and more information to your potential clients. Along the way, you’ll be able to get a better sense of your potential partner’s internal needs. 

What’s more, you need to focus your B2B marketing strategy on addressing how your product or service can benefit your customer’s bottom line in the form of resources saved or increased revenue. Because the focus is on the value your product adds to the purchasing organization’s bottom line rather than on the individual benefit to the consumer, B2B marketing content tends to be more technical, more focused on costs, and more individualized for each potential customer you approach.

All of this makes the B2B marketing process, as compared to B2C marketing, more robust, more time-consuming, and more expensive.

On the plus side, B2B entails far fewer potential buyers and a much narrower and specific audience. But it requires time, patience, and attention to detail to engage that audience.

Each approach — B2B and B2C — requires its own tailored tone and strategy. The following table outlines some of the basic differences between the most effective types of appeals:

B2B versus B2C marketing: Key differences in messaging

B2BB2CUses complex, technical informationFavors simple messagingLogical appealsEmotional appealsSolution-focusedBenefits-focusedContent-richConciseMicro-targeting to a small audienceMacro-targeting to a larger audience B2B vs B2C: Key differences in pricing 

As briefly mentioned in our outline of the 7 P’s of marketing, pricing is an integral part of your brand’s story. A high price point can communicate to your potential customer that your brand provides luxury, high levels of service, and exemplary quality. A mid-range price might be seen as a sign of dependability and a good value-for-cost ratio. A low price point can communicate a bargain, efficiency, and innovation, or low quality and desperation.

These pricing perceptions are as true for B2C marketing as they are for B2B. However, because the nature and scale of B2B differs from B2C, your pricing model will likely be different as well. In many cases, you’ll customize your product for each large B2B purchaser, so a static pricing model isn’t always feasible. Here are some other areas of divergence. 

1. B2B pricing is more negotiable

A B2B supplier might negotiate a different price for each of their business partners, whereas in a B2C environment this approach can be much riskier. If a B2C customer learns that someone else has gotten a better deal, they’re likely to feel cheated and look elsewhere for the product or service you provide.

You should also carefully consider how and when to offer discounts. Introductory discounts, for example, may lower your profit margin over production costs, but this might be worth it if you’re able to attract new, dedicated customers.

In a B2B environment, pricing is far more likely to be customized to account for volume discounts, length of contract, and degree of customization and customer support.

2. B2C pricing is more transparent

In the B2C world, maintaining clear, transparent pricing structures is the norm, and it can encourage repeat business, which can create marketing and sales efficiencies and increase your profit level over time.

On the flip side, in most professional environments, purchasing agreements between businesses are confidential. Getting insight into competitors’ pricing is often tedious and largely inferred from asking customers about their relationships with other organizations. This makes it more difficult to quantify the value of your product/service in comparison to your competitors. It also requires interaction with a B2B sales team, which can result in a more pointed conversation about value and the opportunity to begin a relationship with a prospect.

  3. B2B innovators can charge more

If your product is unique or highly innovative, you can likely charge more for it, especially if you target equally innovative companies for B2B sales. Market leaders and outliers tend to be less cost-sensitive than more established companies, and industries with fewer competitors are more willing to absorb higher vendor costs than highly crowded sectors that have multiple options for suppliers.

 4. Discounting is not an effective lure in the B2B sphere

In B2C, introductory or periodic discounting is a common way to lure customers away from competitors or encourage new customers to try your brand. In B2B marketing, however, the longer durations to make a sale tend to rule out discounting as a strategy. This means that prices tend to remain more stable.

When discounting is employed, it’s often in ways that benefit the supplier. For example, offering a client a discount for signing a longer contract benefits your bottom line by freeing you from the expense of renegotiating the sale for a longer period of time.

5. Sales typically has price-setting power in the B2B world

Because B2B pricing tends to be confidential, and because both the B2B supplier and buyer expect to negotiate an individualized price for each transaction, sales representatives tend to have more power over pricing in a B2B environment than they would if they were selling B2C.

If your sales force incentives aren’t designed to optimize pricing by encouraging representatives to ask for the highest possible price without losing the sale, you might find that your sales team is over-discounting. The best way to combat this is to clearly articulate your pricing strategy to all employees, while empowering your sales team to make reasonable adjustments to make sales.

B2B vs B2C: Key differences in social media and companion apps

Just as you need a website to launch a business in today’s market, it’s becoming increasingly important to have a companion mobile app so that you can engage customers where they are — on their mobile devices — with product updates and new features.

In the B2C space, companion apps can help drive sales by allowing your customers to complete automated orders. Your B2B customers are unlikely to use a companion app in a similar way because B2B decision making is simply too complex.

So why do you even need to develop a B2B companion app?

  • Because mobile technology drives sales. According to new research, 80 percent of B2B buyers use mobile technology for work, and 60 percent report that mobile played a part in a recent purchase.
  • Because it’s expected. The decision makers you’re trying to convince to buy your product are accustomed to using mobile apps to engage with their favorite consumer products. They’ll appreciate having a similar environment to explore your services.
  • Because it keeps you on their minds. A mobile app will allow your B2B contacts to access information about your product at any time, even when they’re away from their desks, giving them more time to familiarize themselves with your product’s strengths.
  • Because you’ll learn more about your buyers. Many mobile B2B (and B2C) apps are designed to encourage users to share their purchasing needs and desires with the supplier, information you can leverage to make a sale.

A good B2C app needs to provide a seamless user experience that mirrors the qualities of the brand it’s designed to sell. This can mean compelling or fun content, games, contests, virtual punch cards and other customer rewards, product information, news and celebrity endorsements, and remote sales capability.

An effective B2B app has a different function. Though robust product information and a high-quality user experience are important, B2B apps also should include

  • Plenty of information so buyers can read up on your features whenever and wherever they want
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) — for example, you may want to employ a “chatbot” to simulate an IM interaction
  • Multiple payment methods, because while the purchasing decision will likely take place offline, younger employees increasingly prefer tomake purchases in a mobile environment
  • Cloud-based information, which will cut down on storage costs and provide a more seamless user experience while allowing potential customers to gather more information on your product more quickly
Effective B2B marketing tips

Some organizations, including startups, may need to employ a mix of B2B and B2C marketing to grow their businesses. If your focus is B2C, and the amount of time and resources you have to devote to B2B marketing is limited, the following tips should allow you to develop an effective small-scale B2B marketing strategy:

  • Focus on building long-term relationships.
  • Plan for longer lead times between initial marketing interactions and purchasing decisions.
  • Focus on logical appeals that communicate the value of your product.
  • Be prepared to provide multiple forms of content with detailed information.
  • Opt for information and authority over entertainment.
  • Consider including some emotional appeals, especially when it comes to shared values like quality and integrity.

It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. B2B sales tend to come in higher volume, and, once organizations commit to a B2B relationship, that decision typically lasts longer than a direct-to-customer purchasing decision.

Top B2C marketing strategies

By now, you should have a solid understanding of your B2C business model and how it differs from any B2B activities that you may be responsible for. The next step in effectively promoting your products and services to consumers is building your formal B2C marketing strategy.

Whether you’re starting a new business or trying to take an existing one to the next level, a sound and well thought-out B2C marketing strategy is essential to growing your revenue and guiding your decision-making process.

Not to be confused with a marketing plan, which is more of an operational structure that lays out the timing and specifics around execution, a B2C marketing strategy is built on careful analysis and is a high-level approach to mapping out target markets, a value proposition, goals, how you’ll differentiate yourself from competitors, and what you’ll need from a resource perspective to accomplish key objectives.

In the fast-moving and ever-evolving world of business, it can be easy to get stuck in the nitty gritty of do, do, do: rolling out campaigns, tweaking pricing, and engaging third-party vendors to carry the workload when you don’t have the resources to shoulder it yourself.

But forging ahead without the overriding directional concept of a marketing strategy is a bit like putting the cart before the horse. While you may be able to accomplish a lot, without taking time to stop, back up, and do the work necessary to build a careful and research-backed marketing strategy, you may find yourself going down the wrong road — or worse, hitting a dead end.

In business terms, this means you could waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on engaging the wrong audience with the wrong messaging through the wrong channels — not to mention the countless hours employees would have devoted to failed initiatives.

What’s more, while you were “chasing the shiny objects,” implementing poor marketing tactic after poor marketing tactic, or trying to capitalize on every new hot marketing trend, you might have missed out on massive opportunities and lost valuable ground to the competition.

How to create a B2C marketing strategy

A marketing strategy should not only be based on solid research (rather than intuition or experience), but it should also be built through a collaborative process that involves key stakeholders across the business.

Once you’ve committed to engaging the right people and conducting the right kind of investigation, follow these five critical steps to build an effective and flexible B2C marketing strategy.

1. Identify your goals

Setting concrete objectives is the first point on the agenda of a good marketing strategy, and as any college-level marketing student can tell you, targets should always be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).

Your marketing goals shouldn’t exist in a vacuum; they should be linked to the business’s overall objectives. This is fundamental to getting the support of the higher-ups and to measuring success against the company overall.

For example, if one of your organization’s goals is to increase revenue from existing customers by 30 percent, then the following would be good and bad examples of marketing goals:

Bad marketing goal: Generate 500 new sales-qualified leads through content marketing campaigns and organic acquisition efforts over the course of the year.

Why is this a bad example? Because generating new leads isn’t aligned to the business objective of increasing revenue from existing customers.

Good marketing goal: Launch six new content marketing campaigns and 12 new email campaigns to provide more value to customers, make them aware of supplementary product offers, and increase overall lifetime value by 12 percent.

2. Get to know the competition

Studying the competition is one of the most crucial activities that you can do as a marketer building a successful strategy.

Investigating other businesses’ weaknesses and strengths, and defining and better understanding the industry overall, is known as competitive analysis. As the U.S. Small Business Administration puts it, “[It’s] key to defining a competitive edge that creates sustainable revenue.”

While there are a number of approaches to conducting a competitive analysis, like Porter’s Five Forces or the Competitor Array, all of these models have one thing in common: They’ve been proven to help businesses perform better.

Understanding others’ behaviors and actions can not only better protect the health of your  organization, it can also help you identify potential opportunities that can translate directly to more revenue and a stronger market position.

3. Understand your target audience

Knowing your customers is as important as knowing yourself — your products and services, that is. And this requires some serious market research.

The more you understand who your customers are, the products they buy, and why they buy those products, the more you’ll be able to fine-tune your marketing efforts and create personalized campaigns for them.

For starters, look at existing demographic, income, and trade info from government organizations to begin gathering data. Then work with research professionals to build surveys or conduct interviews and focus groups to get into the nitty gritty.

You should come away with not just a high-level profile of your customers but insight into their motivations for making purchases as well as their expectations for products and services.

4. Lock in your marketing tactics, programs, and campaigns

Once you’ve set your objectives, drawn up a picture of your competition and the state of the industry, and dug into your target audience, it’s time to outline the tactics, programs, and campaigns that will allow you to execute on all the work you’ve done up until this point.

In a nutshell, marketing tactics are the actual actions you’ll take to achieve your objectives. They may include rolling out a membership program, setting in motion a retargeting campaign, or even organizing a few big events.

The tactics that you choose to move forward with should align with your goals, and they should be based on the customer and competitor data you’ve collected. For instance, perhaps you’ve found that your target audience primarily uses a particular social media channel — or maybe it’s come to light that the your number-one competitor has generated lots of positive press and subsequent sales from a big conference they organized.

By drawing on existing information, you can outline the marketing tactics you think will work best, keeping in mind that these are flexible and should be regularly evaluated and adjusted according to the results of your efforts.

5. Pinpoint your resource needs

Good marketers know that you have to spend money to make money, but the best in the business understand how to build budgets rooted in real numbers and operational costs.

Outlining your resource needs from a financial perspective — but also from a personnel and technology stack perspective — is key to successfully creating and implementing your marketing strategy.

To do this, work backward from your marketing goals and tactics, identifying how much you’ll need to invest in each channel, both from a monetary and manpower point of view, to hit your objectives.

Factor in any additional operational costs, like software critical to your sales funnel, third-party vendors essential to shouldering the workload, and even travel expenses.

Keep in mind that plenty of technology options can automate many of your workflows and scale your marketing efforts without having to add staff (see the chart below for some great options):

Buffer. Coordinates and times the release of marketing announcements across multiple platforms

Price: Range: $15, $99, $199, $300 per month depending on the size of your business

Hootsuite. Provides a dashboard to map social media and track engagement statistics across platforms

Price: $120 per user per month, or $599 per month for up to 5 users

Facebook Pages. Allows you to upload images and update your FB business page remotely

Price: Free

Canva. Famous for providing an affordable way to create quick, professional looking graphics; also allows you to easily upload graphics and prototypes to multiple social media platforms

Price: Basic package for free; Canva Pro for $12.95 per user per month, $9.95 per user per year; the deluxe Canva Enterprise offers custom pricing

Clover. Supports hands-free payment, tipping, and customer loyalty programs

Price: Fees begin at $9.95 per month, usually bundled with rental or purchase of hardware

Mention. Monitors the web for “mentions” of your business and products, so that you address issues and counter negative information as needed

Price: Starts at $29 per month

Top marketing tactics and techniques

Today’s top marketing tactics and techniques are largely influenced by digital transformation and the way businesses reimagine their use of technology.

The massive expansion of the internet, with its multitude of channels and platforms, and the advent of mobile technology and wearables that allow consumers to access the internet from anywhere at any time should be front and center for every B2C marketer, no matter your vertical or your product or service.

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind as you define your marketing tactics and allocate an appropriate budget:

1. Think mobile first

Americans are now even more glued to their mobile devices than they are to television, with individuals spending an average of just under four hours on their phone or tablet every day. One in five people living in this country have “smartphone-only” internet access, which means their phone is their only method of accessing the web, and 37 percent say they mainly access the web with their smartphone.

Source: Pew Research Center

If you’re not tailoring your marketing efforts to include mobile initiatives, you’re making a grave mistake, especially since the largest demographic segment of consumers (Millennials) is particularly reliant on their phones.

For one, that means making sure your website and all other forms of digital communication are mobile friendly, meaning the mobile experience is seamless and easy.

It also means investigating native mobile efforts, like mobile apps, and taking into account that most people will access social media from their mobile devices.

2. Prioritize marketing personalization

We live in an era of instant gratification, and that means that as a marketer, your messaging needs to be relevant and engaging. Enter marketing personalization, which involves communicating with customers in the ways they prefer and offering them things they actually want by aligning your efforts with their behavior.

As noted by McKinsey, marketing personalization can cut acquisition costs in half, increase revenue by up to 15 percent, and make overall marketing spend 10 to 30 percent more efficient.

To appropriately implement personalization efforts, you need to first have the tools and technology to gather data about certain customer signals, like how they browse online or scan social media. Then, it’s a matter of creating individual messages that map to those customer signals.

Certain marketing automation technology can help make these kinds of efforts more scalable for larger companies.

3. Reap the benefits of retargeting

Retargeting, the act of redisplaying online advertisements to anyone who has visited your website, is one broad example of personalization.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), over 90 percent of marketers reported that retargeting ads performed as well as or better than similar search, email, and display ads.

4. Engage your customers with events and conferences

Event marketing is a prime way to captivate your current and potential customers and engage them in a real-world, interactive setting all while building your brand and teaching them about your amazing product and service offering.

When done right, this kind of experiential marketing tactic can have long-lasting effects that both make attendees more loyal and leverage their networks if they share with their friends via social media or even word of mouth (fuelling new customer acquisition).

Of course, to effectively pull off a memorable and effective event or conference, you need a detailed and extensive marketing plan to not only draw attendees and generate buzz, but also to generate leads and get a return on your investment. JotForm makes this last task particularly quick and easy, giving you the power to build custom online forms and capture all the information you need to better market to your customers.

5. Boost loyalty with a membership program

A membership program, also known as a loyalty program, is the ideal marketing tactic for any business committed to improving customer retention and boosting lifetime value (the profit a company can expect from the entire lifetime of a customer).

These kinds of initiatives generally work by rewarding customers with perks based on the number of purchases they make. There are all kinds of opportunities to get creative with how you roll out a membership program. For example, you may want to partner with another business to give customers added benefits, or perhaps you could gamify your system or create a community that adds another kind of value for loyal members.

However you decide to implement this program, keep in mind that the main goal is to increase customer spend, which is more of a sure thing as existing customers are 67 percent more likely to spend more than new customers.

6. Activate an ambassador program

In a world where consumers are more and more discerning about the content and messaging they consume, leveraging the power of committed customers who can promote your brand can be an effective way to drive acquisition and build brand awareness.

An ambassador program helps organize and guide these advocates, giving them information about your goals and the high-level subject matter you’d like them to focus on.

Most brand ambassadors’ main medium is social media, where they can help you establish credibility with their audience of followers.

7 outstanding B2C marketing examples and campaigns from major companies

Even the most well thought-out marketing strategy and carefully considered marketing tactics can fail if they’re not executed effectively or implemented in a creative way. Today, organizations have to stand out and differentiate themselves. It can be difficult to come up with good campaign ideas and assets — especially if you don’t have the world’s largest marketing budget or an entire team dedicated solely to this area of the business.

In this case, it’s a good idea to look for inspiration from some big brands that are best in class in their industry. It’s entirely possible to borrow big ideas to fit your marketing needs or just use their approaches to get the creative juices flowing.

Take a look at these outstanding B2C marketing examples to get started building your own brilliant effort.

1. REI’s “Expert Advice” section for a great example of B2C SEO marketing 

Everyone knows that content is king when it comes to SEO and B2C marketing, but when you’ve got a lot of competitors in your category, like REI does, it’s even more challenging to stand out and rank highly in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

To drive traffic for the very competitive keyword category of camping and outdoor activities, REI added an Expert Advice section on their website, which features over 500 keyword-rich targeted articles aimed at ranking for mid-tail and long-tail terms. 

These terms are specific search queries that tend to have a lower search volume (i.e., “how to waterproof a tent” and “what kind of bike should I get”). They also tend to be easier to rank for because they don’t have as much competition. In addition, they help to build category context for Google, which makes it easier to rank for more competitive, higher volume short-tail terms, like “camping” and “fitness.”

REI’s SEO approach brings 600,000 visitors to this section of their site on a monthly basis, all of which they can then convert from interested readers to buyers.

2. Airbnb for tip-top B2C marketing personalization

An increasingly important aspect of B2C marketing is personalization, which allows companies to target their audience more accurately and create custom messaging that leads to greater engagement as a reward for relevance. 

Effective personalization relies on data, so the more information you can get about your customers and their interests and previous behavior, the better able you’ll be to create campaigns and assets that will resonate with them and motivate them to make a purchase. 

Airbnb uses a pretty simple form of personalization in their marketing emails by leveraging user contact details, home location, and behavior on the main website. The end product is an email that addresses users by name and suggests they take a trip to the most popular getaway destinations from the city where they live.

Readers who receive this kind of communication will be more likely to engage because they feel like it directly applies to them.

3. Fashion Nova for a five-star example of a B2C ambassador program

Fashion Nova is one of the fastest growing apparel companies in the world. They’ve never had a fashion show or run an ad in a single magazine, yet they’re as widely searched for online as Louis Vuitton and Chanel. 

The company’s marketing has mainly been on Instagram, where brand ambassadors and social media starlets, like Katerina Themis and @XTYDime, have created buzz through digital word of mouth using the hashtags #NovaSquad and #NovaBabe.

The organization has a formal program that calls on customers and ambassadors alike to post photos of themselves wearing their Fashion Nova items and tag the brand with the appropriate hashtag. This creates excitement for new inventory and embodies the inclusivity that’s part of the company’s brand message. Fashion Nova then reposts these posts, giving their advocates an opportunity to gain more exposure and validation for their own accounts.

Gen Z and Millennial audiences, which the teen clothing brand targets, are less likely to trust traditional advertising and more likely to look for “real” endorsements from their peers and trusted influencers. Accordingly, Fashion Nova was able to reach potential customers where and how they want to be reached, and today, they have over 16 million followers on Instagram.   

4. Waze for awesome B2C content marketing

Compelling content doesn’t have to live on your website or leverage SEO best practices to acquire new customers. Another form of content marketing enables B2C professionals to create engaging assets and then partner with a trusted source that can spread the word to their audience and increase your reach while building brand awareness.

Waze did exactly this when they worked with the New York Times to create a piece of sponsored content about interesting driving trends. The piece was also interactive; it included quiz questions where people could test their knowledge on current trends.

You don’t have to partner with a major outlet to accomplish this goal — consider local organizations that align with your mission, and think about where you could reach the right audience using the data you have on your industry.

5. Ikea for B2C social media 

Everyone knows about Ikea at this point, but not many can say that they have the entire catalog memorized by heart. When Ikea found a woman who had done exactly that, they partnered with her to create a Facebook Live event, which ended up attracting thousands of views from people who wanted to test her knowledge.

Ikea got to re-introduce their entire catalog to their social audience, and by taking advantage of user-generated content, they got social proof that their product was universally beloved.

6. Sephora for a super B2C marketing strategy that leveraged a loyalty program

A good loyalty program can help break barriers to entry for customers if, say, the cost is too high or the product isn’t considered essential. It can also motivate additional purchases. 

Makeup company Sephora, which has around 17 million members in their Beauty Insider rewards program, keeps customers coming back for their high-priced makeup because their loyalty points system makes it accessible.

Like a traditional model, buyers earn points for each purchase, but they can use them in a number of different ways, whether it’s redeeming points for limited edition products and exclusive events like in-store tutorials, or using points additional seasonal discounts and free shipping. The Sephora loyalty program is also tiered, granting more and better freebies to those who spend more, which further incentivizes customers to keep shopping.

Having different ways to use points gives customers access to good deals without devaluing the Sephora products, which is a real win-win!

7. Best Buy for an excellent B2C marketing retargeting strategy

When it comes to online shopping, the checkout cart is probably the worst place for marketers because that’s where most conversions die. About 88 percent of purchases are abandoned at the final stage of the purchasing process, so this might actually be the most important for remarketing.

Best Buy does this quite simply by retargeting shoppers who have abandoned carts with a gentle nudge in the form of ads asking them if they’re ready to check out. Consider whether email, social media, or your website are the right platform for this end-of-funnel remarketing, and use your organization’s unique voice and character to give that nudge.   

The most effective B2C marketing channels

Once you have a solid understanding of what you’re going to say and to whom you’re going to say it, the next critical piece in the B2C marketing puzzle is identifying where you’re going to distribute your promotional material. In essence, you need to know which marketing avenues — or channels — will help you execute on your overall roadmap.

Choosing the most effective marketing channels for your business depends on your goals, your audience, and your budget, but the four listed below have proven time and again to be the areas that can give you the most bang for your buck.

Paid search: Leverage PPC, or SEM, and display ad marketing

Paid search, often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine marketing (SEM), involves paying for advertisements on search engines like Google and Bing.

This form of B2C marketing is measurable and, if optimized correctly, can be especially lucrative and effective.

In paid search, marketers bid on keywords relevant to their business to win the opportunity to display their text-based advertisements on the associated search engine results pages (SERPs). The cost of each keyword depends on a handful of variables, including your bidding strategy, Google’s Quality Score, and competition for that particular keyword.

A search engine results page is just what it sounds like — the page a search engine shows in response to a particular keyword query. The main components of a search engine results page are paid listing results, organic search query results, rich media results, and a knowledge graph, though not all search engine results pages contain all of these components.

To maximize your investment in paid search, it’s important to conduct keyword research to find the keywords most relevant to your business, investigate the cost per click that top performers are paying for each keyword and see how that compares to your budget, create brilliant and clickable ads and effective landing pages, and track all of the metrics carefully to make sure your ad spend drives the return on investment you want.

Another form of paid search is display advertising, which gives marketers the opportunity to place banner advertisements on websites that aren’t their own. Unlike advertisements on SERPs, these promotions are visual and even dynamic. Again, to get the most bang for your buck, you should make each ad as engaging as possible and carefully monitor analytics to get an idea of which ads are performing best and where you may need to experiment further.

SEO: Overview of content marketing and organic acquisition

The counterpart to paid search marketing is search engine optimization (SEO), which is the art of creating content pages on your website that rank as high as possible in the SERPs for a given keyword.

The best part of this particular channel is that it’s absolutely free, gratis, no cost!

However, to implement this effectively, you need to understand the many ins and outs of Google’s ranking algorithm, which dictates where your web pages appear in the SERPs for a given keyword.

Those who take the time to understand how to create quality content that aligns with both on-page and off-page ranking factors will enjoy huge ROI and great success in new customer acquisition.

This effort forms one part of content marketing, which is the process of building and distributing content to strategically promote a brand, drive acquisition, encourage conversion, and increase loyalty among potential and existing customers.

B2C email marketing: What it is and the one way you should always use it

True to its name, email marketing is the act of using email as a channel to promote your services, build relationships with customers, and create better brand awareness.

Like SEO, email marketing can be especially useful for small businesses with slim budgets because it can be absolutely free. On the flip side, if you do have money to put behind it, there are ways to leverage this outlet (e.g., purchasing email lists) to get greater returns.

Regardless of what you have to spend, email is a channel that all businesses should use to keep their customers informed, from simply providing fundamental transactional information to alerting potential and committed customers to new product or service developments.

Social media marketing: A strategy that works

As you may have guessed, social media marketing involves using social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, to further your promotional efforts.

And like email, there are opportunities to leverage this channel both for free and with a paid strategy. No matter what, it’s an essential element of a complete marketing plan. Case in point: Nearly 3.5 billion people use some form of social media every day, with digital consumers spending roughly 2.5 hours scrolling through posts and engaging in messaging.

At the very least, your social media marketing strategy should include a basic digital presence. You should have profiles on the platforms that are most relevant to your audience and that can provide the best opportunities for customer engagement.

You can maximize the value you get from social media by implementing a well thought-out strategy with these steps:

  1. Map out your social media marketing goals and align them with your overall marketing objectives.
  2. Identify which social media platforms best align with your target audience.
  3. Pinpoint the key social media metrics that will illustrate success, including measuring paid campaigns if relevant.
  4. Create compelling and engaging content.
  5. Track results and optimize your efforts accordingly.
Advocate for your brand with affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing — the process of creating partnerships, both paid and unpaid, with other publications, brands, and influencers on the web who agree to promote your products or services — is another nontraditional digital method that B2C businesses can explore to boost brand awareness and drive acquisition.

Most of the time, these partnerships are paid and based on performance. That means you only pay your affiliates a commission when their audience members take an agreed-upon action, like clicking a link, making a purchase, or signing up for an email newsletter (read more about how JotForm makes lead generation quick and easy).

This method of marketing places much of the responsibility of promotion on the affiliates, giving them more carte blanche to promote your products to their audience in the ways that they know will be most successful.

On the flip side, as an effective B2C marketer, it’s essential that you do three things to ensure your efforts in this arena give you the maximum amount of exposure and return on investment:

  1. Carefully research affiliates and identify the ones most relevant to your target audience.
  2. Constantly track success metrics to ensure affiliates are performing and generating the quality of business you want.
  3. Protect your brand identity by monitoring the messaging that affiliates and influencers use to engage audiences.

Apart from paid affiliate marketing, there are also unpaid affiliate relationships.

This may take the form of social media influencers who agree to mention or promote your product in exchange for some sort of cross-promotion or perk. Alternatively, it may take the form of a content exchange, where you provide the affiliate with some sort of valuable content that they can use to boost their audience engagement and traffic while more discreetly educating users about your product or service — even encouraging them to visit your website or make a purchase.

Catégories: News dév web

Step by Step Guide to Better Your Social Media Presence

Noupe.com - 25 février, 2020 - 11:17

Your customers have an active social media presence. This is really a fundamental reason to make social media an integrated part of your marketing strategy.

Leading a good social media marketing helps you to increase your brand awareness and loyalty, drive traffic to your website, build strong business-customer relationships as well, engage your customers.

Posting contents, updating images and videos, using social ads, creating polls: all these actions are included in any SMM strategy. However, each marketer and digital marketing agency has its own creative approach and marketing plan, which makes them different from competitors.

Having a strong social media presence demands knowledge of some essentials. Let us look at some important steps which can help you in building your SMM campaign.

1. Analyze your Competitors

The information you get about your competitors helps you better survive and reach your business goals. Due to a number of the tools the process becomes easier. For SMM, you need to find out:

  • The main competitors on Social Media 
  • Their positioning and customer journey
  • Customer Reviews
  • Marketing tactics
  • Your Results in comparison with them.
2. Optimize your Profiles

Social media profile optimization is another important step that you need to conduct. The main things that you need to do are:

3. Get to Know your Real Followers

Millions of people around the world follow business pages. However, how many of them are loyal customers?

These matters, since fake followers will never turn into customers. Use different tools (like IG Audit for Instagram) to find out the percentage of your real followers. Besides, checking and blocking your unwanted or suspicious followers will be your next step. Step number three includes active engagement with your active audience for better targeting them.

4. Publish Relevant and Informative Content

Quality content matters for both SEO and UX. Relevant content gains more shares on Social Media, no matter it is video content, a text or interactive content. There are many metrics that you need to take into consideration while building your strategy. Before it, following these steps will help you:

  • Create a buyer persona for touching pain points
  • Make a (social) keyword research
  • Check your content performance
  • Use Social Ads.
5. Schedule your Posting Time

Scheduling your posting time can bring a number of benefits(for getting a platform). These benefits (strategic thinking, consistency, etc.) can better help to build your marketing campaign.

Here is a step to step guide to schedule your Facebook posts to save money and get better results.

6. Include Call To Action

No matter in social media platforms or in your website, having Call to Action button is critically important. Including it in social media improves your brand recognition and increases the conversion rate. Making use of actionable language is your first step. Of course, it should grab attention, but it should be simple and focus the attention of your audience.

7. Connect your Website to your Social Media Profiles

There are two main benefits of connecting your website to Social Media.

Promoting your social media platforms on your website increases the number of your real followers. Promoting your website in social media increases website traffic.

 Both are effective for your sales and conversions. The connecting process can be done in simple steps:

Step One: Link your social media profiles through WordPress Plugins
Step Two: Share your most engaging social content on the website
Step Three: Make everything interesting and shareable.

8. Engage with your Followers

Social media is the greatest marketing platform for engagement. Factors that have an influence on Social Media Engagement Include the number of likes, comments, shares, reviews, etc. For engaging more social media traffic, you need to:

  • Create promotional content with visuals
  • Share it the time your audience is active
  • Create Polls, Surveys, as well be active in Question/Answer session
  • Add interesting activities ( i.e. contests, giveaways, etc.).
  • Make use of Relevant Hashtags.
Conclusion

Social media platforms have over 2.96 billion users. Trying to reach all of them is impossible and useless, so you need to clearly define your target market.

There are some important things that you need to research and find out for effectively planning your strategies. They include:

  • Which are the best platforms for your business?
  • Which are the working tactics of your competitors?
  • Who are your potential customers?
  • Which strategies will better suit your business needs?

Social media can also improve your SEO ranking. Driving more traffic to your search-optimized website, it improves both visibility and conversion rates.

Catégories: News dév web

Benefits and Features of On-Demand Apps for the Business and Its Future

Noupe.com - 25 février, 2020 - 11:00

We are living in a digitalized world where the majority f the population is using cell phones and try to find the easiest way to fulfil their day to day needs.

We are in an era where technology has changed the lives of people and made it simpler. Businesses these days are relying on online platforms for increased sales and wider reach.

The latest addition to the online business is on-demand applications. On-demand applications work as a  link between consumers and different businesses. These apps are covering different industries, such as taxi services, groceries, laundry, food delivery, car rentals, or personal health services. 

Most of the online businesses today are leveraging the services of on-demand apps to build their business’s reputation.

Benefits of On-Demand apps

As the demand for on-demand apps is increasing, it sure has a lot of benefits. Some of these benefits from the business’ point of view are-

1. Employee satisfaction and efficiency

It is important to hire the right on-demand mobile app development company to get the maximum ROI for your business. The ease of project management, user-friendliness, and custom-built features are all who matter for choosing the right mobile app development company. Employee satisfaction doesn’t come easy. A company should be able to increase productivity, all the while decreasing the issues faced by employees.

2. Security and scalability

It is not possible to sure whether the specific app is secure or not. All the businesses want to keep their data safe and secure and maintain confidentiality. When you go for custom mobile solutions, you can be sure that your data will remain safe. Compared with other mobile platforms, on-demand mobile apps are more scalable and secured. 

3. Unlimited business opportunities

You will have a database that brings detail about the users’ right from their addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, preferences, and whatever you wish to know. With on-demand apps, a larger number of varied data can let you do many things such as-

  • Use the data for analysis to improve business practices
  • Invite the customers for upcoming sales and offers
  • Choose an email marketing
  • Build ‘business-customer’ relationship
  • Boost your conversion rates
Some of the benefits of on-demand apps for customers 1. Makes their lives easier

These on-demand apps simplify the lives of customers as they can fulfill their demand with a few clicks on their cell phones. Many industries are fulfilling the demand of customers by delivering the products at their home and providing quality services such as taxi bookings, food delivery, grocery delivery, etc.

2. Tracking facility

On-demand apps allow users to track their order/service. With the help of this app, the user will have a tracking facility that will track the order from the service provider’s side. These apps also come with maps that will help the customers to track the real-time location as well as get notification of the location. The map feature will make the tracking easy for both customers and service providers.

3. Cashless payment

These on-demand mobile applications come up with multiple payment methods, which makes the cashless payment possible for the customers. The online payment or cashless payment will make the payment secure and help the customers to pay for the product/service in a fast and secure manner.

4. Rating and reviewing option

Customers can easily add their reviews and ratings in on-demand mobile apps. These ratings and reviews will help the new customers, and the service providers can manage to get an image of them in the market based on the positive reviews and high ratings. These reviews and ratings will help the business to build their customer base by reaching a wider audience.

We talked about the benefits of on-demand apps for both businesses and customers. We will now talk about the features of on-demand apps.

Features of On-Demand Apps 1. Timely notifications

The best part about an on-demand app is that you get timely notifications about your products/service. Notifications let the customers know where their product is and how long it will take to reach them. It also works as a marketing tool to drive more traffic. Notification is one of the most important features of any app.

2. GPS tracking

GPS tracking feature is one of the key features of any on-demand app. GPS integration plays a key role in tacking any order. GPS tracking easily lets the customers know about the location and progress of their placed orders.

3. Wishlist

An on-demand having this feature is quite important. When a customer likes a product, he can add it to a wishlist if he doesn’t want to buy the product right away or when the size is not in stock. Wishlisting the products will encourage the customers to make the purchase when they are ready or when the product is back in stock. 

 4. Multiple payment gateways

In this era of eCommerce, every app is focusing on providing multiple payment methods at their site or app. providing multiple payment options is important and makes it easy for the customers to choose the option they want to.

5. Booking cancellation

There may come situations when the customer has to cancel the booking due to some reasons. So every on-demand application should have this feature where the customers can cancel the order or booking as per their comfort.

6. Multiple order booking

It is always good to offer the customers the flexibility of placing multiple orders at once at the store. The app needs to collect the basic information of the customer, which can help with a smooth checkout process for the orders placed.

Popular on-demand Apps

There are many popular on-demand apps that we use today. Over the last few years, on-demand apps have become quite popular and have done well to achieve customer satisfaction. Some of the popular on-demand apps that we use in our daily lives or at least have heard about are-

  • Uber
  • OlaCabs
  • Lyft
  • Grab
  • Instacart
  • Zomato
  • DoorDash
  • Swiggy
  • UberEats
  • Taxify
  • Postmates
Wrapping up

On-demand businesses have benefitted many by meeting their demands. On-demand apps are focused on offering effective and efficient services to customers to meet their demand. On-demand apps are quite easy to use as you can order a thing with a few clicks on your cell phone. The demand for on-demand apps is increasing, and looking at the current market. We can say that this service is going to change the face of eCommerce in the near future. It is going to benefit many industries in the future.

Catégories: News dév web

Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS): Apprehending the Future Market Growth and Enterprise Benefits – [Infographic]

Noupe.com - 25 février, 2020 - 09:37

As the name suggests, the mobile point of sale enables independent merchants and business owners to collect payments on-the-fly without any worry of collecting cash in bulk.

Cashless and mobile payment and transactions can be done from anywhere, which also proves to be convenient for the customers. mPOS devices can come in different forms like standalone solutions, smartphones, wireless terminals, mobile card readers and so on. Check out the Infographic to glean interesting insights about the current trends and future market of mPOS industry.


[Infographic] mPOS: Apprehending Future Market & Enterprise Benefits by Kiosk Lockdown Software
Catégories: News dév web

An Introduction to MongoDB

SitePoint.com - 24 février, 2020 - 03:00

MongoDB is a cross-platform, open-source, NoSQL database, used by many modern Node-based web applications to persist data.

In this beginner-friendly tutorial, I’ll demonstrate how to install Mongo, then start using it to store and query data. I’ll also look at how to interact with a Mongo database from within a Node program, and also highlight some of the differences between Mongo and a traditional relational database (such as MySQL) along the way.

Terminology and Basic Concepts

MongoDB is a document-oriented database. This means that it doesn’t use tables and rows to store its data, but instead collections of JSON-like documents. These documents support embedded fields, so related data can be stored within them.

MongoDB is also a schema-less database, so we don’t need to specify the number or type of columns before inserting our data.

Here’s an example of what a MongoDB document might look like:

{ _id: ObjectId(3da252d3902a), type: "Tutorial", title: "An Introduction to MongoDB", author: "Manjunath M", tags: [ "mongodb", "compass", "crud" ], categories: [ { name: "javascript", description: "Tutorialss on client-side and server-side JavaScript programming" }, { name: "databases", description: "Tutorialss on different kinds of databases and their management" }, ], content: "MongoDB is a cross-platform, open-source, NoSQL database..." }

As you can see, the document has a number of fields (type, title etc.), which store values (“Tutorial”, “An Introduction to MongoDB” etc.). These values can contain strings, numbers, arrays, arrays of sub-documents (for example, the categories field), geo-coordinates and more.

The _id field name is reserved for use as a primary key. Its value must be unique in the collection, it’s immutable, and it may be of any type other than an array.

Tip: for those wondering what “JSON-like” means, internally Mongo uses something called BSON (short for Bin­ary JSON). In practice, you don’t really need to know much about BSON when working with MongoDB.

As you might guess, a document in a NoSQL database corresponds to a row in an SQL database. A group of documents together is known as a collection, which is roughly synonymous with a table in a relational database.

Here’s a table summarizing the different terms:

SQL Server MongoDB Database Database Table Collection Row Document Column Field Index Index

If you’re starting a new project and are unsure whether to choose Mongo or a relational database such as MySQL, now might be a good time to read our tutorial SQL vs NoSQL: How to Choose.

With that said, let’s go ahead and install MongoDB.

Installing MongoDB

Note: if you’d just like to follow along with this tutorial without installing any software on your PC, there are a couple of online services you can use. Mongo playground, for example, is a simple sandbox to test and share MongoDB queries online.

MongoDB comes in various editions. The one we’re interested in is the MongoDB Community Edition.

The project’s home page has excellent documentation on installing Mongo, and I won’t try to replicate that here. Rather, I’ll offer you links to instructions for each of the main operating systems:

If you use a non-Ubuntu-based version of Linux, you can check out this page for installation instructions for other distros. MongoDB is also normally available through the official Linux software channels, but sometimes this will pull in an outdated version.

Post Installation Configuration

Once you have MongoDB installed for your system, you might encounter this error:

dbpath (/data/db) does not exist. Create this directory or give existing directory in --dbpath. See http://dochub.mongodb.org/core/startingandstoppingmongo

This means that Mongo can’t find (or access) the directory it uses to store its databases. This is pretty easy to remedy:

sudo mkdir -p /data/db sudo chown -R `id -un` /data/db

The first command creates the data/db directory. The second sets permissions so that Mongo can write to that directory.

Install the Compass GUI

We’ll be using the command line in this tutorial, but MongoDB also offers a tool called Compass to connect to and manage your databases using a GUI.

If you’re on Windows, Compass can be installed as part of the main Mongo installation (just select the appropriate option from the wizard). Otherwise, you can download Compass for your respective OS here.

This is what it looks like:

The Mongo Shell

We can test our installation by opening the Mongo shell. You can do this by opening a terminal window and typing mongo.

Note: this assumes that <mongodb installation dir>/bin is in your path. If for any reason this isn’t the case, change into the <mongodb installation dir>/bin directory and rerun the command.

If you get an Error: couldn't connect to server error, you’ll need to start the Mongo server (in a second terminal window) with the command mongod.

Once you’re in the Mongo shell, type in db.version() to see the version of MongoDB you’re running. At the time of writing, this should output 4.2.2.

Please note that you can exit the Mongo shell by running quit() and the Mongo daemon by pressing Ctrl + C at any time.

Now let’s get acquainted with some MongoDB basics.

Basic Database Operations

Enter the Mongo shell if you haven’t already (by typing mongo into a terminal):

[mj@localhost ~]$ mongo MongoDB shell version v4.2.2 connecting to: mongodb://127.0.0.1:27017/?compressors=disabled&gssapiServiceName=mongodb Implicit session: session { "id" : UUID("08a624a0-b330-4233-b56b-1d5b15a48fea") } MongoDB server version: 4.2.2

Let’s start off by creating a database to work with. To create a database, MongoDB has a use DATABASE_NAME command:

> use exampledb switched to db exampledb

To display all the existing databases, try show dbs:

> show dbs admin 0.000GB config 0.000GB local 0.000GB

The exampledb isn’t in the list because we need to insert at least one document into the database. To insert a document, you can use db.COLLECTION_NAME.insertOne({"key":"value"}). Here’s an example:

> db.users.insertOne({name: "Bob"}) { "acknowledged" : true, "insertedId" : ObjectId("5a52c53b223039ee9c2daaec") }

MongoDB automatically creates a new users collection and inserts a document with the key–value pair 'name':'Bob'. The ObjectId returned is the ID of the document inserted. MongoDB creates a unique ObjectId for each document on creation, and it becomes the default value of the _id field.

Now we should be able to see our database:

>show dbs admin 0.000GB config 0.000GB exampledb 0.000GB local 0.000GB

Similarly, you can confirm that the collection was created using the show collections command:

> show collections users

We’ve created a database, added a collection named users and inserted a document into it. Now let’s try dropping it. To drop an existing database, use the dropDatabase() command, as exemplified below:

>db.dropDatabase() { "dropped" : "exampledb", "ok" : 1 }

show dbs confirms that the database was indeed dropped:

> show dbs admin 0.000GB config 0.000GB local 0.000GB

For more database operations, please consult the MongoDB reference page on database commands.

The post An Introduction to MongoDB appeared first on SitePoint.

Catégories: News dév web

Lead Generation

Noupe.com - 20 février, 2020 - 14:23

Lead generation is a critical step in the marketing process, but more important, it’s fundamental to business growth.

In fact, a study by Marketo showed that companies with sound lead generation practices achieved at least 133 percent more revenue than enterprises that don’t have good techniques in place.

And while business owners from organizations big and small, as well as marketers at all stages in their careers, say they understand the key role lead generation plays in boosting the bottom line, they also say that it’s one of their greatest ongoing challenges.

We’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll cover key considerations to keep in mind when developing a lead generation strategy. We’ll also explore various techniques for generating leads online. And we’ll review business-to-business (B2B) lead generation methods, investigate the concept of lead scoring, and discuss how to measure and optimize lead generation campaigns.

In essence, we’ll prepare you to use lead generation to start achieving the marketing and business results you want to see.

What is lead generation?

There might be thousands of prospects out there who are aware of your brand, but until they engage with you in some way, they remain strangers to your company. How do you draw such targets in and capture their interest so that they’ll make themselves, and ideally their email addresses or phone numbers, known to you? Through lead generation.

Simply put, lead generation is the process of converting strangers — prospects that have indicated an interest in what you’re offering — into leads and starting them on the journey of becoming a customer.

After all, if you haven’t captured a prospect’s interest and figured out how to communicate with and identify them, you have no one to aim your marketing efforts at — no one to nurture toward purchase. That’s why it’s important you manage your lead generation practices well.

Lead Generation Through Online Forms

Start collecting leads with JotForm’s lead generation form templates.

Lead generation strategies: Key considerations and effective lead magnets

If lead generation is the process of converting strangers into leads, then a lead generation strategy refers to the approach you use to support and optimize this process. Essentially, it’s a plan of action to attract and capture leads.

Naturally, there are a number of concepts you need to understand and a range of decisions you have to make when building an effective lead generation strategy. In this section, we cover key definitions and outline important factors to consider before you start implementing specific tactics.

How lead generation has evolved with digital transformation

First and foremost, it’s key to understand that the lead generation process today looks nothing like it did 40, 30, and even 20 years ago. With the rise of the internet, the way brands reach potential customers has changed drastically.

Here we outline a few of the digital transformation-related developments that have impacted this aspect of marketing. It’s worth familiarizing yourself with these changes so you can adjust your strategy, if necessary, and capitalize on these opportunities.

Information overload and attention scarcity. With the proliferation of online channels, consumers are now inundated with information. They’ve had to learn how to tune certain messages out, and they’ve become pickier about the content they consume. As a result, brands have to work much harder to cut through the noise and grab attention. A strong lead generation strategy is now essential.

The shift from “finding” to “being found.” Because ofthe abundance of information out there, buyers today are fairly self-directed. They do their own research and actively seek out brands that appeal to them. While in the past, companies would spend much of their time looking for and “finding” prospective customers, today businesses invest in tactics that position them to “be found” by consumers organically.

The rise of new channels. Companies used to be limited to offline lead generation tactics (more on this later). Today, thanks to digital transformation, businesses can use everything from blogs and Facebook posts to SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to capture attention.

Access to data. Thanks to analytics, we can now closely monitor user behavior and measure the impact of marketing activities. Insights from data provide us with invaluable information about prospects and the types of messages they respond to best. As a result, lead generation strategies can be less generic and more personalized, and less based on intuition and more on hard facts.

A heightened focus on relationships. Lead generation used to be about initiating interest for the purpose of ultimately closing a sale. Now, customers expect engagement with brands. They want two-way communication and meaningful interaction at multiple touch points. Lead generation is now more about initiating long-term relationships with prospects than anything else.

Lead generation approaches: Inbound marketing vs outbound marketing

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when developing a lead generation strategy is whether you’re going to rely on inbound or outbound marketing tactics, or a mix of both.

Inbound marketing explained

The goal of inbound marketing lead generation is being found. These effortsrely on a strong digital presence.

Inbound marketing is the process of companies pulling in prospects organically by giving them something they’re actively looking for (something useful or educational, for instance). Organizations earn attention this way, and the prospective customer is the one who opens the lines of communication.

Examples:blog posts, organic social media posts, podcasts, opt-in emails, optimized content, YouTube videos

Outbound marketing explained

In contrast to inbound marketing, outbound marketing efforts focus on broadcasting messages to find prospective customers wherever they are. In this case, the organization buys or otherwise gets attention, and it’s the business that initiates communication, not the prospect.

Examples: Cold calling, which entails phoning a prospect you’ve had no prior contact with, is a key example of outbound marketing, and was once a popular tactic. As this methodology relies on making contact with cold leads (more on this below), it’s lost much of its efficacy today. That means that if you’re going to make use of this technique, it’s critical that you’ve mastered the art of cold calling first.

Aside from the above, other examples of outbound marketing include television, radio, and print advertisements; billboards; direct mail; and email blasts to purchased lists.

Outbound vs inbound: A direct comparison Outbound marketingInbound marketingDirection of focusOutward InwardApproachPush messages to customers Pull customers to messagesAudience (scope)Large and broad Smaller and more targetedMessaging specificityTends to be quite genericTends to be more personalized Conversation dynamicsOne-way conversation Two-way conversationCustomer controlLow: Customers see messaging whether they’re looking for it or not High: Customers seek out contact and messagingCost per lead generatedTends to be higher (according to HubSpot, outbound leads cost 61 percent more than inbound leads) Tends to be lower (as compared to outbound marketing) Offline lead generation: Why you shouldn’t neglect it

With all the emphasis on digital, it’s easy to forget that there are ways to generate leads offline, out in the physical world. While many may try to convince you that online is the way to go, there’s still some merit to offline lead generation tactics. Some of the benefits of going this route — to supplement your digital efforts — include

  • Tapping into the offline market. Depending on your brand identity and offering,there may be a slice of your target market that isn’t very active online. This audience is, therefore, going to be more receptive to offline tactics than blog posts and PPC ads, which they’ll likely never see.
  • Building relationships the old-school way. As mentioned previously, today’s customers want relationships with brands, and there’s no more powerful way to engender trust and strengthen connections than to engage in face-to-face interactions. That’s likely why 51 percent of B2B professionals name trade shows and industry events a top source of leads.
  • Playing where there’s less clutter. With most marketers moving online, it’s become less common to encounter offline lead generation techniques. If consumers aren’t as flooded with content in this area, attention scarcity becomes less of an issue, and they might be more receptive to messaging.
Examples of offline lead generation

Consider some of the following non-digital lead generation activities:

  • Setting up a booth at a trade show
  • Presenting at a seminar or conference
  • Sponsoring an event
  • Sending direct mail
  • Publishing entertaining or educational content in print mediums (offline content marketing)
Lead generation, lead management, and the sales funnel

Lead generation is just one part of the broader process of individuals and businesses progressing from strangers to committed customers. The marketing-sales funnel, or the lead funnel, is a visualization of this process, and it indicates the various stages that consumers move through on their journey toward purchase. It’s meant to help marketing and sales professionals better understand where prospects are in this process and what information they might need to become customers.

To develop a sound lead generation strategy, you need to understand where this particular part of the process fits into the broader sales picture. It’s also vital to remember that marketing doesn’t stop at lead generation. Once you’ve captured a lead, you still need to nurture this prospect down the funnel toward a sale.

Let’s take a look at the traditional lead funnel and its various components.

Top of funnel (ToFu)

Awareness

Prospects at this stage are aware of your business (perhaps they’ve seen your social ads or heard about you from a friend), but they haven’t yet engaged with your brand in any way.

Interest

Prospects have engaged in an activity that indicates interest in your product or service. They’ve exchanged some of their own information for an offer of some sort and are in the early stages of research.

Lead generation is a top-of-funnel (ToFu) acquisition tool. It takes place throughout the awareness stage and at the intersection of the awareness and interest phases. Essentially,it’s the process of taking mere awareness and converting it into active interest, which you capture in some way so you can enter the prospect into your lead management system. What does this look like in practice? Often, it’s a website visitor who fills in a form on a landing page, giving you their information in exchange for an offer.

Middle of funnel (MoFu)

Consideration

As its name suggests, this funnel stage sees targets start to more seriously consider your product or service. They engage in more targeted information-gathering attempts but haven’t yet made any kind of buying decision.

Intent

At this stage, the lead has taken an action that indicates they intend to make a purchase. That is, they’ve demonstrated interest not just in your offering but in the act of making it their own (they’ve placed an item in their online shopping cart, for instance).

Bottom of funnel (BoFu)

Evaluation

Prospects are very close to purchase but are making final comparisons with similar products or services and are evaluating all of the fine details to make a buying decision.

Purchase

The prospect makes a purchase and turns into a customer.

The importance of developing buyer personas for effective lead generation

Before you can pull in the kind of leads that are most likely to convert, you need to have a clear understanding of who you’re trying to attract in the first place. In other words, you need to grasp who your ideal customer is and what motivates them to buy. For this reason, creating buyer personas — research-based representations of customer types — is a critical early-stage step when developing a lead generation strategy.

Developing a sound understanding of your target audience will help you to

  • Select the most appropriate lead generation channels
  • Develop content that addresses targeted concerns and, therefore, is likely to be valued
  • Personalize messaging for different audience segments
  • Select appropriate lead magnets (see description further down)
  • Determine which leads are more likely to convert — based on their similarity to the target audience — and, therefore, which prospects are worth nurturing (see more on qualifying leads below)
Questions to ask yourself when building buyer personas
  • What’s our target customer’s income and education level?
  • What are their key interests?
  • Which social media platforms do they frequent?
  • What compels them to buy?
  • What are their biggest pain points?
  • What’s their role in their company?
  • Where do they look for information?
  • How do they prefer to communicate?
  • How much power do they have to make decisions (for B2B)?
  • What are some of the key challenges in their industry (for B2B)?

Answer the above questions by conducting market research, surveying your existing customer base, conducting focus groups, and using analytics.

What’s the difference between cold leads, warm leads, marketing-qualified leads, and sales-qualified leads?

Up until now, we’ve talked about leads as if every one of them is equal. But that’s simply not the case. Some leads are warmer than others. Some are more qualified than others. It’s important to understand the difference and have the tools to make the distinction, so you don’t waste time on leads that aren’t worth pursuing or miss out on the opportunity to convert a promising lead.

Cold leads. A cold lead is a prospect you’re aware of (perhaps you’ve purchased their contact details, for instance), but who isn’t necessarily aware of you and hasn’t yet expressed interest in your solutions.

Warm leads. A warm lead, in contrast, is aware of your company and has taken some kind of high-level action to express interest in your offering. They haven’t seriously considered a purchase yet, though, and haven’t ironed out the details of what they’re looking for.

Qualified leads. This type of lead meets key criteria that suggest they’re worth pursuing. They’re closer to the buying stage than a warm lead, they likely fit your buyer persona, and they’ve engaged in a telling action, like downloading your company brochure. Qualified leads fall into two different categories:

Marketing-qualified leads (MQL). An MQL is a lead that’s more likely to become a customer than others but is still not quite ready to make a purchase. They’ve shown that they’re receptive to your marketing efforts and are engaging with your content (perhaps they’ve visited your website multiple times or have downloaded an e-book), but they haven’t made a buying decision yet. These leads warrant further nurturing; a sales call might be too much, however.

Sales-qualified leads (SQL). Sales leads are further down the funnel than MQLs. They are prospects that have indicated they intend to make a purchase and are, therefore, ready to be handed over to the sales team for conversion.

An overview of lead scoring: How to rank and qualify leads

How do you go about labeling a prospect as an MQL or SQL so you can target outreach accordingly? You use lead scoring to qualify leads. 

In lead scoring, you assign points for different attributes and actions to determine a final score that indicates buying stage and purchasing intent. The higher the score, the closer to conversion the lead is.

You have to decide what weight (or point value) to give different qualities and behaviors, and you have to identify a score threshold for the promotion of a lead to MQL or SQL status. In bigger companies, this requires collaboration between marketing and sales teams. Once definitions are in place, many businesses then program lead scoring software to assign points and measure leads against benchmarks.

For the most part, businesses determine points based on

  • Demographic information. How closely does the lead match your target B2C customer profile?
  • Company information (in the case of B2B selling). How closely does the lead match your target B2B customer profile?
  • Behavior on your website. Has thelead visited high-value pages? How many pages have they viewed?
  • Email engagement. Does the lead frequently open your emails? Do they often click through from newsletters to your website?
  • Social engagementDoes the lead regularly like, share, or comment on your social media posts?
What’s a lead magnet? 22 effective examples

Prospective customers aren’t just going to hand over their personal information. You need to offer them something of value (beyond your product or service offering) in order to make this exchange fair. This “thing of value” is your lead magnet, so called because it attracts leads by giving them something they want or need.

Generally speaking, good lead magnets are specific, accessible, and easy to consume, and solve a defined problem or address a particular need, while positioning you as a thought leader in your field.

Just as your ability to capture leads depends on the strength of your lead magnet, it’s essential that you identify appropriate options early on while developing your lead generation strategy. What works will depend on the buyer personas you’ve developed and the type of offers that prospects are likely to find most valuable.

We cover 22 examples below.

22 examples of awesome lead magnets
  1. Checklist
  2. Template
  3. Starter kit
  4. Downloadable recipe
  5. Calendar
  6. Spreadsheet
  7. Webinar
  8. E-book
  9. Resource guide
  10. Case study
  11. Report
  12. Infographic
  13. Whitepaper
  14. Quiz
  15. Video
  16. Giveaway
  17. Desktop wallpaper
  18. Game
  19. Free trial
  20. Special offer
  21. Coupon
  22. Free consultation
How to generate leads online

Once you’ve sussed out the nuts and bolts that underpin your lead generation strategy, you’re ready to power up your lead generation process.

In a recent study, the Kellogg School of Management found that focusing on the digital side — rather than on an in-person, offline approach — tends to drive more leads and ultimately more sales. While various tactics could prove successful when it comes to really getting your lead generation engine cranking, digital may be your best option.

This may differ for different businesses and verticals, but if you decide to prioritize generating leads online, you need to first create something that provides value for prospects — beyond just your product offering. (Revisit the lead magnet section above for some ideas.)

Once you’ve identified your lead magnets, use these four simple techniques to start driving, capturing, and nurturing your could-be customers to conversion.

Build a great lead generation website

Your website is ground zero in the lead generation process, with 63 percent of consumers reporting that it’s their preferred port of call when searching for and engaging with a brand.

Beyond just providing information about who you are and what you offer, this all-important marketing channel is where you capture your leads via a lead capture form.

This form can come in all shapes and sizes, but its primary purpose is to collect potential customer contact information in exchange for your lead magnet so that you can continue to market to — and ideally convert — leads into buyers.

For example, you may use a lead capture form to collect an email address in exchange for updates about special offers, or perhaps you have a useful downloadable tutorial that users can access after filling out a form that asks for their job title, company name, company email address, and phone number.

However you decide to capture leads — and regardless of what information you deem most important to collect, it’s essential to make sure the lead generation forms on your website are optimized and fully functional.

7 brilliant ways to capture and generate leads with your website

  1. Popup with lead form
  2. Hero image with lead form
  3. Hello bar with lead form
  4. Sidebar with lead form
  5. Blog post with lead form
  6. Gated content with lead form
  7. Traditional landing page with lead form

How to optimize a lead generation form

There was a time that creating and embedding lead capture forms on your site required the know-how of a development team, but these days, services like JotForm have revolutionized the process, making it easy for anyone to create and publish forms on their website in only a matter of minutes.

With technical difficulties removed, you can really focus on optimizing your lead generation form to get the best possible results. Here are six best practices that can help you put together a lead capture form that converts:

  • Forms should be one column, with one question per row (according to a Google eye-tracking study).
  • Embed your form above the fold, so users don’t have to scroll down a page to view or complete it.
  • Create a headline that encourages readers to take action.
  • Don’t include too many fields in your form — and don’t ask for too much personal information. A study by HubSpot found that the conversion rate increases by 50 percent when the number of form fields decreases from four to three.
  • Choose the color of your call-to-action button carefully. Research generally reports that red is best.
  • Think twice about asking prospects for a phone number; asking for this information leads to the highest form abandonment rates. Consider making this an optional requirement if you must collect this information.

5 lead generation form templates for your website that really convert

Dial in your email marketing and think carefully about cold email from purchased or rented lists

Year after year, email earns the blue ribbon as the channel that’s both the best source of leads and the avenue responsible for the most valuable leads.

It’s also generally a low-cost tactic that won’t exhaust your precious marketing budget — if you do it right.

And by right, we mean first and foremost starting with a strategy that can help build your opt-in list of contacts. The days of buying or renting email lists from third-party providers and sending a cold email have gone the way of the dinosaur. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the promise of a 10,000-person instant pool of prospects for a good price is going to be some sort of lead generation silver bullet.

Nowadays, people are not only more discerning and interested in hearing only from brands they’ve formed a relationship with — inboxes are also more selective, often filtering out unsolicited emails from brands as well as blatantly promotional offerings.

And when you buy or rent a list, you forfeit control over the quality of the contacts in that list. That means you have little to no knowledge of whether the email addresses you’re purchasing are active, attached to the correct information, or even legal (in which case you could be violating the CAN-SPAM act and at risk of incurring thousands of dollars in fines).

Instead, take the time to brainstorm some lead magnets that can provide prospects with serious value, encourage them to sign up for a newsletter, subscribe to receive exclusive promotional offers, or exchange their contact information for a valuable piece of content (e.g., a how-to guide, a webinar that features a thought leader in the industry, or a white paper that carefully compares service offerings).

Once you’ve identified the appropriate lead magnet and captured key details, the magic of email marketing can move your new lead further down the sales funnel and, ultimately, to conversion.

To do this well, create custom marketing pathways for future customers based on the information you’ve gathered about them. This could include demographic data (e.g., their job title, geographical area, or income), or it could be based on a behavior or action they’ve taken (e.g., clicked on a certain pay-per-click ad or viewed your demo).

Each successful email marketing campaign should include emails that are as personalized to your prospect as possible, both in terms of the substance of what they’re offering and the messaging (think subject line, email copy, and the language of the call to action).

What’s more, you’ll want to come up with a sequence and a time line that make sense for each of your segments. This may take some experimentation, but by continuously testing everything from email text to the nature of what you’re offering to when you’re sending out your email, you’ll be able to optimize this lead generation effort and get the return on investment you want.

Finally, if you really want to scale and operationalize your efforts, you may want to use customer relationship management (CRM) software to facilitate lead tracking, lead scoring, and lead nurturing.

These tools automate data collection and the lead generation process, making it easier to glean key information about your leads and serve them the right messaging at the right time.

Leverage the power of social media

Social media — like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter — is another great lead generation tactic. Over 66 percent of marketers agree that as little as six hours a week spent on social media campaigns can have huge lead generation benefits.

What’s more, 76 percent of people are prepared to have a conversation via social media; whereas only a mere 10 percent of decision-makers would be receptive to cold calls. When it comes to lead capture via social media, there are three primary ways to collect information from users:

  1. Creating posts that send users to a landing page with a lead capture form and lead magnet
  2. Embedding lead capture forms in an actual social post, company page, or ad
  3. Encouraging prospects to follow your social account

Some platforms, like Instagram, don’t yet have the functionality to embed lead capture forms, but others, like Facebook and LinkedIn, have a few different embedding options. We’ll explore these in more depth below.

Facebook lead ads

Back in 2015, Facebook made it faster and easier for companies to market to their more than 1 billion users with the advent of lead ads.

These souped-up, mobile-friendly advertisements essentially allow Facebook users to click on an ad, triggering a lead capture form popup. Facebook automatically prepopulates the form with information based on a user’s Facebook profile. It even has the capability to sync with your CRM so that you can start selling to your new prospects instantly.

Some of the most popular uses of Facebook lead ads include newsletter signups, quote requests, and even an event registration. Improvements in customization now allow businesses to give new leads the option to click to call, indicate appointment preferences, and even find out the location of your closest brick-and-mortar location.

Finally, if you’re a small business that doesn’t have a CRM, you can download your leads from the Facebook ad manager.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

For B2B marketers in particular, LinkedIn is an invaluable lead generation source. Thanks to LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, companies can capture high-quality leads at scale without having to divert users from the social media platform to their website.

Like Facebook’s Lead Ads, this business-centric platform gives brands the opportunity to capture contact information with just a few clicks on some carefully created ads (for example, something that promotes a webinar or an e-book download). LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms also integrate with CRMs and give marketing professionals the opportunity to download leads from the tool’s Campaign Manager.

Last, thanks to in-platform analytics, it’s easy to measure the efficacy of your campaigns by examining cost-per-lead metrics and form fill rate metrics.

Use the best lead generation software and tools out there

Online lead generation efforts have changed over the last decade, and the tech stack that supports this critical marketing activity has followed suit.

Today, there are countless free tools and robust software options that can make the process of managing leads, identifying hot leads from a massive contact list, and automating marketing to leads quicker and easier. Here are a few of the best (we’ve tried to provide different options for different levels of business maturity).

JotForm

This powerful and affordable online application makes it lightning fast and super easy to create custom lead capture forms and embed them on your website — no coding experience required.

While JotForm is ideal for any size business (it has special options for enterprise-level organizations), it’s especially useful for startups, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs who need a simple way to collect client or customer contact information.

JotForm has a number of pricing options, including a free starter plan, and each of the fee structures gives you access to all of the application’s features.

Callingly

According to the Harvard Business Review, sales teams that reach out to leads within the first hour are seven times as likely to have a meaningful conversation with prospects and decision makers.

Callingly is a lead generation tool that facilitates this process, automatically triggering connections between sales reps and hot could-be customers as soon as a lead comes in.

The service syncs with any CRM as well as applications like JotForm, and it collects important analytics so you can track and improve call performance.

Callingly is ideal for small and growing businesses, but it does have an enterprise-level pricing option (as well as a free trial).

HubSpot

Now a household name in the inbound game, HubSpot is perhaps the most widely known marketing software in the business. The company’s all-in-one tool is committed to helping organizations big and small grow their traffic, convert leads, and track prospects through the sales funnel.

Beyond just lead tracking, scoring, and management functionality, HubSpot gives companies the ability to build landing pages, lead forms, lead generation content, and full-fledged email marketing campaigns.

There is both a free option and a considerably more robust professional version that comes with over 30 additional features.

Marketo

Far and away one of the most trusted and formidable marketing automation solutions out there, Marketo is an invaluable lead management and tracking tool for more established businesses.

The software makes it especially simple to nurture leads to conversion via functionality that allows you to create landing pages, email marketing campaigns, and social marketing campaigns.

Marketo does come with a hefty price tag, however, which is why the software is useful primarily for larger companies that are well resourced and regularly work with thousands of prospects.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive bills itself as the “first sales CRM designed by salespeople for salespeople,” and true to form, it boosts sales efficiency by identifying the most qualified leads and making it easy for salespeople to reach out to, connect with, and continue to communicate with promising prospects.

Pipedrive comes with extensive reporting and forecasting features, and their mobile functionality allows users to access the information they need from anywhere and at anytime.

Pipedrive has a number of different pricing options, which makes it ideal for both growing businesses as well as heavyweights in any industry.

Methods for B2B lead generation

B2B and B2C marketers face the same central challenge — finding high-quality leads likely to convert to customers at the lowest possible cost.

At the same time, B2B marketing has some unique characteristics that differentiate its lead generation and subsequent lead nurturing process from lead generation for consumer-based businesses.

The most obvious difference is that the process, from initial contact to sale, can take much longer, with the majority of B2B marketers spending at least one month, and as long as one year, engaging leads prior to a sales commitment, according to one recent survey.

Similarly, B2B sales typically involve multiple decision makers, sometimes as many as seven, which means that your lead generation efforts will have a wider scope, targeting a more extensive collection of buyer personas.

Capturing more information at the point of lead generation is pivotal because the marketing process that follows should be nuanced, with different materials and tactics prepared for each particular persona as they move through the lengthy lead nurturing process.

Consider collecting the size and type of business that leads represent, the price points they seem most interested in, and their title or job function.

Since B2B leads are other businesses, the avenues for finding prospects and converting them to leads differ from B2C lead generation. For example, a company looking to capture and convert B2B leads into sales would likely find more success focusing on venues like trade shows and industry conferences, rather than direct mail or consumer advertising, methods that may be on the decline but still have their place in B2C brand marketing.

Finally, B2C lead generation differs from its counterpart in the way that it often focuses on creating added value or enhanced experiences with a brand, for example, providing a quiz focused on your product via a popular consumer website. In contrast, B2B lead generation is likely to be less entertainment-focused and emotional in its appeals, and more information-heavy and devoted to proving return on investment.

Best B2B lead generation channels

According to data from researchers at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Spiegel Research Center, B2B marketing professionals report that they have more success with blog posts and articles, webinars, white papers, branded digital content, video, and images.

Conversely, in-person seminars and workshops, once regarded as highly effective, seem to be less popular and less effective among today’s busy decision makers and purchasers.

B2B marketers also report that the most common channels for finding leads are email, search, and digital content. More than 50 percent of B2B marketers cite email as the most prevalent source of leads as well as the channel with the most effective and efficient return on investment, the most reliable source of lead generation and nurturing, and the most effective method of conversion from lead to sale.

Demand generation versus lead generation for B2B

Another vital component of a successful B2B lead generation strategy is a strong demand generation approach.

Demand generation is the process of building awareness and creating long-term engagement between prospects/customers and your brand. Though marketers may mistakenly use this term interchangeably with lead generation, lead generation is one of the many activities that falls under the demand generation umbrella.

Other marketing elements that are part of demand generation include demand capture, the process of driving existing demand within your sector to your brand, and pipeline acceleration.

Think of it as the way your marketing team — or you — will guide your potential customer through their journey with your brand, from target audience to lead to customer and beyond.

Demand generation is marketing that focuses on forming a meaningful interaction for potential customers. It communicates your brand’s utility and value, fosters increased levels of trust and confidence from the top of the funnel through the transition to sales, and even leads to future engagement with customers, allowing them to become champions of your brand through social media shares, product reviews, endorsements, and more.

Lead generation is one aspect of demand generation, typically focused near the top of the funnel at the critical point where a targeted audience member begins sharing information that marketing, and later sales, can follow up on to strengthen the interaction between the potential lead and your brand.

SEO-friendly lead generation

There’s no doubt that paid advertising works when it comes to lead generation, but when it comes to online search, the majority of people simply don’t click on formal advertisements (only 2.8 percent according to one study by Moz.com).

In fact, an investigation by GlobalWebIndex reported that nearly 50 percent of internet users employ ad blockers.

Most searchers prefer to click on organic results, unpaid listings that a search engine deems most relevant to a user’s search query and thus prioritizes.

Accordingly, to capture searchers’ attention and drive traffic to your website so that you can generate leads, you need to understand how to get the search engines to prioritize your website.

What is SEO?

Understanding what people are searching for and how to create a website that increases the quantity and quality of your traffic is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

The ability to leverage SEO best practices can be the difference between an optimized website with a steadily increasing flow of traffic — and by extension leads and new business  — and a website that no one ever finds and merely acts as a catch-all for your paid marketing efforts.

Optimizing your website is one of the most cost-effective lead generation approaches, as it doesn’t demand continuous funding, like advertising.

As JotForm’s Chad Reid points out, “If you’re solely relying on paid search rather instead of SEO for lead generation, you might miss out on valuable sales.”

How to optimize your website with 5 SEO best practices

Effectively optimizing your website according to SEO best practices can be a complicated and ever-evolving endeavor.

That’s because major search engines, like Google, constantly adjust how they prioritize and rank websites, which means you’ll need to keep up to date with critical changes and make sure your website puts these new developments into play as they roll out.

The structures search engines already have in place to evaluate websites function according to a robust mix of technical, editorial, and outreach fundamentals. To leverage the power of search and ensure this marketing channel is operating at its best, it’s key to understand how all of these components work together and what you need to do to check all the right boxes.

That said, there are a few tried-and-tested practices that you can apply to your website to generate traffic and leads relatively quickly.

1. Make sure your website can be crawled and indexed

First and foremost, make sure that your website is discoverable to search engines. In SEO speak, that means that your website should be crawlable and indexable.

Crawlable: a website that’s created in a way that allows search engine bots to identify and download all of the data on the pages and move through each section of the site with ease

Indexable: a website that’s created to appear in the search engine results pages

The most important steps you can take to ensure a crawlable and indexable website are making your site’s navigation clear and easy to follow and not having robots directing search engine crawlers to ignore certain pages.  

2. Identify keywords and generate relevant and compelling content

Keywords, or search queries, are the terms that internet users type into a search engine to find relevant pages. To drive the right kind of traffic to your website, determine which keywords best align with your business and your audience’s interests.

To generate this list, start by brainstorming the kinds of topics people would search for when looking for information about your product or service offering. You may also want to examine the kind of information competitors have in order to refine this list.

Next, use a keyword research tool, like Ahrefs or Moz Keyword Explorer, to get a better idea which topics have the highest search volumes.

Once you’ve identified a list of roughly 20 to 40 keywords that are most relevant to your website, create content pages that address these topics and provide users with the information they’re most interested in. 

3. Understand key places of prominence and tailor content accordingly

When search engine bots crawl your site, they investigate the data to get a clear idea of what your pages are about and how relevant they are to particular keywords.

One way they do this is by examining key places of prominence on a page, like a title tag, header tags, and the first 100 words of content, to see if your keyword — and other related topics — are included.

Make sure you have a clear idea of the key places of prominence and have written keyword-rich content to insert into these areas.

Key places of prominence for website optimization

  • Title tag
  • Meta description tag
  • H1 tag
  • H2 and H3 tags
  • First 100 words of content
  • Image alt text
  • URL
4. Create a great user experience

Recently, search engines have started to find ways to measure and evaluate websites based on their user experience, which is, in a nutshell, how easy it is to use your site.

One of the top ways they evaluate user experience is page speed, which is how fast your website loads and appears for users — both from a desktop and mobile perspective.

While there are a number of other factors that affect this best practice, working with a developer to make sure your load speed is in the green zone in Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is an absolute must.

5. Build links, build links, build links

One of the most important parts of optimizing your website is making sure that other websites link back to your content pages. That’s because Google and other search engines use the number of links that lead back to your site (and the quality of the domains from which these links originate) as a critical measure of how reputable and relevant your website is.

Think of it as a voting system, where the number of links pointing to your website is similar to the number of votes you’d get in an election.

It’s essential to make it easy for other high-quality sites to embed links back to your site. Here are three ways to make this a reality:

  1. Create compelling content that people naturally want to link to.
  2. Create content partnerships where you provide other websites with great content that includes links back to your own.
  3. Ask your partners or customers to link back to you from their publications.
How to measure the results from SEO

As the old saying goes, if you can’t track it, you can’t improve it — and just like your lead generation efforts, you should have a solid approach to measuring both how well you’re performing from an SEO perspective and how this ties into your lead generation approach.

The metrics attached to these elements can be broadly separated into search-related tracking and engagement tracking. Search-related tracking directly relates to how much traffic you’re bringing to your site, whereas engagement tracking deals with how people behave once they arrive at your site.

In both cases, the most critical tool for keeping tabs on your numbers is Google Analytics, which can be easily set up with or without the help of a developer. Google Search Console is another free tool that can also prove useful.

Search Related Metrics

Total organic users

The number of visitors to your site from unpaid search over a set period of time

Tracking tool: Google Analytics

Keyword rankings

Where in the search engine results pages your keywords rank over a particular period of time

Tracking tool: Google Search Console

Clickthrough rates

The rate at which people click through to your website as compared to how many times it appears in the search engine results pages

Tracking tool: Google Search Console

Engagement Related Metrics

Conversion rate

The rate at which users complete a task on your website as compared to the number of visits to your website or page

Tracking tool: Google Analytics

Time on page

The amount of time a user spends on your website or on a particular page

Tracking tool: Google Analytics

Bounce rate

The rate at which a visitor leaves your website without visiting another page as compared to those who visit more than one page

Tracking tool: Google Analytics

When it comes to lead generation, the most important factor to monitor is conversion rate, which gives you an indication of the rate at which people are completing a task on your website (e.g., completing a lead form).

This will give you some insight into which of your pages is the most successful in generating leads and which needs improvement. Once you understand the numbers, you can make strong data-driven decisions — for example, creating more pages like those are that successful or applying the same techniques that were successful on effective pages to poorly performing pages.

As with all marketing efforts, measuring your efforts and constantly refining them is key to success.

The rise of relationship marketing: Maintaining good communication with leads after purchase

Engaged customers become repeat customers. They sing companies’ praises and bring in new leads via word-of-mouth promotion. For this reason, it’s vital that you don’t invest your time in lead generation and conversion efforts just to forget about buyers once they’ve made a purchase. You need to put practices in place to boost lifetime value for consumers and maintain good communication with existing customers.

Recognizing the importance of long-term engagement with leads has led to the rise of relationship marketing, which focuses on customer satisfaction and retention. It has also inspired an extension of the original marketing-sales funnel to include four new post-purchase stages, as described below.

The post-purchase marketing funnel Adoption

Customers have just made a purchase and are starting to put it to use. At this stage, it’s essential that you, as a brand, support their adoption of your product or service, and optimize their first experience with it.

Retention

At this stage, a brand ideally cements a good relationship with the customer. To encourage leads to stick around, you’ll need to offer them ongoing assistance and provide them with tools and content of value to help them get the most out of their purchase and association with you.

Expansion

If you’ve successfully retained a customer, you’ll reach this stage, when they’re open to buying add-ons, upgrades, or additional products, and you can successfully cross- or upsell them.

Advocacy

At this point, customers become loyal brand ambassadors. They promote your brand via word of mouth, and in so doing, pull in new prospective customers for you. Cultivating brand advocacy is, therefore, in itself, a lead generation tactic.

8 ways to maintain communication with leads and transform customers from adopters to advocates

  1. Provide onboarding tools, resources, and guides to help customers get maximum value out of your offering.
  2. Offer superior customer service and reliable support, especially during the adoption phase.
  3. Show that you genuinely care about your relationship with customers by requesting feedback. Adopt a “help” mind-set, listen to consumers’ needs, and offer solutions.
  4. Use segmented email marketingto consistently deliver valuable content targeted at post-purchase needs and concernsPersonalize outreach by researching buyer behavior and demographics.
  5. Talk with customers, not at them. Encourage two-way communication, and aim to help, not to sell.
  6. Make use of live chats and messaging apps to engage customers in real time.
  7. Set up a loyalty program to reward existing customers for ongoing interaction with your business.
  8. Reward customers for referrals and invite, or otherwise encourage them, to post user-generated content and reviews on trusted platforms.
Why bother with lead generation? Tracking-led conversion

Once you start generating leads, you should begin analyzing them at various steps in the marketing-to-sales lead nurturing process in order to prioritize them, more effectively evaluate the success of your lead generation efforts, and ultimately optimize your campaigns to perform better and more efficiently.

There are two main ways to think about lead tracking: volume and quality.

The first approach is to measure the volume of leads you acquire at each phase of your marketing strategy. This will tell you where you are experiencing drop-off, where you may need to improve engagement, or if you need to think about expanding your efforts to draw in more leads at the earliest stages of the funnel. You can also measure the total number of leads and number of leads per channel, as well as conversion rates (successful lead captures) per channel.

Each channel will have different metrics you’ll want to drill down into: For example, to hone your email marketing lead generation efforts, you’ll want to measure delivery rates, open rates (those who opened your email), unsubscribe rates, and click-through rates for the links contained in your email. Optimizing for these elements can ultimately help you capture more leads.

Similarly, for content marketing, you might measure the number of visitors to a particular page, the number of clicks on a call-to-action on that page, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Another way to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing is to measure the amount of time visitors spend on your site and calculate time-to-conversion rates.

The quantity of leads can be very important for high-volume B2C sales models, but a high number of leads does not necessarily equate to efficient ROI for many B2B products or low-volume, high-ticket B2Cs. For these businesses, lower volume but high-quality leads are crucial, and it’s equally crucial to develop effective metrics to analyze the quality of leads.

To measure lead quality, which more aptly translates to how likely it is that a lead will become a customer, select a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs). Assessing the quality of leads allows you to prioritize marketing and sales efforts based on the leads who are most likely to become customers.

Lead quality metrics include:

  • Demographic information. You can ask for this at various stages of your marketing strategy in exchange for further information of value, such as webinars. Once you have this information, you can look for demographic information that your converted leads tend to have in common, such as location, and assign values accordingly.
  • Social engagement. You measure this according to what leads say about your brand on social media or whether they share your content.
  • Fitness. Assign points based on how closely the lead fits the profile of your target customer: for example, whether the lead lives or is located in a given geographic area, if a business is large enough to benefit from your product or service, or if it has a high enough sales volume to afford your product.
  • Interest. Measure interest by download tracking, willingness to provide more information in return for further engagement with content, or submission of product queries.

When it comes to tracking lead quality, lead scoring (see below), is the first order of business. By assigning categories and values to leads at the beginning of the lead generation process, and continuing to refine that data as those leads make their way through the funnel toward final sale, you can refine your lead nurturing processes.

Adopting a sophisticated approach to analyzing leads will help you discover the cost of conversion in terms of resources and investment, as well as how much time employees spend per lead. For this reason, some companies measure lead-to-conversion costs by tracking leads from first click to last click, either by the time between each click, or the number of clicks or steps between each stage.

The following tools can aid in lead generation analysis:

ProductFeaturesLeadfeederIntegrates with Google Analytics to display visitor detailsLead ForensicsIdentifies anonymous web trafficSalesforce Sales CloudIncludes forecasting tools and sales cycle analysis PipedriveA sales CRM designed for mid-sized and small businessesZohoAssigns positive and negative scoring to prioritize marketing and sales efforts Lead scoring and audience segmentation

Lead scoring is the practice of assigning numerical values to leads using a scale from “merely interested” to “ready to make a purchase,” with the goal of determining a target score that will indicate when a lead needs to transition from marketing to the sales team.

It’s important that sales and marketing use the same metrics for lead scoring. Sales and marketing also need to agree on when and how to measure in order to assign point values. You can also track costs per lead and other aspects of lead generation to more efficiently allocate resources and make necessary adjustments and improvements.

Lead-scoring software can automate lead analysis. These tools can be categorized in a few ways:

  • Rules-based lead-scoring automation systems assign numerical scores to leads based on certain agreed-upon behaviors, like how many high-value content pages a lead visits.
  • Predictive lead-scoring systems use predictive modeling and complex algorithms to predict lead behavior and assign scores accordingly.

Either scoring system can be used to create priorities for sales contact. Many comprehensive customer relationship management systems have highly regarded lead scoring applications built in. Another option is to use a separate lead-scoring solution.

Lead or audience segmentation is another way of categorizing and evaluating leads. Rather than assigning a numerical value to leads based on their behavior metrics, segmentation categorizes leads based on demographic information such as job title, geographic location, and industry.

A/B testing and other forms of lead analysis

Testing is another way of applying an analytical framework to adjust and improve your lead generation and nurturing processes. A/B testing involves changing one aspect of a lead magnet, for example, a headline on a landing page, sending one version at random to one half of your audience and the other version to the other half, and then analyzing conversion to lead rates to determine which version is most effective.

Buying and selling leads

Like anything of value, leads can be bought and sold. However, just because you can purchase leads doesn’t mean you should.

The pros and cons of buying leads

It’s true that buying leads might save time and money at the top of the funnel. But how do you know these leads will have any interest in the product you’re selling? Even if the lead may need the services you provide, you’ll still have to invest in the rest of the marketing-to-sales cycle. In other words, you may save yourself some of the cost of lead conversion investment, but a large proportion will still remain.

Nevertheless, buying leads may make sense if

  • You’re a startup and haven’t had time to hire and train a robust marketing and sales team
  • You’re an organization of one or just a few
  • The vendor you work with scales their pricing to the size of your business and works closely with you to understand your brand and target audience
  • You’re having trouble driving traffic to your digital marketing platform, or your traffic has stalled

However, for most mid-sized or larger organizations, purchased leads are generally not recommended for the following reasons:

  • Purchased leads come from a place that isn’t organic to your content; therefore, when you contact those leads, you’re interrupting them rather than following up on an interest they’ve expressed.
  • When you contact purchased leads, they may feel tricked or even betrayed by the organization that transferred their data to you.
  • You may need to work harder to transform a negative impression into goodwill.
  • Purchased leads might label you as spam, and then all of your communications will be filtered out.
  • If enough users flag your marketing efforts as “spam,” you may risk being “backlisted” by email providers, and your IP reputation may suffer.
  • You’ll end up paying more than you would for in-house generated leads.
Lead-buying sources

Knowing the risks involved, if you decide that you need to buy leads, look for lead providers that are well-reviewed by trusted sources, such as the U.S. government’s Small Business Administration’s Resource Guide, Chronicle of Small Business, TechCrunch, Home Business, or Small Business Trends. Below are several reputable sources of leads.

ProductFeaturesUpLeadFocused on B2B, allows lead information integration with most CRM systemsFineEmailsVerified email lists at an affordable priceD&B HooversSales leads generated through Dun & Bradstreet’s robust databaseSalesfullySimple, affordable, regularly verified lead listLinkedIn Sales NavigatorProvides contact information for decision makers Selling leads

There are a number of reasons you might want to sell leads. Leads are a quantifiable commodity, an asset at any company, and one worth leveraging in certain situations. If you have the time and resources to devote to selling leads, and you’re in a position where you can’t convert them yourself, then there’s no reason to leave money on the table.

Below are a few of the scenarios when it might make sense to invest time into researching how to sell leads:

  • You’ve accumulated a number of leads that don’t make sense for your business model but that are nonetheless verified, qualified leads that might be of value to someone in a different sector with a different product.
  • You’re planning to close your business, but you still have a large number of marketing- or sales-qualified leads in the pipeline.
  • You’re interested in starting a business but have no real interest in creating a product or providing a service. In this case, you might consider going into the business of locating and verifying leads, a business model that doesn’t require large startup investments and involves no manufacturing, packaging, or shipping costs.

On the negative side of the ledger, selling leads takes time, resources, and attention away from selling your core product or service. Here are some reasons to think twice before you decide to sell leads:

  • You may be selling leads you’ve deemed too difficult to convert before you’ve realized their value to your business.
  • You may not have much control over what entity you’re selling your leads to, and the product or service may not be of any interest to the lead you’ve garnered, thus damaging your reputation.

If you’re starting a business that focuses solely on lead generation, it may take some time to gain traction, and you may not earn enough money to make up for the time — in the form of the lost income that time represents — you’re putting into your new endeavor.

How to sell leads

Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided you want to try to sell leads, it’s time to create a process for gathering, categorizing, and pricing your leads. As you price leads, be aware that leads that have voluntarily opted into your content streams and provided contact information along the way are worth more than leads you’ve purchased or collected from lists.

Next, you’ll need to create a buyer network. If you’re shutting down a business, you may want to contact competitors directly. Or you can sell leads to lead brokers. You can contact the Association of National Advertisers for a list of reputable lead brokers.

GDPR compliance and customer consent forms

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in 2018. Designed to guard consumer privacy, it applies to any organization that markets or sells products or services to citizens of EU countries, as well as those that possess data about those citizens.

GDPR requires companies to obtain frequent and clear consent before gathering personal data on potential customers. In addition, if customers or leads ask to have their data expunged from lead lists and databases, companies must comply under GDPR’s “right to be forgotten” provisions.

If your company violates GDPR, you could be fined up to 4 percent of total revenue, or 20 million euros, whichever is greater (if the maximum fine is applied). If you plan to buy leads from companies that do business in the EU, make sure they’re in compliance with GDPR.

Conversely, if you’re considering selling leads, make that possibility clear as you gather information from leads, and if you haven’t done so, you should be aware that GDPR may affect your ability to sell leads; you may need to contact users who provided information knowingly or passively through data capture and alert them that you may be sharing their data with outside entities in the future.

Given the complexities of the new regulation, as well as the growing concern about user privacy, it makes sense to consider revising your privacy policy and terms of use statements to make sure you are in compliance with GDPR. JotForm makes this easy by providing a self-serve Data Processing Addendum that users can agree to and that will keep you GDPR compliant.For more information on GDPR, visit eugdpr.org. You may also want to seek the advice of an attorney with knowledge of international privacy laws.

Catégories: News dév web

Inventory Management

Noupe.com - 18 février, 2020 - 12:31

What is inventory management? As you’ll learn throughout this guide, it’s the core of any product-based business. It’s also a process that involves ordering, storing, and making use of inventory. But there’s more to it than that — it’s about knowing when to restock certain items, how much to make or reorder, how much you should pay for goods, and more.

There are many aspects to inventory management that can’t be accurately covered in a few paragraphs, so we created this in-depth guide to help you master the process at your small to mid-sized business. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs.

Chapter synopsis

Remember to bookmark this guide for later reference. Inventory management can be a complex topic, and as your business grows, you may need a refresher on approaches or methods you didn’t find relevant before.

Supply chain and inventory management

Supply chain and inventory management are two terms that are often mentioned together, sometimes interchangeably. In Chapter 1, we defined inventory management. Below we walk through supply chain management and two other related concepts to help clarify these ideas and tie them together.

Inventory management and related concepts Linking supply chain and inventory management

According to TechTarget,

Supply chain management (SCM) is the broad range of activities required to plan, control and execute a product’s flow from materials to production to distribution in the most economical way possible. 

SCM encompasses the integrated planning and execution of processes required to optimize the flow of materials, information and capital in functions that broadly include demand planning, sourcing, production, inventory management and logistics.

It’s clear from this definition that inventory management is a component of SCM. Inventory management focuses on a specific area — namely storing, moving, and tracking goods.

“Storage is a big part of inventory management,” says Jessica Thiele, director of marketing at VL OMNI. She explains that good inventory management comes down to storing items efficiently. This means having as little inventory sitting on the warehouse floor as possible, minimizing the time products sit in storage before they’re sold, and optimizing the organization of items throughout the warehouse. 

“Unproductive inventory costs your business money,” Thiele says.

David Altemir, principal and inventory management consultant at Altemir Consulting, adds that inventory management requires effective stock planning and accurate inventory counts to drive your purchasing and/or manufacturing efforts. “Poor inventory management can result in a whole series of overstocks, shortages, timing errors, and costly supplier expedites.”

Looping in inventory control

An important concept in inventory management is inventory control. Altemir explains that, in general, inventory control refers to staying on top of the physical location, cost, and quantity of each inventory item. 

For companies with an inventory management system, he shares his golden rule: Your virtual reality must match your physical reality. “This means your inventory transactions must be reliably accurate and timely so your system always has an accurate picture of your inventory position,” Altemir says.

Moving into warehouse automation

The last important inventory management concept, and technological next step, is warehouse automation. According to Thiele, this concept involves creating efficiencies in the warehouse, whether it’s one you own or a third-party logistics warehouse you use. “A lot of warehouse automation concerns technology — robots on the pick-and-pack floor, AI-driven applications, full integration of all your software, and so on,” explains Thiele.

The integration piece is especially important, Thiele says, because you want data to flow automatically between applications. In fact, data integration is the first step toward automating your warehouse. 

“If inventory data doesn’t flow in real time, you’re bound to have inaccuracies in item counts. Robots may help speed up movement, but they can’t pick a product that isn’t on the shelf — even if the system indicates it should be there,” Thiele says.

Her thoughts coincide with Altemir’s commentary on automation. While managers looking to cut costs often view warehouse automation favorably, Altemir notes that it can be unhelpful in certain contexts. 

Success depends on the nature of your operations. Altemir says companies suffering from inventory planning and control problems won’t enjoy significant benefits from warehouse automation. 

“Automation by itself doesn’t adequately address these issues,” Altemir explains, “because the fundamental limitation is actually in understanding and practicing sound inventory management principles.”

Altemir says high-volume or high-throughput companies that have solid inventory management and control will benefit greatly from warehouse automation — improving efficiency and productivity, and reducing costs. 

Altemir advises companies to “remember that the vast majority of businesses are not operating at volumes comparable to Amazon or Walmart and, subsequently, should be less focused on advanced automation and more focused on their real challenge: understanding and executing inventory management best practices.”

Now that you have a firm grasp of these related concepts, we’ll move onto exploring how inventory management differs in key product-based industries.

Inventory management in different industries

While there are similarities in inventory management regardless of how it’s employed, there are a few distinctions across different industries. Below, we look at two industries where inventory management plays a leading role: restaurants and e-commerce.

Industry-specific inventory management practices Example 1: The restaurant industry

Kyle Odom, founder of Bar Cop, says restaurant inventory management starts when a restaurant receives products from distributors. These are commonly referred to as inventory purchases. After purchases are received, they’re added to the inventory count.

There are two types of inventory control methods in a restaurant. The first type is in-and-out inventory, which is based on register rings. You’ll usually find this built into a point-of-sale (POS) system. When you ring up a drink, an order of fries, or another item in the POS, the system subtracts that product from an ongoing inventory count.

The second type of inventory management aims to prevent theft and ensure accurate ordering by tracking actual product usage, not register rings. You track inventory independently from the POS system in two main categories: beverages and food. You can break main categories down into subcategories, such as liquor, wine, bottled beer, and draft beer for beverages. “Keeping these categories separate allows for accurate calculations of beverage and food costs,” Odom explains.

You can track inventory by period — daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly. A weekly period of Monday through Sunday is the most common. On-hand inventory is counted before the business opens on the first day of the inventory period, and then counted again after the business closes on the last day of the inventory period. Any purchases you receive during the inventory period are also included.

Odom notes that you calculate product usage during an inventory period by adding the starting on-hand inventory to purchases received, and then subtracting the ending on-hand inventory. “The final number shows how much of each product was used,” Odom explains, “by being served to customers, stolen, given away free,” wasted because of employee carelessness, and so on.

Odom points out that there’s a long history of restaurants handling inventory management with pen and paper. “Many restaurants use old eye-balling methods that are slow and inaccurate,” he says.

Employees visually guess how much product is left in a bottle, keg, container, bag, or box and count it by tenths. For example, if a liquor bottle looks half full, the employee would record 0.5 as the inventory count. “This inaccuracy leads to over- and under-ordering issues with vendors and the inability to determine whether there are any theft issues at play.”

While technology has helped eliminate the need for pen and paper, and sped up count recording, Odom says many applications still rely on employees to visually estimate counts, perpetuating the longstanding practice and count inaccuracies. 

“There are a few inventory systems on the market that solve both the slowness and inaccuracy issues by weighing open products,” Odom says. “This is extremely important when inventorying beverages, as managers can better identify employee theft and other losses, providing an opportunity to remedy profit loss.”

Example 2: E-commerce 

E-commerce inventory management has its own unique characteristics. Unlike with restaurants, you already have the finished goods, you’re selling them online, and you’re dealing with the time it takes to get those products to the people who purchase them. 

“Order fulfillment is asynchronous — there is a significant time lag between when a customer places an order and when they receive it. This means you have to track items, ensuring they are committed to received orders and not oversold,” explains Mohammed Ali, CEO of Primaseller, an inventory and order management software solution.

In any case, products must be stored somewhere in the interim. Ali says there are three main ways this can be done:

  • Store your own inventory. The standard storage method is to buy or rent a warehouse. Very small businesses may even start in the owner’s garage or a spare room in their home, then move into a larger space as they scale up. “The benefit of this option,” Ali explains, “is you maintain control of your supply chain and full privacy of your customer list — avoiding potential cut-outs by a middle man.” 
  • Use a third-party logistics (3PL) company. These companies are experts in inventory management. You can typically hand over inventory to them, and they will store and manage it — and often even fulfill orders — for a fee. You wind up handling only sales and marketing, and pay a rental or per-order fee, or some combination thereof. “Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) is a good example of a widely used 3PL provider,” says Ali.
  • Incorporate drop shipping. Here, you handle sales and marketing, and suppliers ship products directly to the customer. Ali says this option is useful for startup businesses that aren’t sure whether a product will sell, but there are much lower profit margins. “It’s less risky in some ways, like gauging product interest, but it’s more risky when considering the reliability of a supplier, the quality of products (since you never see them), and your overall brand image.”

If you choose to manage your own warehouse, efficient warehouse inventory management is a must. Ali says you need to hire the right people; know how to properly handle items; decide on an appropriate technique, such as first in, first out (FIFO); and select the right technology. 

Small business inventory management may allow for spreadsheets, but they won’t cut it after a certain point because there’s a lot of items and documentation to keep track of as you grow — customer orders, invoices, different product lines, complex item locations on the warehouse floor, multiple warehouses, etc.,” Ali says.

As for small business owners moving into larger warehouse spaces, Ali recommends asking these questions:

  • What are your sales projections?
  • Do you have the volume to support a larger space?
  • How much space do you need for picking, packing, etc.?
  • What’s your budget for a new warehouse purchase or rental?

We’ve covered a number of inventory management concepts and unique aspects up to this point. Before we get into anything more complex, let’s review some inventory management terms to solidify your knowledge base.

Inventory management terms

There can be a steep learning curve for inventory management, even if you own a product-based company that stores inventory. People tend to pick up on terminology by using context clues, but we’re going back to basics here to define common inventory management terms.

10 inventory management terms you should know 1.Days inventory outstanding

Days inventory outstanding (DIO) represents the number of days the current inventory will last. A lower DIO indicates a shorter time required to clear out inventory. DIO is also referred to as days sales of inventory (DSI), days in inventory (DII), or simply days inventory.

2. EOQ

EOQ stands for economic order quantity, which is the ideal amount of a product to buy to minimize total costs related to ordering, receiving, and holding inventory. Optimizing EOQ can help minimize the amount of money tied up in inventory. We’ll walk through calculating EOQ in Chapter 7.

3. Finished goods inventory

Finished goods inventory includes all products that have been completed by the manufacturing or production process — or that have been purchased in completed form — and that are available for sale. This term typically applies to manufacturers, since their goods can be in multiple forms, such as raw or in production. Retailers usually only maintain ready-to-sell items, meaning all their goods are finished.

4. Inventory cycle count

An inventory cycle count is part of a company’s inventory auditing procedures. In an inventory cycle count, a subset of inventory is counted on a certain day to help maintain accurate inventory levels. Unlike a full inventory count, an inventory cycle count is less disruptive to operations — though it doesn’t offer as much accuracy across the board.

5. Inventory shrinkage

Inventory shrinkage is the difference between inventory counts recorded in accounting documents and what’s physically present in the warehouse or other storage location. For clarity, consider this hypothetical statement by an inventory manager: “According to our records, we should have 150 pillows in the warehouse, but we only have 100.” That’s shrinkage, though it’s typically measured monetarily.

6. Reorder point

A reorder point is the quantity at which you reorder an item to replenish its supply. The reorder point will differ greatly from product to product and business to business. For example, a product that sells quickly and in large amounts would generally have a higher reorder point than a slower moving product.

7. Safety stock

Safety stock refers to the extra amount of a product that you keep to mitigate the risk of stockouts. Supply and demand can shift unpredictably, and having safety stock helps ensure you’re able to fulfill orders. The benefit is that sales are uninterrupted; however, purchasing and storing extra products ties up more money in inventory.

8. SKU

SKU stands for stock keeping unit, which is used in conjunction with a barcode system to represent a distinct item. SKUs are typically printed on products as scannable labels and hold item-specific data such as price, manufacturer, and other product details. Businesses use SKUs to identify products and keep track of inventory levels.

9. Stockout

As the name implies, a stockout means you’ve run out of a product. Stockouts may occur for any number of reasons: an unexpected surge in customer demand, not ordering enough of a product, an erroneous delivery from a supplier, inaccurate stock counts in the warehouse, theft, or a combination of these.

10. Supply chain

A supply chain is the network of organizations, resources, activities, and technology that works together to create, sell, and distribute products to customers. A supply chain can have many complex touchpoints, depending on things like the number or amount of raw materials involved in manufacturing a product, the type of product, and who and where the end customer is.

With terminology out of the way, let’s get into the technology side of inventory management.

Inventory management technology

The previous chapter focused on theory. This chapter focuses on application. You’re probably familiar with the scanners people use in warehouses. That’s the type of inventory management technology we cover below, along with the systems that technology connects to.

Before you dive into tech, though, be sure to brush up on inventory management best practices and inventory management techniques. They’ll help you make the most of the solutions you implement in your operations.

Hardware Barcode

Barcode inventory management represents the first generation (1D) of innovation in keeping track of items in warehouses. Barcodes are those familiar black-and-white tags on products that are scanned in places like grocery and clothing stores. 

“They afford warehouse staff significantly more accuracy and speed compared to outdated methods involving sight, pen, and paper,” says Nick Schiffelbein, CTO at LOCATE Inventory.

Schiffelbein explains that barcodes really help in the picking process, where warehouse staff must find products to fulfill customer orders. This is because the barcode system mitigates human errors stemming from sight-based selection. Instead of an employee trying to determine whether they’ve found the right product, they can simply scan it to confirm. 

“This is especially useful for newer employees who aren’t sure where products are located and aren’t familiar with what products or packaging looks like,” Schiffelbein says.

QR code

QR code inventory management is the second generation (2D) of technology, improving upon what barcodes started. “QR codes achieve the same goal as barcodes — aiding in locating and tracking products — but offer more capabilities,” says Schiffelbein.

The main advantage of using QR codes instead of barcodes is their ability to store more data. Since these codes use dots and squares of varying size and position instead of a static series of bars or vertical lines, QR codes offer more scanner flexibility and space. While a barcode typically holds only 20 to 25 characters, QR codes can hold up to 2,000.

RFID

Short for radio frequency identification, RFID inventory management is often considered the third generation (3D) of technology. While it still requires physical tags similar to barcodes and QR codes, RFID has a key difference: You don’t need line of sight to scan tags.

Barcodes and QR codes require you to not only be close to the tag but to have a direct line of sight with your scanner. In contrast, RFID tags can be scanned from a distance — up to 20 meters away, depending on the system and hardware you use. Plus, you can scan multiple items at once, instead of one at a time.

So what’s the catch — why doesn’t every business make the switch to RFID? Schiffelbein explains that “RFID inventory management is certainly cutting edge, but it’s simply too expensive. The cost is a huge barrier to entry for small businesses, and even larger businesses are hard-pressed to justify the spend.”

Software

The hardware above typically ties in with a software solution that may be on the premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid of the two. The size and complexity of your business will dictate the type of solution you choose. For example, if you’re just starting out and sell only a few products, you may stick to a simple spreadsheet.

In contrast, if you’re scaling up or running a larger business that sells many products, you’ll need a more robust solution. There are a number of options available. Check out our blog post for a handful of inventory management software systems that range from simple to advanced.

Another thing to consider regarding technology is mobility. The modern workforce is getting more mobile, and professionals in inventory management are no exception. When considering solutions, ensure mobility is one of your criteria. You can start with the solutions in our blog post which include supplemental inventory management apps.

We’ve discussed technology. Now let’s talk about the people who use it. Keep reading to learn about what it takes for warehouse staff to keep things running smoothly.

Inventory management jobs

It takes more than technology to keep the warehouse stocked and inventory counts accurate. People still have important roles to play — tech just helps make those jobs easier. Below we cover three such jobs. Though they have similar titles, their responsibilities, while sometimes overlapping, are distinct.

Inventory manager job description

Inventory managers often oversee product management and distribution. They’re accountable for meeting defined inventory goals, managing inventory systems, and acting as liaisons to other departments.

According to Indeed, these are a few of the responsibilities you can expect an inventory manager to handle:

  • Ensuring accurate product inventory for clients
  • Managing an inventory tracking system to streamline business operations
  • Communicating with the warehouse manager about current stock and potential issues with orders
  • Conducting daily analyses to forecast potential inventory issues
  • Reporting on inventory activities and variances to senior management
  • Assessing new inventory to ensure it’s ready for shipping or delivery
  • Continually developing, refining, and implementing inventory control procedures and best practices

Qualifications can vary based on the rigor of inventory practices and the business’s needs. Here are some examples:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or a related field
  • 5+ years’ experience in inventory, distribution, and operational procedures
  • 2+ years’ supervisory experience
  • Excellent knowledge of data analysis and forecasting methods
  • Ability to multitask and work independently
  • Proven leadership skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • In-depth understanding of distribution workplaces
Inventory control manager job description

Some companies use the titles inventory manager and inventory control manager interchangeably, meaning the job descriptions often appear nearly identical. However, responsibilities for inventory control managers typically align more closely with inventory control practices — keeping accurate inventory counts, as well as achieving objectives for loss prevention and optimized inventory spaces. 

By comparison, inventory management has a broader focus on managing demand through forecasting and ensuring warehouses are stocked with the right quantity of inventory.

Payscale job descriptions for inventory control managers tend to include these responsibilities:

  • Establishing and monitoring inventory minimum/maximum levels
  • Directing and planning the organization of facility inventory for efficient material storage and handling
  • Assisting with organizing and reviewing bills of material for accuracy and requesting internal change orders to correct discrepancies
  • Implementing and executing inventory replenishment processes to ensure proper stock levels
  • Acting as liaison between departments to identify obsolete stock and optimize inventory turnover
  • Performing audits and cycle counts as scheduled and as needed to maximize inventory accuracy

Qualifications resemble those for inventory managers, with a few differences:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or a related field
  • 3+ years’ experience in inventory control, specifically in a SKU-intensive environment
  • Working knowledge of inventory management software
  • Ability to accurately track inventory and create reports
  • An analytical mind with strong math skills
  • Excellent organizational and planning skills
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal abilities
Inventory specialist job description

The inventory specialist differs from the preceding two roles in that it’s typically a non-managerial position that reports to and supports one or both of the other roles. Depending on the organizational structure, an inventory specialist may supervise subordinate warehouse staff.

Glassdoor notes several typical responsibilities for inventory specialists:

  • Inspecting returned merchandise
  • Tracking incoming and outgoing products
  • Providing inventory control reports as required
  • Maintaining count accuracy (digital and physical counting)
  • Updating database with incoming and outgoing products
  • Loading and unloading deliveries
  • Disposing of obsolete inventory as directed

Qualifications for inventory specialists are noticeably less stringent than the managerial roles described above:

  • Associate’s degree in business or related field
  • 2+ years of experience in an inventory role
  • Ability to use a computer and other office technology
  • Familiarity with inventory management systems
  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Ability to stand and bend for long periods of time in a warehouse environment
  • Great written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience with budget management
  • Attention to detail to identify defective products or damaged packaging

These are key roles that help keep any warehouse running smoothly. Now we’ll move onto several critical inventory management formulas.

Inventory management formulas

Inventory is all about numbers — how many products you have in stock, how many products you need to order next month, how much your on-hand inventory costs, and so on. And where there are numbers, there are formulas.

Inventory turnover formulas

According to Investopedia, inventory turnover is a ratio that indicates how many times inventory has been sold and replaced during a given period. This ratio helps with decision-making for pricing, marketing, and other strategies. The formula is as follows:

Inventory turnover = sales / average inventory

Sales is self-explanatory, while average inventory can be found using this formula: average inventory = (beginning inventory – ending inventory) / 2. “It’s important to point out that this calculation only applies to inventory turnover for finished goods,” explains Altemir.

Using sales to calculate inventory turnover inflates the result because the sales number includes a markup. That’s why there’s an alternative inventory turnover formula that uses the cost of goods sold (COGS):

Inventory turnover = COGS / average inventory

COGS represents the direct costs of producing goods, including material costs and production labor. Using COGS in place of sales provides a more accurate picture of inventory turnover. 

In either case, the use of average inventory mitigates the impact of seasonality. In many industries — especially retail — sales and inventory can experience large fluctuations such as during year-end holidays when consumers are more prone to shop.

Altemir adds that, for manufacturers, it’s useful to understand the underlying components of finished goods, namely raw material turnover. “Performing a deeper analysis of the direct material cost of the products — i.e., taking more care in formulating the numerator of the equation — results in greater accuracy.”

EOQ formula

Back in Chapter 4 we noted that EOQ refers to the ideal amount of a product to buy to minimize total costs related to ordering, receiving, and holding inventory. Investopedia provides the formula for EOQ:

Q = ?(2DS/H)

Here are the definitions of the variables:

  • Q represents EOQ units
  • D represents demand in units (usually on an annual basis)
  • S represents order cost (per purchase order)
  • H represents holding costs (per unit, per year)

In layman’s terms, the formula considers the timing of reordering (D), what it costs to place an order (S), and what it costs to store products (H). The result of the equation (Q) tells you when to reorder a given product to avoid running out of inventory. While there’s an immediate opportunity cost in lost revenue due to a shortage, there’s also the possibility of losing the customer altogether.

The EOQ formula assumes consumer demand, along with ordering and holding costs, will remain constant. This is why Altemir cautions against relying too heavily on EOQ for purchasing decisions. He says the theory is sound but putting it into practice is a different story. 

“Knowing exactly what your cost per transaction and holding costs per unit are with any degree of fidelity is difficult. There are better ways to decide how much to buy (or make), such as using customer demand and other practical considerations,” Altemir says.

Inventory management Excel formulas

Unless you have an inventory management system in place, you’ll likely be using Excel to keep track of inventory. But even if you do use a more robust system, Excel still comes in handy for calculating inventory-related formulas. Altemir suggests these tried and true ones:

  • SQRT(). As in the EOQ formula, you’ll sometimes need to use the square root function to complete an equation.
  • AVERAGE(). You can use this function to quickly determine average inventory when calculating inventory turnover.
  • STDEV(). The standard deviation function can help calculate safety stock.
  • +, -, /, and *. “Basic addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication are often all you need in your day-to-day routine,” says Altemir.

Excel and other spreadsheet solutions are always handy in inventory management. Up next, we’ll cover another great addition to your inventory management toolbox: JotForm.

How JotForm helps with inventory management

Whether you’re looking to replace outdated pen-and-paper practices or supplement a spreadsheet-only solution for keeping track of inventory, JotForm can help. The easy-to-use form builder lets you quickly and accurately update important inventory information, such as product name, quantity on hand, and unit price.

With JotForm, you can keep track of a wide array of items:

  • Office supplies
  • Restaurant supplies
  • Food and beverages
  • Furniture
  • Pet products
  • Equipment
JotForm + inventory management Inventory widget

The inventory widget tracks the quantity of a single item, such as a dog bone. Start by configuring the total number of items for sale — let’s assume 100 for an easy math example. You can then add the order form to your website. 

Each time a customer makes a purchase and submits the order form, the number of items they purchase is deducted from your inventory count. For example, if a customer purchases three dog bones, your inventory will be reduced to 97.

Sell more than one item? You can add an inventory widget for each item you sell. That means a widget for dog beds, a widget for cat scratching posts, and a widget for every other fun product in your pet arsenal. (Of course, the same concept applies for non-pet businesses!)

This widget is great for limited subscriptions, small online stores, and limited-item inventory management.

Barcode scanner

If you’ve incorporated barcodes into your warehouse operations, our barcode scanner widget is the perfect addition to your forms. No need for cumbersome, expensive equipment your staff will have to lug around the warehouse floor — you can use the devices you already have, like your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Once you add the barcode scanner to your form, you can use your device to capture barcodes on whatever product is in front of you. The widget then converts the information stored on the barcode to readable text and displays it on the form.

Inventory management templates

JotForm includes a number of inventory templates you can use in your daily operations. Simply fill in the information, and you can convert the results into a polished PDF you can view, download, or print.

Every template is customizable through an easy, drag-and-drop PDF Editor. Start with a template you like, then add or remove fields as needed. Add your company logo and colors to match your branding. You can even add signing capabilities through our e-signature widget to hold staff accountable for their inventory activities.

Here are a few templates you can start with:

  • Inventory checklist. Performing an inventory audit on your products? Use this checklist to ease your quality control efforts. The template includes fields like area, condition, and quantity.
  • Office supplies inventory. Need to keep track of more than a few pens and staplers? Start with this form, which includes fields like item description, quantity to be ordered, and signature.
  • Liquor inventory. Keep track of your liquor with this handy form. It includes fields like liquor brand, size, weight, and unit price. Quick tip: Add more descriptive categories or a text box for spills, bottle breakage, and theft.

Ready to upgrade your inventory management practices? Get started with JotForm today.

More about your inventory management guides Mohammed Ali

Mohammed Ali is the CEO of Primaseller. He has more than 13 years of experience in the operations and supply chain functions for a diverse set of industries, including food commodities, office supplies, and home and living. At Primaseller, he talks to retailers across the world about optimizing their inventory and supply chains, particularly in the context of omnichannel retail.

David Altemir

David Altemir is principal and inventory management consultant at Altemir Consulting, an operations management consulting firm in Dallas, Texas, that focuses on manufacturing and distribution. He has more than 25 years of experience instituting transformational improvements across numerous industries, including medical products, aviation, and food manufacturing. He is also the author of Lean MRP: Establishing a Manufacturing Pull System for Shop Floor Execution Using ERP or APS.

Kyle Odom

Kyle Odom is a proud husband and father, and the founder of Bar Cop. He is dedicated to formulating valuable inventory management strategies for the hospitality industry.

Nick Schiffelbein

Nick Schiffelbein is the chief technology officer at LOCATE Inventory, a cloud-based inventory and order-management software solution designed to help companies in both the warehouse and e-commerce space. The company is headquartered in Orange County, California.

Jessica Thiele

Jessica Thiele is the director of marketing at VL OMNI, an iPaaS point-to-multipoint, serverless, data integration platform that captures business rules for a fully automated supply chain and technology stack.

Catégories: News dév web

What are the Top 7 PHP IDEs and Code Editors a Web Developer Uses?

Noupe.com - 17 février, 2020 - 16:59

Confused to use PHP or any other web development languages? Are you looking for PHP website development?

And not being able to select between best IDEs and code editors to build your PHP web design? PHP is preferred over other programming languages based on the project requirements. Here in this blog, we are going to briefly describe top 7 PHP IDEs and Code Editors, PHP developers can use for web development.

Surely, this post will help you find the best IDEs for your project. Still, you find any confusion and don’t want to take a risk. You can hire PHP web developer from the best PHP web development company, who is skilled and has worked on the latest trends. He will not only help you select the best IDE tools considering your project requirements but also will give the physical form to your project.

PHP is the acronym of Hypertext Preprocessor which is a general-purpose programming language and written at the server-side. It is widely used for developing dynamic and interactive web pages. It is free and easy to use programming language. If you are a newbie and want to learn PHP, there are several tutorials available online which will ease up learning PHP for you.

For experienced, when it comes to the exact definition of an IDE and a code editor, they still get confused. So firstly we will find out the difference between IDE and Code Editor and then move ahead to discuss the top 7 PHP IDEs and Code Editors a web developer uses.

Let’s start with!

IDE vs Code Editor: Learn PHP Programming Language

Writing code is one of the common skills among developers. However, they do find it difficult to differentiate between the definition of an IDE and a code editor. The crossover of features between the two could be considered as the reason behind such confusion.

To understand IDE, it is an Integrated Development Environment that comes with a self-contained package that allows developers to write, compile, execute and debug code in the same place. Whereas, a code editor is a text editor enriched with features enabling writing code using native capabilities or via optional plugins.

IDE allows writing code in a specific language. You can even compile/interpret and perform debugging as well. Whereas code editors are more general in purpose, they can work on different programming languages. Also, there is a limitation of just writing code with the code editors.

However, Code completion, highlighting a section of code, hints and custom folding of sections of code are a number of common features between the IDE and code editors. Which one do you choose out of IDE and Code editors? It totally depends on your personal choice, the programming language you are working on and workflows as well.

Here is the list of web development tools that hold high priority among the developers. I hope this blog will help you choose an appropriate one for your projects in 2020.

1. PHPStorm

PHPStorm is one of the most popular IDE tools, developers used for PHP web development. It is updated with all the latest features to enable you with rapid web development. JetBrains is the authority behind its development and release in 2009. PHPStorm is written in Java since its launch and has been among the first choices of developers for writing code in PHP.

PHPStorm is compatible with working with all the key frameworks such as Symfony, Yii, CakePHP, Zend Framework and Laravel. Also, it allows working on Content Management Systems (CMS) including WordPress, Drupal, and Magento.

PHPStorm not only manages backend tasks but also gives you the liberty to work on the front end. It includes working on CSS, HTML5, Sass, Typescript, JS, CoffeeScript, Less, Stylus, etc. using Unit testing, code refactoring and debugging.

If you are using this platform with Zend Debugger, you can easily integrate it with databases like SQL and composers, vagrant, rest client, remote deployment and command tools.

2. Eclipse

Eclipse is another name that comes to the mind of the developers when asked for the most widely used IDE in the field of web development. It was launched in Nov 2001 and is a cross-platform tool that can be utilized for any operating system whether for Windows, Linux or Mac. Most of the developers used this IDE for Java and Android development, however, the efforts of Eclipse community developers made it possible to use for other development languages using plugins.

If you want to develop a PHP web application using Eclipse, you have to download it and install the Eclipse package for PHP developers. It is an open-source and free to use tool which comes packed with all the capacity to support PHP languages like Git client, XML Editor, and Mylyn.

Some of the important features of Eclipse comprises code formatting, syntax highlighting, code assist, code navigation, refactoring, PHP debugging, code templates, syntax validation, and eclipse ecosystem.

3. NetBeans

NetBeans also makes its way to the list of world’s most popular IDEs for PHP web development. It is feature-rich, free, and supports multiple languages like English, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Brazilian, and basic Chinese. A wide range of developers uses this open-source IDE for PHP website development.

NetBeans was released in 1996 which initially supported only Java and was pretty slow, but now it becomes much faster than others and supports multiple languages like PHP, C/C++, and HTML5. Not even this, you can use it for a range of PHP frameworks and WordPress CMS.

NetBeans is one of the most preferred IDE tools due to its features like code templates, smart code completion, quick fixes, getter setter generation, hints, and refactoring. Other than this, it avails developers with functionalities like formatting, rectangular selection, code folding and try/catch code completion.

4. Zend Studio

Zend Studio is among the top commercial PHP IDE for PHP website development. It targets professional web developers and currently enjoys a clientele of over 40,000 developers for the development of PHP websites.

Some of the key features which make Zendio Studio more preferable among others is its fastest performance, validation while coding and searching the PHP Code.

Not even this, Zend Studio allows mobile app development based on existing PHP apps and server backend. This way, you can easily coordinate between current websites and web applications with mobile-based apps.

5. Komodo

ActiveState developed Komodo IDE in the year 2000. Now it has become a highly preferred PHP MySQL development and functional tool. Komodo inherits most of its functionalities from the Python interpreter. It is compatible with Mozilla and Scintilla because the number of features and functionalities among them are similar and utilizes common languages as well.

Komodo uses numerous extensions and pipe features which turned it down as a huge success.

With Komodo, you can start CGI Environment Simulation and build a holodeck web server. It replicates all the activities on a real web server. The CGI Environment Simulation enables its fast installation.

6. Sublime Text 3

It is another PHP development that is very useful to perform like a pro text editor, i.e. for prose, markup, and code. Sublime Text 3 comes with an amazing feature- a custom UI toolkit that allows users to play across words, symbols or lines using particular key shortcuts for the activity.

In addition to this, the user can make changes to any section of code at any time. Such facilities of Sublime Text 3 make it the most customizable and flexible text editor that exists.

Being a lightweight, cross-platform development tool, Sublime Text 3 works on different operating systems like Linux, Windows, and OSX.

You can easily convert this text editor into a graceful Sublime PHP IDE with the help of different plugins and packages that are available in the market. Some of the popular names which are most helpful in doing so are package control, xDebug client?—?CodeBug, Sublime PHP companion, Simple PHPUnit, PHPCS, CodIntel, and PHPDoc.

Converting a text editor into a PHP IDE using add-on packages, avails developers with the ease of PHP development. They can enjoy the classiness of sublime text and the sturdiness of PHP at the same time.

7. Atom

Atom is a free, open-source text and source code editor from GitHub. It is one of the best cross-platform development tools that support working on various OS like Windows, OS X, Red Hat Linux, Fedora 22+ and Debian Linux. Atom consists of a dedicated ecosystem that is supported by a vast community. The availability of numerous plugins and packages in the market improves its functionality to the next level.

When it comes to PHP, the Atom editor can easily be converted into a fully-featured PHP IDE using packages available free of cost. These packages turn atom editor more effective than any other commercial PHP IDEs in the market. It includes hyperclick-php, php-cs-fixer, atom-autocomplete-php, linter-php and php-integrator-base.

Conclusion

PHP is one of the most preferred programming languages for web development. There are a number of PHP IDEs available in the market which are getting better day by day. Here in this post, we covered most of the PHP development tools which come with different functionalities. However, the universal objective behind is transforming web development into a convenient platform to write scalable code swiftly.

Still, confused? Not being able to select the best PHP web development tool for your PHP web application. You can contact a dedicated team of experienced PHP programmers. You can hire a PHP developer to help you choose the right tool for your web development considering your project requirements.

Catégories: News dév web

How to Sell Stock Photos

Noupe.com - 17 février, 2020 - 12:22

If you are interested in photography, and you think you are good at it, you can earn a passive income by selling stock photos. How to sell stock photos is the first question that comes to mind, but don’t worry, we got you covered.

First impressions have always been important, and usually, the first impression you get for your product and work is through a visual. So businesses all around the world put so much time and effort into having the best visual to get attention. Without the imagery, people are likely to ignore your product or content. 

Not every business out there can afford to commission a professional photographer yet alone having an in-house photographer to shoot photographs for them exclusively.  So more and more businesses are turning to stock photography, so there’s a huge market.

What is Stock Photography?

Stock photographs are photographs that the photographers make available for sale to be used for commercial or personal purposes. Most stock photos are sold through Stock Photography websites, like Shutterstock and Getty Images

Customers pay a fee to buy the rights to a certain stock photograph they want, and they incorporate it into their projects. The fee is split between the artist that took the photo and the agency or the stock photography service the artist uses. Photographers usually retain their copyright on the photograph.

How to Sell Stock Photos on the Web

There are many platforms that you can use to sell your stock photos online. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Getty Images

Getty Images is probably the most popular imagery website. It’s known for having the best quality and highest standards for its imagery. You have the potential to make a lot of money since a high res image costs around $500. And through the most popular contract option between the artist and Getty Images, the artist gets %20. It’s probably the most you can earn through a single stock photo on the web. 

Also, Getty is known for having the best quality, so if your work gets accepted and even gets sold on there, it could motivate you to keep shooting and boost your ego.

There is one downside though, the work you put on Getty Images can’t be sold elsewhere. That’s where iStock comes into play.

iStock

iStock is a part of Getty Images. Almost everything is the same with Getty Images since they are associated. The great thing about iStock is though, the photographs you sell on it are not exclusive. That means you can sell them anywhere. But don’t expect to receive much, it’s a microstock platform. You can opt in to make your photo exclusive, on iStock which will increase the percentage you get from the sale. For the base sale, you get around %15. And for the exclusive photo sale, you get around %40

Everyone can’t afford to spend $500 on a stock photo, and the photos on iStock go for much lower prices. Hence, there is a bigger customer network that you can sell your art to. If you don’t make your photo exclusive, expect to earn around 20¢ – 50¢ per sale, because most of the sales come from the “premium” accounts and you earn much less.

Shutterstock

Shutter stock is extremely popular. When you search the web for an image, chances of stumbling upon a Shutterstock photo is quite high. They offer high-quality photographs for cheap prices, so they have a massive customer base and traffic. There are no exclusivity options, so you can sell your photos on other non-exclusive platforms. Don’t expect to earn a lot though, you are likely to earn around $0.25 for a download.

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is one of the news stock photography platforms, it got launched back in 2015. It is fully integrated with Adobe CC software, so it really speeds up your workflow. If you want to add your photo to the Adobe Stock, all you need to do is drag and drop the photo in the Adobe Stock publishing field and it’ll be automatically uploaded. You’ll just enter a title and a couple of keywords for the customers to find your work easily. 

It speeds up the whole process for the customers as well. They can test the content within Adobe software like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. If you want to learn more about how to use Adobe Stock both as a creator and a customer, make sure to check out Adobe Stock: The Best Stock Photo Provider

Adobe Stock is a microstock platform as well, but the earnings you get for a photo is not that bad. It’s almost certain that you’ll earn much more on Adobe Stock for a single photo than on Shutterstock. 

There are many other platforms that you can try. These are the ones that are most popular nowadays. If your photo gets rejected, don’t bring yourself down. No matter how small, having a passive income is great. Try submitting it to another platform. You just have to start from somewhere. Selling your art online is a process, and you just have to keep going. 

Catégories: News dév web

Pros and Cons of Using AI to Improve Road Safety

Noupe.com - 14 février, 2020 - 14:09

Did you know that roads are deadlier than wars?

Throughout the entire 20th century, a period when the First and Second World Wars took place, the generally accepted death toll stemming from political conflicts was 108 million. However, around 1.35 million individuals lose their lives as a result of a road traffic accident every year, according to the World Health Organization.

Although one could argue that the fatalities on the roads are accidental and those in the battlefields are intentional, the statistics do not lie – we are likelier to get hit by a vehicle driven by a civilian than a bullet coming from a gun barrel of a state enemy.

This notion is true even in the United States, which is a high-profile target of terrorists. From 1995 to 2016, terrorism claimed the lives of just 3,277 persons in the US. But our friends at PolicyAdvice discovered that car collisions cut about 40,000 Americans off in their prime in 2018 alone.

Yet, some of us are more afraid of sitting next to a racially profiled “terrorist” than crossing an intersection.

Fortunately, road safety improvement has been getting into the consciousness of the general public of late. One of the things to thank for is the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI).

After decades of receiving generous R&D funding, AI has matured and become commercially viable enough to inspire wide-scale adoption in many industries, including transportation.

Can this technology feasibly make our roads way safer? If so, how? The jury is still out on whether AI is truly the lifesaver it is billed as. But the world remains somewhat divided over its utility in road safety since it has its own share of merits and flaws.

The Pros of AI in Road Safety Eliminating Driver-Inflicted Car Crashes

Driver error is the number one cause of road traffic crashes. It should not come as a surprise, for humans are too stubborn not to drive while distracted, intoxicated, high, or drowsy.

The obvious solution to such risky driver behavior is to pass the steering wheel to something incapable of getting distracted, intoxicated, high, and drowsy while driving the way humans do. Hence the need for vehicle autonomy.

Some technologists think that we are still decades away from seeing Level-5 autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the roads, but the tech has already been aiding motorists via advanced driver assistance system.

The ultimate goal of AV developers, however, is to put AI in the driver’s seat from the get-go. On paper, it makes total sense because computers can be better drivers than experienced human drivers themselves.

Self-driving vehicles are equipped with cutting-edge cameras, sensors, and radars to perceive the surroundings and other road users in order to predict the unpredictable in ways we can never do with our limited and inferior senses.

These futuristic cars and trucks also react to hazards more quickly. In addition, vehicle-to-vehicle communication could let them exchange information instantaneously and warn one another about nearby dangers.

Determining Dangerous Routes

AI-powered vehicles may run on gas and/or electricity, but they are fueled by data. Intelligent cars and trucks constantly gather information that can produce actionable insights with proper analytics.

Transport interests can use such findings to detect which stretches of roads are inherently dangerous due to one reason or another in order to plan safer routes for drivers.

Streamlining Traffic Patterns

AI and big data analytics can help the authorities control the flow of vehicular traffic in different areas. Traffic managers will be able to make informed decisions to prevent congestion in urban locations or at least minimize gridlocks during rush hour. That said, they would serve public transport commuters more efficiently.

Furthermore, AI plays crucial roles in predicting the paths of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. AI-driven traffic management can translate to diverse mobility options, reduced number of accidents and casualties, and minimal greenhouse gas emissions.

Reacting to Emergencies

Some vehicle models use AI to better address emergencies. The tech gave birth to auto features that can detect health conditions like a heart attack, request for medical services, and give relevant parties key details like vehicle location. Such capabilities are particularly useful for truck drivers who work at night.

Identifying Driver Weaknesses

Using AI, along with other innovations like facial recognition tech, fleet managers can monitor driver performance in real time. This luxury not only enables decision-makers to dispatch relief drivers accordingly but also uncover bad driver habits. The availability of such data allows transport companies to provide proper training to certain drivers.

The Cons of AI in Road Safety Raising Ethical Issues

AVs have the potential to save lives. But it would be naïve to think that they will never scratch or kill someone at some point. In fact, they already did.

So when it is impossible to save all potential casualties in a crash, who should decide who gets to live or who gets hit?

Are humans always more precious than animals? Is the life of a child more important than those of commuters riding a bus? Should productive adults be prioritized over old people? Should an AV swerve into the path of pedestrians to avoid a speeding motorcycle and protect its own passengers? If someone gets injured or dies, who should be held accountable for the behavior of a self-driving vehicle?

These ethical questions must be discussed by automotive industry leaders and maybe policymakers too. However, the software of AVs is designed to make judgment calls in life-threatening situations, and it is not going to please everybody.

Getting Exposed to Cyberattacks

Connected vehicles can be hacked, so cybersecurity is a serious concern. Anyone capable of hijacking the system of any specific AI-powered vehicle might choose to do so, irrespective of motivation. Such an incident could start a media frenzy and cause intense social panic. 

Requiring Significant Funds to Adopt

The adoption of an AI-driven system for traffic management at any level could require enormous funds. For this reason, countries and communities with fewer resources might not be able to embrace such solutions as quickly as wealthier ones could. Without the necessary infrastructure in place, the tech can’t do much for road users.

Final Word

AI definitely has a place in future road safety. Many of its use cases in transportation are already being tested, if not implemented. We may not be able to anticipate the full extent of its impact on society in the long run, but the best we could do is to develop it with foresight in hopes of successfully solving our pressing problems with road safety without creating new ones we could not effectively remedy.

Catégories: News dév web

Need Help Choosing the Right Plugin for Your Website? Check These Options

WebAppers.com - 13 février, 2020 - 03:30

WordPress is an ideal platform for building your own portfolio, blog, or eCommerce site. It’s packed with all the basic tools you need to build a professional-looking site. Plus, it has tools that can take your web-building skills to an even higher level.

Get even more impressive results or add features to a website that you might have thought could only be provided by extensive coding or by a developer you can select among a large selection of WordPress plugins.

The only problem is this. When we speak of a large selection, we’re not talking about a couple of hundred plugins. We’re talking of more than 55,000.

Fortunately, you don’t need to look far to find the best and most practical ones. Here are 8 of the very best for 2020, one or more of which could resolve a nagging problem or put your websites on steroids.

1. Brizy Website Builder for WordPress

            A typical plugin usually performs a specific task you need to have done, and if it’s a premium plugin it usually does it well. If it’s free, it’s better yet.

The Brizy WordPress plugin does more than “a specific task”. You can use this flexible drag and drop builder to create a complete website – at no cost to you.

  • Brizy is not intimidating to learn and it’s intuitive and easy to work with.
  • You don’t need any coding skills. With Brizy coding is not necessary.
  • You get 500+ design blocks, 40 popups and 150 layouts right out of the box to help you get things off to a quick start.
  • You can structure and build a page in minutes.
  • There’s plenty of helpful documentation and video tutorials to help you if and when you should need it.

Download Brizy and get started today. Before you do, you might want to scan the website to get a complete picture of what this premium plugin can do for you.

2. Amelia WordPress Booking Plugin

            We usually think of WordPress plugins as useful tools we can apply to add an important feature or capability to a website, with an aim to help a business grow. If your business relies heavily on online bookings and appointment scheduling, Amelia will do exactly that – help your business grow.

Amelia automates appointment and event bookings with and ease, and customers and employees love its award-winning UI-UX design. 

While doing so Amelia: 

  • Enables your customers to book, change, or cancel appointments online 24/7
  • Matches customer desire with employee’s availability
  • Manages all your appointments and events in one centralized location; even if you have business locations in several areas

In short, Amelia will save you time and money by increasing the productivity of the booking portion of your business by up to an order of magnitude and it will make life much easier for your employees and customers at the same time.

3. Logic Hop – Content Personalization for WordPress

            Every now and then a plugin comes around that completely changes the game – Logic Hop is one of those plugins. It’s been around for a little while, but savvy marketers are seeing its potential. And, it’s making them money. How? By giving them the ability to show the right content to the right person at the right time.

That sounds like marketing speak, but it’s true. Well documented research shows personalization increases sales by over 200%. Sound difficult? Well, it can be… but Logic Hop makes it easy to add personalizations quickly. Seriously, you can be personalizing in 30 minutes. Want to do crazy, complex stuff? Logic Hop can do that too.

Fully integrated with your favorite page builders like Beaver Builder, Elementor, and Divi – Logic Hop will bring your conversions to the next level. Don’t miss out, try it for yourself.

4. wpDataTables

            Organizing and managing huge amounts of data in a variety of formats and from several different sources can be anything from intimidating and absolutely nightmarish. 

Let the wpDataTables plugin do the heavy lifting for you. This WordPress Table and Chart plugin take minutes rather than hours. It’s powerful, well documented, and gives you highly informative, colorful, responsive, and easily editable tables and charts you’ll be so proud of. You might even want to frame one or two!

5. StarCat Reviews

            Having a rating system increases user-engagement on a site, and a 5-Star Rating shows the quality of services offered. StarCat Reviews is an advanced WordPress Rating plugin you can use to feature a review and rating system in any Post, Page, WooCommerce page or CPT.

Ratings can have Multiple Criteria, Overall Score, and can be displayed in Google search pages. This plugin has premium add-ons for Review Voting, Photo Reviews, Reviews Post Type, and Comparison Table and can be used to create a full-fledged review website.

6. Rank Math SEO

            Whether you are a beginner or SEO veteran, Rank Math can take your SEO skills and knowhow to the next level. This unique SEO plugin with its clean, simple, and easy to work with interface provides you with a powerful way to generate traffic to your site.

Among its many beneficial features, Rank Math adds appropriate metadata to your website, assesses your site on 40 SEO factors, and provides you with actionable advice to improve your site’s SEO.

7. WordPress Review

            Whether you have products to sell or a service to provide, an informative review section in your WordPress website will benefit your customers and will help you make good decisions as well. WP Review offers several types of rating criteria, performs product comparisons, and gives users an opportunity to provide comments.

19 types of rich snippets are supported, WP Review integrates smoothly with WooCommerce and is compatible with any WordPress theme as well.

8. Heroic KB – Knowledge Base Plugin

            The Heroic KB knowledge base plugin, with its live search, article feedback, and actionable analysis capabilities is designed to provide your website users with quick and informative answers to their questions and provide beneficial information to you as well.

Heroic KB is the most popular WordPress plugin of its type. It will integrate with your WP theme right out of the box and provide 24/7 customer support.

***** 

Any one of the 8 premium plugins listed above could have the effect of putting your website on steroids.  WP themes that provide all the features and functionality you’re ever likely do need are exceedingly few in number. That even includes many specialty themes.  Most do not include review capabilities, knowledge base functionality, or ways to personalize your content to effectively address multiple audiences. Selecting a plugin that can make your site super SEO friendly also makes good sense.

Since these 8 top WP plugins for 2020 are free to use, why not check them out and see what they might do for you.

The post Need Help Choosing the Right Plugin for Your Website? Check These Options appeared first on WebAppers.

Catégories: News dév web

Importance of a WordPress Theme Niche for your Website

Noupe.com - 12 février, 2020 - 16:12

Everybody wants to become the best in their industry offline, as well as online. For example, if you’re selling baby clothes online, then you probably want to be the best selling or the most appreciated eShop.

If you have a travel blog, you definitely want to be an influencer for other travelers. Also, if your website is all about tech, number one is what you’re aiming for.

So, it’s time to niche down and amaze the online environment with a great website! This article will show you some insights on the importance of a WordPress theme niche for your website, based on well-known templates. Read the entire article to figure out how and where to search for such a niche theme.

Best WordPress Themes on Envato, ThemeForest market

Where can you find some popular premium niche WordPress themes? Well, the

Envato is the largest online market that helps authors sell their WordPress themes, templates & plugins, as well as motion graphics, stock music, and audio tunes, graphics, and other digital assets. ThemeForest is a marketplace, part of the Envato group, that millions of people worldwide trust and choose instead of others. There are multiple WordPress theme categories, so you can search through thousands of different templates.

According to Themeforest’s weekly report, these are the most popular nine WordPress Themes, and best selling in their niche:

1. Avada – Corporate

With over 573,000 sales, Avada is the best selling multi-purpose template. It generally fits any website. However, it depends on what kind of features you are looking for in a theme. Avada includes 58 pre-built websites, a frontend page builder, it’s WooCommerce compatible, and also RTL ready.  

2. BeTheme – Business

BeTheme is a well-suited template for the business industry. With a lot of features, a backend page editor, the BeTheme is not so beginner-friendly and has a steep learning curve. On the other hand, the template is compatible with many other popular plugins, and it can be a good start.

3. Newspaper – News Editorial

Developed by tagDiv, Newspaper is the best selling news WordPress theme, with over 90,000 sales. News and editorial oriented, Newspaper is an intuitive, flexible, and responsive theme. It uses a custom-tailored page builder for the frontend, called tagDiv Composer, various lightweight demo designs, and a gallery of pre-made page and posts layouts, ready to be imported within a click. The theme also includes a header and a footer builder. Newspaper is compatible with AdSense, WPML, and other popular plugins. 

4. Flatsome – WooCommerce

Flatsome is the most popular theme for an eCommerce website. It has built-in features, specially created for the WooCommerce industry. You can design any online shop using drag and drop features and the page builder for the frontend. It includes a built-in slider, banner system, image grids, and a custom product builder. Furthermore, there’s a cart dropdown, wishlist, and an option for a quick view.  

5. Bridge – Creative

The creative and responsive Bridge theme is compatible with both WP Bakery and Elementor page builders and comes with a set of 450 demo layouts you can import on your website. 

Magazine, listing, music, education, and travel modules are also incorporated in Bridge. The author advertises as a theme with “tons of powerful options”, which might be uncomfortable for a new user. 

6. Salient – Portfolio

Salient is a responsive and retina ready WordPress template that comes packed with the WPBakery page builder, demos, different header layouts, page transitions, parallax effects, and more tools to build your online portfolio. Also, Salient has a Theme Options panel where you can configure your general website settings. 

7. Education WordPress Theme Eduma – Education

If you’re looking for an education-related WordPress theme, Eduma might be your choice. Education WP is made for the educational industry, such as for LMS, training center, online courses, college, academy, university, school, or kindergarten websites.

8. RealHomes – Real Estate

The most appreciated real estate WordPress theme is the RealHomes by InspiryThemes author. Launched in 2013, RealHomes has a great properties management system, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and other useful features. Furthermore, it’s customizable with the Elementor plugin. You can check out this great article to discover more real estate themes

9. REHub – Blog Magazine

REHub is a premium WordPress theme for affiliate, coupon, directory, or social websites. It includes a popular frontend page builder, multi-vendor options for WooCommerce, product comparisons, user reviews, and many more tools. 

Your Site Functionality is More than Visual Appearance

For sure, there are other markets where you could get lucky, but on ThemeForest, you get to read authentic comments and user reviews. It’s been a controlled market for so many years. A niche theme brings functionality on your website, and it means more than just visual appearance. It refers to how intuitive the interface is, and if it has features that can help you create a pleasant user experience on your website. So, you should also pay attention to the specific features that make the magic work on your site, in your domain of activity.  

Constant Updates and Supportive Team

Another thing to look up when searching for your niche WordPress theme is how often the product is updated and maintained. A professional theme is sustained in time, and the author is entirely dedicated to develop and improve the product. 

Summing Up

The appearance of your website is more than just the aesthetic. You need to have a perfectly functional site, with the best UX and UI practices. A WordPress theme designed for a specific market defines what a niche template actually is. It’s only up to you to get the full benefit of what the template offers to create an amazing website in your domain. It’s best to focus on a WordPress theme niche rather than choosing something that never meets your expectations. So, first decide if your website is about news, travel, architecture, sports, tech, and anything else in between.

Afterward, look out for the WordPress theme that best fits your vision and start your online journey.

Background psd created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Catégories: News dév web

Three Strategies for Repeat Business – [Infographic]

Noupe.com - 12 février, 2020 - 12:58

Driving customer loyalty is one of the most value-driven marketing campaigns for a business to employ. That’s because a 2% increase in customer retention can lower business costs by 10%, according to Fundera

The challenge, then, is how to curate loyalty with existing customers. 

Begin from the start of the customer journey, and determine the monetary value of the MQL in question. If you see the customer as potential repeat business, you’ll want to tailor your pitch to create more value. Do some extra homework on this prospect’s potential pain points, and determine how your product or service can solve this. 

Next, and perhaps most important, is to follow-through with your promises. If your product or service does not drive the promised KPI’s, it’s likely the customer in question will not be back for a repeat purchase. This plays a part in the final invoice as well. Hidden fees may turn a prospect off if not discussed upfront. Consider detailing the service and all additional fees for your client before signing the final contract.

Additionally, consider the values of your business. Find clients who share the same beliefs. 87% of consumers will make their purchase decisions solely based on what a company advocates for. This is especially true if your prospect market consists of millennials and gen Zers. 
Learn more about how to make your clients love you with this roadmap, courtesy of Fundera:

Catégories: News dév web

How To Utilize AI In App Development – Proven Ways

Noupe.com - 12 février, 2020 - 11:13

In 2020’s competitive world, Artificial Intelligence has become a buzz word with great exploration and immense growth in the business world. 

The Innovator of mobile app development landscape are constantly trying to introduce some new and exciting features in their mobile app, making them future-ready. 

However, the avant-garde mobile app development company is providing a lending hand to their developers to make a cut-throat competition with a streamlined process for their users. And, the inception of AI not just reformed the industry for retailers but customers as well. 

Starting from the beginning, mobile apps have deeply impacted user lives. Utilizing them from the very first thing in the morning to the last thing in the night, it has revolutionized every aspect of the user’s brio by empowering with the user’s fingertips. 

Alike, AI-enabled chips have a significant impact on the user’s interactions with smart devices. And, as far the mobile app industry is concerned with the distinctive yet versatile nature of AI, it has opened a totally new world of innovations and opportunities. Moreover, Artificial Intelligence helps to create unique apps for different industries, establishing exclusive user interactions with smart apps.      

“As Per The Latest Reports From STATISTA, The Artificial Intelligence witnessed an upsurge of 154% in the global market in 2019 and is predicted to reach $ 89 billion by 2025.”  

It is interesting to see how AI is crafting its top niche as the next big things the world has ever know. Today, many pioneers app development company are not opting for this technology but are more focused on bringing this technology in the hands of the people. 

In clear words, they are looking to introduce it through mobile apps. 

AI – Marking The New Paradigms In App Development Landscape  

Undeniably, AI has a wide-ranging multi-dimensional impact on the app development industry, that drifted the mobile app developers from the conventional approaches to experiment with AI in their upcoming mobile apps. Out-setting the footsteps as a buzz word to perform intellective functions expected from humans. 

Thus, AI technology abreast the competition by proving itself as a significant helpful for countless apps. The businesses nowadays are integrating AI with their solutions to deliver impeccable data-centric services:

  • Sketch deep insights about user
  • Find and fix behavioral pattern issues
  • Get a lot of user data and information
  • Analyze the user data pattern
  • Provide better customization

Now, let us get straight to 

How AI Features Have A Long Way In Simplifying the User’s Life With Mobile Apps  1. Streamlining The Searching Process

With the inception of AI, it has turned more intuitive and troublesome for mobile users to engage in a searching process, spelling corrections, performing on suggestions, and add a voice search option when the AI technology is integrated into the search engines. 

In one thought, inculcating Artificial Intelligence to an Android app can invariably help to scrutinize the searching process for mobile users. This proves to be more or less of a priority while you hire app developer looking at the same route.  

2. Video or Audio Recognization

In the present scenarios, it is becoming more and more popular to find an app with in-built chatbots. The Apple Siri is one such example.

Precisely talking, most of the app development companies use AI to simplify the authentication process with the use of fingerprint or retina scan or while for some, it is used for an entertainment purpose like Snapchat. However, there are numerous ways through which AI technologies can be used to enhance audio and video recognization capabilities in a mobile device. 

3. Study The Behavioral Pattern 

One of the usual ways of implementing AI technology in Android app development is by integrating algorithms that hold the potential to analyze the user behavior pattern and also make the suitable recommendations for them by searching for requests. 

To be sure, by providing customized services and products, the customer experience can be amplified which directly leads to a successful sales process. These are some of the technology methods that are commonly used in the E-commerce online sector.   

To get a better understanding of the AI technology, I have penned down the uses cases of this buzzing word.

a. Starbucks include cloud-based Digital Flywheel program

The famous brand “Starbucks” integrate the cloud-based digital program braced by Artificial Intelligence. This technology helps in suggesting a customized schedule for its users, which is based upon user activist in history. 

b. Amazon Re-invented it’s working process around Artificial Intelligence

The blend of AI technology with deep learning understand the recommendations problems and outcomes accompanied by amazing services based on the client’s purchasing history and behaviour. 

Such AI-empowered solutions provide a number of solutions to the mobile app development companies, especially Android app development company to create and curate un-paralleled user experience by incorporating AI technology in their apps.  

Why AI Is the Top Choice For Various Industry Verticals?

The AI-enabled chips help in analyzing and evaluating the promising trends in the technology to investigate the industry and user’s history. Including such solutions helps to clutch all the required data and eliminates maximum errors of any miscellaneous errors. 

In the upcoming years, it’s predicted to grow more than 30% as all the companies are solely dependent on AI technology to boost the revenue rate. Moreover, AI solutions prove as a significant boon to take better business decisions with proven marketing strategies to uphold the sales rate. 

#Reason 1: Advancement In Search Experience 

As everyone knows, AI improvises the user experience while looking for user’s related objects. Undoubtedly, this technology adds a new way to suggest the user with new and innovative options while the searching is ongoing. 

The amalgamation of image recognization feature in AI mobile apps with ML took the user experience that is second to none in the industry. New trends have been set after the voice recognization technology advancement incorporated into the system. 

#Reason 2: Predict Marketing 

What the marketers work on?

Simply, marketers work on the data, and this makes sure they collect data, maintain and analyze the huge chunks of data. It takes the reckless amount of data to maintain customer satisfaction. 

Therefore, AI comes in the big picture to deal with the client’s data, resulting in enhanced sales. AI-empowered apps support in researching and analyzing the market trends.

#Reason 3: Safeguard Your App

With the upsurging rate of cyber-crimes, any mobile app development company want to pay special attention to the use of AI for the apps security concerns. Its sole purpose is to offer a fast and secure authentication process. 

In fact, AI can be effectively inculcated in conjunction with an exclusive array of recognization types to validate the user identification and authentication. This is an appropriate decision for building e-commerce apps and other related personality apps. 

#Reason 4: Mining The Big Data

It is predicted for any mobile app development company which is looking for a reliable and experienced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology partner to understand what mining big data is all about and how helpful is it now. 

Just to know, this is a promising field which has a long way in helping to improve the process of acquiring precise and accurate information by analyzing the different types of data. 

The Final Thoughts: After all, it’s all about improving business growth, professional relations, and expectations. Thus, you look to hire mobile app developers that are well-versed with AI technologies and their related fields. 

As AI is a worth-the-value investment and an important contributor to the mobile app industry. There are numerous benefits of the AI technology in the app industry, with many awaited yet extensive AI-powered apps. 

If we talk about today’s Artificial Intelligence trend, the most Google topic is AI with Machine Learning to deliver an amazing on-device experience for its user. Mobile app development companies are leveraging the benefits of AI for their client-retention.  

With time, harnessing the AI technology and its benefits will be an affordable option to the businesses from any vertical and of any size to fit precisely and accurately in the technology-driven world. 

Lastly, it’s undeniable to say, and the future is now as AI has already changed the face of the technology. It has enhanced everything right from the toothbrush to the smart cars, televisions, and voice-oriented assistant booking your appointment. Now, AI is genuinely used for enhancing the quality and performance with matching their footsteps with the app development and technology. 

So, if you are beginning to integrate this technology in your app, start right with Your Free Estimation with the experts. 

After all, staying ahead of the curve matters.

Catégories: News dév web

Web Design Mistakes You Want to Avoid in 2020

Noupe.com - 12 février, 2020 - 08:58

When it comes to creating and maintaining a website, the first thing that comes to any person’s mind is a site’s design. Well, design matters indeed, moreover, it can even influence your website’s traffic, which in turn has an impact on the amount of money you make. In fact, a decent layout makes any website look more professional and trustworthy, which attracts more visitors and affects your website’s conversion.

So what are the common mistakes that can actually bring your site down and how to avoid those? Keep reading to find it out.

Web Design Trends

First things first, in order to avoid some basic mistakes, you have to keep up with the main trends, so let us have a brief look at those.

Minimalism

Well, this very trend has been around in web design and not only for quite a while and it will be popular for a long time in the future as well. As a matter of fact, minimalistic design does not distract the visitors from the content you display on your website and is generally lovely. There is a huge amount of minimalistic web templates on various marketplaces such as MasterBundles, Envato or TemplateMonster, so why don’t you take a look at those?

B&W

Black and white is actually the ultimate classic, which means if you want to create a truly classy and elegant website, you have to consider such a color scheme. Certainly, these colors would not work for every type of a website, but if you are going to launch a classy online store, a fancy blog, or an elegant portfolio site, this is definitely the way to go for you. So you can try and find some sophisticated B&W WordPress themes here.

Geometry

Another popular trend of the upcoming year is the usage of geometrical forms and patterns. The shapes and colors can vary from theme to theme, but what makes this trend so important is the fact that it is pretty universal and will surely suit any site. You can use these shapes on the backgrounds, banners, logos, etc. Besides, geometrical patterns will give your website a cool futuristic look, so why don’t you give it a shot?

Large Fonts

Yes, large fonts are going to be a huge trend in 2020. In fact, fonts have always been an essential part of web design since they have this ultimate power to either make a site stunning or simply awful. In other words, you definitely want to keep up with the latest font trends because they really are of extreme importance. Well, and at the moment large font sizes are cool, so go ahead and use them. If you don’t know where to get the fanciest and the trendiest fonts, check out MasterBundels.

Animations

Contemporary users get sick of websites that look pretty much the same, so living up your site with some animation effects might be a good idea. Speaking about these effects, perhaps the most exciting and fun one is user-triggered animation. Basically, these are the animations that happen after a user clicks on a particular spot or move the mouse. This very type of animation makes any website fun to be on and thus attracts more visitors, so do not hesitate and try it out.

Web Design Mistakes

Well, since we have figured out some of the most popular trends, it’s the very time to move on to the common mistakes you definitely want to avoid while launching or updating your website.

Cluttering

The very first thing you have to know before getting any sort of a site is the fact that it has to be user-friendly. People should be able to easily find the necessary categories or and other stuff they need. That is why you have to follow the KISS strategy, which is pretty much about keeping things simple. Don’t clutter your site with a whole bunch of images, animations, or bright colors and just keep it neat and clean.

Poor Content

Speaking about poor content, we don’t actually mean the quality of the blog posts or product descriptions on your website. We want to point out the way it is designed. Product descriptions have to be short, clear, and easy to comprehend. The users have to be able to easily find the price, reviews, and images. In terms of blog posts, they have to be readable and conveniently located on a page. So pay attention to the fonts, layouts, and buttons you use since they have to make your website’s content easy to digest.

Too Many Ads

Advertisements are a good way to earn some money, but they also can make your site incredibly ugly and simply insufferable. So don’t put too much ads and if you do include them, put them into the right places. Make sure that advertisements do not cover any content you display on your website as well as they don’t distract your visitors too much. If you can afford it, try to eliminate any external ads at all.

Missing Contact Information

Contact info not only makes your company seem to be trustworthy but also makes it easier for potential customers to make an order or ask you some questions about the goods you sell. In other words, missing this extremely important for every kind of business section or having it in an inconvenient place is a huge mistake. So make sure you have a contact info section as well as that it is easy to find.

Unresponsive Design

Responsive design is basically a feature that makes a website flawlessly work on all the devices. Well, since more and more people prefer surfing the internet using their phones, responsive design becomes a great deal. So while choosing a web template, double-check whether it is fully responsive and cross-browser compatible.

Final Word

Building or updating a website is actually a big deal that requires a lot of energy and efforts. Hopefully, knowing all these latest trends and main mistakes to avoid, this process would be a least a little bit easier for you. So go through these trends and common mistakes in web design once again and get ready to launch or upgrade your website. If you want to find out more about the world of web design, make sure to check out our blog.

Do you know any other design mistakes developers do as well as the ways to avoid them? Let us know in the comment section down below!

Catégories: News dév web

What Makes a Good User Interface?

Noupe.com - 11 février, 2020 - 14:58

Two-thirds of users will rather read beautifully designed content in case they only have 15 minutes to stay online according to HubSpot.   

What does it teach us? 

In the modern economy, people are not buying products or services anymore. They are buying experiences (Forbes) or, in other words, visual satisfaction and usability. 

So, to keep ahead of a pack in these realia, one should think about staying up to date with the latest trends. Yet, implementing AR features or adding a voice control function to an app is not the warranty of success. These are the simplicity and clearness that make users stay with your online platform, website or app. 

Complexity is annoying. Even loyal customers will bounce if they cannot complete the basic operation after the UI update. The same refers to acquiring new customers. Both acquisition and retention processes depend strongly on the level of their satisfaction. 

To achieve a high user satisfaction rate, it is possible to make use of the plethora of practices teaching about what makes a good user experience. 

All of them can be described in one formula: CSF-A-CSF (consistency, simplicity, familiarity, attractiveness, conciseness, seamless navigation, forgiveness). 

Consistency 

This feature caters to a smooth user journey through different interface elements. If the latter is consistent, a user will find the needed option fast, therefore the whole experience will be successful and customers will develop usage patterns quickly. 

Conciseness 

Stands for the application of the rule: less is more. According to the data from Nielsen Norman Group’s research, a customer usually stays 10-20 seconds on a page. On average, users will read only a quarter of information presented on the web page unless the writing is exclusively clear. Therefore, all the content displayed on the page should be exclusively clear. 

Simplicity 

We are living in a highly competitive reality, where a customer can find an alternative solution just a click away. To avoid bounce, it’s important to bypass any error scenarios and make sure that if any of them still happens, a solution should be right at hand. (Forbes)

Seamless navigation 

The inpatient users of today won’t spend time navigating through multi-step systems for finding the right solution. Therefore, it is recommended to consolidate navigation and minimize the number of tasks users should perform. 

Familiarity 

When starting a journey, a customer expects to take familiar steps, like finding a search button on the navigation pane, etc. Therefore, keeping things looking like something your customers have encountered before is important. 

Forgiveness 

A forgiving design is one that makes users avoid mistakes or makes them feel insufficient. For example, if a customer misspelled a search term, a system should gently prompt the right variant. The same refers to products or services that are not currently available. A great user experience presupposes offering alternatives instead of empty, zero-result pages.  

Attraction 

According to HubSpot, 38% of users will leave a website if the presented information or layout is not attractive. Therefore, an attractive design is what makes users want to return to the resource, therefore it makes every session a pleasure. 

Yet, these guidelines are too general to give you complete assistance in this area. To find out what practical steps to undertake we recommend conducting market research to know exactly what your customers love or hate. 

To increase your chances of building a successful user interface design, you should interact with your future audience in the very beginning. The interaction may be performed in the following ways: 

2. Interviewing customers

It is better to do that by collaborating with an independent third-party agency that will apply a 100% unbiased approach. Of course, it is possible to get a bunch of data from analytics. That is why web owners tend to disregard the user-interviewing process. Yet, it leads to opinion-driven conclusions, that may be mistaking. 

2. Learning customer journeys

Knowing exactly what goals your customers follow when using your digital service, what tasks they accomplish, and what steps they undertake will help you to virtually escort your customers through the process and make their journey a success. 

3. Testing with early adopters

Every product or service will definitely be interesting to a certain bunch of people, called early adopters. It is strongly recommended to refer to their opinion before the project launch. This practice is an incomparable source of valuable feedback and advice. 

Profound market research, checking on the competitive services as well as conducted user polls helps create a great user interface for any digital project.

Cost of a Good User Interface

A good user interface usually means a lot of research and analytics that require solid investment. 50% of website owners would reject improvements on the design due to high costs. An average yearly salary of the UI designer reaches up to $76K according to Glassdoor.

Yet, companies like Google and Apple, offer $ 116K and $ 123K respectively for the services of a highly efficient UI designer. 

Hiring a full-time UI designer may not be a cost-efficient option, especially for a small-size project, like building a mobile app. Therefore, it may be more rational to hire a contractor for the time of the project. For example, an hourly rate of a  contractor at Google is from $46 to $59, according to Glassdoor, and an average hourly rate of the UX designer on Upwork is $30-$125. 

Improving user experience on your digital resource is often about rebuilding. Therefore, it is more reasonable to think about the user experience from scratch. Many companies offer web and mobile app development that already includes best practices of user experience design in the price of its implementation. 

If you are interested to know the cost to make a great UI design for an app, for example, you may just inquire how much does it cost to make an app with a company that offers software development services. In such a case you will get a complete quote on the whole spectrum of services including both, design and development. 

Takeaways

These days, users are valuing positive experience over everything. Thus, a good user interface design is a must-have in the experience-centric economy in order to influence the decision making of any client. 

The key secret of success is paying much attention to analysis and real-life customer feedback. Aside from collecting these data, it is necessary to follow simple guidelines like keeping the design consistent, simple, familiar, attractive, concise, seamless, and forgiving.

Frame PSD created by BiZkettE1 – www.freepik.com

Catégories: News dév web

29 Best Airline Logos and Their Story

Noupe.com - 11 février, 2020 - 14:29

Billions of people use airlines to travel across the globe every year. Between local and global airlines, there are hundreds of airlines that compete with each other to provide the best travel experience. As a result, airline logos play a crucial part as branding is extremely important.

Airlines don’t hesitate to pay huge amounts to get their airline logos designed. Airplane body logos, tail logos, tv ads, billboards, etc. they utilize every possible option to influence people’s views on their brand.

The best 29 Airline Logos and their stories 1. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has a unique logo. Unlike many other airline tail logos that, in some way, resemble a bird or a wing, Qatar’s logo is that of an Oryx which is the national symbol of the country. The burgundy and white colors used on the logo are taken from the country’s flag.

2. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has had the same logo since its split from Malaysian Airlines. The airline logo features a bird called the silver kris. It’s derived from a dagger named keris, which plays a prominent role in the region’s folklore. The ‘silver’ kris appears on the airplane’s tail as a golden bird and the theme is used in various different services offered by the airlines.

3. Qantas Airways

Qantas Airlines has a Kangaroo symbol in its logo as an Australian logo. The kangaroo symbol used in the airline logo was inspired by the Australian one-penny. The airplane tail logo used by Qantas is a little different than other airlines and warrants its spot on the list. The tail logo instead of covering only the tail-wing covers a much larger portion of the airplane’s tail and even if the colors are quite popular among other airlines, it makes it stand out.

4. Lufthansa Airlines

The German airlines has gone through various name changes since it was first founded in 1919. However, the airline logo has remained almost the same. The logo features a crane in a circle and its color has changed from yellow to ultramarine. It was designed by Otto Firle in 1918.

5. Virgin Atlantic

While the airline tail logo isn’t all that unique, Virgin Atlantic Airways was famous for it’s flying lady icon. In 2019, the airlines changed its logo to feature 5 different characters for more diversity.

6. Turkish Airlines

The logo of Turkish Airlines features a wild goose. The goose is white on a red background which is the same color as the Turkish flag. The airlines have picked the wild goose as it’s the worlds highest-flying bird that can go as high as 29 thousand feet.

7. Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia hasn’t changed the logo too much. Only the fonts have been adjusted to make the logo look a bit more modern. Like many other airlines, Garuda Indonesia also features a bird, in this case, it has a bird that resembles an eagle.

8. Southern China Airlines

Going through numerous mergers and rebrandings, China Southern Airlines has a unique airline logo. It doesn’t look like the best logo but it changes some unpopular colors used by other airlines. The logo consists of a red Kapok Flower on a bright blue background. The Kapok flower is also the symbol of the airlines’ hometown Guangzhou.

9. Austrian Airlines

While its logo is a rather simple one. Austrian Airlines has recently ‘tweaked’ their airline logo. The change was made to make the logo fit with the modern trends. Its text is a bit bolder and the tail logo has become more 3d.

10. Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has an extremely unique logo. The airline logo features the Maori symbol of Koru which symbolizes prosperity, growth, new life, and peace. It also resembles wind which fits perfectly as an airline symbol. The Koru symbol is also quite prominent in Maori culture.

11. Hawaiian Airlines

This airline logo definitely makes it into the list as it’s quite different from other airline logos. It is one of the few airlines that features a person on their logo rather than a type of bird or something associated with flying. It was recently updated too with a more modern font and the gradient used in the background added to that.

12. Korean Air

No, this airline logo wasn’t stolen from Pepsi. It’s actually, much older than the Pepsi Logo. Korean Air’s logo features the ‘Taegeuk’, the symbol of the ultimate reality. The Taegeuk is also featured on the Korean Flag.

13. Ryanair

Known for its cheap flights across Europe, Ryanair actually has an interesting tail logo. The Irish airline’s logo consists of a cross-over between an angel and a harp. Both items are somewhat significant in Irish culture, while they are much less known outside. The airlines is well-known due to its controversial advertisement strategies. The airline logo has fallen somewhat short as the company’s advertisement controversies spear-head its branding strategy.

14. AeroMexico

AeroMexico is another airline with an interesting logo. It’s one of the other few airline logos that cover a person. In this case, its logo has the symbol of an Aztec eagle warrior called ‘cu?uhtli’. The eagle warriors were the most feared class in the Aztec military and eagles symbolize the sun and the skies.

15. PNG Air

This airline logo is probably the most interesting and is praised by many people. Hailing from Papua-New Guinea, PNG Air has a rather detailed and unique looking airline tail logo. The airline is quite young and it has gained a lot of traction with its unique logo. The logo symbolizes the diversity of the culture of Papua-New Guinea, which is by far the most diverse country in the world.

16. EgyptAir

EgyptAir, has gone through numerous rebrandings and has changed its owner many times. When it finally settled on the name ‘EgyptAir’ in 1971 it adopted its current airline logo. The logo depicts the head of ‘Horus’ which is one of the sun gods in Egyptian mythology. Horus has the head of a falcon and is believed to be the creator of the universe. However, the sun god RA also has a falcon head and represents the same things as Horus. The controversy between which god is the real one has led to them to be merged as Ra-Horakthy. EgyptAir prefers to refer their logo as Horus though.

17. Aer Lingus

Unlike Ryan Air, the Irish airline Aer Lingus has adopted a more well-known Irish symbol for its airline logo. Aer Lingus features the ‘Shamrock’ in its logo. The Shamrock is a traditional Irish symbol of clover with 3 leaves. As the Shamrock is a little inverted in the logo, it’s referred to as the tipsy-shamrock, highlighting the Irish stereotype.

18. Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines makes it into the list because, unlike other airlines, they changed their logo and had to revert to their original logo as consumers didn’t like the re-branding. The airline logo has a red Japanese crane on a white background. As with many airlines, Japan Airlines has opted for a bird, but the crane is actually a good choice as they can gain immense heights and can fly long distances. Also, many think that the logo resembles the Rebel Alliance symbol from Star Wars.

19. SWISS

Referred to as SWISS, Swiss International Airlines, has a relatively simple airline tail logo. It contains the Swiss national flag in the shape of an airplane tail. It’s simple yet effective as it screams Swiss at you.

20. IranAir

Previously called Iran National Airlines, IranAir started to search for its logo after it was rebranded. A competition was announced in Iran, and the logo that contained a Huma bird was the winner. The Huma bird plays a significant role in Iranian folklore. The bird is to bring good fortune and it never leaves the skies. It’s called by various names also including ‘bird of paradise’. The Huma bird in some interpretations resembles a phoenix and in some, it’s depicted like a griffin. IranAir has opted for the griffin version and the airline is referred to as Huma inside of Iran.

21. Sri Lankan Airlines

It’s vibrant, it’s big, and it’s unique. Sri Lankan Airlines has come up with a beautiful logo during its rebranding in 1999. It features a peacock in red, green, orange. The font of the logo also pushes it even further. According to local tales, a flying machine once existed in Sri Lanka and it resembled a peacock.

22. Ethiopian Airlines

In 2010, Ethiopian Airlines was invited to join the Star Alliance under the mentorship of Lufthansa. This made Ethiopian Airlines the third airline from Africa to join the alliance. During its admission period to the alliance, the airline started a re-branding campaign and modernized its logo. It assumed the tail logo that contained the colors on the Ethiopian national flag. It also has Ethiopian in both English and Amharic text.

23. Delta Airlines

When listed based on revenue, Delta Airlines is the #1 airline in the world. It’s the second-largest based on the number of passengers it carries. The airline logo features a triangle that looks like it’s designed in 3D while in reality, it isn’t. The triangle is cut from its center and with clever coloring, it looks as if it was 3D. The triangle also resembles the Greek letter delta as in the name of the airlines itself.

24. AirFrance

One of the two airlines that operated faster-than-sound flights, AirFrance is one of the top airlines in the world. It frequently flew Concorde jets between Europe and the US until 2003. Its original logo was that of a seahorse, but its more contemporary logo that consists of a single red stripe with the color scheme of the French national flag was adopted after its merger with KLM.

25. Aeroflot

The Russian airlines is one of the oldest airlines in the world. It served during the Soviet period as the biggest airline in the world. After the dissolution of the USSR, the airline transformed into a semi-private company. The airline logo, however, kept using the sickle and hammer logo even after the dissolution of the union. Its main difference is that it avoids the color red in it.

26. Finnair

The Finnish Airlines is listed as the safest airline in the world with zero fatal accidents in the last 57 years. The logo of the airlines is quite simple yet really effective. The tail logo consists of an ultramarine ‘F’ letter that stretches out. The color scheme is that of the national flag and the F stands for Finland. The stretched F greatly resembles the cross on the national flag too.

27. Easyjet

EasyJet makes it into the list not because its design stands out but because it’s such an unusual and simple logo. Simply, it’s just the brand logo in white on an orange background. That’s it. No cultural, national symbolism.

28. Aegean Airlines

If you’ve read this far, you might have realized that there are two main trends in airline logos. One is dominated by red and white while the other is dominated by ultramarine and white. Aegean Airlines, is in the second camp. Its logo is quite simple but carries the Aegean vibes with the sunset and the birds flying over the Mediterranean.

29. Air Asia

While the logo greatly resembles the logo of Virgin Airways, the airline logo is quite simple with the name on a red background. The airline faced some controversy when a runway accident caused a backlash. When the plane had the accident, the runway operators tried to cover the airline logo so that it wasn’t associated with Air Asia. Well, it didn’t work out too much.

Even though we’ve seen that there are two major trends in airline logos, a white icon on a red background and a white icon on an ultramarine background, there are also quite unique and well-designed icons. Our two favorites were the airline logo of Hawaiian Airlines and the airline logo of PNG air. Which ones were your favorite?

Did we miss any interesting airline logos? Let us know in the comment section below.

Catégories: News dév web

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Yves Bresson, ingénieur en informatique, consultant freelance, spécialisé dans le développement web (CMS, PHP, Laravel, Ajax, jQuery, Bootstrap, HTML5, CSS3) et d'applications mobiles (iPhone, Android). Voir le profil de Yves Bresson sur LinkedIn