Creating a recognizable, memorable brand is challenging for nearly any business. Branding can make or break a company. If your brand is forgettable, you can kiss your customers goodbye.
The stakes are high for creating a winning brand. However, web design companies have little-to-no room for error for their personal company’s own brand.
Would you hire a web designer that didn’t have an engaging site with a cohesive brand? Probably not. Bringing brands to life through site design is why their clients hire them. If their brand is poor, what does it say about their service?
That’s why branding for web designers is critical. But where should you start? Perhaps you’ve finished your business registration and now you’re wondering how to put the best foot forward to acquire customers.
In this post, I’ll cover exactly what you need to do to create a winning brand for your design business. Before I dive in, let’s take a look at the core components of a brand.The Core Components of a Brand
A brand is your logo, name, mission, and product differentiator coupled with customer perception. It isn’t enough to just have a flashy logo and consider that your brand.
You need to infuse your values, mission, and overall identity into every aspect of your business. If you do, your brand will make your company distinct and set you apart from competitors.
This isn’t easy, and many companies often fail to execute a comprehensive, cohesive brand. Where should you start?
Focus on these core components:
Your brand is all-encompassing. It includes parts of your design, messaging, and customer experience all wrapped into one.
That’s why you need to carefully build it with each of those in mind at every step.
Let’s take a look at the three critical steps for creating a brand for your design business.1. Start with your mission and values
Think about your company’s mission and values. What stands out?
Your brand identity should be formed with these ideals at its core. These elements will inform every aspect of your brand.
From your brand’s design to the overarching tone in all your messaging, everything should point back to your mission and values.
Take Rachel Cheng for example. Her mission as a designer is to “use design as a gateway to translate problems into empowering humanistic opportunities.”
Rachel’s website places an emphasis on the art of the human touch through her imagery and messaging. She has a looping GIF of herself playing on her About page, and she leverages casual copy as if she is speaking directly to you.(Image Source)
In this way, she is bringing her brand of “empowering humanistic opportunities” to life.
This is just one example of how vision plays a role in brand. Let’s take a look at how your brand identity comes to life through design.2. Create meaningful design elements
Now that you know what your company stands for, it is time to consider how you can portray that through iconic design elements.
These should include:
When you’re designing those elements, consider how you can visually depict your mission statement throughout your value chain.
Logo creation can be daunting, but don’t fret if logo design isn’t your specialty.
There’s always time to learn new skills to bring your brand to life, even if it’s something outside of your degree or background with online universities. Some logos are simple and still effective, too.
For example, Toy Fight is a design agency that partners with brands to “create exciting and meaningful experiences.”
Thus, they needed to make their brand “exciting and meaningful.” They seem to have accomplished that from the moment you visit their site:(Image Source)
The bold colors mixed with model toys and excess space create a memorable user experience.
In addition, the logo is simple but has the outline of a shield that connects back to the name Toy Fight.
The boldness of the imagery, colors, logo, and font reinforce Toy Fight’s commitment to making exciting and memorable brands for their clients.3. Share the right content in the right tone
Messaging includes what you say and how you say it.
Consider how your website copy, email communications with clients, and even marketing promotional copy will reflect your brand.
In addition, the content that you share should highlight your values and your work.
For example, look at how web design company Agility IO promotes their client EarlyBird on their social media:(Screenshot)
Agility IO’s copy is fun and supportive, positioning the company as true partners to EarlyBird.
By sharing this, they showcased their creative work to their audiences and even earned a testimonial in the process.
Two members of EarlyBird’s team commented on the post, sharing their enthusiasm for Agility IO’s work on their website.4. Integrate your brand throughout your UX
Your brand needs to be natively integrated throughout every aspect of your user experience. In other words, it needs to be cohesive.
A potential customer shouldn’t visit your site and see bold, bright colors only to discover a timid, relaxed copy in your email communications.
Every part of the user experience — from your digital footprint to your in-person execution — needs to be unified under the same brand. But how?
Tell a story. You have your mission and values. You have your design and messaging. Now you need to connect the dots to bring everything together.
One way to do this is with a corporate video that showcases your brand story and highlights your clients. Take a look at Bynd’s sizzle reel:(Video Source)
The video showcases Bynd’s clients as well as the agency’s overall brand with prominent features of their logo, fonts, and colors.
This is an excellent way to tie together your brand with your work and highlight existing business at the same time.Making it memorable
It isn’t enough to just create a website to feature your existing work. You need to create a brand and bring it to life on your site.
To accomplish this, focus on the design, messaging and customer experience. Start with your values, create meaningful design elements, and share the right content in the right tone. Then, channel your brand through all aspects of your customer experience.
By doing so, you’ll create a memorable and unforgettable business that will attract and resonate with your target clients.
Current circumstances have been challenging for all of us, but they’ve also provided opportunities.
This is most apparent in the realms of eLearning and app development. Traditional students need new platforms to continue their studies, and businesses of all types are trying to keep their heads above water in a socially distant world.
Whether dealing with the transition to a remote work environment or managing the logistics of higher learning in a post-COVID world, education is at the root of all needs. This provides an opportunity for in-house developers and freelancers alike.
But, before you go all out to create a learning management system (LMS) of your own, it’s important to map out the steps for a successful process and launch.What is an LMS?
Learning management systems are part educational and part analytical. They are digital learning hubs that provide the means to teach, train, and test. But, they also provide educators with the methods to track and analyze user data and connect with their audience. These platforms are used to some extent by government organizations, employers, and educators throughout the world to provide access to education and training.
If you’re considering LMS development, now is an ideal time to jump on this bandwagon. There is no expectation that this platform will lose its relevance any time soon.
However, if you want to do it successfully, you need a plan for success.Sailing Through the Development Process in 7 Easy Steps
Every application development process is individual. Some of us are great collaborators while others work better in isolation. Regardless of the size of your team or the type of application, this set of standard best practices will provide you with a framework for success.1. Create a Budget
Before you do anything else, you need to get an accurate handle on available resources and budget shortfalls moving forward. Will you need to outsource portions of your app build or purchase new software? How will you manage the launch, and how much money should you budget toward marketing?
The answers to these questions will give you a good idea of how much you have to work with, where you’ll need additional funding and the best ways to allocate these resources.
Do you know how much it will cost to develop your application? Some estimates put that figure at about $80,000 for a native mobile app with wide distribution, while a web-based eLearning platform can run as little as $1,000 from concept to launch.
Your goals, purpose, and reach will ultimately determine the cost, but don’t try to skimp on design, security, or functionality if you want your app to be successful and perform as intended. One useful tool for budgeting and cost is an app calculator.2. Put Your Team Together
Even those developers who code alone in a rarefied environment rely on a team at some point. For example, not all developers are great with front-end design, and few of us are marketing geniuses.
Solid app development depends on talent, and no developer is an island. The bigger the app and launch, the more people will be required to contribute to its success.
If you’re working within an organization to create a training app, many of your team members are already in place. However, you may still need to designate an eLearning specialist to create the curriculum, a marketing expert to promote the app, an L&D administrator to ensure that all components match your mission, and a project manager to track and manage all of the many moving parts. Unless you’re doing all of the codings yourself, you’ll also need an IT team to handle the actual design and build.3. Determine the Scope and Goals
The scale of your budget and team will depend partially on the expected scope and reach of your application. Are you building an in-house app for staff onboarding purposes or a learning system that’s intended for wide distribution over a number of platforms and organizations? What is the purpose of your app, and who are its ideal users? Design with these metrics in mind.
It’s also important to set up a realistic timeline for each phase. For example, what percentage of the app will be completed within six weeks, what is your launch deadline, and how does the timeline breakdown affect your build?4. Design With Security in Mind
DevSecOps are no longer a niche specialty. Remote environments mean a wider threat matrix and more possible entry points for cybercriminals. Every developer and web designer should build security into the application.
Once your app is built, the content will be the single most important component of its success. You don’t want to wait until launch to develop a curriculum or fill in any blanks with rushed content.
Many of these questions will be answered when you determine the scope and goal of your LMS, but you’ll need to have at least the bare bones of your content ready before you roll out your app. Any details can be tweaked during the testing phase to ensure that the bulk of your content is in place before you launch.6. Determine a Platform
Chances are that your app will require more resources to scale and run securely than the average hobby blog. The platform will affect access and your ability to ramp up operations. Large organizations will probably have private servers, hybrid cloud setups, and more resources than a freelance developer or a small business.
Whether your LMS is an upgrade with legacy data to migrate or a completely new platform will also affect things like database support and access as well as security. You’ll most likely need to store user data and provide different levels of access to admins, instructors, and students or staff.7. Build Interest and Excitement
Unless your LMS is a required part of staff training, you’ll want to build excitement and interest leading up to your launch. Creating a marketing and information plan through a subscriber list and social media engagement are standard marketing in the information age.
You could also create a free trial phase so your target audience can test out your app. This will hopefully create some buzz and provide social proof that can be leveraged for marketing purposes.Successful Testing and Launch
For an app to be successful, it needs to be tested thoroughly prior to launch. There are two types of testing that are essential.
The first is pen testing to ensure that your app is secure at all access points and databases. Current best practices mandate that apps are designed with security in mind rather than taking this as an afterthought. This is where developer tools and platforms that provide a live staging area will come in handy.
The second type of testing is A/B testing. This is an essential part of digital marketing that is often overlooked. In order for your app to be functional and reach the target market, all design elements must be evaluated by actual users.
Why is that?
For one thing, you want your application to be useful and functional. Second, search engines evaluate websites by the quality of user experience. You can’t just rely on SEO to reach your intended audience. If your app is slow to load, difficult to navigate, or there is no value to its content, you’re wasting your time and the user’s.Final Thoughts
While eLearning has become increasingly popular over the past few years, current circumstances make learning management systems an essential platform for organizations of all types. Whether you’re onboarding staff, retraining for a remote environment, or trying to prevent educational gaps for your students, an LMS is a way to go.
Our goal is to provide developers and business leaders with a road map for success. By following the above guidelines and best practices, you’ll help ensure a smooth development process from conception to launch.
There can be various reasons for failing to deliver a product on time. Take for example a situation in which progress grinds to a halt because of a requirement or specification cannot be met because the designer doesn’t have the means to satisfy it.
While your toolbox may be well stocked, there may be design tools or design resources you frequently go to that are simply no longer up to the task, even if they are long-time favorites.
The 15 tools and resources for designers and agencies described in this article are tops in their respective categories. They will help you or your team be more productive, and in some cases, they could be life-savers.
1. Be Theme
This multipurpose WordPress theme is hard to beat in terms of its powerful array of core features, design options, flexibility, and ease of use. Given that the sales of this long-time favorite web designer’s tool has exceeded the 200,000 mark, you have every reason to believe that you’ll get a huge return on your investment.
Click on the banner to find out what BeTheme can do for you.
Timezy is brand-new booking software, it features a modern design you can’t find elsewhere, and it’s a game-changer for booking operations management. Timezy simplifies workflows from beginning to end and can speed up your booking operation by more than 75%.
With Timezy at your fingertips you can:
The above features are in place or on the way. Since this application is still in an early phase of operation you have an opportunity to help shape and improve this product by signing up for the Early Bird Plan for $5.
Click on the banner for detailed information or to sign up.
There are plenty of good table and chart-building app and plugin options on the market, but the number of reliable ones diminishes significantly if you require one or more of the following:
wpDataTables can do all the above and a great deal more. Additional features include advanced filters, and a useful collection of add-ons. The documentation is detailed and informative.
Click on the banner to learn more about this best-in-its-class design tool.
With the Amelia WordPress booking plugin you can manage your client’s appointments, events, and employees’ schedules at multiple locations from a single platform.
This pixel-perfect creative multi-use theme is particularly suitable for bloggers, freelancing creative types, agencies, and small businesses. Its more than 80.000 sales have made it a ThemeForest best-seller.
With Uncode, you get:
When visiting the site, be sure to check out Uncode’s impressive library of user-created websites.
LayerSlider, a longtime favorite of web designers, isn’t just for creating stunning sliders anymore. It has evolved into a multi-use animation and content-creating application that is currently enjoyed by millions of active users.
LayerSlider is mobile device and SEO friendly, and since it is drag and drop, there is no need for coding.
Broken links can not only be frustrating to all parties concerned but can have a negative impact on a site’s search engine rankings as well. Dr. Link Check saves you the time and trouble of having to periodically perform manual checks on your site.
Dr. Link Check:
Mobirise is fast, easy to use, offline, and free. This website-building tool has lots of other things going for it as well.
You can download Mobirise to Windows or Mac at no cost.
8b is a brand-new, easy to use website builder that is futuristic in its design and that you can use on any device whether you are at home or on the go.
Download your own copy of 8b for free.
You might expect that a website building application that was designed with perfection in mind would require a high-tech skill set to operate. Total, on the other hand, is fast and super user friendly.
Its ready-made template blocks and professionally designed inner pages make this responsive multipurpose HTML5 template an excellent starting point for startup, agency, and small business website design.
Litho provides detailed documentation and 5-star user support.
A word to the wise for anyone looking for a trouble-free way to build an eCommerce website: Don’t overlook xStore!
A sampling of what you get for $39:
XStore will convice you that creating an eCommerce website doesn’t have to be difficult.
GOODIE helps people and businesses connect with web developers to get their sites reliably coded and up and running.
GOODIE is ideal for –
GOODIE specialties include small websites, WordPress websites, and eCommerce websites.
14. Heroic Inbox
Heroic Inbox helps businesses, large and small, manage their email inboxes.
Heroic Inbox, with its exceptionally friendly UI:
WhatFontIs can identify a font from an uploaded image in a matter of seconds. This application’s accuracy is built on top of AI algorithms and a huge database of over 700K fonts.
WhatFontIs is the best font identifying tool for designers (professional or amateurs).
Your web design toolbox is no doubt filled with a collection of valuable industry tools, tips, and tricks. There might even be a few old favorites in it that you would be reluctant to replace with something else.
But while it’s important to keep current by seeking out the latest and greatest tools for designers out there, it can be time consuming and at times frustrating to do so.
We are happy to be able to assist you by sharing these top 15 tools and resources for designers and agencies. Choosing one or more will help you stay on top of your design game and might even make your day.
The post The best 15 Tools & Resources for Designers? They’re in this article appeared first on WebAppers.
Close to two billion people shopped online last year. And with the pandemic quickly changing shopping habits, the number is set to increase even more in 2021 and beyond.
Because of that, it’s not surprising that online sales are booming and that as many as 24 million eCommerce stores are operating right now.
But at the same time, it means that companies have a harder time standing out. And that can have an impact on the value of the business and its ability to grow consistently.
And the biggest problem most online stores face is not a lack of marketing channels. Instead, it’s usually poor business practices that make the store very hard to sell.
So, if you’re thinking, “how to sell my website?”, you will need to know where to find the right buyers and also how to make your website more appealing. Looking at other websites for sale can help you gain a better understanding of how successful sites look at first glance, but it’s equally important how the online store is structured from the business side.
And that means you should not only focus on the marketing side but also make sure that you implement the best practices of running an online business that will make it truly sustainable in the long term.
Let’s explore some of the key strategies you should consider below.Create a Technical Document Knowledge Base
Managing and working with documents is an inseparable part of running a business, both online and offline. Whether you’re running a software solution, an eCommerce store, or any other type of business, you will need to find a way to handle documents while also keeping them secure.
And that’s where technical documentation software can be so useful.
These tools can help store and securely access a wide variety of documents, especially technical resources such as source code, which must be protected.
But what should you look for in a good solution?
Well, one of the key considerations is access control. You want your team to be able to retrieve the documents they need quickly. Still, there also have to be security features that prevent unauthorized access and allow tracking of any changes to the documents.
Since documents will likely be edited and worked on, the interface needs to be convenient as well. It should provide intuitive and comprehensive writing and editing experience for your team and include features they need to work efficiently.
Finally, depending on your team’s size, you will also need to consider which pricing plan will work best in your situation. Some solutions offer per-user pricing, which can quickly add up if you have a large team that needs access.Prioritize Customer Data Security Photo by Franck on Unsplash
Most companies believe that their customer data is secure and that what they’re doing is enough. Up to the point that it isn’t. And then, these companies are forced to deal with the aftermath of situations like these, which can forever damage a company’s reputation.
But the good news is that if you take an honest and proactive approach, you can minimize the risks associated with data security and privacy, which your customers will surely appreciate.
The first step of keeping hackers at bay is regularly updating the tools and software you might be using. And at the same time, carefully evaluating the provider’s reputation and whether you can trust them to store your customer data.
You should also consider using a dedicated server that’s used by your business only. Many companies also use advanced encryption for adding an extra layer of protection for sensitive data.
Simultaneously, you should implement the best cybersecurity practices and educate your employees on the critical steps they should follow when handling data or accessing documents.
Protecting data is a process that takes time and effort, but as you become more familiar with what it takes and offer adequate protection to your data, your customers will start to appreciate that as one of the key benefits of working with you.Use Data to Make Informed Decisions
Today’s companies have access to more data than ever before. And while that offers tremendous potential, that data will only be useful if you actually use it and apply the insights you gain to running the business.
That’s why employing a data-driven decision-making process can be one of the biggest difference-makers for your business.
Instead of making decisions based on intuition or subjective experiences, you can look at any problem from a data-based perspective, analyze similar situations in the past, and determine the outcomes that are the most likely to generate the desired result.
For instance, if you want to promote a new product, you could analyze data from previous launches and identify what worked best and which strategies didn’t produce the necessary outcomes.
Then, you could focus the majority of your efforts on the most promising approaches, maximizing your resources and increasing the likelihood of success.
As you collect more data and follow a data-driven approach, your team will start adopting it as well, which will dramatically increase the success rate in most situations.Listen to Your Customers
As a business, your success is largely dependent on your ability to engage and convert your audience. While that sounds simple enough, many companies are afraid to reach out and communicate with their customers. Instead, they’re trying to guess what they prefer and basically operate in the dark.
Many aren’t sure how to establish a connection to their audience, with most insights being limited to support queries and online reviews.
However, there are plenty of opportunities for learning more about your customers, no matter the size of your business.
One of the most effective ways to learn more about your audience’s needs is to sit down and talk with your best customers in an interview. Sure, organizing a customer interview takes effort, but there probably isn’t a better way to gain direct insights about what they want, why they chose to work with you, and what you could do better.
Additionally, surveys or even on-site polls can be a great supplementary strategy that helps answer specific questions or learn more about who the people on the other side of the screen might be.
If you have a social media presence, you should also try to be more engaged in the conversations that your followers are having. By responding to comments, trying to solve problems, and even encouraging conversations through posts, you can not only gain insights but also showcase a more human side of your company.Final Words
Running a successful online business takes more than just attracting new customers; you must also know how to run the business side if you want your business to be successful and appealing to buyers if you decide to sell down the road.
With the strategies listed above, you will be setting your business up for long-term success and mitigating some of the biggest risks faced by online businesses today.
Today, nearly 93 percent of all web traffic comes through search engines. Google doesn’t share its data on the volume of searches performed, but it’s estimated that the search engine processes 2 trillion queries per year.
With the average person performing three to four searches a day, search engine optimization has never been more important. SEO best practices are always evolving, so it’s critical to stay on top of emerging trends and changes to Google’s algorithm.Here are six major changes you can expect in 2021: 1. Page Experience signals will factor into ranking.
Perhaps the most significant change to search is the Page Experience Update to Google’s algorithm coming in May 2021. This update means that user experience will soon become an official ranking signal. Page Experience will take into account everything from mobile-friendliness to website security protocols.
To benefit from the update, websites must meet all three of Google’s Core Web Vitals. Web vitals measured will include page load speeds, the speed at which users can interact with a page, and how often users experience an unexpected layout shift.
To meet the new standards, content should load within 2.5 seconds, the first input delay should be no more than 100 milliseconds, and pages should maintain a cumulative layout shift of less than 0.1. Core Web Vital updates will also affect Google Discover, Google’s personalized content feed.2. Local search will become more competitive.
According to Hennessey Digital, 46 percent of all Google searches are users seeking information about local listings. “Near me” searches jumped 150 percent from 2019 to 2020, and since nearly one in five local searches lead to a purchase, ranking high in local listings is absolutely critical.
In the past several years, Google has sought to improve the quality of local search results by leveraging users’ location data. It also started emphasizing photos of businesses, displaying prominent calls to action, and adding features such as Posts to Google My Business. In 2021, you can expect local search to become more competitive as more businesses begin utilizing GMB features.
We’re also going to see a rise in zero-click search — search where a user never visits a website because his question is answered in the search results themselves. The rise in zero-click search makes getting into Google’s “local pack” even more important. (These are the top three local businesses that show up in SERPs.) If a user is searching for a nearby restaurant, for instance, he may never even see those restaurants that don’t appear in the top spots.3. Voice search will make ranking even more important.
A third of U.S. adults now own some kind of smart speaker. By 2025, household penetration rates are expected to reach 75 percent. With more people working remotely during the pandemic, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of people using smart-home devices for voice search. This new behavior is going to have a dramatic impact on SEO in 2021 and beyond.
Businesses trying to optimize for voice search should aim to appear in the top one to three spots on Google and try to get content to appear as a featured snippet. Google has been adding more featured snippets and answer boxes to SERPs to answer questions quickly and succinctly for voice queries. Today, about 40 percent of voice search answers come from featured snippets.
Ranking is another factor that makes content more likely to be chosen as a voice search result. (About 75 percent of voice search answers come from the top three results on Google.) Page load speeds also appear to play a role in voice search, which makes sense when you consider that these users expect instantaneous answers.4. Search intent will eclipse everything else.
Google is always trying to improve the search experience for its users, and it’s getting better and better at understanding intent. In general, there are four types of search intent: informational (“what’s the capital of North Dakota”), preferential (“Netflix vs. Hulu”), transactional (“Kohl’s coupon”), and navigational (“Facebook login”). Based on the user’s search, Google knows what type of content to serve up first — a Wikipedia page, a retail website, or the actual web page the user was looking for.
Semantic search is playing a much bigger role in gauging intent. Essentially, semantic search helps search engines understand what users are looking for by analyzing search context and how words in a search query are related to one another.
As Google’s understanding of intent becomes more advanced, the degree to which a piece of content matches search intent will become more important than technical SEO practices. That’s not to say that meta descriptions and tags are no longer important, but if you have limited bandwidth, it’s better to focus on SERP analysis to create more competitive content. You should also pay attention to the type of content that would best serve a user’s needs.5. Mobile-first indexing will become the default.
This shouldn’t be news to anyone who’s been following Google’s algorithm updates over the past five years, but it’s still a significant change. Today, many businesses have separate versions of a website for desktop and mobile users. The problem is that those versions aren’t always identical. Google doesn’t have a separate index for mobile and desktop, and in the past, the desktop version of the website was the default.
Since more than half of searches are now performed from a mobile device, Google has been slowly transitioning to a mobile-first index. In 2019, mobile-first indexing became the default for new websites. Starting in March of this year, Google will make mobile-first indexing the default for all websites.6. Long-form content that meets the “EAT” test will perform better.
Even as screens get smaller, text-based content is getting longer. Long reads have been outperforming shorter pieces, with posts longer than 3,000 words getting up to three times more traffic. In the future, creating long-form content may help you outperform the competition in search — as long as the content is high-quality.
With AI-generated content becoming more sophisticated and readable, Google will be working overtime to cut through the mass of spammy content to serve up the most reputable results. For this reason, you can expect an even greater emphasis on Google’s “EAT” principle in 2021.
“EAT” is a concept that dates back to 2018. It stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Since something like “trustworthiness” is hard to quantify, it’s not a direct ranking factor yet. However, according to Google’s public liaison for search Danny Sullivan, Google uses a variety of factors as a proxy to gauge whether or not a piece of content meets the EAT criteria.
Changes to Google’s algorithm might cause some fluctuations in rankings this year, but at the end of the day, Google’s top priority is improving the user experience. That means delivering the most relevant search results in the most user-friendly format. As long as you’re paying attention to UX and creating helpful, informative content, you’ll be on track to succeed in 2021 and beyond.
“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion” – W. Edwards Deming
Several years later, this quote still holds true. However, today the problem isn’t about collecting data as much as it is about communicating and presenting it effectively.
Graphs are one such visual you can use to tell a good data story. They can be used to:
Let’s face it: creating graphs on Excel isn’t the best option. Not only is it a tedious process but the outcome isn’t aesthetically pleasing either.
Wondering how to create graphs that are visually appealing and functional? This is where graph makers come into the picture.
Here are the six best graph makers you can use to create beautiful graphs for free.1. Venngage
From internal reports and presentations to blog posts and infographics — Venngage’s graph maker helps you create stunning graphs for a range of purposes.
They have a variety of modern, easy-to-edit templates for pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, area graphs, scatter plots and more.
Whether you’re looking for clean and conservative designs or bold and creative ones, there are over 100 different graph templates that you can choose from.
All you have to do is pick the right template, enter your data, and customize the design by experimenting with icons, illustrations, colors, logos, and fonts.
Worried about dealing with heaps of data? Don’t be. Venngage’s online graph maker tool lets you upload an Excel file or paste your Google Sheets link, making it incredibly easy to import data into the tool.
That’s not all, you can also collaborate with your team in real-time by adding team members, sharing templates, and leaving comments.2. Adobe Spark
Unlike other Adobe products, Adobe Spark is specifically created for non-designers.
Their free graph maker tool lets you design pie charts, donut charts, line graphs, and bar graphs for your personal and professional projects.
You can use the drag-and-drop interface to add data points and categories. They also have different color schemes and layouts to help you create unique graphs.
Once you’re done, you can download the graph to use elsewhere, print it, or share it on social media.3. ChartBlocks
ChartBlocks is another easy-to-use online graph maker.
You can create a graph in minutes by manually entering the data or pulling it from spreadsheets, data management tools, and even live feeds. From colors to layouts and sizes, you can customize every aspect of these graphs.
ChartBlocks graphs are hosted with D3.js which means you get to create responsive charts for a range of devices and screen sizes.
Their ‘Personal’ plan is free. It lets you create and export up to 50 active charts.
The downside is that these charts are branded with the ChartBlocks logo. If you want to remove their branding, you will need to upgrade to their ‘Professonal’ plan which is $20 per month.4. LiveGap
LiveGap is a popular choice among teachers and students. This graph maker lets you create professional-looking graphs such as pie charts, doughnut charts, radar charts, polar charts, area graphs and more.
You can either manually enter the data into the tool or paste it from an excel sheet. You also get to customize design elements such as the color, font types, sizes, borders, legends, and axes.
After you’ve created the graph, you can choose to save it as an image, an animated web page, or share it as a link with other people.5. Plotvar
A simple yet effective graph maker, Plotvar helps you create line graphs, pie charts, bar graphs, and live graphs within minutes.
You just have to choose the graph type, fill the data input form, and you’ll be presented with a link that can be shared with people.
Plotvar is designed to be “fast and easy to use” and is only free for non-commercial use.6. RAWGraphs
RAWGraphs aims to be the “missing link between spreadsheets and data visualization”.
Unlike the other graph makers, this one is developed keeping designers and developers in mind. While they have a range of graph templates, you can also create your own graphs from scratch, for free.
RawGraphs lets you export visualizations as vector (SVG) or raster (PNG) images to embed into your web page.The takeaway: create beautiful graphs for free
A well-designed graph that communicates data effectively is impactful, and there’s so much more to it than just plotting numbers.
So, stop relying on Excel. Designer or not, these six online graph makers will help you create beautiful and functional graphs for free, within minutes.
Using Twitter to establish your brand image is a positive move for your startup business. Resorting to Twitter as a cost-effective means is a great way to engage your audience. Considering the advantages and taking a look at the advantages to help you understand why you should have a Twitter account for your startup business.Why Should You Use Twitter to Promote Your Startup?
When you use Twitter for your startup business, your audience can interact with you and share their ideas about a subject you have just tweeted. Moreover, they get to know your latest news or promotions and can participate in them. Furthermore, they can contact you in case of the occurrence of any kind of issue.
There are about 321 million daily active users on Twitter which implies that the platform can make your startup thrive. In addition, Twitter is the 4th social media globally for attracting website traffic in October 2020, according to Similarweb. Consequently, Twitter is a social media you can trust as a fertile land with respect to leads that can grow your startup business. Remember to always analyze your sales metrics so that you know if you are going in the right direction.Tips to Make your Startup’s Twitter Account Stand Out 1. Create a Perfect Twitter Profile
To start your activity as a startup on Twitter, you should first of all work on your Twitter profile. Here you will read about the details that you should consider for creating a perfect Twitter profile.Pick an Easy-to-Search Twitter Handle
A Twitter handle or username is different from a Twitter name. Twitter handle is the unique name that appears in your profile URL with a @ sign in the beginning. It can contain up to 15 characters. On the other hand, the Twitter name is the complete name of your startup that you can change any time It can contain up to 50 characters. Remember that if the two names are too different from each other, your account will be hard-to-search.
Take a look at @archillect profile on Twitter:Searchable Business Name
As the Twitter handle has to be unique and searchable, you can try adding ‘Inc’, ‘Pvt Ltd’, ‘HQ’, etc. at the end, if your desired username is already taken. To keep your Twitter handle easy-to-search, you should avoid using characters, numbers, and long or complicated names. Moreover, using keywords is a mistake as it may appear as spam when users search for the keyword.
You can also use the abbreviations of your startup business just like the following example:On-Brand or Real Twitter Profile Photo and Cover Image
Adding a photo and cover image is essential for your startup Twitter profile if you want to appear professional. The profile photo that you choose can either be a real image or a logo. Either way, it has to represent your brand well enough. The best dimension for your profile photo is 400×400 pixels.
The cover image or the header of your profile can contain more than just your brand image. You can change it from time to time and either inspire your audience or inform them about your latest news, products, services, updates, etc. Changing your cover image constantly gives a dynamic nature to your account that is interesting and engaging. The ideal size for a header is 1500×1500 pixels.
Remember to upload the highest resolution JPG, PNG, or GIF format of your photos for both the profile photo and the cover image.
Look at the profile photo and cover image of @bookpoets and check out the relevance:Brief and Descriptive Twitter Bio
The next step is to optimize your Twitter bio. A bio on Twitter contains up to 160 characters and you should describe your startup within a few words. Your description should be written in a way that gives one or several reasons for the audience to follow you. For instance, you can write about the value of what you do, how you can make their life easier, etc.
Twitter bio can also include a bio. Therefore, you can insert the direct link to your startup website or other social media in your Twitter bio. In addition, you can reach local followers by adding location to the bio. No need to panic if you are only active online because you can still add your founding location or the locations you work with.
Check out @motivational Twitter profile:
You can add your Twitter profile link as well as all social media links to your Instagram bio and generate leads from Instagram to your Twitter account. Moreover, add your Twitter profile link to your other social media and promote it effectively.A Catchy Pinned Tweet
Pinned tweets are the static tweets on the top of your profile. Therefore, when a new visitor visits your Twitter profile, they can see your pinned tweet prior to other tweets.
A pinned tweet should be your most exciting, informative, and inspiring tweet. It could also be the latest news about your startup that you want your audience to know and engage with, for instance, your promotions, product launch, cause or charity, etc. Though you can change your pinned tweet any time, you can still keep it for several months as well. It all is up to you and the path your startup business is going through.
Pinning a tweet is quite easy. All you should do is click the arrow at the top-right corner of your tweet and select ‘Pin to your profile’. Piece of cake!
Look at @nutellaUSA pinned tweet as an instance:2. Promote Other Twitter Businesses
Promoting other businesses on Twitter is necessary to capture their attention for promoting you. In other words, recognizing others leads to your own recognition by them. When you shape such rapport strategically, the result is definitely promising.
Retweeting the other businesses’ tweets is a good way to both get noticed by them and to inform your own followers about that particular tweet. Therefore, mass tweeting would not be wise at all as it can signify that you have no content to share by yourself. In addition, remember to share your thoughts on each retweet and convey your message.3. Use the Best Niche-Related Hashtags
Using hashtags on Twitter is advantageous for your startup business since it allows Twitter to index your post. Then, users on Twitter can check out the post if they search for that particular hashtag. Therefore, your post attracts anyone who is interested in that particular hashtag and you can increase your audience accordingly.
Add hashtags to your posts whenever you feel the need for hashtags for your posts depending on their subjects. However, remember not to overuse hashtags per tweet. Keep the number of your hashtags between one or two per post and it would be ideal.
Twitter also has ‘trending’ hashtags that are mostly used or, in other words, ‘trended’ among Twitter users. To be more specific, trending hashtags are those that people tweet about the most. Trending hashtags are not unique. They differ from location to location or are dependent on social connections and interests.
Using trending hashtags for an irrelevant post just for the sake of their popularity is something that you should avoid. Because it is a useless unbeneficial act. People like to see relevant posts when they search for a trending hashtag. Irrelevant posts will be ignored due to the lack of interest and therefore you will not get any audience for your post through trending hashtags.
The screenshot below shows @Nigella_Lawson use of the hashtag:4. Tweet Timing
Tweeting without a schedule and without considering the best timing can only lead to failure in your Twitter marketing strategies. Let’s see how you can avoid the danger of sending your content to the middle of nowhere where no one looks at them.Schedule and Automate Your Tweets to Be Consistent
Thanks to the growth of technology and AI tools, automation has replaced doing many things manually. Automation of tasks can save a lot of your time so that you have more time to devote to other more important tasks such as creating a captivating content strategy. In addition, automation removes the risk of forgetting to post at a suitable time due to an overload of tasks.
You can share your tweets ahead of time by using scheduling tools and setting the exact day and time for your post to be shared. Therefore, you are able to eliminate manual posting pressure and stress.Tweet at the Best Time Possible
Posting your tweet at the best time can win your tweet a lot of audiences. Hence, your goal of posting is more likely to be accomplished. But, when is the best time to tweet?
Well, there is no exact time to tell. The reason is that the best time may differ for each business and the type of audience you want to attract. However, there is never a dead-end for almost any issue. You can still follow some recommendations.
According to a detailed analysis of TrackMaven, the best day to tweet is Thursdays. On the other hand, users are more likely to check Twitter during their coffee breaks at work than on weekends. They prefer to catch up on more personal activities or spend time with family and friends on weekends instead.
Regarding the time, the best time spans to tweet are 8 to 10 in the morning and 6 to 9 in the evening according to Hubspot. Remember to be careful of the time zones if your location is different from the location of your target audience. So, always check for their time zone and post in the mentioned time.5. Interact with Your Followers and Respond to all Comments & DMs
As a startup, you should get yourself known to a larger group of audience. One way to do this is to start interacting with them effectively. Using related trending hashtags is a means to interact with your followers. Your followers engage with your content and you can start hosting a Twitter chat.
A Twitter chat requires your account to have a lot of active followers. During a Twitter chat, users discuss a particular topic using a trending hashtag. The usual time for a Twitter chat is about an hour. Hosting a Twitter chat shows that you are active on Twitter and can engage your followers.
Another thing you can do to keep your followers engaged is to actively respond to all comments and direct messages. Your audience may contact you through comments or direct messages for various reasons. For instance, troubleshooting, customer service, suggestions, etc.
If you leave your direct messages unanswered, you will get a low customer care mark from that user. In addition, if the user is an unsatisfied customer, it is highly likely that they leave a negative comment so that the situation becomes scandalous for you. Therefore, it is smart and wise to answer them especially knowing the fact that there is no character limit for Twitter direct messages.
One last point about DMs to consider is that you should change your Twitter setting to receive messages from anyone. Because by default, you can only receive DMs from those you are following. Changing your setting makes it possible for anyone to contact you through DMs. So, just enable ‘Receive Direct Messages from Anyone’ in your ‘Privacy Setting’.What to Share on Twitter to Make your Startup’s Account Stand Out?
It may happen to you that you run out of ideas for your Startup’s Twitter account. Considering what to share on Twitter, you can plan ahead and create creative posts. These ideas may help you get more attention from your followers:
Twitter allows its users to upload up to four photos per post. In addition to real photos, you can go further and think of graphics, infographics, diagrams, etc. in case you want to make your post more data-oriented. There are many tools that can help you create many designs easily and in no time.
Furthermore, GIFs are other exciting options for adding variety to your tweets. Moreover, they can engage your followers regarding how creative and lively they are. If you cannot create GIFs, you can choose among the GIFs that are available on the Twitter keyboard by searching for a keyword. You can also use the available tools to make GIFs that are original to your startup.
Other types of content that you can share are videos or even your blog posts, of course, if you have a blog or website. This is a good way to both engage your followers on Twitter and drive traffic to your website or blog. You can also consult with your product manager and share the latest images of your products.
Here is how @bigseventravel shares its website articles:
Plus, there are numerous tweet ideas to frequently share and stay active and consistent. For instance, you can thank your followers, retweet previous tweets, share event-related tweets, etc. Furthermore, you can keep up with your posting schedule and preserve your online presence on Twitter.Conclusion
As a startup owner and marketer, you can follow the instructions above and use Twitter effectively to establish your brand identity, create a sense of community, and build up a strong relationship with your followers and customers. The thing you should always consider while working with social media is that you should be patient and follow the strategies correctly and creatively. It may take time for audiences to know you as a brand so stay motivated. Wish you the best of luck!
We live in an age of information where data is often more valuable than money itself. Both raw and processed data, as well as the communication channels that convey it, are the lifeblood of most modern organizations, regardless of the industry, they operate in or their size.
This, unfortunately, also means that losing that data, either through negligence or via cyberattacks, has become an inevitable aspect of running a successful company.
This leads us to the main subject of this article – Data Loss Prevention (DLP).
Having a strong Data Loss Prevention strategy in place has become paramount for businesses that would like to prevent their sensitive data from being lost and/or deleted, accessed by entities who are not supposed to access it, or simply stolen. This type of scenario can lead to disastrous consequences. For example, it was reported by the National Archives and Records Administration that 90% of companies that go through critical data loss situations fail to recover and go under during the following year.What Constitutes a Strong DLP Policy & How it Benefits Companies?
A proper DLP strategy is one that prioritizes the protection and systematic archiving of sensitive, valuable, regulated, and any other type of data that can cause harm to one’s organization if it gets deleted, lost or falls into wrong hands. Think company secrets, financial info, medical records, intellectual property, etc.
A DLP strategy typically includes a symbiosis of policies and technological solutions. It involves integrating proper firewalls preventing your data to be physically lost or accessed, as well as having strong formal policies in terms of sharing confidential information through communication channels like email.
DLPs can help businesses with the following aspects of data protection and archiving:
Let’s now tackle some of the most widely used (and praised) best practices for integrating a potent DLP policy.10 Data Loss Prevention Implementation Tips & Best Practices
In order to make the most out of the DLP implementation process and increase your chances of getting this data security plan properly in place, you should consider the following industry standards and best practice tips. Bear in mind that this task is not exactly a walk in the park and can be an important investment for the company implementing it.
Here are 10 best practices for creating an effective DLP strategy:1. Determine What Data is Sensitive & Classify it
Not all data is made equal. This is why you should identify the documents, files, and other types of information that could potentially cause the greatest damage if it gets lost or is accessed by unwanted parties. It is also a good idea to perform triage in terms of data value and sensitivity.
Naturally, the most sensitive files that you do not want to be leaked tend to vary from business to business and depend on the industry they are a part of. For instance, healthcare companies would deem Protected Health Information, or PHI, their most important data and would likely put the highest levels of protection to those pieces of information, while other industries tend to protect intellectual property, personal and/or client-related data, and so on.2. Define What Data Needs Archiving, When & For How Long
Make sure that your DLP policy tackles all the necessary details for data and email archiving rules. Most data protection and archiving tools have different prices for storing and keeping your documents. Another important aspect is the time frame of data accessibility. Which files need to be accessible quickly and easily, and which documents do not require fast retrieval.3. Define The Hierarchy and Chain of Command in terms of Roles and Responsibilities
It is always a good idea to have a well-defined structure when it comes to who within an organization has which role and what responsibilities in terms of utilization and maintenance of a DLP tool and policy. Try and determine who creates the policy, which team implements it, and which team performs revisions and maintenance. Bear in mind that, though the functionality is quite important, it is the security that should be paramount when it comes to your Data Loss Prevention policy, with the prompt response being the main objective.4. Track Sensitive Data Flows
Aside from determining which data is most sensitive, it is critical to secure and monitor the channels these pieces of data are traveling through. A lot of data flows between various different systems on a daily basis, which is why great DLP tools are designed to track the path and monitor the location of all important information within this system of data flows.5. Find The Right DLP Tool
Much like not all data is created equal, neither are data protection tools. It is important to come up with the right list of parameters that a DLP platform should fulfill before opting for one. Here are some questions that could help you come up with a valid frame of reference when choosing a DLP tool:
Creating a DLP policy can be a convoluted process that may require a trial and error method to get it right. Instead of going with an all-in strategy, perhaps it is wise to secure your most valuable data first, and then extend the project across other types of data. This can prevent you from backtracking your steps and implementation stages, and mitigate losing precious time and resources through utilizing a suboptimal solution.
Some organizations decide to go only with the monitoring aspect during this initial stage of the project, and only later expand the service onto auto-encryption, user action blockage, and other similarly restricting features.7. Test Your DLP Systems Prior to Full Implementation
Be sure to choose a DLP tool that can send alerts according to your specific policy-based rules and that can be properly supported by your incident response teams. To establish an optimal system, it is recommended to test your policies and DLP systems thoroughly prior to going live with the implementation itself.8. Be Cognizant of All the Limitations of Your DLP System
Be aware that certain DLP platforms, even though they secure higher visibility, accessibility, protection, and control of your company data, these tools also have limitations as well. For example, they cannot fully analyze data that has been encrypted without, especially not decryption keys, while some tools also fail at segmenting documents according to type and format.9. Define Parameters For Measuring The Success of Your DLP Plan
Regardless of whether you run a large-scale organization or an SME, creating a multifaceted DLP system is no small investment, which is why you need to figure out the right KPIs in terms of how successful and cost-effective your policy really is.
Some of the handy KPIs include:
It is no secret that traditional data security policies and MOs have become subpar in terms of effectiveness, especially within the modern digital environments where cyberattacks have strongly evolved. Both large organizations and smaller businesses should start shifting their mindsets toward more robust security systems and policies that tackle data protection on both granular and infrastructure levels.
In order to extract the full potential of these systems, we recommend treating your DLP implementation as a long-term process rather than as a quick-fix security solution.
Well, if you are planning to sell your stuff online and make money, then there are a few top eCommerce platforms that would help you out. Shopify is the name that is imagined at first while talking about an eCommerce platform.
Apart from permitting user ease while using it, the Shopify App market is altered for assisting the businesses to grow perfectly. The top assets of Shopify are its amazing features.
Even when it comes to the payment processing feature of an eCommerce platform, Shopify Payments comes into play.
Today, we are here with a post through which you are going to know everything you need about Shopify Payments. So, let’s get started.What are Shopify Payments?
An in-built payment processor belonging to Shopify, the Shopify Payments diminishes the requirement for a 3rd-party payment solution. Still, you can use 3rd-party processors, such as Stripe and PayPal on your Shopify website, but Shopify Payments offers you numerous options to put aside all distinct account activations and dashboards that arrive with those other processors.
Easy for the customers, Shopify Payments make you available with local currencies and a plethora of widely-accepted payment methods, starting from credit cards to Apple Pay. The ease-of-use of Shopify Payments is the top reason which makes Shopify, a top-rated eCommerce platform.How Do Shopify Payments Work?
The customers who are purchasing from the Shopify store can pick from various payment options. You must note that if you are choosing Shopify Payments, then you will receive money through such payment processors only.
For all sorts of payment options, you will get paid through Shopify Payments only. Such payment options utilize a fast checkout known as Shopify Pay that permits the users to save their credit card details, email, shipping, and billing information for rapid checkout with future payments.
The payment information of the customers is stored on Shopify servers securely, which comply with the global Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards.Benefits Of Shopify Payments
Shopify Payments comes with various benefits that will help you to decide which is the right payment processor for your online business.1. You can track your money in real-time
We can track our sales and revenues with any payment processor, but using Shopify Payments you will get every required display in your Shopify dashboards. So, no more need to remember various passwords and clicking all-around strange 3rd-party websites only to access your financial info.2. You’ll have support for chargeback recoveries
Being a merchant, chargebacks are usually taken as an accepted risk that you will need to deal with in time. With Shopify Payments, chargebacks are quite easy. It’s because Shopify accumulates the evidence automatically for you that supports your case. Also, Shopify generates a customized, automatic chargeback response to ease your life.3. Your customers won’t be redirected at checkout
Just appending more steps than is required to your checkout process may not be a good thing for conversion rates. Shopify Payments eases the checkout process for customers, despite appending more steps.Shopify Payments vs Other Payments
You are not required to use Shopify Payments only because you run your eStore through Shopify. Shopify integrates with 100+ other payment processors, embracing the giants, such as Stripe and PayPal. So, which one to pick. For that, you should know the benefits and drawbacks of every payment processor. So, let’s check out which payment processor will beat the competition.You, Will, Need Support For Chargeback Recoveries
Well, as mentioned above, Shopify Payments permit the merchants to win the chargeback disputes and recover the lost sales. For any received chargebacks, Shopify offers the responses automatically that are custom-generated from order, shipping, to customer information of the disputed charge.
When talking about Stripe, it utilizes the machine learning technology of Radar to prevent fraud. If later a charge gets disputed, Stripe holds the caliber to repay the disputed amount along with chargeback fees.
In the case of PayPal, it favors the buyers when it comes to chargeback disputes. Also, you will be required to offer additional proof relevant to the transaction if you want any assistance.Shopify Payments Customer Support
With Shopify Payments, you will get customer support around the clock through phone and chat options.
On the contrary, Stripe also holds various ways to connect with the customers when they emerge with any question, through chat support channels, social media, and help center, also via email support and phone.PayPal on the other edge offers various ways to revert to its customers’ questions from their team of customer support, such as a help center, community forum, social media, live chat, email, and phone support.Shopify Payments Mobile App
Both the Shopify apps, Android and iOS are available for handling your online store.
Whereas, Stripe mobile dashboard app is also available for Android and iOS.
In the case of PayPal, you can access your account from your Android as well as an iOS phone at any time.Your Customers Won’t Be Redirected At Checkout
As mentioned earlier, with Shopify Payments your conversion rates will not get hurt as it eases the checkout process for your customers without adding more steps.
When it comes to Stripe, it redirects your customers away from your site during the checkout process.
With PayPal, you can develop a custom checkout process that would help you in increasing your conversions.Shopify Payments Transaction Fees
You will be charged 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for using Shopify Payments & 2.7% for in-person payments.
Whereas, 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for using Stripe online payments & 2.7% + $0.05 per transaction for in-person payments
Coming onto PayPal processing fees, it’s based on the revenue you generate per month. If you earn below $5k per month, then you will be charged a 3.4% + 45c transaction fee on each order.Shopify Payments is Best For:
Shopify Payments is best for the business owners who are currently using Shopify or planning to use it to host their online store.
On the contrary, the business owners who are searching for more flexible, customizable payment solutions and don’t use Shopify as their eCommerce platform may use Stripe.
Whereas, PayPal provides an extensive suite of payment solutions for small businesses that are best for anyone demanding to start at an affordable price.Conclusion
If you are a Shopify merchant and want to craft a positive shopping experience for your customers, at the same time need a payment gateway that is reliable, safe, offers you quick access to your money, you may pick Shopify Payments.
Well, setting up Shopify Payments is much easier, but because of this, it’s not like it’s less important. Be sure that you input your entire business details and banking information at your first sale within 21 days, otherwise, the payments will be refunded to the buyer automatically.
Although email marketing may seem a rather still industry, it constantly undergoes changes. They may not be obvious to regular users, but email marketers today have way more tools than they would have even 2 years ago.
Gamification is one of such tools. Primarily, before live stories and streaming, game-like content was heavily used on social media to engage followers and prompt shares and likes. However, thanks to modern technologies, gamification has made its way into emails for good.What is Gamification
Generally speaking, gamification is all dynamic activities and solutions you use to encourage deeper interaction with otherwise non-game content, like emails, webpages, learning material, etc. It can be any game-like element that presupposes taking an action to achieve some kind of fun goal. To name a few:
In terms of email marketing, some gamification activities are totally autonomous and can be done straight in the email. They include a quiz and trivia (with answers below), illusion, maze, item spotting, prize finding, etc.
In the following example, edX offers to take a quiz and discover what product fits you best straight in the copy. You answer the questions, check the answers, and have your instant result. And Baked by Melissa offers to find the perfect sweets for Valentine’s Day by doing some quick choose-your-option task.
However, till recently, more complex gamification in emails only specified the task. To participate and see the result, you still had to go to the website. For instance, if you click the button Play Now in any of the below emails, you will be redirected to the webpage with the corresponding activity.
The technique is engaging as it heightens the interest and excitement, yet there is always a chance of losing people on the way from the copy to the site. However, this issue has been addressed by email designers and is expected to be solved through AMP for email.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a technology that enables to add AMPHTML components to emails and lets users interact with dynamic content straight in the message. Take a look at the below email designed by Stripo Email Editor. It offers the recipient to do a puzzle to save a seat for the upcoming presentation. The task can be completed within the email body, and the user is notified about success instantly.Source: Stripo
This is already a new level of interaction with your audience. Apart from being attention-catching, emails acquire the functionality of an app or even website and deliver a different experience with your campaigns. AMP-supported gamification has high potential and can give a hand in the fight for your readers’ interest.Why to Add Gamification to Email Marketing Strategies 1. Gamification increases engagement.
The main task of gamification is to encourage a longer interaction with your emails. Game-like tasks have a higher involvement rate and increase an average email reading session.
With so much diverse content around, it’s getting harder to grab people’s attention and make them consider your offer. Most users are getting immune to regular call-to-actions and hardly respond to discounts simply because everyone around is offering them.
Marketers deal with it by experimenting with design and copywriting, and adding gamification to your marketing tools can help spark interest when no other strategies work.2. It generates shares.
Naturally, people like sharing interesting stuff with friends. If they like your email because it was fun solving a puzzle or guessing the right word, they’re most likely to forward it to a friend or spread the word on social media.
Look at this email offering to create a Christmas card which you can later send to your friends. It definitely stands aside all those sales and free shipping offer Inboxes are typically crowded with in December. Think what email has more chances to be forwarded: a regular promo you receive all the time or a dynamic DIY card?Source: Stripo 3. It generates clicks.
Since gamification encourages more engagement, it eventually generates more clicks. People click to play, click to reveal the mystery, click to spin the wheel, etc.
Not only do ?licks move the customer down the purchase funnel; a good click rate is important for your sender reputation, especially when you’re warming up your domain or plan to increase the campaign frequency. Clicks tell email clients that people are eager to interact with your content, and your messages are less likely to land to Spam.4. It drives traffic to a particular webpage.
If you need to drive people to a particular page, gamification can be a way to it. You offer to do a fun activity and the corresponding call-to-action leads the person to the necessary page.
This is especially useful when you need to draw attention to a particular product category, promote an event or introduce people to your new social media account.5. It’s relatively easy to implement.
At its basics, email gamification only requires good design skills. You create a good design in Canva, Photoshop, or any other graphic design tool, add it to the email, and provide the corresponding links to the site.
A simple trivia, quiz, or crossword is even easier to build and can be created in a drag-and-drop email editor. You drag ready blocks to the template, adjust alignment, line space, and padding between them and enjoy a smooth layout.6. It generates email content ideas.
Brands that send regular emails 5 to 7 times a week often struggle with creativity. It’s hard to come up with a genuine idea for each message, and most end up with the good old sales or promo code offering. Gamification lets bring in some diversity and transform a common format into something new.
Look how Personalization Mall modified an Easter promo into a hunt after savings. The idea remains the same that is to offer holiday discounts but implementation differs. Instead of directly giving a promo code, the brand offers to play and win it which slightly increases its value. People tend to appreciate more those things they made an effort (even minimal) to get.To Sum Up
Gamification can be a useful contribution to your email marketing strategies. Of course, it’s not a magic wand and it won’t generate you much following solely on its own. But combined with other tools like personalization, segmentation, user-generated content, inclusivity, accessibility, etc. it can strengthen your content, improve user experience and drive sales.
If you’re looking for a descriptive post on how to perform a flawless API integration with the most popular eCommerce platforms out there, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, we will explore the main benefits of developing multiple eCommerce integrations and revealing all the options you can use for successfully connecting your software to the shopping platforms used by your existing and prospective customers.
Needless to say, whether you are providing marketing automation, dropshipping automation, order, repricing, multichannel, shipping, warehouse management software, or any other similar solutions for e-merchants, it becomes crucial for you to perform solid API integrations with various shopping platforms. It can be, for example, such platforms like Magento, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, Shopify, OpenCart, Lightspeed, etc.
The integration with different eCommerce platforms is more than necessary for software providers like you. eCommerce integration enables your solution to access the e-stores’ data relevant to your clients and work with it to provide your core functionality.
The data you can gain access to post-integration includes order, product, customer, price, shipping info, etc. Basically, after the successful building of eCommerce integration, you’ll be able to offer a broader range of services to your clients. And you’ll finally be able to tap into the power of raw data to create custom reports and enable your clients to sell more and make higher profits. Ultimately, by providing better-quality services, you’ll be able to grow your business and tap into new markets, boosting your profit and skyrocketing your company’s brand.
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at what an API is and how it works. We will show you how to differentiate between API requests and API responses. We will also explain how to perform a winning API integration with all essential eCommerce platforms.What is API and How Does It Work?
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a modern set of protocols and definitions that enable seamless transmission of data between various software solutions or applications. The API can be used in numerous areas, industries, and verticals, allowing one program to pull data from another and then send new data back.
Each API contains function calls, which tell the program to collect specific types of information. For eCommerce software providers, using the API allows them to collect precious data related to e-merchant stores’ products, descriptions, orders, prices, customers, categories, and shipments located in the shopping platforms’ databases.
So, the API enables different types of apps and software to interact with the other external services. One software can call the other program’s API and receive access to the required data of that other program.The Difference Between API Requests and API Responses
In simple terms, an API request represents any inquiry or call towards a server with the purpose of pulling out the needed data. There are four types of HTTP request methods that can be made with the help of API:
On the other hand, an API response is an essential piece of information you get back after making an API request.
Whenever you request a specific type of information, the server comes back with an answer. Usually, you get the response in a data format that is easy to manipulate, such as XML or JSON.
Typically, the response depends on the actual request being made. The response can either be null if no data has been found or come back as a string or integer.What is API Integration, and How is It Used the eCommerce Sphere?
APIs are used in countless industries and niches, such as retail, banking, transportation, or eCommerce. Pulling data from the other programs is necessary almost for any software solution.
In the eCommerce sphere, API integration becomes a must for software providers who work with e-retailers and operate in the spheres of repricing, marketing automation, order and inventory management, shipping management, etc.
API integration with eCommerce platforms means the process of developing the connection between any eCommerce software and shopping cart solutions like Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.
In the eCommerce sphere, API integration can be used by any type of eCommerce B2B software provider that needs to access the valuable data, grows their business, and expands into new markets. For instance, chatbot providers have to integrate their systems with shopping platforms to pull out precious data about e-stores’ products and customers to provide the functionality related to the order creation, sending tracking info, and order statuses.
Similarly, the inventory management solutions, with the help of smoothly developed eCommerce API integration, can retrieve the data on orders, products, customers, etc., to be able to sync inventory across different platforms.In-House Integration Development vs The Integration Via Third-Party Solution
When it comes to performing the actual API integration with eCommerce platforms, things boil down to two main options: either perform an in-house integration with your team or a team of freelancers or choose a third-party integration tool such as API2Cart. Each option comes with its set of benefits and drawbacks.
For example, an in-house development process gives you more control over the integration and allows you to perform custom data pull scenarios. However, it’s hugely time-consuming and requires a considerable budget investment. For example, the development of the connection to only one shopping platform like Shopify can take more than a month. Moreover, further integration support and upgrading also take time. Talking about the money spent, you will need to pay huge salaries to your developers responsible for the integration building, spend your budgets on services your developers need like VCS (code repository), CI/CD Services, Cloud Services, server hardware, etc.
For most companies out there, API integration with eCommerce platforms via a third-party solution is the right way to go. One of the best solutions you can get is API2Cart. This unified shopping cart data interface allows you to seamlessly integrate your software with 40+ shopping platforms at once, without spending a lot of your money and time.
Usage of this service allows you to avoid developing a separate connection with each shopping platform used by your clients. All that you need is to integrate your software with API2Cart. After that, you will instantly gain access to the precious shopping platforms’ data you need to provide your software functionality and offer superior services to your target audience.Conclusion
The development of reliable API integration with eCommerce platforms is necessary for different types of software providers. It is a technically complicated process that requires specific resources. However, depending on your needs, it can be implemented by your team of developers or by the other third-party solution.