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Monthly Archives: June 2020

Fivetran snares $100M Series C on $1.2B valuation for data connectivity solution

June 30, 2020 No Comments

A big problem for companies these days is finding ways to connect to various data sources to their data repositories, and Fivetran is a startup with a solution to solve that very problem. No surprise then that even during a pandemic, the company announced today that it has raised $ 100 million Series C on a $ 1.2 billion valuation.

The company didn’t mess around with top flight firms Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst leading the investment with participation from existing investors CEAS Investments and Matrix Partners. Today’s money brings the total raised so far to $ 163 million, according to the company.

Martin Cassado from a16z described the company succinctly in a blog post he wrote after its $ 44 million Series B in September 2019, which his firm also participated in. “Fivetran is a SaaS service that connects to the critical data sources in an organization, pulls and processes all the data, and then dumps it into a warehouse (e.g., Snowflake, BigQuery or RedShift) for SQL access and further transformations, if needed. If data is the new oil, then Fivetran is the pipes that get it from the source to the refinery,” he wrote.

Writing in a blog post today announcing the new funding, CEO George Fraser added that in spite of current conditions, the company has continued to add customers. “Despite recent economic uncertainty, Fivetran has continued to grow rapidly as customers see the opportunity to reduce their total cost of ownership by adopting our product in place of highly customized, in-house ETL pipelines that require constant maintenance,” he wrote.

In fact, the company reports 75% customer growth over the prior 12 months. It now has over 1100 customers, which is a pretty good benchmark for a Series C company. Customers include Databricks, DocuSign, Forever 21, Square, Udacity and Urban Outfitters, crossing a variety of verticals.

Fivetran hopes to continue to build new data connectors as it expands the reach of its product and to push into new markets, even in the midst of today’s economic climate. With $ 100 million in the bank, it should have enough runway to ride this out, while expanding where it makes sense.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Google advanced search: Six powerful tips for better SEO

June 30, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google advanced search helps you get granular with your searches and deliver hyper-focused searches with the help of search operators (or a combination of them).
  • For example, you can search for articles published in the last week by your competitors or discover internal linking opportunities you might’ve missed.
  • In this how-to guide, Venngage’s Aditya Sheth outlines six Google advanced search hacks you need to know to master Google search and become a better SEO.

I have to come clean on something: I’m lazy.

While being lazy may not be a virtue, it does come with an unseen advantage: It allows you to look for creative ways to get things done without necessarily spending more time.

And as an SEO, I’m always looking for ways to get more done without working longer hours. Essentially: aiming to accomplish more with less.

One way to do more with less is to look for tools, tactics or even hacks that help you cut down time wasted and get more done, faster. 

One of my favorite hacks ever? Google advanced search.

But what is it? In simple terms, the Google advanced search helps you fine-tune your searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

This is an especially useful skill if you want to quickly pull up small-bits of information without always having to rely on tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMRush to do it for you.

In this how-to SEO guide, you’ll use advanced search operators to:

Before we dive into the meat of this guide, first things first:

A mini-crash course on advanced search operators

To keep things simple, we’re going to cover four operators I, as an SEO, use most often.

The first operator is the site search operator. What this allows you to do is retrieve results from a single website. All you have to do is type site:[any website] into Google.

For example, If I enter site:semrush.com, I will only see results pertaining to SEMrush:

You don’t need the http://, https://, or www prefixes when using the site operator.

That’s not all, you can even use a keyword in addition to the site operator to find if that site has written any content around that keyword.

Let’s say I want to find whether we’ve covered the keyword “infographic” on the site. I’ll enter “site:semrush.com infographic” and this is what comes up:

I personally use the site operator very frequently as it limits my search results to a single domain. Keep this operator in mind as we’re going to be relying on it later.

The next operator you’ll find useful is the quotes or exact-match (“”) operator. What the exact-match operator does is limit your searches to exact-match phrases only.

For example, here is a normal Google search (notice the number of results):

And now the same phrase wrapped in quotation marks: 

 

Notice something different? 

Compared to a normal Google search, exact-match queries will only show you results where your keyphrase has been mentioned exactly as it is (and not a variation). 

This operator is especially powerful to identify if your site has any duplicate content that could be sabotaging your rankings (more on this later).

Last but not the least, we’re going to learn the dash (-) and plus (+) operators to perform laser-targeted searches. 

What the dash (-) operator does is excludes certain keywords from appearing in the search results. So if I wanted to read about the topic of search engines but not search engine optimization, I’d use the following query: 

 

By using the “- optimization” in my search, I’ll only see results about search engines and not search engine optimization.

The plus (+) operator, you guessed it — does the exact opposite. You can use the plus operator to add words to your original search and show you a different set of results. 

For example, here’s a query I entered in Google search:

What did I do here? I used the site:, dash and plus operators in conjunction to show me articles that closely relate to search engine marketing but not SEO on the Search Engine Watch blog.

Venngage

There are many search operators out there (too many to list in fact). You can find a much more comprehensive list of search operators on the Moz blog.

But for simplicity’s sake, we’re going to stick to the site, exact match, dash, and plus operators in this guide.

Six Google advanced search tips for better SEO

Using the Google advanced search operators above, you can access exactly what you’re looking for and spend less time searching for it.

Advanced search can come really handy especially when you’re just starting out and don’t have the budget for expensive SEO tools.

Imagine all the endless possibilities that lie in wait for you as an SEO; if only you got better at googling. Well, it’s easier than you think. I’ll show it to you:

1. Conduct basic but insightful competitor research

Conducting competitor research on Google is really easy. All you have to do is use the “related:” search operator followed by a website URL. 

“Related:” allows you to find sites that are closely related to a specific URL. You can use related to identify not only direct competitors but also indirect peripheral competitors that you might’ve missed in your competitor research.

Not only that, the related: operator also helps you understand how Google is categorizing your competitors and your website.

Let’s look at what Google returns if we search for competitors related to Venngage

I already know the first three results are our direct competitors, but the last two are surprising because they seem to be indirectly competing with us (and I wasn’t even aware of them).

We’re an online infographic maker tool while both Column Five Media and InfoNewt appear to be done-for-you agencies. Google has identified and categorized them as sites related to Venngage which is an insightful find.

Don’t dismiss this advanced search hack because of its simplicity. Try it for yourself and see what Google comes up with. You might just come away with a better understanding of the competition as it pertains to SEO.

2. Stalk your competitor’s content strategy

Sticking to the topic of competitor research, here’s a cool way you can spy on your competitor’s content strategy: combining the site operator and Google’s date-range filter.

Let’s try this on one of our direct competitors: Piktochart.

To limit my search to only blog-related results, I’ll use Piktochart’s/blog subdomain instead of their website. And by the looks of it, they have 790 pages on their blog. 

I can use the date-range filter (click on tools and filter by date) to further drill down these results to identify what content they published in the last month only. Here’s what comes up: 

This not only tells me Pitkchart published four new articles last month but also gives me insight into Piktocharts’ content strategy and the keywords they’re targeting.

You can find even more data by filtering the results by days, months, or custom time periods. 

I can even include exact-match (“your keyword” in quotes) keywords to find out how much content Piktochart has published on any given topic, which is a clever way to uncover their topic cluster strategy. 

Let’s take content marketing as a topic for example

Using the site operator in conjunction with the date filters on Google search gives you information on: 

  • How much content your competition has published till date
  • How often they publish new content in a given time period
  • What kind of content they publish at a certain point in time
  • How often your competitor has written about a given topic

Pretty cool right? 

3. Unearth a gold mine of guest posting opportunities 

If your goal is to drive quality traffic back to your website, pick up high-quality backlinks, boost your website’s domain authority and even rank higher on Google — guest blogging will help you do all of the above.

Anybody that tells you guest blogging is dead is either lying or in on it. Guest blogging still works, even in 2020.

Now that we’ve briefly covered how important guest blogging really is, how do you uncover guest blogging opportunities in your niche or industry?

Here are a few advanced search queries you can copy and paste into Google

  • Your Keyword “guest post opportunities”
  • Your Keyword “guest post”
  • Your Keyword “submit guest post”
  • Your Keyword “submit blog post”
  • Your Keyword intitle:“write for us”
  • Your Keyword intitle:“guest post guidelines”

If I’m looking to guest post for sites in the design space, for example, I’d use the following query:

Sites bookmarked. Guest post pitches sent. Fingers crossed. 

Try out these search queries for yourself and you’ll be able to build a respectable list of sites to contribute for.

Brian Dean has the most exhaustive guide on guest blogging I’ve read (it includes a huge list of search operators that will help you find even more guest posting opportunities).

4. Discover hidden opportunities for internal linking

Internal linking plays a small but important role in the ranking factors that determine how well you rank on Google.

Irrespective of how well-designed and easy-to-navigate your site may be, a great internal linking structure can make all the difference when it comes to driving traffic from one post to another across your entire blog.

Internal linking also creates topical relevance by creating supporting content for the main topics of your website.

A few weeks ago, I published a mammoth webinar guide on the Venngage blog. I wanted it to start driving traffic to the post and rank for high-volume keywords immediately.

I got to work by finding out where I could link to our guide internally from as many relevant posts on our blog as possible. All I did was use the site operator and the keyword “webinar”: 

Boom! Barring the first result, I found 47 internal linking opportunities with a simple search. And all it took was a few seconds.

You can even use this search query: site:www.yourwebsite.com/blog intext:”your keyword” to pretty much do the same thing.

This advanced search hack won’t be as useful if you’ve recently started blogging, but it will come in handy if you manage a huge blog that already has a lot of existing content.

5. Find duplicate content on your website

Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one location on your website and can confuse search engines when it comes to deciding which page to rank higher. 

In short: Duplicate content can hurt your website rankings and it’s a technical SEO issue you cannot afford to ignore.

To show you an example of duplicate content, I’ll use this small piece of copy from the Apple Airpods product description on Walmart

Google advanced search tips: Duplicate Content

Using the site operator, I’ll paste the copy into Google using the exact-match operator. Here’s what I come up with: 

The same piece of copy shows up on six other pages on Walmart. Things could be a lot worse but still, not ideal.

But if I were to search for the same piece of copy across the web (not just Walmart) using the dash operator, this is what comes up:

The same piece of copy appears on ~19,000 other websites (excluding Walmart). That’s a lot of duplicate content. 

Duplicate content is especially a major issue for website blogs with 1,000s of pages or ecommerce sites with the same product descriptions. 

6. Find missed content opportunities

One of the last search operators I’ll cover is the “filetype” operator. 

Filetype can help you find non-HTML content on your site, such as Word Documents or PDF files. This content is often valuable, but not search optimized. And traffic to it doesn’t show up in your Analytics.

To use this search operator, simple type in “site:yourwebsite.com filetype:pdf” like so: 

Then look at that content. Have you published it as HTML content? Is it search optimized? Is there an opportunity to make it a valuable, rank-worthy and trackable webpage?

PDF files are often the rust of the internet, added to sites because the content manager doesn’t have an easy way to publish actual web pages.

They should always be an alternate (print-friendly, download-friendly) version of HTML content. They should almost never be the only version of a piece of content.  

Your turn to master Google search

Congratulations! You’ve officially made it to the end of this mammoth guide. 

Google is far more powerful and robust than we realize or give it credit for. 

Knowing what to search for and how to search for it with the help of Google advanced search operators will help you harness Google’s true power and in turn, grow your site.

As SEOs, our job comprises running SEO tests, tinkering with Google’s algorithms, and staying on top of the latest search trends.

Google advanced search is not only a fun skill that you can learn over the weekend. It can help you uncover opportunities hiding in plain sight and help you be more effective at your job.

The real kicker

Google is and always will be free. The know-how to fine-tune your searches will help you become a better SEO and pay dividends over the long term.

Has using Google advanced search in your day-to-day made you a better SEO? Which search operators do you use most frequently? Did I miss any advanced search tips? Drop them in the comments below.

Aditya Sheth does Content & SEO at Venngage. You can connect with him on Linkedin or find him on Twitter @iamadityashth.

The post Google advanced search: Six powerful tips for better SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


When Facebook Ads is NOT a Viable Strategy for Clients

June 30, 2020 No Comments

It’s only human nature to try things that other people are doing because it feels like a good idea and/or the right thing to do. In many instances, the outcome is either neutral or positive. However, in today’s online marketing world, just because someone is doing it, doesn’t make the outcome “good”. In contrast, it could actually backfire (both financially and reputation-wise). Let me explain.

When Facebook rolled out their advertising platform, everyone wanted to get in on the action. After a few years of “trial and error” trying to figure out the algorithm, it became clear that this was a potential money-making machine for advertisers. However, it didn’t take long for these same advertisers to see that their Ad dollars increasing while their Cost/Conversion skyrocket. It was this outcome, that started everyone to second-guess the benefit of this new PPC alternative to Google Adwords (now Google Ads)

Personally, many of my clients over the years wanted to try Facebook ads and frankly who wouldn’t? It was an amazing feeling where an advertiser could target pretty much anything they wanted. (Men 55+, Divorced, like Fine Scotch, NY Yankees and watches CNN). However, that honeymoon didn’t last very long. It was not based on strategy or setting inaccurate expectations, it was simply not cost effective and actually started to hurt their reputation. Clients would take a hit based simply on comments given by competitors and/or disgruntled people. It was this experience that quickly changed the minds of not only myself, but also the client. It was this combination of poor performance along with reputation issues that made them feel even more skeptical this new platform. However, over the years there’s been (1) one silver-lining and that is identifying which clients could benefit the most from this hyper-targeting platform.

In conclusion, as an Agency or Freelancer it is entirely OK to say to a client NO to Facebook Ads or at the very least say we should do a “test” to evaluate it’s potential. In candor, it all depends on the advertiser’s audience along with sensible strategies and agreed upon success metrics.


Digital Marketing Agency | Google Ads Consultant


YouTube bans David Duke, Richard Spencer and other white nationalist accounts

June 30, 2020 No Comments

YouTube just took action against a collection of controversial figures synonymous with race-based hate, kicking the cluster of major channels off its platform on Monday.

The company deleted six channels: Richard Spencer‘s own channel and the affiliated channel for the National Policy Institute/Radix Journal, far right racist pseudo-science purveyor Stefan Molyneux, white supremacist outlet American Renaissance and affiliated channel AmRenPodcasts and white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

“We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies. After updating our guidelines to better address supremacist content, we saw a 5x spike in video removals and have terminated over 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement provided to TechCrunch.

The company says that the channels violated the platform’s policies prohibiting YouTube videos from linking to off-platform hate content and rules prohibiting users from making claims of inferiority about a protected group.

YouTube’s latest house-cleaning of far-right and white nationalist figures follows the suspension of Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes earlier this month. Some of the newly-booted YouTube account owners turned to still-active Twitter accounts to complain about losing their YouTube channels Monday afternoon.

The same day that YouTube enforced its rules against a high-profile set of far-right accounts, both Twitch and Reddit took their own actions against content that violated their respective rules around hate. The Amazon-owned gaming streaming service suspended President Trump’s account Monday, citing comments made in two Trump rallies that aired there, one years-old and one from the campaign’s recent Tulsa rally. And after years of criticism for its failure to stem harassment and racism on, Reddit announced that it would purge 2,000 subreddits, including r/The_Donald, the infamously hate-filled forum founded as Trump announced his candidacy.


Social – TechCrunch


The iRig Pro Duo I/O makes managing advanced audio workflows simple anywhere

June 30, 2020 No Comments

Connecting audio interfaces to the various mobile and computing devices we use these days can be a confusing headache. The iRig Pro Duo I/O ($ 199.99 USD), which IK Multimedia announced this year at CES and recently released, is a great way to simplify those connections while giving you all the flexibility you need to record high-quality audio anywhere, with any device.

The basics

The iRig Pro Duo is a new addition to IK’s lineup based on the original iRig Pro, which adds a second XLR input, as the name implies. It’s still quite small and portable, fitting roughly in your hand, with built-in power optionally supplied via two AA batteries, while you can also power it via USB connection, or with an optional dedicated plug-in power adapter accessory.

Compared to desktop devices like the Scarlett Focusrite 2i2 USB audio interface that’s a popular standard among home audio enthusiasts, the iRig Pro Duo is downright tiny. It’s still beefier than the iRig Pro, of course, but it’s a perfect addition to a mobile podcaster’s kit for ultimate portability while also maintaining all the features and capabilities you need.

The iRig Pro Duo also includes balanced L/R 1/4″ output, built-in 48v phantom power for passive Macs, a 3.5 mm stereo jack for direct monitoring, 2x MIDI inputs and dedicated gain control with simple LED indicators for 48V power status and to indicate audio input peaking.

Design

Beveled edges and a slightly rounded rectangular box design might not win the iRig Pro Duo any accolades from the haute design community, but it’s a very practical form factor for this type of device. Inputs go in one side, and output comes out the other. IK Multimedia employs a unique connector for its output cables, but provides every one you could need in the box for connecting to Mac, iOS, Windows and Android devices.


The whole thing is wrapped in a matte, slightly rubberized outside surface that feels grippy and durable, while also looking good in an understated way that suits its purpose as a facilitation device. The knobs are large and easy to turn with fine-grained control, and there are pads on the underside of the Duo to help it stick a bit better to a surface like a table or countertop.

The lighting system is pretty effective when it comes to a shorthand for what’s on and working with your system, but this is one area where it might be nice to have a more comprehensive on-device audio levels display, for instance. Still, it does the job, and since you’ll likely be working with some kind of digital audio workflow software whenever you’re using it that will have a much more detailed visualizer, it’s not really that much of an issue.

Bottom line

As mentioned, iRig Pro Duo works with virtually all platforms out of the box, and has physical connector cables to ensure it can connect to just about every one as well. IK Multimedia also supplies free DAW software and effects, for all platforms — though you do have to make a choice about which one you’re most interested in since it’s limited to one piece of software per customer.

If you’re looking for a simple, painless and versatile way to either set up a way to lay down some music, or to record a solo or interview podcast, this is an option that ticks essentially all the boxes you could come up with.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Ecommerce marketing this Independence Day will be tricky: Four must dos

June 29, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • This 4th of July is coming at a time when the US is seeing waves of social justice protests.  
  • People who are extremely anxious and frustrated in the current climate will pay little attention to your cookie-cutter July 4th themed advertisement.
  • What does this mean for ecommerce marketing?
  • Instead of tone-deaf messages and empty platitudes, how can businesses walk the walk?
  • Evelyn Johnson discusses how businesses need to keep peoples’ sentiments in mind as they try to drive their campaign home.

Independence Day this year will be the first big holiday after the relaxation of lockdowns across the US. While thanksgiving took place when most states had enforced strict social distancing protocols, Americans will celebrate the 4th of July with much more freedom. 

Not to forget, this 4th of July is also coming at a time when the country is seeing waves of social justice protests.  

But what does this mean for ecommerce marketers? For starters, the usual Independence Day campaign might not cut it anymore. People who are extremely anxious and frustrated in the current climate will pay little attention to your cookie-cutter July 4th themed advertisement.

So instead of generic Independence Day deals, you will have to take a new approach to Independence Day marketing. 

Here’s how you can go about it. 

Understand how people will celebrate this year

Independence Day celebrations have remained pretty much the same for decades. There are fireworks, barbecues, carnivals, parades, and a whole slew of activities. Some 4th of July stats from last year show around 48.9 million travel on this day.  

But due to the current outbreak, many people will avoid public gatherings this year. While there will still be parades and festivals, the scope of these events will be extremely limited. Instead, many people will be staying in for Independence Day this time around.  

This is where you have a window to cater to millions who will be staying at home. Products like board games and DIY items for crafting patriotic decorations might prove to be a big hit in the coming holiday.  

After singling out items you believe might sell well on 4th July, check out their popularity on Google trends leading up to the day. Understanding which new products are in demand will allow you to produce a holistic marketing campaign and target consumers with personalized advertisements. 

1. Convey to people that you care about their safety

Americans are hoping that the worst of the pandemic is behind them. But states and CDC are still recommending precautions such as washing hands, wearing masks, and maintaining some level of social distance.  

Here, brands can help customers in their quest to celebrate the 4th of July safely. Little things such as adding complimentary masks, face shields, gloves, and hand sanitizers to Independence Day deals will show consumers that you care about them.  

Of course, fireworks and soaps would be an odd pairing. But considering that 2020 has been the year of pandemics, a potential World War and UFOs — it would be the least bizarre offering of this year. 

2. Participate in a virtual parade

The coming Independence Day has marketing opportunities that previously did not exist, especially in the digital realm. Many communities in the United States have decided to take parades online, creating an unprecedented marketing avenue for brands.  

Sponsoring virtual parades might be uncharted territory for you but it’s a territory worth exploring. The pandemic has caused life to move online and marketers should get with the times.  

Since Independence Day parades are usually organized by communities, there’s also an opportunity in them for location-based marketing. Lookout for any virtual parades your customers might be interested in and reach out for sponsorship.  

Using this new medium, you can put out their message of solidarity, unity, and cooperation. This message will resonate with Americans who are feeling pessimistic due to everything that has unfolded in 2020. 

3. Add a flavor of patriotism to your products

Fourth of July is all about celebrating America and everything it has to offer. So don’t shy away from incorporating patriotic imagery and colors in your marketing efforts. To take things a step further, you can even combine patriotic imagery with products that are currently in demand and create new items.  

A recent study has shown widespread mask-wearing could prevent a second outbreak of COVID-19. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is also recommending that Americans should cover their faces to stop the spread of novel coronavirus.  

Retail businesses can help Americans curtail outbreaks by promoting special flag-themed face masks. These masks will promote a sense of responsibility in Americans to not only stay uninfected themselves but to stop others from getting the virus as well.  

4. Keep the focus on diversity

America is fortunate enough to have people from diverse backgrounds. People belonging to different ethnicities and colors have shaped this country. Independence Day is an opportunity to celebrate American diversity.  

Now more than ever, it’s a time to shine a light on the minority communities. And in light of recent events, it is the time for brands to uplift voices of those that are feeling suppressed and discriminated against.

Instead of tone-deaf messages and empty platitudes, enterprises should walk the walk. This means consciously joining forces with African-America, Latino, and Native-American influencers while promoting products designed by individuals from disadvantaged communities.

Independence Day this year will allow millions of Americans to blow off steam after months of distress. It will also be a day where they look towards their national identity as a source of strength and unity in a polarizing time. Businesses need to keep this sentiment in mind as they try to drive their campaign home.

The post Ecommerce marketing this Independence Day will be tricky: Four must dos appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


10 “Real” Marketing Tips for Wealth Management Firms

June 28, 2020 No Comments

Are you getting tired of sifting through countless marketing articles trying to get some actual tangible advice to grow your Wealth Management company? Finding out that many of them fall short in terms of specific strategies by merely stating the obvious? Well, this article is different. I will cut through the gibberish and provide actual “hands-on” strategies that can help either a wealth management office or even financial consultants looking to grow their online presence.

#1 Basic Digital Marketing

Most of the public associates Google with SEO (Search Engine optimization) and even though they are somewhat correct, it’s much more than that. Even though PPC (Pay-Per-Click) has been a staple in digital marketing longer than algorithm-optimized SEO, they are both still a major factor in generating traffic and sales to websites. However, (SEM) Search Engine Marketing has evolved immensely, and industries such as Legal, Banking and Wealth Management communities need to adjust their strategies accordingly.

Honestly, there’s a reason why Google’s offices serve Gelato and Filet Mignon at lunch for their employees. It’s because they can charge outrageous amount of $ $ for specific keyword based on their alleged value. Let’s face it, Google Ads is not always cost-effective. For example, anything with the keyword “Wealth Manager, Estate Planning, ” is crazy expensive. The only way that this might be profitable is if you Cost/Conversion or “life-time value” metric that meets your requirements. To help explain, I will provide some “outside the box” strategies that can help ease the $ $ pain

Here’s an example of Google Ads Pricing (These are lower than in reality)

#2 Outside the Box Matters

When thinking about search marketing, the most important metrics to consider are (1) search volume and (2) estimated value of the content/keywords. However, when doing PPC Marketing keyword research, it’s not so easy. For example: Bidding on general legal keywords (IRA Rollover, Wealth Management) can result in the following dilemmas:

  • Highly competitive
  • Very Expensive
  • Higher risk for click fraud
  • Loss of Ad serving due to budget constraints

How do we remedy the problem?

Below are a few examples on how to classify keyword research in order to evaluate ROI and overall understanding of searching behaviors.

  • Long-Tail Keywords: These are longer specific phrases to filter out general searches
    • (wealth management services for veterans, retirement planning for military widows)
  • Intent Classification: Grouping keyword terms that are segmented by an interaction potential
    • High Intent: (wealth management office in Wayne, PA)
    • Medium Intent: (Finance planner in PA)
    • Low Intent: (Financial Consultant)
  • Industry Specific Terms: These terms are highly specific in their service and can provide less competition and lower CPCs
    • “HNWI Financial Planning”
    • “REIT’s Consultants”
    • “UITs Unit Investment Trusts”

#3 Stock Portfolio (No Pun Intended)

Yes, in the digital marketing world, the stock portfolio approach is a virtual must. We are “fishing where the fish are” in today’s world that is EVERYWHERE.

  • Google Ads (search, display)
  • Bing Ads
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Ad Retargeting
  • Organic Search

#4 Ever Heard of LinkedIn

Yes, LinkedIn can be used as a marketing tool not just for gloating about a job promotion and posting articles; it is also a powerful B2B and B2C advertising platform. In fact, LinkedIn Ads has impressive targeting abilities that include targeting specific industries and individuals based on job position levels.

#5 Team vs. Player

In some cases, many Wealth Management offices would rather NOT want to advertise specific employee and just focus on the generalization of their law services. However, in some instances, it can be a marketing “gold-mine” based on news and/or buzz online. If a firm is known for a specific service and is written up in a magazine where the representing attorney has received an award, then having that persons’ name in marketing efforts will most likely provide a higher intent to convert at a lower cost.

#6 Bridging the Channel Gap

This is sort of an “oldie but goodie” strategy. If a Firm is advertising outside of the online world, it is always a good idea to compliment the same branding and messaging online. For example, if a Firm’s slogan/tagline on TV is “ Were the Money Makers”, then there should be the following online:

  • Google Ads campaign with keywords related to “Were the Money Makers”
  • Creation of a content-heavy landing page (within the existing website) about “Were the Money Makers”
  • Banner Ads that say “Were the Money Makers”

#7 Free, Free, Free

Once in a while, it is nice to generate website traffic and visibility for basically nothing. In this case, I am talking about Google Places and pushing content/blog posts through social media.

In the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), Google Places is a very lucrative position, especially on mobile devices within a specific geographic. In the Legal world, this is golden. It doesn’t cost anything, includes the ability to post photos, receive reviews/feedback, etc..

Pushing content via Social media: Now, it may cost money to hire a writer to develop content, but it does not cost anything to make it viral through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.

#8 Little Secret from Comedians

You’re probably wondering where I am going with this. Well, it has been widely known that “Timing” is a crucial part of a successful comedy. Moreover, the same can be said for online marketing. For example, let’s suppose there is a big news story about a lawsuit regarding a case involving Estate Charitable Giving. Well, since “Estate Charitable Giving” is in the public eye, the shelf life will eventually dissipate by the next day or so. To leverage this, a Law Firm that provides Estate Charitable Giving could benefit by pushing their own content, provide opinions in social media, or even create a small PPC Marketing campaign around these terms.

#9 That Annoying Retargeting:

I’m sure everyone has experienced that annoying banner that follows you everywhere you go, but in the same breath, you want to do the same to others than visited your website. Well, there are more refined strategies to retargeting that can help filter out that annoyance. For example, here are some retargeting options:

  • Target people who only visit specific pages or interactions to limit wasteful ad dollars
  • Upload email lists of current and past leads/customer into Google Ads and Facebook Ads (called RSLA)
  • You can create “Look-a-like” audiences in Facebook Ads were Facebook can identify similar audiences and target ads to them directly. (little scary but works)

#10 Ever Heard of Analytics?

Analytics is the key to everything. The biggest issue Law Firms face is not only trying to understand what the data means but also to make sure their website is being accurate tracked for every interaction point. For example:

  • Phone Calls
  • All Online Forms
  • Online Chats
  • Visits of a specific highly relevant page

Besides validating that the Analytics tracking code is correctly tracking information, advertisers also need to have a firm understanding of at least the following metrics:

  • Where did they come from?
  • What pages did they visit most?
  • Where are my leads coming from?
  • What is their GEO location?
  • Which days of the week are better than others?
  • Did that TV commercial increase traffic for a specific day?

In conclusion:

The purpose of this article was to provide actual “tangible” strategies that have been used with legal clients in the past (and present). If you are a wealth management firm of in the financial planning industry and would like to connect with us, please feel free to reach out to me greg@afterclicks.com


Digital Marketing Agency | Google Ads Consultant


How to plan your social media strategy for any business

June 28, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The best social media strategy should not focus on lead generation but on building brand loyalty. How can you utilize social media platforms to make your brand talk of the town?
  • A good social media strategy should have a measurable end goal in mind. Find out how SMART goals eliminate the influence of vanity social media metrics.
  • Strive to understand who your target audience is. Are your social media followers a mirror image of your potential customer?
  • Should your social media strategy stick by the rules of the trade and only use tried and proven platforms? Should you innovate and use unconventional platforms?
  • This article broaches all these questions and presents you with examples of real-life brands that have excelled at their social media approach, by playing by the rules and at times, going into uncharted social media waters.

Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos once said that a major determinant of your brand’s potency is what people say about it when you are out of the room. Unfortunately, many business owners only equate their brand to its visual identity, its tagline, and its logo. The only reason, however, why you should go to great lengths to create a cool logo or place promotional advertisements is to strengthen or grow a loyal customer base.

You need your clients to be so fascinated with your brand that they should not just buy your goods or services but identify with your business’s ethos. Social media is a formidable channel for building brand loyalty. A humor laden 140 characters or less tweet can lead to massive exposure on Twitter, an achievement that would take other forms of advertising, very large budgets to achieve.

Data shows that product information on social media platforms influences the shopping habits of at least 75% of American consumers. These platforms are also very critical to the discovery of new services, goods, or brands because 33% of all buyers unearth novel items from social media. This is the reason why, over 72% of all savvy marketers, use these internet mediums to access and build the most loyal of fan bases.

92% of businesses that have robust social forums following can attest that these online podiums have increased their brand’s online visibility. Consequently, every business should not only have a social media presence but a strategy as well. Your social media strategy is a blueprint that takes into consideration, all the details, and processes that govern brand social media activity.

A good social platform game plan should answer questions regarding the when, who, what, and why your brand should interact with the internet community. A well thought out social media strategy can:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Improve brand authority and loyalty
  • Revamp customer service
  • Increase your customer engagement rates
  • Enhance your conversion rates
  • Grow your web traffic rates via content distribution

How to design a brilliant social media strategy

1. Get SMART and precise with your goals

Setting SMART goals for your social media strategy

Source

Like many businesses, you might have a social media presence but have no defined goals that help measure your strategy’s success. The first key element of a successful social media strategy is a realistic and relevant marketing goal. Why do you want to market on these forums? What is the end-product of your efforts? Do you plan to increase website traffic, promote a product, or contact customers? 

Choose social media goals that enhance your business’ strategic goals. Make these goals SMART meaning they should not just be distinct, but measurable, within reach, relevant, and time-bound. SMART goals ensure that your marketers look beyond vanity metrics such as the number of likes or followers. They for instance will use useful statistics such as post reach to measure a brand awareness objective. 

As an illustration, most luggage brands’ marketing content is chock-full of product features. AwayTravel.com has chosen to sell their suitcases differently. On Instagram, they have a following that talks more about the experiences that Away luggage can enable.

On the brand’s page, you will find exquisite user-generated travel images from all parts of the world, inspiring its potential and loyal customers. The brand’s strategy is to portray itself not as a suitcase seller but as a travel brand. Their strategy has paid off so well that in less than three years of activity on social media, they have over 547K followers on Instagram. They have also amassed a useful, massive celebrity following.

Because Away’s goal is to attract and engage with travelers, they will not waste money buying fake Instagram followers. They need active travelers that will engage with the brand, which in the end creates revenue. Since engagement is one of the most critical goals for this brand, its marketers will actively monitor metrics such as brand awareness, applause, average engagement, amplification, and virality rates.

2. Choose a target audience that reflects your customer persona

Once you have your “why” in the bag, you need to figure out who your target audience is. When you have a well-defined target audience in mind, you will find it easier to create appropriate content. Creating content on the platforms that are more inundated by your audience of choice will also be less of a challenge.

As an illustration, on a typical day, Lauren Dix’s 73.6k Instagram followers will be actively listening to her hushed tones as she dons outfits inside one of Madewell’s dressing room. Lauren’s massive fans will giggle at her attempts to communicate with them without spooking her neighbor in the next dressing room. She will try on the brand’s tasteful denim collection and decide whether her jeans ensemble is worth its $ 30 tag or not, then move on to her next story. The fashion influencer only displays clothing items from affordable brands like Madewell.

Madewell - Example for social media strategy

Source: Madewell.com

J.Crew, a clothing retailer and Madewell’s parent company is over seven decades old. J.Crew has been reporting losses for the last few years, but Madewell has seen its revenue increase in the same period. The brand’s chic universal basic and denim lines have a small brick and mortar footprint than its mother brand making 40% of its sales online. 

Madewell’s social media strategy is so successful that it has over 1.4 million Instagram followers and is one of the best examples out there of a master plan that precisely answers the “who” element of internet community marketing. Madewell’s focus is on increasing its social media engagement amongst millennials.

Data shows that over 59% of the millennial women between the ages of 18 to 29 spend most of their time on Instagram. The brand has a consistent free-spirited, artsy, and non-maximalist brand identity that appeals to this segment. Consequently, while Madewell is active on other platforms it is so particular about its Instagram presence, that it has a website page dedicated to Instagram customer posts. In 2018, Madewell won an overall best brand presence Webby Award.

Cisco social media strategy example

Source

Most B2B brands often avoid snazzy social media platforms like Snapchat or Instagram. You will find them on platforms for professionals like LinkedIn because 80% of B2B leads come from this network of professionals. This is the reason why 94% of B2B marketers turn to LinkedIn for content distribution.

The platform’s acquisition by Microsoft has expanded its business features and functionality, making it a stand up and authoritative tool for business sales teams. Cisco’s social media strategists have however put a new spin on the B2B Snapchat social media experience. After identifying a need to engage Gen Z, a large portion of the business’s young technophile hires, Cisco turned to Snapchat and has enjoyed a lot of success at it.

Snapchat has 46 million active users each month in the US. Over 53% of US Gen Z between the ages of 15 and 25 years use Snapchat and are the largest demographic on the platform. The technology firm’s need to create a robust talent pipeline has actualized via their massive Snapchat success, connecting them to new graduates and university students from all parts of the globe.

Your social media followers should be similar to your potential customer persona. Some of the metrics that you should use when determining your target audience includes;

  • The income, age, location, education, or title of your audience
  • Your potential audience’s interests such as educative, informational, or entertainment
  • Time when your brand’s following is online, weekends, lunch hour, evening and morning commutes
  • Knowing what their motivations are, could range in anything between fitness and travel to high-level skills 
  • The type of content that they prefer; is it video, blog posts or infographics

3. Use the right platform

Stats Graph

Source

You need to gauge different social media forums and choose which particular one(s) you should focus more on. The metric that Facebook attracts 2.3 billion active users each month is very attractive. Nevertheless, if your brand needs younger people, you will not find this demographic well-represented on Facebook. This target audience frequents Instagram and Snapchat.

Nevertheless, do not put your strategy at the mercy of popular social media data. As an illustration, data shows that 63% of all B2B marketers rate LinkedIn as the most effective social media-marketing forum. This metric tends to keep B2B brands captive on this professional platform for its lead generation opportunities. Your social media strategy’s purpose however is not a lead generation but a brand enhancement strategy.

B2B brands that want to generate leads should go to social media not to sell, but to tell stories that spark conversations and that appeal to human emotions. A brand that has its strategy down pat will have multiple possibilities open to it. Novartis for instance has a 2.2 million following on LinkedIn and 268 thousand followers on Twitter.

You will also find the pharmaceutical company on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. On Instagram, the brand tells stories of nature and medicine, pushing traffic to its site Beautiful Medicine. On YouTube, you will find financial, scientific, and patient views videos.

Source: Beautifulmedicine.com

GoPro is one of those rare B2C brands that seem to utilize all the major platforms to its advantage. The versatile camera brand has a close to 11 million Facebook followers and 17 million Instagram fans. It also has 2.3 million Twitter followers. So how does GoPro create value, promote products, and interact with a wide customer demographic on various platforms?GoPro exampleSource

The genius social media strategists at GoPro use each network distinctly. They use Facebook to stimulate brand awareness, engage with their existing customers, and access new clients. They will also create Instagram stories to foster user-generated content and display the quality of their merchandise. On Twitter, you will find GoPro product announcements while their YouTube channel has video tutorials and tips.

If you are going to use different platforms, then you need to optimize content and post them strategically. So, first, perform thorough research to determine where it is that your target audience is. It is beneficial not to waste time and resources on internet communities that do not have any interest in your brand on products.

4. Audit your brand’s and your competitor’s social media approach

Businesses do not function in isolation. You do have competitors that keep you on your toes with their social media game plan. To optimize your social media blueprint, you need to be aware of what their tactics are. Whom do they target? What are their goals? Where do they meet most potential clients? Which platforms and keywords have they dominated?

Conduct competitor research via tools like BuzzSumo to bring to the light what your rival’s weakness and strengths are. Such information will help you to construct better policies for social media audiences. Exploit the gaps where possible.

Audit your performance too to improve on your tactics. Your appraisal will help direct you on the best times to post the most engaging content type and form and what your limitations are.

Conclusion

An optimized social media strategy will infuse your marketing efforts with purpose and help you to meet your business’s objectives. Use the steps above to create a robust social media presence then audit and tweak it to perfection.

Sumeet Anand is a Digital Marketing Expert, who specializes in SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing. You can find him on Twitter @Sumeetanand143 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

The post How to plan your social media strategy for any business appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Is It Legal for Cops to Force You to Unlock Your Phone?

June 28, 2020 No Comments

Because the relevant Supreme Court precedents predate the smartphone era, the courts are divided on how to apply the Fifth Amendment.
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Fleetsmith customers unhappy with loss of third-party app support after Apple acquisition

June 27, 2020 No Comments

When Apple confirmed it had acquired Fleetsmith, a mobile device management vendor, on Wednesday, it seemed like a straightforward purchase, but Fleetsmith customers quickly learned a key piece of functionality had stopped working  — and many weren’t happy about it.

Apple systems administrators began complaining on social media on the morning of the acquisition announcement that the company was no longer allowing them to connect to third-party applications.

“Primarily Fleetsmith maintained a third-party app catalog, so you could deploy things like Chrome or Zoom to your Macs, and Fleetsmith would maintain security updates for those apps. This was the main reason we purchased Fleetsmith,” a Fleetsmith customer told TechCrunch.

The customer added that the company described this functionality as a major feature in a company blog post:

For apps like Chrome, which are managed through the Fleetsmith Catalog, we handle all aspects of testing, packaging, triage, and deployment automatically. Whenever there’s an update (including security patches), we quickly add them to the Catalog so that our customers can enforce the latest version. In this case, we had the Chrome 78.0.3904.87 patch up within a couple hours of the update dropping.

As one system administrator pointed out, being able to manage Chrome browser security in an automated way was a huge part of this, and that was also removed along with third party app support.

As it turned out, Apple had made it clear that it was discontinuing this feature in an email to Fleetsmith customers on the day of the transition. The email included links to several help articles that were supposed to assist admins with the transition. (The email is included in full at the end of this article.)

The general consensus among admins that I spoke to was that these articles were not terribly helpful. While they described a way to fix the issues, they said that Apple has turned what was a highly automated experience into a highly manual one, effectively eliminating the speed and ease of use advantage of having the update feature in the first place.

Apple did confirm that it had responded to some help ticket requests after the changes this week, saying that it would soon restore some configurations for Catalog apps, and was working with impacted customers as needed. The company did not make clear, however, why they removed this functionality in the first place.

Fleetsmith offered a couple of key features that appealed to Mac system administrators. For starters, it let them set up new Macs automatically out of the box. This allows them to ship a new Mac or other Apple device, and as soon as the employee powers it up and connects to Wi-Fi, it connects to Fleetsmith, where systems administrators can track usage and updates. In addition, it allowed System Administrators to enforce Apple security and OS updates on company devices.

What’s more, it could also do the same thing with third-party applications like Google Chrome, Zoom or many others. When these companies pushed a new update, system administrators could make sure all users had the most recent version running on their machines. This is the key functionality that was removed this week.

It’s not clear why Apple chose to strip out these features outlined in the email to customers, but it seems likely that most of this functionality isn’t coming back, other than restoring some configurations for Catalog apps.

Email that went out to Fleetsmith customers the day of the acquisition outlining the changes:

 

Attempts to reach Fleetsmith founders for comment were unsuccessful. Should that change we will update the article.


Enterprise – TechCrunch