The CEO of an online educational platform and digital membership community shares her best marketing tips. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! September 22, 2020 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Jessica Korthuis’s career plans never included becoming an entrepreneur. “I was working…
The CEO of an online educational platform and digital membership community shares her best marketing tips.
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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Jessica Korthuis’s career plans never included becoming an entrepreneur. “I was working in corporate America,” Korthuis says. “I was working in fashion PR and I was on a one-way ticket to work at this big global fashion brand. Then my role was completely eliminated across the entire company.”
Korthuis went home, threw herself a party with wine and pasta, and got to work.
“My then boyfriend, now husband, and I decided that we would just start our own agency because entrepreneurship can’t be that hard, right? Famous last words!”
Today, Korthuis is a marketing and branding expert and two-time entrepreneur. Since creating her first business with her husband, Korthuis has created her company Sohuis to educate and empower women to “build, brand, and market their dream businesses.” Korthuis spoke with Jessica Abo and shared about her journey and how founders can market their brands during these challenging times.
Jessica Abo: Tell me about your career path.
Jessica Korthuis: I was let go on a Friday. And then by Monday morning, we were in business. We’d built our first website over the weekend. We created our business model. We just completely started from nothing and from absolute scratch. And we built our very own boutique branding and design agency. And we went from working with really small entrepreneurial, different projects in the community, all the way to working to brands like, working with friends like Red Bull, TEDxWomen, Girls Who Code. I’ve also done some work with the European Union and the US Department of State, working to bring entrepreneurs from overseas into the US. I’ve had a really wide breadth of experience and being forced into entrepreneurship was definitely the best thing that ever happened to me.
How does Sohuis support female founders?
Korthuis: Sohuis is a natural evolution of my former agency. And so, Sohuis is an online educational platform and digital membership community that helps female founders learn how to brand and market their businesses. Marketing is reported as the second biggest challenge for female founders, with the first biggest challenge being access to capital. But oftentimes, it kind of comes into a chicken and the egg scenario, because most of the time you need to have your brand platform really on point, and you need to have your value proposition and all of these critical pieces of your business really in line before you can go out and seek capital. So, I would argue that branding and marketing is the first step to really understanding how to grow your business and how to figure out who the different stakeholders are in your company.
What Sohuis does is, we create educational workshops, courses, guides, templates, resources, and everything is gated behind our Sohuis vault. And we’ve also created it in partnership with other brands and other educators, because we really want our community to be more than just my perspective and my point of view. We want it to be about the collective, and about the broad spectrum of marketing. So we have content in there from SEO to copywriting, to brand positioning, to design. It’s just really intended to be an incredible platform that makes marketing accessible and actually makes it an empowering process for female founders, versus being a very debilitating and overwhelming process.
Walk us through some of the challenges you’re seeing founders face right now.
Korthuis: Some of the biggest hurdles I see are knowing what to do first, having to prioritize which pieces of your marketing strategy are really important. Do you build a website first? Do you create a logo? Should you get early customers? All these types of things. And what’s really important is to focus on lean strategies and it’s really about leveraging data and technology. So you actually make data-driven decisions instead of just instinctual, what we think and what we feel good about type decisions.
What advice do you have for people out there during this challenging time?
Korthuis: The number one thing that I would suggest as founders think about how to pivot during COVID is to just lead with empathy. Zoom is one of many examples of brands who have led with empathy. So for example, they’ve lifted their 40-minute meeting limit for schools, so that schools can actually use their free platform for their educational purposes. Nike has donated their products, including pairs of their Nike Airs and Trainers and compression socks to people who are working on the frontlines. So there’s just so many examples like that. Really leading with empathy is the number-one brand strategy that you should absolutely be doing.
The second thing you can be doing during COVID, which dovetails into leading with empathy, is to follow the serve first, sell later formula. It’s this formula: Give, give, give, ask. And so if you don’t really understand your customer and you don’t understand how to serve them, that’s going to be the first place to start. So really understanding what your customers need from you, what they’re struggling with, how can you serve, serve, serve first, and then ask, is going to be a big brand pivot for a lot of small businesses.
Focus on traction and action. So, vanity metrics is a term that we use a lot in the branding and marketing space, which is really about, like, “We have a million followers on Instagram, therefore our business must be successful.” And that’s actually not the case. You could have only 200 followers on a certain platform but be doing really well because those followers are very, very, very engaged. And so the biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone who’s thinking about pivoting or changing up their business model is to really focus on traction.
Focus on real numbers. Don’t focus on vanity metrics that just look good on paper, but that don’t actually need anything in your business.
So how many customers are you acquiring on a monthly, quarterly, yearly basis?
What is your gross rate?
What’s your churn rate?
How many repeat customers do you have?
If you have someone that’s purchased one thing from you, are they coming back?
So, what’s your customer lifetime value?
These are really solid traction metrics that are going to tell you if your business is really poised to weather this type of storm.
And the very last thing that you can do above all else is entertain. Right now people are looking for a laugh. Memes are going off the charts because of what’s happening in COVID and even, like, the post-COVID era. It might just feel really silly to do something entertaining, but it actually shows a level of authenticity, and it shows a level of humanness with your brand. And again, it all goes back to your customer. So if you know how to lead with empathy, and serve first, sell later, gain traction, and then humor your audience in the meantime, you’re going to be definitely set for success.
The digital marketing concept has become a popular topic to discuss. Online business owners show their high interest in the digital marketing concept to position their website high on the searches. Not only this, but it is also followed by them to catch the eye of consumers. Here are the top 18 digital marketing automation…
The digital marketing concept has become a popular topic to discuss. Online business owners show their high interest in the digital marketing concept to position their website high on the searches. Not only this, but it is also followed by them to catch the eye of consumers. Here are the top 18 digital marketing automation tools by experts in 2020.
The big topic of automation tools on everyone’s mind.
Simultaneously, digital marketing is a vast topic that includes email campaigns, promotion on social media, content development & creation, and several concepts are still adding to reach the target audience.
Reaching your audience.
When you succeed in reaching the majority of the audience, then the next step is to analyze the efforts you have made to accomplish your desired set goals. After all, analyzing the overall performance of your webshop in terms of sales, rankings, reach and conversions, etc. are necessary.
This is the situation when several digital marketing automation tools come into play and give detailed information about sales and marketing activities.
What is digital marketing automation?
Digital marketing automation is those software platforms, specially designed for digital marketers and other marketing departments to promote on multiple channels online and track its performance as well.
Here is a complete list of digital marketing automation tools that can assist you in keeping an eye on your digital marketing efforts.
The first tool on our list is Marketo. It is considered the best tool, flooded with few tools, including web personalization, email, and social marketing tools, email marketing tools, etc.
All these tools shape Marketo to give digital marketers a great experience measuring marketing engagement and other related activities. This renowned DMA tool is led by the software giant, Adobe to reshape the experience of a digital marketer.
Marketo also has the incredible potential to cover any digital channel.
Easy to Use: This automation tool is easy to use, making it an ideal software platform to pick for DMA. Because every single thing is labeled properly, so you can easily find what you are searching for.
Other Marketing Features: Yes, Marketo holds several tools that are known for their extensive marketing capabilities. You can rely on those tools to meet every business type’s needs. It declines the requirement for third-party tools to carry out a particular task.
Salesforce Integration: Marketo very well incorporates the features of sales, making it easier for several organizations to taste success by getting accurate reports.
Pricing: When it comes to Marketo’s pricing, then this is a significant point to consider as there are several other automation tools too that can perform similar tasks, even at a low cost. When it was first introduced in 2006, the price of Marketo has increased at a rapid rate.
Missing CRM Feature: The list of Marketo features does not include the CRM feature (Customer Relationship Management) essential for the DMA. It’s a serious drawback that every marketer should consider.
Weak Landing Page and Form Builder: Compared to other DMA tools, the landing page and form builder of the Marketo is relatively weak. It doesn’t deliver the desired results.
Our list of DMA tools couldn’t be completed without HubSpot. It’s advanced software that offers you tools for several marketing pursuits. Namely, it assists in landing pages, SMM, shoppers support, SEO, and many more to surprise you.
Although HubSpot reviewed as the “inbound marketing software,” it is also a pre-eminent tool that also comprises the features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, adding more bonus points and giving reasons to choose this tool.
Super-Easy to Use: It is designed in such a way that it gives the user a better experience. In short, it is user-friendly. All the technical terms in the tool are well defined in this software tool. You can even learn to use it efficiently with Hubspot Academy.
Knowledge Hub: Hubspot is a knowledge hub that features a resource library along with several courses, video sessions, training, & more on a single platform. All the information in Hubspot is up to date as well.
Three-In-One Tool: Hubspot provides you with CRM, marketing, & sales, all under a single roof, which makes this tool exceptional from others. Now you don’t need other tools to carry out the tasks related to all these three segments.
Excellent Customer Support: When you say yes to the Hubspot, then be ready to serve with the best support and a team of marketing & sales experts to help you out in your matter. With a live chat or sending a text on Twitter or any other social platforms, you could easily connect with the team.
On-boarding Fee: Besides the monthly fee of the Hubspot tool, one has to bear the on-boarding fee depending on the packages.
Configuration Required: Hubspot requires you to configure it to help the business work properly.
Sometimes, it’s tricky: In some cases, Hubspot is not just easy to use. There is always a need to use it correctly.
When it comes to strengthening the relationship between consumers & businesses, then Customer.io is the right tool for you. This tool has an impressive feature of flexibility, letting you customize the specific mails or text messages to forward it to the shoppers or consumers when it recognizes any customer behaviors. Such ease of customization makes this DMA tool good enough to use for companies who are wandering for a light-weight user interface.
Customization in mails: Customer.io provides the ease of customizing the emails that have been sent to consumers. It gives you a massive benefit to the marketer.
Newsletter builder & their Campaign builder: Yes, Customer.io offers the special tools of newsletter builder and their campaign builder on a single platform. It’s also easy to use.
Automated Marketing Campaigns: Additionally, it also embraces the features of automated marketing campaigns, helpful at distinct marketing stages.
Limited Mails: Customer.io only allows the marketer to send only 50 emails at one time. So, in case of a large customer base, this tool will take time to send mails.
Missing WYSIWYG Editor: It’s a beneficial editor, especially for your marketing counterparts and event-based filters in your workflows. Its absence can disappoint you a little.
Next on our list is Sendpulse, which lets you boost your marketing endeavors in both small and mid-size webshops & assist you in achieving the set desired conversions and leads. This tool also grants you to interact with customers via various communication channel tools that include email, chatbots for Facebook and an Instagram, push notifications, and text or SMS.
Simple and Easy: Sendpulse tool is simple and easy to use as you are provided with detailed information about its features on the platform.
Cheap: When it comes to the pricing factor of Sendpulse, it is one of the cheapest autoresponders in the market. Choosing this tool will help you to save more.
Impressive Features: The tool is loaded with ultimate features, including the AI too.
Awesome Support: Sendpulse offers the best support, allowing you to interact with other customers via emails, text, SMS, social media platforms, etc.
Need more templates: Sendpulse offers a less number of pre-loaded template ideas for designing campaigns. Such minimum numbers of designing templates allow the marketer to think one more time.
Like Sendpulse, SharpSpring is very popular because of its impressive features, making it the right tool to choose. Because it offers assistive marketing instructions and case studies, and on-the-spot training for digital marketers, so it is also the most chosen tool by the experts. This tool is considered the ideal pick for those companies who want built-in CRM as it incorporates the capability of social CRM too. So, it is undoubtedly the best DMA tool to choose from.
Low-Cost: Yes, SharpSpring is a budget-friendly tool. If we say clearly, then its cost is 3-10X less costly than other similar DMA tools.
Monthly Contracts: SharpSpring offers no long-term contracts or any boarding fees. All you need is a 30 days notice to switch users.
Perfect for Agencies: SharpSpring is a popularly used by digital agencies. This tool holds the features, including user management, that meet the needs of agencies very well.
SharpSpring is not ideal for non-marketers because of its complexity.
The tool also shows the occasional bugs & slowdowns that ruin the user experience.
SharpSpring doesn’t hold the advanced features. Hence, marketers have to depend on third-party tools to meet advanced needs.
Pardot is a Salesforce product that offers the ease of tracking and measuring the efficacy of the communication with the users and customizes the content across several campaigns.
Such ease makes this B2B tool good enough to choose for DMA. It’s a modern gen technology that makes sure that you’re communicating with the equitable person in the ideal language at the right time.
Lead Deck: Pardot tool has the lead deck that gives updates on the activity of the prospects. Whenever the candidate visits the page of your website, you will receive an updated push notification on your screen, and then, you can easily send them an email in a few clicks.
Easy to Customize: Pardot allows you to personalize and customize the tools as per your needs,
Good Customer Support: Users appreciate Pardot as it provides the best consumer support and practical training.
Fewer Integrations: Although Pardot has several tools like CRM and several other third-party apps, it is less than other tools such as Marketo.
No access to A/B testing and API for General Users: Another major drawback of the Pardot is that it allows only pro users (customers paying $2000 per month for the tool) to access the API. Not only this, but features such as A/B testing is not available for general users. Only pro users can take advantage of it.
Sendinblue is a digital agency and became a prominent tool that can enhance your marketing relationships.
Sendinblue tool is a communication tech that gives the ease of doing several activities. From email marketing to SMS marketing, CRM to transactional email, Facebook ads to retargeting ads, a lot more on a single platform.
At present, the tool has become an efficient, effective and on-budget tech to use for DMA.
Sendinblue offers a numero of SMS campaigns
There are several free plans that you can use to lead digital marketing automation.
Responsive design templates are also available.
The tools also include features like transactional and autoresponder email options.
Sendinblue has fewer templates.
The setting up of accounts on this tool is confusing—the user experience into a little annoying.
If you are interested in monitoring clients across different levels of the purchasing process, then you should say yes to the Oracle Eloqua, which serves both B2C and B2B marketer needs.
The good thing about this modern tech is that it lets you plan and personalize the automated campaigns. It holds the features of Marketo, too, allowing you customize every walk of the marketing process.
With the assistance of this Oracle Eloqua tool, it’s easy to integrate several emails, landing pages, etc. into a particular campaign with complete ease and accuracy.
Visual Campaign Builder: Yes, this tool features a user-friendly visual campaign builder that is ideal to use.
Integrations: Over 100 third-party platforms are united with this tool of Oracle Eloqua.
Hyper-Site Builder: Oracle Eloqua gives access to create personalized microsites with the assistance of productive user content. It’s the best feature of Oracle Eloqua.
Reputation: When it comes to the reputation, then Oracle Eloqua is a popular and powerful DMA tool, highly used by business enterprises.
High-Price: Expensive – Yes, it is highly expensive. The starting price of this tool is around $2000/ month, which is not just easy to afford by small online traders or businesses. Not only this, but a marketer also has to sign a long term contract as well.
Takes Implementation Time: Oracle Eloqua takes a long time in the implementation process. Hence, it makes it a little time consuming, as well.
Oracle Doesn’t Incorporate Google Adwords: The major drawback of this tool is that it has no incorporation with Google Adwords. It has no feature to track PPC ROI.
Next on our list is the ActiveCampaign tool, which is also known as a “three-in-one” tool, incorporating the features of email marketing, DMA, and small business CRM.
ActiveCampaign also calls your attention to distinct aspects of marketing. Now, tracking out the happenings in your automation has become more comfortable with the assistance of a VMA (visual automation editor.)
Simultaneously, ActiveCampaign has a strict approach or policy to follow on advertising many emails related to the affiliated products. ActiveCampaign is not just limited to tracking the email workflows but also a lot more things to allow your webshop to earn good points in the world of digital marketing.
Easy to Afford: ActiveCampaign is an ideal tool for those small businesses that have a tight budget and don’t want to spend much on marketing automation. It only costs $9 / month, that any small or medium-sized business can easily afford with no boarding charges.
Zapier Integration: ActiveCampaigns is loaded with over 2000+ tools with their Zapier integration. So, with ActiveCampaign, you can take advantage of all those tools with the paid subscription of Zapier.
Automation split testing: The tool also offers the ease of A/B testing the entire sequences against each other instead of testing the mail individually.
CRM: Although the ActiveCampaign tool is considered as a powerful tool to use as it has the in-built CRM system. But at the same time, a CRM system is not as reliable as the standalone platforms. The tool is not used for advanced purposes.
Reporting: ActiveCampaign is very well-known for providing fair insights on sales and conversion rates. The reporting of this tool is crowded, making it difficult for users to understand and navigate.
Another point on our list is Autopilot, another perfect example of modern advancement, which boosts DMA with its impressive features.
One can easily conclude with the word “autopilot” that the tool is made to automate the consumer experience. Bring this tool in use to different marketing channels, including the most popular one, i.e., email, text, or SMS, in-app communications.
Autopilot tool is loaded with extremely functional features like Activity Streams, Performance Tracking, etc. making it an ideal tool to choose. Talking about its price, then its pricing relies on its plans. Silver plans may cost around $49, and Platinum $249, etc.
Autopilot tools allow you to use social media in our digital marketing automation. Several tools usually fail to do this.
The tool also features the visual customer journey builder that is super easy to use.
Because Autopilot doesn’t hold unnecessary functions & features, so it’s not heavy software and performs faster than other apps.
Undoubtedly, Autopilot is working on several integrations, but still, it misses those advanced features that are important to help you to reach your goal.
Pricing factors can put you in deep thought to go for this tool or not. Yes, it’s a little high.
Although it has the impressive feature of email builder, it has its limits in customization.
GreenRope is another DMA tool, a complete CRM tool that holds all the features that businesses always strive to evolve at any cost.
The reason behind such an interest shown by the companies is that it provides you with an array of features that no other tool offers. The dashboard of this tool allows the user to customize the items to add points to the productivity. One can easily customize the color, size, and even icons too.
GreenRope tool grants you to cope with all the automation stuff, like the sales, operations, and marketing, from one dashboard. It is not just limited to this extent. It also displays your performance and provides assistance to come up with the best business decisions.
GreenRope is an all-in-one solution that incorporates the features of sales, marketing, and operations.
It provides the best customer support and several other training, making it an ideal tool to choose from.
GreenRope is a complete solution, but simultaneously, it also holds a steep learning curve.
Jumplead is an impressive tool on our list that is perfect in serving you with the top automation results. It meets the requirement of small, intermediate businesses and B2Bs as well.
The key feature of LiveChat makes this tool pretty popular among digital marketers, which lets you interact with webshop visitors and resolve their queries or answer their questions. Besides this LiveChat feature, it also has contact management functionality.
This is a superb feature that helps you to manage the contact profiles. All these tasks can be easily accomplished by collecting the updated data from analytical tools, etc. Its pricing differs as per their plans. If we say clearly, it is $49 for Solo, $99 for Starter, and $299 for Enterprise.
Jumplead is an affordable DMA tool with no long term contracts or commitments. You simply have to pay every month.
The tool doesn’t hold the crowded reports and unnecessary functions to confuse you. So you can conclude that it is easy to use.
Jumplead is considered an all-in-one solution that includes marketing automation, CRM, and live chat.
One of the drawbacks of the Jumplead is that it offers limited flexibility in the contact management dashboard. It’s challenging to modify contacts.
It doesn’t hold the daisy chain automation sequences.
For B2C companies, Drip is the ideal tool as it gives the ease to send data to customers at particular intervals. Drip is loaded with the latest features that allow the user to build set off onboard campaigns that rely on the actions taken in the dashboard of the consumers.
Drip encompasses email marketing and other automation features, making it an ideal choice for B2C organizations or businesses.
From automation workflows to email builders, the tools hold everything a business requires to meet the DMA needs.
It offers the best customer support.
The tool features a powerful visual automation builder.
Integration with Zapier.
Drip tools can also work together with several third-party software when the need arises.
It’s a simple, easy-to-use, and affordable solution that provides the marketer with several automation services.
Improper functioning of the form builder.
Limited template library.
Occasional bugs and slowdown affect the performance of this tool, and automation started failing.
Restricted split-testing ability
Limited template library
Looking for a tool that holds the features of DMA and business solutions for all small-sized businesses, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs? Then you should choose the Ontraport tool, comprises email marketing solutions, lead scoring, and a lot more to abet you in your business marketing.
The additional benefit of choosing the Ontraport tool is that it propounds the e-commerce facets, including cart abandonment, automatic credit card payment collection.
Pricing: One of the best pros of Ontraport is its pricing, which does not put a load on your budget. The affordability of their service makes this tool the best one to choose for automation.
Unified System: Ontraport acts as the engine behind the overall working of your marketing campaigns and integrating the emails and a lot more with the CRM system so that you can achieve the targeted goals (or leads) and increase the conversion rate.
Custom Objects: The term custom objects allow you to create a relationship between different databases. Ontraport tools can build custom objects that are only available in Salesforce, Marketo, and other enterprise systems.
E-Commerce Features: From automatic credit card payment collections to card abandonment, credit card expiration to adding upsells ability, Ontraport is known for several e-commerce features.
Dashboard User Interface: With the Ontraport tool, you can easily create any metric virtually. But at the same time, it’s dashboard doesn’t include any graphs or charts, making it less appealing and ruins the user experience.
Here’s another tool on our DMA tool list, namely Exponea, which is undoubtedly the best tool that amalgamates the consumer data from different sources, including online and offline sources. The whole data is consolidated in a customer data platform, which further assists the other tools in marketing campaigns, customer analytics, etc.
Exponea is easy to understand, as well as provides accurate reporting in real-time.
The tool is loaded with many features allowing you to compare distributions, how they convert, and result in conversion and to know which one will receive the most activity.
Exponea is a modern approach that is always ready to assist you at any time.
It also helps in improving the analytics approach and order numbers of online stores.
Exponea is a little complicated for a beginner who doesn’t know its working.
The tool lacks the essential feature of API, which helps to access the data inside the Exponea from other systems.
Another cloud-based CRM tool, also designed for DMA, is LeadSquared. With the word “LeadSquared,” one could develop its features for which it is known for. It moves the leads via the funnel faster.
Capturing the leads via different communication tools like inbound mails, chat, website, etc. has become easier by using this LeadSquared tool. Along with this, LeadSquared is also very well-known for offering analytics tools and many more, like LiveChat, GoToWebinar, Zopim, etc. on a single platform.
Simple & easy to use tool for many solutions.
It offers multiple data points to trigger autoresponders.
Fantastic customer support is always ready to make the user experience a great one.
There are no limits mentioned for email and landing pages on their pricing page.
LeadSquared offers limited services of customization and flexibility for advanced users.
When it comes to finding a tool that comprises the flexible set of features that would assist in campaigning and more, choose SalesFusion.
The tool is readily available on a standalone basis. Not only this, but several other aspects of marketing also correlate to it, offering more ease to the marketers for better business performance. Some of them are media planning tools, marketing analytics, etc. SalesFusion has everything to meet the digital marketer needs.
The email builder in SalesFusion is relatively easy to use.
The pricing structure in this tool is based on contacts.
The tool doesn’t allow you to use dynamic fields in text. Only email builders are permitted.
The major drawback of SalesFusion is its limited reporting, which makes it difficult for the user to track link clicks or downloads unless.
Last on our list is the Omnisend tool, which offers several benefits like pre-created workflows of DMA and tools to capture the consumer data.
E-commerce businesses can boost up their marketing with tailored messaging. In simple words, it allows you to send a personalized message to the ideal person at the right time.
For consumers, it helps to provide them with a better shopping experience as well. On the other hand, for marketers, the main motto of this tech tool is to create a promotional noise.
With the assistance of the Omnisend tool, template/Email creation becomes easy.
Follow-up campaigns are easy and effective.
The overall set up of triggered email/automation also turns out easy and effective with the Omnisend tool.
It carries out effective reporting.
Initial set-up is not just easy.
There are a fewer number of sample templates and campaigns.
Now you possess a complete bucket list of tools for DMA. Good marketing drives you to better outcomes, like good ranking, better reach, and more consumer-engagement. But sometimes, the tricks or tips of digital marketing don’t work effectively.
Hence, you require proper tools to direct your efforts in the best direction to increase the company’s success. Bring the tools into your digital marketing. It will push your business to the path of success.
Ravi Sharma, CEO of Webomaze is a highly enthusiastic entrepreneur. His love for making every business reach the greatest heights made him establish his Web Development and Digital Marketing Company. Ravi delivers the best eCommerce development and SEO services. He has got a great grip on the idea of effective eCommerce Strategies, SEO processes, and tactics which are vital for virtual exposure. Ravi Sharma is a fun-loving person and a keen traveler who always hunts to find adventure in new places.
Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission. This $45 bundle includes 10 courses. Image: pexels By StackCommerceMashable Shopping2020-09-11 09:00:00 UTC TL;DR: Create a solid online presence with the All-In-One Digital Branding Certification Bundle for only $45. As many…
Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.
This bundle includes 10 classes with over 37 hours of helpful advice from leading instructors and marketing experts. The coursework jumps in right away with TikTok Marketing 2020, which will break down the platform and help you design campaigns with the ultimate goal of growing a new account to 10,000 followers in 30 days.
Courses include a social media marketing course for beginners, a graphic design course focused on social media, and more. There’s even a class on how to use LinkedIn effectively.
Once you’ve mastered social media, you’ll explore everything from copywriting to blogging to increasing demand for your brand. You’ll also learn how to set up a professional website, even if you have no coding skills.
Taiwanese startup iKala, which offers an artificial intelligence-based customer acquisition and engagement platform, will expand into new Southeast Asian markets after raising a $17 million Series B. The round was led by Wistron Digital Technology Holding Company, the investment arm of the electronics manufacturer, with participation from returning investors Hotung Investment Holdings Limited and Pacific…
Taiwanese startup iKala, which offers an artificial intelligence-based customer acquisition and engagement platform, will expand into new Southeast Asian markets after raising a $17 million Series B. The round was led by Wistron Digital Technology Holding Company, the investment arm of the electronics manufacturer, with participation from returning investors Hotung Investment Holdings Limited and Pacific Venture Partners. It brings iKala’s total raised so far to $30.3 million.
The new funding will be used to launch in Indonesia and Malaysia, and expand in markets where iKala already operates, including Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. Wistron Digital Technology Holding Company, which also offers big data analytics, will serve as a strategic investor, and this also marks the Taiwanese firm’s entry into Southeast Asia.
iKala’s products are targeted toward e-commerce companies, and include KOL Radar, for influencer marketing, and Shoplus, a social commerce service focused on Southeast Asian markets.
In a statement about the funding, iKala board member Lee-feng Chien, former managing director at Google Taiwan, said, “Taiwan has an excellent reputation for having some of the best high tech talents in both hardware and software around the region. With Wistron as a strategic partner, iKala can become a major driving force for transforming Taiwan into an AI industry and talent hub in Asia.”
In addition to iKala, these include Appier, which also provides a customer analytics, and enterprise translation platform WritePath. Big American tech companies, including Amazon, Google and Microsoft, have also set up AI-focused research and development centers in Taiwan, drawing on the country’s engineering talent and government programs.
Venture outside and you’ll soon see them. Printed on posters and signs, pasted on pub walls and hotel lobbies, taped to picnic tables in beer gardens: QR codes. WIRED UKThis story originally appeared on WIRED UK.As the hospitality industry begins tentatively to open up, restaurants and hotels are turning to technology to deliver a dine-in…
Venture outside and you’ll soon see them. Printed on posters and signs, pasted on pub walls and hotel lobbies, taped to picnic tables in beer gardens: QR codes.
As the hospitality industry begins tentatively to open up, restaurants and hotels are turning to technology to deliver a dine-in experience that is as touch-free as possible. Suddenly, a card menu that gets passed through the germy hands of one customer to the next doesn’t seem so appealing. QR codes—the black, barcode-like squares that can point to text or a website—have been around for a while but were previously dismissed as largely a marketing gimmick, at least in a consumer context. Now the QR code has found its time to shine.
“Up until now a QR code, certainly to me, has just been a collection of black and white patterns on a billboard or on a bus stop or wherever,” says Edmund Inkin, who co-owns three hotels across Cornwall and Wales under the brand Eat Drink Sleep. “I’d never really thought of using them.” Now, visitors to Eat Drink Sleep hotels can access the food menu, drinks list, and details on room bookings via QR code (QR stands for quick response).
Nils Engelking, cofounder of Egoditor, a mobile marketing company that runs an online QR code generator and works with companies to implement them, says the coronavirus pandemic was something of a roller coaster for the business. First, customer numbers dropped off, as shops and events were forced to shut down. The main function of a QR code, after all, is to link the digital world with the physical: People can scan the code in real life to get more information on their phone. “So if there’s no sort of life out there and people gathering, QR codes are not that much necessary any more,” Engelking says.
As lockdowns around the world started to ease, however, the QR code found itself in its element. It was the perfect touch-free medium. It allowed people to interact with the world around them while touching only their own smartphone. “Coronavirus just gave it a big push in terms of adoption and also in terms of the end customers,” Engelking says. He says that Egoditor has seen a huge increase in adoption, with a 25-fold increase in sign-ups from restaurants in June compared to February, and sevenfold increase in sign-ups from hotels. There has also been an increase in the number of customers actually scanning the QR codes, which Engelking puts down to them being implemented for more useful functions.
Many restaurants and hotels are using QR codes to display menus, or to direct people to booking pages where they can order food or reserve rooms directly online. They are also starting to be used to help with contact tracing—keeping a record of who has been where in order to identify those who may have come into contact with the virus. The NHS Test and Trace service’s new app, which is currently entering trials, will allow users to scan a QR code at venues in order to keep a log of where they’ve been. Currently, venues on the Isle of Wight are able to create a QR code to work with the Test and Trace system.
Some offices are also turning to the tech to help with bringing people back to work. Software company SAP, which has reopened two of its buildings with a very limited capacity, has incorporated QR codes into its broader strategy of signage, sanitizer, and distancing, in order to inform employees of updates. Scanning the QR code takes employees to information on the latest procedures and processes in place at the office.
Facilities manager Sarah Woodman says the QR code approach means the company doesn’t have to print out so many materials and results in a touch-free experience. “People don’t have to touch things—they’ve got their own phone, they can scan it, they can touch their own phone.” One other advantage is that you can easily update the information that the QR code leads to without changing the code itself. When SAP started using a different car park, for instance, Woodman was able to inform employees simply by tweaking the text that the QR code pointed to.
As well as perhaps finally finding their killer app, QR codes have benefited from technology moving on somewhat since they first began appearing in marketing materials. Whereas previously you may have had to install a special QR code-reading app in order to scan the codes, many newer phone models will now do this automatically through the main camera function. Engelking says that businesses are also using them better: If you hide a QR code in your marketing designs with no clear call to action, people won’t know what to do with it; if you put it front and center on your restaurant table explaining that it’s how to access the menu, people will.
One of Inkin’s main concerns in using the tech was whether it would fit with the atmosphere of the hotels; he wanted to make sure not to lose the human element of service. For this reason, he says, Eat Drink Sleep is generally “relatively resistant” to technology, using it only where it really enhances what they do. They considered online ordering apps but decided it took too much of the dining experience away, opting instead to use a QR code menu but still have people taking diners’ orders at the table (from a safe distance).
The hotel company also had its QR codes laser-cut onto wooden cards by a local company, to match more with its aesthetic. Inkin keeps some single-use paper menus on hand for people who really don’t want to use the technology, but he says that most visitors are more than happy to. He imagines that the company will continue using the tech even when coronavirus is no longer a concern. “I think because it’s very likely we’re going to be needing to use this for 6, 9, 12, 18 months, and that these types of guidelines will be in place for us to be operating in a Covid-safe way, it’s going to become fairly hardwired both into how we do things and how our guests do things, what they expect.”
Some businesses have gone beyond QR codes to use other touch-free tech. Hotel chain citizenM has launched a “contactless” experience through its new app, which lets visitors check in, create their own keycard, order food and drink, and even control the lights and air conditioning in their room. The app, says Casper Overbeek, director of customer experience, was already in the works before the pandemic hit, but the company fast-tracked some features relevant to a contactless stay when this suddenly became more urgent. “It really is a way to say, ‘Listen, you don’t need to touch anything you don’t want to,’” he says.
Overbeek believes that even if contactless features are no longer necessary or desirable post-Covid, the frictionless experience offered by tech will be. “Any feature that we’re now building to make contactless possible actually also has a convenience element to it, and I’m sure that the convenience element will stay.”
Movable Ink, a company that helps businesses deliver more personalized and relevant email marketing, is announcing that it has raised $30 million in Series C funding. The company will be 10 years old in October, and founder and CEO Vivek Sharma told me that it’s always been “capital efficient” — even with the new round,…
Movable Ink, a company that helps businesses deliver more personalized and relevant email marketing, is announcing that it has raised $30 million in Series C funding.
The company will be 10 years old in October, and founder and CEO Vivek Sharma told me that it’s always been “capital efficient” — even with the new round, Movable Ink has only raised a total of $39 million.
However, Sharma noted that with COVID-19, it felt like “a good idea to have some dry powder on our balance sheet … if things turned south.”
At the same time, he suggested that the pandemic’s impact has been more limited than he anticipated, and has been “really focused” on a few sectors like travel, hospitality and “old line retailers.”
“Those who are adopting to e-commerce really quickly have done well, financial services has done well, media has done well,” he said.
The company’s senior vice president of strategy Alison Lindland added that clients using Movable Ink were able to move much more quickly, with campaigns that would normally take months launching in just a few days.
“We really saw those huge, wholesale digital transformations in a time of duress,” Lindland said. “Obviously, large Fortune 500 companies were making difficult decisions, were putting vendors on hold, but email marketers are always the last people furloughed themselves, because of how critical email marketing is to their businesses. We were just as critical to their operations.”
The new funding comes from Contour Venture Partners, Intel Capital and Silver Lake Waterman. Sharma said the money will be spent on three broad categories: “Platforms, partners and people.”
On the platform side, that means continuing to develop Movable Ink’s technology and expanding into new channels. He estimated that around 95% of Movable Ink’s revenue comes from email marketing, but he sees a big opportunity to grow the web and mobile side of the business.
“We take any data the brand has available to it and activate and translate it into really engaging creative,” he said, arguing that this approach is applicable in “every other channel where there’s pixels in front of the consumer’s eyes.”
The company also plans to make major investments into AI. Sharma said it’s too early to share details about those plans, but he pointed to the recent hire of Ashutosh Malaviya as the company’s vice president of artificial intelligence.
As for partners, the company has launched the Movable Ink Exchange, a marketplace for integrations with data partners like Oracle Commerce Cloud, MessageGears Engage, Trustpilot and Yopto.
And Movable Ink plans to expand its team, both through hiring and potential acquisitions. To that end, it’s hired Katy Huber as its senior vice president of people.
Sharma also said that in light of the recent conversations about racial justice and diversity, the company has been looking at its own hiring practices and putting more formal measures in place to track its progress.
“We use OKRs to track other areas of the business, so if we don’t incorporate [diversity] into our business objectives, we’re only paying lip service,” he said. “For us, it was really important to not just have a big spike of interest, and instead save some of that energy so that it’s sustained into the future.”
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With the growth of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok, you might’ve let Facebook slip your mind. But the truth is, Facebook remains one of the best, if not the best platform for digital marketing. So, you might want to get yourself reacquainted.
You’ll kick off the training with a master class in defining your target audience, creating powerful video landing pages, optimising your business pages, and integrating them with YouTube and Instagram using Facebook apps. The ultimate goal? Reaching the maximum number of followers organically. You’ll also learn how to create your own Facebook ads, crack the code behind writing posts that convert, understand the secrets of retargeting campaigns, and figure out the depths of the Facebook sales funnel.
As hard as it is to admit since your parents are avid users, Facebook is truly the perfect place for businesses and individuals to grow an audience, build brand awareness, and convert customers quickly. If you’re not hip to Facebook marketing and utilising everything is has to offer, you’re simply missing out. Just embrace it already.
Infermedica, the Poland-founded health tech startup that offers an AI-driven platform for preliminary diagnosis and triage, has raised just over $10 million in Series A funding. The round is led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and digital health fund Heal Capital. Existing investors Karma Ventures, Inovo Venture Partners, and Dreamit Ventures…
Infermedica, the Poland-founded health tech startup that offers an AI-driven platform for preliminary diagnosis and triage, has raised just over $10 million in Series A funding.
The round is led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and digital health fund Heal Capital. Existing investors Karma Ventures, Inovo Venture Partners, and Dreamit Ventures also participated.
Infermedica says the investment will be used for platform R&D to further enhance its patient triage and symptom checking features and clinical decision support analysis. The company is also planning to expand operations in Germany and the U.S. The new capital means the startup has raised $15 million in total to date.
Founded in 2012 in Wrocław by CEO Piotr Orzechowski, Infermedica describes itself an “AI-driven, customisable, multi-language” platform that aids patient care and healthcare service delivery. Like a plethora of competitors, such as Ada Health, Babylon and Your.MD, it combines the expertise of doctors with its own algorithms to offer symptom triage and advice to patients.
Image Credits: Infermedica
Notably, the company operates a B2B model, working with insurance companies, telemedicine companies, and health systems that want to offer digitally delivered symptom-checks. It positions itself as “API-first,” as well as whitelabeling its platform on behalf of customers.
“We’re focused on improving the way patients make decisions about their symptoms,” explains Orzechowski. “According to studies, the majority of internet users search online when they’re feeling unwell, but it’s hard to find accurate and personalized answers about our own health. To help everyone evaluate their symptoms in a quick and reliable way, we’ve developed a carefully curated AI platform that asks diagnostic questions and computes likelihoods of primary care conditions. With nearly 40,000 hours of physician work and 6,000,000 completed user checkups, we are among the most trusted vendors of symptom checking technology”.
To that end, current Infermedica clients include health insurance companies, such as Allianz, Global Excel, and Medis, where digital triage claims to help optimise healthcare costs. The startup also sells into hospital systems, including Sana Kliniken, and is used to identify the urgency of a patient’s case and to collect information prior to a hospital visit. In addition, its API is used by technology companies, such as Microsoft’s integration of the platform into its health bot.
On competition, Orzechowski says that there are several “great companies” in the space, but argues that each of them does something different in terms of their product or marketing focus. “What makes Infermedica unique is that we are API-first,” he says. “We’re solely focused on providing the most powerful AI triage and pre-diagnosis component, and we integrate easily with all other platforms such as chatbots, patient portals, and EHRs. We want to become like Stripe, but for medical diagnosis”.
Meanwhile, Infermedica makes money by licensing its technology to its B2B clients. The startup’s SaaS model sees it charge based on the number of performed API calls or completed patient checkups.
August 04, 2020 The digital-first, direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier considers marketing strategies that move away from organic community support and toward influencer marketing and paid media. But what does that mean for its loyal digital community? Harvard Business School professor Jill Avery discusses the debate in her case, “Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a…
August 04, 2020
The digital-first, direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier considers marketing strategies that move away from organic community support and toward influencer marketing and paid media. But what does that mean for its loyal digital community?
HBR Presents is a network of podcasts curated by HBR editors, bringing you the best business ideas from the leading minds in management. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Harvard Business Review or its affiliates.
Editor’s Note: This podcast was recorded Feb. 25, 2020.
BRIAN KENNY: 532 billion. That’s how much we spent in 2019 in search of beauty. According to Orbis Research, the global cosmetics industry will climb to over 800 billion over the next five years. It’s a rocket ship fueled by a rising generation of millennial consumers who shunned the cosmetic counter for YouTube, where they’ll find 45,000 channels specializing in fashion and beauty-related content. It’s also an industry in transition, where stalwarts like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal who once defined the space are grappling with the changing sensibilities of what it means to be beautiful in 2020. Today on Cold Call, we’ll discuss professor Jill Avery’s case entitled, Glossier: Co-creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community. I’m your host, Brian Kenny, and you’re listening to Cold Call, recorded in Klarman Hall Studio at Harvard Business School. Jill Avery is an expert on brand management and customer relationship management. Before coming to HBS, she managed several world-class consumer brands for the likes of the Gillette Company, Braun Inc, Samuel Adams and AT&T. I guess you know a little bit about brands, Jill, is that right? Thanks for joining me today. This is, I think, your second spin and on Cold Call, so we’re happy to have you back. Last time we talked about Longchamp bags. Here we’re in a completely different part of the consumer space, but one that I think many of our listeners will be able to relate to. So I think they’ll be interested in hearing about Glossier and their emergence into this scene in such a profound way. As a professor at Harvard Business School, how would you set this case up?
JILL AVERY: I teach this case in my course entitled, Creating Brand Value, where we’re very focused on what brands are and how they create value for consumers and for the firms that produce them. So when I introduce this case to my students, I talk about a specific moment in time in the life of Glossier, the company. It’s a very exciting time in mid-2018 because the company has just raised a series C fundraising round of $52 million. So this startup now has significant money to think about investing in the future. But, it’s also a daunting decision facing the management team. How should we spend it? What’s going to provide the best return on investment and what’s right for the brand going forward?
BRIAN KENNY: It seems great to have all that money, but then you have to figure out how to use it.
JILL AVERY: Exactly. That’s the hard part.
BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. So I’m curious, are you a customer of Glossier?
JILL AVERY: I am. I am. My two favorite products are, one is called Boy Brow. It’s one of the bestselling products of the company and it’s an eyebrow enhancer. Take a look at my eyebrows. Don’t they look great?
BRIAN KENNY: Fabulous.
JILL AVERY: Exactly. And then my second favorite is a pretty versatile product called Bomb.com, and it’s a skin salve that you can use on your face, on your lips, on your hands to bring some moisture to your skin.
BRIAN KENNY: All right, so you know of what you write here in terms of the case, in terms of the product and the quality of this product.
JILL AVERY: Definitely.
BRIAN KENNY: So how did you hear about Glossier? And I’m curious as to how this case relates more directly to your research interests.
JILL AVERY: Sure. So Glossier is one of the hottest new companies in a crop of e-commerce driven direct-to-consumer brands that have come on the landscape over the last 10 years. And Glossier is a classic example of direct-to-consumer brands and what they bring to the table that’s different from brands that we’ve studied in the past. I was particularly interested in Glossier because of its focus on community. I’ve been studying digital communities since my doctoral dissertation days when I spent my years here studying Porsche’s online brand communities. And I’m fascinated by how consumers who are yoked together in digital communities based on their love for a brand, how they interact and how they create value for each other and what kinds of opportunities and challenges that presents for brands.
BRIAN KENNY: So tell us a little about Glossier. How did they come into being?
JILL AVERY: The founder, Emily Weiss, she was an art student and then working as a styling assistant and she began writing a blog called, Into the Gloss. And it started as a hobby for her as a way for her to express some new ideas that she had about beauty and quickly grew readership and became very, very popular. And as it grew, she started to think about whether this could be a full-time gig for her and left her job to pursue it and started to experiment with different business models. She first started selling advertising to try to monetize the blog, and then she realized that there might be a larger opportunity.
BRIAN KENNY: Yeah, and so that larger opportunity was to actually get into the creation of these products. That’s a big leap, it seems to me, to go from writing about these things in a very authentic way, which is probably what helped her to start to build a following, but then how do you make that next step into actually being in the space itself?
JILL AVERY: Yes. So, Into the Gloss grew to about 1.5 million readers, which was a significant audience for her. And over time she realized that these readers represented a new type of beauty customer, that they were dissatisfied with the way that big beauty companies were treating them and the types of products that they were producing. She was also gathering a lot of information from her conversations with her readers, which were very communal, two way conversations. So she was not only putting content out to them, they were delivering content back to her, and it was a real conversational experience. She was learning a lot and realized that that knowledge could be quite valuable in creating a product line that delivered against exactly what her audience was looking for.
BRIAN KENNY: What was her audience like? What were the things that she was hearing that made her sort of take this path?
JILL AVERY: I think what she was hearing is that beauty felt exclusive rather than inclusive, that many women who are her readers felt like big beauty companies were not addressing their specific needs, their skin tones, their color choices… that beauty companies were speaking to the needs of a different generation. But there really wasn’t a beauty company and a brand that was speaking to millennial women. When you looked at the beauty landscape at that point, products and brands were quite functional, but there really wasn’t a beauty brand out there. Emily describes it as, we have very different relationships with fashion brands than we do with beauty brands, and there wasn’t a beauty brand that created that lifestyle, that sense of belonging that beauty customers were looking for. And that’s really what she set out to do with Glossier.
BRIAN KENNY: We did a podcast here with Geoff Jones, a business historian at Harvard Business School on Helena Rubenstein. And she was sort of the mother of cosmetics counters and women in lab coats and doing makeovers. It sounds like this is the exact kind of thing that Emily was sort of working against was your mother’s version of the cosmetic space.
JILL AVERY: I think the lab coat imagery is exactly what she was fighting against. She really wanted Glossier not to be an authority on beauty, but to be a friend that could listen to what women were asking for and then someone that could deliver against those wishes. And so the white lab coat connotes authority and a kind of sense of telling women what is beautiful and how they need to conform to that. Emily’s perspective was that all women are beautiful and that women want to express that beauty in different ways. And so Glossier was really set up in a much more democratic, less authoritative, more inclusive and communal way of expressing beauty.
BRIAN KENNY: Seems pretty consistent with what we know about the millennial generation and how they think about life and the products that they buy, and they’re very sensitive to marketing, they understand when they’re being marketed to. And so this feels like a much more authentic path for them to take. Who are her customers, if you could describe them?
JILL AVERY: Emily built a community of readers and listeners before she tried to sell them anything. And I think that that builds her credibility and her trust with her audience. So the commercialization in this business came four years after Into the Gloss was founded. Her consumers generally are millennial and Generation Z women, young preteens, teens and early 20s women who are looking for alternatives to big beauty. These are women who are comfortable shopping for skincare and cosmetics online. And the type of beauty that they’re trying to express is not a heavily made up type of beauty. It’s a beauty based in skincare, in dewy, glossy, shiny, fresh-faced skin. And so it’s not about covering up, it’s about revealing the beauty that’s within you.
BRIAN KENNY: Okay. Who does Glossier compete with?
JILL AVERY: I would say Glossier has lots of competition right now. The interesting thing about the beauty industry is it’s dominated by eight large holding companies, all of which own many brands. But the industry itself is quite fragmented. Women are quite fickle when it comes to beauty products. And so they like to experiment and move around products and brands. So Glossier has a lot of competition in the offline space, all of the traditional beauty brands that we grew up with, but also a new crop of competitors that are competing in the direct-to-consumer space. So companies like Goop, companies like Fenty, new brands that are digitally native and direct-to-consumer have really put a wedge into the industry and are disrupting it from within.
BRIAN KENNY: Okay. So let’s get back to sort of the premise of the case. They’ve got this infusion of money. They’ve got to figure out sort of how they’re going to use it. Can you describe a little bit about what the size of the company is at the time that they get this infusion? They’ve scaled up quite a bit from their modest starting place.
JILL AVERY: They have. The company at the time of the case has about 150 employees, so it’s getting quite large. They’ve raised a significant amount of money. So they’re not a startup anymore. They’re really moving into the scaling phase of their business as a private company. The company doesn’t release financial data, so it’s hard to say where their sales are at the point of the case. But their venture capital support indicates that they’ve tapped into something special here.
BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. And they’re considering several sort of options, routes that they could take with this money on how they might invest it. One of the tensions that I think comes through in the case is that they’ve built this brand on authenticity. As you scale, is it hard to sustain that sort of authenticity? I mean, inevitably, you become a little bit more commercial than you used to be.
JILL AVERY: I think that’s a big tension for Glossier at this point in its history. As it looks back on how it’s grown, it’s grown primarily through very authentic media such as earned media, consumers talking to each other, press attention, excitement about what the company is doing as they move to the future and think about scaling. They’re starting to consider things like paid media. That’s always perceived as more commercial than a friend telling you about a new product. So I think as you scale, you start to lose some authenticity, some credibility. But for Emily in particular, I think you start to worry about can you maintain the close community and the close relationship that you’ve been able to garner with your consumers. Consumers see Emily as a close friend and they feel like they have symbolic access to her through the way that she speaks through the brand. As the community gets larger, that gets harder to maintain.
BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. And there’s only one Emily. So what happens when you’ve got a brand that’s built around sort of an icon, right?
JILL AVERY: Exactly. And one of Emily’s challenges early on is how can she empower her customer experience team to speak with the voice of the brand. And a lot of her training of her employees focuses on speaking to customers, not as customers, but as friends, and how do we conduct business in a way that makes people feel valued in that type of a relationship rather than in a commercial relationship.
BRIAN KENNY: What role do investors play in a situation like this? They obviously believe in what she’s doing and they believe in her and they believe in the product. But I would assume they’ve also got a point-of-view on how she should do things, and how do you balance that kind of pressure?
JILL AVERY: Emily was very smart and very lucky that she caught the attention of Kirsten Green of Forerunner Ventures, who is an investor who has been very active in the direct-to-consumer space, has a lot of experience with these types of companies and was very supportive of Emily’s vision for a new landscape of beauty. She really saw the magic within Emily to be able to build a passionate following of community, people who engage in the community. And so I think Emily’s getting a lot of support from her investors, who are also giving her quite a lot of runway to be able to build this company in the right way, to pursue growth that’s sustainable over time and to really use her venture investment wisely to be able to think about building a brand not just for a five year payback, but for what Emily calls a hundred year brand. She’s really looking to make this a major statement in beauty for a long time.
BRIAN KENNY: I mean, what is her vision for the brand? Does she have sort of a dream for what Glossier can become?
JILL AVERY: I think she does. She definitely, as I said, wants to build a hundred year brand. That’s very important to her, that this has long-lasting value creation for beauty consumers.
BRIAN KENNY: Long after she’s gone.
JILL AVERY: Long after she’s gone. And I think her vision doesn’t stop with Glossier. She has a bigger vision for e-commerce in general, what she calls social commerce or bringing consumers into commerce in a way that feels very natural and very relational, recognizing that the value of a customer is not coming just from the profitability from that particular customer’s purchases, but also from their social value, from the fact that they can help other consumers discover products, assist during a purchase, help them understand how to best use them and share their excitement post-purchase and post-consumption to involve them in a community and to make them feel like they belong. So Emily’s vision I think goes way beyond what Glossier will be able to achieve and really talks to the future of e-commerce.
BRIAN KENNY: And she’s leveraging that community, as you mentioned before. It’s like a feedback loop for them, right? So they’re getting ideas. Are they actually soliciting ideas from their customers, “Tell us what colors you want, what kind of makeup you want”?
JILL AVERY: They are. Her very first product was the Milky Jelly Cleanser and she put out a call on Into the Gloss for any thoughts and ideas or problems, challenges that people were having in the cleanser category, collected a ton of data from her prospective customers and then spent the next six months working with chemists to develop exactly the right formula that would address the needs of her particular audience. So she sees her role as listening and learning from her community rather than dictating to her community what she thinks they want. She actually-
BRIAN KENNY: “Here’s your product that we’ve made for you.”
JILL AVERY: Exactly.
BRIAN KENNY: You mentioned paid media. What are some of the other things that they’re thinking about doing with this big infusion of funds?
JILL AVERY: They’re also considering paid influencer marketing, so partnering with influencers. Beauty influencers are very powerful in social media today.
BRIAN KENNY: Those are pretty pricey though, right? I mean, you mentioned some of the costs that are tied to some of these influencers.
JILL AVERY: Yeah. So particularly in the beauty industry, influencer marketing is getting very pricey. Some of the top influencers in the space charge $1 million a post, so you can quickly run through a media-
BRIAN KENNY: I’m in the wrong business.
JILL AVERY: You can quickly run through a media budget if you’re talking to that. But Emily’s also considering other types of influencers, more micro influencers who don’t have as large an audience but have a much more close relationship with their followers that leads to greater engagement.
BRIAN KENNY: And I think also when you tie yourself to influencers, you tie yourself to whatever they do in a given moment. And we’ve seen that backfire on big brands in the past, particularly with sports, with athletes and celebrities and things.
JILL AVERY: Yeah, so influencer marketing is a very popular strategy right now, but it involves taking some risks on the content side. In order to be persuasive, influencers have to speak in their own voice. And so brands that try to heavily script them often wind up falling flat because the messages are perceived as less credible or less authentic. However, giving too much control to an influencer also carries some risk because they could say something that’s against the brand’s message.
BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. Makes me squeamish.
JILL AVERY: Me too.
BRIAN KENNY: Working with a brand influencer for Harvard Business School. I don’t think … although I figured out our students are our brand influencers. They’re out there anyway. They’re very active.
JILL AVERY: And I think that’s what Emily picks up on as well. Her best influencers are customers who love her brand. One of her other tactics is, can she leverage her existing customer base to become peer-to-peer sales representatives? Can she actually monetize her customer base to help her sell the brand and help other consumers discover the product line?
BRIAN KENNY: Does that sort of run the risk of … I don’t know … It feels to me like people may take advantage of that in a way that seems, again, incompatible with the authenticity of the brand.
JILL AVERY: I think whenever you start paying people for influence, credibility goes down and so they’re going to be perceived as less persuasive than if they had no commercial motivation for the word-of-mouth that they’re spreading. I think consumer peer-to-peer selling relationships are tough to manage at scale because most of our customers don’t have very large audiences and a lot of them aren’t very good content creators and some of them don’t have the desire to create content, and so finding the right customers who have a large enough audience who have content creation skills and who have the motivation to do it well is a challenge for the company.
BRIAN KENNY: How do they market their products now? What’s their marketing strategy prior to investing this money?
JILL AVERY: Primarily from the launch, they got a lot of earned media, a lot of press attention. Beauty editors were fascinated by Emily’s story and also fascinated by Emily herself. She was a great front person for the brand. It has a glamorous background and a very engaging personality that she was able to leverage into a lot of press mentions. Early on, the brand gained traction with millennials and they spread the word very quickly. It was like you were invited into a very special club and you wanted to share that club with others, so most of the attention that the company received early on came from these earned media methods rather than paid media.
BRIAN KENNY: Okay. The case goes into their foray into brick and mortar as well. They opened some retail spots, which I thought that was really interesting.
JILL AVERY: Yes. I mean, for a digitally native e-commerce seller, traditional physical retail is often a challenge. It’s a different business model and it’s something that a lot of e-commerce sellers have rejected at their launch saying “Physical retail is dying. The retail apocalypse is upon us and so we don’t need physical stores. Customers want to shop online, so we’re going to provide the best e-commerce experience.” I think what Emily realized is that physical retail is not just a fulfillment channel. It’s also a product discovery channel and she really uses both of the showrooms that Glossier has, one in New York and one in LA, as well as pop-up retail experiences, not so much to sell product, but to create brand and to create community. So her retail spaces don’t feel like stores. They feel like parties. They feel like experiences. They feel like gathering places or clubhouses, places where consumers can make a pilgrimage to, to meet the brand face-to-face and to interact with both employees, but most importantly to interact with other customers, to feel the physical presence of the community that they had only engaged with digitally before.
BRIAN KENNY: Yeah. And they also look at the prospect of maybe moving into some of those established retail channels, sort of moving away from the DTC and selling through these other channels. What are the pros and cons of doing something like that?
JILL AVERY: Wholesale distribution is always enticing to startup brands in the beauty space because getting distribution in Sephora, one of the largest specialty beauty retailers in the world, could mean transforming your revenue line overnight. It’s a quick way to grow sales. Challenging for Emily as she’s debating that decision because Emily believes that part of the strength of the Glossier brand is this direct relationship that she has with her customers. If she moves to a wholesale distribution option, a two-step distribution option where she’s one step removed from her customers, she loses that two way communication, she loses that direct contact. So I think it’s both an opportunity and a risk for the brand.
BRIAN KENNY: We’ve been hearing a lot about DTC brands. They seem to really be emerging. Do you feel like this is probably the next wave of retail having the experience that you’ve had in the retail space?
JILL AVERY: I think the jury is still out, particularly on direct-to-consumer, in primary consumer products categories. The original founding myths of all these companies is that we’re going to cut out the middleman. We’re going to establish a direct relationship with you and we’re going to be able to offer you usually lower prices because of that. Because we’re not paying a retailer a margin, we’re able to cut out some of the costs. I think what most DTC companies are feeling right now is that they’ve underestimated the cost of having to acquire their own customers, and particularly for companies that are largely pursuing digital marketing strategies, the customer acquisition cost on digital is rising precipitously. As these categories get more crowded, as people are competing for advertising space, it gets more expensive to acquire a customer. So suddenly that middleman who played the role of bringing you a steady stream of customers is actually looking more attractive. So we’re starting to see digitally native direct-to-consumer brands start to move to traditional wholesale partners, so you see Casper partnering with Target. You see Dollar Shave Club starting to come into traditional retail.
BRIAN KENNY: You’ve discussed this case in class. Were there are lots of Glossier customers in your class?
JILL AVERY: The beauty of this case is it hits perfectly at the target market of current day MBA students. People often bring their own Glossier products to class, which is exciting. I’ve also taught the case to executives, and here I don’t have as many Glossier fans in the audience because they tend to be a little bit older. But I do have a lot of moms and dads who say, “Oh, my daughter loves this brand.” So across audiences, the case has been really popular. It’s a very engaging company but also engaging topics for people to learn more about.
BRIAN KENNY: That’s great. I can see why people could relate to it. One last question I guess would be for the Emily who’s out there listening to this podcast right now, the next emerging star, is there one sort of piece of information they should hang onto here and think about as they think about what they’re going to do with their business?
JILL AVERY: I think Emily’s long-lasting lesson is to recognize that giving is as important as taking. And Emily spent a lot of her time when she was building her company giving a lot to her prospective customers, giving content advice, giving a listening ear, establishing friendships, making sure that people had a place to feel heard, making sure that she was recognizing the true needs of her customers. And then she started transforming that into a business. So leveraging the power of community, leveraging the power of communication and conversation, using content not just to dictate, but to listen to and engage with an audience to better learn who they are.
BRIAN KENNY: That’s great. Jill, thanks so much for joining us today.
JILL AVERY: My pleasure.
BRIAN KENNY: If you enjoy Cold Call, you might like other podcasts on the HBR Presents network. Whether you’re looking for advice on navigating your career, you want the latest thinking in business and management, or you just want to hear what’s on the mind of Harvard Business School professors, the HBR Presents network has a podcast for you. Find them on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. I’m your host, Brain Kenny, and you’ve been listening to Cold Call, an official podcast of Harvard Business School on the HBR Presents network.
Tim Porter is a managing director at Madrona Venture Group and invests in the areas of intelligent applications and SaaS, cloud native software, ML and data analytics and security. Elisa La Cava Contributor Elisa La Cava is a senior associate at Madrona Venture Group, focused on intelligent applications, cloud-native software and the future of work.…
Tim Porter is a managing director at Madrona Venture Group and invests in the areas of intelligent applications and SaaS, cloud native software, ML and data analytics and security.
From working with our 90+ portfolio companies and their customers, as well as from frequent conversations with enterprise leaders, we have observed a set of software services emerge and evolve to become best practice for revenue teams. This set of services — call it the “revenue stack” — is used by sales, marketing and growth teams to identify and manage their prospects and revenue.
The evolution of this revenue stack started long before anyone had ever heard the word coronavirus, but now the stakes are even higher as the pandemic has accelerated this evolution into a race. Revenue teams across the country have been forced to change their tactics and tools in the blink of an eye in order to adapt to this new normal — one in which they needed to learn how to sell in not only an all-digital world but also an all-remote one where teams are dispersed more than ever before. The modern “remote-virtual-digital”-enabled revenue team has a new urgency for modern technology that equips them to be just as — and perhaps even more — productive than their pre-coronavirus baseline. We have seen a core combination of solutions emerge as best-in-class to help these virtual teams be most successful. Winners are being made by the directors of revenue operations, VPs of revenue operations, and chief revenue officers (CROs) who are fast adopters of what we like to call the essential revenue software stack.
In this stack, we see four necessary core capabilities, all critically interconnected. The four core capabilities are:
These capabilities run on top of three foundational technologies that most growth-oriented companies already use — agreement management, CRM and communications. We will dive into these core capabilities, the emerging leaders in each and provide general guidance on how to get started.
Selling digital goods and getting started in the online education sector has never been easier in today’s online world. According to Research and Markets, the online education industry is poised to become a $325 billion dollar industry by 2025, increasing from $187.877 billion in 2019. Here are the top three tips and marketing strategies on how you can promote and sell digital products best to achieve the highest profits possible
How to get your foot in the door of what could be a $325 billion industry.
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Selling digital goods and getting started in the online education sector has never been easier in today’s online world. According to Research and Markets, the online education industry is poised to become a $325 billion dollar industry by 2025, increasing from $187.877 billion in 2019.
Not only do we live in an instant gratification economy, where we want to have products delivered instantly to our doorstep (or even better via our email inbox), but we also demand location-independent freedom from both sides, the consumer and the business perspective.
Consumers are purchasing more and more digital goods, for example: membership sites, ebooks, audiobooks, digital courses or live lessons and tutorials, videos, songs, design, photography, templates, apps, masterminds or worksheets. There are literally hundreds of digital product options out there that you can add to your product suite.
There are countless benefits to selling digital goods online. For instance, the entry barrier on getting started is very low, digital goods are low-maintenance in general, you have full creative freedom and digital products have huge scalability.
Here are the top three tips and marketing strategies on how you can promote and sell digital products best to achieve the highest profits possible, listed in no particular order.
1. Online summits
Online events and online summits have become a very popular and important marketing channel over the past few months. Many events and conferences have forcefully been cancelled, and the smartest businesses have moved their events online.
Virtual summits run generally between one to 10 days, and attendees are able to watch expert’s interviews and presentations free of charge for a short amount of time. Usually, online summits are so value-packed, with many speakers presenting per day, that overwhelmed attendees don’t find the mental capacity or even the time to consume all the content in one go.
The hosts then offer one or several up-sells to the viewers, so they can purchase the recordings all together and watch them on their own time.
You can host an online summit on any topic and don’t even need to be an expert in the particular topic you are representing. If you or your speakers have additional digital goods, such as online courses or ebook that they can throw in to make the up-sell offer more appealing to the buyer, then this will increase your chances of a higher sales rate. The bonus is it doesn’t really cost you or the creator of the course more money.
Online challenges, and in particular five-day challenges, have become increasingly popular amongst online marketers, as they achieve fast results. An online challenge consists mostly of a video series the attendees will watch and corresponding “homework” assignments. According to Yahoo Finance, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. So, seeing you on video every day, especially when it’s live and you can interact with your audience, increases your trust score tremendously.
A challenge will help your ideal customer avatar get started creating something like an outline for their next online course or a launch plan for their next book promotion. This way your up-sell at the end (which in this case could be a full program or course on how to create your online course or how to write your first ebook) will become very easy, as the prospects have already started to do the work and feel motivated to keep going with it.
The most effective challenges run usually between three and five days, as this is a healthy timeframe to get people through their daily tasks without dropping out. Most marketers run a low-cost and high-turnout challenge on Facebook. According to Hootsuite, Facebook is the third-most visited website and has become the most popular platform to execute and market a challenge.
There are many different types of membership site models and online course platforms you can either join or create. To name just a few:
The drip-fed model: Content will be added every month.
The all-in membership: Members get access to everything straight away.
The online community membership: Members get access to private forums, masterminds or online groups.
A consultant and course creator, for example, isn’t necessarily interested in creating ongoing new content and therefore isn’t looking to build an entire membership site themselves. However, most consultants, coaches and course creators are more than eager to get involved in a joint venture and have their online course listed on the best e-learning platforms in return for an affiliate commission or simply for exposure.
At one time, consumers were a captive audience. You sold it, they bought it, as long as it was a prestige brand, a household name, or was promoted by an influencer or by a really cool cartoon animal. Here is the importance of empathy-based marketing. Empathy-based marketing is a strategy that calls for you to walk in your customer’s shoes for a bit.
At one time, consumers were a captive audience. You sold it, they bought it, as long as it was a prestige brand, a household name, or was promoted by an influencer or by a really cool cartoon animal. Here is the importance of empathy-based marketing.
People have a lot more choices, nowadays, and marketers everywhere are clamoring for their attention.
To stand out, you not only need to have a quality product or service, but you also need to show that you understand your audience—not even stellar content curation and content promotion can save you if your marketing isn’t hyper-targeted.
Enter empathy-based marketing.
What is empathy-based marketing?
Empathy-based marketing is a strategy that calls for you to walk in your customer’s shoes for a bit. Instead of using a hard-sell approach, you consider their experience and think about how your brand can help them get what they want, which could be:
More free time
A more attractive appearance
A career advantage
Yes, you’re still out to make a profit, but with empathy-based marketing, your strategy is different. You need to connect with your audience on a deeper and more intuitive level by delivering an immense value that they never anticipated. In short, make them feel like you read their mind before going above and beyond.
Define your customer
A lot of businesses use buyer personas to direct their marketing. These personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. Without them, your marketing efforts can be a bit like throwing snowballs in the dark and hoping that you blindly connect with something.
To be effective, your personas need to take customer emotions into account. Identify their wants and pain points, understand how these factors make them feel, and then plan your content accordingly. For example, customers who are constantly rushed for time will want a simplified usage guide while those who are buying to indulge themselves value things that make them feel extra-special, like a free gift with purchase.
Understand your customer
Who are you marketing to? Is it busy parents? Small business owners? People who are passionate about the environment will pay attention. To communicate properly with them, you need to understand what they care about and how your product can give them what they want, whether it be more free time, a healthier body, or a new skill that they can use to climb the corporate ladder.
What motivates them to buy?
A detailed study by commerce experts SMITH identified eight different emotions that influence buying and shopping decisions. For example, it found that some people will only buy products that are ‘cool’ and state-of-the-art to make themselves stand out from the crowd while others are directed by opinions: they need validation from friends, family, and online testimonials before they buy.
So which emotions are guiding your customers when they shop? You can get the answer by:
Reading the testimonials on Google and your business Facebook page
Many businesses are even investing in artificial intelligence to collect and analyze customer data for info they can use for empathy-based marketing. This article by AI research and advisory company Emerj provides some real-life examples of how businesses like Walmart use business intelligence applications to understand their customers.
Send a message that resonates
Empathetic content shows customers that you understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes. People feel positive about brands that can solve their problem, so send a message, using the right words, that shows how your products address issues that matter to them.
If your company website has a blog (and it should), use it to create a narrative that talks about these issues. For example:
If your customers are busy professionals who rarely have enough time in the day to get everything done, post some tips, and share links to productivity tools that don’t compete with your products.
Bonus points if you use video, especially if you’re marketing to millennials. Research presented by Google shows that when they want to learn something new, this age group is nearly three times more likely to watch a video than read a book. However, the highly visual nature of video makes it a great marketing tool for all customer types.
Empathy-based marketing in action
So, what are some practical examples of empathy-based marketing? Below are two cases of well-known consumer brands taking customer service to the next level.
The Delta pizza party
Few situations are more frustrating than a delayed or canceled flight. Passenger reactions can be so extreme that they’ve been featured on countless reality TV shows.
In April 2017, Delta airlines provided a perfect illustration of brand empathy when it ordered hundreds of pizzas for Atlanta-area customers whose flights had been canceled or delayed due to extreme weather. The pizzas were distributed to passengers stuck on runways and waiting in surrounding airports.
This move was more than simply good customer service. It presented the Delta brand as one that understands and cares about its passengers, especially when they’re in one of the most stressful situations imaginable.
LUSH shows how it’s made
The LUSH beauty brand is all about natural products, so their customers are people who want fresh, homemade cosmetics. To assure its community that they really are getting 100% natural beauty products, LUSH has a video series called ‘How It’s Made.’
Each episode shows real LUSH employees at work, explaining how they make all the soaps, lotions, bath bombs, and other products. Depending on what they’re making, you’ll see mounds of sea salt, fresh citrus fruit, and dried flowers on the counter, confirming to viewers that they’re getting what they pay for.
Although we’ve got millions of years of evolution behind us and are capable of both critical thinking and abstract thought, emotions still guide a lot of our decisions, including what to buy.
To succeed at empathy-based marketing, you want to create a journey map or experience/outcome that your ideal buyer can relate to, and feel good about. When you start by understanding them and then create content that delivers your brand message in an impactful way (go ahead and use a cool cartoon animal if you want!), you’ll stand out and succeed.
Streaming media platform Plex announced today it’s further expanding into live TV with the addition of over 80 free live TV channels accessible by free users and subscribers alike. The company had already allowed consumers to capture and record live TV by way of a digital antenna and tuner connected to a Plex media server,…
Streaming media platform Plex announced today it’s further expanding into live TV with the addition of over 80 free live TV channels accessible by free users and subscribers alike. The company had already allowed consumers to capture and record live TV by way of a digital antenna and tuner connected to a Plex media server, but this required investment in additional hardware and involved a more complicated setup process.
The new Live TV service, meanwhile, will offer easier access to a broad range of free content across categories like news, sports, film, classic TV, comedy, game shows, anime, kids, entertainment, esports and more.
The channel lineup includes Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Toon Goggles, Kidoodle TV, KidsFlix,
fubo Sports Network, Cooking Panda, DrinkTV, IGN TV, AFV Family, Tastemade, Revry, FailArmy, Dove Channel, Docurama, The Pet Collective, WeatherSpy, Made in Hollywood and others. There also are channels dedicated to individual programs, like The Bob Ross Channel or Deal or No Deal, for example. Others are more thematic in nature, like Surf TV, the Law & Crime Trial Network, Game Show Central, Retro Crush, Gravitas Movies and more. A range of music video channels, also genre-based, fill out the selection.
While none of these are big names, they expand Plex’s service with a range of free content where you might catch something interesting upon browsing — like a cooking show, old movie, classic TV episode, funny video or kids cartoon, for instance.
Initially, Plex users will access the service from a new section called “Live TV On Plex.” From here, you’re taken to a more traditional grid guide that shows you what’s currently airing on each channel and what’s coming up in the hours ahead. In the future, Plex says it aims to integrate the free live channels with its existing product for recording from live TV via the over-the-air antenna, in order to simplify navigation.
Unlike with its current Live TV product, you can only tune into and watch the free live TV programs — you can’t record the shows or movies. However, in true Plex fashion, it’s making it easy to customize the guide to your particular interests, by allowing you to do things like reorder channels to your liking or even hide those you don’t care about.
Though there are several “free TV” services on the market today, Plex aims to differentiate its offering by making over 80% of the live channels available to users outside the U.S., where “free TV” services are more limited.
The free content is supported by programmatic advertising, which also supports Plex’s on-demand Movies & TV library and its free News offering. The company says it has no plan to directly sell its own ads for any of these properties, but its continued expansions into ad-supported content have begun to return revenue.
The company declined to speak to its specific revenue situation. But Plex co-founder and Chief Product Officer Scott Olechowski described the numbers as getting “interesting.”
“It’s now becoming interesting enough that we’re able to expand this footprint, the licensing we’re doing, the resources we’re putting into it, and the marketing we’re doing it around it,” he explains. “Because of [Plex’s] independence, the quality of the catalog, and the quality of the app, the amount of interest we’re getting from demand partners is pretty impressive,” Olechowski adds.
Plex also may benefit from the increasing battles between media giants to run their own, competing free TV platforms. For example, Fox Corp. acquired free streaming service TUBI in March and ViacomCBS now runs the free service Pluto.TV, acquired last year. As these services now operate as an arm of corporate giants, it makes sense for them to highlight and promote the parent company’s own content over niche, third-party channels, where the revenue take is smaller.
Now that the service has launched, Plex says the plan is to further expand its lineup with more channels in time, potentially including those it programs itself using content from its existing free Movies & TV library. Longer-term, Plex envisions creating even more personalized channels for its users, which would include content from its free services combined with content from your own media library.
More broadly, the company sees live TV as another hole to plug on its way to becoming a comprehensive media platform that includes not only access to users’ personal libraries, but also live and on-demand TV and movies, podcasts, music, news, web shows and more. The company is still working to add a movies and TV rental and purchase library, and is figuring out a way to direct users to off-platform content, perhaps by way of its movie and TV database, Plex Mediaverse.
The new live TV channels are rolling out now in the U.S. and other international markets, where supported.
In today’s world where people are glued to their devices for work and for play, the most important advertising delivery platforms are internet-connected devices. According to the PEW research center, 28 percent of American adults are on the internet “almost constantly,” while 45 percent report using it “several times a day”—meaning that 81 percent of Americans use the internet a whole lot every day.
Below, we’ll look at five ways a digital marketer can help superchare your business.
1. Precision email marketing sales funnels.
Almost 294 billion emails are sent and received daily, but email campaigns are somewhat unique. When done correctly, your readers will hang on every word and look forward to your correspondence like an old pen pal. When done poorly, your emails will get dumped in the trash before they’re even opened, often doing nothing more than annoying your potential customer.
An email campaign done right not only grabs attention but builds a tangible relationship with your potential customer by providing interesting and valuable content, exclusive deals, and more—eventually converting your readers to customers.
When handling your email, a good digital marketer will:
Curate and purge email lists, removing inactive email addresses.
Draft engaging email campaigns that increase brand awareness and build consumer trust.
Develop alternate email campaigns for specific lead varieties.
Design email layouts to match your brand aesthetic and messaging.
Develop leads through email communications with potential clients.
2. High digital visibility.
As we mentioned earlier, most customers perform some kind of online research before making a purchase. If you’re hitting your visibility goals, you’ll be the first name to pop up when a customer conducts product research. If you’re not doing anything, your competition will show up first.
To be visible on the web, you’ll need an artful social media presence, precision SEO (search engine optimization), and perfect mobile responsivity on all of your digital platforms. A good digital marketer knows how to work where all of these factors intersect. They’ll assure you’re the first name to crop up when a customer searches for products or services in your field. They’ll also make sure your name appears with reputable sources, and that your reputation speaks for itself.
3. Data-driven analytics.
Sure, you may be getting lots of likes on your Facebook posts, and your blog may get a few shares here and there, but these are just “vanity metrics” —ultimately, it can be difficult to tell whether or not you’re getting any tangible return on your investment.
Fortunately, digital marketers don’t treat their field like some nebulous art form that can only be qualified in the abstract (that stuff is for painters and musicians). Instead, they work in the field of tangible statistics and data analytics. A good digital marketer will not only track your numbers but will also ensure they improve over time. Some of the statistics you should see are:
Organic, direct, referral, social, and paid traffic
Click-through rates (CTR)
Macro and micro conversions
4. The power of customer engagement and reputation management.
Social media is one of the most fundamental ways the internet revitalized the marketing game. Your customer base can communicate with you at the click of a button. Major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are necessities. You can’t simply just exist on these sites—you have to actively use them to engage your clientele. A heavy stream of social media traffic doesn’t mean anything if you’re not able to convert those visitors into customers.
A skilled digital marketer will do more than keep your posts fresh. They’ll personally engage with your audience, listen to their wants and needs, and respond in a way that not only leaves the customer happy but also curates a positive reputation for your business.
Which brings us to one of the most overlooked elements of social media: reputation management. In the digital era, news of a negative customer experience travels nearly instantaneously. Take into account review sites such as Yelp and Yahoo Reviews, and it may seem like a single bad day can become a permanent black spot on your digital reputation.
Not so with a skilled digital marketer. While monitoring customer feedback and conversation, your marketer will speak directly with disgruntled customers and help solve their problems quickly and resolutely.
It’s easy to create content the wrong way, though. Too many businesses fall into the prototypical “advertisement trap” where each piece of content they publish feels like a blatant call for business while providing no valuable information or entertainment to the consumer. Returning viewers, this does not create.
When you ask what kind of content your company needs, you should think of the content you would like to consume. Good web content is ideally entertaining, but above all else, it should be useful.
This is where a digital marketer can be most useful. They’ll help you create content that postures you as an expert and a thought leader in your industry. This content can come in all shapes and sizes, including:
Blogs and articles
As you may have pieced together, content creation is an art form. This is another reason to have a professional handle the labor—poorly created content will turn a customer away quicker than rotten bananas.
FILE PHOTO: An Adobe Systems Inc software box is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo(Reuters) – Adobe Inc (ADBE.O) and International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) said on Tuesday they are teaming up to make marketing software easier to use for banks that face strict controls on how customer data…
FILE PHOTO: An Adobe Systems Inc software box is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
(Reuters) – Adobe Inc (ADBE.O) and International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) said on Tuesday they are teaming up to make marketing software easier to use for banks that face strict controls on how customer data must be handled.
Banks handle sensitive customer data that is tightly regulated by the U.S. government and simple functions on other websites – such as presenting a form to collect customer data – become more complex when building web pages for functions such as mortgage applications.
The plan is for Adobe’s software to run in IBM’s cloud system that has received regulatory approval for use by banks, the companies said, which will lead to more banking functions becoming totally digital over time.
“Even now, for mortgage applications, for example, some of it is on paper, some of it is online,” Anil Chakravarthy, general manager of digital experience for Adobe, said in an interview.
“The possibility of being able to handle all of that sensitive data 100% digitally, that’s the possibility that this opens up.”
IBM will also be able to connect the cloud-based system to a bank’s internal stores of customer data, which “gives them much more flexibility to pick and choose on the data that they might put into a marketing campaign,” Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president for IBM Global Markets, also said.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
As a newbie in the industry, you should be ready to work hard so that you can earn more profits with the help of the new thing called the internet. It is just like a factory for the newbies to learn how to run a business. The Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Startup Businesses Do…
As a newbie in the industry, you should be ready to work hard so that you can earn more profits with the help of the new thing called the internet. It is just like a factory for the newbies to learn how to run a business. The Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Startup Businesses
Do you know what marketing strategies are for your startup business? There are a lot of companies that have used these strategies, yet few of them have the money to implement it.
For example, your digital marketing campaign is for different businesses. The strategies for one business may not be effective for another. Complete understanding is the reason why your startup business should also look into the strategy of your competitors.
For example, if you are into digital media and digital products, you should take into consideration your competitors’ websites. They may already be in business and are competing for the same market as you.
Furthermore, how is your company’s site relevant to the needs of the consumers. The site must be easy to use, easy to navigate, and relevant to the consumer’s needs.
The best way to achieve this is to customize the design of the site. You can do this by using the navigation tools provided by the search engines.
To make it look more professional, you can hire a professional designer to look over your site. You will be sure that the website will have an attractive design, but if the designer has a creative side, he or she can give you a great design.
For your online reputation, you must make sure that you have a blog for your website. By blogging, you can create a presence on the web so your customers can have an idea about your services and products.
Articles are also significant for your business. Your articles should be written with accurate facts.
To get more traffic, you can also put the links to your website at various directories. However, it is still essential that you keep the link to your site as prominent as possible.
For your marketing campaign, you can also consider hiring expert feedback. True feedback will provide you information about what works for other companies. Email Marketing Tips for Startup Businesses
These are just some of the strategies. When you consider these, you will have a better chance of success.
Email Marketing Tips for Startup Businesses
Email marketing is the most cost-effective way to advertise your business. So it’s easy to see why so many companies are getting into this type of marketing.
To build a list of potential customers, you will have to provide them with an email address. While this may seem like a tedious task at first, it really isn’t. It’s all a matter of knowing where to find an email address, as well as making sure that you do it right the first time.
The way to get started with marketing is to go online and do some research on what other people are doing. Find out how they built their lists. You can also ask around to see what methods are working. Knowing the methods that are working can help to get you going, as well as give you great ideas on how to create your own list.
One thing that you want to be careful about is giving out someone’s name and mailing address to many people that don’t care about your product or service. The more subscribers you have, the more money you can make. If you want your list to have longevity, then make sure you choose people who need your product or service.
Best Tips For Your Startup Business
After you’ve determined who you are going to market to, you will need to start planning out your next step, which will include having a monthly newsletter. Remember that emails can easily get lost in the shuffle. So, having a regular newsletter will ensure that it is picked up each month by your subscribers. You want to make sure that you use a high-quality email marketing software to allow you to know when you should send out an email.
Once you have your newsletter sign up form established, you can start looking for your products or services or start building an affiliate link. Keep in mind that people are only going to join you if they have an interest in what you are offering.
You will want to email these people with offers to promote your products or services and have them take action. You can do this through offers that promote your software or affiliate links, as well as offering incentives for signing up. Also, do a free trial to get their attention, and then you can offer them a discounted or even free product.
While email marketing isn’t a new concept, it is only recently that many companies have begun using it. When done properly, it can result in a considerable amount of profit for your business.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is simply marketing done through social media platforms. A marketing technique that combines website promotion, blogs, and discussion boards to connect with prospects and establish a brand. It allows businesses to connect with their customers but also promote their business via social media marketing. Helps establish business ties, generate buzz, and make an organization more appealing to potential clients.
Today, companies are turning to the Internet to solve all of their marketing needs; however, traditional forms of marketing do not offer the same convenience as they once did. For many years, businesses could only reach out to their customers through visits to their office or even by sending out business cards.
With social media marketing, companies can reach their customers when they need them most. If you’re looking to make your startup business more attractive to customers, consider using social media marketing.
One of the most critical aspects of the startup business is to have your products and services are unique. Unlike before, now, customers can easily find out about your business, providing them with fresh information about what you do. For instance, having your website listed on various search engines and sites will help customers find you. Websites are also a great way to connect with customers and create long term relationships.
Most network marketing companies are also looking to expand their reach online. Some of them have gained loyal followings because of their ability to leverage social media marketing techniques. These companies offer a variety of marketing tools for their members, including blog marketing, social networking, and more.
Can Help Your Startup Business
Social media marketing is similar to traditional marketing. The only difference is that it provides a better way to connect with customers online. It helps to provide your audience with a sense of familiarity while providing your products and services to potential customers at the same time.
Although some might consider network marketing as competition from them, it is suitable for customer support. Since the company will be relying on customers to purchase your products and services, it will be beneficial to provide your customers with free content and discounts to keep them happy.
When people’s attention is brought to your site, it becomes much easier to get them to share your content with others. It makes sense to use social networking sites to connect with potential customers. Not only will you have a built-in community, but it will also give you a platform where you can further build a fan base.
To reach more potential customers, you will need to implement social media marketing strategies in your marketing plan. If you’re looking to start a startup business, this is a great way to establish the name of your business and attract new customers.
Avoid Failure With Paid Promotions and Paid Advertising
The idea of Paid Promotions to help a startup business success is simple enough, but it’s also very easy to go wrong. You may want to spend months developing your own promotions and marketing efforts, only to realize that they’re not working well enough for you to earn money from them. On the other hand, you may discover that your existing marketing efforts are working, and then you’re simply out of ideas. Here are some tips to help you avoid this situation.
For another thing, you should be writing for readers that will read what you’ve written. When you go into Paid Promotions thinking that only your own site is going to get traffic, this is not the case. A lot of articles and blogs go into Paid Promotions in a similar way – a good article or blog gets more views and traffic because people find it useful.
It’s not always easy to keep in mind these things, but if you’re serious about getting your Business Online and driving traffic to your site, you need to remember that paying Promotions and Paid Advertising can help you. The success of Paid Promotions and Paid Advertising depends on the quality of the material you put out there.
The less work you have to do, the better off you’ll be. It’s not always easy to write an article, but if you’re doing it well and putting out high-quality content, it will make your Paid Promotions and Paid Advertising efforts more successful.
Search Engine Optimization for Startup Business
The most effective and cost-effective SEO optimization approach that will generate more traffic to your website is Search Engine Optimization. It is mainly a marketing plan that is driven by search engines to generate relevant traffic to your website.
In this process, keywords or key phrases are associated with each page of your website to make it search engine friendly.
The idea is to make your site to be easily found by the search engines and also to bring about a targeted audience to your website. The best way to attract such visitors is through the use of rich media such as graphics, videos, voice over Internet applications, and animated images.
Although search engine optimization is essential to the success of any website, this also comes with a price. To sustain this for a long time, you need to make use of the best practices of Search Engine Optimization. SEO includes the use of appropriate keywords, appropriate meta-tags, and the use of proper content on your website.
The content consists of all the essential information that is related to your business, product, or service. The SEO strategies should be taken into consideration as the process of SEO is at the forefront of the competition of search engines.
The first step for Search Engine Optimization is research. You need to have a high level of competency to conduct a search engine optimization campaign. SEO is basically to get an understanding of what is on the mind of the search engines.
There are many resources available for free that can provide you with the knowledge to carry out the process of Search Engine Optimization. Some of these are those that offer training. Once you have this knowledge, then you can proceed with the process of Search Engine Optimization.
If you are a blogger, marketer, or a freelance writer, you should be careful with content marketing. You might be losing clients by writing lousy content for your business. There are three ways to find out what the search engines think about your content. The first is by reading the Google manual that shows you how to find out what the search engines say about your content. You will also find that there are a lot of mistakes in the content of many blogs.
Another way to find out what the search engines think about your content is to have your own content analyzed. You should be aware that most content management companies do not analyze your content for you, but they do suggest improvements for you.
The best way to go about this is to find a company that specializes in this and employ them to write a blog post for you. They will tell you exactly what you should change about your content.
You can also use a service that will analyze the content of your business and send you an email when there is a problem with the content. It sounds far fetched, but you might find that the content management expert had seen similar issues before.
The best thing about it is that you do not have to worry about the time it takes to do it yourself. You can ask them to rewrite the content for you for a little over $20 per article. Do a little research before employing a content management company.
A third option is to do it yourself, but I am afraid you will be writing content that is never going to be seen by many people because most people have no idea what the term content marketing means.
Md Sahin ALom writes about healthy living, health science, and lifestyle topics. Previously, I was a writer and editor covering tech, software, and cybersecurity for a corporate compliance firm. I have a degree in English.lives in Salt Lake City, Kolkata.
The ongoing pandemic has drastically shaped how we maintain existing relationships but it’s also transformed how we get those relationships started, pushing more first encounters online and adding social distance into the dating process. It’s been uncharted waters for the dating app market to weather, as well. For Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, the massive…
The ongoing pandemic has drastically shaped how we maintain existing relationships but it’s also transformed how we get those relationships started, pushing more first encounters online and adding social distance into the dating process. It’s been uncharted waters for the dating app market to weather, as well.
For Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, the massive shift comes months after big changes in her own role. After Badoo founder Andrey Andreev sold off his stake in the dating apps conglomerate he created, Wolfe Herd stepped into the CEO role of MagicLab (which has been newly rebranded to Bumble), taking charge of its digital dating empire which includes the Badoo, Bumble, Lumen and Chappy dating apps. We’re excited to announce that Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd will be joining us at Disrupt this September to discuss the future of the dating app market.
Wolfe Herd entered the dating app scene as a co-founder and VP of Marketing at Tinder, where she helped change the face of online dating. Following her filing of a lawsuit over sexual harassment and discrimination, later settled out of court, Wolfe Herd left the company to create Bumble after taking on a substantial investment from Andreev.
In mid 2019, following a bout of exposés highlighting a culture of sexism and misconduct at Badoo, Andreev sold off his stake to Blackstone. Wolfe Herd was appointed to the helm of MagicLab (now Bumble), the parent company of Badoo and Bumble, where she now wields outsized influence in the world of online dating apps.
Alongside the news of the rebrand, Bumble has also made some new appointments to the leadership team, including Tariq Shaukat as President, Ronen Benchetrit as the parent company’s Chief Technology Officer, and Tran Taylor, Chief People Officer.
July 7, 2020 4 min read This story appears in the July 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Emily L’Ami launched her brand’s website the old-fashioned way: She paid an agency $10,000 to make it. But the result was underwhelming — and that was a problem. Her company, a therapeutic-perfume startup called Bodha, was taking…
Emily L’Ami launched her brand’s website the old-fashioned way: She paid an agency $10,000 to make it. But the result was underwhelming — and that was a problem. Her company, a therapeutic-perfume startup called Bodha, was taking off. She needed an upgrade.
So even though she’s not technically inclined, L’Ami tried to build a site herself using Squarespace. “I gave myself two days,” she says. “I decided, I’m going to stick with it and figure it out.” The result: Bodha.com is a stunner — original photos, integrations with social media, contact forms, and the all-important shopping cart. Now it draws about 12,000 page views per month and is a significant driver of sales to her business.
Success stories like these are now common for website builders like Squarespace, Wix, and GoDaddy. Years ago, they all offered basic services — designing a simple site, registering a domain, and so on. But they’ve since evolved into comprehensive business tools, featuring things like a full-featured shopping portal, SEO assistance, a CRM, live-chat functionality, and much more. Starting this year, they’ll even help businesses do marketing and promotions.
Scott Frankum, a web design expert, says it’s now possible for any entrepreneur to build complex sites using modern builders. Wix’s new product, called Editor X, even supports font scaling, grid layouts, a full improved blog platform with SEO, and advanced responsive design (which automatically adjusts to screen size, user behavior, and operating system).
“Sites used to be flat brochures,” he says. “Now they can handle business processes, provide help desk support, and link to customer relationship management data.” Another example: With GoDaddy’s product Websites + Marketing, a wizard lets you optimize and insert search terms on your home page for better Google results, and you can enable site-wide Google ads.
With Squarespace, you can run email campaigns, and web visitors can sign up for events. A brand-new feature shows your Instagram page on your website — which L’Ami loves.
What’s next for modern website builders? Natasa Djukanovic, the CMO of top-level domain company Domain.Me, says the builders will likely adopt emerging trends. This might include skeuomorphism (mimicking real-world objects) and neomorphism (dark and light shadows). Content marketing — a way to draw in new visitors — will evolve using long-tail keywords for niche markets. She does offer a warning, though. “It’s important to follow trends that feel right for your brand rather than just implement trends for the sake of popularity,” she advises.
Frankum says website builders will add more features for business process automation — like what to do if a visitor needs sales or support help but doesn’t want to talk to anyone. They may offer mobile text marketing over Bluetooth, and much more. But for L’Ami, her next move might feel straight out of the year 2000: She’s thinking of adding a CRM. No problem — these services have that, too.
Test Me: We built a site on each platform. Here’s how it went.
Best feature: Responsive design improves the site on any screen
Our review: The interface is easy and well-designed, but some of the advanced features for responsive design might require some training.
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