Best Call Center Software

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What would it be like for your business to never miss another call?

Nothing scares away new business like hard-to-reach customer service or disorganized sales calls. Adopt the best call center software and you will outfit your teams with the tools they need to communicate effectively.

Today, an affordable call center is within reach of any business with an internet connection. 

Forget about the requirements of a physical office space, infrastructure, or even a business phone system.

Modern call center software is all you need to get up and running. You still have the hard work of engaging your customers and clients, but all the heavy lifting associated with maintaining a call center is off your plate.

The Top 5 Options For Call Center Software

  1. Five9 – Best for Blended Call Centers
  2. Aircall – Best for Collaboration
  3. 8×8 Contact Center – Best for Enterprise
  4. Dialpad – Best for Startups
  5. Talkdesk CX Cloud – Best for Best for Salesforce Integration

How to Choose The Best Call Center Software For You

I make calls when I’m thinking about committing to a new product or service. Lots of people do. 

The human connection is real, intimate, and—unfortunately—easy to mess up.

One dropped call. One mistaken name from an agent who’s spoken to 35 other people within the hour. 

It doesn’t take much to lose a lead or earn a 1-star review carved in digital stone on the internet.

You’re looking for a system that establishes trust with customers because they know they can call and speak with the right person quickly. 

It must also come with an interface that empowers agents by giving them insight into calls, client histories, and any other information they need to resolve issues in real-time.

Customers need prompt answers from helpful agents. End of story.

The best call center software comes with everything you need to meet these two fundamental call center objectives, and much more. 

Let’s go through the core call center features that help businesses make their customers happier and their agents more productive.

Calling Capabilities

Blended call center software will let the same agent receive incoming calls and make outgoing calls. This isn’t the case with every product, as some are limited to a single direction: inbound or outbound.

This can work to your advantage.

If you only need one or the other, you may be able to get a less expensive plan that’s easier to secure and manage. A helpdesk might only need inbound and a sales team might be fine with outbound calls only.

Dialing Capabilities 

For outbound call centers, having the right dialing capabilities can make a huge difference in terms of agent productivity (and sanity). The four types you are likely to see are:

  • Preview dialer: Lets an agent review contact information before they call
  • Progressive dialer: Automatically dials one contact per available agent
  • Power dialer: Automatically dials multiple contacts per available agents
  • Predictive dialer: Automatically dials based on predicted agent availability

Dialers decrease an agent’s down-time considerably and completely eliminate the manual grind process of making calls from their cognitive workload.

Channels

Call center software should be able to accommodate every channel you currently use or plan to use in the future. If you see something billed as omnichannel, it should cover:

  • Phone
  • VoIP
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Chat
  • Social
  • Video

Ensure that whatever product you choose will let customers interact seamlessly with agents across all supported company channels.

Call Routing

Call center software comes with routing features that segment and direct incoming calls, potentially automating the processes which connect callers with the expert or agent they seek.

Some of the popular call routing features explained:

  • Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): Greets customers and allows them to select from a main menu or enter extension to route themselves. 
  • Automated attendant: Takes calls when all agents are busy, plays hold music, relays wait times, and reminds callers that their time is valuable.
  • Intelligent call routing: Uses automation, AI, or interactive voice response to route customers to the most appropriate agent.
  • Mobile device routing: Allows calls to be routed to mobile devices.
  • Omnichannel routing: Allows calls to be routed across any channel.
  • Virtual hold: Gives customers the option to receive a call back when an agent is ready, instead of waiting on the phone.
  • Warm transfer: Lets customers speak to a new agent before the call is transferred, and allows the previous agent to explain any ground that’s already been covered.

If call center software comes with intelligent call routing, it’s safe to assume it can handle most, if not all, of the capabilities listed above.

Interactive Voice Response 

Interactive voice response (IVR) enables customers to use a phone system to access information from a connected database. This could be someone calling to find out their checking balance, hear the status of their order, or pay a bill.

If you have customers routinely calling to access information, you can free up a lot of phone time simply by implementing IVR. It’s a truly self-service solution that helps people get what they want, without ever talking to an agent.

Call Recording

You have probably heard a thousand times that “this call is being recorded for safety, security, or training purposes.” Well it’s all true.

Call recording is extremely important. Supervisors can listen back to trainee calls and give advice about how to improve. In the event of a legal or compliance issue, call recording will cover your bases.

Good call center software makes it as easy as possible to save and store every call in a highly organized, searchable database. If you integrate your CRM, every recording can also be tied to the appropriate customer or client account.

One advanced call recording feature that can be really useful for sales teams is voicemail-to-email. This sends an email with an audio attachment or transcription of the voicemail to the account owner who missed the call. This is a huge time saver, especially for agents who are remote and on the go.

Workforce Management 

How efficient is your call center? How do you know?

Reporting and analytics are important features of modern call center software. Look for products with both historical and real-time reporting capabilities to support workforce management and optimization.

By tracking key metrics about calls, wait times, and first contact resolution, among others, those in supervisory roles are better able to forecast staffing needs to fit fluctuating demand.

Integrations, APIs, and SDKs

Put key customer data in front of your agents by integrating customer data sources with your call center software. The top products come with seamless integrations that work out of the box with leading CRMs like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

Many top call center software options have APIs and software development kits (SDKs) that allow you to build out custom solutions.

The better connectivity you can provide, the richer the customer information your call center will collect. 

Done right, you’ll provide marketing, sales, and customer service with data-driven insights to steer their efforts.

Security

Even if your customers aren’t giving their social security number over the phone, they’re sharing personal and potentially sensitive information. It’s unpleasant to imagine how much havoc an attacker could cause with full access to a database of client conversations.

Consider potential vulnerabilities that come with deploying call center software. Does it integrate with your current security stack? If not, be sure to add the cost of securing your new IT perimeter to the total cost of ownership.

The Different Types of Call Center Software

It’s getting less and less important for call center solutions to offer traditional business phone systems. Some do, but most are focused on helping companies migrate gradually to a centralized, cloud-based, multi-channel interface.

As important as the phone is, the reality is that customers are reaching out on more and more channels. 

This is why you’ll see the name “call center” being dropped in favor of “contact center.” 

It simply reflects that companies have to be able to respond however they are contacted: phone, chat, email, and so on.

Whether you are starting from zero or looking to modernize your existing system, picking the right type of call center software is the first step.

On-Premises Call Center Software

Many companies still maintain their own call centers and it can be important to keep everything in house for compliance reasons.

If this is a concern, make sure you choose an option that supports your infrastructure needs.

Cloud Call Center Software

Cloud-based call center software provides the same capabilities as a traditional call center, but it’s delivered as a service. Companies don’t have to manage any of the hardware or software.

A SaaS call center can be deployed in just a few hours or days, since there isn’t much required beyond headsets and devices to work from.

It’s very easy to run a distributed or work-from-home call center with a cloud-based solution, which is another reason these solutions are so popular.

CCaaS

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) centralizes all of the channels your teams use to communicate externally. 

Whereas a cloud call center may only give you VoIP, a CCaaS solution is going to loop in text, chat, social, and video as well.

UCaaS

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) has all the capabilities of a CCaaS, with an additional focus of integrating legacy communication technology like fax and teleconferencing.

These products truly unify all forms of communication, helping companies adopt future-proof solutions as they phase out old equipment.

#1 – Five9 — Best For Blended Call Centers

Five9 empowers call center agents to deliver the best possible experience to their customers by providing true omnichannel functionality from anywhere within an intuitive interface.

Agents can switch between chat, email, mobile, social, video, or voice to maintain seamless customer interactions.

Plus, integrations with top CRM platforms mean that all data is captured, providing an end-to-end contact center solution. Whether agents are reaching out or picking up a call, they always have current information about who they’re speaking with.

There are also built-in workforce management tools that make accurate forecasting and scheduling much easier.

For all the power of Five9 call center software, it’s not overwhelming, and people can quickly master the tools at their disposal, such as:

  • Predictive, power, progressive, and preview dialers
  • Intelligent omnichannel routing
  • IVR
  • Historic and real-time analytics dashboards
  • Six built-in CRM integrations
  • Cloud APIs and SDKs

Blended call centers will definitely notice increased efficiency using Five9. Active blending, one of the intelligent routing features, automatically sends inbound calls to agents working outbound campaigns when call volume is high.

Five9 pricing is based on whether you want inbound, outbound, or blended service. You’ll have to get in touch with sales, but there are three options for how to pay:

  • Monthly on-demand
  • Per-minute fees
  • Annual contracts

The lowest price will come with an annual contract, but companies can scale quickly at low cost with on-demand pricing if need be.

As sleek as it is, Five9 is one of the top call center solutions for companies that need to integrate legacy technology. If you’re thinking about using a cloud-based solution for your blended call center, Five9 can help no matter where you are starting from.

#2 – Aircall — Best For Collaboration

Aircall is a CCaaS you can deploy this afternoon.

The VoIP quality is great, calls don’t drop, and agents can work from anywhere on their laptop or personal mobile device. It’s a great solution for virtual cloud call centers because of the built-in security, workforce management, and collaborative features.

Customers can leave voicemails which can be quickly assigned to the right person. New hires can listen into calls to hear what good service sounds like. In fact, you can host up to five people on the same live call.

One of the biggest perks for teams is the ability to assign, tag, and comment on calls. This is so helpful—assign the call to an individual, tag it to a specific department, and leave a short explanation about what’s going on.

It’s not that other call center software can’t do this—it’s just easier in Aircall.

For all the ease of using Aircall, it is a complete CCaaS that provides 

  • Automatic call-back
  • Intelligent call routing
  • IVR
  • Power dialer
  • One-click CRM integrations
  • Call center analytics

Aircall pricing is broken down into three tiers:

  • Essentials: starting at $30 per user/month
  • Professional: starting at $50 per user/month
  • Custom: contact sales

One quick thing: Salesforce integration only comes at the Professional tier, whereas integrations for Pipedrive, Zendesk, Hubspot, Slack and more than 60 others come with Essentials.

Aircall still supports traditional phone systems, which makes it an attractive option for companies that want to expand their call center operations to the cloud at their own pace.

#3 – 8×8 Contact Center — Best For Enterprise

8×8 Contact Center is one of the more robust tools on the market. 8×8 has been around for a long time and can fully support migration to a UCaaS call center.

It’s a powerful solution that can help large organizations in particular. Build out complex IVR paths, optimize a large workforce, and process payments all within a navigable interface.

There may be a little more of a learning curve with 8×8 than with other call center software simply because the platform is so feature rich. 

That said, once you have everything set up, the support and online documentation is enough to help people take advantage of 8×8’s advanced features, including:

  • Call and screen recording
  • Predictive dialer
  • Drag-and-drop IVR designer 
  • Speech analytics
  • Customer surveys
  • Native CRM and integrations with top products

The pricing for 8×8 Contact Center breaks down into three tiers:

  • Contact Center – Voice
  • Contact Center – Omnichannel
  • Contact Center – Advanced

8×8 is not going to be the most budget-friendly option, even at its voice-only tier. 

To include digital channels, you will need the Omnichannel plan. For speech analytics and screen recording, you will need Advanced.

For voice-only call centers, other options from this list will meet your needs at a lower cost. If you are trying to build out an omnichannel contact center, however, 8×8 will give you a level of visibility and control that lighter products can’t.

#4 – Dialpad — Best For Startups

Dialpad is a next-generation UCaaS that completely supports today’s on-the-go, distributed workplace. Choose Dialpad for agile, constantly improving call center software.

You can add agents via the web client or Dialpad app. Both are updated frequently for security and to add new features.

For all the flexibility provided to end-users, Dialpad doesn’t skimp on the backend reporting, recording, or monitoring features. This is huge for companies that are still trying to figure out what’s important.

With Dialpad, your team can assess KPIs and discover meaningful trends in real-time. Simply integrate your CRM and watch as Dialpad surfaces the most important metrics from calls on clean dashboards or highly-visible leaderboards.

Some of the other great capabilities of Dialpad include:

  • IVR
  • Seamless mobile routing
  • Call/Voicemail transcription
  • Warm transfer
  • APIs and webhooks
  • Integrations with top SSOs, CRMs, G Suite, and Microsoft 365, 

There are two plan options for Dialpad Contact Center:

  • Pro: starting at $225/month for 3 agents
  • Enterprise: contact sales, 100 agent minimum

Businesses thrive with Dialpad because of its efficiency. Deployment is simple, integrations are tight, and it performs extremely well for organizations with many remote workers. 

#5 – Talkdesk CX Cloud — Best For Salesforce Integration

How to Choose The Right Technical SEO Agency

Got a crawling, indexing, or site-wide ranking problem?

SEO traffic isn’t just about having the right content.

One wrong technical SEO setting can bring your entire site down.

And many technical errors are so obscure that they go unnoticed for years.

Even small problems can add up, slowing you down and resulting in less traffic.

Technical SEO audits require specialized skills and in-depth expertise. Google is constantly changing it’s algorithms. If you want the audit done right, you’ll need someone that really knows that they’re doing. 

Well, I have good news. 

Step-by-step, I’ll walk you through how to choose a technical SEO agency that’s right for your business.

Whether you’re a small business that just needs an audit done right, or a major corporation that needs a complete SEO program, there’s an option for you.

Know Your Goals and Desired Outcomes

Most people only give technical SEO a second thought when things have gone south. It shouldn’t be this way. 

Why? 

Technical SEO is the backbone of every successful, long-term SEO strategy.

Here’s a few examples of when it’s worth making technical SEO a priority. 

Example #1: Traffic Drops After Publishing More Content

Let’s say you started your content push to get higher Google rankings.

You created, published, and promoted in-depth blog posts. 

After a while, Google rewards your efforts with higher rankings for some keywords. Your site traffic starts to increase. 

Things are going well.

So you keep publishing more content. And that’s when things go bad. 

Your traffic tanks. 

More content doesn’t always yield more traffic. Sometimes, it shrinks your organic traffic from.

I know it sounds crazy but this happens all the time.

Bloated sites with duplicate content make it really hard for Google to figure out which pages of yours to rank.

What does Google do when they’re not sure what to rank? They usually rank nothing.

Duplicate content on your blog, a ton of similar pages that were created automatically, or telling Google to index internal URLs can all lead to problems.

If you see anything like this, get a technical SEO to help you.

Example #2: An Abrupt Traffic Drop

If you play the SEO game long enough, one of your sites will fall off a cliff overnight.

Years ago, our blog at KISSmetrics saw traffic drop by 40% in less than a month.

That dropped our monthly traffic by hundreds of thousands of visitors. The team scrambled to fix that.

Everyone goes through one of these.

And the first thing you want to do is reach out to a technical SEO.

Hopefully, it’s a simple fix like a bad robots.txt file. Even if it’s a bigger problem, you want a serious expert to pinpoint the issue and chart a course to get that traffic back.

4 Characteristics That Make a Great Technical SEO Company

Not all agencies can develop, let alone implement, advanced technical SEO strategies. A reason for this is that it requires specialized skills and vast experience. 

So, how do you recognize those who can not only develop a technical SEO plan unique to your business but can also implement it for maximum results?

Such agencies work with a team of experts and the other characteristics I’ll discuss below.

1. Experience With Massive Sites

Smaller websites rarely have issues with technical SEO that are difficult to fix. In most cases, any problems can be solved by checking the robots.txt file, making sure the site is on a good platform (like WordPress or Shopify), and upgrading to a good web host.

If a small site struggles to rank, it’s usually because they need a lot more content and authority. Rarely is there a quick fix.

Large sites, however, are completely different.

When a site has millions of URLs, all sorts of insane problems come up. There can easily be thousands of junk URLs that never should have been indexed to begin with. Or terrible canonical errors that cause rampant duplication problems. Not to mention keeping everything clean between dozens of languages.

For sites like this, make sure you’re working with someone that has tons of experience working on larger sites.

Otherwise, they won’t have the experience need to spot your technical problems quickly.

2. A Holistic Process that Includes Technical SEO

As I’ve mentioned earlier, technical SEO is the backbone that gives your site structure. Occasionally, you will see some quick technical SEO fixes bring you traffic.

But what then?

After you fix your technical SEO, what’s your plan for growing SEO traffic over the long term?

We’ve seen lots of folks work on quick fixes and then never take the next step to growing their site by 2X, 5X, or 10X what they have now.

If it was me, I’d want to work with someone that could keep growing my site year in and year out. That’s where the real impact comes from.

If you have a gnarly technical SEO problem, work with a specialist. But an agency with deep SEO expertise across content, technical SEO, and promotion will take your business to an entirely different level.

3. Thought leadership

It takes patient experimentation to develop, plan, and implement technical SEO strategies.

And to show their processes and how they achieve results, exceptional technical SEO agencies publish their findings from experiments.

That’s one of the easiest ways to look for a top tier technical SEO agency. Find the folks that product the best content in the space.

After all, if they’re already doing great SEO, they can likely help your business too.

4. Been in the SEO Game Long Enough to Spot Patterns

Technical SEO can move really fast.

Google is always releasing new features, shutting down others, and changing their priorities.

It’s a shifting landscape.

Getting a great technical SEO that knows the rules today isn’t enough. Ideally, you’ll want to work with someone that knows where SEO is going in the coming months and years. Or at least can take a good guess at it.

The last thing anyone wants is to restructure their site and then have Google go in an entirely different direction.

How to Work With a Technical SEO Agency

Once you’ve picked an agency, then what?

How do you work with one? What should you expect when you hire technical SEO specialists?

Typically, the process looks like this. 

1. In-house Team Alignment

Most technical SEO agencies work as an extension of your in-house marketing team.   

To ensure the partnership between both parties starts smoothly, you should:

  • Hold an in-house stakeholder meeting to align your teams.
  • Communicate why you need to work with a technical SEO agency and how their work would impact your site and business.
  • Make sure everyone is truly onboard with getting help. The agency may help find problems but internal teams need to be motivated to fix them.
  • Appoint front-facing employees that’ll work directly with the agency. 

When you do this, it ensures there’s team alignment between your company and the agency. It also keeps the agency in sync with your goals. 

2. Discovery Session

The first task to expect when you contact a technical SEO agency is an invitation to share your business problems and needs relevant to technical SEO. 

A reason for this is to understand your business situation better and get ideas from their vast pool of experience on the best approach to take. 

This process starts with a discovery session.

The best technical SEO agencies are first there to help organizations develop customized strategies that drive business growth. But for them to help you, expect to share your needs via a discovery session.

3. A Paid Audit

For a lot of marketing agencies, they’ll do a bunch of research for free and pitch you a proposal on how they’ll accomplish your goals.

This usually makes a lot of sense. The marketing agency gives you a taste of what they can do, they charge for the execution of the plan itself.

Technical SEO agencies rarely work like that.

In their case, the value is the research. You’re hiring them to do a ton of digging on your site and surface every problem they can find.

So don’t expect free audits.

The agency usually has a standard rate based on the size of your site.

4. Audit Results

Once the audit is finished, expect a document that goes into every issue that the team found. You can also expect a call to go over all the results.

Have your team ask followup questions, get clarification, and get as much advice on implementation as possible.

Because after this call, you’ll have a choice.

Some technical SEO agencies will help with implementation too. They’ll go over what that looks like. Many will have a proposal ready to go just in case you want to move forward right away.

If you want to implement everything in-house, make sure that this work doesn’t get neglected. It’s easy for it to get lost in the hand-off. Break up the work as necessary and get all deliverables assigned to individuals that can carry them to completion.

5. Ongoing Work

If you’ve decided to work with that agency on an ongoing basis, you’ll get into a regular cadence of status updates, invoicing, and execution.

Since you’ve already completed an audit with the agency by this point, there shouldn’t be any surprises in how they work.

As long as they keep delivering great work, keep working with them. 

How to Find The Right Technical SEO Agency For You

To choose a technical SEO agency that’s right for you, I recommend you start with these steps: 

  1. Know your desired outcomes for technical SEO. 
  2. Make sure the agencies on your shortlist specialize in these goals.
  3. Pick the one with the best track record in that area. 

To make the selection process much easier for you, below you’ll find the best technical SEO companies below. 

The 5 Top Technical SEO Agencies

1. Neil Patel Digital – Best For Technical Content Structuring

No doubt, content is king. But content without a strong technical SEO foundation doesn’t yield long-term SEO success.

Ideally, you’d have both. Great content and smooth technical SEO.

At Neil Patel Digital, we excel at developing and implementing SEO-optimized content structuring that meets the necessary technical SEO requirements.

I truly believe we have one of the most comprehensive SEO programs in the world. We’d be a great fit if you really want to go for it.

Quite a few Fortune 500 companies have picked us to do just that.

2. Webris – Best for Technical SEO Audits

Let’s say you feel really good about your SEO strategy. But something on your site is a little off. Or you just want to double check and make sure nothing’s missing.

In that case, a technical SEO audit would be a great fit for you.

The company I recommend for this kind of work is Webris

Their entire process is published here, take a look before you decide to contact them.

Led by Ryan Stewart, Webris boasts a talented team of advanced technical SEO experts trusted by government agencies and enterprise companies. 

3. Salt.agency – Best for Technical Organic Optimization

Salt.agency’s core differentiator is how they blend industry-leading technical expertise with organic growth strategies to drive organic optimization.

They’re a good option for business that need more than just a technical SEO audit. If you know that you have SEO problems but aren’t sure where they are, they’ll be happy to dig in and give you guidance on your strategy.

They have offices in Leeds, Boston, and London and  customers that include Travel Supermarket, Cloudflare, Hartley Botanic, and many others.

4. Ayima – Best for Enterprise Technical SEO

Ayima positions itself as the technical SEO agency for enterprise companies. And this agency’s minimum project size is $25,000. 

This may seem on the high side from afar, but it only reflects Ayima’s vast experience and expertise, working with huge companies like eBay and British Airways. 

Ayima didn’t become the technical SEO agency for enterprise brands overnight. The company earned its stripes after transitioning from a search engine technology startup into a technical marketing agency.

In any space, the best agencies have people that have built products in that exact space. They really understand how it all comes together.

If you’re looking for hardcore technical SEO expertise, reach out to them.

5. Orainti – Best for eCommerce Brands

Orainti, a Spanish-based SEO agency, works mostly with ecommerce brands selling globally. 

This agency is excellent for developing SEO-optimized multilingual domains and a robust site structure for category pages and products.

Ecommerce sites have a lot of technical SEO problems that are completely unique for them. If you have a large ecommerce site, I’d definitely recommend working with an agency with deep ecommerce experience.

Most importantly, most of Orainti’s services is around technical SEO.

Founded by Aleyda Solis, a veteran SEO practitioner, author, and speaker, Orainti has an impressive portfolio of premium brands likeUnder Armour, Zillow, Sage, Eventbrite, and others.

Have a Plan for Technical SEO from Day One

Most businesses make the mistake of relegating technical SEO to the backseat.

Why?

Because from the onset, it doesn’t have much impact on rankings and traffic. 

A little time invested today could gain you thousands of extra visitors without any extra work later.

Don’t wait for things to go south. Make it easy for Google to find, index, understand, and rank your content.

No sense in jumping on the SEO treadmill while trying to carry a bunch of extra weight that will only slow you down.

Get a solid plan for technical SEO from day one. 

And if you need help, reach out to an agency that specializes in technical SEO.

The post How to Choose The Right Technical SEO Agency appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/technical-seo-agency/

6 Alternatives to Amazon For E-commerce

alternatives amazon

With a net worth of  $1.7 trillion, Amazon has dominated the e-commerce sector for years, leaving many of its competitors in the shade. But are there alternatives to Amazon?

With an audience as vast as Amazon, small business start-ups and solo entrepreneurs flock to the site to sell the products, get established, and build their enterprises. Despite the audience Amazon offers, you may want to look for other online venues to list your items.

There are many good reasons to broaden your e-commerce horizons.

First, it makes little sense to put all your eggs in one basket. Second, selling on a wider range of marketplaces gets your products in front of a larger audience. And finally, looking at the other choices available could save you money on fees, or get you closer to your target buyers.

Below are some viable alternatives to Amazon. We’ll look at their advantages, their fee structures, and what makes them different.

Why You Should Use an Alternative to Amazon for Your E-commerce Business

We already touched on one of the main reasons to seek other venues: the perils of depending on one sales platform.

It’s not unheard of for sellers to have their accounts blocked. If you haven’t already established yourself on one of the alternatives to Amazon, your business could tank.

However, by setting up multiple accounts with different marketplaces, you’ve got greater flexibility if things go wrong. Plus, you can use other online platforms to test out which ones are the best for your products.

And there are other benefits in finding additional marketplaces, like:

Greater Flexibility 

All e-commerce sales platforms have some measure of control over your business. They determine:

  • What products you can list
  • The terms and conditions of doing business
  • Your payment options
  • Shipping fees

These terms might not be suitable for your business. So, If you’re looking for greater flexibility, then seeking alternatives to Amazon is a good idea.

Better Customer and Vendor Support

Perhaps you feel the vendor or customer support is lacking. Amazon provides useful resources for sellers, like its university. But some sellers feel seller support is sometimes thin, especially when things go wrong.

More Shipping Options and Lower Fees With Some Amazon Alternatives

Amazon has changed its fee structure over the years, bringing frustration to some.

Amazon sets its professional selling plan at $39.99, with individual plans available free. And referral fees differ, depending on which category you’re selling in.

Shipping is a further reason to consider seeking alternatives as individual sellers on Amazon lack flexibility over their shipping costs.

If you’re looking to cut fees or branch out, then signing with some alternatives to Amazon may allow you to further scale your business while reducing costs.

Amazon Alternative Payment Choices

If you’re a seller on Amazon, you’ll know it makes payment via ACH or electronic funds transfer. Amazon distributes these payments to your bank account every two weeks, and they can take up to five days to clear.

But that doesn’t always work for everyone. If you’re a small business and cash is tight, signing up to e-commerce platforms with a broader range of payment options can improve your cash flow.

What to Look for in an Amazon Alternative

Before you search for alternatives to Amazon, you need to decide what you want from your business. You’ll need to consider the products you’re selling and your target customer, too.

For example, if you’re selling printable products, Etsy could be an excellent choice. Or, if you’re looking for consumers who understand tech, you may find Newegg works well for you.

Other areas you’ll want to think about include:

Ease of Use

Marketplaces that allow you to add items efficiently mean you can list more products in less time. But you’ll want to view any alternatives to Amazon from your customer’s perspective too.

How important is the ease of use? Well, if you note some recent research from Digital Commerce 360 and Bitrate, you’ll see this is a significant factor in the buying decision.

When researching new platforms, perhaps test them out for yourself and consider areas like:

  • Navigation
  • Ease of checkout
  • Payment options
  • Shipping choices

User Types

Think about your ideal consumer and the type of users the platform attracts. For example, eBay is huge, with 182 million active buyers. It’s great for snapping up limited-time deals, brand name products, and pre-loved items.

However, it’s not always the first place shoppers think of when looking for handmade goods or unique items. They’re more likely to head somewhere like Etsy.

Fees

Fees can take a considerable chunk of your profits if you’re not careful. Depending on the fee structure, some sites may not be suitable if you’re selling smaller, lower value items.

If you need some help in this area, fee calculators are helpful. Here’s a list of the well-known ones.

Best Alternatives to Amazon for E-commerce

What are some of the best Amazon alternatives when you’re looking to sell your products online? Let’s look at some of the top options, in no particular order.

Bonanza

alternatives to amazon bonanza

Established in 2007, Bonanza has built itself a loyal following, with a vast range of categories. Sign up is free, and fees are straight forward. Final offer value fees are 3.5 percent for sales under $500. Sales over $500 attract an additional 1.5 percent fee.

Although it’s much smaller than Amazon, Bonanza has some advantages over its larger rival. They include a greater emphasis on building customer relationships and developing a sustainable business through repeat customers.

Equally appealing to sellers is the marketing tools Bonanza provides. These give you access to valuable data about product performance, allowing you to spot trends, optimize listings, and better market your items.

Other features include:

  • Automatic syncing with eBay, Amazon, and Shopify
  • Customized marketing tools
  • Image editing tools
  • Google integration
  • High level of customer support.

But what makes Bonanza stand out is its focus on unique items. It’s not trying to be another Amazon. As Bonanza puts it, it’s a site where you’ll find “everything but the ordinary”.

eBay

One of the most prominent alternatives to Amazon is eBay. Like Amazon, eBay has made considerable changes since its launch back in 1995. Over the years, eBay’s focus has moved away from the collectibles market it used to cater to, and it’s now more product-based.

Many famous brands like Rolex, Hasbro, and Microsoft make their goods available via ebay.com brand outlet site, enabling consumers to bag a bargain. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for more unusual or collectible items.

On eBay, listing fees and final value fees vary, but it sets many of its final value fees at 10 percent or less. If you need to calculate fees before listing, use an eBay fee calculator.

Some advantages of selling on eBay are:

  • A more comprehensive range of categories
  • More payment options for shoppers, like a credit/debit card, PayPal, and local collection. Sellers can also accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and gift cards through managed payments.
  • Improved branding through eBay stores and marketing materials

What makes eBay stand out, though, is its auctions. Auctions may not be ideal for every business. However, sellers who specialize in collectible or rare items may find the bidding pushes their final sales price up higher than they could’ve imagined.

Etsy

If your business primarily sells printable products or art and craft items, then Etsy might be for you. Of the many alternatives to Amazon, Etsy has perhaps one of the most affordable and straightforward pricing approaches.

Each listing costs just 20 cents, and the listing is good for four months. Then there’s a five percent transaction fee for goods that sell. Payment processing fees are variable and depend on location. If you want to grow your business further, Etsy Plus is available at $10 a month.

Re-listing is simple, too. Just select the auto-renew option, and there shouldn’t be anything else to do on your part.

Advantages of selling on Etsy are:

  • Greater customization over how your store looks
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Lower fees
  • Sellers can list collectibles and vintage items on Etsy

That’s the advantages, but there are a couple of possible disadvantages worth mentioning. First, Etsy is much smaller than Amazon, which means there’s intense competition, so your products need to stand out.

Second, although fees are cheaper, you may make more sales on Amazon Handmade because of its larger audience share.

Walmart Marketplace

Amazon dominates e-commerce, but Walmart is gaining ground. Recent sales figures show Walmart’s e-commerce sales have soared by 74 percent. This stat means if you’re looking for alternatives to Amazon, Walmart could be promising.

Like Amazon, Walmart now offers a fulfillment service. Although storage and fulfillment fees apply, Walmart’s fee structure is less complicated than Fulfillment by Amazon, and referral fees are competitive.

alternatives to amazon walmart interest form

In addition, with Walmart’s marketplace, there’s no start-up or ongoing monthly fees. However, you’ll want to factor in other costs, like unique product codes (UPCs).

Advantages of selling on the Walmart marketplace include:

  • Lower costs
  • Less competition due to buyer/seller ratio
  • Price control over inventory

What makes the platform different? Unlike Amazon, Walmart’s marketplace is only open to invited brands. You can’t just register and start selling. But you can sign up.

To register your interest in selling, Walmart asks businesses to fill out the interest form.

Newegg

alternatives to amazon newegg

Newegg has gained a reputation as the top global tech marketplace online. But it also sells apparel, home and lifestyle products, sports/health-related items, TVs, and plenty more.

As for fees, non-elite membership is free. Elite membership has two tiers ranging from $29.95-$99.95 a month. Commissions vary, with the highest being 12 percent.

Advantages of selling on Newegg include:

  • Can be cheaper for tech products
  • Attracts tech buyers who are knowledgeable about products
  • The Newegg search engine makes finding electronics and components quicker
  • Customized marketing for businesses
  • Various payment choices for sellers including weekly ACH payments, PayPal, Wire Transfer, PingPong, Payoneer, and World First
  • A wide range of payments for buyers, including PayPal and BitPay

But it’s the multi-channel fulfillment option that may interest sellers the most. If you’re selling from various platforms, Newegg provides a central point to manage all your orders.

Shopify

When you sell on a third-party platform, you have limited control. Many online sellers favor setting up their stores the Shopify platform.

The site offers new sellers a 14-day free trial to get them started. After that, a basic Shopify store will cost you $29 a month. Online credit card rates are 2.9 percent + 30 cents. And you should find it easy enough to start selling.

Once you’ve signed up for the free trial, the next steps are to:

  • Add products
  • Selecting images
  • Set shipping details
  • Customize pages for search engines using keywords
  • Create main pages
  • Customize store

The benefits of Shopify include:

  • Highly-rated customer support and selling features
  • Greater customization
  • Large range of e-commerce tools and apps
  • Access to the e-commerce university
  • You can accept a large range of currencies

Conclusion

There are a variety of reasons you might be looking for alternatives to Amazon. Maybe you want a platform that provides a wider range of payment options, a site that’s more niche, or you just want a more extensive selection of online marketplaces to sell your wares.

As you can see, there are many venues available, and they all have their advantages. Sites like Bonanza have established a loyal audience, and Walmart’s e-commerce presence is growing strong.

Niche sites such as Etsy and Newegg are ideal for specialist items, and eBay offers greater customization and various selling methods, including auctions.

If you want to go it alone, there’s always Shopify, where you can set up and market your own e-commerce business.

Are you an online seller? Tell us about your favorite platform and your experiences below.

The post 6 Alternatives to Amazon For E-commerce appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/alternatives-amazon/

Image Link Building — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Last week, we took you into the future with SEO expert Britney Muller to explore link prospecting in 2021. This week, we’re going back in time — all the way to 2017 — for her concrete advice on an important part of building links: image link building.

Image link building is a delicate art. There are some distinct considerations from traditional link building, and doing it successfully requires a balance of creativity, curiosity, and having the right tools on hand. Let’s dive in! 

Image Link Building

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans, welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going to go over all things image link building, which is sort of an art. I’m so excited to dig into this with you.

Know your link targets

So first and foremost, you need to know your link targets:

I. Popular industry platforms – top pages

What are those top platforms or websites that you would really like to acquire a link from? Then, from there, you can start to understand who might be influencers on those platforms, who’s writing the content, who might you contact, and also what are the top pages currently for those sites. There are a number of tools that give you a glimpse into that information. Moz’s OSE, Open Site Explorer, will show you top pages. SEMrush has a top page report. SimilarWeb has a popular page report. You can dig into all that information there, really interesting stuff.

II. Old popular images – update!

You can also start to dig into old, popular images and then update them. So what are old popular images within your space that you could have an opportunity to revamp and update? A really neat way to sort of dig into some of that is BuzzSumo’s infographics filter, and then you would insert the topic. You enter the industry or the topic you’re trying to address and then search by the infographics to see if you can come across anything.

III. Transform popular content into images

You can also just transform popular content into images, and I think there is so much opportunity in doing that for new statistics reports, new data that comes out. There are tons of great opportunities to transform those into multiple images and leverage that across different platforms for link building.

IV. Influencers

Again, just understanding who those influencers are.

Do your keyword research

So, from here, we’re going to dive into the keyword research part of this whole puzzle, and this is really understanding the intent behind people searching about the topic or the product or whatever it might be. Something you can do is evaluate keywords with link intent. This is a brilliant concept I heard about a couple weeks back from Dan Shure’s podcast. Thank you, Dan. Essentially it’s the idea that keywords with statistics or facts after the keyword have link intent baked into the search query. It’s brilliant. Those individuals are searching for something to reference, to maybe link to, to include in a presentation or an article or whatever that might be. It has this basic link intent.

Another thing you want to evaluate is just anything around images. Do any of your keywords and pictures or photos, etc. have good search volume with some opportunities? What does that search result currently look like? You have to evaluate what’s currently ranking to understand what’s working and what’s not. I used to say at my old agency I didn’t want anyone writing any piece of content until they had read all of the 10 search results for that keyword or that phrase we were targeting. Why would you do that until you have a full understanding of how that looks currently and how we can make something way better?

Rand had also mentioned this really cool tip on if you find some keywords, it’s good to evaluate whether or not the image carousel shows up for those searches, because if it does, that’s a little glimpse into the searcher intent that leads to images. That’s a good sign that you’re on the right track to really optimize for a certain image. It’s something to keep in mind.

Provide value

So, from here, we’re going to move up to providing value. Now we’re in the brainstorming stage. Hopefully, you’ve gotten some ideas, you know where you want to link from, and you need to provide value in some way. It could be a…

I. Reference/bookmark Maybe something that people would bookmark, that always works.

II. Perspective is a really interesting one. So some of the most beautiful data visualizations do this extremely well, where they can simplify a confusing concept or a lot of data. It’s a great way to leverage images and graphics.

III. Printouts still work really well. Moz has the SEO Dev Cheat Sheet that I have seen printed all over at different agencies, and that’s really neat to see it adding value directly.

IV. Curate images. We see this a lot with different articles. Maybe the top 25 to 50 images from this tradeshow or this event or whatever it might be, that’s a great way to leverage link building and kind of getting people fired up about a curated piece of content.

Gregory Ciotti — I don’t know if I’m saying that right — has an incredible article I suggest you all read called “Why a Visual Really Is Worth a Thousand Words,” and he mentions don’t be afraid to get obvious. I love that, because I think all too often we tend to overthink images and executing things in general. Why not just state the obvious and see how it goes? He’s got great examples.

Optimize

So, from here, we are going to move into optimization. If any of you need a brush-up on image optimization, I highly suggest you check out Rand’s Whiteboard Friday on image SEO. It covers everything. But some of the basics are your…

Title

You want to make sure that the title of the image has your keyword and explains what it is that you’re trying to convey.

Alt text

This was first and foremost designed for the visually impaired, so you need to be mindful of visually impaired screen readers that will read this to people to explain what the image actually is. So first and foremost, you just need to be helpful and provide information in a descriptive way to describe that image.

Compression

Compression is huge. Page speed is so big right now. I hear about it all the time. I know you guys do too. But one of the easiest ways to help page speed is to compress those huge images. There’s a ton of great free tools out there, like Optimizilla, where you can bulk upload a bunch of large images and then bulk download. It makes it super easy. There are also some desktop programs, if you’re doing this kind of stuff all the time, that will automatically compress images you download or save. That might be worth looking into if you do this a lot.
You want to host the image. You want it to live on your domain. You want to house that. You can leverage it on other platforms, but you want sort of that original to be on your site.

SRCSET

Source set attribute is getting a little technical. It’s super interesting, and it’s basically this really incredible image attribute that allows you to set the minimum browser size and the image you would prefer to show up for different sizes. So you can not only have different images show up for different devices in different sizes, but you can also revamp them. You can revamp the same image and serve it better for a mobile user versus a tablet, etc. Jon Henshaw has some of the greatest stuff on source set. Highly suggest you look at some of his articles. He’s doing really cool things with it. Check that out.

Promotion

So, from here, you want to promote your images. You obviously want to share it on popular platforms. You want to reach back out to some of these things that you might have into earlier. If you updated a piece of content, make them aware of that. Or if you transformed a really popular piece of content into some visuals, you might want to share that with the person who is sharing that piece of content. You want to start to tap into that previous research with your promotion.

Inform the influencers

Ask people to share it. There is nothing wrong with just asking your network of people to share something you’ve worked really hard on, and hopefully, vice versa, that can work in return and you’re not afraid to share something a connection of yours has that they worked really hard on.

Monitor the image SERPs

From here, you need to monitor. One of the best ways to do this is Google reverse image search. So if you go to Google and you click the images tab, there’s that little camera icon that you can click on and upload images to see where else they live on the web. This is a great way to figure out who is using your image, where it’s being held, are you getting a backlink or are you not. You want to keep an eye on all of that stuff.

Two other tools to do this, that I’ve heard about, are Image Raider and TinEye. But I have not had great experience with either of these. I would love to hear your comments below if maybe you have.

Reverse image search with Google works the best for me. This is also an awesome opportunity for someone to get on the market and create a Google alert for images. I don’t think anyone is actually doing that right now. If you know someone that is, please let me know down below in the comments. But it could be a cool business opportunity, right? I don’t know.

So for monitoring, let’s say you find your image is being used on different websites. Now you need to do some basic outreach to get that link. You want to request that link for using your image.

This is just a super basic template that I came up with. You can use it. You can change it, do whatever you want. But it’s just:

Hi, [first name].
Thank you so much for including our image in your article. Great piece. Just wondering if you could link to us.com as the source.
Thanks,
Britney

Something like that. Something short, to the point. If you can make it more personalized, please do so. I can’t stress that enough. People will take you way more seriously if you have some nugget of personal information or connection that you can make.

From there, you just sort of stay in this loop. After you go through this process, you need to continue to promote your content and continue to monitor and do outreach and push that to maximize your link building efforts.
So I hope you enjoyed this. I look forward to hearing all of your comments and thoughts down below in the comments. I look forward to seeing you all later. Thanks for joining us on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. Thanks.

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Source: https://moz.com/blog/successful-image-link-building

The Best Luxury Marketing Strategies

luxury marketing

Have you ever seen a Facebook ad for Chanel? Or an Instagram ad for Lamborghini?

Me neither. That’s because luxury marketing strategies don’t follow the same rules as mass-market brands.

Selling to high-end consumers requires a different approach. But that doesn’t mean popular digital channels are off-limits.

SEO, PPC, even some social media sites can drive online sales for your luxury brand.

Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to take your luxury brand online with the best luxury marketing strategies.

What Qualifies as a Luxury Brand?

Gucci, Rolex, Ferrari. For the most part, you know luxury brands when you hear them.

But what does it take for a brand to qualify as a luxury? In my opinion, it’s down to the three Es: Expensive, Excellent, and Exclusive.

Luxury products are synonymous with high price tags. This is the most common indicator of luxury, but it is also the most misleading. Just because something costs thousands of dollars doesn’t mean it’s luxury.

That’s why luxury products also need to be excellent. The quality has to match the price tag. Good doesn’t cut it in the luxury category; a brand has to be at the very top of the market.

Luxury fashion is created by the best designers in the world. The best engineers create luxury cars. Ditto for timepieces.

Finally, luxury products have to be exclusive. It’s not a luxury product if everyone has one. Often, exclusivity is achieved by price. A ten thousand dollar handbag is well out of reach of the majority of consumers. But brands can also achieve exclusivity by selling a limited number of products. Or they can do both, like Supreme.

Luxury Marketing Supreme

Luxury Marketing Trends

According to Statista, the global luxury goods market will increase from $285.1 billion in 2020 to $388 billion in 2025.

Despite what you might think, online sales of personal luxury goods are growing, too. McKinsey estimates 8% of all luxury sales are made online or around €20 billion. That’s a five-fold increase from 2009. What’s more, the majority (almost 80%) of purchases made in-store are influenced by digital.

The consultancy expects online luxury sales to triple by 2025 when almost one in five personal luxury sales will happen online.

Digital channels will be essential for luxury brands going forward. The pandemic hit department stores hard and forced luxury consumers to buy online more than before.

BCG predicts the e-commerce boom will continue in the future both for inspiration and for transactions.

Going digital will also be key to meeting today’s new luxury consumers and those of tomorrow. Millennials, who are entering their peak earning years, and Gen Z, many of whom are just entering the workforce, have grown up in the digital era and expect brands to have an online presence as high-quality as their products.

All that’s to say: digital marketing must be a key part of a luxury brand’s strategy going forward.

Luxury Brand Marketing Strategies

Here’s the thing, luxury marketing isn’t synonymous with digital marketing…yet.

Until now, luxury brands have been able to rely on full-page ads in premium magazines, billboards in duty-free stores, and high-end, high budget TV ads.

Not any more.

To survive in the increasingly competitive luxury space and attract new customers, luxury brands must understand what the luxury consumer wants from a brand and how digital can help them get there.

From SEO to PPC, apps to AR, there are loads of marketing strategies to explore.

Understand the Luxury Customer

The first step in developing a luxury marketing strategy is to understand your audience. Enter buyer personas.  

A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal consumer. It will include their age, demographic, job, hobbies, salary, and anything else relevant. The more detail you can include, the better.

Here’s an example of a luxury consumer persona from Stella Rising.

Luxury Marketing Consumer

Keep in mind; you may not have just one buyer persona. If several different groups of people buy your products, you’ll need to develop a buyer persona for each of them.

Detailed buyer personas help your brand understand precisely who your customers are and what they want from your brand.

They will allow you to better communicate with your customers and focus your marketing efforts.

Develop Your Digital Luxury Marketing Strategy

Now you understand who your customers are and what they want from your brand, you can build a marketing strategy that will drive results.

Start by thinking about the channels you want to target. This could be a social media platform you want to pay particular attention to; it could be Google; it could even be a custom app.

Focus on one or two to start with, particularly if your luxury brand is new to digital marketing.

Next, define your goals. This may be increasing brand awareness, but a better and more measurable goal is an increase in sales. (It’s also easier to measure sales increase.)

Finally, work out how you’re going to measure your success. If you’re going to use SEO to increase revenue, for instance, find out how much revenue Google and Bing are responsible for right now. If you don’t already have Google Analytics tracking in place, now’s the time to set it up.

Experimental vs. Traditional Marketing

Most marketers are aware of traditional luxury marketing tactics. Full-page ads in premium magazines or weighty direct mail pieces are a luxury marketer’s bread and butter.

But those strategies won’t cut it in an increasingly digital world.

Many brands consider digital marketing experimental in itself. But I urge luxury brands to go beyond standard digital marketing tactics and explore more experimental channels.

One option is a brand app. Apps offer brands a way to speak to users directly through their smartphones. Your app could be as simple as a mobile responsive version of your website.

Or you could take things even further by integrating augmented reality features. Burberry, for instance, has launched an AR shopping tool that lets consumers see Burberry products in their surrounding environment.

Chanel has combined offline marketing with digital marketing in a holiday popup event at The Standard in New York. An AR app, which could be accessed on the Chanel website or via Snapchat, brought the popup to life.

Role of Loyalty in Luxury Marketing

Luxury brands have loyal consumers. This is important because the more loyal your customers, the less marketing you have to do.

Don’t worry; I’m not recommending creating a loyalty program. That could devalue your luxury brand.

Rather, you need to turn consumers into fiercely loyal brand advocates. One way to do that is through the quality of your products. Another way is through the quality of your marketing.

You can also partner with influencers on social media channels. Influencer marketing is incredibly cost-effective and, if done well, can put your brand in front of the right kind of consumers.

Just make sure to find influencers who already operate in the luxury space and whose audience buys the products they promote. Aspirational jet-setting influencers are a dime a dozen.

You want to work with the few who have the audience to back it up. Otherwise, you won’t see results.

Develop a Targeted Luxury Marketing Keyword Strategy

Whether you’re running an SEO campaign or a PPC campaign (or both), I recommend developing a highly targeted luxury marketing keyword strategy.

Start by targeting high-conversion keywords. Sure, attracting consumers in the research phase of their journey is important. But for the sake of your ROI, you’re going to want to target consumers who are ready to purchase.

The CPCs of luxury marketing terms can be expensive, given the competition and the price of products.

Try to advertise as the “top watch maker” on Google, and you’ll pay $80 per click. Ouch.

Luxury Marketing Top Watchmaker

Or $50 to advertise as one of the best luxury compact cars.

Luxury Marketing Compact Car

If you want to see a return on your investment, focusing on high-intent keywords is essential.

You’ll also need to make careful use of your negative keyword list.

Unless you’re using negative keywords, you aren’t really in control over what terms your brand will appear. The last thing you want is for ads for your luxury brand to start showing up in searches containing “discount,” “sale,” or “free.”

The kind of consumer that clicks on those ads won’t match your buyer persona. Here’s how to add negative keywords to your ads.

Luxury Marketing Content Campaigns

A huge part of luxury marketing revolves around storytelling. Whether it’s the history of your brand or the craftsmanship of your products, you probably have a lot to say.

This makes content marketing campaigns a must for luxury brands.

What should you write about exactly? Well, apart from telling your brand story, I recommend using long-form content to help consumers find the right product for them.

Buying a luxury product is often a big decision, and consumers research their choices thoroughly before committing. Buying guides put your brand front and center for consideration while providing value and establishing a relationship even before the purchase has been made.

This is a strategy my team at NP Digital adopted for a prominent jewelry retailer that wanted to increase online sales.

We wrote a comprehensive piece of content about finding the perfect engagement ring that helped traffic from search engines to grow from 20% of all traffic to 30% of all traffic in the first six months of our partnership.

Your content can continue to add value for customers after purchase. Detailed guides on using and caring for luxury products make for excellent blog posts that can increase brand loyalty while attracting even more consumers.

Use the keywords you’ve discovered above to guide your content creation process. You’ll want to make sure there’s some form of content for every key term, whether that’s a category page, a blog post, or something else entirely.

SEO For Luxury Brands

Search engines are massive traffic drivers for luxury brands and play an important role in both the research and purchase phase of the consumer journey.

Yet, they are consistently undertilized by luxury brands. It doesn’t help that luxury brands tend to have poorly designed (but very good looking) websites and a lack of content for Google to crawl.

As I said above, creating new content is critical for luxury brands who want to succeed online. Targeting new, high-intent keywords is also important.

But you shouldn’t forget about the more technical aspects of SEO, like optimizing category pages. Or off-page factors, like building links.

The more time and effort you devote to understanding and implementing SEO, the more revenue your store should generate. For instance, we increase the revenue of our luxury jewelry client by 21% through SEO.

While Google should be your focus, don’t forget about Bing. Users of Microsoft’s search engine tend to be more affluent, with 25% of users having an income in the top 25%. It makes sense to focus some efforts on Bing SEO.

Conclusion

The luxury market is changing.

Luxury marketing can no longer be confined to TV channels, billboards, and glossy magazines. Now is the time to take your luxury brand digital and invest in SEO, PPC, and whatever social media your consumers use.

So here’s my question to you:

What will be the first digital channel you use to promote your luxury brand?

The post The Best Luxury Marketing Strategies appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/luxury-marketing/

The Good and Bad of Deadstock Products for E-commerce

The Good and Bad of Deadstock Products for E-commerce

E-commerce retailers face many obstacles in the realm of online business.

A common yet persistent issue is deadstock products.

The accumulation of deadstock inventory can drive up operational and warehouse costs. As more products enter the warehouse, the cost of storing unsold items can drain the valuable financial resources of your business.

What’s more, seasonal trends and products make it difficult to eliminate deadstock products completely.

How to solve this problem? This article explains how to avoid deadstock and how to get rid of it when it piles up in your warehouse.

Let’s start with the definition for deadstock first.

What Does Deadstock Mean?

Deadstock is synonymous with dead inventory.

These are items that haven’t been sold and are very unlikely to sell. If you don’t use an inventory management system, these goods likely pile up and remain forgotten in your warehouse.

An alternative definition of “deadstock” refers to goods that are no longer sold in stores. In this case, these deadstock goods, like unused or unworn shoes or vintage apparel, are sold at much higher rates.

For the purposes of this article, we won’t explore the latter definition in this post.

Is Deadstock Bad for Business?

Deadstock comes with a price.

Retailers won’t be able to recoup the cost of manufacturing products if they never sell.  

As a result, unwanted items take up space in your warehouse. A longer stay means more storage costs for your business.

How to calculate deadstock? To understand its consequences for your business, calculate the costs involved in holding onto these useless products.

List rental costs, utilities, equipment, insurance, and security used to guard your items.

Ideally, businesses make up for these costs through sales, but deadstock products remain stagnant in your warehouse. Instead of making a profit, retailers pay to keep these useless goods.

Deadstock also has an attached opportunity cost.

The space occupied by these items could have been used for “headstock” or highly profitable and bestselling items, which instantly make a profit for your business.

How to Avoid Deadstock

In my experience, you need to avoid deadstock as much as possible.

Business of Fashion reports that dead inventory costs around $50 billion per year for the US retail industry.

If a retail brand’s standard margin is around 60%, then a deadstock worth $40,000 represents around $100,000 worth of retail sales and $60,000 of gross margin dollars.

I’ve advised a lot of e-commerce stores, and I can tell you it’s best to avoid deadstock than to wait for it to snowball at a later time.

So today, I’ll share tips for avoiding deadstock.  

1. Improve Inventory Management For Less Deadstock

Inventory management is a major cause of deadstock.

Fortunately, an inventory management system can guarantee your inventory is monitored and managed appropriately.

Here are some popular inventory management systems:

  • inFlow Inventory: an inventory management system that can manage up to 100 products.
  • Sortly Pro: a cloud-based inventory management system that can handle up to 100 transaction entries per month.
  • Odoo: a free open source enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
  • ZhenHub: a cloud-based inventory management system for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

There is no right or wrong inventory management system. Instead, find a solution that meets your needs.

Once you have a system in place, keep track of the products on your shelves, as well as those that end up as dead inventory. In addition, you must identify the products with no sales or low sales for the past year.

An intelligent inventory management system can identify bestselling items, allowable return dates, expiration dates, as well as flopped goods you’re better off without.

2. Discount Potential Deadstock Items

Pay attention to what’s selling and what’s not.

Take into account the latest market trends. What are the popular products people love? How long will this trend last?

Seasonal products might be selling like hot cakes for the first few weeks, but the excitement fades eventually.

A good tip is to discount potential deadstock items by hosting end-of-season sales.

For example, Patagonia, The North Face, and H&M frequently have end-of-season sales to sell their jackets and coats once the winter season ends. This way, they can get rid of deadstock items and make way for next season’s collections.

Perishable goods won’t be sellable after their expiration date has passed. That’s precisely why you must monitor items that will almost reach their expiration date and then offer them at discounted prices.

Tools like Wasteless utilize AI to prevent food waste through a dynamic pricing model. By using machine learning, they can use variables like brand popularity, seasonal popularity, and expiration dates to determine the real-time price of perishable goods.  

Deadstock products for e commerce Wasteless tool

Of course, your profit margins will be lower than expected for discounted products. However, a discount helps you get rid of unpopular products, and it’s a lot better than stocking these goods in a warehouse and paying more for storage.

At the very least, you have an opportunity to make up for the manufacturing costs and break even.

3. Know Your Target Audience

This happens all the time: You promote the product, but it just won’t sell.

If an item remains unsold despite numerous promotions, your target audience probably doesn’t want them.

Every time you source potential products to sell, you must understand the conditions you are dealing with.

This is why market research and surveys are crucial to your success. The socioeconomic profile, gender, location, and interests of your audience can predict the outcome of the sales of your store.

So, before you pay for manufacturing costs, ensure your consumers want the product.

To get started, create a marketing persona for your online store. This doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here’s an example of a marketing persona that considers the demographics and characteristics of your consumers:

Deadstock products for e commerce Know your target audience

Another idea is to perform market research by sending regular surveys to pinpoint your customers’ needs. I highly recommend getting current customers as respondents because they’ve experienced your product and likely fit with the profile of your target market.

Survey Monkey recommends asking these questions to evaluate the product/market fit.

  • How did you find this product?
  • How would you feel if this product was no longer available?
  • What are the benefits of using this product?
  • What alternatives would you use if this product was no longer available?
  • Have you recommended using this product to anyone?

It’s best to conduct surveys regularly to identify opportunities within your target market.

Also, understand the items and trends that customers love and take them into consideration for future product releases. You can use inventory management software to identify products that sold out quickly to make sure you’re selling the products that shoppers need.

Having more bestselling items is key to the elimination of deadstock, and while you won’t always be able to sell 100% of items in your inventory, knowing your customers and assessing product/market fit will help reduce the accumulation of deadstock.

4. Diversify Your Products to Avoid Deadstock

You may opt to sell bestselling items only to avoid deadstock completely.

However, you must guarantee that most of the bestselling items in your store don’t have the same features or characteristics. Otherwise, you can get more deadstock too.

Having too many similar items may mean cannibalization. Some customers may prefer one brand or item over another, which leads to low sales numbers for other goods.

This is common for retailers offering similar items from multiple brands.

Diversify your product inventory to avoid this consequence.

A good tip is to add complementary products of existing items in your e-commerce store. For starters, complementary goods are products that are used together. They may be completely different from an item you’re selling, but their combination of complementary goods will sweeten the deal.

For example, if you’re an iPhone retailer, then add iPhone cases and accessories to your arsenal. As the value of the latest iPhone decreases, it may become more mainstream. Thus, more people will be buying your cases and accessories in the future.

Deadstock products for e commerce Diversify your products

Alternatively, you can offer an assortment of related products, instead of selling them separately.

For instance, Harry’s – a men’s grooming brand – offers a “Truman Set,” which includes a foam shave gel, blades, and razors packed in one convenient package.

Deadstock products for e commerce men s grooming brand

How Do I Get Rid Of Deadstock?

Now, if you already have deadstock, it’s time to get rid of it.

Here’s what you need to do.

1. Return Deadstock Items To Suppliers

If you’re in the window to return, this may be the best option.

In the short-run, you’ll pay a small fee, but at least you can avoid a major loss and more deadstock.  

As long as the items are in good condition, you may be able to return them to the supplier. However, review the return policy of suppliers first to guarantee they allow this method.

Most suppliers have a restocking fee worth 10% of the merchandise. You’ll likely get an option to pay in credit rather than cash.

2. Put Deadstock in Clearance Sections and Bundles

What if you sold some items at a discount, but it just won’t sell? You can take it even further.

Find out the lowest price that you can sell these products. Then bundle related and complementary products together and sell them as a set.

For example, Glossier bundles related items together and offers them at a discounted price. Many beauty enthusiasts prefer a complete set sold at a discounted rate, rather than purchasing a single item with no discount.

Deadstock products for e commerce Put deadstock in clearance section

If you have a lot of stocks with the same item, get rid of them through freebies and giveaways. Consumers love to get free stuff, so it may compel them to return to your online store and make a purchase.  

During the holidays, you can bundle items to create holiday gift sets with an assortment of products.

For example, Soko Glam bundles miniature-sized skincare products and sells them as a gift set for the season of giving. Plus, customers who make orders above $135 will receive a Dreamy Satin Pillowcase while supplies last.

how to get rid of deadstock

3. Sell to Deadstock Buyers

You’ll likely lose some cash, but getting some money back is better than a total loss.

Here are some deadstock buyers to consider:

  • Wholesale: If you have a lot of deadstock in good condition, you can sell them to wholesalers. For clothing retailers, popular boutique wholesale clothing suppliers include Sugarlips Wholesale, Bloom Wholesale, Wholesale Fashion Square, Tasha Apparel, Magnolia Fashion Wholesale, and LAShowRoom.
  • Amazon Seller Central: Amazon has a Seller Central where you can adjust the pricing or match your competitor’s lowest price.
  • eBay: Deadstock consisting of repaired or returned products could be sold to eBay at drastically reduced costs.
  • Consignment shops and warehouses: These buyers usually purchase clothing, home goods, and old items that could be sold at low prices.
  • Closeout liquidators: These businesses can buy a bulk of your deadstock and resell it in their own stores at cheaper prices.

4. Donate Deadstock to Charities

Finally, if a product just won’t sell, consider donating it to charity.

Donating to charity is a popular option for clothing retailers. You can sell deadstock items to discount stores like T.J.Maxx or the Outnet as a last-ditch attempt to make sales.

Some foundations like The Salvation Army and Oxfam accept donated clothes.

We bet there are many charities in your local communities and cities. You can donate to any organization, just make sure it’s legal. Find a reputable charity where you can sell your items.

While you may not be able to sell these goods, you can claim a tax write off for donating them. If handled well, this initiative will make your business look good.

Conclusion

If you want to eliminate deadstock products, make an active effort to find products that will sell.

Use an inventory management system to track unwanted items in your inventory. Bundle deadstock products and sell them as gift bundles or give them away as freebies. As a last resort, you can even sell deadstock products to wholesalers, consignment shops, Amazon, or eBay.

There are many options to avoid the accumulation of deadstock and get rid of unsold items stuck in your inventory,

How will you avoid deadstock products?

The post The Good and Bad of Deadstock Products for E-commerce appeared first on Neil Patel.

How Using Emotional Marketing in Content Can Help Drive Way More Sales

How Using Emotional Marketing in Content Can Help Drive Way More Sales

Whether you care to admit it or not, the decisions you make today will be driven by your emotions. In emotional marketing, we talk a lot about using psychological triggers to get customers to click, convert, engage, etc.

“By leveraging common psychological triggers all people have,” you might hear, “you can drive more sales.”

While it may feel like we make decisions with our minds, using logic and reasoning, the “mental triggers” we hear about are tied more to emotion than anything else.

Case in point, Antonio Damasio spent time studying individuals with damage to the area of the brain where emotions were generated and processed.

While these subjects functioned just like anyone else, they couldn’t feel emotion.

The other thing they had in common was they all had trouble with making decisions.

Even simple decisions about what to eat proved difficult.

While they could describe what they should be doing using logic and reason, most decisions couldn’t be settled with simple rationale.

Without emotion, they weren’t able to make a choice.

This is supported by data from Gerard Zaltman, author of “How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market.”

Zaltman found that 95% of cognition happens beyond our conscious brain, instead coming from our subconscious, emotional brain.

ecards emotional marketing

Emotions are an X factor you can’t control, but you can’t afford to ignore them in your content marketing.

Why is Emotion Marketing so Effective?

When you make an emotional connection with your audience, it’s incredibly easy to steer them to the desired outcome.

You’ve formed an emotional bond, however brief and fleeting, that makes them open to ideas and suggestions. It creates a certain level of trust that’s virtually impossible to artificially manifest.

Rob Walker and Joshua Glen found firsthand what an emotional connection can do.

In one experiment, they bought hundreds of items from thrift stores and similar locations — all cheaply priced.

The duo wanted to see if they could sell the products using an emotional connection through the power of stories alone.

With 200 writers on board, they generated fictional stories for the products and used those stories to sell the thrift store items at auction on eBay.

significantobjects example | Emotional Marketing

They raised just under $8,000, which was a profit of approximately 2,700%.

And they did it all using that emotional connection through storytelling.

That’s not to say there isn’t a place for the logical or the rational in decision making.

This is where marketers often leverage the theory of dual processing in psychological marketing.

The theory holds that the brain processes thoughts and decisions on two levels.

Emotional Marketing dual process

The first level is that of emotion, which processes automatically, unconsciously, and provides a rapid response when we need it with virtually no effort.

The second level is the more deliberate and conscious thought process, where we handle decisions with reason and logic. It happens far slower than the emotional response.

In most cases, we fire back with a ready response from our emotions and then try to consciously rationalize it.

Think about some big-brand rivalries and preferences will surface in your mind.

How do you feel when you look at this major brand comparison?

brand rival in Emotional Marketing

Here’s another common one that has people divided, sometimes within the same family:

brand rival example in Emotional Marketing

And then there’s this brand rivalry we know all too well.

Jobs vs Gates in Emotional Marketing

In each of these, you likely have an opinion almost instantly about which you prefer, but it’s not because you have a logical reason.

It’s typically tied to emotion and/or experience; how you feel using their products, or how the brands left you feeling after an experience or reading a news article.

The brain then tries to rationalize that emotional response.

For example, your emotional response goes straight to Coke and then your brain works to rationalize the decision by deciding that it tastes better in a can, it’s fizzier, has a stronger bite than Pepsi, etc.

So, while you might feel like you’re making a rational choice about your beverage, it’s really just an emotional one.

The most successful marketers know how to lean on the emotional over logic in order to make their content draw in the audience.

That’s why nearly a third of marketers report significant profit gains when running emotional campaigns, but the number of successful campaigns dips if you introduce logic into the marketing.

emotion logic in Emotional Marketing

And those results get sliced in half when marketers switch to logic over emotion.

Emotion Marketing Doesn’t Guarantee Successful Engagement

We experience a laundry list of emotions every day.

Is it really as simple as leveraging some emotion to make content more effective?

Yes and no.

Emotion is certainly important, but there are also other factors like timing, exposure, the format of the content, how it’s presented, who produced or shared it, etc.

Despite understanding the role emotion plays in content, we still haven’t quite perfected a formula for what makes content go viral.

Though we’ve gotten pretty close.

Brands have long tried to inflate the consumer’s emotional response through manufactured content; some met with great success.

Take, for example, Intel’s five-part “Meet the Makers” series.

The videos profile a person around the world who uses Intel’s technology to create new experiences and build new technology that makes a difference in the world.

intel in Emotional Marketing example

Like 13-year-old Shubham Banerrjee, who used Intel’s technology to build an affordable Braille printer.

intel 2nd Emotional Marketing example

And of course, some companies try to leverage emotion and create viral campaigns that just don’t take off.

CIO reported a number of failed viral marketing campaigns, such as “Walmarting Across America.”

In this blog, two average Americans travel across the country visiting Walmart locations, reporting their interactions on a blog along the way.

After countless upbeat entries about how people loved working for the company, it was discovered that the trip was paid for by Walmart and the entire thing was a campaign created and managed by the company’s PR firm.

That didn’t receive a warm reception from the blogosphere, which deemed the content to be a “flog” or fake blog.

Which Emotions Attract the Most Marketing Engagement in Content?

Many emotions fuel our behaviors and our decisions, especially our purchase decisions.

Some more than others — especially when they’re authentic.

A study was done by Buzzsumo analyzing the top 10,000 most-shared articles on the web. Those articles were then mapped to emotions to see which emotions had the greatest influence on content.

The most popular:

  • Awe (25%)
  • Laughter (17%)
  • Amusement (15%)
popular emotion | Emotional Marketing

Conversely, the least popular were sadness and anger, totaling just 7% of the content that was most shared.

Two researchers at Wharton also wanted to dig deeper into virally shared content to find commonalities and better understand what makes that content spread.

What they found was the emotional element, and some very specific results tied to emotions.

  • Content is far more likely to be shared when it makes people feel good or it creates positive feelings such as leaving them entertained.
  • Facts or data that shock people or leave them in awe were more likely to be shared.
  • Instilling fear or anxiety pushes engagement higher, from comments being posted to content being shared.
  • People most commonly shared content that incited anger, leaving comments as well.

While some emotions are more likely to engage than others, every audience is different. What drives one to action may do very little for another.

This modern adaptation of Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion, illustrated by CopyPress, shows the range under eight primary emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation.

emotion wheel in Emotional Marketing

For content to be widely shared and have an impact on your audience, it needs to leverage one or more of these emotions.

The proof is on the web, not only in the statistics I shared above, but also in the popularity of user communities that regularly share content.

Just look at Reddit and some of the most popular subreddits by subscriber count. Each can be tied back to emotions (some more obviously than others) like anticipation, awe, joy, and more.

subreddits Emotional Marketing example

Here’s how some of those emotions can play into the engagement with your audience:

Anxiety May Cause Uncertainty For Customers

You don’t want your audience to make bad decisions. Bad decisions can lead to buyer’s remorse, which can paint your brand and the overall experience in a negative light.

But it can be helpful if you leave the audience a bit more open to influence.

A Berkeley study revealed that anxiety can be linked to difficulty in using information around us to make decisions. When we experience uncertainty, it becomes harder to make decisions and our judgment is clouded.

anxiety example in Emotional Marketing

Still, anxiety can also spur people to act as a result of that uncertainty.

Take a two-year study by Wharton Ph.D. student Alison Wood Brooks and a Harvard Business School professor.

They found that upon increasing the anxiety of certain subjects with video footage, 90% of the “anxious” participants opted to seek advice and were more likely to take it.

Only 72% of the participants in a neutral state, who viewed a different video, sought advice.

Capture the Focus of Your Emotional Marketing Audience With Awe

Awe is comparable to wonder, but it doesn’t always fall under the umbrella of joy or humor.

It’s intended to captivate the audience and keep them riveted.

You often see this kind of hook in headlines that seem so earth-shatteringly significant that no one in their right mind would want to miss it.

Here’s a good example of that kind of awe used in content when Dropbox first launched.

<img width="520" height="85" src="https://neilpatel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/dropboxstart.png&quot; alt="d
Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/emotions-for-content-marketing/

How to Create Hyperlocal Ad Campaigns

How to Create Hyperlocal Ad Campaigns

In these modern times of digital transformation, it may seem like most digital marketing strategies are designed for online businesses.

So are there any digital marketing strategies for brick-and-mortar businesses?

Yes, there are, and one of the most effective ones is hyperlocal marketing.

What is Hyperlocal Marketing?

As the name suggests, hyperlocal marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on reaching customers in your vicinity. It is targeted to motivated people who are ready to buy your products.

The main goal of hyperlocal marketing is to increase foot traffic to your business. This is achieved by strategically placing the right ads in front of the right people at the right time.

It could also serve the purpose of raising brand awareness in your specific locale.

Several factors are considered, with the main one being your prospect’s location.

Hence the name hyperlocal marketing.

Advantages of Hyperlocal Marketing

Many businesses are adopting hyperlocal marketing for the tremendous results it brings. It has many advantages over other marketing methods for both online and offline businesses. Here are the top five:

Bring in Hot Hyperlocal Leads

Because it is a very niche marketing technique, hyperlocal marketing has the advantage of bringing in leads that are ready to make a purchase. That’s because most of the people targeted by hyperlocal ad campaigns are already looking for the product or service you offer.

Take, for example, someone looking for a coffee shop. They’ll search for a coffee shop “near me,” and if they are in your vicinity, your coffee shop will be recommended to them by search engines. Or, they’ll be served one of your ads on their social media timelines.

Even if they’re not actively looking for a coffee shop, you can send out push notifications alerting people in your vicinity of a special you’re running.

Don’t Require Huge Ad Spend

Because you don’t have to run regional or nationwide campaigns, your ad spend can be kept at a bare minimum.

You also save on your advertising budget because you’re targeting a hyper-specific audience. This has the effect of reducing your cost per target while increasing your return on ad spend (ROAS).

Easy to Set Up and Run

Again, the niche nature of hyperlocal ad campaigns makes it easy to set up and run. It’s also easier to create personalized ads, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Easy to Measure Performance

When it comes to measuring performance, it’s easy to track as you can tell where your foot traffic is coming from.

Help Build Relationships with Customers

One of the biggest keys to growing a business is to build relationships with your customers.

Executed well, hyperlocal marketing will help people in your geographic area know that they can depend on you when they need a product or service you offer. As a result, most will turn into repeat customers. Better yet, they can end up being your brand ambassadors.

Hyperlocal Ads Work in Real-Time

A big advantage of hyperlocal marketing is that it works in real-time. This ability increases conversion rates as it offers prospects deals on products or services they’re actively looking for.  

With all these advantages, you can’t afford to ignore hyperlocal marketing.

How Does Hyperlocal Advertising Work?

Thanks to technology, marketers can pinpoint the exact locations of their prospects. This can be done through:

  • IP addresses
  • GPS
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth signals

Knowing a prospect’s location is crucial to running hyperlocal ad campaigns as it allows you to narrow down your audience to a specific area. Most ad platforms, like Google and Facebook, give you the option of targeting a particular locality, making it easy for you to create your hyperlocal ad campaigns.  

Once you’ve determined your target area, you can then set triggers that will deploy your ads.

Examples of triggers can include:

  • Search queries
  • Search history
  • Behavioral activity (places your prospects have recently visited)

Depending on your campaign, your hyperlocal ads could be in the form of text messages, app notifications, email alerts, ads on search engine results pages (SERPs), and more. It could even be a combination. These are sent to the prospects’ mobile device when they enter your selected boundary and perform an action that sets off your triggers.

Fundamentals to Get Right Before Launching Hyperlocal Ad Campaigns

Now you know what hyperlocal marketing is, and you also see why it’s so essential to your marketing strategy.

Let’s look at some fundamentals you must get right before creating your hyperlocal ad campaigns that drive results.

Optimize Your Google My Business Page

One of your first stops as you lay the foundation for your hyperlocal ad campaigns is your Google My Business (GMB) listing.

Optimize your Google My Business listing to boost your hyperlocal marketing

GMB is a free tool from Google that enables businesses to manage their online presence on Google search results. It’s especially useful for brick-and-mortar businesses as it helps Google users find businesses near them.

You must optimize your GMB listing as Google uses three main criteria when serving users with GMB listings:

  1. Relevance. For your business to be deemed relevant, it must match a searcher’s query.
  2. Prominence. This has to do with whether or not your business is reliable enough to recommend to users.
  3. Proximity. Is your business close enough to the user to recommend?

If you can optimize for these three, you’ll stand a better chance of success with your hyperlocal ad campaigns.

So how do you optimize your GMB listing?

Optimizing for GMB Relevance

  • Create detailed keyword-focused business descriptions
  • Choose the right category that describes your business
  • Set your workdays and operating hours

Optimizing for GMB Prominence

  • Get high-quality reviews
  • Use high-quality images
  • Manage your online reputation well  

Optimizing for GMB Proximity

While it’s virtually impossible to influence a searcher’s proximity to your business, there are a few best practices you can follow to improve your chances of Google serving your GMB listing in search results.

One such best practice is to create separate landing pages for each of your locations if you have more than one business location.

Another tip is to leverage famous landmarks near you. Including these in your business description will help your business show up when users search using that landmark as a reference. Here’s an arbitrary example:

Leverage local landmarks to make your hyperlocal ad campaigns more discoverable

With your GMB listing optimized, we can now move on to other fundamental elements you need to get right if your hyperlocal ad campaigns are to give you a healthy ROAS.

Ensure Your Local Search and Mobile Optimization is On Point 

Local SEO plays a huge role in the effectiveness of your hyperlocal ad campaigns.

Research by Google shows that “near me” searches on mobile have increased by over 500% over the last few years.

A few tips to help you with this include:

  • Create hyperlocal content (using location-specific keywords)
  • Feature your location in some of your URLs
  • Create location-specific metadata
  • Focus on long-tail keywords
  • Optimize for voice search 
  • Include contact info on your website

Besides optimizing for local SEO you must make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Most local searches are performed on mobile devices, and if your website doesn’t display correctly on mobile devices, you stand a chance of losing your prospects. With hyperlocal marketing, a positive online user experience (UX) can help drive your offline conversions.

If your brand can rank high for local search queries, it is easier for you to win at hyperlocal marketing. So, invest in ranking for your local search terms, and make sure to give your prospects a positive UX online, too.

Tips for Creating Hyperlocal Ad Campaigns That Drive Results

Ready to create hyperlocal ad campaigns that drive results?

Let’s take a look at a few tips that will help you reach your marketing goals.

Use the Right Keywords For Hyperlocal Campaigns

Keywords play a critical role in the success of ad campaigns. For your hyperlocal ad campaigns to be effective, you must focus on location-based keywords. This is where tools like Ubersuggest come in handy.

how to create hyperlocal ad campaign use the right keywords with Ubersuggest

However, stopping at the right keywords to target is only half the battle, as keyword research is concerned.

You must also consider negative keywords.

These are keywords where you don’t want your ad to appear. That’s because negative keywords serve no purpose in helping you reach your goals. However, they can be dangerous as they could drive your ad spend up.

Tap Into the Local Culture

When creating the copy for your hyperlocal ads, tap into the local culture.

In short, leverage local stereotypes and incorporate local lingo if possible.

This will add a touch of personalization to your ad campaigns. As a result, your prospects will feel safe following your ad to your location.

Tapping into the local culture will also help your brand become acceptable as a relevant part of the community.

This can increase brand loyalty.

Ride on the Back of Your Competitors

When setting up your hyperlocal ad campaigns, your biggest help can come from the most unlikely source.

Yes, I mean your competitors.

How can they help you?

Easy.

Run campaigns in the vicinity of their locations.

Of course, for this strategy to work, you must be able to prove why you’re the better option. You can do this by pitching your unique value proposition (UVP) or by offering an incentive.  

One of the best examples of this strategy is Burger King’s WhopperDetour campaign. Burger King drove traffic to their stores by offering app users Whopper sandwiches for a mere penny as long as they were in the vicinity (within 600 feet) of a McDonald’s.

The best thing about this strategy is that your ads will go out to people ready to make a purchase. Converting them into paying customers becomes a piece of cake.

Target Events Near You

People love events.

They love the excitement building up to an event that they’re planning on attending.

You can leverage that excitement by creating hyperlocal ad campaigns targeted at said events.

Not only will this help you get your target audience’s attention, but it will also help you leverage the excitement created by the event.

And every marketer knows that the happier a person is, the easier it is to sell to them.

Another advantage of targeting events is that they attract people from areas outside your location. This element helps increase your brand awareness beyond your geographical area.

Marry Hyperlocal Marketing With Out-of-Home Advertising

Considered the oldest form of hyperlocal marketing, out-of-home (OOH) advertising leverages display ads placed physically in the vicinity of your business. Examples of OOH include billboards and other forms of signage that can be used to grab attention and convey a marketing message to your audience.

While it may be old-school, OOH has moved with the times and is now digital. With the use of digital signage, you can continue your online hyperlocal marketing campaigns offline. This makes for a better customer journey that has higher chances of conversions.

Conclusion

Hyperlocal marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar business. Especially in this day and age when competition for customers is stiff, you need to up your game to achieve your marketing goals.

And hyperlocal marketing could just be the shot in the arm that your business needs.

While it may seem counterintuitive to market to a smaller target group, going hyperlocal has the advantage of improving your lead quality.

As a result, you reduce your cost per lead (CPL) while increasing your ROAS.

Now that’s definitely a win in any marketing playbook.

If you’ve run hyperlocal ad campaigns before, what was your experience with them like?

The post How to Create Hyperlocal Ad Campaigns appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/hyperlocal-ads/

The Definitive Guide to Local SEO

definitive guide to local seo

Local SEO is important.

In fact, 46% of all searches on Google are local.

That means if you’re a local business and you don’t have your local SEO in order, you’re missing an opportunity every time someone searches for your products or services online.

And there’s a lot of people searching.

About 89% of people search for a local business on their smartphone at least once a week, with 58% searching daily.

local seo stats

And from that search, 72% will visit a store within five miles.

These searchers are unlikely to find you if your local SEO is poor.

What, Exactly, Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of increasing the online visibility of local businesses. It’s similar organic SEO, but with an added geographical component.

Specifically, you’re aiming to rank high in the search engine result pages (SERPs) for local searches.

There’s no point in a New York restaurant ranking high in Houston’s local search results. They want people searching for restaurants in New York to find them.

So it’s imperative to improve your local SEO if you want to increase your organic local traffic.

According to Moz’s 2018 local search ranking factors, Google My Business Signals, including proximity, are a top ranking factor.

local seo ranking factors

These are the signals that help local businesses rank in Google’s three-pack.

But what’s the “pack?”

The Google three-pack is the collection of the top three results for your local search.

This used to be a 7-pack, but it was truncated to be a better fit for mobile searches.

local SEO example

That’s where you want your business to sit.

So how do you get it there?

Here’s some local SEO tips that will get your business noticed.

1. Optimize Your Website for Local SEO

If your website isn’t properly optimized, it will be hard for you to climb the SERPs.

Check your website’s SEO now to see how it could be improved.

For local SEO, in addition to standard SEO best practices, you need to do the following:

Create a Dedicated Contact Page

These days, people want more detailed information about your business.

On your contact page, make sure you clearly show your “NAP:”

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone

I would also recommend that you display your email, like Seattle’s Velo Bike Shop has done on their site:

local seo example of NAP

Include All of Your Business Addresses

If you have 10 or fewer locations, include the complete name, address, and phone number of each in the sitewide footer element on your website.

Make Phone Numbers Clickable on Mobile Devices

Some 30% of mobile searches are location-related.

So it’s vital that your site is optimized for mobile devices.

Also, 76% of local searches result in a phone call.

So make sure your phone number is clickable.

If someone finds your website on their mobile device and wants to call you, they might be annoyed to find they have to switch between apps to type in the number manually.

Here, Barrio Restaurant has ensured their phone number is clickable when viewed on mobile devices.

local seo guide example of clickable phone number

When the user clicks the phone number, their phone will prompt them if they’d like to call the number.

local seo guide make phone number clickable example

Google has a post that walks you through how to make a phone number clickable on your website.

Add a Map or Your Locations

The whole point of local SEO is to make it easier for people to find you, right?

So it would be silly not to add a map, especially when 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps.

In this example, Starbucks gets it right, including an interactive map of all their locations.

local seo guide example of location map

Add Testimonials

Google considers testimonials a trust signal, and it helps people feel confident that you are a real business.

And that’s why Local SEO Guide has a whole page dedicated to these types of reviews.

local seo example of testimonials

Collect and prominently display testimonials from local customers on your website for an added local SEO boost.

Add Schema

Schema.org was invented to create a common language between major search engines Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

It makes it easier for search engines to understand what your website is about.

By adding the appropriate Schema markup for local businesses to your website, you’re telling Google you’re a local business and not some big brand.

In turn, this can help to boost your local rankings.

To make this process easier, Hall Analysis has created a tool to help you create your Schema markup.

Just fill in your information, then copy the code on the right-hand side of the page.

local seo guide example of schema

Next, paste the code in the <head> section of your HTML document or website builder.

After you’ve added your Schema markup, you’ll want to test it with Google’s structured data testing tool.

This tool should pull out your information, and show it on the right-hand side:

local SEO google structured data testing tool

Once you’ve optimized your website for local SEO, you should be in a better position to improve your rankings and increase local organic traffic.

2. Claim Your Online Profiles Especially Google My Business

Your website isn’t the only place you need to be online.

You need to make sure your business is properly listed on the main review platforms, like Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Facebook.

And don’t forget any popular local-review sites.

Why?

Because when it comes to local searches, Google’s 3-pack is often followed by these review sites:

local SEO google my business

Google My Business

Filling out your profile on Google My Business is a good place to start.

This profile allows you to manage your presence on Google’s search engine.

local SEO google my business

By filling out your profile completely and collecting reviews (which we’ll talk about in a minute), you’ll improve your ranking.

Google Maps will also show searchers a detailed profile of your business, like Seattle Coffee Works.

local seo google my business

This is huge. So huge I wrote an entire post on how to optimize your Google My Business page.

Especially when you remember that 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps.

Any Local Listings

You’ll often see the occasional local review site among the heavy hitters, like TripAdvisor and Yelp.

local SEO claim local listings

You can find the sites that are relevant to your business and location by searching keywords like:

  • [target location] reviews
  • [industry/niche] [target location] reviews

Claim Other Social Profiles to Improve Local SEO

You’ll also want to set up profiles on the social media channels relevant to your target demographic.

Be sure to follow social media best practices.

When setting up your profiles, it’s very important to make sure your information is identical on each platform.

Remember, consistency is key.

By setting up these profiles, you’ll become more visible to potential customers. You’ll also provide search engines with more information about your business, which will help to boost your ranking.

3. Create Local Content

Blogging is essential to SEO.

Just in case you haven’t already, create a blog on your website.

If possible, host your blog on your business’s domain for optimal SEO benefits.

For example, “www.website.com/blog” instead of “blog.website.com” or “websiteblog.com.”

Here’s Stonyfield’s blog:

local SEO start a blog

This way, as you acquire links to your blog, you’ll also gain links to your business’s main site.

And if you remember the pie charts at the beginning of this article, links are the second most important localized organic-ranking factor.

So, as your blog’s search engine rankings increase, so do the rankings of your website.

When writing the posts, make sure to include local city and neighborhood names wherever you can.

Not everyone will use your city name when searching, so be sure you also include neighboring towns and cities, neighborhoods, and unofficial terms that locals may use.

Include local news and happenings, which will not only boost your SEO but will also provide useful information to your audience.

Capitalize on the popularity of an upcoming community event, election, fair, etc.

Or, sponsor local even
Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/definitive-guide-local-seo/

The 5 Benefits of E-Commerce Automation

The 5 Benefits of E-Commerce Automation

Running an e-commerce store is a lot of work, but you already know that. You’re experiencing it every day, from marketing and communication to fulfillment and shipping, not to mention all the follow-up. And everything else in between. Sometimes it can feel like you’re doing so many little things just to keep the business going, so you don’t have time to focus on the big picture, taking your business to the next level.

That’s where e-commerce automation comes in. What if things just happened, without all the legwork each time? E-commerce automation is the magic sauce to free you from the mundane.

What is E-Commerce Automation?

We’ve talked about automated e-commerce emails before, so you may be familiar with that option, but when it comes to e-commerce automation, the sky’s the limit.

E-commerce automation is any digital or technologically-driven task triggered by an action or non-action from a customer, your team, etc.

In simplified terms, it’s a task happening automatically, using software or online systems, without human intervention. You set it up, and it runs.

For example, in marketing, certain ads or emails are triggered to go to target audiences.

In sales, customers with empty carts can receive a reminder message. Shoppers with questions are offered a chatbot.

In fulfillment, orders can trigger messages to help you manage inventory, including “sold out” notifications.

The list goes on.

How Can E-Commerce Automation Help My Business?

More and more people are shopping online, giving e-commerce the advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. Meanwhile, Forbes reports that consumers have increased expectations for faster and more convenient deliveries. To stay competitive, business owners must find ways to move faster and stay nimble.

E-Commerce Automation Saves Time

Automating repetitive tasks can suddenly free up time. If you don’t have to track remembering to do them and making them happen, imagine what you could do with the extra time.

Think about those mundane tasks you have to do over and over again, including data entry, customer emails, social media, and more. The more you can automate, the more gets done even without you.

With e-commerce automation, you can schedule sales promotions to go live at the right time, automate new product releases with their announcements, remove discontinued products, adjust prices, apply discounts, track purchases and provide rewards, etc.

But it’s more than getting the actual tasks done. E-commerce automation can do them better in many cases, saving you from having to go back and correct errors. When data is sent from one platform to the other, the chances of human error are lessened. Although, it’s never a bad idea to go back and check in periodically to fix any mistakes.

E-Commerce Automation Increases Worker Engagement

What if you could announce to your team tomorrow, “Good news. That mundane task sucking the life out of you every Monday? It’s gone.” You’d probably increase employee satisfaction, right?

That’s exactly what e-commerce automation can do for your whole team. Instead of having to do data entry every morning, they can just check in with the system periodically, as it makes sense.

Now they are free to do the big picture stuff they came on board for: strategy, learning, growth in their fields. It could breathe new energy and excitement into the team.  

E-Commerce Automation Helps Customer Satisfaction

Happy customers are more likely to be repeat customers. New customers can cost you about five times more than selling to repeat customers, according to Invesp. E-commerce automation can help you keep customers happy, and turn them into repeat customers, even as you scale to reach a greater audience.

Yes, it’s easy to stay engaged with customers when you have a handful, but what happens when you have hundreds, thousands, and more? You just can’t be there for all of them.

As you automate things, you can improve the customer experience at your shop. Customers can find what they are looking for more quickly and purchase what they want more easily, while not being bogged down by unavailable products, etc.

Easier Onboarding With E-Commerce Automation

As with customers, keeping suppliers happy in their interaction with your brand is key to profitable long-term relationships. Various e-commerce automations can keep the relationship engaging and moving forward.

Automated supplier portals can give employees more time to focus on company growth, as we discussed above. Meanwhile, new vendors and suppliers can take the lead in setting themselves up in your system. Of course, you’ll want to be there for questions and customer service, although much of that can be automated as well. Vendors will appreciate the system moving quickly and seamlessly without relying on human intervention throughout the process. Since the vendors and suppliers are in charge of their orders and requests, nothing gets lost in translation.

Fewer opportunities for error and fewer problems with supplier/vendor relationships mean you can get back to the business of growth and wowing the world with your brand.

Simpler Deliveries With E-Commerce Automation

Is there anything worse than lost or misdirected packages after you place an order?

E-commerce automation systems process orders directly from the customer, printing receipts and shipping labels rather than having a person type them manually, which saves time and prevents the recurrence of mistakes.

As customers make package tracking a priority, businesses need to know where packages are for customer service and quality assurance purposes. E-commerce automation options can communicate tracking information automatically.

How Do I Know What to Use E-Commerce Automation for?

Now that we’ve shared the reasons your business can’t go on without at least some automation, how do you even know where to start?

It’s true the options are seemingly endless, so before we dive into some examples of great products you could be using to automate your e-commerce store, let’s look at how to decide.

Find the Pain Points

Where is your workflow bottling? If you’re unsure, reflect on issues customers have reported and feedback you’ve received from your employees. Those are the needs to address first, to leave the biggest impact. If you see needs in a couple of different areas, look for e-commerce automation systems to cover where those issues intersect. For instance, maybe you need a better CRM tool to help you improve customer communication before and after a sale.

Analyze the Big Picture

It can be difficult when you’re in the weeds of your business, but looking at the big picture can show you where the holes are. Which areas of growth are constantly being held back? What are you trying to launch that just keeps getting stymied? Integrating e-commerce automation can free up time and energy in those areas for deeper strategic thinking, research, experimentation, and, hopefully, growth.

When in Doubt, Start With Communication

If you’re still unsure where to begin, marketing e-commerce automation can be a great place to start. There are opportunities throughout the sales funnel, from the top when you’re first connecting with a prospect to converting a new user, as well as reselling and upselling to existing customers. Communicating authentically using automation is almost a no-brainer.

What E-Commerce Automation Tools Should I Use for My Business?

It may take some experimenting, but we’ve found these programs may be worth exploring. While there are countless options available, these tend to be popular across many industries.

ZenDesk

If customer service or sales communications is where you see the bottleneck, ZenDesk may have the solutions you need to integrate both internally and in your customer outreach. There are two main facets of ZenDesk, with lots of customizable choices in each platform.

ZenDesk Support Suite

You may have encountered the ZenDesk support features already through a brand you’ve been researching online. Many customers may not need to speak directly to someone at your company to get their questions answered. You can create a robust, interactive FAQ section.

You can also create customer service layers, from self-service to live chat with a customer service agent. One of the powers of the ZenDesk support suite is the omnichannel options. You can set up the system for customers to send in their questions or concerns via email, text, or live chat on your website, and other channels.

In addition, you’ll have access to customer service reports to help you understand what people are asking, how often, and how long it’s taking to get to a resolution. From there, you can tighten up your processes to improve the customer experience.

Mailchimp 

Mailchimp sends e-newsletters, right? Well, when it comes to automation, they can do much more. Imagine sending just the right communication to just the right kind of customers, and you’re just scratching the surface of how Mailchimp can revitalize your marketing efforts.

Through “Customer Journeys” you can create a series of emails to go out to target markets, depending on any number of trigger points, including interaction on your website or when connecting with your customer service or sales teams.

E commerce automation Mailchimp Customer Journey Example

Once they’ve made that purchase, there are so many more ways you can be connecting with them using Mailchimp. Shipping and delivery notifications, how-tos and suggestions, follow-up and feedback are just a few of the marketing automation emails you could be sending.

Keap 

Keap is an all-in-one e-commerce solution with a focus on helping service-based small businesses succeed with automation. They offer templates e-commerce companies can use to create automated email blasts, reminders, and lost lead actions to grow your sales and build customer loyalty.

They are a great option to explore if you’ve found your business is being held together with Post-it notes, spreadsheets, and scraps of paper you can’t keep losing. Keap pulls it all together, from your existing client base to prospect CRM, to all your communications, invoices, quotes, and more.

E commerce automation Example of Keaps app management of client contact information

By keeping everything in Keap, you can feel more confident that you aren’t going to lose an opportunity or overlook a client.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a powerful tool that we’ve discussed before for any business looking to scale. While there is a paid version that may be out of the price range for many, HubSpot offers several features for free.

E commerce automation Example of marketing content management options with HubSpot

HubSpot’s tools include the Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, and Content Management System Hub. The free features can allow you to email templates, set up customer service ticketing, generate new leads, and create smart content.

Shopify

Shopify not only comes with many automation options through Shopify Flow, but you can also connect various integrations through their app store.

E commerce automation Shopify's App store list of apps that work with Shopify Flow

If you aren’t already using an e-commerce platform like Shopify, you may want to consider the benefits of having all your information right there in one place. As you grow, utilize more of the Shopify Flow options and integrations to take advantage of their systems.

Conclusion

After reading all of this information about what e-commerce automation can do for your company, you may be overwhelmed. If you are suffering from paralysis by analysis, remember this is about saving you time. Time you can use on bigger or better things.

Don’t get lost in all the bells and whistles clamoring for your attention. Choose the process that needs attention first and will help you boost your e-commerce sales. Then find the automation tool that seems most intuitive for you. Dive in and start saving time.

What’s the next e-commerce task you’re ready to automate?

The post The 5 Benefits of E-Commerce Automation appeared first on Neil Patel.


Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/ecommerce-automation/