Blog Feed for Americaneagle BlogsTips and TacticsSitecoreDevelopmentEcommerceDesignSitefinitySocial MediaSalesforceDigital Marketing urn:uuid:36c5d10b-0043-418d-ab5a-46ba674ddcff Tips and TacticsWhat is the Content of My Podcast?Every podcast must have a goal or purpose for why it exists in the first place.Tue, 28 Sep 2021 15:00:05 Z<p align="right" style="text-align:left;"><em>Editor&rsquo;s note: This is the second in a series of articles about business related podcasting.</em></p><p>Having covered the <a href="" target="_blank">reasons to start</a>&nbsp;a podcast for your business, the next immediate thought begs to ask the question, &ldquo;What should the content of my podcast be?&rdquo; Sure, you decide to have a podcast, but what is it going to be about? And, what is your content strategy?</p><p>When thinking about the content strategy, we must analyze the keys elements of a good podcast which will help pave the content path of your podcast.</p><p><strong>1. Idea</strong></p><p>Every podcast must have a goal or purpose for why it exists in the first place. Your business may have decided to start a podcast as a marketing tool, to engage in thought leadership initiatives, or for branding purposes. If the purpose of the podcast is centric to your company and brand, then the central idea of your podcast should cater to the expertise that your company has within your industry. </p><p>The central idea of your podcast should have a goal to educate or inform your audience about the industry. Your position and knowledge in the industry is your selling point. And if listeners are interested in your industry, you will be able to dominate the ears of your audience. </p><p>However, this may not always be the case for business related podcasting. Not every company that has a podcast needs to make it centric to their brand. If a big fast food chain decides to make a podcast, their podcast, for instance, could be about ethical food sourcing or the fundamentals of cooking. Even though these podcast ideas don&rsquo;t directly relate to the brand, the company can be tied to the content of the podcasts as a promotional tool.&nbsp; </p><p>Finding the central idea to your podcast is 30 percent of all the work done.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. Audience</strong></p><p>For whom is your business making this podcast? Who do you want your listeners to be? When you nail down the demographic of your podcast audience, you will be able to pin point what your audience is interested in listening about. Understanding your audience will help you curate content that will personally relate to their interests, goals, and preferences. This will secure your position in the podcast world for your listeners &ndash; you will be there to &shy;fulfill their curiosity. </p><p>Here are some questions to consider when determining the demographic of your audience:</p><ul><li>What is the age of my target audience?</li><li>In what type of positions do they work in? </li><li>What industries are they interested in?</li></ul><p><strong>3. Structure</strong></p><p>Once you know what your podcast is about and who it is for, you now have to establish a structure. This includes looking for a host and setting the format of the show. When choosing the best format for the show, you have to consider your host and how comfortable they are in engaging with the <a href="">different formats</a>. </p><p>Here are some possible scenarios to consider with the host as you select the format of your podcast. If your host is a super expert in the field, they won&rsquo;t necessarily need a co-host to support them. Maybe your host can do a solo podcast where they breakdown the latest news and updates in the industry, or your host likes conducting interviews and would perform better in an interview-based podcast. </p><p>When setting the structure and format of your podcast, thinking back to the central idea is key. How can the structure and format work together to address the purpose of the podcast?</p><p>Tying these three elements together will help you establish the content of your podcast. In turn, this will ensure the theme and content of the episodes in your podcast. </p><p>Need more information on where to start with a podcast for your own business? Contact and we can help you get started!</p><p><em>Next up: Best practices for engaging podcast content</em></p>urn:uuid:fd92a320-a01d-42b1-b469-22421ab55ac3 Tips and TacticsFind Your Subscription Model: Three Types to Grow Your BusinessA subscription model can rapidly scale many different kinds of businesses.Mon, 27 Sep 2021 18:34:08 Z<p>These days, there are few one-size-fits-all approaches for success. But across all businesses, subscriptions are a strong move. No matter if you operate in beauty and wellness, food and beverage, or even entertainment, a subscription model can rapidly scale your business. When you have the guarantee of ongoing orders, you can increase lifetime value, lean into creative journeys, and most importantly, build a brand that's based on relational commerce.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Relational vs. Transactional Commerce</strong></p><p>Transactional commerce refers to how shopping is typically done &mdash; a customer buys an item and the journey ends there. The exchange is focused on just the profit, and neglects to fortify and focus on the other meaningful aspects of ecommerce. With subscriptions, you have ongoing opportunities to engage with your customers. Regularly scheduled product shipments, notifications for upcoming orders, personalized content, even options to pause a delivery &mdash; all of these are touchpoints for speaking to your customer and strengthening the relationship. Over time, your products and brand become so seamlessly integrated into customers&rsquo; lives, they move beyond &ldquo;things&rdquo; and become staples. <br /></p><p>In Recharge&rsquo;s <a href="">State of Subscription Commerce Report</a>, we found that among Recharge merchants in 2020, subscribers grew 91%, and average order value (AOV) was up across the majority of verticals. That said, different subscription models make more sense for certain businesses. Let&rsquo;s break down the three types so you can move forward with the best option for your business.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Replenishment</strong></p><p>Think of your favorite coffee, the toothpaste you use, or delicious energy bars. With replenishment subscriptions, products are &ldquo;replenished&rdquo; through shipments on a regular cadence. People can &ldquo;subscribe and save,&rdquo; often getting discounts when they sign up for the service. <br /></p><p>In our <a href="">State of Subscription Commerce Report</a>, 32% of subscription merchants chose this model. This subscription model works well for beauty and wellness brands, like <a href="">Native</a>. When customers sign up with Native, they choose a schedule that suits them and then enjoy 17% off orders on deodorant. This model also works great for food and beverage. Another example is <a href="">Oatly</a>, a Swedish company that makes milk, ice cream, and yogurt from oats. With Recharge, Oatly offers customers subscriptions to regularly receive their favorite products.</p><p><strong>Curation</strong></p><p>Imagine getting a box delivered full of secret items &mdash; brand new beauty products or snack items to try. In curation subscriptions, merchants assemble a box, usually centered around a theme or product group, and ship them to customers. These boxes are diverse, with the products switching up every month. This model taps into buyer psychology to surprise and delight customers with unique products. Merchants are able to create large subscriber bases because of the convenience and excitement their boxes bring. In our report, 55% of merchants chose this subscription model.</p><p>This model works well for home goods, food and beverage, and beauty and wellness, among other verticals. <a href="">Bokksu</a> curates boxes of authentic Japanese snacks so customers can experience new candies, teas, and flavors. With <a href="">Shaker and Spoon</a>, customers receive monthly boxes with spirits to make different cocktails. <a href=";utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_campaign=brand~Brand_Priority&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjwo4mIBhBsEiwAKgzXONH_SEQBxE7bBD2vgpKl83Y6ovHiItzPiy6V-mHbdzGN8KH3TiZw-hoCkfUQAvD_BwE">Decorated</a> makes home decor boxes for seasonal home refreshes. Really, the possibilities are endless &mdash; you can assemble different products for games, personal care items, or clothing.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Access</strong></p><p>Chances are you have an access subscription. Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime &mdash; all of these are access subscriptions. Customers pay to use a service, whether it&rsquo;s for a program, free shipping, or gated content. This is the fastest-growing subscription model, comprising 13% of the market. Most commonly used to offer membership or gate availability, this model is growing because of the wide variety of benefits merchants can offer their subscribers. <br /></p> <p>Even if you make products, you can still use an access subscription. For example, <a href="">Crossrope</a> sells jump ropes, but they also offer interactive fitness classes for subscribers. <br /></p> <p>No matter your business type, a subscription model can leverage your product offerings and elevate your brand. Subscriptions help reduce churn, increase revenue, and lead towards sustainable growth. If you&rsquo;re looking to set your brand up for success, explore more resources and solutions with <a href="">Recharge.</a> <br /></p> <p>This article was contributed by partner, Recharge.</p>urn:uuid:7e430310-1843-4151-b8c9-95534b64c7a3 SitecoreThe Sitecore Water Cooler Podcast: Previewing Sitecore Symposium 2021With expert speakers, innovative thought leaders, and representatives from a range of global brands and industries, Sitecore Symposium 2021 will create connections, spark ideas, and offer actionable insights.Thu, 23 Sep 2021 18:55:06 Z<p>Sitecore Symposium 2021 is right around the corner. In this episode, our host, Jon Price, spoke with Sitecore's Senior Director of Product Marketing David Schweer to preview Sitecore Symposium 2021 and share some additional insights in regard to the platform's strategic direction.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Sitecore Symposium 2021</a> will take place October 5 &ndash; 7, 2021. Thousands of marketers, developers, Sitecore customers, experts, and solution and technology partners from around the world will come together to hear compelling, real-world customer success stories and learn best practices from businesses and organizations. They&rsquo;ll learn about new products and updates on current solutions, and get a sneak peek into Sitecore&rsquo;s product roadmap. With expert speakers, innovative thought leaders, and representatives from a range of global brands and industries, Sitecore Symposium 2021 will create connections, spark ideas, and offer actionable insights.</p><p>Start listening on <a href=";utm_source=social&amp;utm_medium=scwc_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep6&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=scwc_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep6&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Spotify</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=scwc_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep6&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Google Podcasts</a> or wherever you get your podcasts.</p><div data-sf-ec-immutable="" contenteditable="false" style="height:210px;"><div data-sf-disable-link-event=""><iframe frameborder="0" height="210" src="" width="100%"></iframe></div></div><p>Connect with:</p><ul type="disc"><li>The Sitecore Water Cooler: <a target="_blank" href="">Website</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Instagram</a></li><li>Jon Price: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></li><li>David Schweer: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></li></ul><img src="" alt="David Schweer" sf-size="100" /><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Studios.</p><p><strong>About:</strong> For years, &lsquo;water cooler talk&rsquo; has been a natural way for people in the workplace to come together and connect on common interest topics in what would otherwise be a formal environment; it boosts moral, improves culture and gets the creative juices flowing! Some of the best workplace ideas and conversations happen through face-to-face conversations around the &lsquo;water cooler,&rsquo; so just as the name implies, The Sitecore Water cooler Podcast is a casual conversation between colleagues and peers centered around all things Sitecore. This podcast is an outlet for various Sitecore experts within the Sitecore community to have a meaningful discussion around the latest with Sitecore products, every day topics, challenges and successes associated with this top-of-line digital experience platform.&nbsp; Each podcast episode will range in topic, but will be geared towards quick-hitting initiatives that affect how business is done today.&nbsp;Whether you&rsquo;re a new Sitecore user, a Sitecore MVP, or just someone who wants to learn more about Sitecore technology and capabilities, then meet us at the watercooler!</p><p>Subscribe now.<br /></p>urn:uuid:45c8af6e-4c4f-465a-9a6d-2d4050635885 DevelopmentLessons for Tomorrow Podcast: Composable Architecture with AcquiaFor IT organizations around the globe, there has never been a more exciting time to do a radical rethink of their entire web infrastructure stack than right now.Wed, 22 Sep 2021 20:52:55 Z<p>For IT organizations around the globe, there has never been a more exciting time to do a radical rethink of their entire web infrastructure stack than right now. By so doing, they are able to quickly deliver on customer expectations by rolling out new innovative services and experiences.</p><p>In this episode, our host, Tim Ahlenius, spoke with Acquia's Senior Vice President of Product Marketing Kevin Cochrane to discuss what has been happening with the modernization of enterprise architecture as it relates to Content Management Systems (CMS). They get into five things every CMS must do, how composable architecture can replace the limitations of legacy architecture, and more.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Acquia</a> is an open source digital experience company that aims to empower the world&rsquo;s most ambitious brands to embrace innovation and create customer moments that matter.</p><p>Start listening on <a href=";utm_source=social&amp;utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep15&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep15&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Spotify</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep15&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Google Podcasts</a> or wherever you get your podcasts.</p><div data-sf-ec-immutable="" contenteditable="false" style="height:210px;"><div data-sf-disable-link-event=""><iframe frameborder="0" height="210" src="" width="100%"></iframe></div></div><p>Connect with:</p><ul type="disc"><li>Lessons for Tomorrow: <a target="_blank" href="">Website</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></li><li>Tim Ahlenius: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></li><li>Kevin Cochrane: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></li></ul><p>For more information, check out these resources from Acquia:</p><ul><li><a href="" target="_blank">Five Essential Elements of an Agile CMS</a></li><li><a href="" target="_blank">3 Ways CIOs Can Design Adaptable Digital Experiences 2021</a></li></ul><img alt="Kevin Cochrane" src="" sf-size="100" /><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Studios.</p><p><strong>About:</strong> The Lessons for Tomorrow podcast is centered around conversations between industry experts sharing insights from the past, to apply in the present, to achieve success in the future. This podcast is the "motivational poster" in your ear; each episode is centered around conversations which motivate you to tackle new initiatives at your organization. We will be talking with some of the best and brightest minds in technology and marketing and will hear from the experts themselves about their latest experiences, their most recent challenges and the road ahead. Every episode has a different story, a different answer, a different approach.</p>Follow now.urn:uuid:0d4ac115-11e5-490f-9d9a-d4ee2187cfb2 Tips and TacticsDoes Your Business Need a Podcast?If you’re looking for a new instrument to market and grow your business, producing a podcast specific to your industry and company might be the string to pull.Tue, 21 Sep 2021 13:26:47 Z<p align="right" style="text-align:left;"><em>Editor&rsquo;s note: This is the first in a series of articles about business related podcasting.</em></p><p>What was once known to be consumed as on-demand radio, podcasts have evolved to become a marketing tool for businesses. </p><p>Podcasts are a series of audio episodes made to inform and entertain to put it plainly. With a medium so simple, the possibilities are endless to make a good sounding audio episode where you get to decide what the content is. The content is key.</p><p>If you&rsquo;re looking for a new instrument to market and grow your business, producing a podcast specific to your industry and company might be the string to pull. </p><p>As the podcast industry grows, so does competition for listenership time. Despite that, flirting with the question if your business needs a podcast is still valid. Because the industry is ever growing, being able to latch on to even a small section could turn listeners into clients. Your podcast need not compete with other podcasts, it need only stand out within your industry or genre of podcasts.</p><p>If you are not already convinced, here are 9 reasons why your business needs to start a podcast.</p><p><strong>1. Popularity of podcasts</strong></p><p>&ldquo;By the end of 2025, there will be over 144 million monthly podcast listeners in the US,&rdquo; says Insider Intelligence in a <a href="">new report</a>. With celebrity talk shows and news organizations expanding their way into the industry, more and more people are becoming religious podcast listeners tuning into their daily list of podcasts.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. Easy to make</strong></p><p>If you set your podcast to a good launching strategy, consistently putting out episodes shouldn&rsquo;t be a trouble. This doesn&rsquo;t go to say that podcasting is a complete piece of cake, rather it is a more accessible medium as compared to TV or radio. The bare essentials of a podcast calls for a host who can talk with a good microphone. With the many podcast distribution platforms up and coming, focusing on the content is imperative. And the programming or content of the podcast is entirely up to you.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>3. Economical marketing tool</strong></p><p>Compared to traditional marketing tools, such as email campaigns, customer loyalty programs, etc., producing a podcast can be cost-effective. At the bare essentials, you will be paying for a good microphone and a hosting platform. Podcast production or editing can also be outsourced from professional services.</p><p><strong>4. Branding</strong></p><p>When your business starts a podcast, the medium is yours to establish your brand and share your goals, visions and expertise to listeners. Customers will be able to connect to your brand and as your business shares your perspective. Podcast episodes can act as a communication tool to show customers what your business believes in and stands up for. While advertisements can do the same, podcasts can be more personal.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>5. Customer trust and connection</strong></p><p>Podcasting as a medium is extremely personal and intimate, and podcast listeners are the most engaged kind of consumer base. Your host will be able to communicate mouth to ear with your audience sharing direct knowledge and information that many podcast listeners seek. As compared to webinars and long presentations, podcasts are casual and can be listened to anytime and anywhere. Your listener might be doing laundry while listening to an episode about cybersecurity.</p><p>Podcasts are also known to build a community because podcast listeners are the most engaged. According to a <a href="">report</a> by Edison Research, of those who start a podcast episode, 80% listen to all or most of it. With a loyal listenership, your business can directly cater offers and exclusive deals to your community.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>6. Thought leadership and authority</strong></p><p>There is no better way to be a thought leader than to have a podcast specific to your business&rsquo;s industry. With the content you produce and your expression of business ideas and future goals, customers will be listening to you to set precedent and highlight recommendations in the industry at hand. Podcast listeners are listening for new ideas and new information; they are looking to grow their knowledge base and creating a podcast is an effective strategy to set your business as the expert in the industry. Podcasts are effective tools to showcase a long-form message as compared to surface level marketing channels that give it to you as is.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>7. Repurpose content</strong></p><p>Since the podcast is yours, what you decide to feature on it is entirely up to you. Because of this, your business can repurpose presentations, webinars, videos, and even blog posts into audio episodes. A blog post can be an idea for an episode, a YouTube video can be altered to an audio file. Repurposing content into a podcast episode is just another avenue for outreach untapped.</p><p><strong>8. Website traffic</strong></p><p>There&rsquo;s a new podcast in the industry? The next direct source for listeners to check out more about a podcast is your business&rsquo;s website. Podcasts can also be used to drive web content. Episodes can easily be embedded into blog posts with more supplemental information and exclusives. All of this contributes to more traffic to your website thereby improving your search rank.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>9. Advertising income</strong></p><p>With a growing consumer base, podcasts have also opened its doors to advertisers and sponsors following the footsteps of it sister medium, the radio. And with the investment of companies like Spotify, Apple and Google, the Insider Intelligence report expects US podcast ad spending to nearly double, from $701.0 million in 2019 to $1.33 billion in 2021. Your business&rsquo;s podcast can serve as an advertising medium for other services that directly target your industry&rsquo;s consumer base.</p><p>Need more information on where to start with a podcast for your own business? Contact and we can help you get started!</p><p><em>Next up: What is my podcast content?</em><strong></strong></p>urn:uuid:90ad6e5c-3733-4bd3-b8a7-cec0b5b76bf7 Tips and TacticsThe Ultimate List of SEO Stats3.8 billion people search the internet each day, so it's important to make sure your business adjusts to the digital world in order to stay relevant.Thu, 16 Sep 2021 17:02:18 Z<p>How many people do you think search for something on the internet each day? 100 million? 300? Would it surprise you if the number was roughly half of the world population - <a href="">or 3.8 BILLION people</a>? Yes, you read that right: 3.8 billion people search the internet each day. This number was unimaginable thirty years ago, but our world has evolved and you need to make sure your business adjusts to the digital world to stay relevant. </p><p>If you're still hesitant about optimizing your SEO after that number, keep reading because we have found the best SEO statistics for 2021 to show you how important SEO is to your business. Below are some of the most interesting SEO stats that we think will help you out:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Highlights</strong></p><ul><li>60% of marketers say that inbound (SEO, blog content, etc.) is their highest quality source of leads. (<a href="">HubSpot</a>)<strong></strong></li><li>68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (<a href="file:///C:/Users/renee.nelson/Downloads/SEO%20drives%201000%25+%20more%20traffic%20than%20organic%20social%20media.%20(BrightEdge)">BrightEdge</a>)<strong></strong></li><li>Google uses over 200 ranking factors in determining search rankings. (<a href="">Ahrefs</a>)<strong></strong></li><li>53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search. (<a href="file:///C:/Users/renee.nelson/Downloads/SEO%20drives%201000%25+%20more%20traffic%20than%20organic%20social%20media.%20(BrightEdge)">BrightEdge</a>)</li><li>Websites with an active blog generate 67% more leads and 434% more indexed pages than those that don't. (<a href="">Demand Metric</a>)</li><li>SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media. (<a href="file:///C:/Users/renee.nelson/Downloads/SEO%20drives%201000%25+%20more%20traffic%20than%20organic%20social%20media.%20(BrightEdge)">BrightEdge</a>)</li><li>0.78% of Google searchers click on results from the 2nd page. (<a href="">Backlinko</a>)<strong></strong><strong></strong></li></ul><p><strong>Ranking Stats</strong></p> <ul><li>90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google. (<a href="">Ahrefs</a>)</li><li>49% of marketers report that organic search has the best ROI of any marketing channel. (<a href="">Search Engine Journal</a>)</li><li>Only 5.7% of pages will rank in the top 10 search results within a year of publication. (<a href="">Ahrefs</a>)</li><li>The #1 result in Google gets approximately 32% of all clicks. (<a href="">Backlinko</a>)</li><li>The average top-ranking page also ranks in the top 10 search results for nearly 1,000 other relevant keywords. (<a href="">Ahrefs</a>)</li></ul><p><strong>SEO Industry Stats</strong></p><ul><li>Google currently has 86.86% of the search engine market. (<a href="">Statista</a>)</li><li>Google is the number one traffic referrer in the world, not only with SEO, but also as compared to other platforms like social media. (<a href="">SparkToro</a>)</li><li>For per-project pricing, $501-$1,000 is the most popular pricing tier. (<a href="">Ahrefs</a>)</li></ul><p><strong>Mobile SEO Stats</strong></p><ul><li>87% of smartphone owners use a search engine daily. (<a href="">Go-Globe</a>)</li><li>On average, ranking in position #1 on mobile gets you 27.7% of the clicks, whereas ranking in the #1 position on desktop gets you 19.3% of the clicks. (<a href="">SEOClarity</a>)</li><li>There are 60% more searches on mobile than on desktop. (<a href=",and%202%20trillion%20searches%20are%20made%20every%20year.">BroadbandSearch</a>)</li><li>Organic CTR on mobile is roughly 50% less than that of desktop. (<a href="">SparkToro</a>)</li></ul><p><strong>Ecommerce SEO Stats</strong></p><ul><li>Leads from search engines (inbound marketing) have a 14.6% close rate while outbound leads (direct mail, cold pitch) have a 1.7% close rate. (<a href="">Digitalgyd</a>)</li><li>Google Images, Google Maps, and Google Search account for at least 92.96% of the global organic traffic. (<a href="">SEOSandwitch</a>)</li><li>Despite the eCommerce industry showing a 23% year by year growth, 46% of American small businesses do not have a website. (<a href="">Digitalgyd</a>)</li><li>At least 43% of all ecommerce traffic comes from Google&rsquo;s organic traffic. (<a href=",results%20to%20their%20users.%20...%20More%20items...%20">SEOSandwitch</a>)</li></ul><p><strong>Local SEO Stats</strong></p><ul><li>After searching on a smartphone for something nearby, 76% of people end up visiting the business within one day. (<a href="">Google</a>)<strong></strong></li><li>A Yelp page is present in the top 5 results for 92% of search queries that contain a city and business category. (<a href="">Fresh Chalk</a>)<strong></strong></li><li>28% of local searches result in a purchase. (<a href="">Google</a>)<strong></strong></li><li>46% of all searches on Google are for a local business or service. (<a href="">Search Engine Roundtable</a>)<strong></strong></li><li>The number of people that will buy locally after searching is 78%; this includes online and in-store purchases from local businesses. Globally, 56% of individuals will shop both online and locally offline. (<a href="">Google</a>)<strong></strong></li></ul><p>Use this information to make data-driven decisions and propel your business into the digital world. SEO is one of the most important parts of your website. If you need help optimizing your SEO, or simply don&rsquo;t know where to start, <a href="">contact us</a> to see how we can help your business!&nbsp;<br /></p>urn:uuid:e3fae1f1-7d4a-44d6-93fe-473781f2629d SitefinityLessons for Tomorrow Podcast: The Evolution of CMS with Progress SitefinityFrom static to dynamic, desktop to mobile, this episode covers the evolution of CMS, as well as what we can expect in the future.Wed, 15 Sep 2021 21:41:00 Z<p>The CMS or Content Management Systems market will reach $123 billion by 2026. And as a result of this market growth, there's a rich history of how different CMS have evolved. From static to dynamic, desktop to mobile, this episode covers the evolution of CMS, as well as what we can expect in the future.</p><p>Our host, Tim Ahlenius, spoke with <a href="" target="_blank">Progress Sitefinity</a>'s Director of Partner Advocacy Lynne Boudreau, Senior Sales Engineers MeiLani Dumont and Heather Berube, as well as's Sitefinity Department Director Matt Annes.</p><p>Sitefinity is a CMS platform that makes building scalable digital experiences easy. With Progress Sitefinity&rsquo;s intuitive, intelligent tools for marketers and stable, scalable architecture for developers, both teams can easily create and manage high-performing, enterprise-grade digital experiences.</p><p>Start listening on <a href=";utm_source=social&amp;utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep14&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep14&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Spotify</a>, <a href="">Google Podcasts</a> or wherever you get your podcasts.</p><div data-sf-ec-immutable="" contenteditable="false" style="height:210px;"><div data-sf-disable-link-event=""><iframe frameborder="0" title="evolution of cms" height="210" src="" width="100%"></iframe></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Studios.</p><p><img src="" alt="Lynne Boudreau" sf-size="100" /></p><p>Connect with:</p><ul><li>Lessons for Tomorrow:&nbsp;<a href="">Website</a></li></ul><ul type="disc"><li>Tim Ahlenius: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></li><li>Lynne Boudreau: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></li><li>MeiLani Dumont: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Heather Berube: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Matt Annes: <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a></li></ul><p><strong>About:</strong> The Lessons for Tomorrow podcast is centered around conversations between industry experts sharing insights from the past, to apply in the present, to achieve success in the future. This podcast is the "motivational poster" in your ear; each episode is centered around conversations which motivate you to tackle new initiatives at your organization. We will be talking with some of the best and brightest minds in technology and marketing and will hear from the experts themselves about their latest experiences, their most recent challenges and the road ahead. Every episode has a different story, a different answer, a different approach.</p><p>Subscribe now.</p>urn:uuid:e88e326c-4ce5-4465-86b1-86405adcfe61 Social Media3 Tactics Modern Businesses Are Using in Their Social Media Marketing StrategiesAmid the never-ending flood of information that inundates our daily lives, everyone has a unique social environment that is catered to their specific interests, desires, and purchasing habits.Thu, 09 Sep 2021 14:09:06 Z<p>Amid the never-ending flood of information that inundates our daily lives, everyone has a unique social environment that is catered to their specific interests, desires, and purchasing habits. Traditional social media is no longer on the rise. Instead, it has plateaued with an overload of brands that are all dumped into our special algorithm based on a search, a related topic, or an interest. <br /></p><p>As users sift through the advertisements to find what they really want, how do you ensure your business is there, waiting to be selected? Further, how do you actually get the conversion? The answer may be simpler than you think. <br /></p><p>Here are three ways modern businesses are using new (or updated versions) of social tactics to reach consumers and increase brand awareness.</p><p><strong>1. Storytelling, which is (still) the best way to connect</strong></p><p>According to research by <a href="">StatusBrew</a>, 47% of marketers say that developing social strategies to support overall business goals is their number one challenge. Storytelling has been a main tactic used by businesses to reach customers, since social platforms began offering economic opportunities. However, effective storytelling is difficult, and can fall short of desired results if it doesn&rsquo;t make your audience feel something. <br /></p><p>An example of a storytelling strategy that was highly successful is <a href="">Coca-Cola&rsquo;s &ldquo;Share a Coke&rdquo; campaign</a>, which was used in over 80 countries and officially ran for over 7 years. The global soft drink manufacturer began the campaign in Australia in 2011, where it removed its main brand name from bottles and cans (quite a risk) and replaced it with one of hundreds of popular names. The risk payed off.&nbsp;</p><p>The campaign primarily targeted millennials and turned to social media. It included celebrity collaboration endorsements from influencers like Selena Gomez, the ability for users to go on Facebook and create a custom bottle or can, and, of course, a highly-popular hashtag. <br /></p><p>The results?&nbsp;</p><ul><li>#ShareACoke became the highest globally trending topic for a period of time. </li><li>Thousands of social users took pictures, made posts, and created User Generated Content (UGC) with the product.</li><li>Company <a href="">sales increased by 2.5%</a>.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>Coca-Cola&rsquo;s strategy was to make the experience less about themselves, and more about the people who consumed their product &ndash; a storytelling technique that is still effectively used today. <br /></p><p><a href="">Lululemon</a>, a popular athletic apparel company, is using a similar tactic for the July 2021 launch of their sports bras. Nearly every post on their Instagram for the month features users wearing their clothing with those individuals actually describing how it empowers them to <a href="">exercise</a>, <a href="">feel comfortable</a>, and <a href="">receive support</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>Let your customers tell the world what they like about your brand. Their stories will add to your identity.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. Marketing on new social media sites</strong></p><p>Traditional social media marketing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are still standby methods of marketing your brand. For example, over 9 million advertisers use Facebook to reach the platform&rsquo;s <a href="">more than 2.7 billion monthly active users</a>, with small and large businesses finding <a href="">success</a>. However, the largest <a href="">demographic of users</a> are between the ages of 25-34, with the smallest amount, only 2.9%, being teenagers between 13-17. <br /></p><p>If you want to target younger social users, you may shift some of your marketing strategy to other platforms. Social networks like Snapchat and TikTok are the most <a href="">popular among young adults</a>, both of which are designed to share short videos and images. Companies targeting younger audiences are catering to TikTok&rsquo;s base, more than <a href="">60% of which are Gen Z. </a>&nbsp;<br /></p><p>One prominent example is Red Bull. They sell an energy drink, but also have numerous endorsements with motorsports, sports teams, and more. The company has leveraged the TikTok platform to enhance their brand of &ldquo;energetic&rdquo; marketing, which puts you in the <a href=";is_copy_url=1&amp;is_from_webapp=v1">driver&rsquo;s seat</a>, next to the <a href=";is_copy_url=1&amp;is_from_webapp=v1">&ldquo;parkour&rdquo; professional</a>, or at the <a href=";is_copy_url=1&amp;is_from_webapp=v1">skate park</a>. With only a few seconds of content, Red Bull receives thousands (sometimes millions) of views for their brand.</p>They also aren&rsquo;t doing anything vastly different than their <a href="">competitors</a>, but know that with the <a href="">highest market share</a> in the energy drink industry, they can maximize their business if they reach a target audience. The strategy is working:<p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li>Red Bull has 5.8 million followers. </li><li>Monster has 812,000 followers. </li><li>Rockstar has 33,000 followers.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>You may even take a chance at marketing on alluring audio platforms like <a href="">Clubhouse</a>, which currently run on an invite-only mantra. Or, as the effects of COVID-19 remain prominent in 2021, consider hosting webinars through <a href="">Zoom</a> (which you may already be doing), but remember to market those events on other platforms, with partners, and by gauging your audience. <br /></p><p>Look at your business objectives, target audiences, and research the latest social platforms to see if there are new opportunities you haven&rsquo;t yet discovered.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><strong>3. Customer and prospect engagement</strong></p><p>A large part of your social media marketing should be centered around the customer experience (CX). <a href="">Research</a> shows that the more personalized communication between the company and the customer, the better the chance of earning their business.&nbsp;</p><ul><li>33%&nbsp;of customers who abandoned a business relationship did so because of lack of personalization. </li><li>89%&nbsp;of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.</li></ul><p>Personalization and positive CX work hand-in-hand. Successful businesses use the power of <a href="">personalization on social platforms</a> to retarget audiences, provide personal videos, quizzes, and more. Businesses take advantage of these tactics to improve the CX for new and existing customers, making them feel special as individuals. Companies love to keep that good feeling going by retaining your business again and again, as <a href="">attracting new customers is six to seven times more expensive than</a> keeping a current one. <br /></p><p>Another great way to engage your audience is to show you value their feedback. Just like with storytelling, your strategy for engagement should be less about you and more about the customer. Respond as best you can to comments, direct messages, reviews, and have an open line of communication with your audience. After all, your audience has the powerful tool of word-of-mouth persuasion and <a href="">71% of consumers</a> who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family. <br /></p><p><em>Increasing your traffic, growing brand awareness, and cultivating existing relationships should be at the core of every social media marketing strategy. The </em><a href=""><em>Digital Marketing</em></a><em> experts at can help you develop a custom social presence that funnels users to your conversion points with tactics that work. Our team can help with any of your marketing needs, from content marketing &amp; copywriting to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and email marketing &amp; automation. Find out more about our services by </em><a href=""><em>contacting us</em></a><em> today!&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p>urn:uuid:29bc16fa-ab62-43eb-b4c7-68e8ce3d1f6f Ecommerce10 Things to Prepare Your Website for the HolidaysThe holiday season always comes early and consumers know this, so you need to ensure that your site is streamlined for the holidays.Wed, 08 Sep 2021 15:27:33 Z<p>Every year it seems like the holidays come quicker than they did the year before. The holiday season always comes early and consumers know this, so you need to ensure that your site is streamlined for the holidays. Here&rsquo;s a checklist to help you prep your ecommerce site for the holidays: </p><ol><li><strong>Make Major Changes Now </strong>&ndash; The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for an ecommerce site. You want to make sure that your site is free of errors and able to operate smoothly. With the amount of traffic your site is about to receive, you don&rsquo;t want to run into any problems during the busiest season of the year. If you&rsquo;re going to make changes to your site, do it now, but if there&rsquo;s nothing major that needs to change, and you feel confident that your website is fully optimized to give you the best chance for conversions, you can move to the next step. </li><li><strong>Streamlined Checkout Process</strong> &ndash; According to <a href="">the Baymard Institute</a>, abandoned cart rates are almost at 70% across the industry. How much will this increase over the holiday season? Streamlining the checkout process is one of the most important things you can do before the holidays. To decrease this rate, cut out any unnecessary pages, make the process easy to understand, or provide a guest checkout option so people don&rsquo;t have to create an account. A streamlined checkout process will have a huge impact on the number of sales that your site receives throughout the holidays. &nbsp;&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Optimize for Mobile</strong> &ndash; People are increasingly using their mobile devices to purchase things. <a href="">Insider predicts</a> that mobile sales will account for almost half of all transactions on the internet. This means that mobile optimization is absolutely vital during the holidays. Provide a responsive mobile design that lets people shop without having to spend time navigating the site. </li><li><strong>Holiday Content Calendar</strong> &ndash; Create content leading up to the holidays. Make the content catered around holiday themes to motivate people to use your site to do their shopping. Create Christmas shopping lists, holiday-specific blogs, or even create a fun giveaway to get people in the door. </li><li><strong>Look at Site Speed</strong> &ndash; <a href="">KissMetrics says that</a> 47% of site visitors expect pages to load within two seconds. With increased traffic, you need to make sure your site loads correctly and quickly. Holiday shoppers don't want to wait around for lagging web pages -- they want what they are looking for instantly. Don't give them a reason to click off your page. Make sure your site loads properly with an added influx of shoppers.</li><li><strong>Lots of Customer Support</strong> &ndash; Increased traffic means there will be more customer concerns and questions. Create an FAQ, live chat, or call center to facilitate help and answer questions. If people have problems, you want those resolved as fast as possible. </li><li><strong>Look at Security Issues</strong> &ndash; The holidays are some of the most vulnerable times for ecommerce stores across the web. Shoppers are busy buying anything and everything on multiple sites. Cybercriminals know that there are countless amounts of information out there that they can receive from hacking a store&rsquo;s database. Keep your data secure and make sure your shoppers know their data will be safe.&nbsp; </li><li><strong>Holiday Advertising</strong> &ndash; Create advertising that is specifically centered on the holidays. Decorate your online store by including festive banners, holiday keywords, logos, holiday-themed photos, etc. Everyone will be optimizing and you don&rsquo;t want to be the only company that does nothing to support the &ldquo;holiday spirit&rdquo;. &nbsp;</li><li><strong>Make things Self-Service</strong> &ndash; Make your ecommerce site easy to use so people don&rsquo;t have to spend time trying to figure out your site. You want your site to be accessible to anyone and everyone. Make sure people know how to use your site and have their questions answered without any additional help. &nbsp;&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Load Test</strong> &ndash; Test, test, test. There is nothing that we can stress more than testing your site and ensuring that everything runs smoothly ahead of time. You don&rsquo;t want to be caught off guard by something unexpectedly going wrong. Test your site and you&rsquo;ll be thankful that you did later. </li></ol>Use this checklist if you want to ensure your site is ready for the holidays. We want to help make sure your digital strategy is prepped and ready to go.;s digital marketers are ready to push your ecommerce site to the next level. If you want to streamline your site for the holidays, <a href="">contact us</a> to learn how we can help you.urn:uuid:cb7f9219-f372-4dec-8094-8409eb12c5b2 EcommerceLessons for Tomorrow Podcast: Fraudsters, Bot Attacks and Hacks with SignifydFraud trends wreaked havoc on ecommerce retailers in 2020 and have started to shape the future of commerce.Tue, 07 Sep 2021 14:20:15 Z<p>There was a 146% increase in automated fraud attacks in 2020. Signifyd recently released their new <a href="" target="_blank">State of Fraud Report</a> that examines the fraud trends that wreaked havoc on ecommerce retailers in 2020 and the way they have shaped the future of commerce.</p><p>In this episode, our host, Tim Ahlenius, spoke with Signifyd's Senior Partner Manager, Megan Blissick, to discuss which fraud trends we can expect to see an uptick in during the holiday season and how fraud and risk teams are evolving to meet the evolving fraud pressure. Signifyd provides an end-to-end Commerce Protection Platform that leverages its Commerce Network to maximize conversion, automate customer experience and eliminate fraud and customer abuse for retailers.</p><p>Start listening on <a href=";utm_source=social&amp;utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep13&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep13&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Spotify</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep13&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Google Podcasts</a> or wherever you get your podcasts.</p><br /><div data-sf-ec-immutable="" contenteditable="false" style="height:210px;"><div data-sf-disable-link-event=""><iframe frameborder="0" title="fraudsters bot attacks and hacks" height="210" src="" width="100%"></iframe></div></div><br /><p>This podcast is brought to you by Studios.</p><p><img src="" alt="Megan Blissick" sf-size="100" /></p><p>Connect with:</p><ul><li>Lessons for Tomorrow:&nbsp;<a href="">Website</a></li><li>Tim Ahlenius:&nbsp;<a href="">LinkedIn</a>&nbsp;//&nbsp;<a href="">Twitter</a></li></ul><ul type="disc"><li>Megan Blissick: <a href="" target="_blank">Signifyd</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a></li></ul><p><strong>About:</strong> The Lessons for Tomorrow podcast is centered around conversations between industry experts sharing insights from the past, to apply in the present, to achieve success in the future. This podcast is the "motivational poster" in your ear; each episode is centered around conversations which motivate you to tackle new initiatives at your organization. We will be talking with some of the best and brightest minds in technology and marketing and will hear from the experts themselves about their latest experiences, their most recent challenges and the road ahead. Every episode has a different story, a different answer, a different approach.</p>Subscribe now.urn:uuid:1965056f-c386-4b3c-b5f7-d5a6ed4dafc8 EcommerceLessons for Tomorrow Podcast: Holiday Shipping & Consumer Expectations with ShipStationUnderstanding consumer expectations around the shipping experience and what the pandemic did to the local economy bolstering its outreach.Thu, 26 Aug 2021 15:06:16 Z<p>As the holiday season approaches, most ecommerce companies start shipping preparations in July. In this episode, we dive into understanding consumer expectations around the shipping experience, how an ecommerce retailer manages expectations for their customers in the holiday season, and what the pandemic did to the local economy bolstering its outreach.</p><p>Our host, Tim Ahlenius, spoke with ShipStation's Head of Industry Relations and Strategic Partnerships, Krish Iyer, to discuss the importance of a solid shipping strategy especially for this year's post-pandemic holiday season. ShipStation is the leading web-based order management and shipping software designed to make retailers exceptionally efficient at processing, fulfilling, and shipping their ecommerce orders.</p><p>Start listening on <a href=";utm_source=social&amp;utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep12&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep12&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Spotify</a>, <a href=";utm_medium=lft_blog&amp;utm_campaign=ep12&amp;utm_content=partner+promo">Google Podcasts</a> or wherever you get your podcasts.</p><div data-sf-ec-immutable="" contenteditable="false" style="height:210px;"><div data-sf-disable-link-event=""><iframe frameborder="0" title="holiday shipping" height="210" src="" width="100%"></iframe></div></div><p>This podcast is brought to you by Studios.</p><p><img src="" alt="Krish testimonial" sf-size="147260" /></p><p>For more information, check out this research study by ShipStation: <a href="" target="_blank">The Global Pulse: Ecommerce After COVID-19</a></p><p>Connect with:</p><ul><li>Lessons for Tomorrow:&nbsp;<a href="">Website</a></li><li>Tim Ahlenius:&nbsp;<a href="">LinkedIn</a>&nbsp;//&nbsp;<a href="">Twitter</a></li></ul><ul type="disc"><li>Krish Iyer: <a href="" target="_blank">ShipStation</a> // <a href="" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a></li></ul><p><strong>About:</strong> The Lessons for Tomorrow podcast is centered around conversations between industry experts sharing insights from the past, to apply in the present, to achieve success in the future. This podcast is the "motivational poster" in your ear; each episode is centered around conversations which motivate you to tackle new initiatives at your organization. We will be talking with some of the best and brightest minds in technology and marketing and will hear from the experts themselves about their latest experiences, their most recent challenges and the road ahead. Every episode has a different story, a different answer, a different approach.</p>Subscribe now.urn:uuid:b17a3b85-08ac-42b8-8a83-56ab8319723d DesignThe Importance of Good CopywritingCopywriting is an essential part of any digital marketing toolbox.Fri, 06 Aug 2021 15:04:10 Z<p>Much of UX design (and website building in general) is focused on broadcasting authority and building trust. Our product will help you, we promise. We are a professional company, trust us with your credit card information. Our experts have your best interests in mind, do business with us. </p><p>All conversions necessitate at least a semblance of trust.</p><p>A quick way to <em>lose</em> that valuable trust is to present a webpage that is nonfunctional or riddled with simple errors. Links that don&rsquo;t work, pages that won&rsquo;t load, and search bars that fail to deliver relevant results are all factors that drive away potential users. But an arguably greater danger doesn&rsquo;t come from the tech: it comes from the page copy.</p><h4>What is Copywriting?</h4><p>Copywriting is the writing of <a href="">persuasive marketing and promotional materials</a>. Copywriting is everywhere &ndash; on web pages, in your inbox, at the bottom of navigation apps, on the radio. Copywriting is even on your dating apps; one source <a href="">praised Tinder</a> for the copywriting on its messaging screen. Almost everything you read online, from meta descriptions to product descriptions to full web pages, is an example of copywriting. Copywriting is an essential part of any digital marketing toolbox. &nbsp;</p><h4>Role of Copywriting</h4><p>Text on a webpage is crucial. Like most writing, online copy is used to deliver information in a way that is accessible and comprehensible. If someone already knew everything there was to know about a product, service, or provider, there would be no need to visit the website at all. Good copywriting is important because it <a href="">attracts, informs, and retains</a> interested parties.</p><p>At its most basic, copywriting delivers information to prompt action. Page content encourages conversions, meta descriptions promise relevance, footers link to newsletters, and social media fosters loyalty. It is the most essential form of communication between brand and consumer.</p><h4>Risks of Poor Copywriting</h4><p>While good copywriting offers copious rewards, poor copy comes with costly risks. Weak writing is dangerous. Elementary mistakes can be fatal. Improper capitalization, typos, poor grammar, or (god forbid) weird spacing combine to create an impression of neglect and unprofessionalism. If your company can&rsquo;t be relied upon to spell &lsquo;because&rsquo; correctly, how can users see your site as a dependable source of information? Once broken, consumer trust isn&rsquo;t easy to win back, especially in a marketplace as competitive as Google search results. On the most basic level, poor copywriting shows inattention and destabilizes faith in your product.</p><p>Potential converters aren&rsquo;t the only ones reading your website. As Google&rsquo;s algorithm becomes more and more advanced, so do the bots looking for thin copy. Basic errors, repetition of phrases, and a lack of formatting all combine to reduce the likelihood of your page ranking well. Careless copywriting reduces interested buyers and can limit how many visitors see your website at all.</p><h4>Rewards of Strong Copywriting</h4><p>Strong copy, on the other hand, reinforces the authority of your site and increases usability by giving readers clear information. Optimized keywords, a focus on your audience, and strong writing skills can all be leveraged to create copy that elevates the perceived value of your site. It&rsquo;s worth noting that strong copy doesn&rsquo;t just apply to longer pieces. A <a href="">thoughtful microcopy detail</a>, like having be the login example email, is a simple way to connect with your audience. Competent copywriting isn&rsquo;t simply a plus to website design. It&rsquo;s a necessity. </p><h4>Invest in Good Copy</h4><p>Copywriting is a brand-wide call to action. Every element of your website should be engineered to capture and retain the user&rsquo;s attention. Elegant design, clear usability, and worthy product are all important elements to a successful website. Exceptional ROI-driven copywriting boosts your brand&rsquo;s message, tone, authenticity and perceived dependability. </p><p><em>Copywriting is an important digital marketing tool. has vast experience assisting ecommerce clients with web development and digital marketing. We&rsquo;ll optimize your site for ecommerce traffic and innovate to promote your products. See our&nbsp;</em><a href=""><em>digital marketing services</em></a><em>&nbsp;and join our list of successful clients today.</em></p>urn:uuid:5f9a37aa-6fb8-44a6-9eb6-5b01ab26f698 EcommerceSalesforceWhy Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a Great Fit for B2C CompaniesSee exactly how Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help you achieve new online retail heights.Wed, 22 Jul 2020 20:50:12 Z<p><em>&ldquo;Is there a way to launch sophisticated email campaigns faster?&rdquo;</em></p><p><em>&ldquo;How do I get more out of my marketing insights?&rdquo;</em></p><p><em>&ldquo;What does it take to build an online community and grow my customer lifetime value?&rdquo;</em></p><p>These are just some of the questions that swirl through most B2C marketers&rsquo; heads.</p><p>Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help you solve these dilemmas &mdash; and many more. Decked out with cutting-edge features like Journey Builder, Google Analytics 360, Email Studio, and Social Studio, the platform is a B2C marketer&rsquo;s playground. One stretched across all channels from email to social, mobile, and even advertising.</p><p>But you wouldn&rsquo;t just show your customers the photo of a product and expect them to take your word for it, so today we&rsquo;ll explore some of these features more in-depth. Keep reading to see exactly how Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help you achieve new online retail heights, just like it did for over <a href="">five thousand B2C companies</a>.<br /></p><h2><strong>Get Into Your Audience Mind and Deliver at the Perfect Moment</strong></h2><p>Salesforce Customer 360 Audiences is not your average customer data platform (CDP). It generates unified customer profiles pulling data from first-, second-, and third-parties such as email, online behavior, ecommerce, and CRM.</p><p>Most enterprises use more than 15 data sources, which makes it difficult to understand customers at a deeper level and sell efficiently. &rdquo;A single source of truth,&rdquo; as Salesforce calls it, Customer 360 Audiences solves this issue by taking care of everything-data; from its collection and unification to its activation and insights. It also creates and analyzes specialized audience segments.</p><p>What does that mean for your business?</p><p>Simply put, when you have a crystal clear image of your customer and share it across all your marketing platforms, you&rsquo;re able to achieve a couple of things including:</p><p style="margin-left:40px;">- Optimizing your advertising budget by suppressing old consumers that already bought from you, and investing in net-new customers.</p><p style="margin-left:40px;">- Boosting brand engagement via tailored content.</p><p style="margin-left:40px;">- Increasing sales by enabling service reps to make a perfectly-timed, relevant offers on the spot, after taking a single glance at customers purchase history, email engagement, and web interaction.</p><p>It&rsquo;s imperative that all this sensitive data is handled properly and that you comply with the newest legal standards, like GDPR and CCPA. The system ensures this through safe provisioning measures and dashboards for opt-outs and consent flags.</p><p>That&rsquo;s not the only tool Salesforce designed to help you harness all of your customer data. With Journey Builder, you can tailor customers&rsquo; journeys based on real-time events like purchases, mobile app downloads, and more.</p><p>And if you want to uncover new targeted audiences, the answer is Audience Studio. Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), this feature is capable of analyzing billions of data signals and sources to reach your goals.<br /></p><h2><strong>Monetize Your Social Media Presence</strong></h2><p>You can&rsquo;t have a complete picture of your customers without understanding their social media behavior.</p><p>Several statistics prove that a great deal of B2C sales happens on social media. Indeed, around 60% of Instagram users say they learn about new products on <a href="">Instagram</a>. Social Media Messenger sales are also growing by the minute.</p><p>Thanks to Social Studio, you can not only monitor your customers&rsquo; social interactions but also <em>monetize</em> them. Whether you want to micro-analyze reactions to a certain post or record mentions of your brand across all networks, this tool does it all.</p><p>Enhance your marketing research efforts with solutions like machine-learning sentiment analysis and image recognition that turn your audience discussions into digital focus groups. Then, head over to the Salesforce Command Center to watch live customer interactions, brand health, and campaign results, all displayed on multiple vibrant dashboards.</p><p>You can also create and manage content with ease, get inspiration from trending topics, and choose from hundreds of stock photos. Furthermore, when your posts gain social media recognition, give them a boost by quickly inserting ads.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><strong>Enjoy the Flexibility - and the ROI</strong></h2><p>You don&rsquo;t need to be tech-savvy to navigate all that Salesforce Marketing Cloud has to offer. </p><p>Its unique templates, drag-and-drop tools, and ready-made solutions will help your team shave off countless hours of intensive labor.</p><p>The Email Studio best showcases this.</p><p>It comes with drag-and-drop functions, personalized scripting language, and interactive content like carousels and weather reports. All you have to do is get creative.</p><p>Does looking at data give you a serious case of vertigo? Not this time. The platform is equipped with customizable dashboards that can be kept private or shared. Data Studio, for instance, offers advanced audience discovery and reporting tools that are as easy to use by media planners as they are by analysts.</p><p>Going mobile is a scary endeavor for many B2C marketers, but Mobile Studio allows you to drive customer engagement while being playful. There are templates for everything from outbound, to text-response, to email opt-in campaigns, to multimedia messages, and you can even personalize messages based on location, demographics, etc.</p><p><em>Ready to try the best-in-class capabilities of the marketing cloud?</em></p><p><em> is a Salesforce Certified partner and our powerful Salesforce assists clients like you at every step of the way. Read more</em> <a href=""><em>about our services </em></a><em>and contact us today to get started!</em></p>urn:uuid:73a67bf2-3bd8-42ba-84af-c38b016fc7a3's-content-strategy Tips and TacticsKick-Starting Your Association's Content StrategyWith all of us settling into our new normal, what better time than now to evaluate how you're using content.Fri, 29 May 2020 14:14:19 Z<p>Often, when associations think about their digital and web strategies there is a glaring omission. Between conversations about event logistics, email campaign results, and blog views, the how and the when - marketing tactics and timing - can overshadow perhaps the most important question of all; the what, or for our purposes, the content.</p><p>Targeted, meaningful, and useful content is a cornerstone of the value proposition for Associations. Far too often we see robust, measurable, and flexible content strategies an afterthought in organizations' quest for growth. It is easy enough these days to find one million different tactics for increasing webinar registrations or traffic to your storefront, but not so much so for the right ways to ask if what you're providing is purposeful and actionable.</p><p>With all of us settling into our new normal, what better time than now to evaluate how you're using content to pierce through the noise online. We've outlined a few ideas to get you started here below.</p><h2><strong>Widen Your Lens</strong></h2><p>As one of our Senior Content Strategists most eloquently put it: " <a href="">Content is not just a word on a page or the picture in a header. Content is the entire, cohesive fabric that makes the underlying technology of your website and its related distribution channels work.</a>" He's right. Content isn't just the latest blog post, paragraph on your website, or social media post, rather all of them as one. Viewing the content you deliver as a cohesive unit forces you to consider how you can deliver the same messages, themes and offers across all of your channels to increase your conversion opportunities. The thread from the first social post, through the webpage, to the landing page and the CTA opportunity should continue to deliver the same message each level closer to conversion.</p><h2><strong>Ask Why</strong></h2><p>Unfortunately, for a lot of small to medium sized organizations, the hustle of the day to day doesn&rsquo;t allow adequate time for reflection and analysis of tactics and results. "We've always done it this way." is the anti-progress. If you spend painstaking hours putting together a resource for members that doesn't deliver like it used to, its time to stop and ask why. Before you create, pausing to ask "Why are we delivering this piece of content and is this a good benefit to our members?" is an easy way to start this practice and help yourself maintain your content standards within your content strategy. Remember, content marketing is not your strategy, rather a tactic.</p><h2><strong>Use Your Members</strong></h2><p>One of the benefits of working for a member or mission based organization is you have a captive audience from which you can continue to solicit feedback for guidance in your strategy. You want to deliver meaningful and useful content to your members. Your members expect meaningful and useful content among their member benefits. It is in everyone's best interest to work together to align those two things. Creating an open dialogue with your membership - whether it is email marketing surveys, a community platform, or virtual events with real-time interaction - helps you to hone in on the sweet spot of business needs and member wants. Defining what content lives in that sweet spot gives you the tools necessary to align across all of your digital properties.</p><p>While this isn&rsquo;t something you can complete tomorrow, beginning steps toward your own organization&rsquo;s content strategy is well worth the time. Getting your what in place helps you best deliver on your how and when. </p>urn:uuid:3f3e2ce0-af07-4f0d-bf75-2c7b93aa8995 EcommerceEcommerce Trends and Data Amid the CoronavirusThe increase in ecommerce spending since pre-pandemic days appears to have settled in at about the 50% range despite the opening up of brick-and-mortar stores in many parts of the United States.Thu, 28 May 2020 19:23:50 Z<p><em> is partnering with </em><a href=""><em>Signifyd</em></a><em> to bring you ongoing coverage of ecommerce trends data - by category - across their network of 10K+ merchants globally. We hope this info is helpful peripheral vision as our industry navigates this dynamic environment, and the team at Signifyd is happy to host deeper data reviews if helpful for merchandising, advertising or other decisions.<br /></em></p><h2><strong>Beauty and Cosmetics Enjoys Another Strong Week Online</strong></h2><p>The increase in ecommerce spending since pre-pandemic days appears to have settled in at about the 50% range despite the opening up of brick-and-mortar stores in many parts of the United States and elsewhere.</p><p>Overall ecommerce spending was down 1% for the week ending May 18, according to Signifyd Ecommerce Pulse data. The week&rsquo;s pattern in fact was much like the previous week. Eight of the 13 major categories that the Pulse tracks were down for the week, seven of them by single-digit percentages. The modest changes, both up and down, left ecommerce spending up 49% since the last week of February, which marks the pre-pandemic baseline for spending.</p><p>One standout category during the week that just ended was Beauty &amp; Cosmetics, which was up 21% for the week. The category has been making an uneven, but steady, climb since the first week of April, which left the category up 34% over the end of February.</p><p>Potential mini-trends reveal themselves deeper in the data. For instance, it appears consumers have become more confident that they will be able to find the supplies they need, as signs of stockpiling have abated. Sales in the subcategory of Baby Products dropped 20% last week and Consumer Packaged Goods (think paper products) and Pet Supplies were down 8% and 3% respectively.</p><p>The week also marked a subtle shift in how consumers were spending to support recreation and diversion. Consider the Leisure &amp; Outdoor category, which has been a strong performer throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Sales are up 132% in the vertical since the pandemic began, largely due to the fact that it includes games, puzzles, video games and in-home workout equipment.</p><h2 style="text-align:center;"><strong>Weekly Change Trends by Vertical</strong></h2><img src="" sf-size="100" alt="ecommerce corona virus data" /><p>&nbsp;</p><p>But if you plunge into some of the subcategories in the vertical, you see a glimmer of evidence that homebound consumers are focusing more on getting outside as the shelter-at-home and modified shelter-at-home days drag on and the weather improves. For instance, sales of media, toys, hobbies and games fell 1% last week. Meantime, consumers spent 16% more on the outdoor subcategory, which includes equipment designed for camping, hiking and fishing.</p><h2 style="text-align:center;"><strong>Industry Spotlight: Weekly Change Trends in Leisure &amp; Outdoor</strong></h2><p>&nbsp;</p><img src="" sf-size="100" alt="Ecommerce Coronavirus Outdoor Trends" /><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Retail analysts had been wondering whether one particular indoor venue would draw consumers with new-found freedom &mdash; stores. Non-essential retailers are opening up in more states, at least for buy online, pick up in store and curbside pick up. But polling numbers, anecdotal evidence and data show that consumers are in no rush to shop in physical stores.</p><p>Opportunity Insights, a Harvard University-based, non-profit research center, found that the opening of businesses in states such as Georgia, Texas and South Carolina had little effect on consumer spending. In fact, spending in those states contracted before non-essential stores were ordered closed and appear to have not loosened up even as stores are being allowed to reopen.</p><p>A recent Harris Poll found that 89% of those surveyed had concerns about returning to physical stores to shop. And a Washington Post / University of Maryland survey found that 67% of consumers were not comfortable with the idea of going into an apparel store.<br /></p><center></center><div style="text-align:center;"><center></center><table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="0"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>VERTICAL</strong></p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>WEEKLY % CHANGE</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>5/12-5/18</strong></p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>CUMULATIVE % CHANGE</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>3/3-Present</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Beauty &amp; Cosmetics</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">21%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">34%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Commodities &amp; Collectibles</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">7%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">88%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Business Supplies</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">5%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-25%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Fashion, Apparel &amp; Luggage</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">2%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">24%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Consumer Medical Supplies &amp; Supplements</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">2%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">44%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Home Goods &amp; Decor</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-1%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">56%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Auto, Parts &amp; Tires</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-1%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">72%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Alcohol, Tobacco &amp; Cannabis</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-1%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">67%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">General Merchandise</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-2%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">67%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Electronics</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-5%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">78%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Luxury Goods</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-6%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">36%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Leisure &amp; Outdoor</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-8%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">132%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;">Grocery &amp; Household Goods</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">-13%</p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;">38%</p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="width:350px;"><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Total</strong></p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>-1%</strong></p></td><td valign="top" style="width:200px;"><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>49%</strong></p></td></tr></tbody></table></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Yet, ecommerce continues to perform at peak-season levels, a pattern that we should see hold or increase as newly reopened stores rely on buy online pick up in store or at the curb, either to assuage customers&rsquo; fears or to adhere to local regulations.<br /></p><p><strong><em>Note on Methodology</em></strong></p><p><em>The data shared here represents weekly trends across the <a href="">Signifyd Commerce Network</a>. It encompasses transactional and behavioral data across 10,000+ merchants and 100+ countries. All figures are normalized to the week of 2/25-3/2, as a representation of pre-Coronavirus &ldquo;steady state&rdquo; shopping volumes. </em></p><p><em>For ongoing data, please visit Signifyd&rsquo;s </em> <a href="">Ecommerce Pulse</a><em> hub page. </em></p><em><br /></em>urn:uuid:18011cb8-1850-4c87-903c-fb6eb06abdcc EcommerceEcommerce Resources To Use Despite InternetRetailing Expo (IRX) PostponementWhile IRX has been postponed to September 2-3, we wanted to offer some resources to retailers now so that they may begin to plan for important milestonesMon, 06 Apr 2020 05:00:00 Z<p>As we have all seen, the outbreak of COVID-19 has been dominating headlines all over the world.&nbsp; The health crisis has affected many businesses and led to the cancellation or postponement of countless events and conferences &ndash; one of which is InternetRetailing Expo (IRX) in the United Kingdom.&nbsp; IRX was scheduled to take place April 1-2 in Birmingham.&nbsp; Our Europe team had been preparing for this event for several months, unfortunately, everyone&rsquo;s plans quickly changed as the pandemic became a much more serious issue globally.&nbsp;</p><p>As a leading global digital agency, with offices in London, we were excited to engage with the retail community in-person at IRX.&nbsp; While the show has been postponed to September 2-3 (and we will be there at that time), we wanted to offer some resources to retailers now, so that they may begin to plan for important milestones, such as the busy holiday season and start building a roadmap for 2021!&nbsp; Below you will find a listing of downloadable items that you can reference to help build your retail presence online.</p><p><strong>Digital Marketing Best Practices Magazine</strong> &ndash; <a href=""><strong>Click here</strong></a> to download our full magazine on <a href="">digital marketing</a>.&nbsp; In this issue, you will find best practices, articles, and success stories.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>8 Signs it&rsquo;s Time to Refresh Your Website Whitepaper</strong> &ndash; <a href=""><strong>Click here</strong></a> to download a whitepaper and discover what the key elements are to look out for to determine whether or not your digital presence is due for a redesign.</p><p><strong>10 Email Automation Tips, Tools, and Tactics Whitepaper</strong> &ndash; <a href=""><strong>Click here</strong></a> to download this resource.&nbsp; It will reveal the most important secrets to ensure your email campaigns give you the best return and deliver the most revenue.</p><p>We hope that you could find some value from these items.&nbsp; We welcome the opportunity to have a one-on-one personalised conversation with you about your digital retail goals.&nbsp; If you would like to book some time with one of our experts,<strong> </strong> <a href="">click here</a>.&nbsp; Otherwise, if you will be at IRX in September, come find;s stand in the expo area. <a href="">We look forward to meeting you!</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p>urn:uuid:c4823f1f-81a8-4130-9731-6667a7aae93a Digital MarketingContent Strategy During a Crisis: 5 Best Practices to ConsiderThrough the Coronavirus and any crisis, think about how you can cut through the noise with relevant content that matters to your company – and your audienceMon, 30 Mar 2020 05:00:00 Z<p><em>Stop. Take a deep breath. Relax.</em></p> <p>As much as a crisis scenario may imply that your content strategy should only encompass speed and quantity, it should not. Just as we are seeing now throughout the dramatically amplified Coronavirus crisis, the role of a content strategist is not to flood already saturated distribution channels with additional information your audience can’t process. Instead, think about how you can cut through the noise with relevant content that matters to your company – and your audience. Need some inspiration? Read on.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>1.&nbsp;Strategy First, Marketing Second</strong></h2> <p>While it is fairly common to describe virtually any content activity as content strategy these days, producing content and knowing why content is produced are two different pairs of shoes. A strategy sets a data-driven content master plan that is targeted at the intersection of business needs and audience wants. Content tactics, or content marketing, execute your content strategy. A crisis represents both a challenge as well as an opportunity for your content and there’s a good chance that it will require a change in your strategy to direct tactics. Before you start creating content, confirm or adjust your strategy first.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>2. Think Inside Out<br /> </strong></h2> <p>See the big picture: Content is not just a word on a page or the picture in a header. Content is the entire, cohesive fabric that makes the underlying technology of your website and its related distribution channels work. When you’re changing the text in a paragraph on your website, writing a blog post, or posting on LinkedIn, chances are that you are impacting your entire content ecosystem. </p> <p>When publishing content, especially in a crisis situation, think inside out and keep in mind how your CTA impacts your message, how your message impacts all content on a page, how that page impacts its content category, and how the category impacts the website and your distribution channels. Keep your content structure intact and use content synergies not only to maintain a cohesive content ecosystem, but to amplify your acquisition and conversion opportunities.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>3. Storytelling, Audience Edition<br /> </strong></h2> <p>Debates rage on whether or not “storytelling” is an actual content strategy practice and I’ll leave that for another post. However, if you view storytelling as an integral part of your content strategy, a crisis scenario may provide you with good reasons to adjust your messaging.</p> <p>Storytelling forms that are typically described as “strategic storytelling” and “brand storytelling” may have to be dialed down and redirected toward “audience storytelling. A crisis always brings empathetic needs to the top and shifts the overlap between business needs and audience wants completely towards audience wants. Don’t make storytelling about yourself. Make it about your audience. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>4. Content Structure Matters<br /> </strong></h2> <p>Align strategy with content marketing to help your audience process information faster. Structure your content on pages, as well as along your user journey from acquisition to conversion, in a natural way. Key intersections of user interest and conversion opportunities are driven by a clear chronological order of informational, inspirational and transactional content. Enable a user to identify the purpose of content first, explain why the content is relevant second and show what actions should be taken third.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>5. Expect Challenges and Opportunities</strong></h2> <p>The key difference between good content and great content is flexibility. While good content structures may be designed to achieve business goals, great content anticipates change, identifies challenges and opportunities – and changes accordingly. Crisis scenarios rarely bring a change of business needs, but plenty of change in audience wants. Make sure your routine content audit is current and your data collection and analysis is up to date. The more informed you are about the status of your existing content ecosystem and the more you understand its dependencies and its performance, the better you will be able to quickly act on changing requirements and tune your content strategy through a crisis. </p>urn:uuid:33ab74c8-c081-4f3a-a672-96ece660d291 Digital MarketingWhat You Should Never Blog AboutSuccessful blog writing rarely depends on what you write. It always depends on what you do not write.Mon, 03 Feb 2020 06:00:00 Z<p>There it is. Another blog post assignment with your name on it. <em>Sigh.</em> Sound familiar? Granted, not every blog topic is a literal pain in the neck, but the sheer routine of corporate blog writing can take the wind out of your creative sails. Yet, successful blog writing rarely depends on what you write. It always depends on what you do <em>not</em> write.</p><p>Let&rsquo;s get the obvious out of the way first. There are countless topics that you cannot and should not write about. Clearly, if you&rsquo;re writing for a hospital, it&rsquo;s unlikely that you&rsquo;ll ever write movie reviews and then there are clear topics that cross the thin ice. Even if there are great clickbait topics, they may be beyond reasonable comfort levels of your employer and audience. However, if you take an unbiased look at your blog assignments, they all share the core element that there&rsquo;s really only one thing you should never write about.&nbsp;</p><p>In the very early days of my career, I remember my journalism mentor noting that &ldquo;the devil has four white eyes&rdquo;. He was referring to the four corners of an empty sheet of paper and the difficulty of filling the empty space held hostage by them. His remark wasn&rsquo;t so much a complaint but an expression of a routine every passionate writer has to go through. I always imagined him facing off with his writing devil in a challenge that he thoroughly enjoyed. This memory has been a guide throughout my writing career and was most apparent when I observed my mentor using his pride for language and applying it in the same way a painter uses a paintbrush to bring white space to life. His talent to use the letters of the alphabet to craft words and texts that were as entertaining as they were informative is something that still inspires me to this day.</p><p>While I often considered my mentor&rsquo;s successful writings as a matter of an abundance of talent, I accidentally received a rather trivial piece of information that completed a puzzle and eventually led to a journalism and publishing career that I thoroughly enjoyed. Following my days as a print journalist, I was lucky enough to work for a small digital technology media publication that was showered with millions of page views every day. Over time, our success had become routine and it felt that it really didn&rsquo;t matter anymore what we wrote.</p><p>It was this realization that led a CEO and his team of five writers to see that our content wasn&rsquo;t living up to our own expectations and aspirations anymore. Yet again, I was fortunate that the CEO was a fantastic writer. While he did not have a formal education in communications or journalism, he was one of those people who was able to author great articles and posts, seemingly without applying any effort whatsoever. In one of our content reviews, we agreed that we simply needed to find more ways to make our content interesting again and get rid of the routine. So, how do you make content interesting? In his mind, it was simply a matter of paying attention &ndash; &ldquo;you need to care&rdquo;, he said.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>More than 25,000 articles later, in media and corporate environments, I know that both success as well as motivation in writing depend on respect and care for your content before creating it, while creating it, and when finalizing it. So, my first advice for any blog writer in any organizational environment is to not write about anything you do not care about. This approach is even more significant when we realize that an article always reflects the writer&rsquo;s intent, mood, and pride simply through its assembly of words. Caring for your post is necessary to make it interesting, which is necessary for it to be successful.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Keep it in mind that I wrote &ldquo;caring for your post&rdquo; and not &ldquo;caring for a topic&rdquo;. In many cases, you may deal with topics that look like the exact opposite of being interesting. However, caring for a post enables you to not only see the interesting in the boring and to see the relevance in the trivial: It is what makes a blog post more than just a replaceable piece in your corporate <a href="">SEO</a> strategy.</p><p>It is this that makes the blog and the author behind it great. It is what allowed my mentor to turn another review of a boring chess video game into an experience that perfectly balanced entertainment and information and achieved our magazine&rsquo;s aspiration in a screenshot and half a page of text.</p>urn:uuid:c42de917-627f-6a0b-83fe-ff00002a6fc8 Are you at risk for a Cyber Attack?You can’t go too long without seeing another headline about a cyber-security breach impacting a high-profile company. Wed, 30 Oct 2019 15:50:44 Z<h1 style="text-align:left;">6 best practices to secure your business online</h1><p>You can&rsquo;t go too long without seeing another headline about a cyber-security breach impacting a high-profile company. In recent years, cyber criminals have gotten their hands on millions of social security numbers, passwords, company trade secrets, and more. <a href="" target="_blank">Security breaches have increased 67% over the past five years</a> and companies of all sizes can be impacted. &nbsp;</p><p>In a world where most of our lives are being spent online, cyber-security is now more important than ever before. Are you at risk for a cyber-attack? What can you do to fight against the growing threat? In honor of Cyber-Security Month here are 6 best practices to secure your business online.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>1.&nbsp;</strong><strong style="text-indent:40px;">Keep software up-to-date</strong></p><p>Outdated software is a hacker&rsquo;s best friend and if you&rsquo;re trying to save money or time by using older systems, you could be putting your data at risk. Major software vendors regularly release updates and patches to close up security holes. By ignoring these updates, you&rsquo;re leaving the door open to trouble. One great (or not so great) example of this is the Equifax data breach in 2017. This mega-breach, which put the personal information of more than 143 million Americans at risk, was due to a software vulnerability that had a patch available a whole two months before the attack. Had Equifax acted sooner, the whole event could have been avoided.</p><p>Push the latest updates and patches to your operating system, applications, or other assets as soon as they&rsquo;re released. Consider putting a software update policy in place at your company as a reminder. <strong><br /><br />2. Use an advanced firewall<br /></strong> </p><p>A firewall is a barrier or shield that prevents unauthorized access to and from a private network and it can be the first line of defense against threats on the internet. Firewalls inspect all the data passing in and out of the network to ensure that the traffic is legitimate. They have the ability to block malicious threats while still allowing normal access for authorized users. Install firewalls not only on your servers, but on all office computers, laptops, and mobile devices as well. While a firewall can&rsquo;t block everything, they are an essential first step to getting secure.<br /><br /><strong>3.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Install anti-virus software</strong></p><p>Computer viruses are constantly evolving and they can wreak havoc on vulnerable computers. Even if you browse carefully and use common sense, viruses can still get through. Your computer could be infected by simply visiting a website and even the most legitimate websites you trust can be compromised by sophisticated cybercriminals. Antivirus software can give you one additional layer of protection to catch and quarantine viruses before they do any major damage.<br /><br /><strong>4.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Educate yourself (and your employees) on phishing attacks</strong></p><p>Phishing is a very costly cyber-security threat and it&rsquo;s one of the most common types of cyber-attacks used against businesses. With phishing, hackers gain access to sensitive data from the source itself &ndash; you and your employees. With this practice, &lsquo;phishers&rsquo; typically send fake correspondence (usually emails) that entice users to enter secure information like email addresses or passwords. While many phishing attacks are easy to snuff out when you know what to look for, cybercriminals are getting more and more advanced with their approaches. Anyone in your company can easily fall victim to an email that looks like it&rsquo;s coming from a legitimate source and all it takes is one click for a breach to occur. </p><p>If you have a wide range of employees that have access to your company&rsquo;s network, it&rsquo;s important to implement regular training on these types of attacks.&nbsp; This training can involve ways to identify phishing emails and processes for how your employees should respond. You should also consider periodic phishing simulations to test your employees&rsquo; skills.<br /><br /><strong>5.&nbsp;Create secure passwords</strong></p><p>One of the easiest ways for hackers to break into a computer is by guessing a password and this happens more often than you may think. <a href="" target="_blank">A recent report</a> found that 81% of company data breaches were due to weak or stolen passwords and over 70% of employees reuse passwords at work. Common passwords such as &ldquo;12345&rdquo; or &ldquo;password1&rdquo; should be avoided at all costs in addition to celebrity names or birthdates. Long, complex strings of upper-case and lower-case characters, numbers, and symbols can help keep hackers at bay. Employees in your company should also be reminded to never write down passwords and to change them often.<br /><br /><strong>6.&nbsp;Find a secure hosting service</strong></p><p>Having a secure web hosting service can help when trying to fend off cyber-attacks, but with so many companies out there, it can be hard to know what your best option is. When evaluating hosting providers, it&rsquo;s important to look for one that provides sophisticated intrusion detection systems to catch malicious activity fast and even physical security staff that monitor servers and data centers 24/7/365. Some providers, <a target="_blank" href="">like</a>, also provide Level 1 PCI compliant <a href="">hosting</a>. For companies that accept online credit card payments, PCI, or Payment Card Industry, compliant hosting is a must. Hosting providers that reach level 1 status undergo stringent yearly audits and on-site reviews to ensure they&rsquo;re able to secure millions of customers&rsquo; credit card information. </p><p>When it comes to protecting your business from cyber-attacks, it&rsquo;s important to stay vigilant. Don&rsquo;t ever think it won&rsquo;t happen to you. By taking an all-encompassing approach to cyber-security, you can stay ahead of the bad actors out there and keep a secure online presence that your customers can trust.</p>urn:uuid:51abe717-627f-6a0b-83fe-ff00002a6fc8 WordPress 5.2 Introduces Tool for Benchmarking Site HealthWordPress 5.2 released last week and with it came some fantastic functional enhancements that will mean huge advantages in the long run for WordPress as a platform. Tue, 21 May 2019 19:13:32 Z<p>WordPress 5.2 released last week and with it came some fantastic functional enhancements that will mean huge advantages in the long run for WordPress as a platform. One of the unique aspects about the 5.2 release is that it is welcomed step forward for site maintainers and those who spend their time keeping WordPress sites healthy, and not just looking good. </p><p>This change is seen in the release of their Health Check tool that can be found within any website running WordPress 5.2 under &ldquo;tools &gt; Health Check&rdquo;.</p><p>What this new tool does, is actually quite remarkable. It provides insights into some of the most common configuration issues that tend to crop up with WordPress based websites and make proactive recommendations for resolving them.</p><p>As WordPress has exploded with widespread usage over the last 5-8 years, so too have the complexities of the sites that are running it. It is extremely common nowadays to see full-scale ecommerce websites with tens of thousands of products running WordPress. Just as with any complex website, there are different components that bake into a site&rsquo;s health ranging form the core version, to plugins, themes, and the PHP version of the server.&nbsp;</p><p>In fact, it is becoming more common to see WordPress websites with 30-40 plugins installed that all contribute to the websites function in some form or another.<br /></p><p>For those that may be learning WordPress and its best practices, the health check tool also let&rsquo;s you know what aspects of your websites are in good standing.</p><p>The new WordPress 5.2 Health Check tool will actually monitor the websites for conflicting PHP as well as recognize fatal code errors during code updates for plugins and themes pausing their update path upon discovery. This aspect is a terrific supplement when working with a host such as WP Engine, because you can provide better insights and information when working with WP Engine&rsquo;s technical support.</p><p>Prior to these features being introduced to the WordPress core, the best insights on such things would have come from application monitoring tools like New Relic or App Dynamics. Those tools still offer a much more microscopic look into code level errors and their symptoms. Using WordPress&rsquo; new tools as a daily health gauge while using additional tools like New Relic are an excellent combination that will help you proactively keep your website running optimally.</p>urn:uuid:e864e717-627f-6a0b-83fe-ff00002a6fc8 Improving UX: The roadmap less traveled.While the science and tools of split testing are not perfect by any means, my 20+ plus years of experience in UX/design was challenged on many occasions to explain real-time user behavior.Mon, 29 Apr 2019 20:04:51 Z<h2><strong>Be humble.<br /></strong></h2><p>Having had the opportunity to do A/B testing on a daily basis for several years for a dozen clients, I was humbled by many of the outcomes. While the science and tools of split testing are not perfect by any means, my 20+ plus years of experience in UX/design was challenged on many occasions to explain real-time user behavior. What at times seemed like an easily predictable result was often far from it. We cleaned-up the UI and made primary CTAs standout (above the fold) and were met with lower click engagement. We had users travel to the bottom of a page 4x longer and increased conversion, at the bottom. What made the unpredictability of testing even more interesting was seeing the complete opposite effect from the same test on a different site. Sometimes the sites had nearly the same industry theme, product type, page architecture, and product funnel. It wasn&rsquo;t long before I vowed I&rsquo;d never assume what a user would do again. How do you move forward from this point with a sense of confidence? Well, you don&rsquo;t.</p><h2><strong>Data. Lots and lots of it.</strong></h2><p>While testing, I also studied the results of tens of thousands of hours of research. This Evidence-Based Design (EBD) research data provided results from having tested hundreds to thousands of users. This aligned with A/B testing where you typically need thousands of users to obtain any type of significance on a test. What became apparent after many years of testing is that for so many improvements we were experimenting with, we already had the answer. The EBD data provided direction on the same improvements we were trying to make through testing. Equipped with this new knowledge, it appeared that maybe some of those split tests that came out so different were more impacted by other factors like poor IA, or up/downstream issues, than once thought. This takes this point even further.</p><h2><strong>Improve before you optimize.</strong></h2><p>There are many ways to approach a UX challenge. Some of these methodologies include; A/B testing, user testing, user research, behavior/competitive analysis, user flows, user journeys, prototyping, and any number and forms of discovery and validation. In so many instances, however, EBD already provides us the answers on how to improve. It&rsquo;s not whether one approach is better than another. It&rsquo;s about determining what the best approach is for the problem. If this is the baseline, why not establish your highest UX benchmark through EBD practice and then rely on these other tools to truly optimize the overall UX, where/when possible?</p><h2><strong>Back to significance</strong></h2><p>Where the user experience needs a truly unique perspective and/or the UI is highly customized, very granular user testing, research, and prototyping methods, etc. may be the best options. People may likely not react in predictable enough ways. However, even in these situations, &ldquo;innovation&rdquo; is often overdone and overwrought with opinion. We don&rsquo;t have to throw away the rule book just because the rules don&rsquo;t seem to apply. It may be that a great deal more UX issues should be evaluated against preexisting and empirically driven data before jumping into testing and developing journeys. We should create building blocks on solid information and then innovate to fill in the gaps. We usually need thousands or at least hundreds of users to validate a UX decision with any level of significance, as seen in testing. Developing UX, through prototyping for example, based on 5, 10, 20 users&rsquo; one-time interactions, varying skill levels, and biases, can be risky. It also tends to be more inclusive by predicating the most common use-cases. We can utilize these smaller numbers and build our UX from there - but what&rsquo;s the advantage? You&rsquo;re back to experimenting with low numbers and letting a lot ride on it.</p><h2><strong>Take a closer look.</strong></h2><p>Let&rsquo;s also consider that taking the correct UX approach is not immune to politics. Addressing short-term concerns, filling a role, or attempting to gain client confidence through the use of methods that &ldquo;sound good&rdquo; - often come at a cost. Most sites and their users are unique from each other no matter how similar they may seem. And then there&rsquo;s the &ldquo;Watson Method&rdquo; where it is suggested we just borrow UX and UI from other sites that look or seem good. Can we just borrow UX/UI without some form of validation or evidence? Maybe that did help build the internet and all of our digital things, which has afforded us all the data we need to build it correctly. If we really mean what we say when we use the term &ldquo;user experience&rdquo;, it&rsquo;s time to start building on what we&rsquo;ve learned works and stop guessing when we don&rsquo;t have enough evidence to support good UX.</p><a target="_blank" href=""> Contact Us Today!</a>urn:uuid:6882e117-627f-6a0b-83fe-ff00002a6fc8 Simple Methods for Optimizing Your WebsiteThere are many low-cost tools for assessing your website and helping determine where visitors may be confused as they try to complete their task. One of the best is HotJar!Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:44:46 Z<p>There are many low-cost tools for assessing your website and helping determine where visitors may be confused as they try to complete their task. One of my favorites is <a href="" target="_blank">Hotjar</a>. Hotjar is a relatively new tool that allows marketers to run surveys, collect heat map and scroll map data, as well as watch recordings of actual site visitors. Here&rsquo;s a quick review of what you&rsquo;ll be able to discover using Hotjar&rsquo;s toolset. </p><h2 style="text-align:center;"><strong style="text-align:center;">Heat Maps</strong></h2><p>Heat Maps are a simple way to get an overall view of how users are interacting with your page. You&rsquo;ll be able to see what visitors are clicking on, and more importantly, what they are not clicking on.<strong><br /></strong></p><h2 style="text-align:center;"><strong>Scroll Maps</strong></h2><p><span style="text-align:left;">Scroll maps are a way to understand aggregate visitor scroll depth. Are visitors not seeing important calls-to-action that are lower on the page? Scroll maps will help answer this question</span></p><h2 style="text-align:center;"><strong>Exit Surveys</strong></h2><p>Exit surveys use a technology to engage the visitor just before they abandon your site. They are a great way to measure overall task completions rate (the % of visitors that were able to complete the goal of their visit) and offer valuable qualitative feedback from your site visitors.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong style="background-color:transparent;color:var(--color-h2);font-size:var(--font-size-h2);text-align:center;text-transform:inherit;white-space:inherit;word-spacing:normal;caret-color:auto;">Page-Level Surveys</strong></p><p>A page-level survey allows you to uncover friction points related to a specific page on your site. These are perfect for your email marketing and social media campaign landing pages.</p><div style="text-align:center;"><h2><strong>Visitor Recordings</strong></h2></div><p>Visitor recordings allow you to watch actual site visitors work to complete their task. You can even focus recordings on specific areas of your site like the checkout funnel, a form, or any type of special widget like a savings calculator. The recordings trace the user&rsquo;s mouse so you can see its entire path across the page in question (see below example). With a little practice, it becomes easy to identify visitors that are frustrated and not able to find what they are looking for. This information can provide clues on areas of improvement, especially as it relates to site navigation. </p><h2 style="text-align:center;"><strong>User Testing</strong></h2><p>Another low-cost method for site optimization is user testing. There are several low-cost service providers for user testing, but perhaps the best known is <a href="" target="_blank"></a> <span style="text-align:left;">. For a small fee per test, you can watch and listen to testers as they perform specific pre-defined tasks. If a tester is running into difficulty or is confused about how to complete a task, they will verbalize this in the captured audio.</span> </p><p>Here are a few tips to consider when setting up your user tests:</p><p><strong>1. Create a short and focused test script</strong> &ndash; It&rsquo;s very common to want to create many tasks for the tester, but too many tasks will be overwhelming. Instead, focus on 3-4 tasks that are critical for your business. If you are an e-commerce company, have the tester find a very specific item and then proceed through checkout all the way up to the step where they are asked to enter a credit card. If your focus is lead generation, create tasks centered around the registration process. <br />2.&nbsp;<strong>Pick a testing platform </strong>&ndash; There are many 3<sup>rd</sup>-party testing platforms available, including TryMyUI and If you prefer to let us to the heavy lifting, we&rsquo;ll write your test script and then set up your tests using the platform most appropriate to your situation.</p><p><strong>3. Create two buckets of five testers each</strong> &ndash; For your first user testing experience, we recommend setting up 5 testers for desktop and another 5 testers for mobile. The tasks you create should be the same for both mobile and desktop. Segmenting your testers this way will help you uncover friction points that may be more severe on mobile than desktop (or vice versa).</p><p>Most user testing tools will provide you with an interface that allows you to control the playability of the testing video while also allowing you to annotate your notes. The below screenshot from TryMyUI shows a testing video with an annotation screen to the right allowing the viewer to make comments as they watch the video.</p><div style="text-align:center;"><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Final Thoughts</span></strong></div><p>There will never be one single source of data that will provide all the information you need to optimize your website. However, by bringing in several data points in the form of heat maps, scroll maps, exit and page-level surveys and user testing, you&rsquo;ll start getting a much deeper understanding of where visitors are getting confused and tripped up on your site. If you find your marketing team just doesn&rsquo;t have the bandwidth for this type of analysis, give us a call. We&rsquo;ll set-up all the analytics and provide you with a prioritized report of recommendations based on the problem areas we uncover.</p><a target="_blank" href="">Contact Us Today!</a>urn:uuid:a968df17-627f-6a0b-83fe-ff00002a6fc8 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: A Guide for PersonalizationWe are currently living in the age of personalization. All trends in 2017 point to customer personalization becoming the norm and businesses need to take note. Personalization is by no means a cakewalk, even for the most savvy marketer. It takes many hours of researching, collecting data, planning and creating in order to optimize the customer experience. Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:11:00 Z<p>We are currently living in the age of personalization. All trends in 2017 point to customer personalization becoming the norm and businesses need to take note. Personalization is by no means a cakewalk, even for the most savvy marketer. It takes many hours of researching, collecting data, planning and creating in order to optimize the customer experience. <br /><br />If businesses want to continue to improve their value, they will encourage their marketing and advertising teams to collect all the data they can and take advantage of machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop and personalize the journey of each customer.<br /></p><h2>What is machine learning?</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">Machine learning</a> is an artificial intelligence that provides computers with the ability to learn without being specifically programmed to do so. It is similar to data mining, because it searches through data and identifies patterns that can be used to adjust their program actions.&nbsp; <br /><br />According to Scott Anderson, CMO of <a href="">Sitecore</a>,&ldquo;The advancement of technology has evolved consumer expectations to a point where marketers are challenged to keep up the pace amidst all the complexity.&rdquo; Machine learning takes away some of this burden from marketers, whether it&rsquo;s the mundane task of automating posts or something more complex like optimizing engagements. </p><p>Machine learning also offers a way for marketers to quickly process massive amounts of data and get a result that enables marketers to efficiently personalize their products for consumers. </p><p>Siemens called machine learning THE major trend for businesses today, and Dan Magresto, IIA Director of Research, said this about AI and machine learning in business, &ldquo;Advanced <a href="">analytics</a> is becoming increasingly pervasive as a strategic component of doing business across all industries.&rdquo; The graphic to the left shows how many personalized areas within a business machine learning can be useful. </p><p>Sitecore&rsquo;s CMO, Scott Anderson, also had this to say regarding machine learning and its impact on personalization and marketing, &ldquo;Machine learning and smart automation are beginning to prove valuable in an increasing number of areas, including optimization, personalization, customer segmentation, and contextual intelligence.&rdquo;</p><h2>So&hellip; what is artificial intelligence?</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">Artificial intelligence</a>, also known as AI, is the &ldquo;an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.&rdquo; It was coined in 1956 by John McCarty at The Dartmouth Conference. A few of the activities artificial intelligence computers work on include speech recognition, learning, planning, and problem solving. Many big name companies have already started to implement AI in their customer service with chatbots and virtual assistants.</p><h2>Is there a difference?</h2><p>Yes! Many people seem to be using machine learning and artificial intelligence interchangeably, but they are in fact two separate entities. While machine learning is technically a feature of artificial intelligence, it enables computers to learn and improve on their own over time, while artificial intelligence describes all the ways to get a machine to emulate aspects of human thinking. </p><p>Taking the differences between machine learning and artificial intelligence a step further, machine learning is different from artificial intelligence because it offers something artificial intelligence can&rsquo;t - a way for users to get accurate predictions by using algorithms that make predictions from data collected, with these predictions getting more accurate over time due to the repetition. <br /></p><h2>What This Means for Businesses</h2><p>It means personalization just got a whole lot easier for marketers! Machine learning makes it possible for marketers to deliver the right content to the right customer in real time, thanks to the data that has been collected. With a strong platform, the collected data can be thrown through an algorithm that makes it easy and simple for marketers to see what content is going to be the most valuable for a customer. </p><p>Sitecore&rsquo;s CMO describes the importance of machine learning in marketing like this, &ldquo;Machine learning lets you use fewer rules and more intelligence, to leverage the power of the computer to discover connections and correlations and causations that a human might never even see.&rdquo; <br /></p><p>Brands are expected to personalize the customer experience at every stage, from start to finish. With machine learning and AI, marketers no longer have to take the one size fits all approach to campaigns and they can now focus based on micro interests or location, thanks to the interpreted data from AI.</p><p>It is also important to mention that <a href="" target="_blank">Allied Market Research</a> expects machine learning to generate revenue of $13.7 billion by 2020. As soon as marketers recognize the benefits of AI and machine learning, they can gain a competitive advantage over others by responding quickly to customer needs, while delivering better user experiences (another top trend for 2017) with relevant product/content recommendations as a way to increase sales revenue. </p><p>Utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence to personalize responses also leaves more time for creativity, something all marketing teams can take advantage of.<br /></p><h2>How Sitecore Can Help</h2><p>The Sitecore&reg; Experience Platform&trade; is a great option for any business looking to expand and optimize their customer personalization with the help of machine learning. The platform emphasizes the importance of customer intelligence by collecting up-to-the second information about any interactions a customer has had with your brand. This data helps you deliver a tailored, effective engagement with customers based on their wants and needs. </p><p>How? </p><p>By using custom algorithms, Sitecore is able to automatically present appropriate content to customers based on their saved Dynamics profile that has been collected the moment a customer interacts anywhere on your site. <br /></p><h2>Takeaway</h2><p>Machine learning and artificial intelligence are going to be important for marketers to incorporate in their strategies if they want their businesses to see increased ROI, which will be the direct result of optimized personalization in the customer journey. <span style="background-color:initial;font-size:inherit;font-family:inherit;text-align:inherit;text-transform:inherit;white-space:inherit;word-spacing:normal;caret-color:auto;"></span></p>urn:uuid:d56adf17-627f-6a0b-83fe-ff00002a6fc8 Ecommerce Expertise: Where to Start When Redeveloping your SiteI recently had the chance to interview Nick Crumlett, Director of Ecommerce Projects. Nick oversees the project production teams for all ecommerce platforms supports, and was happy to share some key pieces of wisdom for anyone looking to refresh or upgrade their ecommerce site.Fri, 17 Mar 2017 14:14:00 Z<p>I recently had the chance to interview Nick Crumlett, Director of Ecommerce Projects. Nick oversees the project production teams for all ecommerce platforms supports, and was happy to share some key pieces of wisdom for anyone looking to refresh or upgrade their ecommerce site.</p><p style="margin-left:40px;"><strong>1. Start with Product Data</strong><br /></p><p>Most important of all, but rarely treated as such, is your product data. Our first step is always to analyze your current product data, particularly how complete and consistent it is, and how well it translates to a format that can be used on a modern ecommerce platform. It is also important to know in what format we will receive your data &ndash; if it is currently available in spreadsheets, is stored in another system that can be exported out or integrated with or if we need to start from scratch.&nbsp; Each option presents its own timeline requirements that should be vetted at the outset of a project.</p><p style="margin-left:40px;"><strong>2. Navigation<br /></strong></p><p>The next step is to decide how to structure the store navigation. There are potentially three different divisions of taxonomy: main global navigation and sub-navigation, product filters or guided navigation and product details refinement.&nbsp; It is essential to bear in mind that the priority is to ensure your users can easily find what they&rsquo;re looking for while not excluding any browsing habits.&nbsp; Searchers, Sorters and Browsers should each be presented with an unencumbered interface that allows for intuitive decision making.&nbsp; Each type of user will focus more on one navigation element than the others, so a harmony of the three components with logical break-points is critical to optimizing conversions. Every industry we work in is different and there is not a single navigation type which works for everyone.&nbsp; Our teams work with our clients to assure the navigation we move forward with is optimized for that client&rsquo;s specific audience.</p><p style="margin-left:40px;"><strong>3. Search Capability</strong></p><p>Search is essential to helping guide your customers, and how robust the site search will need to be is dependent on the complexity of your navigation and product data. We&rsquo;ll discuss the best placement of the search interface in the global siteshell, the extent to which advanced features such as stemming, auto-correct and auto-suggest are needed, the level of customization needed in determining the display order of search results and the capacity of your search utility to utilize machine learning to continue to build upon itself. Most search tools do require &ldquo;Tuning&rdquo; during the pre-launch phase of the project and we work with various tools and analytical data to optimize the search algorithms before actual customers start searching the site.</p><p style="margin-left:40px;"><strong>4. Shipping Rules<br /></strong></p><p>Shipping rules often present challenges to ecommerce retailers. Online stores always have competition, and for many products it can be difficult to charge for shipping when a customer could easily buy the product from the store. Therefore, simplifying the shipping process is essential. Confusing calculations or expensive shipping costs can deter a conversion at the most critical point: the checkout. We encourage our clients to remove obstacles by making the shipping process as simple as possible, for example by using flat rates. While this is not always an option, there are strategies to be explored (typically in the B2C world) to incentivize customers to increase their order value to attain a free shipping level.&nbsp;From a B2B standpoint, we have strategies in place to price shipping from a 1<sup>st</sup> party delivery service, freight, and warehouse pickup options.</p><p style="margin-left:40px;"><strong>5. Set up Google Analytics<br /></strong></p><p>Using data to understand your successes and where you can improve is essential to making ecommerce business progress. Properly setting up your Google Analytics, including goal conversion and event tracking, can help you to understand actual shopping habits on your website in order to make optimizations that matter. Goal conversion <a href="">analytics</a> will help you determine whether your customers are successfully following the funnel created, for example, to complete the check-out process. You can also review sources of traffic, cross-channel conversion rates, popular search terms and pages that get the most traffic, where customers are entering your site and at what point they tend to leave.&nbsp; All of the metrics available within Google Analytics can paint a picture of trends on your website and help you make informed decisions to improve and maintain exceptional conversion rates.</p><p><strong>What makes stand out as an ecommerce site designer and developer?</strong></p><p>Our use of business analytics makes us stand out. Within our ecommerce team, our project managers are also business analysts, they understand the taxonomy of navigation and search and understand user experience.&nbsp; They are experts in data normalization, and can help guide those customers who don&rsquo;t yet have a solid product database.&nbsp; We offer more than a standard, cookie-cutter solution. We analyze individual business needs and create custom solutions built to your specifications while recommending industry best practices and using our own experience to build the best possible solution. We also work with a variety of platforms.&nbsp;idev Ecommerce is just one platform that can help you create a great ecommerce site. Not only will it make purchasing simple for your customers, but it is easy to use on the back end, with a drag and drop page builder, form builder and reporting tools.&nbsp;&nbsp;Last but not least, we can handle a lot of data!</p>urn:uuid:fd69df17-627f-6a0b-83fe-ff00002a6fc8 The benefits of redundancy in hostingWhen it comes to Web hosting, there are few guarantees. However, a strong redundancy structure can help a company combat many of the risk factors that come with hosting its website year round. Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:14:00 Z<p>When it comes to <a href="">Web hosting</a>, there are few guarantees. However, a strong redundancy structure can help a company combat many of the risk factors that come with hosting its website year round. Here's a look at a few of the most prevalent benefits of redundancy in Web hosting, and what a company should look for as it selects a reliable partner.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Assurance in any situation</strong><br />The concept of redundancy is simple yet powerful - it's about having a network designed for continuous availability when primary hardware shuts down or performance decreases. Servers are not invincible, and switching to a redundant location is widely considered the most effective way to avoid devastating losses and ensure uptime in uncertain situations.&nbsp;</p><p>CorpMagazine highlighted some reasons why redundancy is such a strong form of assurance for the modern Web-based business. The source cited a Touche&nbsp;Ross study showing that for companies without a business continuity&nbsp;plan, chances of survival are less than 10 percent. Furthermore, only 6 percent of companies can bounce back from major losses, according to the University of Texas.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Support from the experts</strong><br />It's clear that redundancy is the right approach to Web hosting, but only with a great service provider behind the scenes. An article from CentriLogic&nbsp;explained that with the right vendor, "you don't have to worry about maintaining IT hardware, managing an on-site data center, or monitoring your applications," when something goes wrong. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><em>"Redundancy is a matter of survival."</em></p><p>This is a huge relief for an e-commerce company that already faces a wide range of challenges and can't afford to devote a large portion of its staff to downtime aversion. Decision-makers should know at this point that not all Web hosting partners deliver the same service and support - a rigorous evaluation is necessary to pick the best possible vendor and ensure that the redundancy structure is ready for anything.</p><p><strong>Happy customers and staff</strong><br />Technical benefits aside, redundancy is truly a business-focused solution. Few things are more frustrating for an online shopper than an e-commerce website that simply doesn't work. While some customers will hold off on a purchase and wait for their site to function, the majority will quickly seek out a more convenient and reliable alternative elsewhere on the Web. In other words, a shaky site can lead to dips in loyalty and sales.&nbsp;</p><p>When a company can easily navigate disasters and avoid downtime, it is far more likely to deliver the consistent service that today's consumers expect. It is also a matter of trust for many shoppers, who want to ensure that their personal data is safe with their chosen vendors. Redundant Web hosting is a cost-effective way to build this sense of trustworthiness with a customer base that simply demands more.&nbsp;</p><p>For network stability, customer satisfaction and overall peace of mind, e-commerce decision-makers owe it to themselves to invest in a redundant server structure. This is one competitive advantage that can't be overlooked.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>About Net@Work </strong></p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Net@Work</a> is a full service IT and business consultancy with unparalleled expertise in the development of business technology solutions. Their professional services team has over 20 years of consulting experience ranging from small projects to enterprise spanning thousands of users worldwide. Partnerships with the biggest names in technology, including: Microsoft, NetSuite, Salesforce, Sage and Magento; ensure an unbiased approach matching you with the best solutions for your needs.</p>