Are Drones Really the Future of Delivery? [Infographic]

McKinsey projects that autonomous vehicles including drones will deliver 80% of all items in the future. With 35% of consumers indicating that they are in favor of the concept, it’s clear that the use of drones is gaining popularity.
The latest 2Flow infographic examines the benefits and challenges associated with cargo drones and highlights how this technology could massively disrupt last-mile delivery.
What are the benefits of delivery drones?
Faster Fulfilment
In today’s on-demand economy, consumers have come to expect rapid delivery times. Drone technology represents one way e-commerce businesses can accelerate delivery times. Unlike delivery trucks, drones can travel “as the crow flies” – skipping over traffic congestion and complicated navigation paths. According to The Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 Study, 79% of US consumers said they would be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to request drone delivery if their package could be delivered within an hour. What’s more, faster fulfilment times brought about by drones could result in lower shipping costs for the customers, meaning more sales and higher revenues for businesses.
Enhanced Last-Mile Connectivity
Last mile delivery is typically the most difficult part of a package’s journey and is estimated to account for up to 50% of the total distribution cost. The use of autonomous cargo drones, particularly in urban areas, could help to massively optimise the efficiency of last mile delivery. One good case study of this is the American logistics and delivery company, UPS. They propose installing mini-helipads on the top of their vans, so that drones can take on the final mile of the route. They estimate that this could save up to $50 million in costs for their 66,000 daily delivery drivers.
Lower The Environmental Impact of Delivery
On average, truck delivery of a package results in about 1 kg of greenhouse gas emissions and roughly 25% of all transportation emissions comes from trucks. Businesses could reduce their environmental impact by supplementing traditional road haulage with electric-powered drones, and this could help to dramatically reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
What are the disadvantages of delivery drones?
Before the adoption of cargo drones goes mainstream, there are still a few lingering issues that will need to be resolved. The most pressing of these are the airspace governance and legal barriers that physically restrict where drones can travel. Current legislation across the world means that many areas are off-limits to drones, making them an impractical logistics solution for the moment. Furthermore, battery life limitations mean that drones can only travel for small distances with very small loads. This is in contrast to delivery trucks which can transport hundreds of packages at a time over a long distance.

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6 Steps to Build a Successful Offshore App Development Team [Infographic]

Due to the growing popularity in the use of smartphones across the world, more and more consumers are increasingly becoming dependent on their mobile devices for more than just communication purposes. This has led to many businesses embarking on developing various applications. When it comes to app development, offshore app development is very effective for a business that aims at decreasing their workload. There are many reasons why seeking already available solution to your app development challenge is better than building your own app from scratch. First, building your own team will require lots of time not forgetting finance. However, there are several challenges that might cause a business to consider offshore app development instead of in house app development. These are factors such as time, experience, and cost saving. For example, the businesses may be lacking the essential skill set that is required for the app development. There may be many when you do not have the required personnel in your organization to handle the app development task.
In case you decide to look for the right staff to help you work on your project, you may also have to encounter very high costs advertising the post, doing the recruitment process, and hiring. Additionally, you will have to pay them very high salaries including the various software certificates. This is why making the decision of outsourcing slats will be a very strategic decision. You will get to experience various outsourcing developers benefits when you let an offshore team handle the whole app development for you So without further ado, let us look at the infographic from Dot Com Infoway that offers detailed insights and interesting facts about the ways to effectively build a team of offshore app developers for your company to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and ensure greater technical support.

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Google June 2019 Core Search Algorithm Update

As many of us know, Google rolled out some updates in June 2019, and already, reports are coming in about how this update has affected some business niches and websites. While it is still too early to understand and see the impact of the update fully, we felt it was always important to monitor what we are seeing happen.
When Did the Core Update Begin?
The June 2019 Core Update was initiated on June 3rd and would continue until all data centers were updated. There were no specifications on how long the core updates would take. The broad core algorithm updates affect how search results are ranked and listed in the search results. This is not an unusual occurrence, as Google routinely rolls out broad core updates every couple of months throughout the year.
What is a bit unusual is this update was announced, which is not how Google usually handles such things? So, why did Google suddenly make a change? The community has been asking Google to share when such updates would occur so that they could be proactive in dealing with any changes that may happen as a result of the updates. There isn’t anything extraordinary about this update; they don’t want SEO managers and site owners scratching their heads at the sudden shift.
What Major Data Providers Have to Say
In response to the updates, several large data providers have released information about how this update has impacted them. Sistrix, SearchMetrics, Moz, and RankRanger own massive datasets around Google rankings, and they can see a broader picture of what is occurring with their business and the broad core algorithm update. With their findings, we can get a reasonably good idea on the effect of the core updates.
Sistrix shared on their blog post an astonishing number of sites that had a positive response to the core update. Their “winners” list included 20 websites that saw an increase of visibility ranging from 19% to an astonishing 54%, more than half of them reaching at least 20% increased visibility. One thing they noted was that unlike previous updates, the scope of affected domains was much more extensive. It is ranging from YMYL websites, retail sites, classical new sites, and a wide variety of others. It is incredibly reassuring to see such a positive change.
RankRanger discovered some slightly different results in their datasets. They noted that gambling, health, and financial niches were hit with less visibility. More interestingly, they note that many sites fluctuate up and down, but search results pages did not vary as generously.
SearchMetrics reports that their initial analysis is that some parts of the core update that happened in March, reverted during the June core update. They do not believe it was systematic. They are convinced that the March broad core algorithm update changed factors in brand/authority excessively, thus reverting them. Medical sites that had lost their visibility from the previous core update are now seeing increased visibility.
Moz also noted that the health niche gained quite a bit in the core update but Dr. Axe, specifically, lost quite a bit. SERP features didn’t see any significant shifts, not even the medical panels. Moz also noted that the vertical flux was unusually high for Health (114 degrees) and Food & Groceries (109 degrees). However, it is essential to note that Moz is split into 20 verticals, so the sample size is reduced quite a bit.
Across the community, people are noticing how the core update has affected their visibility, and on average, we see 30% increases. Some people are reporting no change or a drop in visibility, but the “wins” seem to outnumber the losses so far.
What Google Says
Of course, Google jumped into the discussion. They are reporting positive responses to the broad core algorithm update and have declared that the update will be 100% noticeable. When asked how long the update would take, they would not give a clear answer. Their answer was anywhere from a day to a few weeks.
Overall, it’s early in the game. Way too early to say how the updates will affect websites because Google is still rolling out the updates to data centers. While the word on the street is extremely positive, we do think everyone should stay relaxed and continue watching how things roll out. Once the updates have had a chance to set in a little bit, take the time to check your analytics and see if you notice any changes to your visibility. Then evaluate how to use that visibility best, or make changes to achieve more.
Google has offered advice previously about updates, and it’s good advice to keep in mind. Google does release one or more updates daily that focus on improving search results. Not all of them are broad core algorithm changes, but at times it is necessary to roll out a broad core update. With any minor or significant change, some sites will see a drop or rise in visibility. There is nothing truly wrong with any page that is suddenly performing less when it was once a high-ranking search result. The changes are merely benefitting other pages that were unrewarded before the change. There is no real quick fix to adjusting your visibility, and it requires patience and time. The one thing you can do is keep providing great content so that your website rises back up to where it once was. If your site has suddenly increased in rankings, it may only be temporary. You should also stay on top of creating great content so that any future drops are minor and you can quickly bounce back.
As SEO managers, we plan to give Google feedback on how this update compares to others. Google needs to know how we feel about the announcements from them, and that we want more of them. Though Google does plan to keep the announcements coming, letting them know we appreciate it will only help us in the long run.

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How to Handle Refund Requests With Customers Tactfully

Good news—you received a payment from a customer or client. The bad news is, they’re now asking for a refund. Refunding requests can be disheartening, but they can happen from time to time. Don’t go into a panic or ignore the request when you get one. Here’s how to handle refund requests tactfully:
Take a breather
The request for a refund could come with an explanation that’s not very nice. Perhaps they’re speaking negatively about you, your product or your service. Don’t respond out of anger or frustration right away. Take some time to carefully consider their request before writing a non-confrontational reply. A nasty email from a customer isn’t something you should take personally and you don’t want emotions to cloud your judgment.
Ask questions
A refund request is an opportunity to get feedback about your business operation. If their reason for a refund is vague, ask some questions. Why do they want a refund? What did they hope to experience from your product? Why isn’t your product delivering on their expectations?
Don’t assume the reason why they want their money back. There could have been a misunderstanding about the product or service. Ask follow up questions and focus on how you can possibly improve to satisfy future customers.
Offer an alternative
After asking a few questions, you should have a better understanding of the customers wants and needs. From this point, you may be able to offer another solution besides a refund so you can keep your money.
If you offered a service, perhaps you could make adjustments to what you delivered. If you offered a product, you could follow up with detailed instructions on how to use it. This approach is mutually beneficial. You get to keep the payment and the customer gets their problem solved.
Don’t give customers an unnecessary runaround
Returning items to stores can be so aggravating at times that instead of returning the item you just keep it and resolve never to shop at the store again. You don’t want customers or clients to feel this way about your business. They shouldn’t have to jump through a million hoops to get their money back.
Sure, there are some people who request money back to take advantage of businesses. These are the people that strict return policy procedures are usually created for. But there are others who bought in good faith and realize the product isn’t what they need. These people shouldn’t be penalized or given the runaround when trying to return something. A bad return experience could put a bad taste in their mouth making them less willing to work with you in the future.
Final Word
A request for a refund can turn a good day into a bad one. If you handle refund requests tactfully, the experience doesn’t have to be a fully negative one. Review your refund policy every so often to make sure you’re always comfortable with the terms. Respond to refund requests promptly and attack them with a problem solving mindset. If you do come to an agreement that the person will get a refund, process the refund quickly so the matter can be resolved.

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Case Study: Launching a Tool on Product Hunt is a Strategy for Success

This is such a true statement. If you successfully launch your tool, you can get a high number of visitors to your site. These visitors can become daily users and accelerate your revenue goal.
Even in our own team, we didn’t know this at first. We wanted to move our startup further along and find ways to shout about our SEO tool to a broader audience. As we brainstormed, we also came up with the idea of ​​launching the tool at Product Hunt. Finally, we tagged this idea with a lower priority and postponed it. Later, we got back to it, prepared it properly, and the final results surprised us pleasantly. Thanks to PH, we have received positive feedback on the tool, along with many new registered or paying customers.
Product Hunt is full of people who are passionate about technology, designers, marketers and developers in need to make their work or life easier by using better applications. Whatever your application is, launch it on Product Hunt!

Spotibo is a specific tool that can’t be used by everyone. It’s an SEO analyzer that can only be used by a person who has his own website or by a consultant helping a client with search engine optimization. This is the reason why we were surprised by the feedback and reach we achieved.
So, I am happy to share our results and strategy with you.
What are the main goals of a PH campaign?
To get traffic and new customers. I won’t tell you how to turn traffic into buyers, but I’ll tell you how to get traffic to your site from Product Hunt. To get the maximum results, try to be in the top 5. If your product makes it to the top of the list, all Product Hunt email subscribers will receive a newsletter a day later, where your tool will shine and you will get even more traffic.

Top hunts during our launch day. Our profile on PH here.
What web traffic to expect?
The answer to this question is very subjective. If you prepare everything for the launch in the best possible way, then you can expect traffic to be numerous times higher than you are used to on a regular basis.
In our case, we added 1,596% more new users during the launch day compared with the previous day. The traffic kept coming during the next two days in high numbers, too.

Traffic growth thanks to launching on PH.

The difference comparing launch day and the day before.

And what about online attention and backlinks?
We received dozens of tweets on Twitter, so the attention was big! But what was more interesting to us were backlinks.
We love backlinks. We are SEO specialists, so we know how domain authority is important, and that backlinks can help us to get better rankings. We also know how hard it is to get them.
After the launch, people started writing about the tool spontaneously, and for free! They published reviews and guides on how to analyze SEO, and they published it not only in English but also in different languages.
How to prepare for the launch:
When I was preparing the Product Hunt checklist for my team, I got inspired by this checklist from SpreadShare. In their checklist, there are tons of cool tips to not forget any single step throughout the process of preparation, submission, outreach and follow-up. I created a short version of the checklist according to the needs of our own working plan, and we followed these 20 steps one by one.
There are several guides on how to run a Product Hunt campaign on the web, and I don’t want to repeat the same “tips” all over again. Instead, I will try to skip to the questions that came to my mind during the preparation itself and for which we were unable to find answers.
Do we need a product hunter?
When you look at the products on PH, you’ll see that some were submitted by the creator, and some were created by another person — by a product hunter. What is better? Honestly, I don’t know. Internet opinions vary. While someone explicitly recommends reaching out to a product hunter who would be willing to launch the product and support it in front of his PH followers, some say it is nonsense to annoy people who may have nothing to do with the success of the tool.
In the beginning, I went the first way, and I was looking for a product hunter who would be interested in our tool and could consider it a quality one. There is a list of the top 50 hunters where I approached three users via LinkedIn, and I have not received any answers.

So, I chose another strategy. I opened previously submitted products that were similar to our tool (some kind of competition). I rummaged among the users who supported, commented or submitted the products and started to outreach them. Finally, Nivas Ravichandran, who also wrote the article How to generate leads on Product Hunt, said yes! Although he is not in the top 50, the launch of the tool was smooth, and I think his support helped us.
Can I change product information submitted by a hunter?
Cool, I found someone who will do the job. But what if I need to change information about the tool later on? Can I do that?
Yes. Hunter tagged me and our CEO as makers, giving us the right to make any changes. In addition, we could also add a comment under the product to describe our story and the problem we are trying to solve with our product.
When is the best time for launching?
The answer is simple – 00:01 Pacific time (PT). At that time, a new day starts on Product Hunt. The sooner you get to the list of products, the more time you will have for promoting it and to succeed.
After launching our tool, I noticed that other products popped up in similar time. During the day, more projects had been added, but only a few. This lowered their chances of getting a larger number of upvotes — a lot!
It was so important that our product hunter knew that our product needed to be posted during that time. He wouldn’t have done that if it was 3 a.m. and he had been sleeping. We were lucky because it was 9 a.m. for us in Europe, 2 p.m. for our hunter and midnight in Pacific time.
What promo materials do I need to prepare?
All these promo materials are needed:

Screenshots of the tool
Short description
Creator comment

Be sure to be as creative as possible in this section of preparation. Design and fun play a big part on Product Hunt.
We tried to play with the logo (for which we eventually created the gif), title, keywords and emoticons. On the other hand, we didn’t prepare a breathtaking video, and our picture materials could have also needed the touch of a graphic designer.

Do I need to support my website?
Yes, you do. Although we received 1,300 sessions, our tool was a bit overloaded, and unfortunately, we had some blackouts. Throughout the day, our developers were ready to act immediately.
Should I create a landing page?
We were also thinking if we should create a landing page specifically for PH. Some makers create a landing page that contains some graphics edits. Some of them also provided discount code. Some makers don’t adjust the landing page at all.
We decided to add a simple banner with a discount to the top bar. I think it was a good decision. Users of Product Hunt who clicked through our site saw that they were in the right place. In addition, I consider it more professional if the launch is ready on all fronts.
The discount prompted several users to buy our tool, which was a good outcome.

What we had forgotten and what we considered to be important after the fact was the preparation of this landing page for indexing on Google. Our PH optimized landing page was duplicate ( to After we got increased traffic, mentions from Twitter and a few backlinks, Google started indexing this page, and we really didn’t want that.
Therefore, when creating a new landing page for PH, do not forget to place a canonical tag in the header of the page. That should ensure Google understands which URL is unique and which one is duplicate.
Can I promote it?
Yes and no.
Upvote requesting is not officially allowed. Be aware that you can’t ask friends or users for upvoting. Although, you should absolutely tell your clients or followers that it’s a big thing for you and they should check it out.
During our launch, we were constantly monitoring the development of upvotes, along with the comments we were answering. At the beginning of the day, the tool remained at fourth or fifth place. After a few hours, another product took over. Suddenly, we were in the sixth position. I was surprised. and I was also worried we would stay in sixth place and thus we would not get to the top 5 products of the day. But the more I observed the product that took over ours, the more I began to suspect the unfair practices they used to get more upvotes and comments. The numbers grew rapidly, and the users who were involved were mostly newly-established accounts.
A few hours later, the product with a higher number of upvotes fell to a position under Spotibo. The team at PH probably judged that they were using unauthorized promo and manually moved them down.
The lesson is clear — don’t push hard, because you can get into trouble and you will not get to the top 5. Upvotes must look as natural as possible; and shouldn’t be received only from new accounts or users from one country.
My final advice is — do not hesitate and launch as soon as your product is ready; it’s worth it.

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Why Emotional Connection Matters in B2B Marketing

B2C marketing always takes the credit for being emotionally evocative, creative, and envelope-pushing. B2B marketing, on the other hand, has tended to lean in favor of a more rational approach to marketing. With a more stern, business-like attitude, B2B marketers attempt to appeal to buyers based on business value.
Several years ago, Google teamed up with CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council to conduct a survey eliciting feedback from 3,000 purchasers of 36 B2B brands across multiple industries. If you’re not familiar with the survey, the results may surprise you.
They shouldn’t.
In short, B2B buyers are far more emotionally connected to their vendors than are consumers to B2C brands. And why wouldn’t that make sense? Most consumer purchases are a low-risk proposition; a person wants something and they buy it. If it doesn’t meet their needs or they are unhappy, they return it.
But B2B purchases involve a lot of risk—potentially millions of dollars involving multiple parties and people and outcomes are at stake.
Of course B2B buyers are emotionally connected. There’s no purchase without the emotional connection in place to help overcome the risk hurdle.
B2B Marketing: Quick Look at the Numbers
The Google-CEB survey had some titillating findings:

Most B2C brands haven emotional connections with somewhere between 10% and 40% of customers. On the B2B side? Seven out of nine of the B2B brands had emotional connections with more than 50% of their customers.
From a buyer’s perspective, B2B buyers are nearly 50% more apt to make a purchase where they can see personal value (e.g., it poses an opportunity for career advancement)
B2B buyers are eight times more likely to pay a premium where they feel this personal value is present.
Only 14% of B2B businesses affirmatively answered that they could “see a real difference between suppliers and value the difference enough to pay for it”

So for B2B businesses trying to sell based on business value alone, this should shift your sense of reality.
Factors that Add to Complexity
There are quite a few reasons that the B2B marketing differs from B2C marketing. Most notably, the aim of B2B buyers is to procure solutions that satisfy logic, utility and ROI. Consumers, on the other hand, tend to be drawn to emotionalism, materialism, and a little bit of logic.
Digging deeper into the details, B2B marketing requires understanding and consideration of the following speed bumps on the path to purchase:

purchasing committees
third-party buying consultants
corporate procurement processes
Long, complex purchase process
High transaction cost
Long-term commitment
Potentially long-term impacts to purchase decisions (reputation, performance, ROI)
Results and business value are highly prioritized in decision-making

In looking at this list of purchasing motivations and challenges, it’s clear that corporate pressure exists to “get it right” or perhaps more importantly to not get it wrong. And this is absolutely a true sentiment. But it shouldn’t negate a marketing strategy that can evoke the right emotions to get buyers to play ball. In fact, those two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive at all.
Three T’s and a C
I’ve read articles that say that even when trying to elicit emotional responses in B2B, there are certain things that are off-limits. Some say that things like nostalgia or humor will bring about the wrong types of emotional responses or even cause a disconnect between you and your B2B buyers.
I disagree.
We humans are complex, and while it seems logical that we can separate out our emotions one by one, the reality is that it is much more complicated than that. For some people, humor may invoke more feelings of trust than anything else. For another, that may not be the case.
I think where the real focus needs to be is in crafting a meaningful story around your brand, product, and service that presents business value with a healthy dose of humanity in order to inspire what I call the “Three T’s and a C”:


These are the elements that B2B buyers crave when looking for potential vendors: a credible partner that can be trusted to provide a solution in an honest, upfront manner. In order to evoke those feelings, B2B marketers must break the traditional marketing mold and cozy up to the idea that emotional connection can surmount many obstacles on the path to purchase.
Of course, understanding the modern B2B customer path to purchase and aligning your content marketing strategy accordingly is important. But the content you create and distribute as part of that strategy must be geared toward the Three Ts & a C to inspire meaningful action that moves prospects closer to a sale.
How to Inspire Emotional Connection With Your B2B Brand
Forging an emotional connection with B2B buyers requires careful research and consideration. For starters, you better have a solid grasp on your buyer or audience persona. You need to understand who you are creating content for and the main issues and pain points they face. Armed with a problem to solve, you can begin to look at how you frame that up to compel further consideration of your company.
Embrace Humanity
B2B buyers are doing a significant amount of research prior to purchase and sifting through what is likely boring, uninspired content. To stand out, businesses must create content that appeals to humans—not just businesses or titles.
To do this, you must put yourself in your decision maker’s shoes and consider what personal roadblocks or ramifications they face because of the “big picture” pain point. Perhaps it’s aggravation at a process that isn’t streamlined. Or maybe it’s confusion due to lack of the appropriate insights they need to do their job well. Whatever it may be, hone in on it and build a story around it.
Be Genuine
Embrace your business—the good and the not so good. Authenticity and sincerity can go a long way with an audience that is used to digesting nothing more than marketing hype. Add a little brand personality and don’t shy away from talking about missteps or outright failures—if they can help your audience.
When a business opts to be genuine rather than put on the marketing mask of “For the past 20 years, we’ve been awesome at…”, it inspires trust. You don’t have to be self-denigrating, but don’t be afraid to paint an honest picture about your business, even if it includes some hiccups you encountered along the way.
Stop Self-Censoring
Often times, B2B marketers are driven to strip any sense of vulnerability out of the process. This self-censoring can tear away any shred of meaningfulness out of marketing collateral and turn it into dry, dull, stale content.
More importantly, a little bit of vulnerability goes a long way in building credibility. Exposing the real side of your business—and the people and personalities that make up your organization—puts a face to the logo and inspires connection with the people to whom you’re trying to sell.
Don’t fall into the stern, authoritative sandtrap. Think outside the box when it comes to your B2B marketing strategy and push the boundaries of the traditional marketing framework. The data clearly highlights that B2B buyers are looking for emotional connection and that sparking that connection can have a real impact on your bottom line.
Don’t shy away from presenting a true (and perhaps slightly imperfect) picture of what your business is, stands for, and does. You’re either building trust with your audience or fading into the online sea of white noise. Be original. Be a little weird. Just keep it real.
This post originally appeared on the Content Rewired blog.

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Report: B2B Buyers Engaging Earlier with Sales

For the last decade or more, it’s been an accepted principle – almost a key tenet – of B2B demand generation that business buyers don’t want to talk to a sales rep until the last possible moment.
It’s why, for example, we marketers have assumed control for more and more of the lead funnel. There was once a time when we would generate a lead and our job would be done. Now that lead has to be nurtured, educated, scored, enriched, appended and qualified before we would dare hand it off to sales.

Well, that very basic assumption, that business buyers prefer to be anonymous and self-directed, and uninterested in engaging with sales until they’re absolutely ready to buy, may be in question.
Last week, the folks at Demand Gen Report released their “2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report,” and one of their key findings, supported by multiple data points, was this:
“Buyers are accelerating the time to engage with sales reps so they can make decisions as quickly – or as slowly – as desired.”
For example, 42% of the executives surveyed in the report said that they spoke to and engaged with reps in the first month, compared to only 33% just 12 months earlier.

If this finding is true, and genuinely indicative of a larger trend, it could have major ramifications for the way in which B2B demand marketers manage leads. Now, I’m not about to advocate that we all dismantle our lead nurturing programs and hand off leads to sales at the first opportunity, but there are more incremental steps that companies can take to ensure – if buyers are indeed ready to engage earlier in the process – that they have the opportunity to do so. For example:
* Lead Scoring. How well does your current lead scoring program identify prospects exhibiting signs of buyer intent? Are you capturing Web behavior such as visits to high-value pages? Are you integrating third-party intent data? A highly tuned lead scoring program will help ensure that motivated buyers receive the appropriate attention and don’t fall through the proverbial cracks.
* Sales Alerts. How well does your current lead management process alert reps – be they BDRs or field reps – to high-intent behavior? If sales is alerted to virtually any sign of interest on the part of a prospect (say, an email click), those alerts quickly become worthless and duly ignored. Re-evaluate your current system to ensure that there’s a hierarchy of alerts – from emails to assigned tasks – that properly align with different types of prospect behavior. For example, at our agency, we use Slack channels to alert specific sales execs when a prospect requests to “contact sales.”
* Gated & Secondary Offers. There’s a trend in our business towards ungated offers and “reducing friction” in the demand generation process, but I’ve always argued that gating offers – even in a nurture stream where you already know who the individual is – provides a valuable opportunity to drive additional engagement by serving up what I call “secondary offers.”
Secondary offers are calls to action – usually placed on a thank you page or in a fulfillment email – related to the action the prospect just took – as in: thank you for downloading our white paper, here’s a recorded Webinar you might like. The notion that prospects are ready to engage more quickly also suggests that late stage offers – ROI calculators, demos, product data sheets, case studies – should be introduced, or at least presented, earlier in the process for those prospects who might be ready to take the next step.
* Conversational Marketing. I wrote very recently in this space about the huge potential for integrating chatbots, and what is being referred to as “conversational marketing,” into the demand generation process. Indeed, one of the primary use cases for chatbots is increasing the rate at which Web visitors and other prospects engage with sales. If this buyer behavior trend is true, there’s an even stronger case for including chatbots on thank you pages, for example, where they can help to identify more highly motivated prospects, and connect them with a sales rep immediately.
Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

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4 Social Monitoring Tools to Gain Insights on Your Brand Campaigns

Today I have some social monitoring tools to help you improve your brand growth online.
Keeping track of your social media brand mentions can be difficult — as a business you need to have more focus to determine how well your marketing campaigns are performing. Getting the right tools lined up will greatly improve your research. Would you like to find out more about what your audience is saying about your brand? Take advantage of these social monitoring tools, and let me know how these work for you!
1) Online reputation management – Trackur
Gather important analytics for your brand quickly and easily with an easy to follow dashboard. The Trackur tool, available on a computer or your smart device, includes user-friendly features like Excel reporting of your social networks, in-depth analysis of influencer conversations, news feed and blog monitoring, and more. Clean up search engine results as well as improve your overall reputation online.

2) Smart social listening – Hoosuite Insights
Whether you are a PR firm, marketer, social media manager, Hootsuite Insights provides brand and industry analysis, metrics for your ‘Likes’ and followers, demographic analysis, and real-time social media measurement all from one place. Gain a better understanding of conversations in order to measure social sentiment. Use this tool to stay in touch with your community and to be one step ahead of others in your niche.

3) Understand multi-channel impact – Cision
Identify the right influencers and make a good impression on your audience. Cision is powerful online software, which allows you to discover actionable insights on your social accounts with precise data analytics and customer engagement tracking. This will allow your brand to produce high quality results as well as connect with leaders in your industry.

4) Real-time social listening with results – Nuvi
Improve your social media reach and better engage with your brand followers. Use Nuvi to monitor content in your niche as well as all of the major social networks in real time. The software not only includes keyword analyzation, but also social groups and topics from fans and influencers. This tool is a powerful resource for social media monitoring and data reporting.

Hopefully you will find these social media monitoring tools useful to your brand marketing strategy and reach. Are there any that you would like to add as well?
Have fun with these tips and tools.

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Hiring For “Caring”

My good friend, Buck McGugan, and I were having a conversation about sales performance. We were talking about what separates consistent high performers from everyone else.
There were the usual competencies, we tend to think about–curiosity, business acumen, comfort with talking with money, resilience, mindset, and so forth. But then we started talking about “Caring.”
All of a sudden, at the core of sales performance is this thing called caring. We started talking about what this really means, discovering it has many dimensions:

Do you care about your customer? For too many sales people, our “caring” for the customer is limited to how much revenue can we produce. But in our conversation caring was more deep. Do you care for them as people/individuals? Do you understand their goals, organizationally/individually, and are you driven to help them achieve their goals? Do you care enough to be politely relentless, helping them identify opportunities they may not be aware of?
Do you care about your peers and their success? Thankfully, the day of the lone wolf is long past. None of us exist in a world where we don’t depend on others for our success, as they depend on us for theirs. Do you care about your peers and others in your company, both as human beings and for their role? Do you recognize without them, you couldn’t be successful? Do you proactively help them, coach them where you can? Are you as happy for their successes as you are about your own?
Do you care about your manager and the management team? Just as with your peers, without them we can’t be successful. Their jobs are different than ours, do you understand their role and help them succeed?
As the complement to (3) if you are a manager do you care about your people? Are you interested in their success? If they aren’t successful, you never can be? Are you interested in their development and growth as professionals/people? Are you demonstrating your caring by investing in them–coaching, developing, retaining them? Too often, we think of people as commodities we can swap in and out. We don’t realize the tremendous impact and real business cost of this practice, it is in the millions for each person.
As an extension of (3) and (4), do you care about your company? And not just as a source of a pay check, but do you care about it’s success? Do you care enough to identify things the company may be doing that adversely impact it’s success–at least with customers. You are probably the first person that will see how customers react to their experience with your company. Do you care enough about your company to try to correct that?
Do you care about your community? Again, we don’t live in isolation, we live in a number of communities, both real and virtual. Do you care about the members of the community and how you can help them with their goals? Almost certainly, if your community isn’t achieving it’s goals, it has an adverse impact on you.
Do you care about yourself? Are you obsessively committed to learning, improving, growing? Do you have a growth mindset?

“Caring,” isn’t some sort of soft, “feel good” attribute. Caring is ruthlessly pragmatic and growth focused (as well as the right thing to doe). Without caring, we cannot be successful as individuals. We will move from paycheck to paycheck, but fall far short of what we could achieve.
As managers, what are you doing to assess people’s “caring” in your recruiting process? What are you doing to build and develop their capacity to care? What are you doing to set a personal example of caring?
Somehow, without caring, it all becomes kind of pointless.

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Revisiting the Top PR Trends for 2019

“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” – Richard Branson
At the close of 2018 experts and pundits put forth their projections for what would be the top PR trends for 2019. Now that we’re halfway through the year, we thought we’d look back at those predictions to see how well they’ve played out. Were they right? Based on what we’re seeing, yes, they were. So, what were and currently are the top PR trends?
An Increased Emphasis in Consumer Interaction, Accountability and Trust
According to predictions from this article from Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,” interaction with the consumer base, accountability, and trust in the company were conveyed with increasing importance.[1] In fact, interaction with consumers has been and continues to be a priority, but the prediction includes the use of technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools to better reach customers.[2] In a separate article from Meltwater, “2019 PR Predictions: 10 PR Influencers Talk About Trends That Will (Re)Shape the Industry,” Martin Wax, president of Waxman Communications, predicts that the use of AI in particular will see an increase despite the possible ethical issues of privacy it brings.[3]
Accountability also was predicted to be an emphasis in 2019. More specifically, delivering on pitches, rather than landing an assignment only to either miss the deadline or renege, is especially important.[4]
Lastly, trust was predicted to be particularly crucial in 2019. This Edelman study, “2019 Edelman Trust Barometer”[5] shows that “media has become the least-trusted institution.”[6] Moreover, this trust has shifted from the media to experts in the field. Although gaining and maintaining trust has been an ongoing challenge, predictions called for the sharing of knowledge and insights.
Current Trends and How They Reflect the Predictions
As of this year’s halfway point, predictions for 2019 based on the mentioned emphases have mostly come to fruition. According to this article, “6 PR trends every business needs to incorporate in 2019,” by James Cummings of Agility PR, consumer interaction, accountability, and trust are all trending in the new year.[7] However, the article gives no mention to the use of AI or machine learning when it came to consumer interaction. This is not to say that those things are not of import so much as something to consider later down the road. Instead, there has been more of a stress on “leveraging social media in order to give brands emotions that extend to the audience.”[8] The article also does not mention accountability but instead places stock in transparency and authenticity to gain the trust of consumers. This could be accomplished by showing “elements of your product/service to help consumers ease into them.”[9] Further, though accountability is not mentioned, it is not mutually exclusive with securing trust, as one can hardly exist without the other.
After looking at the 2019 predictions by public relations experts and pundits then comparing them to the trends at the halfway point, things seem to be on track with few exceptions. Rather than thinking in terms of using new technology to interact with consumers, leveraging social media to extend emotion to the audience is the current inclination. Further, instead of accountability, trust in experts has become more significant to consumers. Yet, accountability is part of securing trust if you want your brand to see continued growth in this year and for the foreseeable future.
NOTE: This post first appeared on the St. Conti Communications blog.

[1] Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,”
[2] Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,”
[3] Meltwater, “2019 PR Predictions: 10 PR Influencers Talk About Trends That Will (Re)Shape the Industry,”
[4] Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,”
[5] Edelman, “2019 Edelman Trust Barometer,”
[6] Inc., “7 PR Trends That Will Help You Prepare For 2019,”
[7] Public Relations Today, “6 PR trends every business needs to incorporate in 2019,”
[8] Public Relations Today, “6 PR trends every business needs to incorporate in 2019,”
[9] Public Relations Today, “6 PR trends every business needs to incorporate in 2019,”

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