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Your 2019 Guide to SEO Outsourcing
If you’re the owner of a small business, you’ve got dozens of tasks on your mind: generating leads and sales, personal branding, social media marketing, employee payroll… the list goes on and on.
How much thought and effort have you put into search engine optimization?
This is the process of attracting organic (free) traffic from the search results in search engines. You need your business to appear high-up in the organic results or potential clients won’t even know you exist.
Do this process right, and you’ll get targeted traffic landing on your website to learn more and/or buy what you’re selling.
Fail, and your potential clients will find your competitors without even knowing you exist.
Often, small business owners are trying to make small marketing budgets stretch. They may even take search engine optimization upon themselves, cobbling together a DIY campaign that doesn’t get results or ultimately damages them.
Or, they hire a company that’s making them lots of false promises, like “You’ll be #1 in Google!” (Nobody can promise you that, by the way).
Here are three compelling reasons to hire a pro if you’re wondering “Should I pay for SEO?”

You benefit from an expert’s experience and knowledge.
Although nobody but Google knows the answer, it’s widely estimated that there are 200 factors used by Google’s search algorithm to rank websites and pages.
This part of your marketing is a LOT of work and responsibility—are you willing to do it yourself or trust your company’s success to an overseas firm that offers you rock-bottom prices?
If you hire the wrong company, it’s not just about poor results. Many of these companies employ what’s known as black hat techniques. These are shady practices that Google will punish you for, perhaps even by removing you from search results entirely.
A good search engine optimization strategist is on top of the ever-changing rules and trends and will play by Google’s rules. They will evaluate your competitors and help you create and implement a strategy that will get results.

One of the keyword tools your consultant will probably use.

They’ll help you create a better user experience.
When it comes to SEO outsourcing, it’s important to look at it as a holistic process. Their efforts should impact your entire website, not just the pages with optimized content.
That’s why it’s essential to find a reputable marketing company that doesn’t just focus on keywords. While targeting the right keywords and using them the right amount of times throughout your website is key, there’s more to it than that, such as:

How fast your site loads
If your navigation is user-friendly or not
Mobile friendliness

By hiring a well-rounded marketing company, your strategy isn’t just focused on keywords, but on other essential factors that can make or break your success.

They’ll analyze the data.
It’s one thing to make changes and test out different things, but how are you measuring your success or lack thereof? You’re only going to see results and improve what isn’t working if you’re diving deep into your stats and making adjustments.
If you hire an SEO specialist, he or she can provide you with stats such as:

Number of visitors
The keywords people are using to find your site
Bounce rate (how many people are landing on a page, not interacting with it and leaving)
What content visitors are interacting with
How much traffic you’re getting from social media

It’s unlikely that you have the time or training to look closely at your analytics and pull out the relevant data. By opting for paid search optimization, you can focus on what you do best within your business.
An example of Google Analytics stats your consultant will be able to analyze.

Questions to Ask Before You Hire an SEO Specialist
You need to look at this process as a job interview. You’re hiring a VIP for your company—the person who is going to attract visitors and keep them on your site.
Before you hire another person for your team, here are six questions to ask your potential new employee:

Can you guarantee that our site will rank #1 for a search term?
This is the first question you should ask, because if the answer is “Yes,” they’re not a reputable company. Like I mentioned above, nobody can guarantee this.

How do you plan on improving our search engine rankings?
If your consultant or firm is good, they’ll have a tried-and-true search engine optimization strategy they’ll happily share with you. Watch for vague answers around linking or keyword research—there’s much more to it than that.
Speaking of links, as them about how they plan on building links. One good backlink is worth more than thousands of low-quality backlinks, and some consultants will try to wow you with the number rather than the quality.

What’s your reporting process?
Ask your potential company what metrics they track. You need to be informed of what’s happening, and usually companies send a monthly report (at least).
Be wary of those who don’t have a solid schedule to keep clients in the loop—this is often because they don’t have enough good results to share.

Do you optimize for voice search?
When you hire someone, they need to think beyond the right-now and focus on the future of your business. A short-sighted strategy isn’t going to get you results in the long run, and voice search should absolutely be on your radar.
According to ComScore, 50% of searches will be voice searches by 2020, so you should be optimizing your website for voice search now.

Can you provide referrals or testimonials from clients?
A reputable company should have online referrals that include the names and organizations of those who recommend them, either on their company site, or on Google or Yelp.
If someone doesn’t have any examples of past successes, they’re not going to be able to take your business to the next level.
Here’s a good trick: ask them which client has been with them the longest. If it’s under a year or two, run! That means that they probably employ short-term techniques that don’t last.
Here is an example of some kind words on the eVision Media website:

Why should I hire you?
Listen for red flags like “We’re the cheapest” or “We get you the largest number of links.” You want to hear that their plan involves a longer-term strategy with research, implementation and testing.

These are some great ways to help you find a reputable, professional business to tackle your SEO needs. If you’re asking, “How much does SEO cost?” my answer is: that depends.
A trustworthy firm will work with you to find the package and pricing that’s best for your business.

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Would you like to capture more emails? Want to get more out of your paid advertising?
How about converting 1 out of every 5 website visitors?
It may sound inconceivable. It might seem like catching lightning in a bottle. But Matcha has done it, and done it repeatedly. Lightning does strike the same place twice.
In this post, I share exactly how to optimize your website popup to maximize lead capture. At Matcha, we do this with content-powered popups.
Using content-powered popups, one Matcha customer saw an 1800% increase in their conversion rate. On our own site, we saw an 842% increase. Other Matcha customers have seen improvements in the 10-20x range.
Let’s get into it!
Regular Popups vs. Content-Powered Popups
Content-powered popups came from asking a very simple question: Can website popup performance be significantly improved by taking a different approach than what everyone else is doing?
There are two types of popups that everyone uses.

Sign up for my newsletter (because my content is great)
Get a discount code for sharing your email address

We’ve all seen these popups. And we’ve all dismissed hundreds of them. Maybe thousands. That’s why these type of popups typically convert less than 2% of visitors (and oftentimes, that conversion rate dips below a dismal 0.5%).
We discovered that content-powered popups could move a conversion rate from 0.5% to nearly 20%.
Content-powered popups’ success comes from:

Providing a compelling, relevant, and timely offer
Delivering that offer at the right time (i.e., in the right context)
Aligning the offer to the right person or audience

Simply put, you need to deliver something of value to the right person at the right moment on your website.
The Matcha platform makes doing this a breeze. But even if you don’t use Matcha, you can still DIY. You just need a popup tool, a blog, and some elbow grease.
Matcha helps small and growing brands with ecommerce websites transform their blogs into lead and traffic magnets. The Matcha platform allows you to effortlessly publish professionally produced content, distribute those articles to the right people, capture leads with content-powered popups, and track and optimize results with a powerful analytics dashboard.
Create a Compelling, Relevant, and Timely Popup Offer
The #1 reason so many website popups fail? They don’t offer something that’s immediately valuable.
When we first launched our popup at Matcha, we offered people the ability to sign up for our newsletter. We promised great articles on ecommerce marketing, blogging, and more delivered to their inbox weekly! No surprise the conversion rate was a disappointing 0.9%.
After a lot of testing, we found that content-powered popups convert more website visitors than any other type of offer That means the popup gives someone an article, guide, or other type of content in exchange for their email address.
Finally! We’d cracked the code.
An example of a content-powered popup that helped to increase conversion rates by 842% on the Matcha site
So, we brought our newfound knowledge to our customers.
At first, the brands we were testing this idea with were skeptical. They thought: How could a PDF or ebook be more compelling than a discount on my products?
But the data from our tests convinced them. We (and our customers) regularly saw a 10x improvement in conversion rates with a content offer.
Why?
For a new visitor, a discount isn’t relevant unless they’re already considering purchasing. A coupon isn’t something they’re immediately going to use. In fact, it can quickly devalue your product in the eyes of a new visitor because the first thing they see is essentially a sale. It can signal the wrong things about your product.
On the other hand, offering information (i.e., content) in exchange for a visitor’s email address provides immediate value. It also has the benefit of establishing your brand as an expert and a trustworthy source of information. And, you don’t have to give up any margin to get a lead.
Deliver the Offer at the Right Time
This is also known as contextualizing your popup.
To ensure your popup performs well, you must understand and manage the context in which it’s being served. Consider:

Where did the visitor come from?
Are they new or returning?
Are they already on your newsletter list?
Are they already a customer?
What pages on your site are they visiting?

For example, if a new visitor lands on your homepage, this is not the time to offer them a discount for the reasons I discussed above. But if someone has added something to their cart and is about exit your site, that’s a different story. You may want to offer them a discount before they exit because they’re already in the buying mindset.
Unless someone is showing clear buying intent, you shouldn’t offer them a discount. You need to offer them valuable information instead.
Content-powered popups use your blog and the articles in it to determine the context. Let’s consider an example.
Let’s say you sell a backpack that is perfect as a carry-on for recreational travelers. Any growing business worth its salt knows that it needs a blog. In this case, you would likely be blogging about the leisure travel lifestyle: tantalizing places to visit, how to sleep on a plane, how to travel light, and so on. These articles all provide context for what your website visitors are interested in. With content-powered popups, you can deliver a guide to international travel to display to any new visitor to one of these travel posts.
Everly’s content-powered popup targeting their keto audience
Compelling content offered in the right context is irresistible to visitors. Take a look at the screenshot above, featuring a guide to the keto diet. This popup appears on CPG brand Everly’s blog. It appears when people are reading articles about keto and low-carb diets, so it’s highly contextualized. With this approach, this popup converted 19% of readers to subscribers!
Being contextual means offering the right thing at the right time to the right person. You might consider having the above popup display on Keto product pages in addition to blog articles about Keto. Also, you could use discounts contextually to get better results. For example, you might set your popup to show a discount to anyone who is a return visitor on a product page showing exit intent. The key is to be relevant, timely, and compelling with your offer.
Align the Offer to the Right Audience
You might be wondering how to control which audiences see which popups. How can you control who goes to specific blog articles? Well, you can’t entirely, but you can proactively drive the right people to the right pages.
If you’re not using content ads on Facebook and Instagram, you’re missing a huge opportunity to attract new audiences and customers at a fraction of the price of your product ads.
Don’t take my word for it. Here is what Nik Sharma, Head of DTC at VaynerMedia and 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 said:
“There are three reasons this approach works. First, driving a paid click to a piece of content is only a few cents, compared to driving a click to a brand or landing page, which could be up to $5-6 per click. Second, with retargeting you’re able to immediately build qualified audiences. Third, great content doesn’t sell a product. It sells an opportunity to better an aspect of your life.”
Using targeted ads ensures you attract the right people, allows you to optimize audiences, and gives you insight into different niches within your audience. Audience insights from Facebook paired with conversion analytics from your popup provider give you incredibly rich information about your audience.
After you dial in your audience targeting, you can switch from the typical cost per click optimization to cost per lead targeting and really ramp up lead conversion and optimize down costs.
Matcha does this as part of our content-powered popups. Early users have seen a 50 to 75% decrease in cost per lead — and sometimes even more!
Other Important Website Popup Considerations
I have a few other small tips for you to keep in mind as you’re implementing your own content-powered popups:

Popup timing
Popup design
Mobile vs. desktop

Popup Timing
Matcha ran a bunch of tests to see at what point should you serve a popup when someone is reading a blog article. We tested how well popups convert when they appear 3, 6, 15, and 30 seconds into a reader’s time on page. We also tested popups that appeared as soon as the visitor started scrolling down the page.We didn’t test exit intent because most of the traffic we were testing was from mobile.
Here are the results from our popup timing tests.

Rule
Conversion Rate

3-second delay
14%

6-second delay
17%

15-second delay
15%

30-second delay
21%

On scroll
3%

Overall, we recommend using a 6-second delay. Even though the 30 second delay converts at a higher rate, you’ll have fewer people who see the popup and end up with fewer leads overall.
Popup Design
It’s pretty simple. The more professionally designed your popup looks, the better it makes your site and brand look. If your design is poor, then people won’t trust your popup or your brand. You don’t necessarily need a graphic designer to build the popup because most tools provide templates and a visual builder. But, you should take a look at good popup designs and borrow from them.
Alternately, you can use freelance sites to find affordable designers to do it for you.

A well-designed popup should be interesting and clearly communicate your offer
Mobile vs. Desktop Popups
If your popup isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s hurting more than it’s helping Popups need to render just as beautifully and clearly on a phone or tablet as they do on a computer. Why? Because in all likelihood, you’re going to get a lot more traffic from mobile. A bad experience on mobile can result in a huge drop in your conversion rate.
You may need to create a separate design just for serving the popup on mobile — even if your tool says that you don’t need to. You should always manually test your popups on a mobile device because your tool may display it correctly but it might still appear small and unreadable on mobile.

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Ever had a great experience at a restaurant or another business that was so amazing you were compelled to share it with your friends? If so, you engaged in word-of-mouth marketing—and this phenomenon can help your own brand, too.
Whenever customers positively share your brand with their friends, family, or peers, either online or offline, that counts as word-of-mouth marketing. Happy customers will spread the word about your products to their friends, and their trusted recommendations will likely convince these friends to become your new customers. And the best part? Word-of-mouth marketing is organic and can be totally free!
Sometimes, it seems like you can’t influence whether word-of-mouth marketing happens. But, word-of-mouth recommendations and referral marketing are closely linked, because referral programs depend on word of mouth. With referral programs, you can encourage happy customers to spread the word about you.
But how can you create a referral marketing program that’s highly likely to drive word-of-mouth sharing? Let’s check out tips and referral marketing success stories!
Why Use A Referral Program?
As a brand, if you’re focusing all your energy on delivering your own messages, you’re fighting a losing battle. People trust recommendations from their friends more than they trust any messaging that comes directly from brands.
The priority and trust that people give to their peers make referral programs effective marketing tools. Whether they’re given online or in person, referrals feel authentic and organic—so they deliver powerful results for your brand.
There are several compelling reasons to invest in creating referral programs, and to let customers deliver your messages for you:
In this digital, content-saturated world, people tune out traditional ads because they don’t seem relevant.

According to Social Media Today, only 33% of consumers say they trust traditional ads.
Tribe reports that nearly half of consumers think traditional ads are “annoying or irrelevant.”
Many consumers actively hide ads entirely with ad blocking software, because they see ads as too invasive. 30% of all consumers actively turn to ad blockers to hide ads entirely, and almost two-thirds of 18- to 34-year-olds block ads.

But when a friend, family member, or influencer talks about a product they love, people listen. They trust that their friend is not misleading them, and that the friend shared the genuine, positive experiences with the product to help others.
In fact, personal experience is the source of information that people trust most.

More than 90% of consumers from various markets trust recommendations from people in their network.
82% of consumers proactively seek referrals from peers before deciding whether to purchase a product.
According to Jay Baer, 92% of consumers trust user-generated content and word of mouth more than advertising.
83% of Americans say that word of mouth recommendations from people they trust makes them more likely to purchase a product or service.
People are 4 times more likely to buy a product after a friend refers them.

And many referral programs leverage the power of social media – where people constantly share with each other.

Nearly 75% of consumers rely on word-of-mouth on social media when deciding whether to purchase a product.
67% are more likely to purchase a product after a friend recommends it through social media or email.
65% of social media users learn about brands, products, and services through social networks.
70% of social media users hear about their friends’ and colleagues’ experiences using products and services.

Increasing Word-Of-Mouth Through Referral Programs: Crucial Tips
Now that you know the power of word-of-mouth, it’s time to design a referral program that will encourage customers to spread the word about you! For the maximum sharing impact, use these crucial tips:
1. Incentivize sharing!
Referral programs must give customers a reason to share your products with their friends—and referral incentives offer the most effective reason to share, whether they’re in the form of discounts, cash, credits, free products, or other rewards.

ColourPop’s referral program offers incentives for both the referrer and friend and cumulatively rewards referrers $5 in store credit for every new customer they refer successfully. Source: Referral Marketing School

Consider cumulative incentives, which give the opportunity to earn credits, free products, or discount coupons for every friend a customer refers. Make it easy for customers to track these rewards with dynamic displays.
Also consider two-sided rewards, which reward both the person making the referral and the friend(s) they shared it with.
Cash doesn’t always work as well as credits and discounts. A University of Chicago study reported that non-cash incentives are 24% more effective at boosting performance than cash incentives. So, only turn to cash if your customers aren’t likely to make repeat purchases for a while (like if you sell cars or mattresses).

The most cost-effective reward? Store credits. They keep money in your business and give valued customers a reason to keep coming back (and keep spreading the word!)
Offering free premium features or products after a certain number of successful referrals is also an effective technique.
Make sure that your referral program call-to-action (the most prominent text of your referral page or window) clearly advertises the incentives you offer.
Think about building in an air of exclusivity by making referral and friend incentives better than your “regular” discounts and sales. Your customers will want to let their friends in on the savings because they care—and you’ll reap the rewards, too!

2. Make social sharing easy
Most modern word-of-mouth marketing happens on social media. After all, it’s the easiest way to communicate with friends. Thus, it’s only natural for people to share brands and products on social networks, usually with all of their online friends at once.
Plus, this information can quickly spread to friends of friends, if those friends decide to share further. So, give your customers an easy way to share your brand on social media with a referral program!

Provide options to instantly share a referral link via Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social media channels (along with an email sharing option). Choose these channels based on where your audience spends the most time.
Supply a prewritten message, with image, so users can accurately share the referral offer with just a few clicks. Make sure the message sounds conversational, not salesy, as real people will be sharing it.
But also give users the option to customize the exact message that they post to social media. This will add all-important authenticity to the referral! Some companies even require that customers customize their referral message.
Make sure your referral program is mobile-friendly. After all, so many people use mobile devices for shopping and the purchasing of services, as well as social media sharing (and texting friends!). If you have a brand app, integrate the referral program so it’s easy to find.

3. Make all sharing simple.
Remember, one major goal of referral programs is to make word-of-mouth marketing easy for all involved. The sooner your visitors understand what you want them to do and how, the sooner they’ll spread the word to their friends!

Include multiple sharing options like email, social media, and text, so all visitors can pick the most convenient option for themselves.
Enable customers to copy and paste a unique referral link directly, without tying it to a specific sharing method. That way, people can share it on their social account of choice, email it, or text it, with their own message.
Cut down on the steps needed to refer a friend, as much as possible.
Also, make sure the text is streamlined on referral pages and windows (including the offer) and easy-to-understand, not cluttered.
Make sure that anyone can find your referral program easily, via a compelling action button. Ideally, this button should be placed “above the fold” of a website, before users scroll down. Even if they haven’t bought your product before, people might share before buying because they think the product is valuable to them or their friends.

4. Target customers who believe in your brand—the most likely to share
Before they spread kind words about your brand, customers must already love your products enough to share! Usually, existing customers are your best referrals will give the best referrals as they can speak from experience.
But if they believe in your brand (even if your products have not launched yet), new customers can also provide valuable word-of-mouth shares.

Your satisfied existing customers provide a strong testimonial to others about why they should purchase from you. So, your referral program must be especially easy for existing customers to find.
Consider programming referral banners and pop-ups to appear more prominently for returning site visitors, or including referral program info in your emails to customers.
Provide an incentive for customers who read about your brand and its mission, and then share a post on social media. This is an especially helpful technique if you’re just launching your brand, to find customers who are invested enough in your products to spread the word.
Consider when to enable referral programs for a visitor only after they’re either signed into a brand account or after they’ve entered their email to sign up for your email list (the latter also works well for pre-launch startups).

3 Referral Program Examples That Have Delivered Powerful Word-Of-Mouth
Now, let’s take a look at three of the most dynamic referral program success stories, which have driven word-of-mouth recommendations like masters. We’ve even included two brands that got their start from referral programs, so you can see how they exploded!
Uber
Rideshare giant Uber has delivered one of the best-known referral program successes. Yes, the main reason why Uber is so successful is that it provides a convenient commuter alternative to taxis, especially in cities.
But word-of-mouth marketing is also a major contributor to its success, thanks to its streamlined referral program for both drivers and riders. Uber started out by offering valuable amounts of credits to referring riders and their friends, with no limit to the number you could earn, and this quickly caused new customers to come rolling in.
Today, riders can earn $20 in Uber credits for every friend they refer who takes their first Uber ride (advertised as a free ride, as most Uber rides cost less than $20). The friend gets $20 in credits as well: $5 off their first 4 rides. And drivers aren’t left out, either.
When an Uber driver refers a friend by sharing their personal driver referral code, and that friend becomes a driver, the referrer and friend both earn a reward.

Uber’s Free Rides program for riders who refer. Source: Referral Marketing School
Why It Works

Streamlined but Versatile Format: Finding and using the referral page on Uber’s app is easy: riders just need to tap on “free rides,” copy their personal invite code, and paste it into the messages and social media posts of their choosing. The “free rides” text makes the program easy-to-find and enticing. Meanwhile, the code system is simple to figure out, even for newer Uber users, and drastically cuts down on the steps needed to refer. And since users are already signed into their Uber account, they don’t need to enter any additional information to access the referral code. Rather, the app already has what is needed. So, users are much more likely to send the codes to their friends!
Mobile-Based Meets Users Where They Are: Yes, Uber itself is mobile-based, but having a mobile-centric program meets customers where they spend most of their time—with their devices. Since Uber users keep the app open while they’re awaiting their rideshare, this increases the odds that they’ll find and engage with the referral program.
Cumulative Rewards: As long as Uber riders don’t exceed the referral cap in a given timeframe, they will earn cumulative free ride credits for every new friend they refer.

Girlfriend Collective
Instead of using an expensive advertising campaign, athleisure brand Girlfriend Collective smartly decided to use a referral program to promote their products before they launched.
Interested customers who read their FAQ and shared a referral link on Facebook received a code for a free pair of $80 leggings, made from recycled water bottles (customers paid only the cost of shipping). The campaign was so successful that they received 10,000 orders on launch day and extended this referral promotion even longer. Their website even crashed because the campaign was so popular!
Ellie Dinh, Co-founder of Girlfriend Collective, explains to Instyle why she rejected ads and chose a referral marketing campaign: “It costs money to acquire a new customer. So we just took the budget for traditional advertising and delegated it differently. This is, essentially, our ad.”

Girlfriend Collective promotes its free leggings referral program on Instagram prior to launch. Source: Girlfriend Collective
Why It Worked

Enticing Reward: Few people will say no to a free product that they’re genuinely interested in. And Girlfriend Collective made their incentive clear! While an immediate free product incentive of this scale isn’t recommended unless you’re just launching, consider offering enticing free products that customers will earn after a certain amount of referrals.
Mobilized Believers In the Brand Mission: Only customers who clicked through the FAQ, and thus only those who showed interest in Girlfriend Collective’s philosophy, were eligible to refer friends and receive the reward. These customers were also among the first to receive and have experiences with the product, making them even more equipped to refer more friends down the line.
Leveraged Social Media with a Powerful Incentive: The Facebook link let each interested customer share with multiple friends at once. Also, the attractive incentive was so enticing to referrers’ friends that many shared their own link with their own friends.

Harry’s
Razor brand Harry’s also decided to be proactive by using a referral program to market before their launch. Since they planned to operate under a subscription model, they wanted to collect as many email addresses as possible before launch.
So, when website visitors entered their own email address into a streamlined landing page, to sign up for updates on the service, this triggered a referral page. On this page, visitors were asked to spread the word to friends who might also be interested in the service, using email, Facebook, or Twitter, with a unique referral link.
When a person got enough friends to successfully sign up for Harry’s email updates, they were rewarded with free products—the more friends who signed up, the more products the person earned. The campaign ran for a week leading up to launch. In that week alone, Harry’s secured 85,000 valid email addresses of interested potential customers—and today, the company is worth almost a billion dollars!

Harry’s prelaunch referral program page with dynamic reward tracker. Source: Tim.blog
Why It Worked

Stacked, Easy-to-Track Rewards: The more friends who signed up for Harry’s emails via a referrer’s unique link, the more free products referrers earned. Also, Harry’s made it easy for referrers to keep track of what rewards they earned, and how many more referrals were needed for the next reward, with a dynamic progress bar.
Mobilized Interested Visitors: Only those who entered their email, and thus showed interest in Harry’s products, were eligible to refer.
Tapped Into Social Media Sharing: Harry’s made it easy for people to spread the word to multiple friends at once, via Facebook or Twitter. The company provided prewritten but conversational messages for referrers to post on their social media accounts.
Leveraged Exclusivity: Harry’s made its brand feel exclusive by inviting interesting customers to be the first to know about their launch (complete with key), and then encouraging customers to pass on this insider info to their friends.
Designed Program Pages for Clarity: Streamlined the referral process by including only the needed text, but still provided all the needed information.

Key Takeaways
Word-of-mouth marketing provides free publicity for your business. Referral marketing is a powerful tool for encouraging word-of-mouth because it rewards people for sharing your brand with friends, and simplifies the process for both the brand and consumer. When designing a referral program, make sure to offer incentives for referring; tap into social media sharing; make it easy for all customers to share; and focus on encouraging referrals from people who believe in your brand. Following these tips, and taking cues from word-of-mouth referral success stories like Uber, Girlfriend Collective, and Harry’s, will increase word-of-mouth sharing and help boost your customer base!

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How to Win at Mobile App Testing

Tuesday, 04 June 2019 by

A bug-free mobile app is a myth. It is because mobile devices have limitations and overcoming those limitations for any mobile app development company is implausible.
The only thing you can do about bugs is to catch and destroy them before your customers find out.
Typically, a mobile app development service provider has its own limitations; they majorly have to work around what is being given to them by OS providers and mobile device manufacturers.

Image source: https://learndatamodeling.com/
Mobile device screen sizes, their extensions and colors, a variety of operating system specifics and component configuration along with varying network connection at different data rates are some of the elements that make mobile app testing an indefinite process.
Besides, emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Internet of Things also put pressure on app developers to quickly learn and implement the technology into apps to make them advanced and more efficient.All these factors make mobile app testing integral to the mobile app development process.
The Objectives of Mobile App Testing
Through mobile app testing, every company strives to achieve these 5 major goals:

Functionality: To ensure that the functionality required by the mobile app owner has been met.
Usability: The testing helps to determine that the app is usable, intuitive, and easy to use for the users, who are trying the application for the first time. It also helps the mobile application development company to ensure that the user’s journey throughout the application is smooth and convenient.
Consistency: The testing helps to ensure that mobile app functions seamlessly on different platforms and provide good performance in uncertain conditions.
Interruption: The key purpose of the mobile phone is to enable users to make and receive calls. This testing helps to ensure that the mobile app does not interrupt the core functions of the mobile phone like does not disconnect the call or not show messages received when the user is using the app.
Security: The testing enables the mobile app development companies to determine the level of vulnerabilities to hacking, accessibility and authentication policies, data security, and other security standards.

Testing the mobile app for the bugs has two crucial aspects. One is to find the bugs and other is finding the source of the bugs. Your QA team can find the bugs, but it is on the app developers to find its source and remove it.
How to Achieve Mobile App Testing Objectives
To achieve the mobile app testing objectives, it is essential for the mobile app development company to build a strong QA team that ensures the highest degree of quality output.
The team members must be capable of conducting a thorough investigation of the software product while following an inquisitive and out-of-the-box thinking approach.
But, before we take a deep dive into the mobile app testing and how the QA team can achieve those objectives, let’s first understand the mobile app ecosystem.
Mobile Application EcosystemApp Type Platform Capability Distribution

Native
Single
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Testing could be carried out at any phase of coding, including after the launch. But at each stage, the process and devices must change, so as to efficiently tackle the sudden a change, such as the change in business requirement, the addition of a new feature or functionality, and new update in operating systems.
Any testing process must be based on three crucial factors:

Current problems and processes
Hand on test devices
One Central testing repository

These three factors set the testing priorities in any area that you might think can create a problem for the users or the business. The QA team must be ready with business requirement documentation and latest testing tools to achieve the testing objectives.
To begin with, the team must identify the current problems and processes. To do that, you need to ask the following crucial questions for each of the factors.
1. Questions Must be Asked by the QA Team When Dealing with Current Problems and Process.

What is the current production problem we have?
What are the critical components that must work?
What problems are complex and difficult to find?
What areas of testing is consuming most of the time?

These are the basic parameters that your mobile application must meet. For the same, provide your mobile app testing team with all the information about the business requirement of the customers and the existing problems faced by the developers.
Effective communication among mobile app developers and QA team members is essential to set the priorities right.
2. Questions Must be Asked by the QA Team when Selecting the Test Devices

What devices are we going to use for testing?
What about the configurations?
How can we track the devices?

There are many testing tools that are widely used by mobile application development companies. Some of the popular tools are Appium, Adobe Edge Inspect, Test Studio, Sikuli, and SeeTest.
You will find different features for testing Android apps and iPhone applications in each mobile app testing tool. While selecting the testing tool, you must consider the following factors:

Supported Platforms: Select a tool that supports your targeted mobile operating system and their different versions. Avoid tools that support only one platform.
Build Security: Security of your build is important, so always go for the tool that has features to share your build with only chosen testers and send them notifications about each update.
Application Refactoring Requirements: It is better if you rely on manual testing before and after refactoring the application. Make sure the tool you choose allow you to do this.
Result and Error Logging: Select a tool that helps you to mine log messages according to your priority, such as type, text, and time.
Ability to Integrate 3rd Party Tools: Your testing tool may be highly efficient, but it should support 3rd party bug-tracking system to empower you more. A good mobile app testing tool will enable you to export the issues onto your preferred bug-tracking system.

3. Setting Up Central Testing Repository
Creating a central testing repository will help you create a one-stop destination for all your testing resources. In this repository, you can store critical information related to testing such as Test Accounts, Test URLs, databases and SharePoint access details, and more.
The repository will help new testers to learn about the testing parameters followed in your organization. Besides, it can also help in cross-platform testing.
Create a Winning Mobile App Testing Strategy
Once you have all the information and tools you need to create a winning mobile app testing strategy that could help you find and destroy bugs.
Here are 3 essential factors that you need to keep in mind while creating a winning mobile app testing strategy.
1. Device Selection
Testing on real devices always give the best results, however, with so many versions available, it is not always possible to perform the testing on every available device.
To overcome this, you can find what are the popular versions of mobile phones your targeted audience are using. Besides, you can choose devices of different operating systems of different screen resolutions.
2. The balance between Emulator and Simulator
Testing in an appropriate environment is important to create the same level of experience as users.
The best practice for any mobile application development company would be to properly perform testing on both Emulator-desktop app that mimics both hardware and OS of the application that needs to be tested and Simulator-that just mimic the basic behaviour of the application.
3. Pick Both: Manual and Automated Testing
Software test automation is a rising industry, but this does not mean an end to manual testing. The manual testing will always be the handiest way of testing a mobile, although, with the new technologies coming in the market, the assistance of tools, scripts, and software has become integral to mobile app testing.
Automation Testing tools come with a lot of features such as the ability to plan, track, and manage test cases, perform continuous testing, and organize, run, and report on test cases.
4. Analyze and Plan the Testing Stages Carefully
There are many stages of mobile app testing, and you need to carefully plan out the elements of testing at each stage.
Mobile app testing stages are:

Source: https://geteasyqa.com/qa/mobile-apps-testing/
At each, there are different test results that have to be achieved. For example, performance testing is done to check the performance of the mobile app under expected and unexpected workload, such as bad network connections, low battery, and simultaneous access to the application server. The QA team has to ensure that the required criteria has been met at each stage.
Final Thoughts
Since every mobile application is unique, for creating a winning mobile app testing strategy, you must consider testing from various users’ perspectives. Like said before, the software will always have some kind of bug; all you have to is to catch and destroy it before your users find out.

Blogging? Why bother?
For some businesses, writing blogs may seem like a waste of time, however, when done properly, regularly posting can benefit your company in many ways.
For starters, blogging can help to improve your SEO— with the long-game goals of building brand awareness or increasing your sales.
We’ve got five reasons why maintaining an active blog can benefit your ranking strategy:
1. Blogging Gives Your Website “Freshness”
A “fresh” webpage is one that’s been recently published, or recently updated— and publishing new or editing old blogs can add freshness to help improve your SEO. That’s because your content’s present-day relevance counts as an important ranking factor, according to the world’s largest search engine.
Data, technology and our understanding of matters changes regularly, and it’s vital to make alterations to provide searchers with the most factual, timely information.
That’s why Google’s algorithm accounts for freshness, with the search engine going as far as to say it frequently interprets fresh posts as more relevant, or “as a signal that up-to-date information might be (more) useful than older pages.”
Unfortunately, many webpages can be written and left untouched for months or years. In certain industries, this information can remain accurate. However, competitors might get an edge over you by adding additional information your content now lacks. Stay relevant in your industry by posting frequent articles, or by updating old posts.
2. Blog Posts Are a Great Place to Share Internal Links
Internal links are hyperlinks that send you to the same domain as the source page. To put it simply, interlinking is the practice of linking to your own webpages within the content of individual pages of your site. For instance, us linking to our article blog post length here is us practicing interlinking.
Interlinking on your site helps to give your domain a thing called “link equity,” or link “juice,” as SEOs call it. This gives your website depth and helps users to navigate through your site architecture or to other relevant sources on your site, which Google likes! (Spoiler alert: Google likes anything that helps improve the user-experience).

you don’t want to anger the users
You leading site visitors to other relevant links helps searchers get their answers. It also helps Google to categorize related items and to better understand the hierarchy of your website, so it can properly rank your pages. And your blog posts are the perfect place to spread and share relevant link love!
Fun fact: Did you know that linking to new posts on your homepage gives those articles more “link value?” Learn more from Yoast.
3. Blogging Helps with Link Building
When another company embeds a link to your site on theirs, it’s their way of saying, “Don’t believe me? This other reputable site agrees!” or, “I don’t have all the answers, but you can dig deeper here.”
Link building, or the practice of acquiring links from other domains, shows Google that other people think your content is great and worthy of mention. The cool thing about external linking is that it goes both ways: you can link to other domains and other domains can link to you. Blogs are a terrific linkable asset for both.
Blog posts are an enticing source to link to because they often contain valuable data or a unique theory/point-of-view— and are so easy to share (just copy the link and add some anchor text). So if you write bomb-ass content, and other sites link to it, they are helping to boost your SEO!

Google even affirms it, saying on the Search Console Help Center that, “links help our crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility in our search results.” They compare someone linking to you as that source “voting” for you. The search engine continues to say, “votes cast by pages that are themselves ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important.’”
What does that mean? When “important” sites, i.e. sites with high domain/page authorities and low spam score) link to you, you’ll get some of that link juice lovin’ too!
Plus, you can help your SEO by linking to other relevant sources in your own content. Google loves it when you reference other sites that it already ranks. It affirms the search engine’s notion that their results are credible— and that you, in turn, are also credible, since you reference their already algorithmically-relevant sources.
Increasing Your Domain & Page Authority
Ever heard of Moz? These SEO wizards developed two powerful SEO metrics called domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA). These search engine ranking scores range from 1 through 100— just like a test grade— and can help to predict how well a website may rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
While Google itself doesn’t use domain/page authority directly in their ranking algorithms, DA and PA scores can still give you a rough estimate of a site’s “ranking strength.” Each score is determined mainly by the number of quality links you have, and can be used in tandem with other SEOs tools to check how your blog is ranking.
Generally speaking, building more powerful inbound links on other domains can help to increase these ratings, which helps build your SEO cred’. Plus, authority goes beyond a set score and extends to establishing you as a strong contender in your industry. Learn more about creating a sense of authority here.
4. Blogging Helps You Utilize More Keywords
SEO is all about optimizing your website for search, which requires an understanding of how Google uses keywords to help categorize and serve content on its search engine results pages.
If you’ve done your keyword research properly, you’ll know which terms you can target to get more organic traffic to your website. Simply put, your blog is just another place to weave in those keywords— and each post is another page that can rank.
Want a few examples? One article that we published on our Impulse Creative blog is organically ranking for 651 keywords, as of the date of publishing this post. This article— 8 Reasons Your Business Doesn’t Appear on the First Page of Google Search— ranks on page one of Google’s SERPs for queries like “why doesn’t my business show up on Google search?” and “how to make my business appear on Google search first,” according to data pulled by SEMRush.
Your business can start attracting visitors to your domain too, with the right keywords in your blog posts. Invest in doing keyword research to create posts that gain steady traffic over time, on their own. According to HubSpot, 75% of their blog views and 90% of blog leads come from old posts.
Check out our article on Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool to discover what people are searching in your industry, and to generate content to answer searchers questions.
5. Blogs Help to Increase Traffic/Site Views & Your Source Diversity
Not only can your blog posts bring in more organic traffic if they rank on Google’s SERPs, articles can also generate traffic from other methods, including:

Direct traffic. This is typically when someone types your exact URL into the search. They are sent “directly” to your site, without needing to find you on the SERPs. Or, sometimes people bookmark your URL for quick access and can click the shortcut to ping your web address.
Social media traffic. When you post a link to your blog post on social media, users can click through from your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn to your site.
Referral traffic. If another user is linking out to your blog post, a searcher can click the link on their site to hop over to your domain. AKA the searcher is being “referred” to you from this original reference.
Email marketing traffic. If you send out email correspondence, you can share a link to your blog post with your customers or clients. If they are sent to your site from this email, you’ll receive a view count, often labeled “email marketing.”

Simply put, your blog posts are getting more eyeballs to your domain, giving users an easy way to click through to other pages on you navigation bar.
If you host your blog on a different domain than your main site’s URL— let’s say “blog.samplesite.com” instead of “samplesite.com/blog,”— it’s not going to be as easy for someone to click through to other pages as it would be reading your content on your main site. Because of this, if you have your blog hosted on a separate domain, you’ll want to make sure you’re embedding links to your main site inside of your post.
Google likes to see diversity in the traffic sources you gain, because it demonstrates authenticity. Think about it. If all your traffic came from just one source, wouldn’t that seem odd?
Getting hits from one source is a huge tip-off to Google that you’re getting fake traffic, or paying for a traffic exchange program. In terms of your AdWords account, Google says this type of channeled traffic can “result in your account being disabled,” (hint hint: because they want you to pay for their ads).
Why do you think Google Analytics shows you where your traffic is coming from? The world’s largest search engine cares about where your views are coming from, and you should too.
Improve Your Blog Ranking with Help from Impulse Creative
Do you see the value of blogging now? Not only is it an incredible way to improve your SEO, but maintaining a powerful blogging strategy can help you gain more leads and customers.
Creating a blog for the first time? We have the perfect guide for you. Download our Beginner’s Guide to Blogging for Business for insights on which topics to blog about, how to optimize your posts and more.

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The main goal of any website is to attract as many visitors to it as possible. Organic search traffic, meaning traffic that is not paid for, accounts for over half of all site visitors. The best way to increase organic traffic is to have your site show up on the first page of Google search rankings.
Since Google is the world’s most popular search engine, with 3.5 billion daily searches around the world, it’s advantageous to design your website in a way to maximize results. This will help you attract more audience and increase your brand awareness and sales.
The best way to achieve this is to conduct a yearly SEO audit of your website to catch errors that could be hindering the process. This is just a fancy way of saying that you need to verify that your site has the necessary aspects needed to help the Google crawl bots that scan your site move it to the top of the search results.
How to Conduct an SEO Audit
Verify Google Indexing
If you want your site to show up in Google results, Google needs to include all the pages into its index. The very first step of your SEO audit should be to check Google index; if your site is not listed there, it’s a huge problem since it will never show up in Google searches.
Visit Google Search Console and enter your homepage link or the link of a specific sub-page to make sure Google has indexed it. If you find that your site is not indexed, you can manually submit sitemaps to aid the process.
A very important tip is that Google shouldn’t index your page just once, but keep indexing it to keep it relevant and at the top of search results. This is done by adding new content (videos, blogs and graphs), as well as updating older content. The more Google bots index your site, the more visitors you should be getting.
Conduct a Website Crawl
Since Google has special bots that analyze your site, it’s important to see what they would see. This is possible with website crawl tools, which are available as free and paid versions (Beam Us Up).
This is the best and fastest way to find errors on your site, duplicate content and broken links. Some features will analyze the length and quality of your titles and meta tags as well as assess bounce rate (how quickly your audience leaves your site or a specific page) and conversions (how many people click on a link or buy a product).
Verify Company Name Search Results
Remember that most people are not going to enter your website link when searching for you online, but your company name. Unfortunately, other sites may be competing for that search term, especially if it is a generic word or phrase.
Write your company name into Google to verify that it’s the first organic result that pops up. If it’s not, your business is likely going to another company, which is a problem.
The good news is that you can take measures to correct this issue by creating a stronger online presence for your website. This can be accomplished in five steps:

Build branded links
Reach out to well-known brands and influencers to mention you on their sites
Create business directory listings
Create a Google Business listing
Create social media accounts

While it’s not necessary to financially invest in this process, it can be extremely helpful. Hiring a professional marketing company to make your site SEO-friendly can be a great ROI.

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Copywriting is an art, and just like every other art, writing an awesome copy also works on some secret tricks and formula. You have to be creative enough to be a copywriter, but there are certain frameworks that can help you draft more effective emails that convert. To learn more about email copywriting, we got in touch with Joshua Earl, who is an email marketing specialist with extensive knowledge on writing entertaining, educational emails loved by subscribers.
Let’s assimilate the insights into copywriting formulae to write better emails from the expert himself.
What are the different formats of email copywriting?
There are basically three different formats or formulas that can be used for emails and they can be used differently depending on the type of campaign.
1. The first one is the story lesson pitch. It typically means that the email opens with a story. It could be a movie reference or a recent personal incident.
Let me give you an example of a story that I used recently. The client’s target audience comprised of loan officers—who write mortgages to people. They hated a certain real estate company because it had found a way to twist their arms and make them pay money (upto USD 4000 per month) for customer leads that they used to get for free. This was a huge pain point. So, I interviewed a guy who narrated his story. The target audience knows the story already and understand what that real estate company did. But by reiterating this story and forcing them to relive it, they get furious all over again. That’s the kind of emotional impact it leaves on the readers. The story could be funny, sad or about anything that could trigger some kind of emotion in the reader.
Writing engaging stories
Research is the key to writing good stories. It also depends on how accessible your customers are. If the people you’re writing for, are not tech savvy, you can interview them to know more about them. On the other hand, if your market hangs out on Facebook or Twitter or on different forums you can go and learn about their interests and challenges. These forums even allow you to sort by the thread count and display the longest threads to get information about the hot buttons. You can go to the industry sites and go through the popular articles. Look for recurring themes in the types of articles they publish. Another story I wrote for loan officers was taken from the movie – Pirates of the Caribbean. I talked about how sites like bankrate.com will pirate your leads.
I talked about Captain Jack Sparrow and then put forward my point in the form of a lesson. It might be one liner or a couple of short paragraphs where you can pull out the “WHY” of the story. The pitch is usually just a pretty straightforward call to action that connects the lesson to something that you are offering. You can find fragments of stories in your everyday life and then build a connection in your email.
A positive angle for a story could be talking about a guy who gets two leads a month and then he executed a couple of strategies. And now he’s getting 10 leads. It shows new opportunities to the reader. The really nice thing about email is that you can come back over and over and hit from different angles all the time and you never know which is going to be the one that unlocks the door for a particular person.
Since stories always have a tinge of entertainment to it, they work the best for content email where you want to keep the reader engaged and make them look forward to the next email.
2. The next copywriting formula is the Problem Agitation Solution (PAS) formula. It is the one in which you start by calling out some specific problem and then dig in. You twist a knife and unpack the problem and show them all the different ramifications of the problem and how it’s worse than they even thought it was. At the end, it talks about a solution.
This formula works well when you have a specific offer to announce to your email subscribers. An example of this is an email written for interviewing products for software developers whose basic problem was whiteboard coding interviews where you have to get up there and they throw hard problems at you and you have to try to solve the problem on the spot. Two-thirds of the email could talk about the problem and unpack it, followed by relieving that stress. At the end, you could present your product and talk about how it solves the problem. These are longer emails as they mostly talk about your product in detail.
3. The last one comprises of the reminder emails that are sent after an offer.
They are about reminding them about some kind of deadline about the expiring offer and trying to stimulate that fear of missing out. They are most effective when the message fits on a single screen.
For example: If you are launching a product, the first email out of the gate will be problem-agitate-solve, and as mentioned previously it is going to be a longer email. It’s similar to a condensed sales page, that hits on the main problem and provides its solution by showcasing your product. . The next step is to send a series of content emails to keep the offer in front of them without being too obnoxious. It’s more about sharing a story rather than sending a sales pitch and coming off as a pushy salesperson.
This would make the subscriber read the emails even if they aren’t interested in the product. Subsequently, you can send few short reminder emails at the end as the deadline’s approaching. These shorter emails that reflect urgency bring in the maximum sales. In addition to having a deadline, you can even incentivize your prospect with a bonus or discount depending on the market.
Just make sure you do not stretch the offer too long as it might take urgency out of it.
Don’t be afraid to send a good amount of emails. You can send one or two a day at a minimum for a few days, and then go on to three to five emails on the last day.
You can keep track of the email metrics like unsubscribes and if there’s a huge spike, you can reconsider the tactic, but usually it doesn’t get that far.
If you’re developing a new product and you’ve got an existing audience, then it makes sense to talk about it as you’re developing. That’s prelaunch stuff worth trying out.
How to write lead nurture email copy?
The best approach to take while writing lead nurturing email copy is to share a story. It makes the email less salesy for the reader and more enjoyable. Many marketers believe that whenever someone signs up for their newsletter or sales funnel, they should continue to nurture the prospect for weeks together before making an offer. That’s a big mistake.
If you have a group of potential customers who are ready to make a purchase, give them the opportunity to do that by highlighting an offer. Do that and then take the nurture mode again. You can periodically showcase the offer to see if the prospects are ready to buy.
Here’s Chet Holmes pyramid that can help you understand the buyer readiness, according to which only 3% of your prospects are buying now, 6-7% are open to it, 30% are not even thinking about it. 30% don’t think they are interested, and 30% know that they are not interested.

This means that the 10% prospects at the tip of the pyramid are most likely to purchase from you.
Lead nurturing emails provide a great scaffold to share stories that directly relate to the problems of the customers. You can even provide answers to the frequently asked questions and showcase customer testimonials or success stories. Testimonials work well because more often than not, the customer will say things about you that you might not say about yourself.
Your nurture emails should talk about the customers’ questions and problems rather than bragging about yourself.
For example: Lead nurturing emails of an email marketing agency can be a story about a client who screwed up their template and ended up damaging their deliverability. Such emails can let the users know about your expertise and make the email an interesting story.
How many nurture emails should one send?
Dean Jackson did some really good research on the buying pattern of customers. He found that 5-10% will buy within the first 60 days, another 40 to 50% will buy within the next two years. Based on this research, it is quite clear that you cannot put a limit on the number of nurturing emails. Sending lead nurturing emails is a filtering process, which means that the prospects who are not interested in your offerings will unsubscribe… But you can always nurture the subscribers who are still on the list.
Can you share some tips on reengagement emails?
In every list, there’s always a big chunk of people who never open a single email. To pull them out of dormancy, you can send a short reengagement campaign—a series of 3 emails with vague or alarming subject lines that talk about account deactivation or deletion. In addition to focusing on the most active people, you can pick up the inactive subscribers from the list and try to reactivate them with these emails every once in a while.
Dean Jackson shares a nine-word email template that can help you revive dead leads. It asks the subscriber whether they are still interested in topic.
Take a look at these examples:

Are you still looking for a house in Seattle?
Are you still interested in learning Zumba?
Are you still interested in going to Thailand?
Are you still running an Instagram ad?

You can even try something like: “Have you given up on this just yet”.
What is the ideal length of an email?
Considering the purpose of the email, there are three different lengths you can choose.
A cold email or a reminder email has to be shorter in length with less than 100-150 words. It should be written in such a way that the reader can read the full content on a single screen even on an iPhone.
While sending a story lesson pitch, you should write 300-500 words. You can keep the email focused and tell an interesting story without cutting down too many details. Make sure, your emails do not come off as a rant.
The product launch or offer emails can reach up to 1000-1500 words, out of which 700 words can talk about the problem and agitating the problem. The second half could include bullet points that let the subscriber know about the offer and its deadline.
How should your email CTA be?
An effective CTA is more about the actual offer rather than the copy. You can even put a bare link as a CTA. Generally, CTAs should be placed at the bottom of the email unless it’s a reminder email. It is important to realize that you are not selling a click, but a product. If your CTA (placed at the top) gets clicked but the product or offer is not engaging enough, you will have no conversion.
Summing it up
The bottom line of writing copy that works is to understand the pain points of your customers. Knowing the challenges of the customers and addressing the issues with your email will surely help you to draft a winning email copy that brings maximum conversions.

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All-wheel drive comes to Mazda’s compact hatchback and sedan.

The Mazda3 hatchback adds available all-wheel drive, perhaps setting the framework for Mazdaspeed to return.
Mazda is a small player in a world of large car manufacturers, but its presence outstrips its size. The company is best known for mainstreaming the Wankel rotary engine and for giving the world the delicious MX-5 Miata roadster. We miss the enhanced Mazdaspeed line of performance models, although rumors persist that one or more models will return.
And that return may be based on the Mazda3 with its available all-wheel-drive system. Yes, all-wheel drive has come to Mazda’s compact model, joining the WRX and Impreza, which offer it as standard equipment and the Volkswagen Golf, where it is available. As for the Ford Focus, that model with its all-wheel-drive RS is no longer available in the U.S.
Sounds like a perfect opportunity for Mazda to jump in!
2019 Mazda Mazda3 Overview
You can purchase the Mazda3 as either a sedan or a hatchback. Both models share the same platform and wheelbase length, but the sedan is several inches longer overall. We’ll look at the hatchback primarily as that’s the model presented to us for review.
Mazda prices the 2019 Mazda3 hatchback from $23,600, which is $2,600 more than the sedan. Opting for all-wheel drive is a $1,400 upgrade available across the model line.

You’ll find one trim plus two packages with the 2019 Mazda3. Models with the Preferred Package (power side mirrors, 12-speaker Bose audio system. satellite radio, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, and heated front seats) cost $25,200.
The Premium Package-equipped hatchback costs $27,500 and adds such features as LED headlights and taillights, adaptive front lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power sliding moonroof, and radar cruise control on models equipped with the manual transmission. Yes, it is with this package only you can opt for a manual gearbox. Add $920 for the destination charge.
Highlights of the 2019 Mazda3
The following are the most noteworthy facts about the Mazda3:
1. Cutting edge styling all of its own.
Mazda uses the term “KODO” to describe its styling direction. This means “soul of motion,” which describes in part every model’s fluidic design. Here, you’ll find a gaping grille, raised flanks, a rising beltline, ample creases and body sculpting, and pulled in corners. On the hatchback, the look is all the more expressive as the rear quarter is high and short.
All models come with LED lights — headlights, combination lights, and daytime running lights. With the Premium Package, Mazda adds LED signature lighting front and back. Dual-folding side mirrors and a roofline spoiler are also included. Upgrades include designer wheels and a shark fin antenna. Overall, the look is sporty.

2. An interior on par with some premium models.
Just as the exterior has its styling credentials, the interior does likewise. In fact, Mazda pulled out all the stops when designing the cabin, amplified by the stacked and sculptured layout of the dashboard. The look is premium and rivals what we’ve seen on some costlier models, including the Audi A3.
The contrasting layered look on our fully loaded model was especially noteworthy. As shown, Mazda meticulously crafted every surface for maximum visual appeal. There’s plenty of storage compartments and pockets at the ready, and very little plastic. Again, the sophisticated design belies this model’s mainstream appeal. With the available leather seats, the look is truly luxurious.
3. Improved technologies for the taking.
One of the gripes we’ve had about Mazda is the small display screens in many of its models. The Mazda3 now features an 8.8-inch screen that’s wide and clear. On the other hand, it isn’t a touchscreen display and it does require using a Multifunction Commander control to manage. That’s unfortunate as the learning curve is long.
But we do like the standard Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto smartphone integration. You’ll also find HD Radio, Internet radio integration, connected apps, and USB ports. The Preferred Package brings in a lovely sounding 12-speaker Bose audio system and satellite radio. An “active driving display” or head-up display is included with the Premium Package.

4. Ample storage room for short and long trips.
Mazda published storage measurement with the rear seat in place, measuring a respectable 20.1 cubic feet. What they didn’t reveal was how much space is available with the rear seat folded. We estimate about 40 cubic feet, which supplies even room to bring a week’s worth of gear for two with you on your next vacation.
5. Performance that has us wanting more.
We won’t mislead you by saying the Mazda3 is a performance maven. It is not. Instead, it offers decent off-the-mark acceleration and passing power.
Mazda could have gone with a smaller engine, deteriorating the power level (186 hp) with it, but happily, they did not. And yet, we think a turbocharged four-cylinder engine would suit this model perfectly, along the lines of Mazdaspeed.
Rumors that Mazdaspeed might return (last produced in 2013) should gladden the hearts of enthusiasts. It would give the brand the bona fides its needs as well as fill the product gaps left with Mitsubishi and Ford no longer competing. We’d change the suspension system though to conform to what drivers expect, even if it means a loss in storage space.

6. Crisp steering and adroit handling.
We give Mazda credit for this hatchback’s crisp stewing and competent handling, the latter ideal for pulling out of corners with ease. Still, the torsion-beam rear suspension could have been exchanged for a multi-link arrangement for improved handling. On the other hand, the torsion-beam arrangement sits lower and therefore doesn’t intrude on the storage compartment.
7. Efficiency we appreciate.
So-so performance notwithstanding, we were quite impressed by how efficient the Mazda3 is. We knew that 30 mpg was within reach, even with the added weight of the all-wheel drive.
To our surprise, the Mazda3 averaged closer to 35 mpg for the week we had it. Impressive? You bet! A quick survey of competing models shows lower numbers. Then again, the tradeoff is a significant power edge over the Mazda.
Auto Trends Recommends
Yes, you can buy the Mazda3 with front-wheel drive. In fact, we recommend this option for most buyers. The all-wheel-drive system is an interesting component, useful for people who live where wintry climate prevails. There is a handling advantage, especially when cornering, but it isn’t as tossable as the Focus RS or Golf R.
The package upgrades are certainly worth considering. You’ll come away with a vehicle that’s stylish, well equipped, and offers good value. Your out-the-door price comes in just above $29,000 and that’s before discounts. In effect, the Mazda3 splits the difference between mainstream and luxury models, delivering a premium package for a competitive price.

2019 Mazda3 Hatchback Specifications

Mazda
2019 Mazda3

Segment
Compact Car

Base Sticker Price
$24,520 ( includes $920 destination charge)

Price as tested
$29,820

Standard Engine
2.5-liter inline-four

Horsepower
186 @ 6,000 RPMs

Torque (lb.-ft.)
186 @ 4,000 RPMs

Transmission(s)
Six-speed manual or automatic

Seating
5

Curb Weight (pounds)
3,022 to 3,255

Wheelbase (inches)
107.3

Length (inches)
175.6

Width (inches)
70.7

Height (inches)
56.7

Headroom (f,r…inches)
38.0; 37.2

Legroom (f,r…inches)
42.3; 35.1

Shoulder room (f,r…inches)
55.7; 53.4

Hip room (f,r…inches)
54.6; 50.9

Storage (cubic feet)
20.1

Gross vehicle weight (pounds)
NR

Towing (pounds)
NR

Payload (pounds)
NR

Fuel
Regular

Fuel Tank (gallons)
13.2 (FWD), 12.7 (AWD)

EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway)
26/35/30 (FWD); 24/32/27 (AWD) city/highway/combined

Manufacturing Plant
Hiroshima, Japan

This article was originally published by Auto Trends Magazine.

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In my last Bacon Podcast Interview, episode 469, I had the pleasure to interview Jane Atkinson. Now, Jane is a speaking coach, and a very successful one at that. If you haven’t listened to it, I strongly suggest you do so, whether you plan to speak or not. In the middle of the interview, we were talking about what the perfect speech would be and she had a formula. She said basically, “Tell a story, keep it to three points and then tell another story to close it.” That is her keynote formula. I said to her, “Jane, that’s what I consider to be also the Perfect Content Strategy, especially when it comes to blogs.”
Perfect Content Strategy
Today, I want to talk about how to make your content marketing messages more memorable. The way I suggest doing that when you’re creating your content is to do exactly what Jane said. Start with a story, just like I did earlier. Then you want to add some points, some key things that you want to get across. Don’t overdo it, keep it simple, three to five points. Then finally, at the end, you want to make sure you close with something that summarizes and has a call-to-action. During the process, you really want to think through what action you want your audience to take and what the takeaways are.
Get To The Points

Most of the time, your content is going to be short and to-the-point, unless you’re writing a really long educational article. Short and to-the-point means maybe 500 to 1,000 words. An educational article could be anywhere upwards of 2,000 to 2,500 words, like something from Neil Patel, who’s an SEO guy, or Andy Crestodina, who’s a Google analytics and content marketing guy. They write very long articles and add a lot of research information in there, but it’s not something that’s easy to remember. It takes a few reads to absorb all the details.
In the case of most blog posts, and the attention span of your average audience member, it’s best to keep it short and to-the-point. When I say to-the-point, I mean no more than three to five main concepts. Also, make sure the sentences and the paragraphs are short and very digestible. You don’t want it to be this big, long-winded thing, so segmenting really helps get your message across. Let’s look at the structure of what I consider to be the perfect content strategy for most businesses.
Draw A Memorable Image
The first part is start with a story. Do something that has an emotional connection to your audience, something that they can relate to, something that maybe they can act upon, but something that draws them in and makes them want to read more. That’s the whole purpose of the story, is to get them engaged with the content. If you start right off the bat with all the core bullet points, a lot of times people will get zoned out, so give them something to feel first.
The next thing that you want to do is lay out those five bullet points or three bullet points, whichever you feel is the right amount for what you’re doing. Everybody loves lists. The top 10 list, the top seven list, five, whatever it is. Those are the things that people can easily digest by reading the headlines above each one of the paragraphs or the bullet points or the numbers in the list.
There are also some interesting things that you can do to help people remember what it is that you said. One of the things I like to do is something called rhyme time.
Rhyme Time
Rhyme time means try to do something that is going to be memorable, that’s easy to remember. Song lyrics, think of a good song. Think of the chorus and just how easy it is to remember what that chorus is, and usually it has to do with rhymes. Here are a couple of examples:

Think of “Funny Money.” Okay, there’s really nothing funny about money, but if it is funny, maybe you’ll make more money. Who knows? Good for comedians.
When you’re writing an article and you give them too many links, they say “If you make them choose, they get confused.” So there’s an example of a good rhyme.
Another one is “You are who you are when you’re driving in your car.” Think about that.

A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.

Another tool in my arsenal is an acronym, which is basically taking letters, turning it into a word and then expanding it out into a phrase. I’m sure at this point you’re well aware my brand is all about BACON.

B.A.C.O.N. Is an acronym. It stands for Building Authentic Connections Online Networking. BACON.
Another one is T.R.Y. Time to Reinvent Yourself. TRY.
Another one is K.E.Y. knowledge Empowers You. KEY

Using an acronym is key to getting people to understand the knowledge you’re trying to get across.
Play With Your Words
Another tool that I like to use is a play on words. Again, it’s something that’s easy to remember.

One of the things I talk about in my presentations is the “Social Media Sandbox.“

Of course, it brings you back to the days of being a kid with a pail and a shovel and sand in a box, and that’s what social media is. You can play in there, but, unfortunately, you can’t take the sand out. In other words, when you post things in Facebook or LinkedIn or anything else, the only way you’re going to see it or be able to play with it is inside their sandbox.

Another one that I talk about is the “Short-Attention-Span Theater.”

When people are scrolling through a feed or a newsfeed on any social media platform, one of the things you want to do is make your content scroll-stopping. In the Short Attention Span Theater, you need to stand out.

Another one is, “Normal is just a setting on the dryer.”

This saying describes how everything changes fast, especially in the social media world.
Those are some examples of play on word type phrases.
Please Do Something?

The final thing that you want to do is make sure that you close with an exclamation point! What’s the point of this whole thing? What’s going to get people excited? You really want to leave your audience with some mental takeaways. Things that are going to latch into their brains.
The major bonus is having a call-to-action. Get them to do something. Sign up for your list, visit another website, attend one of your webinars or seminars. Some way for you to continue the conversation with them. And that’s it. Remember, what I said before? If you make them choose, they get confused. Have one call-to-action. You can literally put that three times throughout the entire post, but don’t over-ask. It’s okay to have one task with multiple-asks.
Final Thoughts
When I posted that interview with Jane Atkinson on my social media, I started it out with this, “In an unscientific poll, the top three fears are fear of death, fear of loneliness, and social phobia. Fear of public speaking. In this podcast, we help you with number three.”
I’m glad it wasn’t number two… because people really can’t deal with THAT crap (joke intended).
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?

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Most people who have used live chat as a customer know its biggest advantages: it’s quick, convenient and fits your need for instant communication when you can’t (or don’t want to) pick up the phone.
Nowadays, customers expect to be able to choose how they contact your business, in ways which are convenient for them. Imagine if your bank only provided information over the phone – it would be in trouble very quickly as phone lines get swamped and customer’s finances go haywire.
Because of this, the demand for real-time service within industries of every kind is driving the need for businesses to modernize their service and offer convenient, low-effort options for customer contact.
The data doesn’t lie – 79% of customers now prefer service through online chat. Consumer expectations and generational trends are certainly driving its popularity. But besides these, there are other reasons why more and more customers are making choice to chat. Here are four top reasons why:

Chat encompasses all three phases of engagement

While a hallmark of chat is its real-time communication capabilities, live chat also has the ability to allow customers to communicate asynchronously as well as allow them to self-serve through bot interactions and inbuilt KBs.
There are times a customer may not want real-time service (understanding new releases or learning a new feature) or have a quick question that can be solved more easily and quickly with a bot. The beauty of chat is your customers can choose what suits them. But if your strategy calls for a particular type of engagement, then you can also configure your chat system to encourage customers down a particular route.
Rather than offering different channels to satisfy different needs and expectations, chat can do all in just one single platform – saving time and effort on the customer’s part and for your business.

Chat offers rich media options

In one of my first jobs as an agent, I troubleshooted IT problems over the phone. You’ve never known frustration until you’ve tried communicating complex visual information via voice – without a shared screenshot to refer to, confusion often abounds. A problem that might take 5 seconds to solve via cobrowsing can be spun out to tens of minutes over voice.
A robust, modern live chat program empowers customers to connect with companies through rich media like audio, video and co-browsing, giving agents the choice to choose the right media to convey information in the quickest and easiest way.
Telemedicine is a use case that takes full advantage of these functions. Thanks to audio/video chat, patients can see a doctor and receive a diagnosis or prescription within the comfort of their own home, on their own time.
Offering these functionalities is also a great way to boost your organization’s customer satisfaction scores. According to our 2019 Benchmark Report, interactions that include co-browsing – which allows the agent (with permission) to view and interact with a customer’s web browser in real-time – show customer satisfaction rates that are more than six points higher than the average, at 89.3%.

Chat can handle every ask

From answering simple FAQs to processing transactions to technical troubleshooting and complex conversations, live chat is equipped with the functionality to handle high-touch interactions anytime, anywhere.
It also makes your agents’ lives easier. Thanks to canned messages, agents can fire off quick answers to customer queries without needing to repeat themselves over and over again. Greetings can be automated, and customer information can be displayed from a CRM at the point a chat begins. Customers get fast service, while your agents cut down on their handle time, it’s a win-win for everybody.
Customers also don’t need to switch out of the platform for transactional asks. With PCI-compliant forms, visitors can check out, transfer money or place an order right in the chat window without ever needing to toggle screens.

Chat is the basis of a good omnichannel strategy

One of my biggest CX hates is having to repeat myself to multiple departments or teams. I’m not alone – CCW’s latest report shows that the biggest pet peeve for customers is also repeating information they’ve already given to a company previously.
Live chat takes care of this by seamlessly integrating into any technology stack with its flexible API. Your agents get a 360-degree view of the customer with information from your CRM, web analytics platform, previous interaction history and more at their fingertips thanks to chat.
Customer-centric by nature, live chat has all the capabilities needed for good first contact resolution (FCR) and can be an excellent cornerstone of an effective omnichannel customer experience strategy.
Wrap-up
As we move from analog to digital it’s important for organizations to consider how their channel mix meets their customer engagement strategy. There’s a need not just to offer customer-friendly channels but ones that also offer improvements and efficiencies to businesses too, as well as the ability to adapt to organizational growth over time.
Live chat really does have it all – a modern engagement channel that meets customer and business needs today, with the ability to automate and use AI to deliver the scalable, smart customer interactions of tomorrow.
Originally published here.

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