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6 Must-Try White Label Tools for Marketing Agencies

Every day it seems like more and more marketing-related software companies out there are attempting to streamline and improve difficult or monotonous operational tasks. For agencies looking to scale, this is a particularly positive development as many of these tools and technologies have white label functionality.

If you are unfamiliar, “white labeling” in the technological sense, is when a product or service is produced by one company and given to third parties to rebrand as their own. White labeled marketing software allows agencies to brand services and capabilities as their own. For an agency looking to scale without hiring additional personnel, this can be a viable option in some areas. In this post, I’ll walk through six valuable white label tools that I’d recommend to any digital marketing agency.
1. Databox: Analytics and reporting
One of the most important—and arguably the most time-consuming—aspects of running a digital marketing agency is reporting. When you bring on new clients you are often responsible to report on any if all data related to projects that you have taken on. Having to connect the dots between Google, Facebook, Salesforce, HubSpot, and other platforms can be a huge task if done manually. For that reason, you would have to hire additional employees just to pull data and prepare reports for your clients, and even then, it would be done on a weekly or monthly basis. Databox has solved this issue by allowing businesses and agencies to connect multiple sources of data and create visually engaging dashboards and reports that update in real time.

For example, you have a client that you are running Google Ads campaigns for and want to compare that data to what they are seeing in Google Analytics and Salesforce. You can easily connect all three of these data sources and build a dashboard with pie charts, graphs, and funnels—all for the purpose of showing your client the flow of business that is being driven by your efforts. What is especially great about Databox is their white labeling features. You are easily able to brand your dashboards with your agency’s logo and color scheme. Once created, these dashboards are given their own unique URL that refresh in real-time so your client can always stay on top of progress. This eliminates the need for those ugly, cumbersome spreadsheets. And these reports are also templatized and easy to duplicate, which comes in handy when you have a number of clients who require similar reports.
2. Proposify: Proposal generator
In a previous post, I wrote pretty extensively about proposal generating tools for agencies. One of the most useful tools within that list was Proposify. For white-labelled proposals, preview links, and emails that all contain your agency’s branding, look no further. Proposify allows you to:

Set up customized proposals.
Customize the design of your emails.
Send these emails from your own address without leaving the platform.
Create custom domains for your client preview links.

The process of drafting and editing proposals is another task that leave you wanting to your hair out. Many agencies even have someone on staff whose sole job is to work with a legal team to draft and review proposals before sending them out to prospects. In that case, taking on a SaaS company like Proposify to do most of the heavy lifting for you will actually save you money. Products like these also allow you to create templates for all of the different combinations of your service offerings, which makes the production of new proposals simple and scalable.

3. HubSpot: Marketing automation
While not “entirely” white labelled, due to the fact that your clients will know you are using HubSpot, it wouldn’t be a list of effective agency tools without mentioning their agency partner program. The program allows agencies to offer HubSpot services and support for their clients. The HubSpot platform provides a CRM, content creation, social media monitoring tools, email marketing automation, and analytics.

Providing clients with this array of tools all in one place can be a fairly convincing competitive advantage. HubSpot also carries a well-recognized brand name along with it. The fancy “HubSpot Certified Partner Badge” on your website and email footers may do its part in providing your agency with some credibility and social proof.
4. SE Ranking: SEO
SE Ranking refers to itself as the “White Label SEO platform for everyone.” If that wasn’t convincing enough, the platform backs up these statements by offering a variety of SEO and marketing-related features on top of white labeling that allows you preserve your brand in front of your clients. You are able to use your own domain or client’s domain “without a single link to SE Ranking.” Additionally, you can manage users, get reports sent from your corporate email, and choose a color scheme along with your logo.

SE Ranking can save you a lot of time if you are an agency that offers SEO services. The number of tools available within the platform gives you the potential to scale operations without hiring additional staff or outsourcing work to contractors. Like many of the software on this list, the goal is to make your job easier. With the complete package within SE Ranking, you are able to accomplish more in less time for your clients.
5. Mention: Branding
Mention is a unique platform in that it allows agencies to “see what’s said about clients anywhere online, including social media, forums, news sites, and blogs.” This in theory helps clients understand their brand’s reputation online and gives agencies the opportunity to create strategies for improvement. A big selling point of this product is the insights into the client’s brand relation to social media marketing. This can be a powerful addition to any SEO or PPC client who is worried about their company’s image or who wants to see whether additional investments in branding are paying off. Mention also has a crisis management feature that lets you alert your clients when bad news breaks so that they can respond quickly.

Another great feature is the ability to generate reports automatically. Mention lets you easily export all data, mentions, and reports and have them sent directly to your clients. All reports can be customized to include the client’s logo or your agency’s logo. For any agency who is looking to expand their service offering without having to hire additional employees or outsource to other agencies, something like Mention is a great tool to do just that.
6. WordStream: Growing your business
It wouldn’t be a complete list of agency-focused white label tools without mentioning the WordStream New Business Center. Although it offers the robust client management capabilities of WordStream Advisor, the real power comes from its focus on helping agencies manage and close customers.
You are able to link prospect’s Google and Facebook Ad accounts and leverage a combination of tools within WordStream Advisor (like the Performance Dashboard, QueryStream, and the 20-Minute Work Week) in conjunction with white labeled performance graders and success reports. These tools are all aimed at analyzing and identifying opportunities within the prospects of paid advertising accounts.

Use tools to make your work more effective
Depending upon the type of agency you run and the clients you have, some of these tools may be worth giving a shot. When questioning whether or not to take on a platform for white labeling purposes, my suggestion is to treat it as an investment. You should ask yourself if the tool could impact your business: Could the tool make my operations more efficient? Could it make my agency look more professional? If the answer to either of those questions is “yes,” then there is no harm in giving these a try. The fact that many of these are SaaS models gives you the flexibility of trying them out for a couple of months and then deciding whether to keep them or not.

Best Page Speed Tools

Best Page Speed Tools for 2019
I’ve talked about page speed and its importance to SEO recently, so I thought I’d take things a little further and give you a more in-depth review of some of the best page speed tools available today. The good news is, most of them are free. And, there’s nothing wrong with using more than one tool so you can get a second opinion about how fast your site loads.
In the screenshots of each tool, I’ve run the report on the same domain – the third most popular website in the United States and the world – Facebook – falling behind only Google and YouTube.
PageSpeed insights
PageSpeed Insights is a tool in Google Developers. I give it the top spot because Google owns and operates it – and who better to listen to in terms of recommendations for improvement? This tool is super easy to use because all you have to do is enter your URL, and click the “Analyze” button.
The report you end up with is split into two parts – one for mobile page speed and one for desktop page speed. Each report is displayed on its own tab. By default, PageSpeed Insights will display the mobile speed report, because the majority of people are now using portable devices to surf the web more than they are using desktop or laptop computers.

Each report shows two scores – a Speed score and an Optimization score, on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is the best.
The Speed score tells you how fast your page loads for users, using data from the Chrome User Experience Report. If you don’t
see a Speed score, or it reads “Unavailable” it’s because that more people need to visit the page before Google can grade it.
The Optimization score lets you know how well your page is designed to load quickly, looking at your website code rather than your historic load time. If your site is full of technological extras, then you’ll find your load time suffers, and your optimization score will show it.
If you get a yellow score on your mobile report, it’s likely because your WordPress theme is using render blocking CSS and JavaScript, which is a complicated issue to resolve – and often not worth the effort.
The best thing is PageSpeed Insights will let you know precisely why your Optimization score is what it is. If you scroll down, you can look under the “Optimization Suggestions” to see a list of areas where your page can be improved.
GTMetrix

GTMetrix is an excellent page speed tool because you can get insights from two sources, essentially giving you a second opinion on your page speed with a single
Source. When you run your report, you’ll be presented with a PageSpeed score and a YSlow score. It’s okay if you notice significant differences in the rating because they are based on different metrics.
GTMetrix will show you why each source deducted points on your overall score, allowing you to use the information to make improvements. It will also tell you how long it takes your page to load, the number of requests it took to load the page entirely, and the total size of your page in bytes.
WebPageTest.org
WebPageTest.org is another powerful page speed tool. You’ll have to choose a server testing location here, too. What makes this tool different is you’ll be able to select the browser you want to test in, so you can see how your website performs in Chrome vs. Firefox or Safari – which is a good option when your analytics show that the majority of your audience favors a specific browser.
Advanced settings allow you to change the connection speed in your test – and if you want to see how long it takes to load on mobile, you choose 3G. While many phones operate on 4G, the coverage isn’t as widely available and once data runs out, speeds slow to 2G or 3G, so it’s a good idea to know how your site performs at those speeds, too.

With this report, you’ll get a series of letter grades, A-F, rather than a number on a zero to 100 scale like with other tools. You’ll receive different grades for:

First Byte Time
Keep-alive Enabled
Compress Transfer
Compress Images
Cache static content
Effective use of CDN – if you’re not using a CDN, it won’t apply, and you’ll see an X.

The tool shows your overall load time, the number of requests needed to load the page, and page size in bytes, along with graphs and images to help you get a better understanding of what’s impacting your page speed.
WebPageTest.org is also the tool that powers the Think with Google mobile page speed. Checker.
Pingdom
Pingdom is another free tool, though you will have to wait in a queue just like with WebPageTest.org before you get your results. All you have to do is paste in the URL, choose a server location, and click a button. Within a few seconds, you’ll get a report. Ideally, you should select a server location that’s close to where your target audience will be visiting from. The closer the test server is to your web hosts server (or a server in your content delivery network) the faster your website will load.

Pingdom provides a performance grade on a scale of zero to 100, along with the page size and page load time. The tool also shows the percentage of pages that are slower than yours, to give you an idea of how fast your website is compared to others. You’ll also receive insights that are intended to show you how to improve your speed.
Pingdom will also tell you how long it takes to load each of your resources, so you can see the areas you need to optimize the most.
With these four PageSpeed tools, you’ll get a better idea of how well you’re doing. The slower your page loads, the more frustrated your users will be, and the less likely you will be able to achieve a high rank. Follow the advice presented by the tools and rerun the tests until you get a good grade.

Why Most Share Buttons Go Against Your Privacy Policy

We recently made our WordPress Social Share Buttons Plugin free again, which means the timing is as good as ever to talk about share buttons.
What is their purpose? Are they actually effective? And how do they relate to your privacy policy?
Social sharing buttons are generally easy to implement and often free, so it’s no surprise that most websites have them. They’re a great way to encourage visitors’ sharing, more specifically for e-commerce, digital publishers and other content-based websites/blogs.
Yet, a lot of people are not aware of the implications that most social sharing plugins have on their visitors’ privacy.
Today we’d like to tell you about why websites should have share buttons but, most importantly, why you may need to reconsider using certain plugins if you have a strict privacy policy.
Why are share buttons important?
Share buttons allow website visitors to share content easily on their social media channels and messaging apps. With a simple click, anyone can share an article to their Facebook feed or directly to a friend on Facebook Messenger.
This provides an opportunity to avoid the rather long process of copying a URL, leaving the website, opening a new page and pasting the link where you want to share something with others.
By encouraging visitors to share your content you’re also encouraging them to bring more traffic to your website. On a grand scale, a simple share button can be the starting point of a few conversions.
A lot has been said about the true value of having these plugins on your website. Some people claim it’s good for SEO, while others believe it slows down their page.
On the other hand, there are those who assume that people don’t use these buttons at all, while others wholeheartedly believe that’s the only method of sharing.
In terms of SEO, there’s no clear evidence that share buttons, in general, have negative repercussions on a website. So long as the plugin is well-built, there should be no problem. In fact, if anything, share buttons can help SEO as they increase referral traffic when used.
But let’s get into more details regarding how often they’re actually used.
Do people actually use share buttons?
Back in 2017, we saw a significant difference in sharing behaviors when studying how people accessed and shared content. Only around 15% of social shares were made through share buttons, while the remaining 85% happened through Copy-Paste.
This is what we know as Dark Social, a term that continues to gain buzz as more people acknowledge there is more to their Direct Traffic than it appears. This sharing behavior — copying & pasting a link onto a private conversation — has been increasing over the years, especially in the publishing industry.
According to a study from Digital News Report, the habit of sharing news to public social media channels decreased in 2018. On the other hand, there’s a significant rise in the use of messaging apps for news.
As for our own findings in 2018, research showed us that 71% of shares were made through Copy & Paste, leaving the remaining 29% to Share Buttons.

What does this mean for share buttons? Are they becoming useless?
No, of course not.
Although most visitors favor Dark Social shares, share buttons are far from obsolete. There is a still a portion, however small, of every audience that uses them. In fact, you want to encourage this behavior, as it makes attribution of traffic much easier.
It should go without saying that this also depends on things such as the design and positioning of your share buttons.
While it may look more aesthetically pleasing to you to have extremely small buttons placed just below your banner image, your website visitors might completely miss them. On the other hand, having too many large buttons spread around your pages can overwhelm the user to the point that they just start to ignore them.
As shown in our blog, a vertical social media share bar next to content is a pretty common way of displaying share buttons.

Why you should consider your privacy policy when choosing a plugin
There’s no shortage of options for those in need of share buttons. A quick search on Google or WordPress Plugins will direct you to solutions such as AddThis or ShareThis.
However, as people are becoming more conscious of privacy issues online, businesses are working hard to strengthen their policies and not all social sharing plugins satisfy their privacy needs easily.
Even if they’re not used by a visitor, share buttons place cookies on a user’s device when they view a website.
Most brands that provide these share buttons sell the cookies to third-party services, which then use cookies to track users’ web browsing activities so companies can send them personalized ads.
Although brands are usually transparent about this in their own privacy policies, many of their users might not take the time to figure that out.
Not everyone is bothered by the implications of this, but bigger businesses with stricter policies are now more cautious with their user’s privacy than ever.
Although remaining completely anonymous on the internet and escaping targeted ads is quite difficult, each business is responsible for what happens on their website, so privacy policies need to step up where they can.
When it comes to cookies from share buttons, GetSocial doesn’t sell users’ data to third-party services. Not even in our free plan. Every data we collect through our features belongs to our customers.
This has been the starting point for many long-lasting relationships we currently maintain with our customers.

Google Attribution Models Explained (Part 1)

377053 / Pixabay
Knowing how different marketing channels work together to drive conversions and sales is key for marketers, and the various Google attribution models available can be useful tools for examining your data from one angle or another.
But that array of options often creates more confusion, rather than insights. Which attribution model gives marketers the best picture? That’s the question we’ll tackle in this post, by analysing the pros and cons of the 6 main Google attribution models.
(Look out for part 2 later this week where we’ll show you a model that overcomes all the weakness of these models below.)
What is a Google attribution model?
An attribution model is a set of rules Google Analytics/AdWords uses to map conversions and sales to respective touchpoints in a customer’s journey. People come to your website through different channels:

Paid and organic search
Referral links
Affiliate links
Social media networks
Emails
Direct URLs and custom campaigns you’ve set up.

Attribution modelling shows you which ones bring in the most sales and which ones assist conversions – the marketing actions/channels that contributed to sealing the deal. But being a descriptive analytics tool, GA can only tell you how users interact with your website and other properties before converting.
It prescribes the right actions or predicts how conversions will change if you optimise a certain channel – it’s your job to properly capture and interpret all the available data. Arguably, that’s the hardest part of any marketer’s job. But that’s where data science can help.
There are several Google attribution models you can consider in Google Analytics:

1. The last interaction attribution model
The credit for sale (conversion) is assigned to the last platform or channel that a user came from before converting.

Example: you are hosting a webinar and place a link to your product in the description box. Out of 100 attendants, 10 clicked that link and signed up for your tool. According to the last interaction attribution model, 10 sales will be credited straight to the webinar platform (referral traffic).
Sensing a fallacy here? This model does not account for all the other marketing activities you’ve used to generate the buzz around your webinar – that aggressive email campaign you did; the paid social media promotion and all the blog posts you’ve published to gather a warmed up, relevant audience for your event. The last attribution model does not account for all the other touchpoints a user probably had before converting.
Pros

Relatively easy-to-setup. Most analytics tools (except for Google Analytics) use this attribution model as default.
Delivers straightforward insights into cost-per-lead metrics.
Provides data into what’s driving the bottom of the funnel, one step away from conversion.

Cons

Tracks only the last steps in the buyer’s journey.
Gives you limited visibility into assisted conversions; diminishes the role of other mediums in your campaign.
Can leave you with a strong impression that only a few (or one) of your marketing channels work, while others show zero conversions (even if that’s not the case).

2. The first interaction attribution model
All the credit goes to the first touchpoint a customer had with your brand. You assume that once the person is there, nothing else can push them towards or derail from converting.

Example: Tim googled your blog post. Two weeks later, he clicked a display ad or typed in the website URL directly and placed an order. Organic search will get full credit. Other actions are not considered.
Pros

Simple and straightforward way of measuring demand generation.
Good choice for businesses using a few (under five) marketing channels to determine which ones drive the most brand awareness and top-of-the-funnel customers.
Suitable for companies with short buying cycles and sales funnels designed for immediate conversions – (saw and purchased).

Cons

Similarly to the previous model – you don’t get insights about assisted conversions/other channels.
Limited CRO: without knowing what exactly impacted the conversion, you have little room for experiments and optimisation.
Unsuitable for measuring the results of omnichannel digital marketing campaigns or for companies with long sales cycles.

3. Linear attribution model
This one accounts for every touchpoint a customer had with your business before converting. All the involved channels receive equal credit for each sale (e.g. 50%-50% or 25%-25%-25%-25%).

Example: Jane takes the time to interact with your brand before converting. She stumbles on your blog post (organic 25%) + clicks on your tweets (social media 25%) + checks your email newsletter (25%) + types your website URL directly and buys a subscription (Direct 25%).
Pros

Provides visibility into every channel that drove conversions. An easy gateway to multi-touch attribution analysis.
Allows you to optimise different campaigns/channels, matching different steps of the customer journey.

Cons

Not every channel has equal impact on conversions. Yet, this model assigns equal credit to low-value touchpoints (e.g. social media clicks) and high-value touchpoints (e.g. pricing requests). You cannot determine what channels/activities work best and where to pour more budget.

4. Position based attribution model
In this case, different touchpoints get fairer “weights” based on their position in the user’s journey. The first and last touch points receive a 40% credit allocation as they are deemed more important than what happened in the interim.

Example: Leo found your brand on Instagram (40% social media). He subscribed to your newsletter and clicked a link (20% email). Later he placed an order through an affiliate link shared by his favorite blogger (40% affiliate).
Pros

A more realistic representation of modern customer journeys. Every touchpoint is credited to some extent. You can also determine the two main channels (first and last) for further optimization.

Cons

Over-emphasises the importance of the two touchpoints, while neglecting others. The percentage allocation may not realistically represent your business sales cycle and the value of individual campaigns. Should a generic email newsletter be given more credit than a niche Facebook retargeting campaign?

5. Time decay attribution model
Touchpoints taking place closest in time to sale/conversion receive the most credit. In other words, the first click has the least value, the last one reigns supreme. But every action in between is measured as well. For additional accuracy, you can add a half-life for a certain decay. The touchpoint at that period will receive 50% of the credit of that final touchpoint.

Example: Lisa navigated to your website via a search ad (10%). Later she found your website again by googling it (15%), subscribed to your newsletter, and clicked back just in time for sales (25%). But her shoe size was not in stock, so she came back directly a few days later (50%).
Pros

More accurate weights are given to every channel/interaction that drove conversion with most credit assigned to the last action that “sealed the deal”.
Helps optimizing conversions and assisted conversions. Well suited for businesses with long sales cycles.

Cons

Fails to acknowledge the importance of brand awareness campaigns that placed your brand in the customers’ spotlight.
Due to being linear, this model does not fairly highlight the more important touchpoints e.g. webinars and email marketing could have more impact on conversions earlier in the journey than that final conversion through a direct link.

6. Custom attribution modeling
The proposed attribution models can be further customized with additional rules and benchmarked against one another using the Google Model Comparison Tool. Custom modeling gives you more room for reconciling the analytics with the actual customer journeys. However, it will still assign the same predetermined weights to different channels.

So if every model is flawed in one way or another and does not provide a full picture, what’s a business to do? The answer is the data-driven attribution model, available to Google Analytics 360 customers.
Unlike others, this model leverages actual data from your account to generate a custom model, personalized to your business, for determining various touchpoints throughout the entire customer journey and assigning custom credit weights to them.
Part two of this series will cover all the basics of setting up and using data-driven attribution, with real-life examples from our team. Stay tuned.

What to Know About Technical SEO in 2019

A lot of businesses must maintain their visibility and relevance in a search engine box. Data is king in 2019 because people don’t look on the yellow pages anymore to look for products and services. They immediately got to a search engine box to look for what they want. All user experiences begin in a search box making SEO one of the most powerful ways to market and create brand recognition online.
It is important to remember that SEO is a technical undertaking and the tech side of it should never be underestimated. Technical optimization is important to a website’s healthy online presence. If you neglect the rigth techniques you are bound to have some issues establishing your presence in search engines. Every renowned web expert has said that web owners should work on technical SEO to get their desired results which are more hits and higher rankings. Most people know about SEO but the puzzle is what is technical SEO?
Technical SEO, simply put, ensures that actions are taken to ensure that a website is following all the guidelines set out by search engines. Following technical SEO can help you get better traffic and rankings from search engines. You can instill plenty of technical SEO techniques without the help of a third-party service provider. If you get too confused and if you feel everything is too technical you can get a Digital Marketing Company and let them handle the technical optimization of your website.
Site Speed
Speed is definitely an issue this 2019. With an update that happened last year, site speed officially became a ranking factor. People won’t waste their time for a website to load and they want quick results. Forty-seven percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. If your site is loading at 2 seconds or more the bounce rate would be massive. Make sure your site isn’t slow because such sites don’t rank effectively. You will not gain the traffic you wish to attract with slow speeds. If you are ever in doubt of your website’s speed get Google Page Speed Insights which can help you analyze your website’s speed. This tool also helps you with solutions to get increase your site speed.
Mobile Friendliness
It is important to get your website to be mobile friendly. Mobile first indexing – mobile speed, and mobile friendliness are crucial this year. If your website isn’t mobile friendly it won’t get indexed by search engines. If there is some error when you open your website in mobile and if some elements look out of proportion then your website isn’t optimized for mobile. Mobile-First Indexing is the initiative set up by Google that allows the mobile version of your website to be the most important one. Traditionally, Google has taken a desktop-first indexing approach, which meant that their crawlers determine your rankings based on the information gathered from the desktop version of a site.
Crawl Errors
It is important to eliminate crawl errors from your site. You may have to crawl the website yourself to see them. Search engines will not be able to crawl and index your website if your website has crawl errors. To discover pages on websites, search engines use “crawlers”. These pages are then scored by hundreds of signals to determine if they should be “indexed” and where they should be “ranked” in the SERPs for a given keyword. Google Search Console Allows you to monitor different aspects of your website like when it was last crawled, any indexing errors, security issues. Remove the errors as soon as possible. Deep Crawl and seoClarity are two good tools for checking crawl errors.
Site Structure
The stability of your website plays a vital role in SEO. You can’t have a website that is down most of the time because it will fail to impress search engines, your users and won’t have good rankings. This aspect also has the potential of shunning away your traffic. Users cannot keep refreshing a page until it gets itself back online. Check your website regularly to make sure it isn’t down. Fix server or hosting issues immediately so they don’t affect your traffic and rankings.
Analyze Your URLs
URLs are important aspects in technical SEO. Your URL should be as simple as possible according to Google. Complex URLs don’t impress search engines. The proper URL should be simple with proper hyphen and spacing. Crawlers are confused by complex URLs and they will not be able to index your site properly. Make your URLs as simple and as plain as possible by trimming them. It’s not only good for your SEO but people will also be able to navigate your site easier.
Robots.txt
There are certain images and source files that should not pop up when Google crawls through your website. Robot.txt files are important because it makes sure that such files do not show up in Google’s search results. You can check it with the help of the Google Console.
Technical SEO is an important factor in running an efficient and optimized website. Think of technical SEO as household maintenance. Everything on your website should be spic and span including the code and content so you will get the ranking and traffic your site deserves.

7 Practical Pointers To Jump Start Your Business Blogging

Business Bloggers Unite!
Today was another Tuesday, and time for another Blab! (If you don’t know what Blab is, read this now.)

Every Tuesday at 11:30 AM I host #SmallBizBlabz with co-host extraordinaire, Deb Laflamme of For the Love Of Your Biz.
Today we talked ‘blogging’ and since we are targeting small business owners (you!) to come join us on Blab, the conversation surrounding blogging was elementary but robust! We dove into several blogging sub-topics and afterwards I could not believe how much material we’d actually covered (and we stayed on topic and under an hour!)
☞ Just to even get started blogging seems to be an obstacle!
☞ How can you keep on track and blog weekly as you have so much work to get done?
☞ Then once you get started, what do you consistently blog about?
☞ How you know who is reading your blog?
☞ How do you know where and when to share your articles?
☞ How do you know you are doing ‘it’ right?
☞ Does a blog article need an image?
☞ How do your create images?
☞ How can you talk with others about your article after they’ve read it?
Business Bloggers Watch This Blab And Learn!
Phew; we covered a lot of ground. We answered all of the above and much more. Here’s the replay.

Business Bloggers Stick Together
By Blabbing together, we came up with several important pieces of blogging advice for business bloggers.
I’ve made this list to share (just in case you didn’t watch the whole Blab replay – this list spells it out!)Here are…

7 Practical Pointers To Jump Start Your Business Blogging
Create a blogging strategy. Include ideal times to blog, frequency, ideal subjects, topics and outline a plan to ‘market’ your articles, including where and how often you will share the articles yourself and to what platforms and when. Work with a professional to guide you if THIS is your hangup!
Start (or restart) blogging with an accountability partner to ensure blogs go out as planned and on time.
Use questions you receive as a business owner as the basis for your blog post ideas. Encourage new acquaintances to ask questions via email so you have a record of questions.
Write your posts anywhere BUT directly into WordPress (and here are the 4 reasons why!)
Find your blogger’s voice by writing as you speak.
Use Twitter, and Triberr, to get almost instant traffic to your blog post.
Use the URL and/or the title of your blog post in the search bar of Twitter (or in a hootsuite stream) to find out who shared it and who’s talking about it!
Now Get Started with Blogging
Do at LEAST ONE of these things immediately.
Tweet us @moreinmedia and @loveyourbiz and tell us you need accountability and help with blogging to get started.
Come up with a list of blog post ideas and block two hours on your calendar THIS WEEK to write and upload one blog article!
Search on Twitter for people who have shared your articles in the past and connect with them and share their blog articles!
Join Tribber!
Leave a comment here and tell me that you need help blogging and what your biggest obstacle is.
I am enjoying Blab so much! I encourage you to try it if you have not! It’s a great platform to connect with colleagues and influencer, other like-minded (business) people.

Email Marketing Newsletters: Your Design Checklist

Are you ready to design the best email newsletter ever?
Your email marketing newsletter design is hands-down the most important element of your campaign. Without an effective and compelling design, your recipients won’t engage and maybe will even unsubscribe or *horror* mark you as spam.
I want to help you make the most out of all your hard work and show you just how important each design step is.
Previously, I had discussed the importance of maintaining a clean and segmented email marketing list. You don’t want to waste all that work, do you?
After reading this article, or while you’re scanning away, take a moment to leave a comment with your thoughts. Your input matters, and I’m sure I’ve missed some valuable points.
———
1) Subject line
Are you happy with your subject line? Are you sure it’s going to be effective?
Your subject line is one of the most important elements of your email, if not the most important of all. It is the leading factor for whether your email gets opened or not.
When people look at your email in their inbox, what do they see that’ll compel them to click and read more? Does your subject line hook them, interest them, or build upon their curiosity?
Your subject line needs to draw their attention without giving away the gist of your email. You want them to open it and ultimately take action in one way or another.

Take the time to develop your subject line properly. Give it a lot of thought. When you do, you just might see a big difference.
Real-Life Scenario:
While with a local nonprofit, I tried to experiment with different subject line methods that I had learned about while studying marketing. It was a challenge to create something that hooked the recipient while also maintaining the strict professionalism of my employer. Once I finally had a line we could all agree upon, I sent out a series of emails without making almost any changes to it. The open rate and attendee participation suffered as a result.
While your follow-up email subject lines should be similar to your first one, it could be of benefit to try mixing it up a bit. You can add “Reminder” or something of the sort to connect the two emails, but I recommend using different wording for each email subject line.
When you send an email out with the subject line “Come visit us at XYZ conference in XYZ” (for example), be creative when sending out the next email. Catch the recipients’ attention over again with a reminder subject line that is just as compelling as the first email.
Resources:
Crazy Egg has an article titled: 12 Tips to Boost Email Click-Through Rates plus 23 Strategic Subject Lines. In addition to providing proven strategies for getting people to open your email and act on your content, Crazy Egg gives you examples of some of the most effective subject lines out there.
Impact Branding & Design published an article on subject lines titled: 6 Easy Subject Line Hacks to Boost Your Email Open Rates Right Now. It is filled with great advice to help increase your open rates and decrease your chances of getting marked as spam.
2) Preheader
This part of an email marketing newsletter design is largely overlooked. It’s the subtext that appears at the very top of your email. It’s also the short snippet of text that appears next to your email’s subject line.

Take advantage of this valuable real estate by making your preheader intriguing or informative. It’ll help improve your open rates where your subject line may have failed to do so.
Real-Life Scenario:
While I’ve been writing this article, I’ve gone through my own inbox to see what shows up in the preheader for some of the subscription emails I have there. I use Gmail, and here are some good and not-so-good examples of some preheaders I’ve found (subject line – preheader):
Subject line – subject line repeated
Subject line – read in browser link
Subject line – social media CTAs
Subject line – “Here are a few articles we thought you’d enjoy”
Subject line – “Your weekly roundup of the latest posts…”
And so on…
I definitely prefer preheaders that say something that’ll further compel me to click on the email. I don’t feel compelled to click when I see the first 3 preheader examples from above, especially #3.
In those cases, what’s in it for me? How is a repeat subject line making good use of this valuable space? How are your social media ads going to encourage me to open your email? If anything, it could end up hurting you in the end.
If I see preheaders used for self-promotion, you’d better have an incredibly convincing subject line.
Resources:
In an article I found from the Salesforce blog, the writer explained what a preheader is and why it’s so important. Although it’s a brief article, it is very informative if you’re questioning the value of preheader text.
Your preheader text is an essential part of your newsletter design, and this article tells you why.
ClickZ has a blog article titled: Eight Tips for Effective E-mail Preheaders, which goes into detail about the ways you can create preheaders that work.
One of the key points in this article is that your preheader should not be a repeat of your subject line. Unfortunately, I see 9/10 of my subscription emails taking that approach.
Take a look at this article to find 8 of the most helpful tips for effectively using the preheader space.
3) Imagery
Your newsletter should not be black and white, but it also should not be overwhelmed with color and imagery.

You need to find a balance between text and imagery in order to draw your recipient in and keep their attention.
Real-Life Scenario:
When I first started receiving email newsletters from my favorite blogs, I noticed the wide variety of techniques each blog chose for their email’s appearance.
Some of the most influential bloggers out there send me emails with snippets of their new article(s) in text only. I never read it. I simply skip all the text and go to the article link.
If I get an email with colorful imagery, I pay more attention to the purpose of the email. I read far more when the text is grouped with images because I, along with many other people, prefer to see imagery that explains the content than just text alone.
If you’re going to stick with black & white, text-only emails, don’t waste your time. Speaking from experience, email recipients don’t have time to read the heavy, visually unappealing content you send. In the end, you’re much better off taking the little extra time to add imagery, or at least color, to your email.
Resources:
Constant Contact provides an article titled: Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes When Adding Images to Your Email Marketing, which lists the mistakes you can make as well as advice on how to prevent them in future campaigns.
Number 6 in this article is my personal favorite because it’s a mistake I see a lot, and it’s a mistake I’ve made in the past myself.
Another great resource is the article by AWeber: Don’t Use Another Image In Your Emails Without Reading This First. The article includes a very good point that I haven’t talked about yet:
Your emails need imagery, yes, but even with it, you can’t neglect your text content. Imagery shouldn’t replace or overwhelm your main content. They need to work together for best results.
4) Links
Although I’ve been saying each design component is important, I pretty much have to say it every time. Each part of your design has a purpose that can’t be ignored, and links are a must-use.

You need to add links to your emails so that recipients click-through to your target location. Most importantly, you need these links to be convincing.
If you simply say “click here” or use other generic text, you’re neglecting a great opportunity for an increased click-through rate (CTR). Even worse, if you simply add the URL as your link spelled out, your email looks amateur at best.
Don’t use too many links because it’ll confuse both you and the reader as to what your real goal is. Have a focused call-to-action (CTA) in your email that stands out much more than any other links. This will increase your CTR and give you an easier time measuring the success of your campaign.
On another note, here are a few other tips for using links in your emails:
If using a shortened URL link, take advantage of it and track it.
Test the link to make sure it goes where it’s supposed to go.
Give each link enough room so that recipients don’t have issues trying to select them on a mobile device.
Real-Life Scenario:
When I was working with a nonprofit, I was often in charge of their email marketing, and as a result, I had the experiences and opportunities to learn what works and what doesn’t with link placement, design and use.
One of the mistakes I made was not having a focused CTA. I added several links, all of which were the same size, color… And they were all grouped together in one space.
It was a mess, and I quickly learned my lesson. My next email campaign worked much better as I had added a CTA that stood out from the rest of the content and links. The space I had created for links in the past – I gave each link more space and limited the number of links I added.
Resources:
I found an article by Marketo titled: 10 Best Practices for Using Links in Emails. It goes more in depth than I have on this subject, so I recommend taking a look at what it has to offer you.
One of the points in the article really stands out to me. Your links should always be relevant to the content of your email. You don’t want to confuse or distract your recipients, so stay focused on the theme or purpose of your email.
5) Copywriting
The last part of your design that I discuss is the way in which you add and finalize your copy.

When you select the text you want to use, you need to be especially concise and choosy in what you include.
People aren’t going to read huge blocks of text, so make sure you cut it up into separate sections when you can.
Stay relevant to what you want people to know and do at the end. It needs to relate to your final call-to-action.
Also, have an editor (or 2 or 3) go over your copy to check for spelling, grammar, simplicity, and accuracy. Have them give you a critique of whether they understand and can follow what you’re trying to say.
Real-Life Scenario:
When I receive newsletters in my email, I consistently choose to open almost all of them because I know I signed up to receive them for a reason. However, when I look at the opened email, I sometimes get disappointed in what I see.
I’ve seen emails that were clearly not proofread or thought-through. I’ve even seen emails that simply don’t make sense, and I have no idea what the sender wanted me to do.
The worst I’ve seen was an email that had text that didn’t even relate whatsoever to the subject line. It was clear that the sender did not check what topic s/he wanted to share.
Resources:
The writers at Writtent provided an article titled: The 11 Key Elements of Amazing Copywriting, which gives you a detailed description of what you need to have and do for successful copywriting.
Although the article is not directly focused on email marketing, it can all be used for that purpose.
Another resource to check out is from GetResponse: The “4Ps” of Persuasive Email Copywriting. It gives you a different appreciation for proper email copy by describing 4 “Ps” for effectiveness.
The article focuses on your copy from beginning to end, using persuasion as its main point.
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Summary
There are other elements to your email marketing newsletter design, but I’ve gone into detail about the points I find most important:
Subject line
Preheader
Imagery
Links
Copywriting
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12 Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make In Social Media (And How To Avoid Them)

Social media is one of the very best ways to get your brand out there and engaged with, but it is so easy to make huge mistakes on social. Do any of the things in this article and you will find that your social media presence suddenly becomes worthless, even harmful to your company.
1. Getting the profile wrong
Missing the chance to make an impact from the outset.
Don’t forget that, especially as a small business, your social media profiles are the very first things that prospects see. If they are not developed carefully enough, and if they don’t present your company in a good light, you have absolutely no excuse when the whole thing comes crashing down about your ears. To combat this potentially serious problem, you need to ensure that all of your data is on the bio. This means your company details and your URL when it comes to your main site. This is vital, but you would be surprised how many companies get it wrong. It is absolutely incredible that some businesses out there have what can only be described as ‘uninspiring’ profiles on all the major social media channels they are a part of. For more tips, go here.

2. Not monitoring the conversation
Ignoring what people say about your business.
If you are an established small business, you will have a presence online. If you have a presence online, then you should be monitoring it. This is another classic mistake that companies make. They ignore the fact that people are talking about them online and basically stick their heads in the sand. Customers actually take this to a new level by expecting you to keep an eye on the mentions and other aspects of your online presence. If you don’t respond to stuff that is being said about your company online you are simply asking for trouble. For more information on companies that don’t monitor conversations about their business, try this.
3. Handling negativity badly
Sticking your head in the sand, or yanking it out and screaming.
If you’re looking for real failure with social media then simply ignore, delete or get angry about negativity. There is going to be some negativity aimed at your company online, and this will only get worse as your company develops and become more successful. If you delete comments that are negative, people will notice and they will just write more. If you ignore them, there is at least a chance that you appear to ‘rise above’ stuff, which works for a while. If you get angry though, then there is an absolute firestorm heading your way. Keep calm and respond in a sensible and focused manner, and people will love you for it.
4. Not being human
Insisting on a dry, corporate voice.
Get the voice right if you want to survive on social. Too many companies sound automated, literally like robots when they respond to people or when they post updates. Bring some humour into it and this way people will genuinely warm to you and see this as being part of your brand. What’s more, they will like you.
5. Making your DMs automated
Not responding personally.
The biggest fail right now for companies on Twitter is the old classic: the automated DM that tells people that you’re super happy to get to know them and to keep looking out for each other’s tweets. This sounds as robotic as you’d expect, and people are starting to switch off from it. Take your time on Twitter when finding new followers anyway (see next point), but most definitely avoid treating them like another number. Respond personally, and watch the engagement rise.
6. Over following on Twitter
Not keeping it targeted.
As another aspect of the previous point, stop following millions of people every year. Twitter is now working better as a social media platform for people who follow genuinely interesting people, or users who would be interested in what you have to offer on the platform. Blanket follow, and the audience will become something you would rather avoid, especially when you see meaningless tweets and messages flashing up that just waste your time. Get connected to people who mean something to you and you can’t go wrong.
7. Ignoring calls to action
A recipe for low ROI.
If you want to ensure that people actually get something out of your social media content and give something back to you (ROI), you need to ensure that there is some call to action at least some of the time. It is easy to just send out a bunch of tweets and write a few blog posts that show great expertise and insight, but not much else. If people like what you do, they should be able to find out more about you and engage with you more. Who knows, they may even buy something at some point. Include a call to action on your social media and you will find that the ROI just grows and grows.
8. Over-automating your presence
Something that Facebook is getting cross about.
Avoid the automated update stuff. Facebook has been known to get rather angry with businesses that automate their updates, because it wants to see more people actually engaging with the audience they’re trying to build up. Spend time talking to customers and your wider audience, and try your best to mix up any automaton with some genuine content that you have created yourself.
9. Using hashtags too much
Even three is too much.
We won’t actually use one in this section, but the overuse of hashtags has made social media a bit of a minefield for the casual observer (i.e. prospects). Hashtags are way overused and people are now switching off when they see them. The worst businesses include more than three hashtags in their tweets for example (and we think that is pretty rich, to be honest). No one wants death by hashtag, so show some mercy. For more insight on hashtags and tracking hashtags, go here.
10. No social plan
You need a social media marketing strategy.
Not having a plan is a pretty big mistake. Too many businesses just build out their Twitter page and their Facebook presence and then sit back, expecting people to rush out there and connect with them. This is not how the world works, and it is most certainly an easy way to fail on social media. You need to get people to come to you through some super-savvy marketing. Publicise your social media channels on your blog, your business card, and even the side of your car if you have to. Whatever you do, don’t just wait for people to come to you. Social media is a funny thing. There are millions of people using it, but it is almost impossible to find an audience unless you talk about your social media in the real world, or on other channels. At the very least, if you’re an established company, send out a press release when you post your very first tweet, for example.
11. Obsessing on follower numbers
It’s all about the quality, not the quantity.
Don’t get hooked on poring over your numbers either. It is very easy to become obsessed with looking at your follower numbers and expecting these to translate into sales. The best thing you can do on social is focus on creating high-quality content that makes people sit up and listen. This is the only way you gain an ROI from your hard work. Having fifty million followers on a platform just means that fifty million people have clicked on your name. They won’t avidly read your content unless it is relevant and valuable to them.
12. Not keeping it fresh
Regular, consistent content is important.
Finally, get fresh content out as often as is reasonable. Don’t be that company that posts 50 times a day and hopes that people come and buy. Instead, focus on creating regular content or sharing content on a very consistent basis. This way, people will know when to expect you to join the conversation, and this knowing will mean that they will welcome you.
So there are the twelve most common mistakes you can make on social media. All of them are easy to make (we all want to deny we did number 12 at least once, for example), but if you can avoid them, your social presence will only grow over time.