Where to Find Public and Private Small Business Funding in 2020

With the recent passing of a $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package, small business owners impacted by COVID-19 have been given options for low-interest loans, financial assistance, and other aid that can help them in this uncertain economic time.

Aside from this stimulus package, a number of private, state and local institutions have also stepped up to provide aid, assistance, and loans to small business owners suddenly facing unforeseen challenges.

With a number of different options emerging, small business owners might be asking themselves, “Which options am I eligible for?” and “Which funding option is right for my particular business?”

To help business owners and entrepreneurs looking for financing options, we’ve compiled a list of public and private opportunities for small businesses.

National Funding Resources for Small Businesses

Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration is a federally funded organization that provides loans, debt relief, and other financial aid to small businesses with 500 employees or less.

Currently, the Small Business Administration oversees small business loans from SBA-approved lenders, such as banks. While SBA doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners, it sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions. This process reduces the risk for lenders, which — in turn — enables more small businesses to receive loans.

How an SBA loan works

Source

Here are a few examples of loans that the Small Business Administration coordinates:

Paycheck Protection Program

This program provides low-interest loans of up to $10 million funded by the recently passed CARES Act. These loans aim to prevent the financial downturn of small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The program assists business owners in paying employee payroll, mortgage payments, or other vital business expenses.

According to the SBA’s site, up to 100% of the loan is forgivable and partial forgiveness will be granted if all employees stay on the payroll for eight weeks or more after a business receives the loan.

Economic Injury Loan Assistance

As part of another emergency preparedness act, small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply on the SBA site for a low-interest disaster loan of up to $2 million. Applicants will receive a decision about their loan within three days of applying.

These low-interest loans will have a payback period of up to 30 years, determined by lenders on a case-by-case basis. Each loan’s interest rate will be 2.75% for non-profits and 3.75% for other small businesses.

Standard 7(a) Small Business Loans

The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary program for small businesses. The terms and conditions, like the guarantee percentage and loan amount, vary by the type of loan. These small business loans are often used for smaller startup business costs and are not related to emergencies or disasters.

The 7(a) loan size is usually between $350,000 and $5 million. Lenders are not required to take collateral for loans up to $25,000. For loans over $350,000, the SBA requires a lender to accept as much collateral as possible. This collateral could include a business’ fixed assets, trading assets, or real estate.

Express Small Business Loans

Express loans are similar to 7(a) Small Business Loans in that they max at $350,000 and will require lender collateral. The key difference is that applicants will get a decision and disbursement within 36 hours of applying for the loan. Like other SBA loans, the lender determines the eligibility and the loan’s terms.

For more urgent loans, exporters can apply for an Export Express loan. Applications for these loans, which cap at $500,000, will get a response from lenders within 24 hours.

Aside from the loans mentioned above, SBA also offers assistance for veterans, businesses that require short-term seasonal loans, and small businesses that need loans for international trading purposes.

You can find more about SBA’s standard loan programs here. On the SBA website, you can also find information about SBA lenders.

While SBA primarily provides loans, the administration also works with organizations to provide grants to businesses in certain fields, such as scientific research and development and exporting. Information about these specific grant opportunities can be found on the SBA’s grant page.

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a comprehensive site that educates grant applicants about funding opportunities and allows them to search a huge catalog of federal, state, and local grants from a variety of different organizations.

While anyone can use the website to find grants for many different purposes, small business owners can filter searches to grants that directly pertain to their company or industry.

Grants.gov grant search database

Although there are thousands of searchable grants on this database, it’s important to note that many of them focus on non-profits, health, education, or public service. Additionally, many of the grants offered are from federal or state-funded organizations. This means that some for-profit small businesses might have difficulty finding grants related to their field.

Private Assistance and Lenders

In the coming months, many private banks will be offering assistance or special funding opportunities for individuals or small businesses. Here’s a quick rundown of companies with temporary assistance or ongoing small business loan programs:

JPMorgan Chase’s Small Business Pledge

In light of COVID-19, JPMorgan Chase has pledged $2 million to its nonprofit partners around the world and $8 million to “assist small businesses vulnerable to significant economic hardships in the U.S., China, and Europe.”

The banking company says they will be working with community development financial institutions around the world that will provide low or zero-interest loans and interest rate buydowns to owners. JPMorgan Chase will also aim to financially help those who’ve benefited from its Ascend and Entrepreneurs of Color funds.

Along with the aid noted above, Chase and JPMorgan are SBA-approved lenders, meaning they offer many of SBA’s low-interest loan options. They also offer real-estate, equipment, and business trade financing to small businesses.

Small business owners can also apply for short-term loans of up to $5,000. These loans have fixed or adjustable rates and can be paid back between one and seven years.

TD Bank Loans and Lines of Credit

TD Bank offers credit lines, loans, mortgages, and equipment leasing to small businesses.

According to TD, credit lines are best for borrowing $25,000 to $500,000. However, larger lines are available for commercial-sized businesses. Interest rates vary based on the credit line. When paying the money back, credit line recipients have the option to pay towards the overall credit line, or just pay interest-only.

When it comes to loans, mortgages, and equipment leasing, TD Bank says it can lend up to $1 million to small business owners. Similarly to credit lines, larger loans are available for commercial companies.

Like many other financial institutions on this list, TD Bank is an SBA lender and also claims to offer competitive interest rates.

Capital One

Capital One is also an approved SBA lender. Aside from SBA lending, Capital One also offers business installment loans. These loans are fixed-term loans of $10,000 or more.

According to Capital One’s website, the loans require monthly payments with a max payback period of five years. The company also aids small businesses in consolidating debt, so they only have to pay one lender each month.

Wells Fargo’s Small Business Initiative

According to a recent press release from Wells Fargo, the banking chain will soon be offering resources to meet the urgent needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

As part of Wells Fargo’s initiative, the institution will dedicate $2 million “to the deployment of flexible capital in collaboration with Opportunity Fund and will also provide immediate cash boosts and financial coaching support of entrepreneurs and their low-wage workers in coordination with SaverLife.”

Aside from the initiative noted above, Wells Fargo offers three types of loans: unsecured business loans, Equipment Express Loans, and an Advancing Term loan. The first two loans are aimed at one time projects or purchases.

The loans can be for an amount between $10,000 and $100,000 and have payback periods of one to five years or two to six years respectively. The Advancing term loan is a $100,000 to $500,000 working capital loan which requires business assets as collateral.

The banking institution also offers credit lines between $5,000 to $100,000. Interest rates vary depending on the line. No collateral is required for these lines and all businesses that use them are automatically enrolled in Wells Fargo’s rewards program. For larger businesses, which make $2-to-$5-million annually, Wells Fargo also offers a Prime Line valued between $100,000 and $500,000

BlueVine

BlueVine is an organization that provides small businesses with loans between $5,000 and $5 million. Interest rates for loans and credit lines start at 4.8% and vary based on the type and size of loan selected. The company offers three specific types of lending: Credit lines of up to $250,000 with no repayment penalties. term loans of up to $250,000, and Invoice factoring — a credit line specifically for invoices — of up to $5 million.

To apply for a BlueVine credit line or loan, you must have $10,000 in revenue and have been in business for more than six months. The business owner must also have higher than a 600 FICO score. Eligibility information is not noted online for BlueVine’s invoice factoring service.

Once an application is submitted to BlueVine, the lender could respond within five minutes or 24 hours.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle offers small business loans between $25,000 and $500,000. Loans are fixed term and can have a payback period between six months and five years. Interest and origination fees might vary based on the type and size of the loan.

The company says that loan applicants will receive a decision within 24 hours of applying. According to its website, Funding Circle also provides loans for female entrepreneurs, minorities, and small business acquisitions.

Funding Circle is also an SBA-approved lender. According to its website, it will soon be offering loans funded by the Paycheck Protection Program, noted in the CARES Act.

Small businesses that are interested in working with this company to receive Paycheck Protection Program loans can sign up to receive email notifications when applications are launched specifically for it.

It’s important to note that certain Funding Circle loans require a one-time fee before they’re dispersed. When an applicant is approved for a loan, they’ll receive the fee and interest information before being required to commit to the loan.

To receive a loan from Funding Circle, business owners must have an Experian credit score of 660. Additionally, businesses in some industries are ineligible for term loans. These industries include speculative real estate, nonprofit organizations, weapons manufacturers, gambling businesses, and marijuana dispensaries. They also cannot provide loans to businesses in Nevada due to the state’s lending regulations.

PayPal Business Loans

PayPal offers small business loans between $5,000 and $500,000 to companies that have been in business for nine months or more and have a free PayPal Business profile.

According to PayPal’s site, no interest is due on the loan if it is paid back within the first six months. The amount of interest and payback period varies based on the type of loan businesses apply for.

To receive a PayPal loan, businesses must be more than nine months old, earn $42,000 annual revenue, and not have any active bankruptcies. Any business owner in the United States can apply for a PayPal loan, but they must have a FICO score of at least 550. Like Funding Circle, PayPal notes that some industries are ineligible for business loans.

Citi Fee Waivers

For retail customers and small business customers, Citi has waived fees on certificate of deposit withdrawals until May 2020. For small businesses, Citi will also provide waivers for monthly service fees and remote deposit capture.

Additionally, those with a Citi credit card might qualify for a forbearance program which would delay them from needing to pay back their full balance.

State and Local Funding Resources for Small Businesses

State-Funded Programs

Each state offers different benefits, tax exemptions, loans, or grant opportunities for businesses. To learn more about state-based assistance and funding, visit your state department’s website.

For example, small business owners in Massachusetts can visit mass.gov to find information about state-mandated COVID-19 relief. On this page, you’ll find information about Massachusetts’ own relief funding, as well as federal loan options.

Additionally, you can also check out the grants.gov database or this interactive map that allows you to see assistance opportunities by state.

Local Banks and Credit Unions

While many big banks are currently offering loans related to the financial climate, your local bank or smaller chains might also be allowing small business owners to take out loan amounts with interest rates and payback periods that work for them.

Tips for Picking the Right Funding

While the CARES Act and private business initiatives have opened the door to a number of financial opportunities for businesses, there are still a few things small business owners should keep in mind.

First, it’s important to note that some of the loans above might come with fees. For example, you might have to pay a small fee to disburse the loan in the first place.

Secondly, some of these loans do not disperse all at once. For instance, loans of up to $10 million designated by the CARES Act will offer small businesses a cash advance of up to $10,000 before the rest of the funds are dispersed.

Before committing to a loan, small businesses might need to look at their timeline for paying bills and other expenses and make sure that a loan’s disbursement works for them.

Lastly, and most importantly, when accepting a loan, a small business owner agrees to pay it back.

While some loan programs are currently offering deferment or partial forgiveness programs, most will expect all the funds plus interest to be paid back. As business owners research these loans, they should fully understand the payback and interest rate terms before committing. They should also have a financial plan and backup plan for how they will pay off the loans and interest in the future, regardless of whether their business is or is not running.

Disclaimer: This blog post is meant as a basic resource and not a comprehensive guide. We will regularly update it to add more information as funding opportunities become available or change.

Go to Source
Author:

Powered by WPeMatico

On-Page SEO 101: Tips for Keyword Optimizing the Most Critical Parts of Your Website

SEO can sometimes feel like it stands for “Something Extremely Obscure.”

As marketers, we’re responsible for staying on top of what can feel like endless Google algorithm updates. And if we fail to do so, we run the risk of not showing up in search for important target keywords.

But keeping pace with all of those changes isn’t easy. Thankfully, when it comes to achieving SEO success on your website, there’s one rule of thumb that remains a tried-and-tested technique: optimizing your website with relevant and targeted keywords.

By having a well-optimized site, you’ll start to see results like improved visitor quality, higher conversion rates, and in the end: more closed customers.

In this article, I’m going to cover how to add keywords to your website once you’ve already completed your keyword research. So before you dive into this post, be sure to read this awesome blog post on how to do keyword research.

Got your keywords ready? Alright. Read on to learn what on-page SEO is, where to add those keywords to your website, and how to avoid search penalties.

What is On-Page SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is all about creating content, optimizing it, and promoting it. When we talk about SEO, we often talk about “on-page SEO” and “off-page SEO.”

What’s the difference? In short:

  • On-Page SEO is what a site “says to a search engine.”
  • Off-Page SEO is what “other sites say” about a site.

On-page SEO, or “saying something to a search engine,”means optimizing individual webpages so that they rank higher on search engine results pages. The term covers both the content itself, as well as the HTML source code — both of which can be optimized for search.

Off-page SEO, on the other hand, refers to external ranking signals like links.

Improving your on-page SEO can help your inbound marketing efforts immensely by helping you attract the right visitors to your website. You want to optimize your pages for search engines so they can understand who you are, what you do, and what you’re writing about. Again, when you improve your on-page SEO, you’ll help increase the organic rank of your website on search engine results pages (SERPs).

(HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to use HubSpot’s on-page SEO tool, which is built right into the software.)

On-Page SEO Tips to Help Your Webpages Rank Better in Search

In this section we’re going to offer some tips to help you step up your SEO game. We’ll go over organization strategies, keywords, and content. Ready to start?

1. Start with an SEO audit of your website.

Every time you add new site content, you’ll want to create that content with the specific keywords you’re targeting (1–2 per individual webpage) in mind. But if you already have a bunch of webpages published, then your first step will be performing an SEO audit on your current website.

An SEO audit will give you an idea of how SEO-friendly your website is overall.That way, you can update and optimize your current content for search starting with your highest-traffic webpages. The audit will also help surface any other issues you may have, like duplicate content, so you can address them immediately and start ranking better in search.

This quick video series teaches you how to perform an SEO site audit in detail. It covers how to check whether your site is being blocked by search engines, make sure your XML sitemap is working, monitor and improve site performance, spot and remove internal duplicate content, and check your site’s popularity and trustworthiness.

In short, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Export all of your site pages into a spreadsheet, like Excel or Google Sheets.
  • Sort by the most frequently visited pages. (Learn how to sort in Excel here.)
  • Decide which keyword category each one falls into, and add that category into a column beside the page name.
  • Add another column in your spreadsheet to add more specific keywords that you want to add to that page. Keep in mind that they must be relevant to the content on that page, as well as terms your target audience would be searching for.

Here’s an example of what this might look like:

Example of an SEO audit.

Once you’ve completed this process for all of your pages (or, if you have a ton of pages, at least the most important ones), then you can jump in to your site to start adding keywords.

Here are a few other helpful resources for performing SEO audits:

2. Add keywords (naturally) to critical places on your website.

In order to optimize your pages for keywords, you’ll need to, well … include those keywords on your site.

You may be wondering how to find the proper keywords to include on your site. Let’s start with a quick explanation of how to do that.

So, now you know how to find keywords, and are ready to place them on your webpage. Be wary, though — not every placement of a keyword is equal: There are certain places on your website that are more optimal than others for on-page SEO.

Here’s a list of some of the most important places to optimize for your chosen keywords on your site:

  • Titles
  • Descriptions
  • Headings & Content
  • Images Titles & Alt Text
  • URLs

If you haven’t optimized these sections of your site in the past, you have some work to do — but it’s up-front work that will pay off big time in the long term. To get the most bang for your buck, start with the pages that get the most traffic. Then, as you create more pages in the future, be sure to optimize as you go.

(HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to figure out which webpages are getting the most traffic using the “Sources” report.)

Titles

Titles are the HTML element used to describe the topic of a webpage. You’ll find them in the title of a search engine result page (as shown below), and in the top bar of an internet browser.

Example of a homepage title in the SERP.

Titles have a direct impact on both searcher clickthrough rates (CTRs) and search rankings.To make your title both search-friendly and click-friendly:

  • Try to keep it below 70 characters so it doesn’t get cut off on search engine results pages. (Technically, Google measures by pixel width, not character count. It recently increased the pixel width for organic search results to about 600 pixels from 500 pixels, which is approximately 65 characters.)
  • Include one of your target keywords or phrases so it’s easier for searchers to identify that your results are relevant to other query — and position these keywords toward the front of the title to lower the risk of it getting cut off on SERPs.

Descriptions

Descriptions, or meta descriptions, are shown in search results below the title and URL, as shown below.

Example of a site's description on the SERP.

Descriptions can help increase click-through rate (CTR), but nowadays, they actually don’t have a direct impact on rankings. They’re for humans, not search engine crawlers, so use them to tell searchers why they should click on your result. Use one of your target keywords or phrases in your meta description so they know your content is relevant to their query, but make it attractive to the viewer, too.

Bonus: You can use this cool tool from Dejan SEO to preview what your search result would look like before deciding which description to use.

Headings & Content

It’s important to use your keywords in your headings and content, as visitors are much more likely to stay on a page if they can see the terms they had searched for on it.Using keywords in your content is used by Google as a ranking factor, so doing this can help improve your SERP placement.

Just make sure you’re using these keywords naturally, since Google has gotten better and better at being able to tell when people are keyword-stuffing their content. Whenever you create content, focus on what matters to your audience, not how many times you can include a keyword or keyword phrase in that content. If you do that, you’ll usually find you naturally optimize for important keywords.

While it’s fine to use keywords in multiple locations on your site, don’t overdo it or Google will demote your webpages in search results. (And hey, no one wants to read content like that, anyway.)

Image Alt Text & Titles

You can also look at including keywords in a natural way in your image alt text and titles.Both alt text and titles are attributes that can be added to an image tag in HTML. Here’s what a complete image tag might look like:

style=”font-family: ‘courier new’, courier;”>alt=”image-description” title=”image tooltip”/>

An image’s alt text tells search engine crawlers what an image is about, which helps it be found in search. It’ll display inside the image container when an image can’t be found, and it also improves accessibility for people with poor vision using screen readers.

An image title tag, on the other hand, is shown when a user hovers their mouse over the element — kind of like a “pop-up.” It won’t be shown to the user when an image can’t be displayed.

(HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to add alt text and title text to your images in HubSpot.)

Adding keywords to these image attributes may seem minor, and truthfully, it isn’t going to impact your search rankings as much as other things on this list. But trust us, it’s worth the extra minute (if that) it takes to change the name from“IMG23940” to something accurate and descriptive.

For example, if you were to write alt text for the image below:

  • Bad: alt=””
  • Better: alt=”puppies”
  • Best: alt=”golden-retriever-puppies-in-basket”
  • Avoid: alt=”puppy-dog-baby-dog-pup-pups-puppies-doggies-litter-retriever-labrador-wolfhound-setter-pointer-basket-wicker-basket-box-container-straw-grass-green-nature”

Golden retriever puppies in a basket.

URLs

It’s a good idea to include keywords in your URL if they accurately describe the page contents. This is particularly important for businesses that do a lot of blogging — there’s a huge opportunity to optimize your URLs on every post you publish, as every post lives on its own unique URL.

But beware: Search engines will penalize exact match domains that are keyword stuffed. So if you’re thinking of starting up arizonerealestaterealtorsinarizona.com, think again. Keep it to businessname.com/topic-topic, and you should be fine.

As always, keep reader-friendliness in mind when you’re creating your URLs. Overall, your URLs should make sense to humans and give them a good sense of where in your website they’ve landed. You should also separate words with hyphens and remove extra words (like “a” and “the”) in the page part of the URL slug.

Examples of URL slugs.

3. Learn to avoid search penalties.

There are a couple of things you should also avoid when optimizing your site for keywords, so be careful of the following sketchy SEO practices some people (mind-bogglingly) still use.

Never Hide Keywords.

This includes using the same color background as you do for the text, hiding them behind images, or hiding them off to the side using CSS. (I know, I can’t believe I have to say it.) While this isn’t as easy to catch as other black hat tactics, today’s more sophisticated search engines can easily find instances of hidden keywords –and it can result in serious search penalties.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing.

Keyword stuffing means repeating keywords over and over again in the text, whether it’s in titles, headings, descriptions, page content, URLs, or even at the bottom of a webpage in very small text. Basically, when it looks like keywords have been added unnecessarily onto a webpage, it’s probably keyword stuffed.

Keyword stuffing is the oldest trick in the book when it comes to SEO — and nowadays, search engines have been developed specifically to detect it.Not only does it looks spammy, but it’s not approved by search engines and will result in penalties.

Don’t Force Keywords Where They Don’t Belong.

This isn’t quite the same as stuffing a lot of keywords into a post. This is more about not forcing a keyword in — even if it’s just one — if it doesn’t belong, contextually speaking.If you can’t figure out a place to put a keyword in a piece of content, it’s often a sign the content isn’t that well-aligned with what your personas need, anyway.

Remember, SEO is not about incorporating as many keywords as possible. It’s much more about picking content topics relevant to your target audience.

4. Promote a good user experience.

The most important thing to consider is your visitor’s user experience.While optimizing your website for an algorithm sounds purely scientific, remember that the goal of search engines is the deliver the best experience possible to their end-users: searchers.If you keep that goal in mind with your SEO strategy, you’ll be more likely to make good choices.Think about humans first and search engines second, and you’ll be alright.

We know you’re a busy marketer with a lot of things on your plate. SEO needs not fall to the bottom of your priority list because of lack of knowledge — or, worse, fear you’re doing it wrong. We hope this was a helpful starting-off point for your on-page SEO efforts. To learn more about on-page SEO we have a free SEO course that provides helpful tips and tricks. Happy optimizing!

Go to Source
Author:

Powered by WPeMatico

How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of the U.S. Stimulus Package

To aid small businesses and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government recently passed three landmark acts, including the largest economic stimulus package in history.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act), passed March 27, directs more than $2 trillion to the U.S. economy. The history-making stimulus package allocates funds to citizens, relief-oriented aid, government departments, and businesses of all sizes.

Notably for small businesses the package offers low-interest loan options, tax deferrals, and other financial aid opportunities to help companies stay in business during this time.

The passing of the 800-page CARES Act comes after the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was signed into law. This earlier act directs emergency funds to essential government departments including the Department of Health and Human Services, state governments, and the Small Business Administration.

The U.S. government has also passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which protects families and individuals from unpaid sick or family leave. This act also directs necessary funding to departments overseeing U.S. unemployment insurance.

While the CARES Act, and the other acts noted above, provide urgent relief and assistance to small businesses and individuals, the sheer size of the documents, and the legal jargon within them, can overwhelm anyone trying to make sense of the information.

At this time, we recognize that those who run or work for a small business are trying to quickly research their options and piece together what these laws might mean for their companies, personal finances, and future.

To help our readers learn how small businesses can take advantage of the stimulus package and related acts, we’ll walk through each major benefit that the acts offer. For the many small business owners with a list of questions about the stimulus package, we’ve also included a quick FAQ at the end of this post.

In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to update this piece as more news related to small business funding, aid, and stimulus packages circulates.

To jump to different sections of this post, click on the links below:

How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of the U.S. Stimulus Package

The CARES Act provides low-interest loans to small businesses, tax deferrals to organizations of all sizes, an expansion of unemployment options for individuals, and one-time payouts for taxpayers. The act also provides education, training and advising grants to small business development organizations, women’s business centers, and the Minority Business Development Agency.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed earlier this month, allocates funding to essential government initiatives, including the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan program.

Below, I’ve broken down four major factors of the governances that will impact small businesses, employees, and owners in the near future.

Low-Interest Loans and Paycheck Protection

Both the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act allocate the Small Business Administration with funding to expand on its loan programs.

As part of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, $8.3 billion in emergency funding has been allocated to the Small Business Administration and its Disaster Loans Program.

Following the emergency allocation noted above, the Small Business Administration began offering disaster loans of up to $2 million that can be paid back in a period of up to 30 years. The loans, meant primarily for businesses of under 500 people or sole proprietors, have a low-interest rate of 2.75% for non-profits and 3.75% for other businesses. Those interested in one of these loans can find an application here.

As part of the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration will also direct funds to its Paycheck Protection Program. Through this program, SBA-approved lenders, such as banks can offer small businesses low-interest loans of up to $10 million to cover multiple months of payroll, mortgage or other business-related payments.

Interest rates and payback periods for the Paycheck Protection Program are not specified in the CARES Act or on the SBA site. Different SBA lenders might require varying interest rates based on their own policies or the type of loan negotiated.

For Paycheck Protection loans granted under the CARES Act, the SBA will collect no fee or the smallest fee possible from businesses. However, businesses who have gotten other SBA loan assistance related to COVID-19 might now be eligible.

On top of the expanded loan programs, SBA will also be providing debt relief to small businesses that took out 7(a) loans in recent months. According to its website, “The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020.” The SBA will also pay “the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.”

Here’s a quick rundown of some need-to-know details about loan assistance from the CARES Act and the Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act:

Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

CARES Act

How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of Stimulus Loans

The loan and debt relief opportunities above provide small businesses in dire need with funding to keep their business running. Due to the economic climate, these loans also offer longer payback periods, debt-relief options, and low-interest rates which might make it easier for small businesses to pay them back without experiencing additional financial burdens in the future.

Small businesses and sole proprietors in all U.S. states and territories can now start applying for low-interest Economic Injury Disaster loans on SBA.gov. You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through most SBA-approved lenders after April 3, 2020.

Businesses with accepted Economic Injury Disaster loan applications will receive an advance within three days of an approved application.

Additionally, if small businesses that qualify for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan are in dire need and must have more funding before their full loan is disbursed, they can apply for the Express Economic Injury Disaster Loan Bridge. This shorter-term loan can be up to $25,000, has a faster application turnaround, and will be automatically paid back with funds from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

When it comes to the Payroll Protection Program, SBA lenders will begin processing applications on April 3. Because funds will be loaned by SBA lenders exclusively, decision times and interest rates will vary and are not noted on the SBA site. However, as noted in the CARES Act, lenders must provide loans at a low-interest rate with minimal to no fee. Those who receive this loan can also request partial or full forgiveness.

Once the funding is received, these loans can be used for paying payroll or other business-related bills, such as building rental or utilities.

Although these loans are low interest and have a longer payback period, small businesses should still consider their finances and the future economic landscape before committing to an amount of lent money. For small business owners, it will be important to make a future plan for how they might pay off loans in order to prevent any debt from hindering them in the future.

Tax Deferrals for Small Businesses and Corporations

As part of the CARES Act, tax payment for corporations will not be due until October 15, 2020.

Small businesses can also defer federal payroll taxes until Dec. 31, 2021, at which time, 50% of the tax will be due. The remaining tax must be paid by Dec. 31, 2022.

How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of Tax Deferrals

Aside from funding opportunities provided by SBA, the stimulus package bill also helps companies that cannot pay payroll taxes at this time by deferring them until December 31, 2020.

While this payroll tax deferral regulation does not allow businesses to withhold paychecks from employees, it does lower the burden as businesses will not need to pay one sometimes-costly tax. For each employee paycheck, a small business must pay 6.2% toward Social Security and 1.45% toward Medicare taxes. Deferring this tax until 2021 would make 7.65% of tax money spent for each employee immediately available to a small business.

If a small business owner has a handful of employees, this extra money could add up quickly and provide solid temporary funding before needing to be paid to the IRS in Dec. 2021 and 2022.

Similarly to taking out loans, businesses should consider the future economic landscape and their future finances when deferring any sort of payment. This could ensure that they will still be able to make the payment later on.

Employee Leave and Unemployment Regulations

Both the CARES Act and the FFCRA aim to protect employees of large and small businesses. Here are a few regulations that business owners should keep in mind at this time:

How Leave Policies Impact Small Business Owners and Employees

Ultimately, the regulations above have been implemented to protect the employees of all businesses, as well as families of business owners that might be struggling.

Additionally, sole proprietors, which did not previously qualify for unemployment, can temporarily take advantage of this benefit until December 2020. This allows them further funding on top of stimulus checks if they can’t continue to do their work remotely.

While businesses are trying to determine funding opportunities at this time, small business employees might also worry about what could happen if they need to take leave because they or a loved one is sick.

Leave regulations in the CARES Act protect members of the workforce who must call out sick due to COVID-19 or other illnesses. Employees will still get full paid sick leave from an employer for the first week they’re out of work and partial sick leave the week after.

At this time, small businesses should be sure to budget any potential cost they might need to pay related to sick or family leave of employees who have worked for them for 30 days or longer.

When it comes to family leave, small businesses under 50 employees can reportedly get approved from a family leave exemption related to only closed schools or childcare facilities. However, the business owner must provide forms and documentation to prove that they would see a financial burden if they covered this leave.

Stimulus Aid for Individuals

Aside from assisting small businesses and small business employees impacted by COVID-19, the CARES Act also allocates funds to individuals to offset the current financial burdens. Here’s a quick rundown of the one-time payments that each tax-paying U.S. citizen will receive, according to the CARES Act:

How Small Business Owners and Employees Can Take Advantage of Stimulus Aid

Although the one-time aid will not directly impact small businesses, these payments could help small business owners, the families of small business owners, sole proprietors, and small business employees in other ways.

On top of budgeting their business expenses, owners and sole proprietors also need to budget their household needs. With this act, business owners who’ve had to close their stores or offices, as well as their families, will receive checks to help them pay for home needs, along with all other U.S. taxpayers.

One-time checks might also prevent business funds from being used for home needs related to paying rent or food while they are temporarily out of work or seeing less business.

Additionally, those who work for a small business that had to temporarily close its doors can also benefit from these emergency funds for food, rent, or utilities.

Stimulus Package FAQ

From my research, I’ve found that people online are asking a few common questions about how the package works and what it will accommodate. To further help you understand the governance, I’ve highlighted a few in the FAQ below.

1. When does the package go into effect?

The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. Small business owners can begin applying for Economic Injury Disaster loans now and Paycheck Protection loans after April 3., Individuals can also seek unemployment benefits immediately.

While there’s not a set date for individuals to receive stimulus checks, the CARES Act has tasked the government with directly depositing the payments into bank accounts as soon as possible.

In a March 29 interview, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said individual’s could see deposits within three weeks. If the IRS doesn’t have an individuals direct deposit information, there will be measures in place to allow the person to submit it online rather than waiting for a check by mail.

2. Who is eligible for the package?

Each aspect of the stimulus acts passed has different eligibility requirements. Here’s a quick rundown:

Low-Interest Loans, Tax Deferrals, Financial Exemptions

Aid for Individuals and Employees

Sick Leave and Unemployment Eligibility

3. Will the stimulus acts help me if I’m self-employed?

If you identify as a sole-proprietor, you might qualify for a Small Business Administration loan.

Additionally, unemployment benefits have been expanded to allow self-employed citizens to apply. But, the government will approve this on a case-by-case basis. Aside from unemployment benefits, individuals and married with taxable income will receive a check as part of the CARES Act.

4. Are there other funding options aside from the stimulus package?

Yes. Aside from this stimulus package, many banks, credit providers, and lenders are offering private low-interest loans that are both related and unrelated to COVID-19. Many businesses, such as non-profits, health and wellness companies, or agricultural organizations, can even apply for small business grants which can be found on grants.gov.

You can also check with your state or the local chamber of commerce to see if your area offers any location-based small business funding.

To help you make financial decisions, this blog post highlights a number of funding opportunities from both public and private organizations.

5. Can I delay paying my employees?

No. This stimulus package provides aid to help small businesses and corporations pay business costs, including payroll. You must still pay employees for the time they’ve worked as well as sick or family leave. However, you may defer paying your payroll tax until December 2021 and December 2022.

Resources for Small Business Owners and Employees

We recognize that this is a difficult time for many small businesses that are facing extenuating circumstances.

To help you, a small business owner close to you, or small business employees navigate their next steps further, I will be updating this post regularly with any new information.

Additionally, below are a few of the relief acts passed in the previous month.

To learn more about the stimulus package and other small business governances related to the current financial climate, you can also bookmark these helpful websites:

For a list of both private and public small business funding options, read this blog post.

 

Disclaimer: This blog post is meant as a basic resource and not a comprehensive guide. We will regularly update it to add more information as it becomes available.

Go to Source
Author:

Powered by WPeMatico

9 of the Most Inventive Interactive Marketing Examples We’ve Ever Seen

If you really think about it, the content formats we rely on today have an uncanny resemblance to the content formats we relied on yesterday — our blog posts look like print articles, our offers look like books, and our slide decks like look presentations.

Relying on the content formats we used yesterday to educate and entertain our audience today is fine: Our audience is ultimately used to these mediums. At the same time, “fine” is not exceptional, and we’ve missed a huge opportunity to engage them at record levels because we glossed over the fact that screens and computers are so much more than just digital pieces of paper and printing presses.

Fortunately, the interactive marketing movement is charging along, and their early adopters have proven that if marketers want to cut through the noise, they can’t just do what they’ve always been doing. They need to refresh their work.

Interactive Marketing Campaign Examples

Capturing attention sounds great in theory, but you may be unsure of how to incorporate interactive marketing into your strategy. To get some great ideas, learn from some of these great examples of interactive marketing:

1. Interactive Music Experience | Clash Up by Eko

Interactive Music Experience | Clash Up by Eko

Mash-up remixes like Two Friends’ Big Bootie Mixes are some of the most popular tunes around today, racking up over 35 million SoundCloud streams over the past three years. However, Eko, an interactive storytelling platform that produces interactive shows, music videos, and branded content, has created a remixed music experience that’s arguably more entertaining than any of Two Friends’ mixes.

In Clash Up, Eko’s interactive music experience, you are able to mix a variety of songs from different genres and decades with one main track. For instance, in their first episode, Six Degrees of B.I.G., you get to choose from a diverse range of songs like A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down,” Devo’s “Whip It,” and The Flaming Lips’ “When You Smile” and blend it with one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s most legendary songs “Big Poppa.”

2. Interactive Slide Show | The Structure of Stand-Up Comedy by The Pudding

Interactive Slide Show | The Structure of Stand-Up Comedy

Stand-up comedians might seem like the lucky wisecrackers who are blessed with the talent to improvise some of the funniest jokes and bits you’ve ever heard, but in reality, they polish their performance with painstaking precision.

To crack their audiences up as much as possible, they make sure their routines’ stories seamlessly flow from one to the other. However, some comedians like Ali Wong take their stand-up preparation to an entirely different level.

In their interactive slideshow about how Ali Wong structured her Netflix special Baby Cobra, The Pudding, a digital publication that crafts visual essays about culture and entertainment, describes how she sculpts her routine into a narrative instead of just telling a bunch of separate jokes.

By visually outlining her entire routine, The Pudding reveals how Ali Wong weaved all her bits into a story, building her world and perception of life in a way that her audience can truly understand, which left them with a deeper feeling of empathy, meaning, and ultimately humor.

3. Conversational Marketing | HubSpot

Conversational Marketing Chat Bot | HubSpotWe rely on messaging apps to interact with friends and family, so it only makes sense that brands should incorporate them for communication to reduce friction in the buying journey. Despite this, marketers have been sluggish to adopt conversational marketing — using chatbots, live chat, Facebook Messanger, and other chat features — into their inbound marketing strategies. In fact, according to Business 2 Community, only 36% of companies have adopted these tactics. At HubSpot, we hope to change that by offering new messaging tools that can integrate with your entire marketing suite and database.

We double down on this idea by using our own conversational marketing software on our homepage. Website visitors are asked a question and given several choices of potential answers. This allows the prospect to engage in website content almost like a “choose your own adventure” story. This improves the overall site experience and ensures that the site is serving up the content (or actions) that will benefit them the most… without any sales pressure.

4. Interactive Infographic | Family Fun in Scottsdale by Marriott

Interactive Infographic | Marriott

Marriott Hotels manages to make vacation planning even more fun while positioning their brand in front of potential customers with an interactive infographic. Vacationers who are headed to Scottsdale are able to take a customized path through the flowchart to receive destination advice. Just a little bit of animation goes a long way, and it adds a touch of personalization that normal infographics don’t. 

The beauty of this is that infographics are a great visual tool that have a ton of utility. By using lemonly.com, Marriott pushes the envelope just a step further, which provides unexpected delight.

5. Interactive Slide Show | The New Media Message by Velocity Partners

Interactive Slide Show | The New Media Message by Velocity PartnersIn their interactive slideshow, which honestly looks like it belongs in Tron, Velocity Partners, a B2B marketing agency, explains why innovative marketers need to leverage new content formats in order to tell more refreshing stories.

Velocity Partners shows, not tells, how their interactive slideshow can captivate an audience. This is in stark contrast to how marketers have churned out so many blog posts, eBooks, and SlideShares that they’ve become dull and predictable. The end result of this message hammers home the point that the most engaging and surprising mediums are the best at delivering the most engaging and surprising stories.

6. Interactive Article | The Big Gronkowski by Ceros

Interactive Article | The Big Gronkowski by CerosIn honor of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, Ceros, an experiential content creation platform, decided to create an interactive article that spotlights the two things Gronk will always be remembered for — his athletic prowess and goofy attitude.

When you visit their interactive article, you can toggle between Gronk’s “Warrior” and “Goofball” side, clicking on hotspots that reveal his impressive achievements, his laundry list of injuries, and some of the funniest things he’s ever done. Once you finish interacting with the article, you’ll truly understand how Rob Gronkowski is just as athletic as he is goofy.

7. Immersive Video | Scotland From the Sky by BBC Scotland

Immersive Video | Scotland from the Sky

In 2019, Rough Guides, a renowned travel guidebook, named Scotland the most beautiful country in the world.

And a big reason why it’s such a spectacle is that Glen Coe, a Scottish valley that cuts through the ruins of an ancient supervolcano, is one of the most striking landscapes in the world.

With their immersive, 360-degree video of Glen Coe, BBC Scotland can grip viewers because they’re able to experience the landscape from an intimate point of view at every possible angle, making them feel like they’re actually there.

8. Playable Video Game Ad | Narcos: Cartel Wars

Playable Video Game Ad | Narcos: Cartel Wars

In the past, video game apps had to use video/gif demos to advertise gameplay in hopes to attract new players and increase app downloads. The thing about watching videos, though, is that it’s a passive activity. The visuals of the game may be enough to attract prospective players’ attention, but it may fall short of giving them enough inertia to actually engage and play.

FTX Games found their way around this by partnering with Glispa for their game Narcos: Cartel Wars. Prospects are immediately drawn into the action of the game with the ability to try it before buying it. Rockets and explosions abound for a few rounds before the demo prompts the player to install the app and continue their game.

The good news is that this type of functionality is about to become much more mainstream with Facebook offering playable video ads on their platform. Much like the Cartel Wars example, these playable ads are composed of: 

  • A short video preview
  • A playable demo to get people hooked on the gameplay
  • A call-to-action to get the users to take the next step

9. Interactive Voice Ad on Pandora | Doritos

Interactive Sound Ad on Pandora | Doritos

Pandora for Brands has recently begun testing a new interactive ad functionality on their platform that allows users to verbally engage with the ad. Doritos is one of the first brands utilizing this new interactive format on Pandora. The audio uses the distinctive Doritos crunch and then prompts the user to answer a yes or no question. Using artificial intelligence, the ad can then serve up a personalized experience based on how the listener answered. 

This is exciting for the same reason as the playable video game ads are: They disrupt passive listening in an attempt to get the listener to engage and actually process the information being conveyed to them. Plus, by being able to respond hands-free, there is less friction in order to learn more. 

The campaigns in this article should give you a few takeaways to apply to your own marketing. As you create great content, you should also be thinking about: 

  • How to disrupt expectation to earn attention, engagement, and interest
  • How to best personalize the experience for each individual prospect
  • How to reduce friction as much as possible to increase momentum

By putting concepts these concepts in action, you’ll be in a position to generate buzz, make your content stickier, enhance the experience, and fuel your flywheel.

Go to Source
Author:

Powered by WPeMatico

How to Reduce Page Weight on Your Website [Quick Guide]

When it comes to your website pages, size matters. The smaller the file size of a page, the faster it will load for anyone who requests it.

And people do notice how long a page takes to load. In fact, according to data from Pingdom, 24% of users will abandon a site that takes four seconds to load, and 38% of users will leave the page if it takes five seconds.

Not to mention, Google has admitted to using site speed in web search ranking, as faster sites tend to create happier users.

Additionally, nowadays, plenty of searchers use their mobile phones to find and explore websites —where spotty internet connections and slow data speeds make it even harder to load large page sizes.

Ultimately, in order to maintain a healthy page rank, your business needs to be focused on delivering a fast, optimized website experience across all devices. To ensure your website doesn’t take a hit in traffic,this post will explaineverything you need to know about page size and how to reduce it.

What’s Page Size?

“Page size” — also called page weight — refers to the overall size of a particular web page.

A page size includes all of the files that are used to create the web page, including the HTML document, any included images, scripts, and other media.

What’s a good size for a webpage?

To help you benchmark the weight of your page, we took a look at the average size of a webpage (on both desktop and mobile) between February 1 2020, and March 1, 2020:

size-web-pageImage Size

In 2020, the average desktop webpage weighs 2080 KB, while the average mobile webpage weighs 1885 KB — this is a stark difference from 2017, when an average desktop webpage weighed 1532 KB and the average mobile webpage weighed 1354 KB.

Of course, it’s important to note, the data above displaysaveragesize of a typical webpage — which means plenty of websites likely fall far below this size, while other heavier ones might skew the data in the other direction.

Ultimately, it depends on the site. While some sites might incorporate custom fonts, full-screen video, and other design elements that “weigh” the page down, other sites likely take a minimalist approach and stick to simple text and a white background.

Keep in mind that the weight of your pages will vary depending on your company or industry. If you have an ecommerce website with a wide variety of photos, it’s likely that you can anticipate a larger page weight.

But, in general, you should aim to be at or below the average.

Of course, it’s equally important to keep in-mind — page weight isn’t always the most important metric to consider.

Take Amazon as an example — using Google’s PageSpeed Insights, I searched Amazon.com and saw they score a measly 51% out of 100% for page performance:

page-weight-amazonOf course, for Amazon, this likely doesn’t matter — they need heavier pages, of course, to display images of all the thousands of products and services they sell, and users don’t mind the load-time because they know what to expect.

However, if you’re unsure whether your page weight could disproportionally lower your overall page quality, try inputting your own website into Google’s PageSpeed Insights to gauge overall performance.

If you’re unhappy with your current page speed or think your page weight should be lower, let’s explore how you can decrease that weight right now.

5 Tips for Reducing Page Size

1. Resize and Compress Your Images

When it comes to page weight, images are one of the largest contributors. If you’re looking to downsize, you’ll want to start by resizing any unnecessarily large images.

When uploading photos, keep in mind that the image dimensions should never be greater than the size of the container. If the container has a maximum width of 500 pixels, there’s usually no reasonto upload a 1,000 pixel-width image.

But let’s say you’d like to offer a high resolution image people could share and download — what should you do? We recommend uploading a picture that’s exactly the width of the container it’s in and hyperlinking it to the high-resolution version to avoid weighing down your page.

Aside from image dimensions, you can further shrink the size of an image by compressing it. Compressing an image helpsreduce its file size, which ultimately helps to reduce the time it takes for a page to load.

If you’re looking for a compression tool, these are some of our favorites:

If you’re a HubSpot user, you’re in luck: The HubSpot COS features automatic image resizing and image compression.

“If a user uploads an image that has dimensions of 5,000 x 5,000 but is only displaying it on the website as 500 x 500, then using auto-image resizing will help decrease browser load-time. Image compression, on the other hand, decreases the file size while retaining the quality of the image that was uploaded,” explains HubSpot’s Maggie Himba.

Of course, the easiest way to slim down the weight of your page is to eliminate as many unnecessary images as you can. But for the ones that need to stay, the tips mentioned above should do the trick.

2. Use CSS Sprites

So now we know that having a ton of images — especially large ones — on any given page is going to increase the page weight and slow down the load time, right?

This is because every image generates a server request, which slows down the entire process.

Enter CSS sprites.

A CSS sprite refers to a collection of images that are combined to create one image file,according to W3School. Then, you use CSS to only display the part of the combined image that you’d like to appear.By doing this, you’re reducing the number of server requests necessary for the page to load.

To clarify, below is a more visual explanation. Example A includes separate image files for each of the browser icons, totaling 70.7 KB. Example B uses CSS sprites — one image that uses CSS to display portions of that image — to show the same exact information. The total size of those images is less than half of Example A.

Screen_Shot_2015-07-22_at_2.17.55_PM.png

Source: Tutorial Republic

3. Remove Unnecessary Custom Fonts

Custom fonts are fun.

They add personality to your pages and help to differentiate your business from everyone else. However, the trouble with custom fonts is that that they can carry some weight.

Fortunately, there is a solution if you feel custom fonts are necessary for the design of your website: creating a WOFF2 file.

As Joshua Stopper, Lead Developer at Wholegrain Digital, writes: “Arguably the easiest change that can be made, that has no downsides, is converting the [custom] font to the most modern and efficient format available in browsers, WOFF2 … in our case, we achieved a 60% reduction simply through loading a WOFF2 file over a TTF.”

However, if you’re looking for any easy way to trim some weight off your page, you may want to reevaluate the number of custom fonts you’re using. While a couple won’t hurt, using them in excess could still hurt your page speed.

4. Minimize Resources

Could one of your resources be reduced through minification?

“Minification refers to the process of removing unnecessary or redundant data without affecting how the resource is processed by the browser — e.g. code comments and formatting, removing unused code, using shorter variable and function names, and so on,” Google Developers explain.

According to Google, here’s how you should approach minifying your resources:

HTML

Generate an optimized version of your HTML code using thePageSpeed Insightstool. Use this analysis to run your HTML page and browse the ‘Minify HTML’ rule. Finally, click ‘See optimized content’ to access the minified HTML code.

CSS

Check out the following tools:

JavaScript

Check out the following tools:

5. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network refers to “an interconnected system of cache servers that use geographical proximity as a criteria for delivering web content,” according to TechTarget.

What does that mean? And why should you care?

Let’s say that all of your website’s elements are stored in Boston, Massachusetts. That’s great news for the Bostonian’s — or anyone in the United States — who are trying to access your site pages. But what about that loyal visitor all the way over in London? It’s likely that it’s going to take noticeably longer for them to load your pages just because of where your server is located.

A CDN aims to resolve this by storing your website’s elements in multiple locations around the world to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at a speedy load time.

Note: While this step won’t necessarily reduce the weight of your page, it will help to improve its speed — which is what we’re really after anyways, right?

Ready to weigh in?

Before you can apply these tips, it’s best to start by getting a feel for what you’re working with. To testyour website’s speed and size, check out Web Page Analyzer from WebsiteOptimization.com.

And if you want a more detailed report of your website’s overall performance, check out HubSpot’s newly redesigned Website Grader. You’ll receivea free personalized report that grades your site onkey metrics including performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security.

 

Go to Source
Author:

Powered by WPeMatico

A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram

With 500 million active monthly users, Instagram offers a unique opportunity for marketers to reach their target audiences through ad campaigns.

The other perk of advertising on Instagram? The ads can look almost no different than regular posts, making them much less invasive than other ad types.

But setting up ads on any platform requires a lot of thought: What should your target audience look like? What should your copy say? What image should you use? There are a number of ads tools available that can help you create your ads and targeted audiences, but there’s still the more technical aspects to consider like what size your image needs to be or how long your ad should run for.

To simplify the process, we’ve put together a checklist to help you set up a campaign, one step at a time.

How to Create Instagram Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Instagram

If you’ve ever set up a Facebook ad, you’re about 75% of the way there. After Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012, the platforms conveniently merged, making setting up Instagram and Facebook ads merely the difference of a couple clicks. So even though your intent is to run ads on Instagram, all of the ad setup, budgeting, scheduling, and creation is done through Facebook’s platform.

To start, log into your company’s Facebook portal and select the account you wish to use. (Note: To run ads on Instagram you’ll need to use a Facebook Page. Pages are specifically for businesses, brands, and organizations, while regular Facebook accounts are for personal use.)

1. Select an editor and create your campaign.

You can create Instagram ads using a few different tools:

When choosing which tool to use, you’ll want to consider both your company size and the number of ads you plan to run at once. If you’re managing a large number of campaigns, or you’re looking for really precise control over your campaigns, you might want to lean towards the Power Editor. However, the Ad Manager suits most marketers’ needs, so that’s what we’ll use for the sake of this article. (For more on the Facebook Ads API option, check out this page.)

Once you’ve selected an editor, you’ll see an option to either view all campaigns, or create a new one. To get started with an Instagram ad, you’ll want to create a new campaign.

2. Determine an objective.

You’ll notice that there are several different campaign objective options to choose from here. However, in order for your ad to be eligible to appear on Instagram, you’ll have to choose from a slightly shorter list:

  • Boost your posts
  • Send people to your website
  • Increase conversions on your website
  • Get installs of your app
  • Increase engagement in your app
  • Get video views

Instagram Ads objective screenFor this article, we’re going to select: “Traffic.”

When you select this option, you’ll be prompted to name your campaign. This may seem like a simple task (and it is) but it’s a good idea to have some sort of naming convention or set process within your company. This will make it easier for you to keep campaigns straight as you continue to create them.

Here at HubSpot, we like to name them in this format:

Company Department | Content/Offer/Asset Being Advertised | Date | Name of Creator

3. Choose your audience.

If you’re just starting out with Instagram advertising, odds are you won’t know exactly which audience you want to go after. This will come with time, and you may just have to play around with it at first. (If you want tips to help you choose the right audience, check out this page.)

During this step, you’ll find that the platform’s built-in targeting can be as simple or as extensive as you need it to be, with options such as:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Relationship
  • Education
  • Work
  • Financial Status
  • Home
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parents
  • Politics (U.S. only)
  • Life Events
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

You can create what’s called a custom audience to reach people who’ve already interacted with your business, or a lookalike audience to reach new people on Facebook who are similar to your most valuable audiences.

Instagram Ads audience screen.

The ads platform also allows you to save the audience you create to be used again at a later time, which can be good if you’re experimenting and want to remember the exact audience you used for certain campaigns.

In terms of the objective we selected — “send people to your website” — we’ll want to target a more specific group of people: the type of people who are actually going to be interested in the content we present.

To do this, you’d jump down to the “Detailed Targeting” section, and search for different demographics, interests, or behaviors that apply to your target audience. Here’s an example of a (very small) audience, just to show you the different ways you can target certain people:

Instagram Ads detailed targeting.

To give you a sense of the audience you’ve chosen, Facebook provides an “audience definition gauge.” This gives you immediate feedback on how narrow or broad your audience is, as well as the estimated reach number of your ad. Since we didn’t add very much criteria to our targeting, you’ll notice that the audience appears “fairly broad.”

Instagram audience size image

4. Set your placement.

This step is the biggest differentiator between setting up Facebook ads vs. Instagram ads. To move forward with the Instagram ad, you’ll want to uncheck all the boxes except for “Instagram.”

Instagram ad placement options.

5. Make your budget and schedule.

You have the option to select either a daily budget or a lifetime budget for your campaign. The difference is this:

  • Daily budget sets your ad up to run continuously throughout the day, meaning that the algorithm will automatically pace your spending per day. Keep in mind that there is a minimum daily budget depending on different factors in your campaign, usually around $1.00.
  • Lifetime budget sets your ad up to run for a specified length of time, meaning the ads algorithm paces your spending over that entire time period.

The other aspect to setting your budget is setting your schedule. You’ll need to choose exactly when you want your campaign to start and finish running, down to the minute. There are also options to set parameters so that your ad runs only during certain hours of the day or during specific days of the week. You can find these options in the “Ad Scheduling” section.

Instagram ads budget and scheduling options.

Then, you can set your ad up for delivery. Here, you have three options that will influence who sees your ads. 

  • Link Clicks: Your ads will be delivered accordingly to get the most clicks to your website at the lowest cost. This is all based on the platform’s algorithm.
  • Impressions: Your ads will be delivered to people as many times as possible. Ever see the same ad on your newsfeed all day long? That company is most likely using this option.
  • Daily Unique Reach: Your ad will be delivered to people up to once a day. People may see your ad multiple times, but at least not multiple times a day.

Then, after you choose your delivery method, you will have to figure out your bid amount.

This determines how effectively your ad is delivered. When you look “behind the scenes,” you’re competing with other advertisers trying to reach a similar audience in a constant auction.

You can choose either Manual or Automatic. Automatic leaves it up to Facebook’s algorithm to deliver your ad — ideally getting you the most clicks for the lowest cost. Manual allows you to set a price for link clicks. If a link click is worth a lot to you, try setting a higher than suggested bid, and your ad will be displayed over a competitor with a lower bid.

You can choose to pay based on impressions or link clicks. This is up to you.

After that, you can schedule your ads. Here are the options you have for delivery:

  • Standard: shows your ads throughout the day.
  • Accelerated: helps you reach an audience quickly for time-sensitive ads.

(Note: the accelerated delivery option requires manual bid pricing.)

Finally, you’ll have to name your ad set so you can identify it in Ads Manager later.

6. Curate your ad creative.

This is where your creativity comes in. Here you’ll decide what you want your ad to look like, which will depend on your original objective, of course.

(Psst — Want to get a stunning Story auto-magically created for your brand? Check out StoriesAds.com, a free Instagram Story generator from HubSpot and Shakr. Click here to get started.)

On Instagram, you have a couple different options for your ad:

Instagram ads format options

Single image or video, carousel, or collection.

Examples of Instagram ads.

Source

 

Yes, they’re warm. Yes, they’re gooey. Yes, they’re delicious. Our new chocolate chip cookie is here! 🍪🎉

A video posted by dunkindonuts (@dunkindonuts) on May 18, 2016 at 7:25am PDT

Up to five images or videos for the viewer to scroll through, at no extra cost.

Instagram_Carousel.png

Source

We actually ran some tests to see which type of ad performed the best for different purposes. Check out the results in here.

Once you pick your ad type, click on it and you’ll be prompted to browse and upload your imagery, whether that be images or a video.

For any ad type, the Facebook ads platform recommends you don’t include more than 20% of text. Previously, an ad with over 20% of text wouldn’t even be approved to run, but it has recently changed to more of a suggestion than anything. Learn more about the rules and guidelines here.

Some requirements for Instagram ad imagery:

File Type

  • .jpeg
  • .png

Text/Caption

  • Recommended: 125 characters
  • Maximum: 2,200 characters

Square Image or Video ad

  • Recommended Image Size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Minimum Resolution Accepted: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Image Aspect Ratio: 1:1

Landscape Image or Video ad

  • Recommended Image Size: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Minimum Resolution Accepted: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Image Aspect Ratio: 1:1

7. Build your page & links.

The next step is to build your page and set up links. Select the Facebook Page of the account you want your ads to come from, even if you’re not planning on running them on Facebook. (If you’ve made it this far in the Ads Manager, you are already logged into a Facebook account.)

However, since our intent is to post ads on Instagram, you’ll need to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook ad account. To do so, click “Add Account” (you’ll need your Instagram username and password to do so).

If your business doesn’t have an Instagram account, you can still run ads on Instagram — they’ll just come from your business’ Facebook Page instead. In other words, your Facebook Page name and profile picture will be used to represent your business within your ad as it runs on Instagram.

Next is a very important step: putting in the website URL to which you’re trying to drive more traffic. If you’re using marketing automation software, be sure to create a unique tracking URL with UTM parameters for this to ensure that you’ll be able to keep track of traffic and conversions from this ad.

(HubSpot customers: Learn more about creating a tracking URL here.)

Instagram Ads pricing screen

Next, you’ll add a headline. This is not usually displayed to viewers of your ad on Instagram, but it’s always a good idea to complete it just in case. Enter a brief headline describing where people will visit.

After making a headline, you’ll add a caption. 

You have up to 2,200 characters — but you don’t have to use all of them. Facebook recommends you keep your text under 125 characters, which is the amount that’s displayed without needing to click “more.”

Select a Call-to-Action.

There are several different options for your CTA button, depending on what the page you’re taking visitors to looks like. You can choose to have no button, or select any of the following:

  • Learn More
  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Hope Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch More

For our sake, we’ll stick with “Learn More,” as we’re just driving people to our website.

Once your image is uploaded and your text is set, check out the preview of your ad to make sure everything looks right.

At this point, you’ll have the option to edit the “Advanced Options,” but only if you wish. Advanced Options include adding tags, changing your display link, entering URL parameters, setting up sponsors, and opting in or out of pixel tracking.

Then, you’re ready to place the ad! Click the green button to confirm, and your ad will be presented to the world. 

8. Report on the performance.

Once your ads are up and running on Instagram, it’s important to keep an eye on how they’re doing. You can go back in and tweak most aspects of the ad, so if you catch a mistake you made or your image isn’t doing as well as you’d like it to, you can go in and alter these things.

You can look at results of your ads in two places:

  • The Facebook Ads Manager
  • Your marketing software

In the Ads Manager:

There’s a sophisticated and extensive dashboard that provides users with an overview of all their campaigns. Without customizing any settings, you’ll find data on reach, cost per result, and amount spent.

In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see a button that says “Columns: Performance.” If you click the drop down menu, there’s an option to customize columns, which allows you to choose the specific data you want to see. There’s data ranging from CPC or CTR, to things much more specific like “Adds to Cart” for ecommerce stores.

Here are the categories that the available metrics fall into:

  • Performance (reach, results, frequency, etc.)
  • Engagement (post likes, post comments, post shares, etc.)
  • Videos (video views, average percent of video viewed, etc.)
  • Website (checkouts, payment details, adds to cart, etc.)
  • Apps (installs, engagement, cost per app engagement, etc.)
  • Events (event responses, cost per event response, etc.)
  • Clicks (unique clicks, social clicks, CTR, CPC)
  • Settings (start date, end date, ad set name, delivery, bit, ad ID, and objective)

Instagram Ads customizable categories.

With your marketing software:

With so many metrics to track, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. To truly track your success, take advantage of your marketing software and the UTM codes you used in your ads to measure your ads’ full-funnel effectiveness.

Looking at the specific tracking codes through your marketing software will help you keep track of how many leads (or better yet, customers) you actually generated through your Instagram advertising campaign. This ROI information can then be used to inform other campaigns down the line.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create unique tracking codes for your Instagram campaign by following the instructions here. All you’ll need to do is plug in the URL, attach a campaign, and choose the source you want the URL to be attributed to in your Sources Report.

Once your ad launches and you start getting traffic and conversions to your website, you’ll be able to easily track how many visits, contacts, and customers you’re generating.

Have you seen success with Instagram ads? Let us know in the comments section below.

Go to Source
Author:

Powered by WPeMatico

The 5 Best Podcast Editing Software, According to HubSpot’s Senior Podcast Producer

You’ve had the thought. You know — the one that kicks in on your way to the store, during the daily traffic jam, or underneath your subconscious before you fall asleep each night: I should make a podcast.

One of podcasting’s most endearing qualities is its accessibility. Not only can anyone make a podcast, but everyone should make a podcast. Yeah, I said it. Hot take around some circles.

Hitting the record button and talking into a microphone isn’t exactly going to land you on NPR. Your supportive aunt Janet might throw you a listen, but most audiences today expect a higher level of quality than an unedited, forty-five minute piece of audio. Even Janet deserves it. She’s such a loyal listener.

Editing a podcast means everything from cutting tape, to mixing tracks, to compressing audio. And the software you’ll do it all inside is a digital audio workstation (DAW).

Your choice in editing software should first take a close look at your budget and goals — not your dreams of becoming the next Ira Glass.

Every DAW is different, and the purpose each one serves varies, sometimes wildly. But there’s a right DAW out there for everyone. So let’s get you that meet-cute moment and take a look at the top podcast editing software.

Best Podcast Editing Software

1. Pro Tools

Pro Tools is the Tesla Coupe DeVille of podcast editing software. While it won’t make you sound like a public radio program, it’s more than likely the software they’re all using to package up audio stories.

Pro Tools is the industry standard for a reason. It has every possible tool imaginable for recording, editing, and mastering your audio. But with all those bells (and while we’re at it, all those whistles, too) comes a heavy price tag.

If you’re just starting out, resist the urge to dive head first into the proverbial podcast waters by using Pro Tools — unless you’re ready for a steep learning curve. But once you’ve mastered the craft, you can use any DAW out there.

2. Adobe Audition

Adobe Audition comes with everything you need. And if there’s something missing? You can tack on all the add-ons to your heart’s content.

But the real upside to Audition is the Adobe Suite — because, like Steve Jobs would say, it’s all about the ecosystem.

If you’re turning out podcasts, there’s a good chance you’re powering that personal unicycle and spinning your fair share of plates. Your role likely involves much more than just editing. Knowing that, Adobe can simplify your entire workflow.

Let’s talk through this — you master your final episode, and have some standout clips you want to feature in social promotion. With Adobe, you can quickly grab those clips, send them into After Effects to design an audiogram for your social, and get ready to send it out into the world with Adobe Media Encoder.

Given the cost of Audition, it’s likely the best option if you’re already part of the larger Adobe Suite. If you’re a hobbyist at heart (and financially), then Audition might be less of a priority.

3. Descript

The evolution of Descript is worth noting. What started off as transcription software, Descript has grown into a ‘no experience necessary’ podcast editing software. And the entire experience is rooted in editing text — not audio.

You can record directly into Descript or add a recording in later. Descript will spin up a transcription, and you can edit the audio by editing the text. Don’t like a certain sentence? Delete it from the transcription and the edit is made inside the audio track.

There’s handfuls of other editing tools at your disposal. The unique editing workflow might rub more experienced producers the wrong way, but it’s an easy way for beginners to start making a podcast.

Descript also recently announced the new AI-powered voice replication service Overdub. Fun fact: We use it at HubSpot and now have a robot version of Weird Work with host Sam Balter.

4. Audacity

Audacity is almost more of an ethos than editing software these days.

Yes, it has everything you need to start podcasting. Yes, that means tools that rival the ones you’d find in more expensive DAWs. Yes, it looks like it was designed during the waning days of 1998.

But the best part of Audacity: It’s completely free (and it’s open source).

5. GarageBand

The Apple music app mainstay Garage Band is mostly known for its digital swath of instruments and music making capabilities. I mean, ‘band’ is in the name. But GarageBand is also an underserved podcast editing software.

The convenience of GarageBand is simple: if you own a Mac, then you own GarageBand. If you can use it to make and edit music, you can use it to make and edit podcasts.

You can cut tape quickly, move sections of audio around, and layer in sound all in that classic Apple user-friendly experience.

GarageBand is a great option for folks who already own Apple products, are new to editing, and want to learn the basics of what podcast editing software has to offer.

If you’re interested in starting a podcast for your own business, take a look at some of the editing tools mentioned above — and then explore our additional podcast resources to learn how to create a compelling podcast, convert existing content into a podcast, or design a podcast for SEO benefits:

Ultimately, podcasting isn’t going anywhere — and it continues to rise in popularity. In fact, nowadays, almost one quarter of all Americans listen to one podcast each week. Podcasts should be part of every brand’s content strategy. I might be biased, but podcasts are the best way to increase brand awareness, engagement, and authority in your industry.

Go to Source
Author: Matthew Brown

Powered by WPeMatico

How HubSpot Built a World-Class Conversational Marketing Program

Over the last few years, HubSpot’s audience has gotten chatty. Chatbots and live chat became some of the most popular ways to reach HubSpot and the humans here. For years, prospects have wanted to ask questions and get direction while navigating the website.

In the past, we met this need with live chat that handed off to “coaches”. These coaches answered questions about pricing and features; they also helped free users better use their tools. Demand on this channel grew faster than our ability to hire coaches, so we scaled our live chat programs with chatbots.

Those chatbots triaged, qualified, and routed prospects to the right team or content resource. Over time, we found that folks who engaged with chat used the product more often than those who didn’t. Here’s what we did about it.

Reducing Chatbot Friction

Above all else, our goal was to create a remarkable customer experience with conversational marketing. Enabling prospects to cut through the noise and ask for help in their own words removed friction in the flywheel.

We believed — and still do — that it’s always easier for users to see value in the free tools they’re using. This came from our deep belief that “how you sell is why you win”. Growing businesses often have to juggle dozens of tools, but don’t often have the opportunity to ask questions about how to use them together.

Ambitious businesses deserve great software and experiences to power it.

Aligning Marketing, Sales, and Chatbot Technology

The hardest part of conversational marketing isn’t the technology — it’s the empathy and alignment that takes lots of time and energy to get right. To solve this, our marketing and sales teams met to understand the start-to-finish chat experience.

It was interesting to see how two departments viewed the same situation through varying lenses. Marketing gained empathy for how Sales handled conversations, including repetitive processes.

Sales came to appreciate what chatbots could do to make their lives easier. From there, both departments came up with shared metrics that aligned us around a holistic customer experience.

Here are some that may apply to your business:

  • Deflection rate: the % of engagements with chatbots that don’t reach a human.
  • Handled chats: the # of conversations that coaches have with prospects.
  • Pass rate: the % of handled chats that are a good fit for sales.
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): the % of bot and human engagements that prospects marked as positive.

These shared metrics gave Marketing a better sense of which types of chats — and how many — should or shouldn’t reach the coaches. They could build tasteful conversational experiences that sifted incoming messages.

Standard questions could be self-served, and nuanced ones could escalate to coaches. This approach created a more delightful interaction for the humans on either side of the screen. Users didn’t have to wait for a human to answer documented questions, like “How do I add a user to my portal?”, and coaches could spend more of their day answering questions like “How do e-commerce businesses use email?”

This was a better use of everyone’s time. As the mix of questions shifted, so did the knowledge needed to help users. Sales made material investments to develop the coaches and get them more comfortable with the nuances of the product.

Despite the performance gains in this time, there was more work to do. Conversational marketing is not a set-and-forget channel — it’s a living, breathing engine that needs attention and love.

One thing we noticed was that response times had a direct correlation to the quality of the conversation. As such, response time became a “North Star” metric for the Sales team. The sales team began to goal and coach the team towards getting back to prospects as fast as possible.

This process gave us most of the pieces for a great customer experience, but we had to close the feedback loop. Conversational marketing is an iterative strategy, one that works best when we listen and act on what users want.

What’s great about live chat and chatbots is that people will tell you what they want in their own words, so you don’t have to read between the lines about their goals. To do that, we connected Feedback Surveys and Conversations, so users could provide feedback after their chat ended. Quantifying how users felt helped us a smoother, data-infused roadmap.

Analyzing the Results

At the start of 2019, our hearts were in the right place with conversational marketing, but we weren’t meeting the needs of our audience. By aligning Marketing, Sales, and the technology to get there, we built a conversational marketing engine we could be proud of.

We more than doubled the mix of chats that came from high-value free users inside the HubSpot portal. Coaches were able to help users get more value out of their tools, which had a notable impact on the value those users saw from the product. When we closed out 2019, more than 30% of HubSpot’s total revenue came from our conversational marketing efforts.

But none of that mattered if we weren’t solving for the customer. These conversational marketing programs had to feel good for users. There’s an expected sense of immediacy from chat, which is why we chose to prioritize response time.

Today, 80% of conversations get a response in under 20 seconds — a 10x boost from the start of 2019 (when only 8% of conversations saw this response time). The alignment between chatbots and coaches paid off, too, as customer satisfaction scores went up by more than 50%. Listening to your audience and acting on their feedback goes a long way.

Conversational Marketing in 2020 and Beyond

2019 was a huge year for building the conversational marketing engine at HubSpot. But there’s more work to do in 2020. The teams will continue to invest in a consumer-grade and world-class experience. The next frontier we’ll face is meeting users where they are.

Messaging platforms like SMS and WhatsApp continue to be where people spend more time. We’re working towards our audience reaching HubSpot wherever it feels natural. None of this would be possible without the alignment and investments made in 2019.

It goes to show that a remarkable customer experience is everyone’s job.

Go to Source
Author: Connor Cirillo

Powered by WPeMatico

8 Strategies for Writing Product Descriptions That’ll Generate Revenue

I’ll admit it — I love online shopping. Recently, I’ve been shopping online more than ever.

And I’m not the only one.

In fact, last year annual online sales were over $3 billion. In 2020, online sales are projected to reach $4.2 billion.

That’s why product descriptions are more important than ever.

As a marketer, it might be time to rewrite your product descriptions to increase online sales.

Below, let’s review what a product description is and how to write one. Then, to help guide your own writing process, we’ll look at some examples and templates to get you started.

Usually, a product description will include product details. Additionally, it should tell a story about how the product can solve the target audience’s pain points. If a visitor can’t imagine themselves benefiting from a product, they won’t purchase it.

1. Consider your buyer persona.

With any copy you write, you need to keep your buyer persona in mind. It’s important that your product description is catered to your target audience.

For example, your product description should specifically address pain points and goals of your buyer persona.

Online visitors need to be able to visualize themselves using a product before they’ll purchase it.

Additionally, you should use the same language that potential customers use. Doing your keyword research will help you do this (more on that below).

For instance, does your product description use the same humor of your target audience? Does it answer questions they might have?

This is important to keep in mind when you’re writing your product descriptions because you want to reduce any barriers or concerns potential customers might have.

2. Get creative.

Any marketing copy you write should be creative. Product descriptions are no different.

Ultimately, your product description should tell a story and sell an experience. Not to reiterate, but visitors need to be able to imagine themselves using the product.

Your product description should let them know what’s in it for them. How will they benefit from buying your product?

When you’re brainstorming what story to tell, think of what inspired you to create your product, how it was tested, and obstacles you overcame.

Perhaps the answers to these questions are things that align with your buyer persona’s values or pain points.

3. Use details.

When you write a product description, you should be as specific as possible. That means you shouldn’t use any fluffy or vague language that doesn’t add value to the description.

After writing a draft, see if every sentence adds value. For example, does each sentence educate a visitor about either the product or brand? If not, take it out.

Additionally, instead of listing features, you should focus on listing benefits that solve customer pain points. And be detailed about it.

The more details, the more credible the product is.

4. Optimize for SEO.

SEO is extremely important in product descriptions. You want your products to show up when people are shopping online.

To optimize your product descriptions, do keyword research and discover what customers are searching for.

You should use keywords in your page titles, meta descriptions, image alt tags, and product description copy.

Using keywords should make your product easier to find online.

5. Include social proof.

Before anyone makes a purchase nowadays, they look at the reviews online. The better the reviews, the more likely people are to make a purchase.

By including social proof in your product description or on your product page, you’re making that step easier.

It’s important to reduce the need for a customer to do further research. All the information they need should be on your product page.

Some brands include social proof in the form of a quote. Others just include reviews below the product description. Either way, social proof should be easy to find.

6. Make it easy to read.

Information shouldn’t just be easy to find, but it should be easy to digest as well. If you only have one large block of text, visitors aren’t going to read that.

Your product description should be easy to scan. You can accomplish this visually and with simple formatting.

For example, use larger headlines, include bullet points, and take advantage of white space. The easier it is to read your description, the more likely visitors are to actually read it.

7. Incorporate graphics and images.

Sometimes you can be tempted to include a long list of bulleted features. However, that might not be the best way to get your message across.

If there’s something you want your audience to know that you don’t want to include in the text, create a graphic.

You can use symbols or graphics above your product description. For example, if your product is vegan, perhaps you’d want to include the vegan symbol above your product description instead of stating that feature in the description itself.

8. Measure your success.

Once you finish writing your product descriptions, you might have different versions you want to test. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to do an A/B test.

You might test different lengths, keywords, or formulas. Testing will help you optimize your descriptions.

Additionally, once you’ve decided which description is working, you’ll want to measure your success.

To do this, choose the metrics you want to track. Is it conversion rate? Cart abandonment rate? Or maybe it’s organic rankings?

Whatever you decide, make sure you track your success so you know if your new descriptions are generating revenue.

Product Description Examples

1. Betabrand

Betabrand is known for selling dress yoga pants for women. In their product description below, they used personality to relate to their target audience.

This description is creative and includes important information such as social proof and the benefits of wearing the pants.

Additionally, the last paragraph adds an element of exclusivity to the product, leaning into the FOMO phenomenon.

Betabrand product description.

Image Source

2. Fabletics

One of the main things that Fabletics does really well is social proof. Below their product descriptions, they include a large graphic that discusses reviews and customer happiness.

They even tell you how many people have reviewed the product and the percentage of people who were happy with it.

The reason this works really well is because it makes the visitor feel like everyone likes the product, so there’s no reason not to purchase it.

Fabletics social proof on product description page.

Image Source

3. Wayfair

The Wayfair product description is probably the most extensive. Besides the description itself, the product page includes graphics at the top and expandable information at the bottom, including reviews and questions and answers.

Additionally, the product description itself is written really well. It tells a story so the reader can imagine themselves using the product. Plus, the description discusses benefits, while the bullet points review the features.

Wayfair product description for a sofa.

Image Source

Product Description Template

Now that you know how to write a product description and you saw some examples, it’s time to get started on your own.

While you’re brainstorming the content you want to include, answer these questions:

  • Who is the product for and what kind of language are they using?
  • What are the main benefits of your product?
  • How does someone use your product?
  • What’s the value of your product? Why is it better than competitors?

These answers should give you a good place to start.

Once you have all the information you need, consider using this formula:

  1. Begin by telling a story and setting the scene (about 1-2 sentences)
  2. List the benefits of using your product (can be a bulleted list of maybe 3-5 items)
  3. Finish by including social proof if you can (a quote or award)

All the while, make sure you’re sprinkling in details and optimizing for keywords based on your research. Additionally, below your description, you might include reviews or graphics that list out some key features.

Product descriptions are an important element of your product pages. They help tell the story of your product so your visitors can imagine themselves using it.

Go to Source
Author: Rebecca White

Powered by WPeMatico

4 Predictions Marketing Experts Got Wrong About Social Media in 2020

As a marketer, reading trending predictions or industry forecasts is the norm.

But sometimes you just want to pull a Regina George and say, “Stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen.”

We’ve all been there, especially with social media predictions.

Although we’re always trying to forecast what the future holds so we can run successful campaigns and strategize for the future, things don’t always go as planned.

Sometimes we even get it wrong.

In this post, we’re going to look at the top social media predictions that marketing experts got wrong.

Bad Social Media Predictions

1. Google would have a successful social media platform.

Google has been trying to get into the social media game for years. In fact, the company started Google Wave in 2009, Google Buzz in 2010, and Google+ in 2011.

But one after the other, the projects were discontinued or defunct.

However, not everyone saw the writing on the wall. In fact, industry experts were optimistic about Google+.

Although I was never convinced as a user (call me a late adopter), when new social media platforms come around, especially by industry giants like Google, marketers pay attention.

Even when the Google+ founding father left Google, marketers at Marketing Land thought the social network still had a chance.

MarketingLand article on Google+.

Image Source

In 2014, Mark Traphagen predicted that “Google+ the social network and user data infrastructure of Google is not going away” and “the Google+ project has been an incredible success because it drove the unification of Google products.”

As it turns out, Google+ happened to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps and is officially defunct.

2. Facebook use will decline after continued drama.

Is it me or is there always Facebook drama nowadays?

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the trending hashtag #DeleteFacebook, and the election scandal, Facebook’s reputation has continued to decline.

In fact, some marketers thought the social network would see a decline in users due to the drama.

Medium article on why Facebook is dying.

Image Source

But, if you were one of the people that thought Facebook would see its end, it turns out you were wrong … so far.

According to HubSpot research, 60% of survey respondents said they haven’t left Facebook despite the drama and don’t plan to leave.

Even after the Analytica scandal, Facebook still saw a 1.6% increase in active users.

It appears that Facebook users are too invested to cut the chord completely. Facebook has stored memories and connects people to old friends and family.

Additionally, many other accounts of yours might be linked to your Facebook account. Deleting this social network might just be an unnecessary pain.

3. Virtual reality will grow like crazy.

Virtual and augmented reality have been the buzz topic on social media for years now. It seems like I’m always reading about how it’s going to grow like crazy.

In 2015, Business Insider said virtual reality would grow like crazy in the next five years. They predicted that “26.5 million units would be sold in 2020.”

Business Insider predicts virtual reality will grow like crazy.

Image Source

Additionally, in 2016, Fortune predicted that VR would sell 200 million headsets worldwide by 2020.

Spoiler alert: it hasn’t happened.

According to the latest estimated figures, only 7 million VR headsets were sold in 2019 and 14 million are expected to sell for 2020.

With VR, it appears that slow and steady wins the race. Maybe the industry will get there one day.

4. Anonymous social media will get bigger.

Do you remember the social media platforms Secret, YikYak, and Whisper?

Truthfully, me neither. They’re all anonymous social media sites, two of which are now defunct. Back in my day, the anonymous social media site du jour was Formspring.

But in 2015 Ryan Holmes, CEO at Hootsuite, predicted that “demand for anonymous social media will only get bigger.”

As it turns out, the struggles seemed to continue. There were constant issues of cyberbullying and harassment.

The apps closed down one after another. Secret dissolved in 2015 and YikYak shut down in 2017.

And it looks like Whisper is on the same trajectory. In 2017 the app had to lay off 20% of its employees to save the company. Now, they’re having privacy issues. According to “The Washington Post”, private data was publicly available.

Plus, the app continues to fall in popularity, landing at 122nd in social networking in the iPhone app store.

Although it can be hard to admit, marketers don’t always get it right. And that’s okay. All we can do is use the data available to forecast industry trends so we can plan for the future.

Go to Source
Author: Rebecca White

Powered by WPeMatico