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Common Web Design Mistakes To Avoid in 2019

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Looking to make some improvements to your business website and eliminate those annoying outdated features that make visitors leave your site?

Here are some common web design mistakes to avoid:

 

Disabling Zoom on Mobile Sites

If you visit a website on your mobile that you want to read, then it’s annoying to find that you can’t zoom in to make the text large enough. Make sure you allow visitors to zoom in so they don’t abandon your site.

Autoplaying Videos with Sound

While you may think that the sound blaring at people when a page loads is a good way to grab their attention, it’s not.  Don’t scare people away from your site with unwanted sound.  

Light Grey Text on White Backgrounds

Readable text is all about contrast, especially on mobile devices, so make sure that the color of the font is significantly different to the background

Tiny Text

You want people to stay on your site and read the information you are sharing so make sure it’s a pleasurable experience for them with modern typography and large enough text.

 

Drop Down Menus That Aren’t Touch Friendly

It’s important to consider that these days, many people interact with their PCs via touch screens so make sure navigation aspects are all touch friendly.

 

Too Many Big Images

If your page has too many large images, it can be slow to load and slow to scroll.  Don’t push people away from your site by making them wait for pages to load.

 

Missing the Small Details

Every detail matters – from alignment on menus to consistent headers – take the time to ensure your site is aesthetically pleasing and reflective of your brand.

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Find Inspiration for Amazing Blog Content in 10 Minutes a Day

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Are you looking for inspiration for blog post content that is fresh and exciting?  We have a quick list to help you generate some epic content in 10 minutes a day.  Warning – you may find yourself so inspired with what you find, you’ll end up spending more time than you plan!

BuzzSumo

Simply enter a topic and BuzzSumo will deliver the most popular articles on that topic.  From there, you can sort the results by total engagement, Pinterest shares, Twitter shares or Facebook likes.

YouTube

This site is a go-to for just about anything so it should be no surprise that you will find inspiration for content here.  Click on any channel, go to the “videos” section of that channel and sort by number of views to see what people are interested in. 

Quora

Quora is a question and answer site with more than 200 million monthly unique visitors – that is a LOT of people talking so it only makes sense you’ll be able to see what topics people are interested in at any given time. Simply plugin a keyword and you’ll unlock hundreds of popular questions and answers on that topic.

Twitter

Almost a one-stop shop for what people are talking about at any given moment. In addition to trending topics, you can also search by keyword to find the most popular articles and thought leaders on that topic.  You can also search by hashtag or by person.

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Pinterest 

Being a source of inspiration for design, recipes, fashion and home décor with a never ending stream of the most popular and most obscure tidbits for years, it’s no surprise Pinterest is a top site for inspiration for great content.

AnswerThePublic.com

Here’s a cool tool that presents content visually.  All you need to do is type in a keyword and their automated system uses Google Autocomplete to come up with 100s of different keywords, content ideas and frequently asked questions.

Feedly.com

This is probably one of the best (and most affordable) alternatives to BuzzSumo.  Using Feedly, you can stay on top of all of your favorite blogs in one place.

iTunes

More than just music, iTunes can provide inspiration by searching podcasts.  Navigate to some of your favorite ones and click on “popularity” to unlock some new content.

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Blogging Tips to Take Your Business to the Next Level

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Are your struggling to generate visitors and sales leads? Want to improve your blogging strategy and increase your customer base?  We previously shared some sites on where you can find inspiration for some epic content an now we are going to share some tips on how best to deliver it.

Blogging for business is an art.  Master this art and you can take your business to new heights.

First, let’s talk about why it’s important to have a blog –

  • Websites with a blog have more than 400% more indexed pages

  • Businesses with a blog experience more than 125% higher lead generation growth

  • Companies who blog receive almost 100% more links to their sites

  • More than 75% of internet users read blogs

  • More than 75% of B2B marketers have blog

  • Some studies have indicated more than 60% of those who read blogs say blogs lend credibility to the site

  • Marketers who prioritize blogging are more than 10 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI

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Blogging Tips

Deliver Value to Readers – Include useful, relevant and valuable information in your business blogs.  Highlight the pain points of your audience and solve their problems.

Make It Easy to Read – Most readers will skim content so add more headings, sub-headings and bullet points to their benefit.

Experiment with Different Formats – Try different formats such as infographics, videos, webinars, interviews, podcasts, etc. and scrutinize which format your audience loves to consume.

Have Your Own Voice – Have a unique perspective on different topics and combine that with your own tone for creating a winning business blog.

Go Light on Brand Promotion – Do not go overboard with brand promotions on your business blog.  Focus on educating the readers instead.

Harness the Power of Storytelling – Everyone loves a good story.  Ask your satisfied customers to share theirs.

Edit and Proofread before Publishing – Check your write up for spelling and grammatical mistakes.  Edit your blog content and make it better before publishing.

Promote Your Blogs – Share your blogs on multiple social media channels and other marketing mediums to attract more traffic to your business blog.

Respond to Customer Feedback – Ask your reads to leave feedback on your blog.  Respond to comments and handle negative criticism delicately.

Be Patient – Don’t expect your business blog to become popular overnight.  Exercise patience and perseverance. 

 

 

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Skimmers, Swimmers and Divers

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The Three Types of Visitors to Websites

Are you looking for ways to make your business website more effective? Want to know how to make your content appeal to every visitor on your site?

It’s not impossible if you keep in mind the following:

  • Skimmers want to find the information they need and get out as quickly as possible.

  • Swimmers will go a little deeper and browse more of your site.

  • Divers want to take it all in and spend time exploring.

Many websites are bursting at the seams with valuable information and content.  Serving up this content in a way that’s informative and engaging (and not overwhelming) can be a major organizational and design challenge. 

As you plan the organization and design of your site, think of your site visitors in three categories: 

Skimmers, Swimmers and Divers

Each group is willing to go progressively deeper and spend more time on your site.  They each have different needs and wants when it comes to their online experience.  So how do you design your site to address all of them?

Start by understanding what each audience is looking for and think through opportunities to meet that need.

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Skimmers

Glide along the surface – they want to get in , get the info they need and get out as soon as possible.  They are headline readers and use title to guide their journey through your site.

How to meet their needs:

  • Think about the info most visitors are looking for.  This might include hours, contact info, admission price, menu – the low hanging fruit of info.

  • Make headlines clear and concise and use different headlines and establish a clear hierarchy to make page structure easy to understand at-a-glance.

  • Include search functionality. If the skimmers can’t locate what they need at-a-glance, an easy search function can keep them from leaving your page.

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Swimmers

Splash around – willing to get a little deeper.  They are interested but have a limited amount of time and energy they will devote to your site.  They are most likely looking for something specific but may stop and peruse if something catches their attention.

How to meet their needs:

  • Take a cue from magazine – the covers of which have the most dramatic or thought-provoking quotes from stories in bold colors and fonts to grab attention.  Translate this approach to your site and emphasize our most compelling content to make it irresistible.

  • Not everything can be on the home page, but don’t bury content under too many layers of navigation.  And use page metrics to help adjust content that is most sought.

  • Feature related and relevant information “in context” – include similar content when visitors are most likely to be interested in it.  For example, an info page about services could include testimonials or links to companion products.

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Divers

Going deep to get the full story – they will consume most, if not all, content and come back looking for new additions.

How to meet their needs:

  • Make sure your information is organized in an intuitive manner.  Divers may become frustrated if they cant make a mental map of your site as they browse.

  • Make the content progress clearly so they can easily find a stopping point and remember for when they resume.

  • Enhance their experience with multimedia – videos, imagery, audio – to keep them interested.

 

Building the Foundation

Keep in mind the needs of each of these visitors for a site that can cater to all who visit your site and convert visitors to customers.

  • Skimmers are looking for speed, ease, clarity and brevity.

  • Swimmers are looking for options, simplicity, efficiency and possibility.

  • Divers are looking for details, background, interaction and connection.

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Build Brand Awareness through Email

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Build Brand Awareness through Email

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Employing an effective email marketing strategy is an essential tool for building up brand awareness.

Many online businesses tend to view email marketing solely in terms of sales, but that’s a short-sided view of what email marketing can really do for you. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing mediums, offering brands the opportunity to reach loyal customers regularly and directly.

Consumers subscribing to an email list are telling you they want to hear from you so use this to your advantage!

When employed well, email marketing can:

  • Foster serious customer loyalty by creating direct links with consumers

  • Leverage ROI of any marketing campaign

  • Establish a brand as a reliable reference point for consumers

  • Decrease email list unsubscribe rates

In short, email marketing provides one of the most powerful tools for encouraging long-term habitual interactions with a brand.

You’ve been given a great opportunity – don’t squander it!

Here are some things to keep in mind when developing your email campaign:

Personality and Tone of Voice

Should a brand be serious or friendly? Scientific or colloquial?

The personality of a brand’s marketing communication should be

consistent with all points of contact with the consumer.

By keeping to a tone that is representative of its values a brand will instill confidence and reliability in the eyes of their customers.

Email Campaign Template

People love consistency – especially when scrolling through a full inbox. Building up recognition is the foundation of strong brand awareness and loyalty.

The easiest way to establish this is with an HTML email template that is in line with the company’s objectives.

It is important to consider the following:

  • Do the fonts, colors, call-to-action and layout match those of the business?

  • Is the logo being used correctly and is prominent?

  • Are contact details clear and easy to see?

  • Does the email message contain a personal signature or the company name?

Email marketing templates are an opportunity to reinforce brand recognition. Making an email instantly recognizable will encourage consumer confidence.

Make Sure That Your Email Campaign Converts

You spend all this time putting together your emails, make sure thy convert.

Put the most effort into your subject line as this will determine whether or not a consumer opens to explore more – you need to grab their attention and pique their interest

  • Use graphics as these tend to perform better than the text-only transactional emails

  • Include the company logo prominently as users are more likely to open messages from brands they recognize

  • Put a compelling image in the top area of the email to convey a brand’s message and engage consumer

  • Place at least one call-to-action so that the receiver knows exactly what to do

  • If possible, split test all email campaigns. A split test could include testing a different call-to-action, graphic or layout.

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Match the link to the message

The email marketing sales funnel is not complete without ensuring that you are sending the consumer to the right place.

From the customer’s perspective there is nothing worse than being presented with a scintillating offer, eagerly clicking on the call-to-action in the hope of redeeming the offer, only to be directed to a landing page where it’s hard to find the offer or worse still one that doesn’t contain the offer at all.

Keep it simple. Give them what they want.

Avoid Continuous Sales Pitches

Email campaigns are a simple way to communicate that a brand is an authority in their niche, but a brand that is only interested in sales will find that their email drop off rate is high.

By offering solution-focused email content customers will not only remain engaged with the brand but will be eagerly awaiting the next email follow up.

The sales will come later.

Send Emails Regularly

Consistency is key – not just in brand and tone, but also in frequency. Build a calendar and stick to it. Keep track of the days and times of days that convert the highest and incorporate those metrics into your planning. Track everything!

Segment and Personalize

Any company not working on list segmentation and deeper personalization are missing out on a method for solidifying brand awareness. Segmenting an email list into highly targeted micro-segments allows for more customer targeted product marketing.

The benefits for brand awareness include minimizing the unopened email rates, decreasing email list subscriber drop off and fostering confidence in the customer that the brand really understands what each individual customer needs.

Conclusion

The key to developing brand awareness through email marketing lies with consistency, providing solution-focused content, personalization, and highly optimized campaigns.

A well thought out email campaign can run for many months and keep customers coming back for repeat visits and repeat conversions.

If you’re not employing your email marketing strategy to its full potential, it’s time to get to work on content and mailers and start thinking about how to keep those customers coming back.

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How to Fix the Top 3 Mistakes Early-Stage Entrepreneurs Make

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How to Fix the Top 3 Mistakes Early-Stage Entrepreneurs Make

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There’s an old saying about first time entrepreneurs -- they don’t know what they don’t know.

It can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, this ignorance can work in your favor. First time entrepreneurs have the advantage of unchecked optimism, wide-eyed enthusiasm, and they aren’t slowed down by the apprehensions that caution more seasoned entrepreneurs. But more often than not, this ignorance holds them back. If you’re a first time entrepreneur with an early stage business, there are mistakes that you are making right now that are preventing your business from taking off -- mistakes that you probably don’t even realize you’re making.

These mistakes manifest in subtle ways, or don’t impact your life or business until years later, when it’s too late. In the end, you always end up learning them the same way -- the hard way.

That’s why I’ve put this list together. These are things I’ve gleaned from the dozens of successful entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed for my podcast, combined with the lessons from my own entrepreneurial experience. You see, I’ve spent more than a decade launching companies like SnackNation, and believe me, I’ve made my fair share of these mistakes too. Here are the top three mistakes that early stage entrepreneurs make and how to fix them, so you can learn the smart way, not the hard way.Mistake 1. Starting a business without thinking about scale.

My Kolbe score registers me as a high “Quick Start,” meaning that I have an appetite for initiating change and disruption. As an entrepreneur, it means I love taking a new idea and getting it off the ground.

I’d be willing to bet that a lot of you are Quick Starts too. As entrepreneurs, when we see that there’s a problem to solve and that we’re in a position to solve it, we are champing at the bit to get started. We start off so passionately, virtually obsessed with our new idea and getting it off the ground. The problem comes when we fail to think about the next steps.

When I started my first healthy vending business right out of college, I was so inspired. I knew that there was a need for healthier nutrition options at places like hospitals and health clubs, and all I wanted to do was jump in and get things off the ground as fast as possible. What I didn’t realize was how difficult this concept would be to scale. It wasn’t until I had friends and relatives stocking vending machines for me in other states that I realized I needed a more efficient solution.  

Eventually my partners and I solved the problem, but I didn’t give it enough consideration early on -- and paid the price.

The fix: Factor in scale from the very beginning. As you develop your product and think about launching it, always ask yourself, “then what?”

Think of your idea as a point on the map, and then circle out. How do I solve this problem for myself and my close family and friends? What about the rest of my city? What about cities in other states? What about nationally? Internationally? How do I reach these new people and create demand? How do I maintain a fantastic experience for my new customers as we continue to expand outward? The point is, think about the needs of the business at every stage, and make sure there is a viable path to scale up. Of course you won’t have all the answers right away, but you’ll be able to spot major obstacles early, and choose the right path for you.

Mistake 2. Failing to realize that people are everything.

I truly believe it. People are everything when it comes to business, and the degree of alignment of the people in your business -- employees and customers alike -- will largely determine its success.

Sure, there are business fundamentals that have to be in place -- things like product-market fit, strategy and market potential. But what took me some time to realize is that these are all secondary concerns. People actually trump everything else in your company.

This might seem counterintuitive, but makes sense when you dig in. Think about the etymology of the word company itself. It’s just a military term, meaning a body of people. And what else is a company but a collection of people, working towards the same goal?

Who you choose to join you on this journey is hugely important, and only becomes more important as the business matures and scales. You have to find people who are aligned with your mission, contribute positively to your culture, and are engaged and mindful in their work. And you have to foster an environment that will help you keep them engaged.

It took me a while to reach this conclusion on my own. For me it all came down to the type of problems I was facing. We all know that problems are a fact of life. In the early stages of a business, it’s a matter of dealing with good or bad problems. I found that I didn’t mind tackling problems related to the product, technology or strategy. To me, these were the good problems, because these were usually solvable.

The bad problems were the ones that couldn’t be solved, and at their core, they were almost always people problems. These are the headaches you deal with because you have the wrong people on your team, have the wrong people advising you or are targeting the wrong customers. If there’s a lack of alignment with any of these groups, you usually have to end the relationship and move on.

Discovering this has been a process for me, but the sooner an early stage entrepreneur understands this, the better.

The fix: Think of yourself more as a coach than a player. If people are the most important part of a business, effectively coaching people to do their best is the most important role for any entrepreneur. In the early stages, when your team is small, you will definitely still be doing your share of the heavy lifting. But as you grow, your contribution will become more about coaching your team, providing a vision and roadmap, and inspiring greatness in others.

Mistake 3. Being too afraid to ask for help.

I see it so often. Early stage entrepreneurs whose businesses either fail, or come really close, because of a very solvable problem that spiraled out of control.

Most of the time, the problem in question could have been nipped in the bud immediately if only the entrepreneur had done one thing -- picked up the phone and asked someone for help.

Unfortunately, fear prevents most entrepreneurs from actually doing so. To a lot of entrepreneurs, asking for help is a sign of weakness, and they are convinced that success ultimately depends on maintaining the perception that everything is perfect. Bad leaders don’t take kindly to constructive criticism and would rather fail on their own than accept advice from others.

I should know, because I used to think this way as well. I used to be obsessed with being right and perfect all the time. Asking for help was completely out of the question. Like so many of us, I was raised to believe the old adage, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” and I felt like I was the only one who could overcome the obstacles my company faced.

The truth is, there are tons of great people out there who are both willing to help and in a much better position to actually solve the problem than you are. That’s because they’ve been there before and can provide the solution much more quickly, and with far less pain.

The fix: Surround yourself with great mentors. There are tons of people out there who are more than willing to help out a fellow entrepreneur. I used to believe that people wouldn’t be willing to help me unless I had something to offer or if I reached a certain level of success. It’s simply not the case.

Forming these relationships does take some work. I actually set aside an hour each week in my calendar to maintain the most important relationships. It’s usually a matter of a quick email check-in, where I don’t ask for anything, but just see how he or she is doing or provide an update on my life or business.

Once a month I also rate my relationships. I give them a letter grade, and those who fall below the mark get my immediate attention. People are actually looking for deeper, more meaningful connections. As long as you allow yourself to be genuine, curious and even a bit vulnerable, you’ll be able to establish invaluable relationships with people who you can rely on in moments of crisis.

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Our Principles for Effective Branding Online

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Our Principles for Effective Branding Online

 thehonosgroup.com

thehonosgroup.com

Principles for Effective Branding Online

Before you can build an engaging, purposeful site to promote your brand, products and/or services effectively, you first need to understand the viewing habits of users. 

Basically, users’ habits on the Web aren’t that different from customers’ habits when shopping in brick and mortar stores. Like window shoppers scan windows before deciding to enter a store, web visitors glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and then click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing for which they are looking before entering too far into a site. In fact, there are large parts of the page they don’t even look at. And, if they don’t see anything that catches their attention, they will move on to a site that does.

Web users are impatient and insist on instant gratification. Very simple principle: If a web-site isn’t able to meet users’ expectations, then the design has failed to get the job done properly. Complicated and overloaded with information are two quick ways to get users to leave the web-site and search for alternatives. 

Users follow their intuition.  Users want to have control. Users want to have an experience that is comfortable and easy.

honos+creative design principles:

1. don’t make users think 

2. dont squander users' patience

3. manage to focus users' attention

4. strive for feature presentation/call-to-action 

5. effective message, content and copy

6. strive for simplicity

7. dont be afraid of white space

8. communicate effectively visually

9. basic design, functionality and navigation are our friends 

10. test early, test often

bottomline: if you want an effective site, your must test and re-test

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15 Must-Have Features for E-commerce Sites

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15 Must-Have Features for E-commerce Sites

All websites are unique in their own way. We’ve seen trends in e-commerce website design like animation, 360-degree product previews, advanced filtering, and dynamic product search. However, trends don’t guarantee conversion rates or robust user experiences. There are certain elements that every e-commerce site should have to stay relevant and competitive. Here is a list of 15 must-have features that attract online shoppers.

Ease of Use

This comes from the old K.I.S.S. adage about keeping it simple. Simplicity should be a goal in good design and you don’t have to sacrifice elegance to achieve it. As a matter of fact, studies show that 76% of consumers say the most important characteristic of a website is ease of use.

The objective is to help shoppers get to what they want, faster and without running into unnecessary complexity that can clog up the path to purchase.

Online sellers have minutes, if not seconds, to make a sale. Focus on the user experience by providing shopping categories, filters, and comparison capabilities. Consider easy-to-find customer reviews and FAQ information to help buyers make decisions more quickly.

E-commerce sites should be a competitive advantage instead of a troublesome experience.

High-Resolution Photos and Video

Gone are the days of posting one photo with a few bullet points and a price tag. Shoppers want to see multiple angles and people using the product in different environments. They want to be able to zoom in and get a feel for the product.

Technical considerations for images are crucial. Images that don’t load or take too long to load will see a consumer drop-off rate of 39%, according to Adobe.

Images sell, not text. E-commerce websites should display multiple photos per product. The photos need to be high-resolution and optimized for page load.

Mobile-Friendly Website

Google declared it, so it must be done. All websites are required to have a mobile-friendly version by 2017 or suffer the SEO consequences. If this isn’t reason enough, one in three online purchases is completed on a smartphone.

With a responsive website, content intuitively adapts to whatever device is accessing it to provide the most user-friendly experience. Shockingly, many sites still have not adopted a responsive or mobile version.

User-Generated Reviews

Shoppers read reviews. About 92% of them, in fact. The star rating on a product is the number one factor used by consumers.

You might think that having negative reviews is a sale killer. The opposite is actually true. Having negative reviews can often be a positive. It’s shown that products without negative reviews are seen as censored and, in turn, shoppers will assume the positive reviews are fake.

Depending on website functionality, e-commerce sites can use plugins from the most popular review platforms including Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook.

Forward-thinking e-commerce sites, like Paiwen paddleboards, are using reviews as user-generated content to drive social proof and build raving fans.

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5 Big Trends and Tips for Social Media Marketing

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5 Big Trends and Tips for Social Media Marketing

In the last five years, social networks have acquired about 1 billion new users. 

Over one third of the world’s population is now accessible via social media, and companies have gone from being skeptical about social media marketing to seriously investing in it.

In this social media dominated world, marketing is heavily reliant on technology, but that technology remains focused on people. This year’s trends will help marketers reach and engage their audience on a more personal level, over social media noise. Companies will be able to fine-target their niche communities, with increased support from software solutions.

Social Media Marketing Trends and Tips

The following is a list of trends and tips for social media marketers to leverage now.

1. Investment in Visual Marketing Will Increase

Most social networks have already launched their versions of live-streaming. Twitter has Periscope, Facebook’s Live, and other networks like Blab and DubSmash support live video sharing. Live-feeds are becoming the “in-thing”. Even the US Presidential election updates were broadcast live by BuzzFeed on Twitter.

You can use live video platforms to engage you audience will near-tangible experiences. If you don’t have a Facebook Live strategy, now is the best time to get one.

With social feeds growing crowded and viewer attention spans growing shorter by year,  you’ll need powerful graphics to captivate your audience. In the last five years, the graphic design software market has expanded, giving marketers extensive options to choose from. You can put together graphics on a drag-and-drop editor to simplify your content creation process.

2. Personalization Will Become Priority

Today’s social media users are faced with ads and commercial content on multiple fronts. The receive information from multiple sources, and breaking through that barrier is becoming a tough task for brands and marketers. Personalization will help marketers slice through the chaos and reach only the people who matter.

Tracking consumers’ behaviors on social platforms and targeting them based on interests will become an essential part of marketing. Some social media marketing tools and apps are already incorporating features to support personalization and targeting. More technology solutions will appear in the time to come. You can target your high-potential market by posting content that only they can relate to, or by targeting them using data pulled from tools.

3. Brand Advocacy Will Grow Popular Among Marketers

Ad saturation is driving brands to look for alternative means to reach their target markets. Investment in advocate marketing has seen a steep increase (by about 191 percent) in the recent times. Micro-influencers could be the key to increasing your brand’s reach on social media, because they are more influential and credible than your brand can be.

Employees, customers and social fans are among the micro-influencers that brands are activating. There a quite a few great employee advocacy guides and case-studies that you can look at for inspiration in building your brand advocate outreach programs. You can use an advocacy platform to build and run your brand advocacy program.

4. Native Content Promotion Will Expand

In Joe Pulizzi’s words, native advertising is content marketing’s “gateway drug”. The modern audience is wise to commercial ploys, and traditional advertising alone may not be a great option for branding your company. Native ads help you create awareness without disrupting users’ activities. Content delivered in this manner can help you connect with your audience without being too pushy. According to a study, native ads are set to to grow to $21 billion by 2018.

Content discovery tools, content distribution platforms and content amplification tools are interesting means to having your content shared organically on social media. You could use one of these solutions to have your content positioned where it can earn you some traction.

5. Marketing Automation Will Go Mainstream

Companies with constrained marketing budgets may have not used marketing automation until now, but according to a study, 92 percent of these companies are losing revenue because of that decision. 2017 may see business of all types and sizes adopt marketing automation. 91 percent marketers are convinced that automation is an indispensable part of marketing.

Each social network is unique in terms of demographic and use-cases. This may force businesses to be present on more than one of them to keep consumers and prospects engaged. Managing social pages can be a time intensive task, without the assistance of a supporting social management tool. The idea is to use the tool to automate tasks that don’t require personal attention – like posting created content to multiple accounts and catching mentions of your brand. You can also curate content with a tool and take the final call on what to share. It all comes down to the extra-time that you can save to better invest elsewhere. Managing content on a central platform can also help you maintain consistency across different pages.

Wrap

Social media marketing is set to evolve into a highly tech-focused and detail-oriented effort. To succeed  at reaching and engaging your target market, you need to explore and stay abreast of the latest developments and technologies offered for social. The areas mentioned on this post are good places to keep tabs on.

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5 Must-Have Tools for Every Startup

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5 Must-Have Tools for Every Startup

Let’s face it – you are struggling to get your startup on track but failing to manage everything on your own. Well, you surely don’t have enough budget and investors to assemble a top-tier marketing team, nor do you have enough time to learn the basics of everything and become jack-of-all-trades.

In fact, the age of “if you build it, they will come” strategy is long gone and is never going to provide you the same exposure that it did in the past. However, making use of some tools will get you started on the right track and give you enough pace to kick-start your profitable business in no time.

Check out these 5 must-have tools for every startups.

1. Content Marketing Tools

It has been reported that 58% eight percent of B2B marketers increased their budget for content marketing in 2015. Content marketing tools are considered as the backbone of most online businesses today as they help in creating, distributing, and measuring effectiveness of their contents. Here are a few content marketing tools that can be useful:

Google Analytics – Google’s analytics tool makes it easy to customize reports, measure the impact of social media and mobile on website traffic.
Alexa – Though this tool is currently neglected by many, it provides data and global rankings for commercial websites and their effectiveness on the web.
SEMRush – This tool helps to track keywords and rankings, both paid and organic.
Moz – This platform can be used to monitor social media, manage SEO campaigns, and measure different online metrics.

2. Social Media Marketing Tools

Social media is considered the future of online marketing and As a startup you need word-of-mouth, and you need to start promoting you or your brand on social media starting on day 1. While there are several social media platforms available, using them one at a time might be time-consuming and boring. There’s no need to worry as social media marketing tools are there to back you up. From creating, curating, managing, scheduling and analyzing, these tools will empower your brand to capitalize the market. Here are a few that might be helpful for you:

Buffer– From creating a posting schedule to different social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and G+ pages, Buffer is an all-in-one social media marketing tool.
IFTTT– Another all-in-one tool that has recipes for your social media needs, IFTTT lets you post, read and do all sort of things with almost all social media platforms available.
Social Rank– This tool helps you to identify, organize and manage your followers and potential customers on different social media platforms.

3. Email Marketing Tools

Email marketing is probably the oldest and still one of the best ways that are proven, effective and important for any kind of businesses and startups. No matter what comes in and goes in the world of digital marketing, email marketing is what will exist forever and will always remain crucial to grab success. Here are a few email marketing tools you need to use:

MailChimp– An ESP tool that has both free and paid plans, you get some pretty useful and powerful features with MailChimp.
The Hemingway App–  Want to make you copywriting clear and conversational? This is what the tool will help you with; optimize emails.

4. Project & Employee Management Tools

Most startups and small businesses do not care much about using project and employee management tools as they handle a small number of projects and work in small groups. But, if they are to grow big eventually, they need to have the know-how of handling bigger projects and large employee and clients’ base.

Pingboard‘s CEO Bill Boebel says: “We found that most of our customers were still managing their org chart in PowerPoint or Visio — even with several hundred employees. These documents are time-consuming to maintain, difficult to share and often become out-of-date shortly after they are created. And quite frankly, org charts made this way are ugly.”

Here are a few easy-to-use and useful tools:

Org chart software– This tool helps to create and structure the members, their relationships, and relative ranks according to their positions and jobs
Basecamp– From managing projects, groups and client works, Basecamp is an all-in-one tool to manage everything at one place.
Trello– Another project management tool to give you the perspective over all of your projects, Trello makes collaboration with employees and clients easy.

5. SEO Tools

If you or your company needs to gain quick attention and visibility online, search engines need to be your top priority. From gaining leads, making sales and making an impact through online visibility, SEO is what every startup need to focus on first. Here are a few SEO tools to track and maintain the online presence:

Ahrefs– From link profile data to content referral information, Ahrefs does everything you need to track you and your competitors.
Schema Creator– Addition of schema or microdata can increase search engine visibility and Schema Creator is what does it in minutes to your website or blogs.
MozBar-It lets you perform a range of SEO tasks from your browser, including keyword ranking data analysis, schema validation, and SEO metric reporting.

credit: original article

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