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Tools to Help You Track Your Startup

When you’re busy building a startup, there isn’t always time to keep track of what people are saying about your company. Luckily, there are a bunch of great products to make tracking your startup easier than ever.
We put together a list of six different tools to help you monitor when your startup is mentioned online, as well as track companies, markets, and people you care about. Read on for the full list.
1. Index
Keep track of companies & markets you care about

Index, created by the team at The Next Web, uses public content on the web and turns it into structured data on locations, industries, and private tech companies around the world.
There are a lot of cool uses for this tool. You can use it to keep an eye on potential investors, competitors, or markets. You can also create custom lists to track the investments, acquisitions, and other updates you care about while filtering out the news that isn’t as important to you.
If you sign up for the “Pro” or “Expert” versions of this tool, you’ll get access to even more features, such as: weekly digests, advanced search, CSV exports, and a daily investment newsletter. This tool is certainly worth the investment if you‘re looking to more efficiently keep track of what matters to you and your company.

2. Notify
Get notified in Slack when your startup is mentioned online

There are so many things you can do with this Slack integration, and setting it up is super easy. You can create alerts for anything you want to be notified about, like when your startup or competitors are mentioned anywhere online, when a specific person is mentioned, or when something gets published about an event or topic you want to track. You can also select sources you want to read notifications from (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Blogs, Product Hunt, Medium, News Sites, etc.).
If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of anything important to you, Notify is a no-brainer Slack integration (But yes, you do have to be a Slack user).

3. App Review Monitor
App Store reviews delivered to Slack and your inbox

This tool, created by the LaunchKit team, is a free service that notifies you when your app receives a new review in the App Store. You can keep your team up-to-date with alerts sent via email or Slack. You can also have App Review Monitor automatically tweet about your five-star reviews.
Of course, you won’t always receive perfect reviews. One of the most important elements of great customer service is finding and communicating with customers who are underwhelmed by your app. With this tool, you can easily forward a less-than-awesome review to your support team and find the reviewer online so you can start a direct conversation with him or her.
We’re big fans of any tool that makes a normally tedious task easier—and this one certainly fits the bill!

4. Mattermark for iOS
1 million+ companies in your pocket. Absolutely free.

Mattermark is one of the most beloved tools in the startup world. Venture capitalists and salespeople are willing to pay $6,000 a year for the data and insights this product offers.
Mattermark for iOS, however, is completely free. Using the mobile app, you can learn more about over 1 million companies, share profiles and news with your network, and stay on top of daily funding events and important company news.
This is a must-have app for any startup enthusiast.

5. Startup Tracker 2.0
Keep tabs on up-and-coming startups

Startup Tracker is like Rapportive for startups. If you’re reading an article about Shyp, this tool will show you a summary of the most important information about the company without you ever needing to leave your browser.
Startup Tracker scours leading data sources like Beta List, CrunchBase, Product Hunt, Facebook, and Twitter to compile detailed company profiles. You can use it to search across over 400,000 profiles and discover new and trending startups. This is a fantastic way to learn about and keep track of your favorite companies.

6. Monitor Backlinks
Track backlinks for any website

If you want to improve your website’s SEO, backlinks matter—but they are often difficult to keep track of. This product makes it so much easier. After a quick setup, you’ll get access to a dashboard when you can monitor new backlinks, SEO progress, and organic traffic driven by search engines as a result. You’ll also have insight into your keyword rankings, links with social interaction, Nofollow vs. Dofollow links, and more.
This is a fantastic way to strengthen SEO and keep tabs on your competitors. A great tool for marketers and anyone else who nerds about about website growth.

Source: Medium (https://medium.com/@producthunt/tools-to-help-you-track-your-startup-1214d572044#.ymqvxert7)

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The 6 Online Marketing Strategies Every Entrepreneur Needs

The internet has radically transformed how we build and promote businesses: We have access to far more resources and far more potential than ever before. So, why do so many entrepreneurs end up neglecting these fruitful opportunities by forgoing marketing, or delaying it as an unnecessary expenditure?

There are a handful of online marketing strategies you need — as in, your startup won’t be able to thrive without them.
Criteria for “need”. You “need” these strategies? After all, isn’t marketing optional? Isn’t it possible to build a business even without an online presence? Technically, yes, but you’ll be missing out on enormous potential by doing so.

All the strategies I qualify as “necessary” exhibit the following traits:

  • Expected. People expect you to have these things in place, and if you don’t have them, they may think less of your company.
  • Accessible. None of these strategies is particularly hard or complicated; there may be a bit of a learning curve, but on some level, these are accessible strategies.
  • Affordable. You won’t have to spend much money on any of these strategies, making them easy to pick up even for tight-budget startups.
  • Valuable. These strategies all offer high potential returns, meaning that the cost for you, if you neglect them, will be significant potential.
  • Time-sensitive. The more time you invest in these strategies, the more powerful they become. The sooner you get involved, the bigger the payoff you can potentially get.

It’s the combination of these factors that makes your work in these areas necessary. These are the strategies I deem “necessary”:
1. Personal branding.

Successful businesses can generate a ton of momentum from successful entrepreneurs who lead them. Branding yourself, before your company, gives you the opportunity to leverage a more trustworthy, personal image to promote your brand.

It also gives you more power to meet and network with others, form more partnerships and lend a face to your otherwise faceless organization. And it’s free to do, from a monetary perspective, though you will need to invest a significant amount of time.
2. Content marketing.

Content marketing takes a variety of forms, and depending on how you form your strategy, could accomplish a number of different goals. For example, you could use white papers, ebooks and other long-form content to attract downloads, signups and conversions, or you could use an on-site blog to attract more inbound traffic to your site.

You could even use content as a form of help and troubleshooting, or some combination of these applications. Content marketing is incredibly versatile and useful, and, if it’s valuable, your customers will expect you to have at least some of it in place for them.

3. Search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is the process of making your site more visible in search engines, so you get more traffic from people searching for the products or services you offer. Much of your organic search position ranking comes from the technical structure of your site and your ongoing content development strategy.

So, SEO is not much more of an investment if you’re already creating new content regularly — and it’s well worth that extra investment if for no other reason than to make sure your site is properly indexed.

4. Conversion optimization.

Most of these strategies aim to get more people on your site, but what do those people do once they’re there? Conversion optimization helps you ensure you get more value out of each and every visitor by maximizing your rate of conversion.

Sometimes, this means including more conversion opportunities, and other times, improving the ones you already have.

5. Social media marketing.

Social media marketing isn’t the get-rich-quick scheme you may have been promised, but there is significant potential in building and nurturing a social media audience. Again, content will come into play heavily here, as it will likely be the factor that attracts your audience to begin with. Here, you stand to gain greater brand visibility, a greater reputation and far more inbound traffic with your syndicated links.

6. Email marketing.

Email marketing has astounding potential for ROI because it costs almost nothing to execute. Start collecting subscribers from your existing customer base, your social media followers and other new opportunities; from there, even a simple content newsletter can help you encourage repeat traffic to your site, facilitate more engagement with your brand and keep your brand top-of-mind with your audience.

There’s one other key advantage these strategies offer: They all work together. While they can be pursued individually, each connects with and feeds into the others in some way. If you pursue them all, complementing your efforts across these multiple areas, you’ll see an even higher potential return.

Source: Entrepreneur. Article by  Jayson Demers (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/278923)

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5 Tips To Get More Customers To Your Store And Boost Your Revenue

Have you ever wondered: How to get more customers to my store, and how to make them buy my stuff?

Every year thousands of online retailers visit Chicago to attend the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) to answer these questions, learn from ecommerce experts about latest trends and technology, and see where the industry is heading.

One thing is clear – ecommerce is big, and it keeps growing. Shoppers in the USA spent $341.7 billion on retail purchases on the web in 2015.

And consumers still spend most on Amazon, Ebay, Walmart Stores and other giant retailers. But here’s a fun fact:

The world’s largest merchants experienced the slowest growth since 2009. Because small, niche retailers are now taking a part of the market, offering specialized, more personalized and original products for small market segments.

This is the best time launch your own online store, if you haven’t already done that. Now, if you already have your own store, here are the main takeaways from the IRCE conference to take your business to the next level.

  1. Boost conversions by 12% / second by increading your page load

People hate slow web pages.

Now, consider the patience of a customer:

Users expect pages to load in two seconds, and after three seconds, up to 40% of users will abandon your site.

Etsy conducted an experiment and decreased their mobile page speed by less than a second, and their bounce rate increased by 12%.

And it gets worse:

According to a study, 250 milliseconds more or less of a page’s load time is what either keeps your customer on your page, or makes them go to your competitor.

So if you want people stay on your store, go to Google Page Speed, Pingdom, or install Yahoo Yslow, and test your page speed. And if your page takes longer that 2 seconds to load, you might want to make some changes.

The easiest way to start – make sure your product images are optimized for the web. Here’s how:

  1. Unless you need a photo with a transparent background, reformat your .png images to .jpg –.png images are usually “heavier” and take longer to load.
  2. Resize your images – don’t use a 1000x1000px image in a 100x100px spot
  3. Compress your photos – try TinyPNG to save megabytes without compromising on quality
  4. Add the lazy load option – it means that loading of some images will be delayed until the point where they’re needed.

Or, consider removing something from your website entirely. Ask yourself:

Are all photos needed, do they all help your customers make their buying decisions? What happens when you take some parts of the page out?

Try and test that! Less is more in many cases – taking out the unnecessary might both improve page load and boost conversions.

Now when your images are optimized, all the unnecessary is removed, and the page works seamlessly, the next step is to:

2. Get visible on Google, then convince shoppers with rich product descriptions

When users Google a product you sell, two things can happen: They can find you. Or they can find your competitor.

Want to win in this duel?

  • First, check your site’s search performance with Google Webmaster tools. (If you’re not using this tool, you definitely should – a site that’s active in Webmaster Tools has a better shot at being fully indexed and ranking well.)

Webmaster Tools allows you see which pages have been indexed, your most popular keywords, and much more. What you should start with is check if your site is healthy – that it doesn’t have any crawl errors or other critical issues that would prevent Google from finding your site.

 

  • Next step – add useful content on your product pages. Google wants you to have rich, catchy, user- and SEO-friendly product descriptions that include relevant keywords.

There are various tools to find keywords for your product descriptions, including:

Google Keyword Planner that you can use to search for keyword ideas and find phrases related to your product and brand. (It’s free!)

Ahrefs that lets you not only find new keyword ideas, but also find keywords your competitors are ranking for in search engines, then use these keywords in your copy. (From $99/month)

  • Another way to find effective long-tail keywords for your product descriptions is:

Using Amazon autosuggest: Amazon is the second biggest search engine after Google. Similar to Google, when you start typing something into its search box, it shows the most popular search terms. It shows you what products and using what words real people are typing in when they’re looking to buy a product that you are selling.

So you don’t have to guess anymore. You can use these suggested search terms, and use them when writing about your products on your store.

Use the same method on Google Search to find even more relevant keywords for your copy.

When you have all these keyword ideas from the Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Amazon Autosuggest, Google Search and other tools, it’s time to start writing.

Many think that product descriptions are for Google, but the truth is: It’s not Google you have to convince to order from you, it’s the buyer. So invest time and effort in unique, well-written product description. Prewritten templates for products might work well, but what Google (therefore, you too!) wants is unique content on every page that doesn’t duplicate.

So focus on useful content for your store visitors, and it will pay back. If you still doubt that, here are some stats: 88% of shoppers say product content helps them make their purchase decisions.

The higher quality and the more useful your content is, the more likely users will leave your store with a purchase.

  • Finally – just because you have great products and product descriptions on your page doesn’t mean they will be discovered. So you have to promote your content and get quality backlinks.

Here are some ways you can find link-building opportunities:

Use Mention to see what brands are already talking about your products and your brand, but are not linking to your store. Then contact them and ask them to do that.

Try Moz’s Open Site Explorer to find inbound links to the page and analyze the linking pages. Consider pitching sites that have already written about you, offering new and interesting content.

When your products can be found on Google and traffic to your store increases, it’s time for the next step:

3. Increase the number of purchases by 64% with product videos

Here’s what you should do if you want even more people to leave your store with a purchase: Add product videos.

The truth is: Shoppers today want more info with less effort. They expect rich product information through visual online experiences – something as close to being in-store as possible.

A study even shows that 64% of shoppers are more likely to buy something after watching a video. That’s because videos are concise, information-rich, and all that’s required of users is clicking a play button.

Want to know the secret of a product video that sells?… In the first 20 seconds make it clear why your product is worth buying. Highlight the benefits of having the product in the very beginning of the video. When you’ve caught the viewer’s interest, you can continue with features and other specifics.

There are many services that can help you with great quality videos. Here are some of them:

  • Demoduck – they make awesome live-action and animated explainer videos
  • Voicebunny– offers voice-overs by professional voice actors
  • Fiverr– a place to find people with the skill, perfect if you’re on a tight budget

4. Add social proof with reviews

High quality photos, videos, and product descriptions are a must, but sometimes it might not be enough to sell your product. You need to add social proof. That is, reviews.

72% of online shoppers trust consumer opinions online.
90% of buyers report being influenced by online reviews.
75% of all people are rationalizers, which means they’re looking for unbiased facts and opinions to help them make their decision.
People tend to spend 31% more when a company has excellent ratings and reviews.

So it’s worth investing some time to gather reviews from your happy customers.

All you need to do to get those positive reviews is: ask. Not asking typically gets you a 50/50 result, while asking for reviews yields an 83% positive average review rate.

You can also use tools like Yotpo that help to get more ratings for your store and products.

But you know what’s even better than a review on a product page?A video review. They are more trustworthy, and more persuasive.

So when your best customer gives you perfect feedback, ask for a video review. Invite them for a video chat and record them saying all the great things about your brand.

Another way to add social proof to your product pages is to ask your customers to post photos with their orders and received products. Customer photos not only increase trust, but also show products ”in real life’.”

5. Analyze your sales data, and plan the next steps

Now, you have your store up and running, have great products listed, and some orders are coming in, too. Many sellers think that’s enough. But if you want more, keep reading.

If you’re serious about your business, you have analyze your results, draw conclusions, and plan ahead. Here’s the simplest way to do that, or at least the first step to get even better sales of your products:

Go to your Google Analytics and take a look at your best selling products and most visited pages within the last 6 months.

Here’s how to find your pages with the highest traffic:

Behavior → Site Content → All Pages, and order by Pageviews.

Then find your best-selling products in the same period of time:

Conversions → Ecommerce → Product Performance, and order by Quantity.

Now compare:

Have a product page with high traffic, but few conversions?

There can be two reasons:

  • First – users can find this page, but it’s not persuasive enough for them to make a purchase. Think of improving your product descriptions, add videos, better quality images and photos of your products from multiple angles.

 

  • Second – if there are very few purchases or no purchases at all, submit a test order to make sure everything works and users actually CAN buy it. Here at Printful we use tools that help us notice errors instantly.

For instance, Ghost Inspector is a free extension for Chrome that automatically tests your webpage – it records clicks and notifies you in case user hasn’t been able to take some action, like add to cart or finish a purchase. That way you can catch bugs and fix errors quickly.

If there are no errors and everything works as planned, pay attention to usability – are your products easy to buy?

Buyers today are very impatient, and I meant it – your designs can be the coolest, but if you’ll make them difficult to buy, people will choose something less cool, but easy to order.

 

Have a product page with low traffic, yet many purchases?

Invest in advertising. People clearly love your product, so you just need to make it more visible and easier to discover. Start with Facebook and Instagram ads, which are easy to set up and proven to be effective. 43% of shoppers discover new products via social media, and 34% say social media influences their buying decisions.

This is just the beginning, you should keep testing and improving your store constantly. Because there are so many other things that can affect conversion rates. We mentioned page speed for seamless shopping experience, videos and reviews for binding trust and help users make smart buying decisions. But there are more!

ConversionXL is a great blog to keep an eye on because they often offer useful and tested ideas to boost your conversion rates. If you’re recently started with your store, this might be a good piece to start with.

Source: The Printful. Article by Krista Krumina (http://blog.theprintful.com/5-tips-to-get-more-customers-to-your-store-and-boost-your-revenue/?mc_cid=65663d80ee&mc_eid=5c9662932b)

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3 Ways to Supercharge Your Content-Marketing Strategy

User-generated content is the riskiest of all marketing strategies because of the obvious potential for negative comments. But if done right, it will pay off more than any other type of content marketing. A tech-savvy and social-media-focused audience appreciates the realism, the contributions of their peers, and the opportunity to be part of the conversation. Even with the inevitable (but hopefully infrequent) user rant, organic user reviews, commentary and conversation are the foundation of the most successful campaigns.

1. Give your customers a voice.

It’s naturally tempting to try to maintain absolute control over every piece of content that mentions your brand, but consumers know the difference between SEO article spam and meaningful content. Increasingly, consumers are more interested in seeing what other consumers have to say than they are in reading your own self-promotional puff pieces. Consumers no longer want to be told what to think — they want to be part of the conversation.

“Marketers need to go beyond simply talking about how awesome they are. It’s far more powerful when other people that aren’t on your payroll are saying it,” says Jeev Trika, CEO of CrowdReviews.com. “User-generated content, two-way discussion with consumers and organic user reviews from real people form the foundation of today’s meaningful content strategy.”

A recent Capgemini report highlighted the importance of Generation Y customers, who are more tech-savvy than any other demographic and will become a major part of the workforce by 2020. The report noted that members of this important group have high expectations, and they are more likely to engage directly through new channels and social media. This demographic is harder to please, because they expect to be able to communicate through all available channels, and they expect two-way communication.

2. Use right-brained, creative tactics that go beyond the numbers.

There are two great fallacies that lead to tepid results in content marketing. The first is that content marketing is a purely numbers-driven strategy, with success measured in keywords, number of backlinks and quantity of placements without regard for quality of content or destination. The second fallacy is that you need to push content in one direction only — from marketer to consumer — in order to maintain control.

Reliance on mechanical SEO tactics like article spinning and astroturfing (the practice of creating and placing fake reviews) may — at least temporarily — lead to an increase in search-engine placement. But even if SERPs increase, the poor-quality content and transparent fakery responsible for them will harm your brand, and they likely will not result in any significant increase in actual revenue.

Even a good strategy that delivers useful content often goes in just one direction. The next shift in content marketing is bi-directional, user-generated content.

3. Find the emotional connection.

“Customers are far more likely to have a meaningful connection to your brand when they have an interactive platform available,” Trika says. “The younger and more tech-savvy demographic in particular will respond more positively to organic user reviews from their peers than they will respond to a Madison-Avenue-generated television commercial.”

That organic conversation is what Scott Magids, CEO of Motista, says is the basis of creating an emotional connection with consumers. “The emotional connection is an evolved approach to customer strategy,” Magids says. “It’s the path to maximize the value of customer relationships that lead to organic growth.” The emotional connection that some marketers have been able to create goes beyond simply delivering clever advertisements, engaging articles and great customer service — it’s about tapping into something deeper.

“There are a few unicorns out there which have created an emotional connection using one-directional advertising,” Trika says. “But when user-generated content and user reviews become part of the mix, the consumer becomes part of the conversation and develops an emotional connection with your brand. That’s what drives consistent and repeatable results.”

Source: Enterpreneur. Article by Dan Blacharsky (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/274532)

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