Top 10 Must-Follow Marketing Tips for SAAS Start-UPS in 2021

The SaaS market is promising but it also brings incredible competition. With new software products getting launched every day across every vertical, building a viral product is harder now more than ever.

No matter how challenging and saturated the market may look, it is not impossible to gain the attention of your audience. With the right mix of product-market fit and smart email marketing tactics, you will witness the ball to be at your side. This is what we are exactly going to talk about in this blog post.

We take a deep dive into the 10 marketing tips that can create the foundation of your marketing success for your SaaS business in 2021.

10 Marketing Hacks To Skyrocket Your SAAS Start-up in 2021

No matter what marketing technique you use to acquire customers if your product does not meet the demands of your target audience. In other words, build something that people want.

This makes developing a unique selling proposition the heart of every growth hack technique.

Yes, you heard that right.

If your product is just like your competitors then no one is going to care about what you build. Did we tell you that you can use your audience research data here?

Finding the bridge to connect what your audience want and competitors fail to deliver is going to make you unique. The best part? Your perceived value in front of your audience will grow. But once you have developed your USP, the rigorous part comes in; marketing.

Ideally, you would have to undergo multiple experiments and iteration in your strategy to find out what works and what doesn’t but we make that easier for you.

The following 10 tips can streamline your SaaS customer base in no time.

1. Adopt a freemium model

If there is one strategy that opens up your software adoption rate like no other, it is the freemium model.

In an oversaturated market, where your customers are overwhelmed with product choices, a freemium model makes it easier for them to make the final decision. You empower them to make their own decision.

There are multiple strategies to experiment with here. From a 30-day trial window to lifelong freemium access, you can sample tests on real audiences.

2. Word of mouth marketing

There’s a good reason why word of mouth marketing is so popular amongst the SaaS startup community. More than often, SaaS startups include this model to gain their first customers.

It is the most effective, sustainable, yet low-cost strategy to gain loyal customers. But all its sweetness comes in one condition.

You need to deliver a superlative customer experience to your early customers. If your first customers do not find you valuable, there is little chance that they would tell their community about you.

This means to turn your customers into brand evangelists you would not only need to satisfy their expectations but exceed them. Be obsessed with customer delight. No matter what you have to do, be it give discounts, create a hyper-active response team, be there in there to answer their needs.

3. Viral marketing

Creating a viral effect with one marketing technique is often hard yet not impossible.

All you need to do is look closely into your process to identify the growth lever that can make it possible. Infact, there are a few established ones already available in the industry. The best part?

They always give results.

From referral schemes, loyalty programs for existing customers to giveaway contests any of them can give you results. It can not only give you the opportunity to establish new relationships with customers but improve the total value of your existing customers.

4.  Content marketing

There is so much value that content marketing can bring to your SaaS process.

Content is king after all.

But while you get invested in developing the heart of this scalable marketing strategy, do not forget to market your content.

There are so many methods to do so. From microblogging, SEO optimized knowledge base, webinars, infographics, time-sensitive promotions, to lead magnets, you can test all. For promotions, you can consider guest blogging or sponsor the content for an influencer to do so. Another cost-efficient way would be to use user-generated content.

5. Branding

Building a successful SaaS product is almost impossible without building a brand. Unsure why?

Here is the answer.

A successful branding venture can bring multifarious benefits to your SaaS product. From faster adoption rate, strong community, higher retention, optimized marketing costs, and the best part, market capture.

You can basically become synonymous with the category of product you are building. Does that suddenly sound like Google?

There are so many ways to do this. From SEO optimization, press review, authority review, influencer marketing to affiliate marketing. But to ensure performance, you need to keep in mind your unique situations. The budget, constraints, and goals.

6.  Optimize all the time

In business, there is no such thing called maximum sales. Ideally speaking, even if you have reached the saturation point of your total market size, it doesn’t mean your growth potential has reached the roof. You can always work on improving the perceived value of your product in the eyes of your target audience.

But to do so, you would need to optimize your processes which makes it so valuable to realize your startup potential.

There is so much you can do here. From aligning the micro-level factors like landing page elements to macro-level factors like product-market fit there is always room for improvement. The best part? It will help you yield better results without investing more resources in your marketing.

What follows is a significant improvement in the LTV (lifetime value), CAC (customer acquisition cost), and the final ROI (return on investment).

7. Create API integrations

APIs are the best scalable customer acquisition techniques you can integrate into your marketing operations.

It can not only open doors to new audiences but reinforce the foundations of strong partnerships with your collaborators. The best part? You automatically gain the position of authority in the market.

But here’s a word of caution.

Partnerships can make or break your brand’s reputation. While the right partner can fast pace your growth by years, the wrong choice can deter your speed by many years. An effective way to think about it is to ask a vital question. Whether your collaborating brand is an extension of your product’s value? If yes, then it is often the right choice.

8.  Paid marketing

Although there is no substitute for what you can accomplish with organic marketing in time, only depending upon organic growth will slow down your SaaS startup significantly. This makes paid marketing and campaigns incredibly vital. But here’s a thing.

Before you jump into paid marketing, ensure you have a complete strategy laid out. With the increasing expense of paid ads, chances are you will invest significant resources with little to no returns.

There are so many techniques to do this right. Use FOMO (fear of missing out), time-sensitive offers. Campaigns that are contextual and personalized on the basis of audience profiles and channels of distribution tend to perform better. But the best piece of advice is to develop a mindset of testing and optimizing.

The more you are open to A/B tests and campaign optimization, the better your long-term results will be. Chances are you can even witness exponential growth.

9.  Invest in building trust and authority

Trust is one of the most crucial elements for your SaaS product to succeed. No matter how promising your product may appear, if your target audience does not trust your brand, they will not engage with your brand.

This puts authority building as one of the top priorities for your marketing team.

The best part is there are many cost-effective ways to do so.

Use social proof like customer testimonials and peer reviews to do so. Platforms like G2, Quora, and ProductHunt are great ways to kickstart this. You can later integrate the best reviews of your clients on your website too. But this is not all.

You need to make sure the payment gateway is safe and secured. Using end-to-end encryptions and third-party vendors like Paypal is a good strategy to do so.

10. Collaborate with experts

Collaborations and partnerships are undoubtedly one of the most sustainable strategies for building a robust SaaS business. But if you thought that your partnerships are limited to indirect competitors, influencers, and authorities, then think again.

There is so much value that a domain expert can bring to your SaaS startup.

A SaaS growth marketer brings their domain expertise. Some of the best SaaS marketing agencies can optimize your growth levers to unleash the true potential of your product. From reducing marketing costs, finding new sales opportunities to improving customer acquisition and retention, there is so much a specialist can do.

They can prove to be your biggest asset when it comes to growth in the long term.

Conclusion

Building a successful SaaS product is hard and going to be even harder in the future.

But that doesn’t mean there is no room for winning. All you need to do is shift your mindset about the development process. Think of disrupting the existing process even in a small way possible.

Keep on reiterating and evolving your product-building methodologies and even your product if required.

This dynamic landscape makes the requirement of a nimble marketing plan incredibly important. Sure, the above tips are to give the foundational speed for today. But to sustain that growth you need to optimize the process and make changes from time to time.

Only then can you see true success with your SaaS startup.

Author bio

Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as an Instructional Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and parents. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at atreyee.c@gmail.com for any content writing/marketing requirements.

Buffer vs Post Planner: Best Tool for Social Media Posts

If you are an entrepreneur with a digital business, you most likely will need a social media management tool to optimize your social profiles. Buffer and Post Planner both are popular social media management tools. Both tools provide an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that comes with a variety of features. 

They offer services such as post scheduling, content creation, and data analytics, which helps to grow popularity and get instagram followers. Thus making it challenging for professionals and businesses to pick the right option for their social media management. 

In this blog, we will provide you with an in-depth review of both Buffer and Post Planner. This will help you decide which tool is best suitable for you. 

Overview 

Buffer 

Buffer is the most efficient tool for content creation. It is perfect for bloggers and small businesses who want to enhance their online visibility. Buffer provides a wide range of amazing graphic designs, visual cues, and images that help to get more engagement. Besides this, Buffer also helps in scheduling and publishing content with complete automation for all social media platforms. 

The best part about Buffer is that it has a well-organized user-friendly interface that provides straightforward navigation. You also get access to a data analytics tool that provides information about all metrics that impact your social media performance. 

Post Planner

Post Planner is an excellent social media marketing tool for managing social media campaigns. It offers an intuitive interface that allows content managers and entrepreneurs to create, schedule, and publish content regularly on all social media networks. 

Post planner also offers a wide range of tools that help to optimize your social media profiles. Thus helping you grow popularity and gain more engagement. Its automated post-scheduling tools help in updating your social media feed with constant streams of content.

Product Features 

Buffer 

The first striking thing about Buffer is that it is compatible with all the popular social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, and many more. It also integrates well with third-party applications that offer content creation tools. Talking about content creation, Buffer has a tool called ‘Pablo’ which helps to design amazing graphics and visual cues within a few seconds. 

Post scheduling tools are another feature of Buffer that helps to organize your posts and schedule them in advance for each social media profile. It provides a content calendar where you can customize and color code posts so that it is easy to review. 

Besides this, Buffer also offers two excellent sets of tools – data analytics and team management. Data analytics provide deep insights into your performance rate and audience engagement. This helps in building sound marketing strategies to grow popularity. 

The team management tool provides a platform for all team members to coordinate and work efficiently. They can plan content, schedule posts, get feedback and save drafts for approvals. 

Post Planner

Post Planner also provides similar features as Buffer. Here, you can get access to a social media publishing calendar that is fully customizable to suit your needs. With this tool, you can publish posts when your audience is most active. This helps to get more engagement on your social media profile. Post planner also helps in optimizing your posts for all social media networks especially Facebook and Twitter. 

Post Planner’s database offers a library of top-performing content for any keyword or hashtag. You can use relevant content from this database and publish it on your social media profiles to keep the audience engaged. In addition to finding relevant content, you can use the feature called ‘Status Idea Engine’ to publish quick status updates. 

A unique feature of Post Planner is that it allows you to post both links and images on your feed. You can even post a link as an image to maximize the call-to-action and lead generations. 

The data analytics tool provides a detailed analysis of your profile that can help to target the right audience. It also provides the time-zone conversion tool, with which you can seamlessly cater to the international customer base. 

Pricing Plans 

Buffer 

Apart from the 14-day free trial pack, Buffer offers three monthly subscription plans – 

  • Pro Plan at $15 per month – This provides access to one user account and 8 social media channels. Although the scheduling option is limited in this plan (only 100 posts per channel), you get access to all integrations and community support. 
  • Premium Plan at $65 per month – This provides all the features in the Pro plan along with an extended scheduling option (2000 posts per social media profile). You also get access to team management tools that are not included in the Pro plan. 
  • Business Plan at $99 per month – This is best for large corporations as it provides access to 25 social media channels with 2000 scheduled posts per profile. Here you can add up to six user accounts to access the complete Buffer toolset. 

Post Planner

Although there is no free trial pack, Post planner offers four incredible subscription plans at the most affordable rates – 

  • Starter Pack – It costs $3 per month with access to 3 social media accounts. You can schedule 300 posts at one time and publish 30 posts per day across all social profiles. 
  • Love Pack starts at $9-$11 per month and is perfect for small businesses. Here, you can connect up to 10 social media accounts, publish 100 posts a day, and schedule 1000 posts at one time. 
  • Guru Pack – Priced at $19-$24 per month. This pack allows the registration of up to 5 team members. You can connect 25 social media profiles, publish 500 posts in a day, and schedule 5000 posts at one time. 
  • Agency Plan – This plan costs $99-$125 per month. This comprehensive plan allows the registration of 12 team members to manage 100 social media profiles. You can publish 200 posts a day and schedule unlimited posts at one time. 

Pros and Cons 

Buffer 

Pros 

  • Efficient in post scheduling and publishing 
  • User-friendly interface with seamless team management feature 
  • Excellent content creation tools 
  • 24/7 customer support 

Cons

  • Offers only 14 days of a free trial
  • Does not offer paid advertising features

Post Planner

Pros 

  • Provides a database for high-performing content to publish
  • Best integrates with Facebook and Twitter
  • Excellent tool to boost social engagement 

Cons

  • Limited integration with other social media networks 
  • Poor customer support 
  • Lacks in-depth analytics in starter packs 

Conclusion – Which is the Best Tool for Social Media Posts?

Both Buffer and Post Planner offer incredible tools to create, schedule, and publish your social media posts. But when it comes to choosing the best tool for social media, we would recommend Buffer. Buffer offers more flexibility when it comes to creating visually stunning content and post scheduling. You can even gain instagram followers for your profiles through this. 

As compared to Post Planner, Buffer provides a powerful customer support facility that takes care of every query at any time. Moreover, it integrates well with most of the popular social media networks. The team management feature is a game-changer for large corporations and marketing companies to manage their social profiles efficiently. 

All these benefits make Buffer better than Post Planner. However, if you are looking for an economical option to manage your social media profiles, Post Planner may be a good choice. The best way to choose among the two is to understand what you want to achieve with these tools. 

Easy Steps To Creating a Beautiful Photo

Are you new to photography and are looking for ways to make your photos more beautiful? Perhaps you find your pictures aren’t coming out as you would like and want some tips that can help you? Or maybe you are just looking for general photography advice? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!

Today we are here with some easy steps to creating a beautiful photo that you are sure to love! Whether it’s experimenting with lightroom presets, adjusting the settings on your camera, or changing the way you set up a shot, we have some steps here you are sure to love! So without further ado, let’s dive in and look at these easy steps!

1. Make a Genuine Connection

Connection is a vital part of photography and can help enhance your images and create beautiful photographs. You don’t need to communicate with the subject, but taking some time to appreciate and learn about what you are photographing can help strengthen your bond with the person or location and create a more meaningful photo.

It can inspire you to explore new angles or different lighting that you might not have thought of before. Photographs that the photographer has connected with tend to have more feeling in them, creating a beautiful image.

2. Pay Attention to Your Background

A beautiful image doesn’t have to have complicated concepts or hard-to-pin locations. You can create a unique and beautiful image using a simple background. Simple backgrounds allow viewers to focus their attention on the subject and appreciate your work more.

Photographs that are quite busy with intricate backgrounds or complex concepts can be unappealing and often put viewers off. In most cases, less is more.

3. Lighting is Key

Most photographers will know this, but we couldn’t not include it! Whether you are shooting in a studio or using natural lighting, you will want to adjust it to suit your photograph. You might want to take advantage of the golden hour for softer lighting or invest in softboxes and light diffusers, depending on your setup.

If you are shooting outside, it’s best to avoid midday light unless you want to focus on your subject’s textures. You can also take your photos in the shade during this time. Lighting can be tricky to get right, so take photographs at various times of the day to find the lighting that best suits your style of photography.

4. Vibrance Over Saturation

Your camera filters and editing tools are a massive help to enhance parts of the photograph you want; play about with the brightness and vibrance of the colors. We often see photographers, especially landscape photographers, oversaturating everything. Sure, it makes the image colorful, but it can make your photos look grainy and even ruin some colors!

Instead of destroying your image, use the vibrance tool instead of saturation to enhance duller areas of your photograph for a beautiful and vibrant result.

5. Separate the Subject from the Background

Background details or details in the subject can often blend together, making your image look crowded. You can avoid this easily, though, by using a large aperture to separate the subject from the background.

The aperture you use will depend on your style and the story you want your image to tell. Remember that the smaller the f-number, the blurrier the background will be. Thankfully there are lots of tutorials and reviews online to help you select the right aperture for you.

6. Focus on Leading Lines

Leading lines help lead your subject and allow viewers to understand what your image is trying to say. They also help prevent your subject from getting lost in the image. Leading lines is a phrase often used in the principles of photography, and it’s no wonder why! Incorporating them into your image will certainly help everyone see the beauty in your photograph.

7. Do Not Forget the Power of Editing Tools

Software like Photoshop, Lightroom, and even the editing tools on your phone are all wonderful ways to enhance your image and create a beautiful photo. These tools are used once the image has been taken and can help add brightness, contrast, smooth out sections, or add shadows and highlights if you choose. These softwares do come at a price, although students can usually access free versions.

It’s worth keeping an eye out for any offers or business rates for those freelance photographers. There are also free apps that you can use and a wealth of tutorials online to help you navigate these apps with ease. 

Summary

And there we have it, plenty of helpful tips to create a beautiful photo! Be sure to incorporate some of these into your photography, and don’t forget to make the most of editing tools to enhance your image further.

6 Important Things To Do To Boost Your Business Growth

Evidently, there’s no success formula to establish your own business and boost its expansion. Maintaining your business and managing its growth does not happen overnight, unfortunately, it can be quite challenging and demanding. In fact, it requires a lot of hard work, knowledge, patience, and perseverance. Having a clear perspective and working towards achieving it is the key to a successful business. Here are 6 important things to do to boost your business growth.

1. Build A Strong Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is the potential journey of customers to complete a purchase. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a customer not complete the purchase, especially after spending hours looking around, chatting with the sales team, and questioning about different products. Well, you can never stop this from happening, but you can lessen lost opportunities by creating a strong sales funnel and getting the right help to manage the process. Creating an automated sales funnel will increase your business growth and decrease the lost opportunities.

2. Apply a Customer Managing System

It is quite impossible to keep track of demands and customers’ purchase orders unless you have a customer managing system. Now, there are plenty of options available in the market, do thorough research and select the one which is best for the type of your business and utilize it. Having the right CMS will help scale your business and manage to track your transactions.

3. Know Your Customer

If you don’t know the needs of your customers, you will not be able to develop your business according to their needs and demands. Knowing your customer well will give you a wider perspective on how to develop your products and services. Being up to the rapid market changes and the wide variety of similar products offered everywhere heightens the challenge of keeping customers’ satisfaction. You have to work on personalizing your products and enhancing your services to meet the requirements of today’s market.

4. Social Media Platforms

Everyone in business today has to know that their customer is out there using at least one or two social media platforms. Social media is one of the most essential marketing strategies; knowing how to manage it is one of the most crucial key factors for growth and success. Online traffic and leads from Google will help you get more customers. Specialists at Infinite Ace recommend that you apply to search engine marketing in order to grow your business. It is a bit difficult to keep up with social marketing trends as well as the rapid market changes, therefore, getting professional help will get you there faster than you think.

5. Customer Experience

Having to deal with customers is the most challenging part of any business. Keeping up with customers’ perspectives and satisfaction is one goal that you must achieve if you want to expand your business and have loyal customers. Delivering quality products and providing distinguished services will help you keep a successful and growing business.

6. Hire Dedicated Employees

Hiring the right people for the job will ensure running your business successfully. Dedicated employees and delegating tasks will enable you to focus on new and different ways by which you can improve your business. This will also free your mind to implement innovative methods to satisfy your customers and provide them with the best services.

Understanding that growing a business is an ongoing process will give you the power to continue trying and striving to achieve your goal. If you see no other alternative than to make it work, you’ll be able to get there, even if it takes more of your time and effort. In this fast-changing market, you must research and implement different software and techniques to take some burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on delivering the best products/services to your customers.

The Benefits of Having Custom Software for Your Business

Custom software is a special type of software specially designed for a business or organization to ensure the smooth running of that organization’s workflow and product delivery. They are never just random software but built to fit the company’s specifications, needs, and of course, their audience. 

You can agree that you personally enjoy apps or software when it has been personalized for a particular product or service whether it’s information technology or any other industry. But for that to happen, custom software needs to be developed. 

There is no doubt that customized solutions are very efficient and flexible for your organization’s needs as they will definitely add positivity to your business in the long run. It is expensive to design custom software, but you should view it as an investment that would definitely pay off rather than an expenditure. If you’re contemplating whether to build one or not then this article is for you as we put together some of the benefits of having custom software. 

1. Enjoy Targeted Solutions

Targeted solutions may likely be one of the most important reasons why your business should invest in custom software development because it helps to develop a product that tackles your exact needs. Most of the time, businesses tend to choose just about any software they presume would be right for them only to realize that it does not address their challenges. 

As a business owner, understand that any business including yours may not always find it easy to get software that meets all your needs at once. Deciding to create and work with products specially tailored for you not only allows the business to grow, but it does also mean you are very much concerned about the success of your business. 

Custom software makes the running of all of your daily activities smooth. You could decide to make it complex or easy-to-use, but the latter is highly recommended.  

2. Scaling Is Organized And Better

No business starts without the prospect of scaling its operations as time goes by whether it has to do with the introduction of new services, products, or mode of operations. Using off-the-shelf software that is not designed to handle the growth of a business would ultimately lead to a loss in terms of customers, productivity, and functionality. Equally dangerous is the attempt of businesses to adjust their off-the-shelf software so it can support their expansion as the disadvantage of that is that bugs appear from potential mistakes and disrupt the business. 

A custom software development is able to accommodate your business growth without being disturbed by bugs. With that in mind, a business can keep using or updating their custom software solutions for years with no need for off-the-shelf software. As you start your business, you wouldn’t want what limits your growth to be a software you could easily have designed. Don’t hesitate to build one if you can afford it.  

3. Long Term Investment

Building custom software from scratch can be expensive, but don’t let that deter you because it’s a smart investment for your business as you expand. Why spend your time and money on securing additional hardware, licenses, or other pointless features you may never even get to use. The long-term benefits of custom software far outweigh the headaches of dealing with off-the-shelf software.

4. Long-Term Maintenance

Compared to the regular off-the-shelf software, you own the custom software, and as such can do anything you want to with it. That’s not the same with off-the-shelf software as your business is at the mercy of the developer of the app and in a vulnerable position. 

Before making any improvements to the software, you would need to contact the developer when the need arises. There is not so much you can do apart from hoping the developers can make the changes you want. Having your custom software wouldn’t give you so much trouble when you want modifications done. There would be little to no cost at all and your business would grow as opposed to using general software. 

5. Increase In Productivity

Any business that solely runs on off-the-shelf software which would most likely not offer all the required features needed for its operations is going to experience disruptions. This wouldn’t be the same for businesses that use custom software specially designed to meet the needs of their business to ensure that the workers are able to function at optimum capacity and with confidence.

When employees become more productive, they have a smooth workflow and are able to do so much in a short time which subsequently moves the company forward. 

Custom software ensures there is smooth running of your business and those great innovative ideas can be turned into reality. Customers are happy, employees are productive, and the business is growing; it’s basically a win-win situation for everybody. 

What is Mobile DSP and Why Do You Need It for Your Programmatic Advertising?

If you work in the marketing industry, you’ve probably heard about mobile demand-side platforms or DSPs. However, if you don’t have a deep understanding of how this tool works and why you may need it for advertising, keep reading the article!

A DSP is used by marketing agencies and brands to manage ad and data exchange accounts as well as different supply-side platforms through one interface. This software is a great solution to quickly buy mobile and tablet impressions at auctions. You can do it in real time through private marketplaces or direct deals. Purchasing mobile advertising space becomes much easier for media buyers since they can make bids in bulk at lower prices. But this is not the only benefit of a DSP! Check the list of demand-side platform advantages and features below.

Advantages of advertising with a DSP

In-app tracking dsp mobile app

Since apps collect first-party data, they provide advertisers with lots of important parameters, such as user gender, age and geo-location. This data helps marketing experts identify right user segments and find the best-performing audience  Eventually, ads reach potential customers faster and drive better results.

Precise targeting

In contrast to a web environment that may become entirely anonymous in the near future, mobile IDs are really helpful in tracking user performance in the long run. Device IDs provide marketers with more accurate information on user engagement. Specialists can see the exact number of ad clicks and views in the app. This is extremely beneficial for advertising campaigns. Thanks to accurate targeting, your conversions can significantly grow with a DSP.

Engagement boost

As an advertising expert, you must realize that apps allow for highly engaging  and less disturbing ad formats. Users are less likely to be irritated by advertising because it appears during the pauses in their activity. Since they don’t come across boring banners, they may have a good and long-lasting impression from your creatives. Moreover, they may even like your ad if it provides some in-app bonuses for viewing.

High CTRs

The statistics gathered by popular brands shows that in-app ads drive higher CTRs than web ads. The Marketing Dive reported that the average CTR for apps is 0.58%, while for web it equals only 0.23%. The difference is dramatic, isn’t it? Additionally, Appssavvy reported that a DSP mobile app performs nearly 11 times better than traditional banners. As you see, this type of advertising is simply more effective.

No ad blocking

Unfortunately, in-browser blockers disrupt the effectiveness of web advertisement.  Since the majority of people use blocking software, most Internet users are unreachable for your campaigns.  But luckily, in-app environment doesn’t  enable doing this. Hence, you can benefit from accessing various segments, including previously untapped groups.

Higher revenues

Since recently, there has been a dramatic switch from browsers to mobile apps. The eMarketer states that most people spend 90% of their time on smartphone apps, while the rest is taken by web. So no matter what business you have, you should take into account this behavioral change and make appropriate decisions. Consider the example of Facebook that increased its revenues from zero to over 40% of total earnings with the help of mobile apps.

Choosing a decent DSP

To pick the right demand-side platform, you should have a close look at the features listed below.

Software architecture

A good DSP must work well with different apps, browsers, operating systems and devices. As you might understand, huge amounts of data from numerous sources require a very powerful DSP technology. Therefore, you have to make sure that the platform you are going to use is capable of accommodating massive amounts of data and executing a big number of operations at the same time.  A DSP technology must be advanced enough to reflect actual information in real time.

Targeting algorithms

As mentioned above, reaching the right market segments with your ads is crucial for success. Because of that, you should opt for a DSP that has the following targeting capabilities: geolocation, mobile device type, OS, user behavior, context and demographics. If all of these categories are offered by your vendor, then it can be a great choice.

Ad formats

To ensure high engagement rates, you should test different types of ads. Your DSP must support a wide range of ad formats, including videos, rich media and dynamic apps. By analyzing what works best for your potential customers, you can increase your business revenues. Also, make sure that creatives you are using allow for interaction, such as  swiping, touching and expanding.

Safety

Before purchasing a DSP, ask a vendor about the security measures they take. To avoid troubles, your DSP  brand must be safe. That means that the software must have in-built multi-layered anti-fraud system. There also must be mechanisms that detect fake clicks and track the number of real user impressions.

Performance reports

Successful advertising campaign is impossible with tracking its performance. Reports can provide you with a better understanding of how to get more customers from your ads. So you should opt for a DSP that provides frequent reports on your statistics. Having an updated information gives you knowledge about different aspects of your advertising campaign so you can optimize it and maximize your ROI.

Final thoughts

The main value of DSPs is that they allow advertisers to make multiple bids in real time and manage lots of ads from a wide range of publishers almost effortlessly. It ensures great transparency and makes ad tracking and optimization much easier. Hopefully, this article helped you better understand what a demand-side platform is and whether you need it for your marketing campaign.

Ecommerce Tips: How To Make Payment Easier For Your Customers


For an eCommerce business, having user-friendly payment methods is crucial for success. If you’re setting up your business, prioritize payment methods. Explore the many options online and see which one best suits your business.

Customers need to know from the get-go how to make payments after a purchase. Therefore, make it clear how payments should be made and provide multiple options on your site.

The upside of having a secure, friendly payment option is that you can grow your client base. Here are some tips that will improve your customer’s payment experience.

1. Accept a Variety of Payment Methods

Because clients’ preferences differ, offering them several options at checkout makes the payment more manageable. Therefore provide many tools such as credit or debit cards, virtual currency, or even loyalty points.

The catch here is to keep in mind that the payment methods should sync with your customer trends. Find out which strategies they prefer by either doing market research or a survey. For instance, a customer may choose an eCheck because it reduces their costs, unlike paper checks.

2. Offer the Mobile Option

If you want instant payments, providing mobile payment options can be a great way to make your customers’ lives easier. On this front, Apple Pay can be an ideal way to help increase conversions from your mobile customers as an eCommerce entrepreneur. The best part is that if you’re using it for BigCommerce, you can always seek expert advice and consultation to make the most out of the mobile payment option. 

Mobile payments provide a convenient alternative to your customers because they can make payments from anywhere. Whether they are shopping online or ordering food, they can pay their bills immediately from their phones. Additionally, mobile payments are secure due to features such as biometric scanning.

3. Use Online Credit Card Payments

Add a payment form that accepts online credit cards. You can outsource this mode to a payment service provider. The provider will host the payment mode and process the payment securely. They also store payment records securely to capture return clients as long as they give their permission.

You can also use a merchant gateway such as PayPal or Stripe. When choosing a service provider, consider their fees and fraud protection levels.

4. Stop Redirecting Customers

Ensure sales and payments happen on one website. Redirecting customers to another site for payment can cost you business. Payment platforms like PayPal are secure, but turning customers from your website might make the payment process cumbersome. Apart from making your customer’s work lighter, retaining them on your website longer can keep them shopping around for more products or services. If the payment process for your eCommerce business involves redirecting customers, you might want to rethink it. 

5. Avoid Prodding Too Much

So, your customer has made a purchase and is ready to pay, but there’s a long-form waiting for him to fill at check-out. Having to fill lengthy forms can make a customer abandon a sale. If you must collect information, limit it to the essentials.

Requesting unnecessary details is a hurdle to purchases, and customers don’t like challenges when shopping.

6. Reassure Customers about Privacy

Most people fear making online purchases due to fraud. Customers become skeptical if a website asks for personal information. Therefore, they need to know they can trust you with their details.

One way to do this is to have a Secure Sockets Layer certificate, which means information such as credit card details, IDs, and passwords are encrypted. Having a secure website can also boost customer trust, and ultimately their loyalty. Data security and privacy are paramount. 

Here are some moves you can make to help assure customers of their privacy and payment security on your site:  

  • Create a privacy policy page on your website and make sure it’s visible to the customer
  • Ask for consent before using cookies or tracking customers online
  • Encrypt data that is being transmitted over public networks like Wi-Fi hotspots so that no one can intercept it
  • Use SSL certificates to encrypt your customers’ data
  • Disable the ability for customers to enter personal information on your site
  • Consider a secure checkout process that doesn’t require a customer’s credit card or other sensitive info
  • Give customers the option of opting in or out of sharing their contact information with you
  • Allow customers to delete their account and all personal data from your site at any time

7. Upskill Your Staff

You might have brilliant technology and equipment, which staff can’t operate. If this is the case, train your team to handle such equipment and answer queries related to online payments.

They should also know how to resolve issues like failed payments or hitches during transactions. Train your staff on this whenever you upgrade to a more advanced payment method such as a mobile wallet.

8. Improve Your Purchasing Experience

It’s one thing to have a website that is super good and which customers enjoy visiting. It’s another to ensure they can make payments from wherever they are and whichever device. 

Ensure your check-out process is straightforward. One way to do this is to offer a seamless payment option even on mobile devices. You can also assure clients that your payment methods are secure by displaying a privacy statement on your website.

Making payment easier is not the only thing you need to increase conversions on your eCommerce site. Apart from streamlining the checkout process, other things you can do to improve the customer purchasing experience include the following:

  • Provide adequate information about products
  • Use high-quality images to showcase your products
  • Have a variety of colors and sizes available for customers to choose from
  • Display the price in an easy-to-read format, such as $10 or 10% off
  • Offer free shipping on orders over $50
  • Allow customers to return items if they are not satisfied with their purchase within 30 days

The success of your online business is not solely dependent on your product. Having a cumbersome payment method could make you lose business. For a safe and friendly payment experience, ensure your customers can use several options. You should also prioritize security and privacy to build customer trust. On top of this, avoid sending customers away from your site. Remember to train your staff on new technology whenever you upgrade.

3 Free and Affordable Design Software Alternatives

Creating high-quality marketing materials for both your print and digital needs starts with having some type of design knowledge. Unfortunately, not everyone has the skills they need in order to be able to meet the standards their business requires. 

Subscription-based software programs like Adobe Suite are expensive and can easily run up to $250 to $300 every year. They are also incredibly technical and take a lot of time and education to learn how to navigate some of the more simple options like Adobe Lightroom.

Affordable Alternatives to Adobe Suite

With developers trying to find more affordable ways to beat the competition, there are now several free and inexpensive options for designing vectors, websites, animations, graphics, flyers, posters, or digital banners for social media and advertising. The best part is that many of them are user-friendly and can be easily used, even when you don’t have years of education and experience under your belt.

Despite there being a significant amount of free and inexpensive design software available across the internet, it’s always recommended that you take a deeper look into your business goals and budget. Trying to cut corners to save money may not actually be beneficial for the long run of your business. 

Outsourcing through third-party design and printing companies may be a viable solution for your digital and print designing needs, such as inexpensive real estate postcard templates for your agency or royalty-free images and backing tracks for your local bookstore marketing collateral. 

Your time is just as valuable as a dollar sign. If you find yourself spending more time designing graphics than you are running your business, it might be time to look for an alternative.

However, if you think you’re up for the challenge of designing your own work, here are a few places you can sign up and get started for free or at an affordable starting rate.

Canva

Canva is a leader in the DIY design and template generator industry for all print and digital needs. Their gallery of professional templates offers business owners a wide range of options that are suitable for a wide range of industries. Even when you sign up for their free account, you’re getting full access to a large suite of video, photo, graphic, and animated elements for just about anything you might need. 

The best part is that they also offer printing services for various products, including shirts, mugs, stickers, and so much more. There is an option to upgrade your service with them for a cost for access to more collateral. The higher packages are more beneficial if you’re looking to collaborate with a larger team.

AppyPie Design

AppyPie Design is an up-and-comer in the industry but provides incredibly similar templates as Canva. While their array of images and videos is a bit smaller and their templates are not as frequently updated, it’s still a very viable option if you have minimal projects to work on. 

The catch is that the free plan they have available only is good for up to five projects. After that, you’ll have to upgrade to one of their premium plans which still ends up being significantly cheaper than its competitors.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a great option that was primarily created for photo editing. Since their creation, they’ve made space to keep up with their competitors. The platform now provides simple video editing, as well as various templates for digital and print marketing collateral. 

PicMonkey offers a free trial but is not technically free once the trial is complete. Their monthly billing plans range from $7.99 to $23.00 per month based upon the size of your company and your project needs.

Other Affordable Design Apps

Here is a list of a few other design software companies you might want to check out as you continue to search for free or affordable design and editing software. However, they don’t quite keep up with the competition of the top three contenders listed before.

  • Vectr
  • Gravit Designer
  • Inkscape
  • GIMP
  • DesignWizard

Conclusion

Whatever your needs are, there will always be free and inexpensive options available. Always consider the alternative of looking into a professional to help you with your design needs. 

But if you’re ready to take on the work yourself, these three are definitely worth a try.

How to Start Your Own Social Media Marketing Agency

Thinking about starting your own social media marketing agency but don’t know where to start? 

You’ve come to the right place. 

While social media marketing is certainly a lucrative industry to work in, the competition is also tight. It’s crucial to plan your business carefully and have the right strategy so you can win more clients and grow your business. 

In this guide, we will discuss all the necessary steps to starting a successful social media marketing agency, and let us begin right away. 

1. Choose a Specialty as a Social Media Marketing Agency

A social media marketing agency is actually a pretty broad term, and you can actually offer many different services to different types of clients. 

In general, you can choose to be either a specialist or generalist agency.

A specialist agency offers specialty services in one industry or sector. For example, you can choose only to offer services to fashion businesses or sports businesses. Or, you can choose to specialize in B2B operations. 

However, you can also be a generalist aiming to serve all kinds of clients. 

Both types have their own pros and cons, but if you are just starting out, it’s typically best to start out as a specialist and focus on specific types of clients first. This can help in hiring, so you can hire people that specialize in the services you’d like to provide. 

However, being a specialist might mean it’s going to be harder to attract your first few clients, so you’ll need to focus more on marketing your business. 

2. Developing a Pricing Strategy

How should you price your social media marketing service? There are many different factors that might affect the answer. You should generally consider who your target audience is, your skill/experience level, your unique value proposition (UVP), and your overhead costs when defining your price. 

Some overhead costs to consider: 

  • Labor costs
  • Taxes
  • Business licenses/permits
  • Office expenses
  • Software investments
  • Professional/legal services

A good approach is to perform a competitive analysis and check how much your competitors are charging their services. You can always opt to charge cheaper than them in order to attract more clients, but if you are confident about delivering more value, it’s okay to charge more. 

3. Establish Your Business

Establish your business as a legal entity. 

This is often the most frustrating part of starting a business but is necessary. 

You should: 

  • Register your business. If you are going to start the business on your own, you can establish a sole proprietorship. However, we’d recommend establishing your business as an LLC or corporation so you’ll be more protected in the event of legal disputes, debts, and other issues
  • Set up a business bank account(s) to keep a separate fund for your agency and to start receiving payments
  • Find a legal help to help you in the legal aspects of the business
  • Depending on your location, you might need to get specific licenses, certifications, and insurance policies before you can start the business. Check with your local trade associations for your local regulations. 

If necessary, you can get help from a business consultant or a lawyer to make sure your business is compliant with the legal requirements in your area. 

4. Branding and Marketing: Winning Your Clients

The toughest challenge of starting a social media marketing business is landing your first client, but there are effective ways you can try to establish your credibility and attract more clients: 

  • Have a professional website: build a credible, functional website that showcases your credibility and professionalism. Publish relevant, high-quality content on your social media, and add relevant client testimonials to your website. 
  • Social media presence: as a social media marketing agency, it would only make sense that you have at least a decent social media presence. You don’t need to have millions of followers, but make sure you are using social media best practices in all your profiles. Demonstrate that you know what you are doing in the social media space. 
  • Build relationships: build relationships with other brands and relevant influencers. Network at relevant events, and make guest appearances on other blogs, podcasts, webinars, and other opportunities. Actively engage brands and influencers you’d love to work with. 

5. Improving Your Productivity

The more productive and efficient your social media marketing agency is, the more clients you can work with, and the more revenue you’ll generate. 

A crucial aspect of growing your social media marketing agency is finding the right balance between executing existing clients’ projects and pitch your agency to new clients. As you can see, this can be very challenging in the long run. 

Here are a few tips on how: 

  • Create a workflow that works best for you. This is very important and might need trials and errors before you’ll get it right. 
  • Invest in the right technology. You’ll need, at the very least, social media analytics and management tools (like Buffer, Hootsuite), SEO tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs, Content analytics tools like Buzzsumo, and agency management software and tools like Function Point to maximize your productivity. You’ll also need a complete office suite (Microsoft 365 or Google Suite) and a digital asset management solution like Dropbox. 
  • Content planning. It’s crucial to plan your content in advance so you can batch and schedule your tasks to maximize efficiency. This also allows us to delegate the right tasks to the right people. 
  • Automation: implement automation whenever possible. Tools like Hootsuite, for example, allows us to schedule the posts to minimize manual labor. 
  • Outsource: If possible, outsource some of the more repetitive and redundant tasks to third-party vendors, provided it’s a cost-effective choice. 

Closing Thoughts

Starting a social media marketing agency is certainly not an easy task, but in the end, your hard work will be worth it once you’ll get a steady stream of clients. 

The key here is to really understand your client’s needs and problems and be a viable solution for them. Keep a mindset that you’ll grow by helping your clients grow in social media marketing results. 

What is Content Moderation

What is content moderation? It refers to monitoring and removing from the user-generated content the unwanted parts based on platform-specific rules and criteria. It helps ascertain whether you can use the content on the platform or not. When content such as review or feedback is submitted on a website, it undergoes a review process to ensure that it adheres to the website’s rules. Content moderation is crucial as it helps a website maintain a database of clean data.

Content moderation is common on digital platforms that rely on user-generated content (UGC). They include e-commerce websites, social media, and dating websites. Below are the benefits of content moderation.

Importance of Content Moderation

It improves your site’s search engine ranking and traffic

Content moderation helps improve your website’s search engine ranking organically. Better quality content, including user-generated content (UGC), allows you to rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP). By directing more people to your content, your website gets more traffic.

It protects your brand

Users have varying tastes and preferences. Therefore, you cannot always guarantee that all the UGC on your website conforms to your standard and community guidelines. Content moderators help protect your forum, social media account, or website from any undesirable user-generated content. By keeping your customers happy through positive engagements on your content platforms, the content moderators help maintain a good reputation and protect your brand. To ensure it delivers value, user-generated content needs to be moderated along various touchlines.

Gaining user insights

By content moderation, you understand your community better. Content moderators may go through the user-generated content to see how they are responding to your services. Companies can then use data and sentiment analysis to come up with brand-centered offers. A company can use content moderation of user-generated content not only in marketing but also in product design.

Protecting your online community

Your online community needs to feel safe from trolls, spam, and explicit content. They should be free to express their opinions on matters that concern the brand. Content moderation is essential in making your online platform from such offensive content.

Other benefits of content moderation include scaling your marketing campaigns and keeping pre-cleaned data.

There are several types of content moderation. The type of content moderation used by a specific company depends on the nature of services it offers and the volume of user-generated content. Having understood what is content moderation, what are its types?

Types of content moderation

Pre-Moderation

In this method, all the content submitted by registered representatives or users is given to the verification team. The verification team uses various criteria to detect any infringement that the content may contain. Therefore, in pre-moderation, the offensive or inappropriate content is removed before it is visible on the website. Pre-moderation is an ideal choice for the online communities that cater to high-risk users, like children, to prevent bullying and sexual advancements. A good example is Facebook and online gaming platforms.

Post-Moderation

From the user-experience view, in online platforms that require moderation, post-moderation is better than pre-moderation. The content is posted on the site but replicated in a queue to be examined by a moderator later. It allows conversations to take place immediately within users. The platform operator becomes the legal publisher of the content as the community grows. Unfortunately, for some communities like celebrity-based news, this can be a risk.

Reactive moderation

In this type of moderation, a company relies on the users to flag that they deem inappropriate or in contravention of the company’s rules. It acts as a safety net to the unsuitable content that gets past the moderators when used alongside other types of moderation.

Automated moderation

This type of moderation uses technical tools and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for content processing and moderation. It applies predefined rules and natural language processing to approve or reject user-generated content. A word filter is the most commonly used tool in automated moderation. A dictionary of banned words and the tool either replaces, flags the word for review, or rejects the post entirely. In addition, the captcha system is used to establish if a user is a human or a bot.

Other types of automated moderation

  • Block keyword – The system rejects any post containing a specific word
  • Image filter – Here, the tool removes all posts having banned images such as violence or nudity.
  • Block user – Auto-moderation rejects a specific user’s all incoming content.
  • Whitelist User – The system approves all the incoming posts that belong to a specific user. They bypass the moderator’s queue.

No moderation

Though an option, choosing not to moderate content in the current age can prove fatal. With the advent of online stalking, cybercrimes, and hate crimes, businesses and companies have grown serious about content moderation.

The Do’s and Don’ts of content moderation

The Don’ts of content moderation

Wait long before starting to moderate your content

Do not wait for long before starting to moderate your content. As your platform grows, you need to have a scheme for creating user-generated content moderately.

Misinterpret a good content

Quality content is essential in creating user confidence and achieving a robust user experience on your platform. Avoid misinterpreting good content that you end up dismissing user-generated content merely because it is negative.

The Do’s of content moderation

Moderate all content

To see to it that there are fun interactions on your platform, ensure that all the content is moderated correctly, be it photos, text, or videos.

Have clear rules and guidelines

Your content moderation rules and guidelines must be transparent to all those who engage in content moderation on your platform.

Need fitting moderation form

What is the kind of content, and who are the users on your platform? This creates a picture of what criteria for moderation and configuration to use.

Outsourcing Content Moderation

If your company needs professional content moderation, you should outsource it. The benefits of outsourcing rather than hiring in-house include:

It frees you from hiring and training new content moderators

Form a team of professional content moderators takes much time. This involves hiring, training, performance feedback, and monitoring. Instead of going all through this, why not just outsource? This way, you get to concentrate on the core functions of your business.

Expert content moderators

Through outsourcing content moderation, you get the help of expert moderators. Outsourcing companies keep a roster of professional moderators who will give you quality moderation support for your platform.

Necessary tool and ready knowledge

Outsourcing companies ensure that all the tools, workforce, and processes are available before offering a business solution. By outsourcing your content moderation, you avoid the costs of setting up new offices, getting resources, hiring and training a new team. Therefore, you do not need to buy tools or hire and train your content creation team.

Bottom Line

To ensure fun and exciting interactions between the users of your platform, content moderation is vital. Additionally, moderating your content using any of the above techniques has many advantages. Outsourcing your content moderation needs saves you time and money while offering you the highest quality services.