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B2C Marketing Automation and 5 Top Software Tools to Power It

Any B2C marketer can attest to the total relief that comes right after setting up successful email automation. To know that your customers will receive personalized emails without you having to manually write each and every one … whew, that’s powerful stuff.

Did you know that segmented (a.k.a. personalized) email campaigns can drive a 700+% increase in revenue? And that’s just email.

From text reminders to cart abandonment emails to multi-channel campaigns that span social media and in-app messaging, B2C marketing automation marries the power of personalized messaging and hands-off marketing. It simultaneously saves time (and money) while delighting your customers wherever they are.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to any marketing efforts, campaigns, and tasks that are managed, executed, and measured with software versus manually. These efforts and campaigns are typically triggered by actions taken by leads or customers.

Marketing automation has many benefits. It can help save your resources, nurture your leads, and increase your revenue — all at once and with minimal manual effort. Amazing, right?

It’s important to note, however, that marketing automation shouldn’t replace human touch. This is especially true for B2C — unlike B2B, the B2C sales cycle is much shorter and the customer journey much more personalized.

What is B2C marketing automation?

B2C marketing automation encompasses any automated marketing messages and campaigns targeted to individual consumers versus business audiences. This type of marketing automation must be much more personalized and data-driven to best appeal to the individual in his or her specific customer journey.

Both B2C and B2C marketing automation work to send relevant messages, increase efficiency, and drive revenue, but let’s further unpack their differences.

B2B vs. B2C Marketing Automation

B2B marketing automation delivers more mass-oriented content that’s focused on educating and nurturing leads through a pre-established sales funnel. Since there are typically more stakeholders involved in B2B purchases, B2B marketing automation also works to provide action-triggered information that can help influencers educate their decision-makers.

Let’s say a junior social media strategist is searching for a new social media management software for their entire team. They download an ebook on social media strategy from a prominent SaaS company, thus prompting the company’s B2B marketing automation software to send them nurturing emails about building a social media strategy and how to use its tool to do so.

The junior strategist is now equipped to bring this information to his or her director, who will make the final decision about which social media SaaS tool to purchase.

On the other hand, B2C marketing automation typically focuses on highly relevant and personalized marketing messages. B2C marketing automation also targets individuals wherever they are in their individual customer journeys and attempts to deliver customized product or service recommendations based on action triggers and captured data.

For example, one type of B2C marketing automation is cart abandonment email. By tracking shopper behavior and capturing personal information like email addresses, B2C companies set up a marketing automation “rule” to send an email to consumers who leave un-purchased products in their shopping carts.

Typically, abandoned cart emails include the specific products left behind — a dose of personalization that may motivate shoppers to return to the website and complete their individual purchase.

Benefits of B2C Marketing Automation

Marketing automation sure has its perks — for both marketers and their audiences. These marketing automation benefits include:

  • Keeping your brand top-of-mind with potential customers
  • Allowing your team to send personalized, targeted messages without having to manually track users and repeatedly write content
  • Increasing efficiency amongst your marketing team
  • Closing the gaps in your marketing analysis by removing human error
  • Tracking user data that can be used to better serve up personalized product or service suggestions
  • Delighting site visitors, leads, and customers with customized content

Now, let’s discuss some B2C marketing automation tools software tools that can help you reach, engage, and convert your shoppers and customers.

There are countless marketing automation tools on the market. According to our research, the following five are a great fit for B2C marketing automation.

However, when comparing what tool may meet your B2C marketing automation needs, consider 1) how complex each tool is and what onboarding resources are offered, 2) what integrations each tool offers and how they may fit into your current tech stack, and 3) how each tool is priced and how much your marketing automation needs may cost.

1. HubSpot Marketing Hub

b2c marketing automation software hubspot

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Built on the foundation of the free HubSpot CRM, HubSpot Marketing Hub holds a wealth of B2C marketing automation tools that allow you to use your lead’s behavior to personalize emails, content, and outreach at scale. From email to SMS, and even internal automations like lead scoring and CRM updates, HubSpot is easy to get accustomed to and can quickly become your team’s marketing automation best friend.

Onboarding support: HubSpot’s award-winning customer support is available 24/7 through email and chat, as well as over the phone for Professional and Enterprise subscribers. You can also access a knowledge base and various HubSpot Academy courses.

Integrations: HubSpot Marketing Hub integrates with over 500 third-party applications.

Pricing: HubSpot Marketing Hub offers a Free plan as well as multiple subscription options. Note that the marketing automation features are only available for paid subscribers.

2. Mailchimp

b2c marketing automation software mailchimp

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Mailchimp is an industry leader in email marketing automation. Use the Mailchimp tool to deliver transactional emails, such as order confirmation emails and other personalized messages. The tool also allows you to build visual customer journeys so you can provide the best possible experience to each customer — or convert your leads and prospects into one.

Onboarding support: Mailchimp has a large library of resources, including guides, tutorials, and case studies. Free users get 30 days of email support, and paid subscribers get unlimited email and chat support.

Integrations: Mailchimp integrates with over 200 third-party applications.

Pricing: Mailchimp offers a Free subscription, but the more in-depth marketing automation tools aren’t available unless you invest in the Essentials subscription or higher.

3. ActiveCampaign

b2c marketing automation software activecampaign

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ActiveCampaign is a renowned marketing automation software and was the first to develop the visual automation workflow builder. (You know, the one with the boxes and labels and lines going everywhere — like the one above.) In addition to email, it offers site tracking, lead scoring, attribution, and more.

Onboarding support: ActiveCampaign offers a free demo and a whole slew of resources, such as a blog, developer documentation, and a library of pre-written automations. All subscriptions include data migration and implementation services, and more expensive subscriptions include limited one-on-one training.

Integrations: ActiveCampaign integrates with over 300 third-party applications.

Pricing: ActiveCampaign offers a free trial. From there, you can pay for a Lite subscription at $9 per month or more.

4. AutoPilot

b2c marketing automation software autopilot

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AutoPilot, like others on this list, offers a visual automation workflow builder … but with a twist. It sets itself apart with emojis, stickers, custom notes, and other details that help your team collaborate and, well, have fun building your marketing automation sequences. Although the tool doesn’t offer its own built-in CRM, it is fairly intuitive, easy to use, and offers fantastic reporting features.

Onboarding support: All AutoPilot subscriptions include unlimited emails and access to support. You can purchase an Expert Setup and Training add-on for $1699.

Integrations: AutoPilot integrates with dozens of third-party applications.

Pricing: AutoPilot offers a free trial, after which you can join at as little as $49 per month.

5. Omnisend

b2c marketing automation software omnisend

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Omnisend is a leading marketing automation tool specifically tailored for e-commerce businesses. Not only does it offer dozens of pre-written templates for all e-com automation scenarios, but it also integrates with nearly every possible e-commerce-related tool, including both email and SMS automation software.

Onboarding support: Omnisend offers a library of resources, including an onboarding course. Unfortunately, live support is only offered to paying subscribers.

Integrations: Omnisend integrates with hundreds of third-party applications, although most aren’t available with the Free plan.

Pricing: Omnisend does offer a Free subscription option, although most automation features aren’t available unless you’re paying.

These five tools are among the most powerful for B2C marketing automation efforts. Whether you’re sending time-triggered birthday emails or following up with prospective customers with automated SMS messages, try these B2C marketing automation software tools to reach, engage, and convert your customers.

Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.hubspot.com

7 Australian Companies with Great Taglines [+What Marketers Can Learn From Them]

It’s no secret that people who live in startup-filled cities have seen some of the wildest brand names.

And, that variety in company names makes sense. When many startups in similar industries are founded in one geographic area, brands need to come up with a name that grasps attention, lightly hints at their mission, differentiates them from competitors, or encourages prospects to learn more about them.

This is especially true in Australia, which hosts startups from Sydney to Melbourne. These cities are the founding place of uniquely named startups and major brands like Sukin, Canva, and Billabong.

While the successful companies listed above have made their names noteworthy and easy to recognize, their company titles only hint at what their brands offer. This is why successful brands like these also lean on taglines to give prospects a quick, clear view of a brand’s overall mission or purpose.

With a great name and an effective tagline, prospects will remember your brand’s uniqueness, mission, or what types of products you offer. Then, when they’re looking for a product in your industry or space, they might think of your brand’s name and catchy tagline.

If you’re working in a busy startup hub like Australia, or are starting a business in an already crowded business landscape, take note of these seven Australian companies with taglines that stand out and set them apart from the competition.

7 Australian Companies With Great Taglines

“More than Money” – National Australian Bank (NAB)

During a rebrand in 2016, National Australian Bank changed its tagline from “More give, less take” to “More than money.”

The new tagline came with a series of commercials led by NAB’s agency — Clemenger BBDO. Each ad highlighted the bank’s history, credibility, and how their financial institution still plays a positive role in impacting countless Australian lives.

In the ad below — which was part of the “More than money” campaign — NAB invokes nostalgia by showing home video-like clips that follow a new-born baby as she grows into an adult, as well as the milestones her parents will need to budget for, such as violin lessons, schooling, and travel:

In an interview with CMO, Andrew Knott, NAB’s Chief Marketing Officer, said the pivot aimed to be more customer-centric.

“We felt it was time to move on from what has been a very effective brand expression around fair value, and ‘more give, less take’, to something that’s far more reflective of what we stand for today, but that’s also consistent with our heritage,” Knott explained. “When we are at our best is when we take time to understand customers and understand where they are at in their lives and to help them with the financial aspects of doing so.”

By linking money to major life milestones, NAB’s tagline and campaign effectively place emotion behind logistical offerings. To prospects unsure of where to place their money, the tagline makes the financial institution seem more relatable and potentially more trustworthy than other banks with basic emotionless marketing.

“Life’s better in boardshorts.” – Billabong

When it comes to taglines, Billabong keeps there’s short and sweet. Knowing that most of its customers are looking for swimwear for surfing, beach vacations, or summer sports, Billabong created a tagline just to remind people how much fun they can have in bathing suits.

Throughout Billabong’s history, it has embraced this tagline in a number of its online and print campaigns. Beginning in 2017, the brand began producing a YouTube surf series with the same phrase as its title. Here’s one of its chapters:

Billabong’s tagline is a great example of how a bold statement in a tagline can persuade a prospect to buy a product to make their lives more enjoyable. But, depending on the prospect who hears it, the tagline could also either play up a sense of vacation-related FOMO or seasonal nostalgia.

For example, if someone lives in a cold climate and hears that life could be better in boardshorts, they might yearn to go surfing somewhere warm. Or, if someone has been working long hours, they might remember a time they spent on the beach as a child. The emotions or memories invoked by this tagline might not convince someone to buy a ticket to a beachy destination. But, if they do go on vacation, Billabong might be the first brand they remember when making beachwear purchases.

“Skincare that doesn’t cost the Earth” – Sukin

As a budget-minded, environmentally conscious shopper, I can attest to the fact that it’s hard to find environmentally-friendly products that meet your skin’s health needs and don’t cost a fortune.

Sukin, a Melbourne-founded skincare brand, aims to solve for the dilemma above, by selling affordable, sustainably produced skin products. It’s tagline cleverly reflects this mission with a play on words: “Skincare that doesn’t cost the Earth.”

Aside from cleverly explaining the brand in just one sentence, Sukin’s tagline also lines up well with its overall mission.

“Here at Sukin, we’re committed to providing skincare that doesn’t cost the earth. This isn’t merely a commitment to creating affordable products, but also with minimal cost to our precious environment. We achieve this by thinking and acting sustainably wherever possible.​ Keep reading for our environmental initiatives,” Sukin’s Brand Values page notes.

“Design anything. Publish anywhere.” – Canva

While Canva seems like a giant global company now, it was once a startup founded in Sydney, Australia.

For those who haven’t used Canva, the website allows individual users or teams to easily create and publish aesthetically-pleasing graphic designs for websites, social media, and other platforms.

Because Canva is artsy by nature, the brand could’ve gotten away with an overly creative tagline. But, instead, the company keeps things simple — but still incredibly effective — with, “Design anything. Publish anywhere.”

canva design anything publish anywhere tagline

In just four simple words, Canva describes its minimum viable product and entices both designers and artistic novices to try its tools.

“Australians Wouldn’t Give an XXXX for Anything Else.” – XXXX

Today, XXXX beer’s tagline simply reads “Pride of Queensland.” But, before the brand became globally known, they had another great tagline that caught attention from Australian masses due to the light curse-related controversy around it.

For decades, XXXX — formerly known as Castlemaine XXXX — embraced Australia’s edgy sense of humor and slang with the memorable tagline, “Australians Wouldn’t Give an XXXX for Anything Else.”

The tagline, which cleverly uses XXXX to insinuate a four-letter curse word, dates back to 1985. At that time, commercials would present a longer, TV-friendly tagline of “Australians Wouldn’t Give a Castlemaine XXXX for Anything Else.”

These early commercials often showed rural Australian residents, farmers, and construction workers getting into humorous, but dangerous, situations just to get XXXX beer. After a wild scene, a narrator would read the tagline, insinuating that Australians wouldn’t care so much about any other beer. Here’s one classic example:

Moving into the 1990s, the brand began using the shortened headline to express a more eye-popping message.

Although the tagline was scrapped in a 1996 rebrand, it’s still a historically great example of how a company can be cheeky, attention-grabbing, and memorable while still tastefully marketing a product.

“Tastes like Australia.” – Vegemite

For generations, many Australians and Australian visitors have spread on Vegemite on to bread and sandwiches for extra flavor.

Not only is Vegemite a common snack in Australia, but it’s also been featured in global content such as films or TV shows that discuss the continent. And, when people who aren’t from Australia see or taste Vegemite, they might ask, “What is this made of?”

Knowing that people link Australian to Vegemite, while also wondering what’s in the iconic snack, the brand launched, “Tastes like Australia.” — a new tagline and commercial in 2018.

The commercial, which explains the tagline, opens with a confused person wondering how Vegemite is made. A narrator with an Australian accent then presents videos of Australian scenes — such as sporting events, crocodiles, and destinations — along with photos of fruit-based ingredients. Ultimately, the ad insinuates that Vegemite is metaphorically made of fruits, vegetables, cheese, and iconic scenes of Australian pride.

“Find your thing.” – Redbubble

Redbubble is a store chain and online store where people, organizations, or small businesses can sell clothing, art, or other items that might be considered zany, humorous, or unique. When scrolling through the site, you might find T-Shirts with pizza cat memes on them, strangely decorated pottery or pants with sparkles or brightly colored patterns.

Because you can buy all sorts of unique or funny independently-made treasures on the site, Redbubble keeps its tagline broad — but still motivating.

With, “Find your thing,” Redbubble insinuates that there’s something for everyone on the site. It also embraces that everyone has an independent style and can look to this site for the clothing or items that will allow them to embrace their inner uniqueness.

Aside from including “Find Your Thing” in videos like the one below, Redbubble also includes a section with the same name on its website.

“Find your thing.” is a great example of how a company with many offerings can create a broad tagline that hints what their company is about without being too vague.

Crafting a Great Tagline

If you’ve been inspired to change or create your own tagline, here are a few themes you can take from the Australian examples above:

  • Keep it simple: You don’t need to be vague or overly clever to persuade someone to check out your brand. Sometimes, simply reiterating your MVP — as Canva does — is effective enough to win over an audience.
  • Be Bold: Is your company or product known by locals, award-winning, or potentially iconic. If so, you can try incorporating your company or product achievements into a bold phrase, like Vegemite’s “Tastes like Australia.”
  • Get clever: If you can’t cram your entire mission into a short concise phrase, consider using an easily recognized metaphor or play on words, like Sukin’s “Skincare that doesn’t cost the Earth.”

Want to learn more about brainstorming and crafting catchy taglines or slogans, check out this helpful guide or download the free resource below.

Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.hubspot.com

Basic Reputation Management for Better Customer Service

Posted by MiriamEllis

The Internet can be a great connector, but sometimes, it acts as a barrier.

Your local business receives a negative review, and the slate-colored words on the bland white screen can seem so cold, remote. You respond, but the whole interaction feels stilted, formal, devoid of face-to-face human feelings, like this:

At least when a complaint occurs via phone, the tone of a customer’s voice tells you a bit more and you can strive to respond with an appropriate vocal pitch, further questions, soothing, helping, maybe resolving. Still, if you’re working off a formal script, the human connection can be missed:

Image credit: News Oresund, Elvert Barnes

It’s a win when a customer complains in person to your staff, but only if those employees have been empowered to use their own initiative to solve problems. Employees who’ve been tasked with face-to-face interactions but lack permission to act fully human when customers complain will miss opportunity after opportunity to earn the loyalty your brand would give almost anything to amass. Two people can be looking one another in the eye, but if one has to act corporate instead of human, too much formality ensures forgettable experiences:

Image credit: Jan-Willem Boot, Amancay Blank

What you really want as a local business owner is to have the power to turn those chilly black-and-white words on a review profile into a living color interaction. You want to turn one-way messaging into front porch conversation, with the potential for further details, vital learnings, resolution, and deeply informal human connection with a neighbor, like this:

Image Credit: Christian Gries

The great barrier: reviews

Seventeen years into my journey as a local SEO, I’ve come to realize that my favorite businesses — the ones I’ve come to patronize with devotion — are the ones with owners and staff who treat me with the least formality. They’ve creatively established an environment in which I felt liked, heard, regarded, trusted, and appreciated, and I’ve responded with loyalty. It’s really a beautiful thing, when you step back and think about it.

For me, it’s small local farmers who epitomize informal neighborliness in business. They:

  • Do their best to grow high quality food
  • Know me by name
  • Know my dietary preferences
  • Let me roam around their properties for enjoyment’s sake
  • Trust me to pay via an honor system
  • Ask me if there’s additional produce I’d like them to grow
  • Want to know how I’m cooking their produce
  • Tell me other ways I might prepare their produce
  • Have nice conversations with me about a variety of topics

Am I describing a business here, or a friend? The line is blurry. I’ve hugged some farmers. Prayed for a few when they’ve had hard times. I may have first met them for monetary transactions, but we’ve built human relationships, and the entire way I relate to this sector is defined by how the farmers go about their business.

With a few exceptions, most local brands can work at building less formality and more neighborliness into their in-person customer service. Think about it. In most settings, your customers would enjoy being treated with the respectful interest and kindness that invites camaraderie.

But we hit a strange barrier when the medium is online reviews. If we learned to read and write in a formal school setting, we may unconsciously ascribe a certain stiffness to textual exchanges. We’re worried about getting lower marks for making a mistake, and we’re aware of being in front of a public audience in writing review responses. We’re missing vital communicative cues, like the facial expression of the customer, their tone of voice, and their body language.

On our side of the equation, we can’t shake hands, or physically demonstrate our willingness to help, or even signal our approachability with a smile.

To tell the truth, reviews aren’t a great substitute for in-person communication, but they are here to stay, and there’s a certain amount of fear on both sides of many transactions that builds up the layers of the barrier, like this:

What can be done to bring the two parties closer together, so that they are at least leaning over the same fence to talk?

Create a workflow for spotting single and aggregate review cues

The easiest way I know of to get started with a workflow surrounding reviews is via a very intuitive product like Moz Local. Basic components are built into the dashboard, offering a simple jumping off point into the complex world of reputation management.

The screenshot above shows a portion of the functions Moz Local offers for review management. The organization of the various data widgets create a bridge for getting closer to customers and engaging in real, meaningful dialogue with them in an atmosphere of goodwill, rather than fear. Let’s break it down by tasks.

1. Seek cues in single reviews with ongoing alerts

To enter into a conversation, you have to know when it starts. The right-side column of the Moz Local dashboard keeps a running feed of your incoming reviews on a variety of platforms, as well as incoming Google Q&A questions. On a daily basis, you can see who is starting a conversation about your business, and you can tell whether customers most recent customers were having a good or bad experience by looking at the star rating.

Make it your practice to click first on any review in this feed if it’s received a 3-star rating or less, and see how much information a customer has shared about the reason for their less-than-perfect rating, as in this fictitious example:.

Because the reviews are timestamped, you may have the ability to connect a customer’s poor experience with something that happened at your place of business on a specific day, like being understaffed, having an equipment failure, or another problem.

In fact, a second view in the dashboard makes it immediately obvious if the reviews you received on a particular day had lower star ratings than you’d like to see:

If you know a customer’s complaints can be tied to an issue, this gives you something more and better to say than just “I’m sorry,” when you respond. For example, broken equipment leading to a cold meal is something you can explain in asking the customer to let you make it up to them.

2. Seek cues in aggregated sentiment

    Knowing whether you have just one customer with a single complaint or multiple customers with the same complaint is vital quality control intelligence. Very often, Google reviews are particularly brief in comparison to reviews on other platforms, and you need to be able to take a large body of them to see if there are shared topical themes. The Review Analysis widget in the Moz Local dashboard does exactly this for you:

    In this view, you can see up to 100 of the most common words your customers are using when they review you, the percentage of the reviews containing each word, and the star rating associated with reviews using each word. You can toggle the data for each column.

    In our fictitious example, the business owner could see that when food is served cold, it’s yielding very poor review ratings, but that, fortunately, this is a complaint contained in only 1.7% of total reviews. Meanwhile, the business owner could notice that 2% of reviews with a 3.8 star rating (only a moderately good experience) are revolving around the phrase “service”. The owner can click on each word to be shown a list of the reviews containing that term to help them identify what it is about the service that’s diminishing customer satisfaction.

    The figures in the above screenshot are all pretty low, and likely represent only mild concerns for the business. If, however, the business owner saw something like this, that would change the narrative:

    Here, 12.2% of the reviews mentioning the restaurant’s veggie burgers are associated with a very poor 2.0 rating. The owner would need to dive into this list of reviews and see just what it is customers don’t like about this dish. For example, if many of these reviews mentioned that the burgers lacked flavor, had bland condiments, or buns that fell apart, these would be cues that could lead to changing a recipe. Again, this would give the owner something genuine to say in response to dissatisfied customers. Ideally, it would lead to the customer being invited to come again for something like a free taste test of the new recipe.

    Whatever details the review sentiment analysis function yields for your business, use it with the intention of having a two sided conversation with your customers. They complain, in aggregate, about X, you research and implement a solution, and finally, you invite them to experience the solution in hopes of retaining that customer, which is typically far less costly than replacing them.

    3. Grade your business at a glance

      These two views in the Moz Local dashboard allow you to analyze two key, related aspects of your business at a glance.

      The Average Rating view is the fastest way to grade yourself on aggregate customer satisfaction. This example shows a business with little to fear, with 96% of customers rating the business at 4-or-more stars and only 4% having a three-stars-or-less experience. In terms of having happy customers, this fictitious company is doing a great job.

      However, the Reviews Reply rate needs some work. They’re only replying to 1% of their overall reviews, 0% of their 2-to-5-star reviews, and only 21% of their 1-star reviews. The business is doing an excellent job offline, but unless they improve their online responsiveness, their average review rating could begin to decrease over time.

      In sum, a workflow which investigates reviews singly and in aggregate tells the story or customer satisfaction across time, and gives the business owner a clearer narrative to tap into and write from in responding.

      Make optimal response rates and two-way conversation your goal

      As a local business owner, you have many demands on your time. That being said, my pro tip for you is to respond to every review you possibly can. There’s no scenario in which it’s smart to ignore a conversation any customer starts, whether positive or negative. Just as you wouldn’t ignore a percentage of your incoming calls or customers walking around your business, you shouldn’t ignore them online.

      If thinking of reviews as a two-way conversation is a bit of new concept to you, consider that most review platforms enable people to edit their reviews for a reason: many of your customers think of the reviews they write as living documents, and are willing to update them to journal subsequent interactions that made a scenario better or worse. My own research has shown this to be true, and multiple studies have reached the conclusion that the majority of customers will continue doing business with brands that resolve their complaints.

      This means that local businesses can manage a customer journey that follow this pattern for negative reviews, much of the time:

      In black-and-white review land, this might look like this:

      Or, when a customer is happy to begin with, offering extra incentives to come again while thanking the customer for taking the time to write their review could look like this:

      Here, a conversation starter about salsa has been turned into a two-way dialog guaranteed to make the customer feel heard and valued. They’ve been invited back, their opinion has been solicited, and both the existing customer and all potential future customers reading Mary’s response can see that this is a restaurant with a lively, on-going relationship with its diners.

      Takeaway: don’t just say “thanks” to every customer who positively reviews your business. Seek cues in their words that show what they care about and tie it to what you care about. Find common ground to further engage them and bring them back again.

      How big of a priority are reviews, really?

      I’ve consulted with so many local business owners over the years — everybody from beekeepers to bookkeepers. It’s a plain fact that all small business owners are extremely busy, and not all of them instantly take a shine to the idea of having a lot of little two-way conversations going on with their customers in their review profiles.

      Statistics can change minds on this, when it comes to figuring out how much of a priority review analysis and management should be. Consider these findings from the Moz State of the Local SEO Industry survey of over 1,400 people involved in the marketing of local businesses:

      Respondents placed aspects of Google reviews (count, sentiment, owner responses, etc.) as having the second greatest impact on Google’s local rankings.

      90% of respondents agree that the impact of reviews on local pack rankings is real.

      Nearly 14% of those marketing the largest local enterprises realize that more resources need to be devoted to review management. Yet, in another section of the survey, agency workers placed review management in a lowly 11th place in terms of something they are requested to help their clients with. Learn more about these trends by downloading the free State of the Local SEO Industry Report for 2020.

      Statistics like these indicate that there is a maturing awareness of the vital role reviews play in running a successful local business. Management of all aspects of reviews deserves priority time.

      Make a habit of reading reviews between the lines

      Moz Local software will ensure you know whenever single reviews come in, and help you slice and dice review data in ways that tell customer service narratives in aggregate. If you’re already using this software, your first steps of reputation management are just waiting to be taken with ease and simplicity.

      But to get the most of any review management product, you’ll need to bring a human talent to the dashboard: your ability to read between the lines of review text that can be brief, vague, sharp, and sometimes unfair.

      With the exception of spam, there’s a real person on the other side of each text snippet, and for the most part, their shared desire is to be treated well by your business. Even if a review stems from a customer you can’t identify or one who communicates disappointment rudely, you can take the high road by making a mental image of yourself standing face-to-face with someone you highly value who is voicing a problem. Respond from that good place, with the conscious intention of improved neighborly communication and you may be pleasantly surprised by your ability to transform even the most dissatisfied person into a happier, more loyal customer.

      I’ll close today with an excerpt of a very long real-world review which I’ve truncated. I’ve underlined the cues and the rewards I’m hoping you’ll spot and see as you strengthen your commitment to review management as a key component of your customer service strategy.


      The new Moz Local plans — Lite, Preferred, and Elite — are designed to offer more features and flexibility to better meet the needs of local businesses and their marketers. Customers on any of the new plans can now monitor reviews via alerts, and depending on the plan, respond to reviews and take advantage of social posting. It’s never been more important to actively engage and listen to the needs and concerns of your current customers — and potential customers will take notice.

      Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

      Reblogged 5 days ago from feedproxy.google.com

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      30-second summary:

      • Customers today have high standards when it comes to their online shopping experiences, so you can’t afford to be lax with your operation.
      • Before you do anything else, you should create some in-depth brand guidelines to steer your company’s creative and conversational output.
      • Responding quickly is paramount because it shows that you’re committed to excellent service and are paying attention to what people are saying.
      • By closely tracking when people reach out to you and storing relevant information, you can provide a personalized — and impressive — support service.

      Since the rise of ecommerce to a position of prominence, an omnichannel customer experience has steadily become a stronger point of focus for ambitious brands, and it’s easy to understand why. Prices alone aren’t enough to sway shoppers or service users when the profit margins are so narrow, and occasional eye-catching deals won’t earn the loyalty that returns the most value.

      At the same time, the complexity involved in the process of designing good customer experiences has skyrocketed. Not only have expectations gone up immensely due to the standard-setting performance of the biggest brands in the world, but there’s also far more competition out there than ever before — and it’s so much harder to stand out.

      Notably, it isn’t enough to provide great customer experiences through just one channel. However you reach our customers, you must always offer the same level of polish. This is where the omnichannel approach comes in, pushing you to focus on what you do (being highly actionable with your inbound marketing) instead of where you do it.

      Here are some tips to create a consistent omnichannel customer experience:

      1. Design and adhere to clear brand guidelines

      A great omnichannel customer experience first and foremost would need you to have a set of brand guidelines in place to ensure that every area of your customer service is on the same page. This becomes more of an issue the more people you have working in your business. Knowing that the preferred company tone is one of genial informality, for instance, will prevent an errant support assistant from being overly critical.

      And if you think that isn’t particularly important, consider how quickly negative comments can spread through social media. If someone has a great experience dealing with your support team through Facebook but sees some scathing remarks about you on Twitter, it will (at the very least) tilt them towards questioning you. Depending on the identity and influence of the complainant, it may even completely invert their opinion of you.

      It’s a good idea to put a system in place to monitor feedback from all relevant avenues because otherwise, you’d need to manually trawl channels to see if anyone mentions you. There are plenty of tools on the market capable of doing this, so I suggest checking out HubSpot’s roundup to see which one might work best for you.

      2. Invest in being extremely responsive

      Customers can afford to be demanding at this point. Even if there weren’t so many businesses making similar products and services available that any given one (with rare exceptions) could be replaced with a substitute at any time, we’re inarguably living in a time of consumer power. Anyone who’s willing to publicly call out a company can cause it no end of trouble.

      If you want to consistently keep customers happy across all possible platforms, you don’t just need to normalize your responsiveness: you need to normalize impressive responsiveness. When an issue comes to your attention, you must take action to address it extremely quickly. This will show that you’re actually invested in making things better.

      This will partially come down to implementing smart automation, particularly through using chatbots, though be mindful of the need to adhere to the aforementioned brand guidelines. Don’t just slot in a generic design: provided you’ve chosen a decent platform, you should be able to customize your website’s live chat with your brand colors, your preferred design elements, and — most importantly — content that suits your tone. Extend this philosophy to your social chatbots (anything you deploy via Facebook Messenger, for instance).

      In addition to that, you need support assistants that can promptly handle any complex issues that arise. Don’t worry too much about immediately meeting demand, though, because you can’t realistically have enough people to address issues in real-time during crunch periods. Instead, ensure that every issue gets acknowledged (most likely by a chatbot) and that you have a guaranteed response window that’s clearly indicated so everyone knows where they stand.

      3. Use platform-independent issue and loyalty tracking

      Imagine that one customer reaches out to you via Twitter because they need some help with choosing a product. You provide that assistance, then they go on their way. Later, you receive an email from that customer seeking further information, but the assistant responsible for helping ends up sending them the same information they were previously given.

      This is an awkward scenario because it can easily make the customer feel insignificant and unmemorable. Is it your fault? Well, not exactly, but it depends on the exact circumstances. Did the person responsible for the email reply ask the customer if they’d made a prior query? Did the social media assistant note down their details? You shouldn’t expect your customers to track these things. Where it’s convenient, they’ll ignore previous queries if they possibly can.

      What you need, then, is a combination of two elements: a platform-independent cloud-based CRM tool (CRM meaning customer relationship management: here’s a good example) and a standard procedure for ensuring that every notable customer interaction is appropriately logged.

      Source: Apptivo

      Whenever a support assistant speaks to an existing or prospective customer, they should note things like their social media handles and their email address. When subsequent interactions arise, then, you can impress that customer by already knowing what they’re looking for and what they might need support with.

      Closing note

      We’ve only looked at a few tips here, but they’re particularly important ones when you’re trying to consistently outperform your competition when it comes to omnichannel customer experience. Assuming your website itself is well optimized (running quickly, being responsive even on mobile connections, and scaling with demand), a renewed focus on brand identity and comprehensive live support could be just what you need.

      The post How to create a consistent omnichannel customer experience appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

      Reblogged 5 days ago from www.searchenginewatch.com

      Free Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday HTML Email Templates

      While Black Friday and Cyber Monday get most of the attention during the holiday shopping season, we shouldn’t forget Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday. 

      Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday, and encourages consumers to shop at their local, neighborhood stores. Giving Tuesday happens the day after Cyber Monday and is meant to encourage people and organizations to give back to their communities through charity, generosity, and  volunteering. 

      These days present two awesome opportunities to connect with your audience. 

      Plus, we know COVID-19 impacted independent small businesses and non-profits in a way no one could have predicted this year. So to help small businesses and non-profits make the most of these days, AWeber’s design team built free email templates for you to use on Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday.  

      This holiday season, we hope everyone considers supporting independent small businesses on Small Business Saturday and non-profits on Giving Tuesday. 

      What is Small Business Saturday?

      Small Business Saturday is an annual shopping holiday, first celebrated in 2010. It highlights and brings attention to the importance of shopping locally at small businesses in your community. It is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to keep local businesses top of mind during holiday shopping.

      However, this year may look different for many brick-and-mortar small businesses. Due to COVID-19, many small businesses may need to alter their Small Business Saturday plans due to local social distancing mandates. 

      That means tools like email marketing and social media, will play a larger role than ever before to connect with your audience and let them know what they can expect when shopping in your store. 

      How to talk to your audience about Small Business Saturday 

      Graph on on how $68 of every $100 stays in a local community when  customers should buy from a local small business.
      Source: LocalFirst.com

      Here are a few things to keep in mind when promoting your small business this shopping season. 

      Remind your audience that shopping local has a positive impact on the entire community. $68 for every $100 spent with independent local small businesses stays in the community, versus only $43 when purchases are made from a national chain. 

      Plus, shopping local means they are helping people in their very own community: neighbors, families, events, non-profits, and more. 

      Free Small Business Saturday email templates

      One of the best ways to communicate with your audience and visually engage them with your brand is through eye-catching email design. So AWeber created three different Small Business Saturday email templates you can customize — available for free in your AWeber account. 

      These templates allow you to keep your brand identity while including logos identified with Small Business Saturday. Pick one of the professionally designed templates you like as a starting point and easily customize the content for your Small Business Saturday offers.

      1. #ShopSmall template

      #ShopSmall email template for Small Business Saturday

      You can customize the #ShopSmall template to highlight your business in a matter of minutes. Simply add in any special offers, your logo, hyperlinks to your website, and social media links, and you are ready to start interacting with your audience to promote any specials.

      2. Invitation to Small Business Saturday email template 

      These Small Business Saturday email templates include four different color and image options.  You can drag an element widget into your email template to change the color, add a logo, or replace any images. 

      3. Traditional Small Business Saturday email template

      Traditional Small Business Saturday email template

      If you love the traditional Small Business Saturday logo and blue background, then this template is the one for you. Easily add your logo, customize the call to action button colors, and add a coupon or images with the drag and drop editor. 

      What is Giving Tuesday?

      Giving Tuesday is an amazing opportunity for non-profits to raise awareness and funds for their worthwhile causes. Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving, celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. 

      It kicks off the charitable season and the end-of-year giving. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation to encourage people to do good and help others.

      Email is a powerful tool for non-profits on Giving Tuesday

      Your donors won’t turn out to support your organization on Giving Tuesday if you don’t ask them to. A Giving Tuesday email is an excellent way to connect with your donors and educate them on your organization’s incredible work. 

      A Giving Tuesday email campaign also provides a terrific opportunity to collect donor data and get to know your audience better. Studies show that 45% of donors make another gift to the same non-profit the following year. 

      AWeber makes it easy to segment and tag your donors so you can follow up with relevant information about your organization. 

      Take action! In the video below, learn how to easily create a segment of subscribers using tags, save your dynamic segments, and then send a personalized email within AWeber. 

      The week leading up to Giving Tuesday is an awesome time to send out a few emails about your organization. Just make sure that each email is relevant to your donors and keep your subscribers engaged. 

      Free Giving Tuesday email templates

      Giving Tuesday email template

      AWeber’s Giving Tuesday email template is professionally designed and pre-built with content suggestions. Simply add your company information, a link to donate, and information about your non-profit’s fantastic work and mission.

      Ready to plan your Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday emails? 

      If you only plan to send one email during the holiday shopping weekend, your subscribers will likely miss it due to the sheer volume of emails sent that weekend. Sending multiple emails or setting up an automated campaign will help you generate more revenue or awareness for your cause than a single email.

      Each email should be unique to reinforce your value and to prevent unsubscribes. Tailor your emails to different segments so each group of people receives emails with appropriate messaging.

      To help you make the most of this holiday promotion season, AWeber has created an email campaign planning template. This template will allow you to organize, track, and measure the results for all your email marketing campaigns and tests. Quickly and easily measure all your email sends and tests’ performance, so you can maximize your revenue this holiday season. 

      AWeber email campaign planning template

      Pro tip: Download your free email planning template to create a holiday promotion calendar.

      Best free email marketing software 

      Our mission is simple: to deliver powerfully-simple email marketing tools to help small business owners and entrepreneurs — like you — grow your business.

      AWeber Free is our completely free email marketing and landing pages plan — perfect for those who are just getting started or kicking off a passion project. We’ll give you everything you need to start building your audience today.

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      The post Free Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday HTML Email Templates appeared first on AWeber.



      Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.aweber.com

      Conquer email anxiety: 4 tips to overcome your fear of sending emails

      Ta-da! You crafted the perfect email. 

      You’ve proofread it, tested it, and even double checked your pre-flight checklist. Everything looks good, and you’re all set to press send.

      But you hesitate.

      “Maybe I should check again,” you tell yourself.

      Then, 20 minutes later, you’re still stuck in a cycle of checking everything over and over and over…

      Sound familiar?

      If you’re nodding your head right now, you’ve experienced what we call email anxiety. And it’s actually incredibly common. Take it from me; I send hundreds of thousands of emails a week and I still get the email jitters sometimes.

      So why is sending emails so scary? And what can you do to overcome this fear?

      What is email anxiety?

      Email anxiety is the feeling of discomfort you get before you send an email. Maybe it’s your first time sending a marketing email to your audience. Maybe you’re worried about typos or feel that your copywriting could be stronger.

      Or maybe you’re nervous about the response — or lack of response — you may get from your email.

      Whatever the reason for your nerves, it’s normal to experience a bit of anxiety before pressing the send button. But there are psychological tricks we can use to overcome it.

      Why do we experience email anxiety?

      Understanding these common fears about email marketing can help us better understand why we feel email anxiety. And sometimes, knowing why we’re anxious is enough to help us conquer it.

      Fear of typos

      Typos, while usually harmless and unintentional, can come across as unprofessional and sloppy. However, they’re often hard to catch on our own. 

      When you’ve spent lots of time and energy writing an email, you should get another person’s perspective. In fact, get more than one person to help proofread your email before sending.

      Including links to your website, to blog articles or social media channels is a great way to drive traffic and sales. But there’s a risk that you forget to add a link, the link is incorrect or is broken, or you — gasp — accidentally link to the wrong site.

      Thankfully, AWeber’s built-in link checker will tell you if a link is broken. And other email testing tools like Email on Acid can help give you peace of mind.

      Fear of poor formatting or design not rendering

      No matter how many times you test your email, if you’re only viewing the email from one email provider (i.e Google), there’s always the risk that an email appears differently in different email provider (i.e. Outlook or Yahoo! Mail). 

      Make sure that everything renders correctly — including imagery, videos, fonts, colors, the template, logos, and more — by checking your email in multiple email clients and on a mobile device. 

      Fear of getting started

      Don’t know where to start? When you’re busy running a business or side hustle, it feels impossible to find the time to learn a new skill or platform. 

      Don’t let fear of the unknown prevent you from marketing their business. Remember, email marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. 

      That’s why we built AWeber to be as easy to use as possible. Sign up for AWeber Free, and not only will you have powerfully-simple email marketing, but you’ll also have a team of email experts by your side 24/7

      Fear of rejection 

      In email marketing, fear of rejection is essentially fear of not getting positive results or feedback from your audience. 

      But avoiding email marketing out of fear of your audience rejecting you is — for lack of a better word — silly! Growing your list organically means your list is full of people who want to hear from you.

      Keep that in mind — along with the following 4 tips to overcome email anxiety — the next time you hesitate to press send.

      Tips to overcome email anxiety

      1. Write like you’re writing to one person.

      Imagine you’re speaking to a friend. Now imagine you’re standing in the middle of a football field giving a speech to tens of thousands of strangers.

      Writing a marketing email to a large list of people feels like that.

      But when you imagine writing your email to a friend or family member, you’re able to write more casually (and with less pressure). Even Ann Handley — one of the top copywriting and content marketing experts in the industry — advises email marketers to approach writing this way.

      Ann Handley copywriting quote

      2. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

      Mistakes happen. Human error can and will happen occasionally. 

      First, recognize your mistakes for what they are — a learning opportunity. Reflect on what went wrong and use it as fuel to not make the same mistake twice.

      Second, there are steps you can take to rectify the situation if needed. Depending on the mistake, you can send an apology email. This helps you own your mistakes and honestly communicate with your audience.

      3. Remember, unsubscribes are a good thing. 

      Your email list is full of people who want to hear from you. If someone eventually wants to unsubscribe, trust me, they are doing you a favor.

      Inactive subscribers — or those who don’t open or click on your emails — actually hurt your deliverability. If someone unsubscribes from your list, they’re doing the work of cleaning your list for you. 

      4. It gets easier. You just need to start. 

      With anything in life, the more you do something, the easier it gets. 

      Malcolm Gladwell wrote that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. And while you may not spend 10,000 hours on email marketing with a simple tool like AWeber, practice and time will help you feel like an expert all the same. 

      Ready to overcome your email anxiety?

      Get started with AWeber’s free email marketing today!

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      The post Conquer email anxiety: 4 tips to overcome your fear of sending emails appeared first on AWeber.



      Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.aweber.com

      Content Marketing Mistakes You’re Definitely Making

      We all like to believe that our content is air-tight, but even the best marketers may be making mistakes without even knowing it. From blog posts to emails and everything in between, content is a hugely important part of any marketing strategy. If you’re slipping up, though, you might be losing out on a lot…

      The post Content Marketing Mistakes You’re Definitely Making appeared first on Benchmarkemail.

      Reblogged 5 days ago from www.benchmarkemail.com