Find out how marketing automation is going now a days [Infographic]

Lately, I found one very interesting infographic about how the marketing automation trends are going. Our friends from Marketo blog and marketing automation researchers at Software Advice, have a very cute robot to explain how things actually work in the online work with all this task. Here are a few ideas about what people are searching on this topic.

Concrete data about marketing automation

  • The majority of buyers (91%) were evaluating marketing automation software for the first time, with 48% of buyers currently managing marketing activities with CRM software.
  • Lead nurturing topped the list of desired capabilities (ahead of marketing analytic and lead scoring), with 40% of buyers requesting this feature.
  • 50% of buyers had fewer than 50 employees in their company (15% had 500 or more)

State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014

Brought to you by Software Advice and Marketo

How to add OpenGraph on your site

Meta-tags are an essential part of promoting your content on the web, because they can help you boost your search engine rankings and affect the social media traffic on your site. There are Google’s authorship tags, and Facebook and Twitter have their own social media ones, which increase the amount of traffic you are getting. They are called Facebook OpenGraph and Twitter Cards.

OpenGraph Meta-tags. Introduced by Facebook

They were introduced by Facebook in 2010. Basically, what they do is to allow other websites to become rich “graph” objects and to function as other FB objects. In this way you can share them on FB. So, you control how information travels from a website to FB when you share a page(like it, etc.). The information is sent via OpenGraph meta tags in the <head> part of the website’s code.

head html

How Meta-Tags look like?

Facebook HTML Tags You have a meta tag for almost anything:

1. Title:

og:title

This serves the purpose of the meta title tag in your code. It should be appealing, like a good post title. If you don’t provide one, Facebook will use your meta title instead. You should try to keep it between 60 and 90 characters. If your title is longer than 100 characters, Facebook will truncate it to only 88!

Example: <meta property=”og:title” content=”Write your title” />

2. Canonical Url:

og:url

Set the canonical URL for the page you want to share. In other words, you define one page that all your shares will go to. If there is more than one URL for the same content, this comes in handy. Note that the URL provided is not shown on Facebook newsfeed, only the domain is visible.

Example: <meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.yourpost.com” />

3. Type:

og:type

You can describe the kind of object you are sharing: blog post, video, picture, etc. Examples: Web based:

  • website
  • article
  • blog

Entertainment:

  • book
  • game
  • movie
  • food

You can see the full list of types here.

This meta tag is very important for the “Like” button of your page, especially if you have a real-life object: movie, book, etc., because it determines if your content will appear in a user’s interest section of their profile in the event they give you a “Like”.

Whenever you don’t define a type, Facebook will read it as “website” by default. Example: <meta property=”og:type” content=”website” />

4. Description:

og:description

This meta data descriptor is very similar to the meta description tag in HTML. Here you describe your content, but instead of it showing on a search engine results page, it shows below the link title on Facebook.

Unlike a regular meta description tag, it won’t affect your SEO. (So, don’t spend too much time figuring out how to sneak in keywords.) However, it’s a good idea to make it compelling because you want people to click on it. Use about 200 characters.

Example: <meta property=”og:description” content=”Insert your meta description here. Make it interesting and appealing.” />

5. Image:

og:image

Your content becomes more appealing when you join it with an image. This meta tag ensures that a specific thumbnail will be shown when your page is shared. It is helpful to influence click-behavior.

If you are not careful with the og:image, FB may show something irrelevant or an unwanted banner from the page, or nothing at all. The most frequently recommended resolution for an OG image is 1200 pixels x 627 pixels (1.91/1 ratio).

At this size, your thumbnail will be big and stand out from the crowd. Just don’t exceed the 5MB size limit.

Example: <meta property=”og:image” content=”http://www.yourdomain.com/image-name.jpg” />

So, this is what OpenGraph meta-tags look like and how you can add them to your site. Hope you’ve found this useful!

Why eCommerce Strategies Should Include Social Media Marketing Trends

social media marketing trands for ecommerceSocial media has been and continues to be a vortex of constant changes. Because of that, it can be quite hard to come up with an effective marketing strategy that targets the right networks. Thus, eCommerce strategies often end up getting changed.

Still, the amount of leads that come from Social Networking platforms is too good to pass up. That’s why eCommerce websites have to stay in the loop and react to new trends accordingly.

One of the main ways to promote a company on social media is through ads. However, this is actually a pretty bad marketing strategy in the long run. If you want to know why, read our article on the subject.

Without further ado, let’s see why eCommerce Strategies need to put a lot of emphasis on social media networks.

Social media is a great place to get leads

ecommerce strategies

I think it’s important to understand what a positive influence social media can have on your business. It’s the best place to connect with possible clients and raise brand awareness. You’re achieving success, one post at a time.

Besides the huge number of people who use it, it’s also important to mention that people tend to share links very often on social media. That means that if you promote yourself in a unique and approachable way, you can expect it to snowball by itself because of people sharing your content.

Another interesting and fairly new thing is the shift that consumers are currently going through. They know all too well that companies make great efforts to provide useful information on social media networks.

We can see in this infographic that more and more people started searching for products directly on social media instead of using search engines.

Social networking websites are constantly making changes and adding new features in order to help companies with their promotion strategy.

For example, Facebook has introduced a new feature called “Instant Articles” that helps establish a connection between the companies that publish articles and their readers.

Basically, social media is becoming more and more welcoming for companies that want to do their marketing there. Both the users and the networks themselves are changing in order to create better brand promotion strategies.

eCommerce owners shouldn't ignore social media, because they can't count on walk-in customers. Click To Tweet

ecommerce strategies

The competition is fierce, but the possibilities are worth the hassle

Since social media networks are constantly changing and new features that help sales keep popping up, there are a lot of opportunities for companies that want to make it big.

That also means that your competition will be bringing their A-game.

After all, with such a high chance of a new “big thing” appearing out of nowhere, you can bet that a lot of people, both companies and consumers, will be ready to jump on the bandwagon. If you’re not there in time, you stand to lose a lot of possible buyers, and I really doubt you’d like that.

I’ll give you an example.

A lot of companies are investing in new virtual reality technologies. When that tech becomes available to the general public, we’ll most likely see a whole new way of doing marketing. Maybe you could make your eCommerce website 3D to give people a real-life shopping experience. That sounds really awesome.

I expect big corporations to already be working on promoting themselves in this new medium, but you can be sure that a lot of smaller companies will also get a great deal of success by riding this wave.

It can turn into such an important thing that companies that don’t adopt new ways of promoting themselves will be left in the dust.

Well-researched eCommerce strategies help you understand what to sell and who to sell to

Social media is also the best place to keep your ear to the ground.

A strong presence on social media can be the key to attracting leads. Furthermore, if you have the time, you can actively search for them yourself.

News about what’s popular right now usually first spreads on social media, so it’s also a great place to help you choose new products or services that you could provide.

Social media helps eCommerce businesses find out what is popular, not what could become popular. Click To Tweet

If, for example, a lot of people are talking about some new line of clothing, eCommerce websites that sell clothes will make a lot more money by including those trends in their eCommerce strategies, especially if they place a huge emphasis on the content creation process.

ecommerce strategies

Being active on social media and interacting with your audience is a sure-fire way of knowing what you’re doing right and what you can improve. If you listen to people when they give you feedback, you can be sure that they’ll also listen to you when you give them news and information about your business.
Don’t think it will be a walk in the park though. I’m talking about real interactions, as in your customers say something on your page or about you, and you respond. Don’t think that your clientele will feel particularly connected to you if you take more than a week to answer someone.

The Conclusion

As a closing statement, I’d like to say that you should try to stay up-to-date when it comes to any kind of marketing trends, not just the ones related to social media.

If some relatively unknown or completely new tactic becomes popular overnight, you can be sure that it happened because it works well.

I’m not saying that you should chase every trend out there, but I’m sure that from time to time, something will come that you’ll really like and want to try. It would be a shame to overlook it or find out about it too late. Knowledge is power, right?

Now, we here at Squirrly don’t know everything about everything, but when it comes to content marketing, we really know our stuff.

If you’d like to learn how our agency can help you, you can find out all about it in this article.

40 Powerful Tools for Marketing Automation You Need Next Year

40 Powerful Tools for Marketing Automation You Need Next YearWhether you’re a marketer or an entrepreneur, you’re most likely using tools for marketing automation.

A marketing automation tool is a software platform or technology designed to help you automate repetitive tasks and improve the efficiency of your entire marketing process.

Recent statistics show that 63% of the very successful marketers use these tools on a regular basis.

Why do they use such tools? Because it helps them focus on tasks that require manual work and can’t really be automated.

For marketing automation to be efficient, you need a constant stream of quality leads. Without this vital part, some end up being forced to buy lists of email addresses.

The infographic below is created by Straight North and illustrates the entire lead generation ecosystem and how it all comes together to bring maximum results.

This article will focus on 40 tools every busy marketer should start using. Some of them are free, others require a monthly fee. It’s up to you to decide what fits your needs the best.

Let’s get started.

1. HubSpot – A Complex Inbound Marketing Platform
tools for marketing automation

HubSpot is one of the most well-known inbound marketing platforms. It includes a wide array of features that will help any marketer work efficiently. HubSpot is a tool for marketing automation that mainly enables:

Monitoring of:

  • Landing pages
  • Leads
  • Performance

Building automated workflows for your objectives

There are three different pricing plans available, depending on your needs, the size of your team and, most importantly, budget.

Integration, innovation and automation - HubSpot. Click To Tweet

2. Squirrly Social – One Year of Social Media Posts in a Flash.

Squirrly Social – If you want to have time to interact with your audience but never miss a social post this is the tool you need. From simple kinds of calendars and scheduling to super advanced schedules, profile posting rules,

Squirrly Social has it all and it’s willing to grow as you grow. You’ll only ever get to the advanced stuff once you’re ready and it will be a breeze to set it all up.

Cool Feature: Squirrly Social doesn’t just help you schedule but also helps you find great resources to share and it enhances all your posts. What I mean is that with a click of a button you get automatic hashtags and emoji to any post you find or create. That’s amazing.

3. Sumo – 12 tools in 1

tools for marketing automation

While it’s not a 100% an automation tool, Sumo features a 12 tools suite to help marketers be more efficient. The way it is able to automate marketing tasks is rather simple, and that is a great benefit. Sumo enables every user to automate the email marketing process.

Here is what Sumo allows you to do:

  • Find out what your most valuable piece of content actually is
  • Get email addresses
  • Proper lead segmentation
  • Integration with popular email marketing services

There is a free plan but it has limited functionality.

Sumo's List Builder helps you generate more and more leads every day. Click To Tweet

4. Unbounce – Build, Publish & Test

tools for marketing automation

Unbounce enables you to create complex and professional landing pages. There are no coding skills required and the results will look good on mobile as well. After you’ve published them, you can even A/B test to see what works best.

With Unbounce, you can:

  • Create landing pages that convert
  • Generate more leads
  • Integrate with different types of tools for marketing automation (including email)
  • A/B test your ideas
  • Track and Measure Campaign goals

You get a 30-day free trial, but for further use you’ll have to opt for one of their paid plans.

5. OptimizePress – Sales Pages and Membership Portals Creation

tools for marketing automation

OptimizePress is another useful tool for marketing. It enables you to create sales pages and track results. You can even deploy membership portals to secure your content.

Their LaunchSuite is a great added benefit. It enables you to create product launch funnels.

It’s also 100% compatible with WordPress. You can get it as a theme or as a plugin. Prices start at around $100.

OptimizePress - Real-time building and editing of landing pages that convert. Click To Tweet

6. CrazyEgg -X-Ray Glasses for Your Website

tools for marketing automation

Every good marketer understands the need to know everything about what your visitors do on your website. Well, CrazyEgg does just that. Granted, it’s technically not a marketing automation tool, but it comes in handy.

By knowing the heat maps on your website, you gain valuable information. You’ll know where to place the CTAs, for example. These insights will help you make high-ROI changes. In the end, you’ll get more conversions and engagement.

You get a 30-day free trial, but to continue using it you’ll have to choose one of their paid plans.

7. ContentLook – Comprehensive Insights about Your Content

tools for marketing automationCreating great marketing campaigns rely heavily on tracking the results. You can’t measure success in a different way.

So, ContentLook is that type of tool marketers can’t live without – especially the ones in charge of social media marketing or blog content creation.

What ContentLook does in a very efficient way is tracking how your content performs on social media and SERP. If the results are dissatisfying, you can always assign tasks to your team members so they can accomplish the desired goals.

This tool is in Beta at the moment, meaning you can start using it right away for free!

8. TweetDeck – Manage Multiple Accounts

tools for marketing automationWhen managing multiple social media accounts, time is a resource you can’t waste. 60% of your followers expect an answer within the hour.

TweetDeck enables social media marketers to track more than one account from the same place. That is a great way to keep track of everything, reply as soon as possible, and schedule upcoming posts. The more you get done, the more efficient you are.

The best thing about it? It’s free.

TweetDeck - A notification system that works great and saves you time. Click To Tweet

 9. Buffer – Social Media Posts Scheduling and More

tools for marketing automationIf you’re managing multiple social media networks accounts, Buffer is the app that will automate everything and save you time.

They have built a cool platform to make your life easier. You can schedule Tweets, Facebook posts and more from just one place. If you’re really creative, you can schedule everything for up to a few days and focus on other tasks.

The difference between TweetDeck and Buffer is that the latter knows the best posting hours for you, and it will schedule them automatically based on this.

A limited functionality Buffer can be used for free. However, their full features plans start at just $10.

10. Pingdom – Monitoring and Real-Time Performance Management

tools for marketing automationPingdom is another one of those tools for marketing automation people couldn’t live without. What it does – and very well indeed – is making it easy for you to monitor the uptime and performance for your website or app.

Another great feature is giving you useful insights about how your website performs for each user – based on country, browser or so.

You can use it for free for the first 14 days but you’ll have to pick a paid plan afterwards if you want to continue using it.

11. Kerboo – A Platform for Digital Marketing

tools for marketing automationKerboo is another great suite that can help any marketer with a variety of tasks. At its core, the tool enables you to do backlink analysis. But the solutions don’t end here. Kerboo also offers:

  • Prospect gathering – reveal the influencer behind highly successful content
  • Outreach to influencers by email, contact form or social accounts.

You can pick either a monthly paid plan or an annual one.

Kerboo's like your personal detective investigating what should matter the most. Click To Tweet

12. Noble Samurai – Cutting Useless Keywords out of the Way

tools for marketing automationThe Noble Samurai wields two swords. The first one helps marketers find and target profitable niches with high accuracy. This keyword research tool helps you filter useless keywords that you’d be wasting money on.

This keyword research tool helps you filter useless keywords that you’d be wasting money on.

The second sword is a content creation tool. It helps you create professionally-looking videos for your business.

There is a free plan you can use but is somewhat limited in terms of features.

13. PowToon – Get Video Presentations Done in a Few Minutes

tools for marketing automationGetting video presentations for your products can often be time-consuming and expensive. PowToon gives you a viable alternative to a designer team.

It enables you to create stunningly good-looking video presentations in just a few minutes.

You can use their templates and their easy drag-and-drop system to meet the deadline. It saves you time and allows you to achieve more.

They also have a completely free plan.

14. Canva – Their Templates Save Your Time

tools for marketing automationFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even a WordPress blog require different things when it comes to the images you use. This is where Canva is a life-saver.

You get incredibly good-looking and useful templates to help you edit images. They’re created with the right size in mind – perfect for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so forth. The faster you get it done, the more time you have for other tasks.

Don’t have the budget to hire a designer? Then Canva is the tool you need. Best of all: It’s free!

Canva is a life-saver for short-on-time social media marketers. Click To Tweet

15. Google Analytics

tools for marketing automationThere is no tool that can provide so many insights about your audience like Google Analytics. This free tool gives you tons of information – as long as you know how to properly use it.

If you want to check traffic from different social media networks head to Acquisition – Social – Network Referrals. If you want to see how many users are on your website right now click on Real-Time – Overview.

It may take you a while to learn how to use Google Analytics but it’s definitely worth it. Especially since it’s free and anyone can try it.

16. SEO by Squirrly – Live Assistant

SEO by Squirrlytools for marketing automation is a plugin for WordPress. It helps you write content that ranks well, enabling you to optimize it while actually writing it.

That is possible thanks to the Live Assistant feature. It works together with you, so the end result will be as search engine-friendly as possible while being readable for humans as well.

You get a free version that is perfect for bloggers and small publishers, but there are Premium paid plans as well.

17. Visme – Create Professional Infographics and Presentations

tools for marketing automationVisme enables you to be a professional designer without requiring you to have coding skills or advanced image editing superpowers.

You get an intuitive and easy-to-use interface together with tons of templates you can use.

The creation process is as simple as it can be – it’s basically a drag-and-drop tool. The result can either be embedded, downloaded or shared on social media.

You get 3 projects for free each month and to go further you’ll only have to pay $7/month.

Visme is considered by @eamillikin to be 'the New Swiss Army Knife of Graphic Design.' Click To Tweet

18. Thinglink – Interactive Extra-Dimension Images

tools for marketing automationWhat you can do with Thinglink is add extra dimensions to an image or video. By doing this, they become interactive and provide a rich experience to the user. Each dimension can be customized to lead to a link or show a text.

You don’t need coding skills or a tutorial. Users can also interact with the results. The best aspect about this tool is how easy it is to use and how much time it saves you.

They also provide a free, limited-functionality version that anyone can use.

19. IFTTT – If This Then That

tools for marketing automationIFTTT is one of those tools for busy marketers that really enables you to automate your work for free.

What this tool for busy marketers does is connect two services together. You then write different “recipes” so that if the first service does one thing, the second should do another.

Simple and pretty straightforward, yet a real time-saver.

For example, you can choose to send an automated message that will say “thank you” to every new follower you get on Twitter.

20. Quuu.co

tools for marketing automationHow does the idea of putting your social media strategy on autopilot sound to you? That’s what Quuu.co was designed to do.

You’ll need a Buffer account, though. What this tool does is it curates content based on your choices of topics and sends it to Buffer for posting on social media. Yes, it’s a great way to get a constant stream of Tweets, for example. For free!

21. UberSuggest – Keyword Research Made Easy

tools for marketing automationFinding new keywords to write content for is a time-consuming task. Your average go-to tool for this job is Google’s Keyword Planner. Sadly, the results aren’t always what you need. Google helps you generate keywords for advertising.

UberSuggest, on the other hand, is a great tool to complete this task easier. It is ludicrously easy to use and you can even grab the keywords as a .csv list. Plus, the tool is free.

UberSuggest is ludicrously easy to use and extremely efficient. Click To Tweet

22. MailChimp -Email Marketing Campaigns and Automated Responses

tools for marketing automationEmail marketing is still one of the best ways to get offers to your clients. MailChimp excels at making that an easy task. The way it saves time for marketers is by allowing them to set up automated emails.

You can send an email to users as soon as they subscribe – another one follows after a few hours or days and so forth. It’s a great way to automate, create funnels and send your customers/users educational materials.

You get access to a free plan, but as you grow you’ll most likely have to pay for one of their subscription plans.

23. Tweakyourbiz.com – Title Generator

tools for marketing automationSometimes you simply can’t come up with a great title for your next post. You know what you’ll be writing about but can’t seem to be satisfied with the headline.

Tweakyourbiz.com is a great tool to help you avoid wasting time with the title. Just type in your keyword and let it run. The results won’t make sense sometimes, but it will definitely give you some ideas. It is also free.

24. Outbrain – Getting Your Content Out There

tools for marketing automationBig media websites usually have a section where they recommend content from around the web. Some of this content is totally unrelated and might even seem spammy. But if it’s done the right way, it can bring you quality traffic.

This is what Outbrain enables you to do. It works a bit like Google’s Display Network PPC campaigns. You pay a small sum per click and your content gets promoted on some of the biggest websites out there.

25. KissMetrics -Track Customer’s Journey

tools for marketing automationGoogle Analytics gives you details about page views, the number of visitors and so on. But KissMetrics gives you the chance to see your customers’ journey. That enables you to see how your visitors behave on your website.

It’s a great way to track real humans from where they come from until they purchase. Doing this gives you valuable insights on whether your website is aligned with your audiences’ behavior or not.

They have multiple paid plans to choose from.

KissMetrics tells you which roads on your website people actually follow. Click To Tweet

26. Google Content Experiments – A/B Testing for Free

tools for marketing automationYou’ve created more than just one landing page for a new product. Which of them converts better? Use Google Content Experiments to test them.

You’ll need each page on a different URL, but the rest of the setup is easy and generates useful results.

27. BuzzStream – Link Building Automated Research

tools for marketing automationIf you’re short on time for research and you need link building insights, BuzzStream is a web-based tool that can help you.

BuzzStream helps you save time on working with spreadsheets filled with outreach prospects. Using this tool will let you focus your valuable time on other important tasks.

If you like the tool, you can choose from four different paid plans and a custom one.

28. Tagboard – Hashtags Analytics

tools for marketing automationGranted, Tagboard is more than just a simple hashtag analytics tool. You can learn where your hashtags are used and the sentiment surrounding them.

It also enables you to create tagboards featuring posts including your hashtags that update periodically.

It’s definitely a must-use kind of tool, especially for Twitter and Instagram. However, you’ll have to opt for one of their paid plans.

29. Notifier – Reach Out to Influencers

tools for marketing automationNotifier is a simple yet useful tool. Whenever you’re writing content in which you mention other thought leaders, you’ll have to spend time reaching out to them. But Notifier does that for you.

Connect it to your Buffer and the tool will pull out all of the people you mentioned in your article. Then, you can reach out to them with a simple click.

Their cheapest plan starts at $9.

30. Social Oomph – Social Media Automation for Evergreen Content

tools for marketing automationEvergreen content will never go out of date. So you can share it constantly, especially since you keep on increasing your fan and followers base.

Social Oomph allows you to save time on this task. It lets you automate the process by submitting it to a queue. Next, you select how often you want your content shared, save, and focus on other important tasks.

You get a limited-functionality free plan but taking it one step further will require a paid one.

Automate your evergreen content's promotion with Social Oomph! Click To Tweet

31. PostPlanner – Automate the Sharing of Content for Your Facebook Page

tools for marketing automationPostPlanner is basically a content discovery engine that enables you to queue up viral content for later delivery.

Based on your pre-configured times, PostPlanner will manage the actual posts. You get a constant stream of high-engaging posts for your Facebook page with no fuss – and that’s great! Prices start at just $7.

32. Dlvr.it – Automate Social Sharing

tools for marketing automationWhen you’re done writing a great post, you want to share it on all your social media networks. Dlvr.it helps you save time on this task.

You select the source of the content – your feed, for example – and the destination. It supports Twitter, Facebook, Google , LinkedIn, App.net, and Delicious. You also get useful analytics.

To share to three different social networks from up to five sources is free.

33. Momentum – Beautiful Productivity

tools for marketing automationIf you’re having a hard time remembering all your daily tasks, a productivity tool might come in handy. Momentum is a Chrome extension that lets you set up your to-do’s.

They will appear every time you open a new tab and feature a beautiful and inspiring background.

34. Trendspottr – Follow Social Media Emerging Trends

tools for marketing automationSocial media success usually revolves around trendy topics. Trendspottr enables you to detect emerging social media trends, hot topics, hashtags, and important influencers.

You also get useful insights about audience sentiment surrounding those topics. You’ll learn what conversation you can join in no time. You can test the tool for free for a limited period of time.

35. Apester – Generate Dynamic Content in No Time

tools for marketing automationHaving dynamic content is a great way to engage with your audience. This is what Apester enables you to do.

Using this tool will allow you to create quizzes, polls, and personality tests in no time. The tool is super easy to use and free.

36. Feedly – All That’s New in One Place

tools for marketing automationFeedly lets you gather all your favorite websites, blogs, and news publications under one roof. Instead of visiting all of their websites and wasting time, you simply get what’s new.

It’s a great way to keep yourself informed throughout the day with ease without paying a dime.

37. Openr – Add Calls to Action to Your Shares

tools for marketing automationWouldn’t it be great to get traffic to your website when sharing others’ content? This is what Openr allows you to do.

This tool displays a CTA on the website the link you shared takes the user to. The platform offers you useful analytics as well, so you are able to keep track of everything. You can try it out for free.

38. UberFlip – Tailor Content Experiences

tools for marketing automationUberFlip is one of the coolest tools out there. It lets you add powerful CTAs that show up throughout your articles, taking the reader towards the next stage of the funnel.

It provides a great way of linking your blogs, eBooks, or white papers into one lead generation process. You can request a demo before you opt for one of their paid plans.

39. FullContact – Know More about Your Leads

tools for marketing automationIf marketing is about creating relationships, not knowing something about one of your leads may damage that potential. FullContact is a nifty tool that displays details about your users.

Find out about their social media profiles, and you’ll be able to engage on a more meaningful level. It also saves you time, by not having to research these aspects by yourself. You also get a free plan.

40. ReferralRock – Referral Marketing Software

tools for marketing automationWhat this tool does in a highly efficient way is enable you to create your own referral program. You don’t even need a website for this – you can run such a program on their servers.

RefferalRock‘s setup is even easier than you can imagine – because time is of the essence. You can test it for free but then you’ll have to pick one of their paid plans.

What Tools for Marketing Automation Do You Use?

These aren’t the only tools out there, but rather the most well-known ones. Granted, using all of them won’t help you save time. This is where your personal marketer filter needs to step in.

I’d love to learn more from you guys. What tools for marketing automation are you using? Do you have any recommendations?

If you’ve enjoyed this article make sure to share it with your friends on social media.

[INFOGRAPHIC] How to maximize your networking skills at a startup event

Who doesn’t like to go to events? I personally love to go out and meet new and interesting people. A startup event is definitely something you don’t want to miss, if you’re an entrepreneur or you already have your own start up.

I am sure that you’ve already went to plenty conferences, and somehow you couldn’t manage to be satisfied with your networking skills. You may have been wondering what you’re doing wrong. To clear that up, I made a fun infographic (everybody loves infographics) about how you can maximize your networking skills.

Don’t worry. I am sure you can do this. You just need a little bit of practice and some planning, too. Oh, and some confidence to go, please. If you’re having trouble with basic networking, first check out this article I wrote about how to avoid being awkward at a startup event [insert link]. Also, try to go to as many events as you can, so you get used to this type of environment.

How to maximize your networking skills at a StartUp Event:

startup event

Now that you have the theory, it’s time to put it in practice. There are a lot of events that are coming up. You don’t want to miss them. Let me know how you handle your networking skills, and also if you have any tips and tricks on how to maximize them, leave a comment. Remember: networking at a startup event should be fun.

6 Best SEO Practices to Help Your Business Grow

Are you new to SEO? Struggling to set up just the right strategy for your website?

Even if you’re a greenhorn to digital marketing who knows nothing about the history of search engine optimization, you can still put together a strategy that will help your website rank.

In this guide, I’ll go over six of the best SEO practices to help your business grow.

1. Submit Your Site

If you want to rank in the search engines, it’s a great idea to let the search engines know that you exist. Fortunately, they make it easy to do that.

Head over to Bing Webmaster Tools and submit your site to that search engine.

Next, visit Google Search Console and do the same thing there.

What do you accomplish by submitting your site to the search engines? You get it indexed.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a search index, it’s the master catalog of content that the search engines maintain. They use that content to find resources that match people’s search queries.

In other words, if you want people to find your site with a search engine, you’ll have to get your site indexed. Submitting it to those two tools makes that happen.

2. Set up Local Directory Listings

Even if you’re not a mom-and-pop shop in the local village, you’re still a local business somewhere. That’s why you should get your business listed in the various local directories.

Fortunately, there are a few sites that let you do that:

What are the benefits of getting listed in local directories? There are a few of them.

First, it builds links to your website. Those backlinks will help with SEO.

Next, it lets people know that your business exists. That’s going to build brand-name awareness.

Finally, it’s another way to get your site added to the search index.

3. Add a Sitemap

Next, you should add a sitemap to your website.

If you’re unfamiliar with sitemaps, they’re digital documents that tell the search bots how to navigate around websites.

It’s not easy to create a sitemap from scratch. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that will give you a helping hand.

If you’re using WordPress, for example, the popular Squirrly SEO Plugin will create a sitemap on your behalf.

best seo practices
best SEO practices when it comes to content creation

4. Make Your Pages Search-Friendly

Also, make the content on your website search-friendly.

How do you do that? Optimize your titles, H1 tags, H2 tags, and meta descriptions. (actually, you can see above how you can easily follow all necessary instruction in WordPress if you use the SEO Live Assistant from Squirrly)

Make sure those elements contain keywords relevant to your brand. That’s how the search engines will associate your content with search terms that people use.

You should also optimize your overall content. Again, use keywords that people will associate with your line of business.

Finally, you should also add images to your content as well. It seems like the search engines give a bit of a bump to image-rich articles.

Why? Probably because it’s easier for people to digest the info that way.

Also: you should optimize the images too. Add keywords to captions and alt tags.

5. Find More Keywords

When you begin optimizing your content, you’ll probably identify a few keywords relevant to your business. That’s a great starting point, but it’s far from the finish line.

You need to find other search terms that people will use when searching for your products or services. Then, generate some content around those keywords.

I can’t stress this enough: a great SEO program includes keyword research. Period.

So, how do you find more keywords relevant to your niche? Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that are here to help.

Squirrly SEO includes a keyword research tool which impressed experts like Brian Dean and Neil Patel. It is widely considered one of the “go to” tools for keyword research. You can plug in the keywords that you’re already using and the tool will spit out a list of related keywords.

One of the best ways to start is by plugging in a competitor’s site and finding all the different keywords they’re ranking for.

From there, you can go through and cherry-pick the terms you also want to rank for. How does that help? You should try to rank for those same keywords so you can capture market share.

Outside of that, you’ll want to enter keywords into Squirrly SEO’s keyword research tool that intuitively make sense for your brand. This will give you a huge amount to choose from and add to your list.

How do you know which keywords to prioritize? Look for the “low-hanging fruit.”

Squirrly (or any other tool worth your money) will identify the search volume and level of competition for each keyword it identifies. Your task is to find the keywords with high search volume and low competition. You should also watch out for the trend.

Those are the search terms that will be easiest to rank for.

6. Get Some Backlinks

The last step: get some backlinks pointing to your site.

As I mentioned above, backlinks help your site rank. That’s especially the case if the backlinks come from high-profile sites.

Suppose you have a web page that’s ranking at Position 30 right now. If you want to push that page farther up in the search results, get 10-20 backlinks pointing to it.

Remember, though, you want quality backlinks. If you try to build a backlink profile with forum links or foreign sites, the search engines might view that as backlink spam. That won’t help your rank.

One of the best ways to build backlinks is to reach out to webmasters of non-competing blogs and offer to write an article. Inside the article, add a link to your site.

Wrapping Up the 6 Best SEO Practices

Those are the basics. However, there’s still a lot more you can do to earn a great rank.

Be sure to bookmark SEO-related websites like Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land and visit them regularly. That’s how you’ll keep up with all the latest developments.

Secrets For a Successful Home Based Business

Working from home opportunities have flourished in the past few decades. Many small businesses are run from private homes. How do they do it?

There are a few secrets that lead to having a successful home based business. If you know them, your business will experience greater success in a smaller amount of time.

home based

Photo Credits: Lea Latumahina‘s Flickr

Home Based Mental Preparations

Professional Workspace – It’s important to be able to create a professional work environment for yourself. Set aside a completely separate space in the home where you’ll work.

Ensure that you have the equipment you need in order to make your business profitable. Click To Tweet

This way, when you sit down to work, your subconscious is automatically programmed to transition into work mode.

Mental Skills – Have a healthy grasp of the skills you need to work as productively as possible. The very foundation of every successful startup is hinged upon positive core beliefs.

You must truly believe in yourself, your products and your mission in order to be successful. A home based business is no different.

From your core beliefs you’ll be able to set and achieve clearly defined goals. Knowing what these are and what steps to take in order to attain them is paramount.

Having organized files and an organized schedule gives you a good start. Click To Tweet

In addition, make sure you establish step by step procedures and routines that are focused on your goals.

Isolation – Running a home based business generally means that you’re isolated from groups of people for copious amounts of time. Even if you’re an introvert and thoroughly enjoy being alone, sometimes being isolated can have negative effects.

When this happens, it can cause you to become far less productive or focused and eventually lead to depression.As in everything, you need moderation. Make sure you spend enough time being social in some way.

Depending upon your personality this could mean simply spending time responding to family and friends on Facebook or some other social media outlet.

For others, it may also mean getting away from your home office to have lunch with friends. Click To Tweet

Keep this balanced so that you don’t suddenly find yourself lonely or depressed.

Home Based Success Preparations

home based

Photo Credits: Maegan Tintari‘s Flickr

Juggling Responsibilities – As CEO of your home based business, you’re responsible for research and development, product sales/delivery, profit and loss, accounts receivable/payable, marketing, strategy, quality assurance, growth and expansion. This means you’ll be spread very thin.

The secret is to keep track of everything, especially in the beginning. If you follow the guidelines set forth in ‘mental preparations,’ you’ll have specific goals and step by step procedures already in place that will save you time and maintain your sanity.

Delegation – Face it, at some point, you’re going to have to outsource or build a team in-house. In order to delegate effectively you need to have a clear understanding of your weaknesses. As you grow, you should be aware of your financials, so you’ll know what you can afford.

When you delegate, choose the aspects of your business that you struggle with or dread. Click To Tweet

Find experts who can bring more to the table than you do so that you can realign your focus on the aspects that you’re especially skilled at.

Team Building – Your team can consist of in-house members or those whom you subcontract work out to. Either way, you want to structure your team so that every single aspect of your business is adequately covered.

For example, if you outsource social media marketing, make sure you find someone who does it better than you.

Home Based Branding

Content creation and distribution is of vital importance to companies because they’re not as exposed as a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ business.

A home based business needs engaging content in order to build a brand and attract an audience. Click To Tweet

If you find the right company to outsource this to, your business can grow rapidly. It will also give you the freedom to focus on the other aspects. Squirrly will show you how to get 300 readers per article for free right now.

Why not utilize this tool and the secrets revealed in this article to catapult your home based business to success right now?