The Top 4 Ecommerce Platforms in 2018

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In 2017, ecommerce sales worldwide achieved a total of $2.304 trillion in sales, and it's expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. Those are HUGE numbers that should make any business owner look into incorporating it into their business. Here are the top 4 ecommerce platforms based on the number of businesses using them and their key features: 

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1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress.

Total sites using WooCommerce: 2,287,356

Key features:

  • Easy to manage admin panel
  • Unlimited product categories
  • Extensive range of plugins & extensions
  • Secure payment gateway
  • Great shopping cart

2. Shopify

Shopify is a commerce platform that allows anyone to easily sell online, at a retail location, and everywhere in between.

Total sites using Shopify: 1,275,905

Key features:

  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Tons of themes, plugins, & extensions
  • Mobile-friendly shopping cart, seller mobile apps and many other mobile-based features available
  • Round the clock technical support via live chat, phone as well as tutorials, along with their powerful Shopify community forum.

3. Squarespace

With Premium features, you can create a Squarespace website or online store with custom content and integrations that help your business grow. Premium features, which include the Commerce platform, are available on the Business and Commerce plans.

Total sites using SquareSpace: 1,075,124

Key features:

  • Build an e-commerce store from start to finish without any technical knowledge
  • Tools designed to meet the needs of any small business or organization

4. Magento

Magento is an ecommerce platform built on open source technology which provides online merchants with a flexible shopping cart system, as well as control over the look, content, and functionality of their online store.

Total sites using Magento: 651,035

Key features:

  • Open source and unlimited customization options
  • Usability & Manageability
  • More than 9,000 plugins and extensions
  • Free social media extensions
  • Extensive resource library for demos, new plugins, store management and everything around ecommerce stores

 

5 Factors of Great SEO Content

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Do you want more traffic from Google? Quality content is the number one driver of your search engine rankings!

Discover the easiest ways to improve SEO ranking of your website almost overnight below!

1. Write Great Headers

Aside from your body content, the most important piece of content for SEO is your header. A header tells people what the piece is about, grabs reader attention and gives a general overview of the topic.

To make your header as interesting as possible, include your keyword and focus on writing a header that asks a question or addresses your readers' fears. Create headers that are irresistible and make your readers want to click.

2. Don't Overuse Keywords

This is a dangerous practice that will get you in trouble with search engines, decreasing your site's rank and making it harder for users to find you. When you're writing your content, try to use keywords naturally. They should be in your header (if possible) and they should appear a few times throughout the body content. According to experts, you want your keyword density under 3% for everything you write.

3. Have High Word Counts

Did you know that word count can play an important part in SEO ranking? To provide the most value to your audience and rank, write long-form content between 1,500-2,500 words. 

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4. Include Citations

Find and mention industry leaders throughout your content to back up your content. Google cares about your sources and to rank well you'll want to link to industry leaders. Additionally, in web content you'll want to link strategically throughout your own text back to the most important pages of your site.

5. SEO Tools

SEMrush

SEMrush is a powerful keyword tool that allows users to optimize their sites for SEO, create pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and conduct social media and video advertising research. 

Wordtracker 

Wordtracker is another keyword research tool that allows users to search multiple sources for effective keywords. This tool can help you find keywords that nobody is competing on and will be an essential tool for SEO success.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is an effective tool for finding the key influencers that can help you promote your content and get it noticed by a wide audience base. It can also help you find trending content topics and take inspiration for audience related content. 

 

What Marketers Should Know About IGTV

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Instagram recently announced IGTV, a new platform for longer, full-screen vertical videos, that's also accessible through the Instagram app. 

If you're still not convinced that video is one of the most powerful ways to market your product or business, peep these statistics shared by HubSpot:

  • Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019
  • Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions
  • According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it
  • 87% of online marketers are currently using video content in their digital marketing strategies

And that's just to show off a few.

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IGTV Features

When a user opens the app, the IGTV video content from accounts you already follow will automatically start (just like your TV at home,) but on IGTV, 'the creators are the channels,' Instagram states. Instagram accounts that are verified or have a larger following have the ability to upload videos up to 60 minutes, while the rest of us are capped at 15. Still better than the minute cap we have now!

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Within the new feature, users can swipe up to switch between accounts that they suggest to you, creators you already follow, popular content, and videos they haven't finished. Just like other Instagram content, users can like or comment on videos or send videos to friends in Direct. Creators with access can also add "swipe up" call-to-actions on videos. 

Other Important Features to Know

  • Creators have their own channels, like YouTube (and anyone can be a creator)
  • Videos can be uploaded to the IGTV app or the web
  • Videos on IGTV can also be uploaded to Facebook Watch
  • File size: up to 3.6GB
  • File type: .MP4
  • Video size: 9:16
  • Video thumbnail / cover image: .JPG
  • As of launch, no advertising options are available, but Instagram says it eventually plans to make sure popular video creators are able to make money from their efforts

Brands Using IGTV

"Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel," says Instagram. Obviously, Instagram influencers like Lele Pons(25 million followers,) and other popular channels have a huge head start when it comes to engagement and viewership, but as YouTube stars figure out that the now 1 billion users are on Instagram, it's possible that you'll see more influencers heading to IGTV. 

6 Useful Apps For Everyday Productivity

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Need a little help improving your day-to-day performance? From time tracking to organizing documents, these resources can help you get—and stay—dialed in all day. Get off Candy Crush and get to producing!

Email & Communication

Newton 

This app puts all of your email clients in one place. It also lets you track whether an email has been read, useful for when you are waiting on a response before taking action.

Key Features:

  • Read Receipts - Get read-status for every email you send. Also get notified as soon as the email is read. Know exactly who read your email with individual mail tracking.
  • Snooze - Set your emails to come back to Inbox at a more convenient time. Snooze emails, not productivity.
  • Undo Send - Pull back that email blunder you just sent. Especially useful when you’re on mobile and need to reply in a hurry.

Slack  

It's where work flows. Slack acts as something between email and instant messaging. You can easily send messages or files to a group or individual in a very organized manner.

Key Features: 

  • Communicate with your team and organize your conversations by topics, projects, or anything else that matters to your work
  • Message or call any person or group within your team
  • Share and edit documents and collaborate with the right people all in Slack

Improving Focus

Be Focused

This app is a timer that uses the Pomodoro technique, where you work for a set period of time and then take a short break. The Pro version comes with time tracking and reporting for clients.

Key Features:

  • Manage your tasks
  • Track your progress throughout the day, week or custom period
  • Fast and easy goal tracking

Pocket

The Pocket app allows you to save all of the articles you want to read for a later time. It will even read the articles out loud to you. Great for the commute to and from work!

Key Features:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Tags to quickly get organized
  • Listen to your articles with Text-to-Speech
  • Save with one click using Pocket’s desktop browser extensions for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox

For Everyday Life

Truecaller

Once telemarketers get a hold of your cell number, you feel doomed when the phone rings. Trucaller saves you the annoyance by blocking telemarketer calls. It claims to block over 2 million spam numbers.

Key Features:

  • Automatically identify spam and fraud calls before you pick up
  • Filter junk SMS automatically
  • Enter any number to lookup name and other contact info

Calm Meditation

Meditating can do wonders for your mental clarity and productivity. Calm is an app which makes meditating easier by offering dozens of guided sessions.

Key Features:

  • 80+ Sleep Stories: adult bedtime stories guaranteed to lull you to sleep
  • 7 day and 21 programs for both beginner and advanced users
  • Brand new Daily Calm every day: a new 10-minute program added daily to help ease you into the day or unwind with before bed

 

4 Simple Ways to Build Your Email Marketing List

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This may come as a surprise, but email marketing still has one of the highest ROI of any marketing channel. It takes time and patience(and good content) to grow your email list, so check out our tips below!

1. Add signup forms to your website

Include a link to your email signup form on multiple pages on your website to make sure visitors don't miss it. A good place to start is your Homepage and About page since those people have most likely already shown interest in your business. Make sure to include a call-to-action as well!

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2. Use a feature box on your homepage

Another option to an entry pop-up(which may interrupt people from scrolling through your website) is a feature box. A feature box is a full-width email opt-in box. It usually offers some kind of lead magnet to encourage people to sign up for your list.

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3. Run a contest on social media

Social media is a great platform to run a contest because of how many people it can reach. For starters, you'll want to create an eye-catching graphic and an incentive(giveaway). Incentives should align with what your followers are interested in. That can be company swag, products, or tickets to an event. Use tools like Heyo's Facebook Sweepstakes Template to create contests that link up the opt-in form with your email marketing platform to easily manage Facebook Contest opt-ins. A contest countdown is also a good idea to keep users engaged!

4. Take advantage of current email subscribers

Encouraging your current email subscribers to forward your email to friends and colleagues can help you gain access to a wider network. It isn't as easy as a quick share on social media but giving them the option to click a link to compose a message online(since all email programs are designed differently) allows for a quick and easy way to forward your email to people directly. Below is a great example of the options!

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Do you want to learn how to use email marketing to get more sales? We can help. Shoot us an email to start the conversation! 

4 Free Stock Video Websites For Social Media Content

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1. Videvo

Videvo is a highly maintained free stock footage site that uploads new free videos weekly. They have everything you need, from a timelapse of a cityscape down to the regular reflections of people in their daily life. You can also download videos of nature, visual effect backgrounds, and the like.

2. Video Pexels

Originally built as a platform to access and share stock images, today it has branched into a free stock video library as well. It has hundreds of high quality clips ranging from people, nature, timelapse, and basically everything you will need to create a beautiful video. 

3. Pixabay

Pixabay has one of the most robust collections of free stock footages. Currently, they have over 2000 free stock videos available for download, all released under public domain, meaning you can use them for whatever purpose you want without attribution.

4. Videezy

Videezy is the place to share your Free HD Stock Videos, b-roll, backgrounds, and other cool free video footage. Here you can explore and discuss the footage of other videographers from around the world, or just find that perfect little cutaway for your next big project. Videezy makes it easy to explore thousands of clips created by people from all over the globe. All the videos are free to download and, depending on the license, free to use in your projects.

What You Need to Know About Instagram's Stories Ad Changes

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Instagram Stories now boasts more than 300 million active users. So, it's no surprise that the social media platform is constantly rolling out new features (sometimes, weekly!) Instagram recently announced that Stories has received a huge update to help make advertising easier for businesses. Here's what you need to know:

Instagram Stories Ads Get Full-Screen Support Automation

Before the update, advertisers were forced to create multiple sizes of content to run ads across different formats. Now, when advertisers upload Instagram Feed creative within Ads Manager, it will be transformed into the full-screen format of stories, allowing advertisers to run ads easily across Instagram. Long story short, users can now upload square or landscape photos and video that will automatically resize to fit full screen. 

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How It Works

The new update will apply to any creative (photo or video) that is under 15 seconds and adheres to the company's aspect ratios. Any captions will be placed underneath the image if the ad creative is square or landscape (see above). If images are taller than a traditional square, the caption text will not show at this time. If you want the full-screen experience complete with text captions, make sure to format your ads so that they're no taller than a square.

Instagram will also use their pixel matching technology which automatically selects a background gradient to make ads look similar beyond all creatives. Furthermore, the swipe up functionality will be supported to allow an advertiser to add a destination link to their Stories ad.

This change should ease the burden for advertisers by eliminating the need to have multiple creatives. Your Stories will now be in full screen, allowing your message to be clearer and appear more native in users' screens.

Having trouble with Instagram Ads? Not sure what the best practices are for Stories? Reach out to start the conversation!

7 Quick Tips To Tidy Up Your Social Feeds

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1. Audit your profiles

Find out the platforms that you and your audience do and don’t use regularly. Discard excess profiles that aren’t right for your business or its customers.

2. Check all admin settings

Review admin settings across platforms to ensure only the right staff can make updates, post content, answer messages and view statistics.

3. Check image sizes 

Double check image sizes against the requirements of each platform. Sprout Social provides specific social media image sizes per network and is updated regularly. 

4. Respond to private messages

Answer user’s private messages and set aside time to do so regularly. This can establish a better sense of trust between you and a potential customer. Some platforms even allow auto-responses. Leave a short message to let them know you’ll respond as soon as possible.

5. Post consistently 

Draw up a schedule or content calendar so you consistently post company updates, share content, and reshape other people’s content that is relevant to your business.

6. Link to other profiles

Ensure all of your social profiles link correctly to your other social profiles, and also your website. This is important for increasing engagement and positive ROI for your business.

7. Update bio and contact details

Update your “About” details on each platform, including phone numbers, office hours, and location. 

Just like you run anti-virus software to rid your computer of anything harmful to your computer, you should do the same for your social media platforms! 

 

 

Our Favorite Social Media Marketing Resources

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Social media is constantly evolving, and marketers have to learn quickly to keep up with the pace of change. So, we've compiled a list of social media marketing resources to help expand your knowledge of the landscape. 

Social Media Marketing Resources

Buffer Blog: The Buffer Blog is also an amazing resource of information when it comes to blogging and using social media. So far the Buffer blog has been a huge source of inspiration and learning both personally and professionally. It posts extremely valuable content on the latest social media tools, analytics, and strategies for Twitter, Facebook, and more—that’s easy to learn and use.

John Loomer: Jon Loomer is a Facebook marketing coach, author, speaker and strategist. His website is perfect if you are wanting to keep up to date with the latest in Facebook trends and updates and have them articulated in an easy to implement kind of way. Plus being able to ask his Facebook group for opinions and help on certain tactics is pretty cool!

Copywriting Resources

Grammarly: Save precious time and write like a pro by letting Grammarly find and correct hundreds of complex writing errors. As you type, Grammarly checks your text among 250 advanced grammar rules. The checks include common grammatical errors, such as subject-verb agreement, article use, and many others. Add it to your Chrome browser for free!

AP Stylebook: Twitter feed that posts AP Style tips for news writing. You can even tweet them your questions! 

Inspiration Resources

BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo lets content marketers analyze the best performing content in any market. It searches the web for content based on search queries and reports back to the user on its success, based on its social likes & shares. 

Discover: Unmetric, the leading brand-focused social media intelligence company, launched Discover, an innovative product that enables brand content creators and strategists to research, discover and share new ideas with other team members in real time. Content creators can explore topics around upcoming events such as holidays and celebrations, sporting events, concerts, award shows and more based on keywords or hashtags (e.g. Super Bowl, #Oscars).

If you want to receive the latest trends and tips in marketing and social media right to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!

How to Design an Effective Facebook Ad

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You don't have to be a professional graphic artist to create the perfect Facebook ad that works. The key to success is in the detail. A great design will attract a users attention while creating the desire for your product. Here are a few tips to maximize your Facebook ads and generate results:

1. Start With a Goal

Consider these questions to help you identify your advertising goal:

  • What do you want to get out of your ad?

  • What do you want it to do for your business? 

Start by choosing an objective for your ads, then tailor their style and format around what you hope to achieve. For example, tell a story about why you started a business and highlight the values of the business, and its products. 

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2. Understand Your Target Audience

The more focused you can get with your target audience, the higher the conversion rates you will see. Who are you marketing to? What are the demographics? Communicate the role of your business in their lives, and why you should matter to them. If you have different audiences, consider creating multiple versions to ensure you are speaking to every group. 

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3. Add Social Proofs

A great social proof can reduce the fear of consumers resisting to buy your product. This information should clearly be outlined in your ad copy to raise the chances that they click on the ad. In this example, Dropbox highlights that they have more than 100,000 businesses relying on them: 

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4. Do More With Less

Too much text in your ad images can distract potential customers from even looking at it. Cluttered images can impact the message you're trying to relay to them and worst of all, lead to your ad being shown to fewer people (thanks to Facebook rules). 

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While there are a wide range of options to utilize when creating a Facebook ad, answering a few questions and establishing your ad's goals can ensure your campaign is on the right track.