Facebook silent on ads next to graphic Buffalo shooting posts, McDonald’s and Wendy’s sued over burger size and what consumers want from influencers


Hello, communicators:

Buzz, buzz. No, that’s not your phone — it’s World Bee Day!

Health food company KIND is celebrating by teaming up with TikTok influencers Mr. and Mrs. Bee Rescue to raise awareness about the role that bees play in food production.

@mr.mrs.beerescue Tomorrow is @kindsnacks #beedaybash#sponsored ♬ original sound – mr.mrs.beerescue

The press release highlights KIND’s commitment to sourcing more than half of its almond supply from bee-friendly farms by the end of 2022 and requiring its almond suppliers to reserve up to 5% of their land for pollinator habitats by 2025.

“Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are central to the plant-based ingredients that many of KIND’s products depend on. We are excited about the leadership we’ve seen from the almond grower community over the past few years to expedite the transition to bee-friendly practices,” said KIND CEO Russell Stokes in the release. “We are eager to continue to build on this momentum as we approach our 2025 target and hopeful we can complete this transition ahead of schedule.”

Here are today’s other top stories:

Facebook quiet amid reports of ads running beside Buffalo shooting posts

New reporting from The New York Times found that social media giant Facebook is allowing advertisements to run alongside posts showing graphic footage of a gunman’s deadly attack on Buffalo grocery store patrons.

NYT’s Ryan Mac reports:

Searches for terms associated with footage of the shooting have been accompanied by ads for a horror film, clothing companies and video streaming services in tests run by The New York Times and the Tech Transparency Project, an industry watchdog group. In some cases, Facebook recommended certain search terms about the Buffalo gunman video noting that they were “popular now” on the platform.

In a statement to the Times, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone did not address the ads.

“Our aim is to protect people using our services from seeing this horrific content even as bad actors are dead-set on calling attention to it,” he said.

What it means: A response to scandal or wrongdoing by your organization that doesn’t directly address the allegations is the worst kind of nothingburger. Failing to respond to an issue, while making a statement about something else, can make it seem like your organization doesn’t care about the issue — optics that should be avoided in times of PR crisis.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

A new report from Sprout Social reveals that marketers and consumers believe the most important qualification of an influencer is the creator’s experience with a brand product.

(Image via)

Polling of marketers and consumers shows experience is the most important qualification of creators who work to promote brands’ goods and services, followed by authenticity, high-quality content, follower count and creator demographics.

The data shows that consumers crave authentic, experienced content from influencers and creators, and viewers value good content traditional markers of social media success, like follower counts.

Read more from the Sprout Social report here.

McDonald’s, Wendy’s sued over misleading advertisements

A lawsuit accusing McDonald’s and Wendy’s of intentionally misleading consumers about the size of their hamburgers is drawing mixed reactions on social media.

The BBC reports that a New York man is suing the chains, accusing them of “unfair and deceptive trade practices,” and seeking $50 million in damages for himself and other customers.

“The lawsuit against McDonald’s and Wendy’s says the burgers in the marketing are at least 15% larger than they are in real life,” writes the BBC. “It includes some of the reactions on social media calling out the firms for the discrepancy.”

On Twitter, some users agreed with the basis of the suit:

While others claimed customers should expect discrepancies between advertised and actual fast-food meals:

Neither company has publicly commented on the issue.

Why it matters: The fact that the lawsuit makes use of social media posts — regardless of the legal efficacy of that strategy — is a testament to the importance of social media in brand perception. People want honest, authentic communications from the businesses they patronize and are willing to take legal action to get it.

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Marketing operations talent is suffering burnout and turnover


“It’s hard to hire; it’s hard to train; it’s hard to keep people from burning out. To make matters worse, these challenges have intensified so swiftly that leaders have hardly had time to digest them, let alone mount a defense.”

That’s the main takeaway from “The State of Marketing Operations: 2022,” a new report from junior marketing ops training platform Highway Education and ABM leader Demandbase. The findings were based primarily on a survey of 800 marketing operations professionals from organizations of all sizes, more than half from mid-sized companies.

The demand for talent. The vastly accelerated shift to digital marketing — not to mention sales and service — has led inflated demand for MOps talent, a demand the market can’t keep up with. Two results: burnout as too much is demanded of MOps professionals; and turnover, as it’s easy to find alternative opportunities. The outcome for companies is the growing burden of hiring and training replacements.

Use of marketing software has grown two and a half times in less than ten years, according to the report, and the number of marketing operations professionals, across organizations of all sizes, has increased by two-thirds. Use of marketing automation alone has grown 228% since 2016, and there has been a 66% growth in the size of MOps teams just since 2020.

Perhaps most remarkable, 93% of MOps professionals learned on the job.


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Why we care. Providing beginner MOps training services, Highway Education clearly has an interest in this data. At the same time, there can be little doubt that the demand for MOps talent is real and growing. If there’s a surprising figure here, it’s that use of marketing software has grown only two and a half times in the last decade.

AWS MOps leader Darrell Alfonso, quoted in the report, says: “There’s a disconnect between marketing strategy and the actual execution — what it takes to actually operationalize and bring a strategy to life. Leadership, especially the ‘old guard,’ will be more familiar with traditional methods like field marketing and commercials. But now, during the pandemic and post, there’s an entire digital world that needs to be
managed by people who know what they’re doing.”

Read next: More on marketing ops from Darrell Alfonso


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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Shopify Vs. Wix - Website Builder Comparison


Shopify main page for Shopify Vs Wix

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

As an ecommerce seller, you’ll find yourself making a lot of choices.

Is the clothing niche more profitable than accessories? Which theme would be better: Wokiee or Porto? Is Shopify better than Wix, or is it the other way around?

Of all the questions, choosing the best ecommerce platform remains the most crucial. Although Shopify and Wix have overlapping features, Shopify edges forward in the race if you’re specifically looking for ecommerce functionality.

Still, it’s a close call between the two that boils down to your intent. Small businesses or brand-conscious entrepreneurs will love Wix with its easy-to-use, cheap features, and greater design flexibility.

But if you want a powerful online store, Shopify can do a lot more. So long as you’ve got a bigger budget and the technical knowledge to flatten the learning curve, Shopify is going to be the better long-term ecommerce solution.

Shopify or Wix: Which Is Better?

Shopify main page for Shopify Vs Wix

Shopify is a solid option for ecommerce applications with its fully responsive templates, AMP support on product pages, and dropshipping features. It also supports multi-currency selling functionality and offers useful integrations with other essential apps.

Overall, it’s a more professional choice for anyone who wants to build an online store. If this is exactly what you’re looking for, make sure you sign up for a free trial ASAP.

Wix main page for Shopify Vs Wix

Wix has a drag-and-drop interface and a wide range of bundled templates, making it a great choice for those who want to build a general-purpose website. It also comes loaded with page layout tools, data capture, and email marketing features.

Plus, it’s cheaper, and you don’t have to worry about paying transaction fees. Ready to check out Wix? Give it a try with a free trial.

A Review of the Best Ecommerce Platforms

Shopify and Wix are hardly your only two options for starting an online store, and you owe it to yourself to look around.

My team reviewed dozens of ecommerce platforms and narrowed them down to the eight best options that tick off all the right things on an ecommerce seller’s checklist. Wix and Shopify both made the list.

Head over to my best ecommerce platforms guide for an in-depth look at where every product stands, along with a buyer’s guide to help you navigate your options.

Shopify Wins 

Useful Ecommerce Features: As it’s specially designed to be for ecommerce, Shopify sites come with many useful ecommerce features to cover every little aspect of the sales process. It has multiple payment gateways, inventory management tools, third-party platform integrations, and shopping carts. The platform is also scalable, allowing you to grow with your expanding business needs.

Fluid Themes and Greater Flexibility: Shopify offers 60+ professionally-designed and customized themes, giving you the liberty to add individual product pages based on your needs. Moreover, this customization and flexibility extend to changing page elements too. You can move, add, remove, or resize page elements to make your shop more on-brand.

Tweaking themes is also possible—provided you know HTML and CSS. If you’re tired of how your site looks, you simply have to choose a new theme, and you’ll have a brand new store within minutes!

Shopify themes for Shopify Vs Wix

Custom Domain Name: Every Shopify user gets a custom domain name that allows them to brand their respective stores and online business more efficiently and effectively. You can handle your domain on the same site location as your domain store, which, in turn, allows you to make changes to either with ease while simultaneously managing your domain.

Shopify connect domain for Shopify Vs Wix

Excellent Built-In Analytics: Shopify goes the extra mile by offering you plenty of built-in analytics features like Google Analytics, customer behavior, stock levels, and conversion tracking to know exactly how your store is doing and which aspects need a bit of tweaking for better results.

You can also view online store sessions, total sales, top-selling products, returning customer rate, average order value, and behavior reports (phew!) on the platform to make better decisions.

Shopify analytics for Shopify Vs Wix

Shopify App Market: Nearly every ecommerce plugin and feature are developed for Shopify first due to its vast popularity. Whether it’s free or premium add-ons for marketing to content management, you get all kinds of unique features with this platform. Case in point: An augmented reality feature that allows you to use your smartphone to navigate the product and see every little detail.

What’s more, even other marketplaces like AliExpress and Oberlo offer compatible apps to make your store management easier.

Shopify app store search for Shopify Vs Wix

Faster Checkout Options: Shopify has prioritized customer preference when designing login and checkout options. You can make the registering of users before heading to checkout mandatory, optional, or prohibited. Plus, registration is also incredibly easy as users only have to fill out basic information. As a seller, you can add users manually or import the list via CSV and sort them through a tag system.

More Payment Options: Shopify gives you several options to sell items anywhere in the world thanks to its Amazon FBA or a 3PL order fulfillment support, along with multiple-currency support through a complex, non-supported HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Liquid hack. This may not be ideal, but it’s definitely there. You also get direct access to 100+ different payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Shopify’s fully integrated payment system.

No Cap on Products and Inventory: Most web servers or external platforms restrict the number of products you can add to your store—but not Shopify. You can add unlimited products to your Shopify store. Even the lowest subscription package does not put any restriction on the number of products you can add to your inventory.

Shopify payment types for Shopify Vs Wix

Shopify Losses

Learning Curve: Shopify developers claim the platform is the best for creating and managing online stores, but they don’t claim to be the easiest, and rightfully so. Although Shopify uses templates that eliminate the need to edit HTML code and CSS styling, its websites are harder to edit than Wix. It’s because the focus is on the products and how you present the page. If you want to make additional changes, you’ll have to learn to edit the backend code.

Limited Free Themes: While we love how modern and responsive Shopify themes are, it’s the limited number can restrict your options. You have to pay a one-time fee for most themes, ranging between $140 to $180, as only ten themes are free.

Expensive: Shopify gives you a wide range of subscription plans starting at $29 per month. However, not only is it more expensive, but you also don’t get a free plan (only a 14-day free trial). The basic plan includes only the barest of features, so if you want access to advanced features like fraud analysis and reports, you have to pay a higher price.

Further, unless you use Shopify Payments—something that isn’t available everywhere—you have to pay a transaction fee on top of the payment processor fee.

Shopify pricing for Shopify Vs Wix

Lacks Email Hosting Facility: You don’t get an email hosting feature despite web hosting being included in all Shopify plans. So, you can’t host a domain-based email address like [email protected] What you can do, however, is set up email forwarding. This will forward all emails sent to [email protected] automatically to your regular email account. You’ll have to set up other third-party email hosting connections to use the email forwarding function.

Wix Wins

Massive Template Collection: The basic Wix editor lets you pick from 500+ beautiful templates for your site and populate it with any content of your choice. There are several built-in dynamic templates—from homepages to blogs to landing pages—suitable for novices and experts. People on a tight budget will be happy to know the platform offers 60 completely free, modern, and stylish ecommerce templates.

Wix themes for Shopify Vs Wix

Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Interface: The drag-and-drop interface is the heart of Wix, making it incredibly user-friendly. Because of this, not only people with all levels of skills can use the platform, but it also gives you enough options to convert your side into a real powerhouse by extending its functionality. You can use the mobile editor to review and edit your site to optimize it for mobile devices.

Wix builder for Shopify Vs Wix

Free Plan: Wix is definitely the cheaper platform, with prices starting at $23 per month. There’s also an entirely free plan and a free domain name facility (for the first year) that further boosts its appeal. Plus, you don’t have to worry about paying any extra fees with the platform.

Wix pricing page for Shopify Vs Wix

Built-In Video Function: Wix seriously lets your products shine, which is one of its biggest USPs. It has a built-in product video function that helps improve customer experience by allowing them to see the product live. You’ll also appreciate the product zoom feature and the fact you can build a distinctive checkout page to make the checking out process as hassle-free as possible.

Secure and Reliable: This is a platform that takes a lot of care in making sure its infrastructure is resilient and never vulnerable to attacks or data breaches. Between 24/7 monitoring, multiple site data backups spread across Wix’s servers, the highest levels of online security and data compliance, and zero-downtime maintenance, your site on Wix will always be secure and available to visitors.

Efficient SEO Guidance: Wix helps you optimize your ecommerce site for SEO by highlighting areas that require your attention. It then does the hard work by letting you fill in keyboard tags and other metadata. You can also modify the URL of each page, so it best fits what Google needs to know.

Wix SEO tools for Shopify Vs Wix

Tons of Extra Features: Aside from the core functions, Wix is built with an entire ecosystem of useful tools and products to make website building easier. It offers your free HTTPS to ensure visitor interactions with your website remain secure, templates to create quotations for customers, and integrated payment options like PayPal and Stripe. There’s also a logo maker to make branding even easier!

Wix logo creation tool for Shopify Vs Wix

Online Store Integration: You can include an online store with your website at no additional cost with Wix. As the interface is easy to use, the integration process is very straightforward, and you don’t even require an external shopping solution.

Wix Losses

Harder to Redesign: The intuitive drag-and-drop interface of Wix makes designing your site simple, but it’s the redesigning where you have to pay the price. You don’t have the flexibility to make any major changes by just selecting a new theme. Instead, the redesigning process is extremely manual. If you want to make any drastic changes to your online store, you practically have to rebuild your entire website. Besides that, you don’t have access to HTML and CSS, which makes the overall process more time-consuming and tough.

Wix builder options for Shopify Vs Wix

Limited Integration With Third-Party Apps: When we talk about app integrations, it isn’t even a fair fight as Wix has far fewer ecommerce developers creating apps for its platform. For instance, you won’t find a Google Shopping Feed or Facebook Product Feed. This means you can’t run Google shopping ads or run dynamic product ads on Facebook from the platform. Native integration with email marketing applications is also absent, making it troubling for owners who rely on email marketing for revenue. The only way you can integrate a Wix store to an email marketing add-on is to use either Zapier or write the code yourself.

Forced Wix Branding: They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and Wix very well proves it. If you decide to choose and stay on Wix’s free plan, be prepared to carry Wix branding—right at the top of your site. It isn’t too obnoxious, but it isn’t exactly discreet. What makes it more annoying is it appears before your website header!

Wix forced branding for Shopify Vs Wix

Non-Transferrable Site: While some may justify Wix not wanting users to export websites created with their technology, it’s a con for those who want to migrate. And the fact that scalability isn’t Wix’s biggest forte, makes this an even bigger problem. If you want to recreate and transfer your website away from Wix, you have to pay some serious amount of cash. In short, if you sign up for Wix, they might just have you for life.

Comparing the Top Ecommerce Platforms

While Shopify and Wix are excellent ecommerce platforms, there are several other alternatives with their own advantages. Make sure you check our top picks for the best ecommerce platforms to find the right option based on your specific needs.

  1. Wix – Best for flexibility and customization
  2. Squarespace – Best ecommerce platform for creatives
  3. Bluehost – Best for hands-off WooCommerce store setup
  4. BigCommerce – Best for medium to large stores
  5. Shopify – Best all-in-one ecommerce platform
  6. WooCommerce – Best for WordPress websites
  7. OpenCart – Best for selling digital products 
  8. Ecwid – Best for integrating with your current platform

Summary

Shopify is the more obvious choice since we’re concerned with ecommerce functionalities in particular. But that doesn’t mean Wix has lost its charm.

Shopify is the best solution for sizable online stores that need all the bells and whistles of scaling and selling everywhere around the globe, while Wix is more appropriate for general-use cases and for owners who rely on content creation to acquire more traffic. It also offers more creative freedom as opposed to Shopify.

In the end, the choice is yours—just make sure you make the right one.

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Are You Overselling the Power of Data? [Rose-Colored Glasses]


My old boss, the CEO of a former employer, was one of the best salespeople I’ve ever known.

He could work a room, listening and knowing just the right thing to say to keep interest piqued and drive value in the conversation. Just as importantly, he knew exactly (and I mean exactly) when to end the meeting and walk out the door. It’s just like show business, “leave them wanting more.”

Anyone who has experienced a bad salesperson has seen the opposite – the classic moment when the rep doesn’t know how to take “yes” for an answer. The customer has usually implied or even overtly said they are interested in the next step, and the rep continues to oversell features, benefits, discounts, and value-added services – all of which are unnecessary.

Two consequences happen when we oversell something. First, we talk the customer out of their decision to purchase. I once witnessed a rep continue to talk and talk and talk after the customer had expressed interest in purchasing. The rep mentioned something about the future development of the product, and it made the customer suddenly question whether that roadmap matched their needs. It killed the sale.

The second effect is almost as bad. The rep wants so badly to ensure there are “no surprises” that they oversell by continuing to offer more and more benefits until the customer finally says, “Stop.” By then, the sales rep has often set such unrealistic expectations that they’re set up to fail.

That’s the situation for marketing and content practitioners selling the use of data to business leadership.

#Content marketers often set unrealistic expectations about the value of data, setting up their programs for failure, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent @acrolinx. Click To Tweet

Data driven to the wrong destination

“We’re data-driven!” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that when I ask about the measurement strategy to a larger marketing, brand, or demand generation team, I’d be on a beach somewhere sipping a fancy tequila.

Most of the time, once we dive into what’s behind that statement, we find “data-driven” quite literally means the team is driven by data. They have no insight into how (or if) the data is helping.

They are so awash in metrics, analytics, and numbers that they search and find some data that drives every move that they make. Everything they do is driven by data. Every action is supported in retrospect by finding the data.

What these “data-driven” marketers fail to realize is that by doing this, they also build a wall that prevents attempting anything new.

Whenever purely “data-driven” is the starting place, I know what the next challenge will be when someone wants to innovate and do something new. To do that, a “business case” must be made. Someone – usually the person responsible for making the business case – will inevitably ask, “Well, what does the data say?”

But data doesn’t (and can’t) say anything definitively if the idea is truly innovative. What happens? The business-case maker looks at the data they’ve used to justify all previous decisions. When they can’t find helpful data, they look at external best practices to see if the innovative thing matches up to what other people are doing.

Data doesn’t and can’t say anything definitively if the idea is truly innovative, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent @acrolinx. Click To Tweet

Of course, if many best practices that will point to this innovative thing exist, is the thing really all that innovative?

Hmmmm …

Do what the data said, not what I said

For the last 10 years, content and marketing practitioners have been sold the magic of data – a way to increase the efficiency and performance of digital experiences. In turn, many marketing teams desperate to show proof-of-life of anything they do with content oversold the power of data. It now hamstrings them from doing anything that deviates from being incrementally above or below average.

I recently worked with a B2B technology company that wanted to launch a new digital thought leadership magazine. For them, this was an innovative new approach to delivering education to decision-makers in their industry. They spent time developing a solid set of “big ideas.” They decided on a content strategy of cutting-edge ideas rather than pragmatic how-tos. They planned to position their subject matter experts as people who could pull customers into the future. The team was excited.

The vice president spearheading this initiative made the rounds to get buy-in from the product, brand, public relations, and C-suite teams.

It didn’t go very well.

In each conversation, the vice president got a lot of resistance with questions about what the data said. In an ironic twist, the data referenced by these other teams was what the marketing team had used to demonstrate the success of previous campaigns. The vice president heard:

  • “This sounds like it runs counter to what our SEO data says.”
  • “Data says that the end buyer isn’t senior leadership – shouldn’t we be solely targeting the buyer?”
  • “Where is the data that shows that senior leaders need this information?”
  • “What is your forecast for the number of leads we will get from this?”
  • “Do we have data on whether these topics are popular?”

In the end, the magazine project was put on hold.

The lesson isn’t that the company didn’t get to launch a new digital magazine. The lesson is why they didn’t get to launch it.

The team had oversold their use of data to justify every single thing that they did. They had established that they were “data-driven.” Their colleagues simply responded based on what they had been sold: “Why did the data drive you to this conclusion?”


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Data should ride shotgun, not drive

Measuring content and experience is difficult. It always has been and always will be. As I’ve written, our objectives matter more than the accuracy of the data. Ask what is the most important insight to get – that the blog post or white paper was found, it was read, or it changed a behavior? Often, we want insight from the latter, but we use data and make decisions based on the former.

One of my favorite books about data and measurement is The Haystack Syndrome: Sifting Information Out of the Data Ocean by Eliyahu Goldratt. I always reflect on this quote:

Tell me how you will measure me, and I will tell you how I will behave. If you measure me in an illogical way, don’t complain about illogical behavior.

In our selling of data’s capabilities, we must acknowledge occasions will arise when we’ll need to go against the data or proceed without it. Otherwise, we’ll be data-driven to mediocrity.

Data informs the answer to questions. We should drive the car. Data should ride shotgun.

Content marketers should drive the car. Data should ride shotgun, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent @acrolinx. Click To Tweet

To have the flexibility to try innovative things, we must reframe how we sell data as a value to our content and marketing strategy. These two ideas can help:

  • Stop treating data as proof of life: You should cease using and selling the value of data to justify decisions already made. Data-driven value determined retrospectively, as in “Did this campaign work?” is helpful. But if you let data drive your entire strategy, you will put future content marketing ideas into a box – every decision becomes about “beating” the last decision. You’ll never try anything that isn’t trying to “fix” the last decision.
  • Content and marketing strategy is not Jeopardy: Get beyond scanning mountains of data to come up with an answer in the form of a question, which shapes your strategy. First, form a purpose, an objective to reach, and then assemble a list of key business questions to help form a plan to reach that objective.Remember, in business, it’s much better to know what you don’t know than to not know what you don’t know. When faced with the latter, the tendency is to dive into the data and find an answer that matches a question you could have.

If you start with an objective, develop the key questions to meet it. Then design what data is needed to answer those key questions. Only then are you using data to inform a decision, not to justify one. Indeed, a key question might be, “Should we do this?” But then, if it’s a new thing, you can acknowledge that answer may not be known before the project begins.

Learning to succeed

Sometimes it’s better to learn than succeed.

Here is an experiment that you can run with your teams. On your next Zoom call (or in your office as the new normal may be), ask everyone three questions. The first is “Should companies like ours be innovative?” I’d bet a fancy cocktail that 90% will nod their heads.

Then, immediately ask the next question: “Is our company (or team) innovative?” This query will almost assuredly result in questions: “Do you mean, like, ever?” or “ Do you mean, now? Are we innovative now?”

Clarify as necessary: “Yes. Ever. Have we ever been innovative?”

Depending on the type, age, and size of your company, your mileage will vary. But for those yes responses, I would bet another fancy cocktail on the answer to the third and final question: “When was that?”

With, I dare say, with few exceptions, everyone will cite something that ended up successful.

You see. Everybody LOVES and remembers innovation, just so long as it worked.

In a business only driven by data, nobody wants to be the dope who said yes to the new strategy that had no data to support the decision and failed.

In a “data-driven” business, you can become incapacitated by the feeling that data should always be the driving force. You’re unable or unwilling to embark on any activity that you can’t ensure will nudge your stats in the right direction.

If you reframe the use of data and measurement, get agreement on the objective, then ask better questions to enable you and your team to make more things that might succeed spectacularly or fail with a thud. As Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr once said, “An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.”

So, let’s go use data to empower the decisions that free us up to make some of the best mistakes.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just three minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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B&G product launch wins in the face of stiff opposition


B&G Foods partnered with Gillian Small PR (GSPR) to announce the release of Cinnamon Toast Crunch™ Cinnadust™ Seasoning Blend in August 2020, but they realized consumers’ attention would focus primarily on hard news: school re-openings, COVID-19 and the upcoming presidential election.

The team’s strategy was designed to generate long-term media coverage for the first-of-its-kind seasoning. The approach led to 307 unique online features about Cinnadust in outlets including AllRecipes, Bustle, PopSugar and more. More than 150 media outlets posted about Cinnadust on their social pages, and 520 total broadcast segments aired.

The team planned an exclusive media reveal one week in advance of the wire release to allow the news of the launch to play out in the media first. On Aug. 19, People.com ran the reveal of Cinnadust. Within minutes, GSPR ramped up its outreach efforts. By the end of its first day of pitching, GSPR secured more than 30 online placements in top-tier media outlets.

When it came time to share the wire release the following week, Cinnadust had already been featured in hundreds of TV segments and online stories; Jimmy Fallon joked about Cinnadust in his opening monologue on the day of launch, and standalone national segments ran on HLN, ABC News, Fox Business Closing Bell and Cheddar.

Kudos to B&G Foods’ Kristin Berlew and Gillian Small PR’s Jessica Reich and Gillian Small.

 

Learn more about Ragan’s and PR Daily’s current and upcoming awards programs here.

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Unveiling our first MarTech Intelligence Report on email marketing platforms


Woman smiling while reading emails in a digital-first experience

Email has always held a special place in my heart, perhaps because it seems so taken for granted in the digital marketing world. It’s been around too long to benefit from “shiny new object” syndrome, yet its true believers are fully appreciative of its power. What else delivers an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent, after all?

We hope you’ll take this opportunity to download this free buyers’ guide that looks at today’s email marketing technology and walks you through what you should consider before adopting a new platform or making the switch from your current provider.

Email marketing platforms and financial activity

The big marketing cloud providers, Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce as well as Acoustic and Zeta made investments in email by acquiring standalone players – some more recently than others.

Though the email category is well established, there are still plenty of investors who believe marketers are looking for innovations. In the last few years, many players in the space have attracted venture funding, while mergers and acquisition activity shows how email increasingly works together with other marketing technologies.

Venture funding

In May of 2021, Klayvio closed $320 million in Series D financing at a $9.5 billion valuation, just six months after its Series C of $200 million, according to Techcrunch, which says the next-gen email provider has taken in $675 million in all.

ActiveCampaign has received $360 million in VC funding through three rounds, Techcrunch says, with the most recent round of $240 million (at an over $3 billion valuation) coming in April 2021.

Iterable’s latest funding round occurred in June of 2021, which was reported to be $200 million. In total, Techcrunch reports the company has attracted $342.2 million in financing.

Meanwhile, Sendinblue’s latest funding round, a reported $160 million, occurred in September 2020.

Prior to that, the latest period of significant activity in the email space was 2018, when Braze brought in $80 million in October and Cordial took in $15 million in June.


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Mergers and acquisitions

Consolidation activity has been even higher in the past few years. The biggest blockbuster deal was Intuit’s acquisition of Mailchimp for $12 billion, announced in September of 2021, though Mailchimp is more focused on small and medium-sized businesses than enterprise customers.

In the same space, and also that month, Constant Contact finalized a deal to acquire email automation provider SharpSpring, following that up in January of 2022 with an agreement to acquire Australian SMS and email platform Vision6, a deal expected to close later in 2022.

Other recent big news involves the CM Group’s merger with Cheetah Digital, announced in October of 2021 and finalized in February of 2022. CM Group is also the parent of Campaign Monitor and Emma, among other related marketing technology brands like Sailthru. CM Group is majority-owned by Insight Partners.

For its part, Zeta Global acquired surveying tool Appness in October 2021. In 2019, the company purchased AI and content classification company Temnos in January, data management platform (DMP) and demand-side platform (DSP) Sizmek in April. It snapped up location data company PlaceIQ in July.

Validity acquired email analytics and deliverability provider 250ok in February 2020, cementing its deliverability and data quality capabilities. The company has previously acquired Return Path (2019), BriteVerify (2018), CRMfusion (2019) and AppBuddy (2019).

In our new MarTech Intelligence Report, you’ll learn more about these companies and their technologies, so you can determine which solution best meets your business’ needs. Download it today!


2022 MarTech replacement survey


About The Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media's Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She's a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.



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Next Search Intent — Whiteboard Friday


Satisfying search intent is a critical component of our daily SEO work. But if you're not thinking ahead to what a searcher might look for after that initial query is answered, you could be missing out.

In today's Whiteboard Friday, Ola tells you what "next search intent" is, why it's important, and how to optimize for it. 

whiteboard outlining tips for determining the intent of a searchers next query

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, Moz fans. I'm Ola King. I'm a user researcher here at Moz, and I'm excited to join you today for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today I'll be talking to you about the next search intent. In a previous Whiteboard Friday, I mentioned the three bosses of SEO, and one of the factors that I mentioned affecting SEO are the search intents behind each and every search.

So everyone performing a search on a search engine is looking for something, and the search intent is the purpose behind that search. As an SEO, satisfying that search intent is critical to the success of your content. Britney Muller has a very in-depth Whiteboard Friday on this topic already, so I'm not going to be covering that. Logan Bryant also has another topic called the hidden search intent. So that's something you should check out as well. 

But today I am going to be talking about what happens after you satisfy the initial search intent, so the next search intent. 

What is next search intent? 

So what's next search intent? Well, if you're looking at search as a journey, the next search intent is the next step in a searcher's journey that is what someone would most likely be looking for next after they've completed the objective of a particular page.

So if search intent helps a searcher stay on your page, next search intent helps a searcher stay on your site. 

Why is it important?

So why is this important? Well, SEO is not just about ranking. In order to really maximize your efforts for SEO, you have to start thinking about how are your pages converting, how do the pages move people into the next stages in your funnel, so funnel optimization, what's the user experience for your searchers, what's the customer journey like and how are they engaged with the relevant content that you want them to be engaging with, how is this helping you retain your ideal customers or searchers, and how is each and every content internally linking with other pieces of content that you have on your site, and also the traffic distribution as well, so how are you moving traffic from the the top-performing pages into pages that might not be getting as much traffic.

How to identify next search intent

So how do you implement next search intent? Well, the goal of next search intent is really to identify what people are most likely to search for next and then nudge the searchers into those next actions. So you can do this with simple calls to action, embeds on pages, and links from one page to another.

Or you can get more advanced by tweaking your nav bar, making things a bit customized, adding a read next section to each one of your pages, having launchers that pop up. So many different ideas. Pretty much your goal is just to think of a particular page and think as a user, as a searcher, "What would I most likely need next after I've consumed this information?"

So some ways to get ideas is to understand your searcher's persona, look at similar keywords that might be related to what your page is ranking for, look at other ranking keywords that you are ranking for as well. Look at what your competitors are ranking for that you might not be ranking for. This might give you ideas of your blind spots for content that might not be relevant to your particular page but other related pages.

Understand the curiosity journey. So this is like customer journey, but instead of looking at your funnel, you're trying to look at, in terms of an information let's call it map, what would someone want to know about next. Focus on the user experience as well. Providing the most relevant information always helps with a good user experience.

Check your Google Analytics and see what pages are people visiting when they land on a particular page. That will give you clues into what's the next page or next intent that they want. You can also look on Google. Just search for a keyword and you can see for some keywords the people search next as well, and that's the most obvious way to find the next search intent.

Four types of search intent

So how do you do this? Well, if you've watched Britney's video or other information around the search intent, you will understand that there are four main types of search intent — so informational, commercial, navigational, and transactional.

Informational

So for informational, your goal is really to provide a good user experience and to optimize your funnel so that you can move people or searchers from one page to another. So you can do this by surfacing related content and then linking to your relevant pages on your site. 

Commercial

For the commercial one, your goal is for conversion because commercial is just about purchase intent.

So you can do this by adding a comparison of your competitors' product or similar products that you have on your site, adding coupons, discount, and answering any objections that someone might have. So be proactive on the information that they would need before they need it and then surface it onto your page.

Navigational

Navigational, the goal is also a good user experience, retaining people on your website, and making sure you optimize your journey, so that's traffic and flow from one page to the most relevant next page. You can do this with launchers that pop up as users perform certain actions on the page.

You can have customized nav bars. You can set up your site links correctly so that from the search engines that becomes apparent what page people can visit as well. 

Transactional

So for transactional, this is someone already knows what they want and they are just trying to buy things. Your goal in this case is just to convert and upsell.

So you want to have your related products surfacing, have your product variations, and then have the compatible purchases, like Amazon's people also buy type of thing. You can put a little demo as well to help the searchers who might be looking for how your product works in real life by being proactive and having that on your page.

But yeah, so that really is the next search intent. If you have any ideas that I might have missed, please don't hesitate to reach out and I would love to learn from you as well. The main key points to learn about this is when it comes to SEO, you want to think about things in a holistic way.

You don't want to just look at one page on your site. You want to look at how each page connects, and understanding the next search intent allows you to bring value from one page that is performing well to other pages on your website so that your entire site can be blooming. But yeah, thanks for joining me today and see you next time.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com



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Squarespace Vs. Wix - Site Builder Comparison


Squarespace templates for Squarespace Vs Wix

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Wix takes the prize for simplifying the process of making a website. Its drag-and-drop interface, hundreds of apps, and flexible pricing options mean anybody can whip up a website without breaking a sweat. 

Squarespace has a better selection of design templates, though its customization options require more technical confidence. Squarespace outperforms Wix’s blogging and ecommerce tools by a very small margin, but the more flexible Wix has something for everyone. 

Squarespace or Wix: Which is Better? 

Squarespace’s sleeker, more professional-looking template designs are best for creatives who place a high value on aesthetics. Its grid-style editor requires a little bit of time to get to grips with, making it better for those with technical experience. Turn your ideas into a visually-appealing Squarespace website for free. 

Wix is best for beginners who want an easy way to create a website right now. It has a drag-and-drop interface so building a website is as straightforward as solving a kid’s puzzle. It also comes with hundreds of templates and features to give users creative freedom regardless of their skill level. Start your own free and stunning Wix website today.

A Review of The Best Website Builders

A good website builder spells the difference between an idea that grows into something big and one that fizzles out. To give you a head start, I’ve blogged about my experiences with building websites and reviewed the top website builders. You’ll get a rundown of the best options and guidance about how to find one that fits your needs.

Wix has proven once again why it’s considered a major player in the industry. Squarespace, though not included in the list, has its own perks that appeal to those with a specific set of criteria.

Squarespace Wins

Unlimited storage space: All of Squarespace premium plans come with unlimited bandwidth and storage so you can host unlimited files while ensuring media files will download smoothly. While the majority of Wix plans do offer unlimited bandwidth, none of them provide unlimited storage so you can’t just upload any files to your heart’s content.

Structured page editor: Squarespace doesn’t have the exact drag-and-drop functionality Wix is famous for. Its page elements are packed inside content blocks which you can move around and snap into rows and columns. Restrictive as it may appear, though, this feature helps you create your page within a more controlled environment, which can help prevent inadvertently sloppy designs.

Squarespace page editor for Squarespace Vs Wix

High-quality, professional-grade template designs: Wix may offer more template choices but Squarespace trumps its competitor in terms of quality. It has over 60 template designs that are not only aesthetically superior but also easier to navigate both for the builder and viewer. Regardless of what template you choose initially, you can customize or replace it with another one anytime. 

Squarespace templates for Squarespace Vs Wix

One-click color palette customization: Squarespace takes the guesswork out of choosing the right color theme that matches your brand. All you have to do is select a palette and Squarespace will apply it throughout your website. 

Like Wix, Squarespace also offers the freedom to pick specific colors for individual elements. But since most users don’t have a design sense, Squarespace’s preselected color schemes take the headache and guesswork out of your site’s aesthetics. 

Squarespace color scheme for Squarespace Vs Wix

Well-thought-out in-house features: Squarespace may have fewer features than Wix but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in execution. Its in-house features are meticulously designed and built into its editor so you can manage your website even without installing third-party extensions. 

Its restaurant menu editor, for example, uses a markup language so adding items is like filling out a simple form. In contrast, Wix accomplishes the same task through a relatively more tedious process that requires several clicks. 

Squarespace’s donation system is likewise superior to Wix’s because it goes beyond providing a donation button by offering donor-specific checkout, donor email receipts, and suggested amounts. 

Seamless podcast syndication: Starting a podcast? Squarespace also beats Wix’s basic podcast player by being the only one in the industry to offer syndication. With this feature, you can submit your podcast to Spotify or Apple Podcasts where a legion of potential fans can discover you. 

Curated third-party apps: Whatever Squarespace lacks in-house, it offers as a third-party extension. Even Wix’s in-house features that Squarespace doesn’t have can be matched by a third-party counterpart so you won’t miss out on anything. 

For example, the Wix Events app enables visitors to book tickets online whereas Squarespace can be integrated with Eventbrite to do the same thing. Similarly, integrating Memberstack with Squarespace accomplishes the same thing as the Wix Members app. 

Squarespace third-party apps for Squarespace Vs Wix

Ready-to-use blogging tools: With Squarespace, you can start blogging and showcase your best content to the world right off the bat. Unlike Wix that requires you to install a separate blog app, Squarespace has built-in blogging tools. 

Basic features like post tagging, categories, comment moderation, and drafts will help you create professional-looking blogs regardless of your industry. Working with multiple authors is also a breeze as Squarespace allows you to collaborate with them on a single post or assign them different roles.

Sophisticated ecommerce functionality: When it comes to building your online store, Squarespace gives Wix a run for its money. It offers the same basic features you’ll find in Wix like custom email receipts, point of sale system, and automated cart recovery. 

To maximize your profits, however, Squarespace steps up its game by offering features that Wix doesn’t. These include gift cards to help with your brand promotion. You can also use “back in stock” and “low stock” notifications to create a sense of urgency without being too pushy.

Squarespace main ecommerce page for Squarespace Vs Wix

24/7 online support: Should you encounter technical issues with your Squarespace website, you can reach out to their customer support team via email, Twitter, or live chat. These online channels allow their team to get to the bottom of your issue faster. 

Squarespace has excluded phone support because their existing support channels allow them to troubleshoot your issues comprehensively without the need to put you on hold. 

Squarespace Losses

Lacks intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Squarespace’s page editor works like a minimalist grid system so you can’t drag and drop elements. Less freedom means less opportunity to play around with the design. It also takes a longer time to get used to so Squarespace is not as beginner-friendly as Wix. 

Limited creative control: Squarespace’s biggest advantage is also its disadvantage. The “structured” editor may enable you to customize a website design within the realm of what’s acceptable but it also means you have less creative control. 

The templates are on par with professional designs but you can’t edit, move, resize, or re-color the page elements as easily as you can with Wix. You also can’t display both the site title and logo at the same time. 

Limited template designs. Fewer design choices also make it more difficult to stand out. Most photographers, for instance, trust Squarespace to host their portfolio sites. 

With limited templates to choose from, they’re more likely to pick the same template. As a result, they may end up with portfolio websites that have the same look and feel as other sites in their industry. 

Less generous ecommerce plans: Squarespace outnumbers Wix’s ecommerce features but you won’t benefit as much if you’re only subscribed to its basic plan. 

Squarespace’s basic ecommerce features cost $18 per month (Business plan) while its Wix counterpart is a tad higher at $23 per month (Basic Business plan). However, you won’t save as much with a basic plan as Squarespace charges a 3% transaction fee unless you upgrade. 

You also won’t have access to some crucial features like abandoned cart recovery if you’re not under the Advanced Commerce Plan that costs $40 per month. 

By contrast, Wix charges no transaction fee on any of its ecommerce plans and offers abandoned cart recovery even to those in the basic plan. 

Wix Wins

Scalable pricing: Wix has a wider range of pricing options so you can start your website anytime and easily scale as it grows. The free plan is available for beginners who are still learning the ropes and are not bothered by Wix-sponsored ads and subdomains. 

If you want a custom domain, you can switch to the most basic plan for only $14 a month. From here, you can upgrade to any of the three higher website plans or start an online store for as low as $23 per month for the Business Basic Plan. Squarespace, on the other hand, doesn’t come with a free plan and most of the important features are only available in higher plans.

Wix pricing page for Squarespace Vs Wix

Beginner-friendly interface: Wix’s drag-and-drop editor remains its top selling point. It gives you a template to create a simple website in minutes without learning how to code. Squarespace is also a “no-coding” website builder, but its grid-style editor makes it cumbersome for some beginners. With Wix, you can have full control of the layout and even add functionality by dragging and dropping widgets on your page. 

Wix page editor for Squarespace Vs Wix

Instant Websites: Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) will actually build a website for you. Just answer a series of questions about who you are and what you want, and Wix ADI will spin up a professional looking site. Then you can use the simple editing tools to make it your own.

More in-house apps: Name any feature you want your website to have and Wix has an app for it. Do you want to create a forum? Look for Wix Forum in the App Market and install it for free. Planning to add a live chat to connect with your visitors in real-time? Try Wix Chat, another in-house app you can add for free. If none of the built-in Wix apps is what you’re looking for, don’t worry as there are still over 200 free and premium third-party extensions to choose from. 

Free email marketing tools: With this built-in feature, you can send email campaigns to your contact list and even create workflows to manage your own sales funnel. Measure how well each of your campaigns is doing through the stats tracker that lets you see how many people open and engage with your emails. 

Wix’s email marketing tools are part of the Ascend all-in-one business solution that gives you access to other marketing tools like live chat, social media integration, and SEO tools. The best part is you can have access to a limited number of features for free or upgrade to one of the three paid plans to enjoy the full benefit. 

High-end security: For your own site data and the privacy and safety of your site’s visitors, Wix includes several features that automatically secure your site from vulnerabilities and attacks. Payment gateways, for one, meet the highest levels of data security compliance. TLS 1.3 encryption also comes standard. Plus, Wix has a team of experts that monitor and optimize their infrastructure 24/7, so every site stays secure even in the face of new threats.

Robust SEO features: Wix has its own game plan to help your content rank high on Google. What’s great is Wix puts all its strategies in one place so users can learn SEO themselves and improve their online presence. The SEO Wiz contains step-by-step tutorials, achievement updates, and tons of other learning materials so you can start improving your site’s visibility even if you never heard about SEO before. 

Multiple customer support channels: Unlike Squarespace, Wix offers phone support so you can rest assured that humans and not bots are handling your concern. Wix also provides support through forums, social media, and email but not through live chat. In case you get stuck or confused while working on the page editor, there are small question marks on the screen that you can also click to get quick solutions without leaving the page. 

Automatic backup-and-restore feature: Wix is a proactive website builder that anticipates unfortunate events and has developed a counteracting feature in case they happen. 

Through Site History which you can find inside your site Settings, you can restore a previous version of your website. You can restore revised versions of your site regardless if it’s saved manually or automatically. 

Best of all, the previously saved version of your site can be restored without affecting published blog posts and changes made in your email list. 

Wix Losses

Underwhelming template designs: Wix focuses on quantity over quality when it comes to design. Its over 500 customizable templates easily beat Squarespace’s 70+ designs. But with more choices comes more time wasted picking and overanalyzing which one suits a website idea best. 

A “quantity over quality” approach also leads to many Wix templates failing to make a great first impression. While there are hidden gems, it takes time to find them as they are outnumbered by generic templates, some of which are downright cheesy. 

Unstructured page editor: Wix’s drag-and-drop interface has its own flaws. While it helps even non-pros create websites quickly, the changes you make in the desktop version may not necessarily sync to its mobile version. For instance, when you move an image from the top of the page to the bottom, the same change won’t reflect in the mobile version unless you make the same change twice. With Squarespace’s structured editor, movements are much more restricted but any change you make will reflect in both screens.

Complicated color changes: Wix lacks the preselected color palettes that Squarespace has, so changing text and background colors are not as straightforward. This is the downside of having more freedom to manipulate page elements. You may be free to choose the colors of individual page elements but if you don’t have a background in design, knowing which colors will work best without preset recommendations can be really tough. 

Limited bandwidth and storage space: Wix doesn’t have the unlimited resources that Squarespace offers in all its plans. Therefore, the cheaper your Wix plan is, the more restrictions you’ll get on how many files you can store and how much traffic your website can get per day. 

Wix’s cheapest plans, Connect Domain and Combo, only offer a bandwidth of 1 GB and 2 GB, respectively. This is enough if your website receives only a handful of visitors per month. However, once a website gets at least 1,000 visitors a day, it will require about 8.5 GB of bandwidth monthly, something that Wix only provides starting with its Unlimited plan that costs $12.50 per month (billed annually).

Mediocre blogging tools: You can create a decent blog with Wix but if you’re looking for more features, you’ll get it from Squarespace. Wix is capable of scheduling posts, adding tags or categories, and saving drafts. However, it doesn’t allow comment moderation so you can’t filter comments and publish only those you approve of. On top of that, Wix doesn’t have a built-in blogging feature. You have to add the free Wix Blog app yourself before you can start creating content. 

Limited flexibility for free plans: When you start a free website with Wix, you won’t pay for anything but it comes at the cost of flexibility. The Wix subdomain, ads, and the look of a free site tend to come off a lot less professional. If you want to experiment with a free site, that’s fine, but you’ll have to upgrade to premium Wix plans to really establish your own brand. 

Comparing The Top Website Builders. 

Do you want to build a website from scratch without touching any codes? With a website builder, you can do that and more. If you want to get started, here are the best website builders I recommend:

  1. Wix — Best for general use
  2. Weebly  — Best for beginners
  3. Web.com — Best for building landing pages
  4. Shopify — Best for ecommerce
  5. WordPress — Best for content management

Wix is the undisputed website builder of choice if you want to quickly launch a website even without the technical know-how. Its drag-and-drop interface requires a short learning curve while its hundreds of templates and features allow you to elevate your website any way you want. 

But for a more professional site with a stronger design aesthetic and more customization options, especially one you’re willing to take some time to build, Squarespace will be the better choice

Consulting with Neil Patel

See How My Agency Can Drive Massive Amounts of Traffic to Your Website

  • SEO - unlock massive amounts of SEO traffic. See real results.
  • Content Marketing - our team creates epic content that will get shared, get links, and attract traffic.
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How You Can Save Your Support Budget With a Chatbot


Modern-day customers are picky and demanding when it comes to choosing where to make a purchase. And they have every right to do so! Of course, they expect stellar customer service and support at all stages of their customer journey.

However –

How can a company ensure exceptional customer service if it’s growing fast? What are the ways to maintain the speed and quality of support without non-stop hiring and training new employees?

The answer is automating your support as much as possible, for example with a chatbot. 

But, first things first —

When do you need support automation? 

It’s highly rewarding when the company is growing because the product is scaling. The more people convert and stay with the service as active users, the more challenges the support team is presented with. Essentially, it’s a never-ending cycle of trying to keep up with the growth without sacrificing the quality and speed of the support you offer. 

Obviously, the support team has to inevitably grow, too. However, this raises new potential challenges – more people means more knowledge to transfer in onboarding and training, more people to manage, more careers to grow, more 1-1s to lead for managers, and more communication channels. More hiring leads to even more hiring. Peter Drucker compared such bloated organizations to full-scale monster organisms, which require big brains to coordinate all the organs, and heaps of energy to even stay alive. 

In order to not create such a monster and not to turn a fast-growing tech company into a soulless call center with thousands of unhappy employees, it’s a great idea to aim at automating your customer support as much as possible. 

Customer support automation: everything you need to know

Essentially, automating your customer support means reducing human involvement when it comes to solving any kind of customer issue. Examples of automated support include automated workflows, chatbots, conversational AI, self-service helpdesks, and FAQs. Automation comes with a great reduction in costs and allows teams and companies to scale sustainably and without sacrificing quality. 

Still –

What are the main advantages of automated customer support?

Here is the list:

It reduces customer support costs. 

This one is a no-brainer – a chatbot costs a fraction of the price the company would pay for hiring and training one human support agent. According to the statistics, the average ROI for chatbots would be 1,275% (and that’s just support cost savings). Quite impressive, isn’t it?

It allows human support agents to focus on important tasks. 

When all the basics like FAQs, welcome messages, and collecting feedback are covered by automation solutions, your support team can focus on what truly matters and provide better quality assistance when it comes to complex challenges and tasks. This way, they will be able to anticipate customer needs before they even arise and, as a result, provide exceptional support assisted by chatbots. 

It improves speed and efficiency. 

Customers will love the shorter response time you offer. At the same time, the team will also appreciate it – instead of going out of their way to achieve the shortest response time possible, they can focus on the quality and the result of their interactions. 

It allows 24/7 customer support, everywhere. 

It’s hard to argue with this point – chatbots have no shifts, they are available everywhere and at all times. If there is an issue requiring a human agent, chatbots can notify them and assure the customer that they will get the reply as soon as possible. This allows for a smooth communication flow and support with no interruptions. 

Main advantages of customer support

What metrics do you need to look at? 

In order to optimize the switch from all-human support to partly automation, it’s vital to take a look at several metrics. Those include:

Contact Rate

It’s a very useful indicator to estimate the number of people needed for customer support in a company. Contact rate is the number of daily active users in relation to the number of daily chats with support. It is also a great indicator of the state of automation and self-service for your team.

Average Tickets Per Hour

Measuring the number of tickets per hour during different time frames helps to estimate the effectiveness and performance of the support team over a period of time. It will help to highlight the times when the support team is overloaded with requests. 

Customer Satisfaction Score

Obviously, it’s a crucial one. For many support teams out there, it is the key performance indicator for the quality of customer service. If this metric is dropping, it’s an important sign that changes have to be made. 

Once you bring all the numbers together, you will have a clear recipe for how many people you need on the team and how many projects you can automate.

What metrics do you need to look at?

How can a chatbot help out?

One of the most efficient ways to automate customer support is to install a chatbot

Essentially, a chatbot is computer software that simulates human communication via text in order to help businesses answer questions and requests. It’s also a great helper of any support team. Installing a chatbot for customer service always helps to save the budget you would instead spend on employing and training a huge team of human support agents. 

To start with, many chatbot builders and chatbot templates are available free of charge. Very often, no coding skills are required to build an efficient virtual assistant. As a result, you get a self-sufficient bot that comes with multiple integrations, speaks many languages, answers questions 24/7, and gives your brand a unique voice. 

A well-designed chatbot can cover all basic customer support needs. It can greet new visitors with a welcome message, offer discounts and personalized offers, recover abandoned carts, collect feedback, answer FAQs questions, help to track orders and guide the visitors through every step of making a purchase. As a result, your support team can focus on the quality of their work and solve complex problems with speed and efficiency. The company will be able to invest in their training and growth instead of endless hiring.

Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? Read on for more tips!

Tips for sustainable growth

  • The true savings on support come from not hiring more people, but from automating the work of the team as much as possible. Hire only when it’s needed and focus on candidates with more skills and experience. 
  • Stick to the approach: ‘fewer people, more skills’. Focus on helping your support agents grow and learn. Support them by having enough highly qualified managers and team leaders. 
  • When the traffic is moderate, make sure that managers and team leaders focus on helping others grow. At the same time, when the traffic peaks, they can help the team to cover it. 
  • Scale the support team for what you will be doing in 12 months. 
  • Keep your standards by monitoring all necessary metrics and adjust them as you are growing.

Key findings

Support automation is becoming a must these days. If you want to have a highly qualified support team that will be focused on solving complex issues and delivering the highest levels of customer satisfaction, it’s a great idea to consider installing a chatbot to help them cover the basics. 

Let’s review the key findings regarding support automation:

  • To avoid turning a fast-growing tech company into a soulless call center with thousands of unhappy employees, it’s a great idea to aim at automating customer service as much as possible. 
  • The main advantages of automating support include reducing customer support costs, improving the speed and efficiency of support, and allowing your live agents to focus on more important requests. Additionally, it provides high-quality support at all times, everywhere, and in all languages.
  • The key metrics to observe if you want to save on customer support with automation include Contact Rate, Average Tickets Per Hour, and Customer Satisfaction Score. 
  • A great tool to automate support is a chatbot, computer software that operates to simulate human communication through text chats. They are cheap, efficient, and easy to set up.

It seems like support automation with chatbots is here to stay, and it’s becoming more and more widespread. It might be high time to install a bot for your business, too.



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How To Choose the Best Distribution Channels for Your Content


Updated May 19, 2022

If you don’t distribute your content smartly, you’ll never achieve your brand’s content marketing goals.

But how do you know what the best channels are? This succinct guide outlines which distribution options work best, based on your goals and audience.

First, though, you must know two things: who the content is for and what it’s intended to help them achieve. Knowing your audience members’ intent allows you to craft content that will resonate most strongly with them.

Knowing your goals for the content helps you identify the purpose it serves (aka, the call-to-action) for your company and your audience. Both are essential to selecting an appropriate distribution method.

If you need some help determining your audience and setting goals, check out these resources:

Then, go through the list below to see which popular distribution options match up with what you want your brand’s content to achieve.

Influencer distribution

The Influencer industry has grown rapidly. According to an Influencer MarketingHub study, Influencer Marketing will be a $16.4 billion industry by the end of 2022.The reason? People are influenced by personal recommendations more than by any other sales or marketing strategy.

#InfluencerMarketing will be a $16.4 billion industry in 2022 according to @influencerMH #research via @IamAaronAgius via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Consider when pursuing these goals:

The audience connection

If you’re partnering with influencers who are already well-known and well-liked by your target audience, their content efforts can help shine a positive light on your business by strengthening brand perception and helping you build more trusted consumer relationships. It can also extend your brand’s reach by introducing you to consumers you aren’t already connected with.

Tip: Don’t forget to share the influencer’s content and brand promotions on other channels you use to distribute content. Even if your audience members aren’t already following those influencers, they may be impressed and influenced by seeing others endorse your business.

Relevant content

Yes, you can ask influencers to post about your blog articles in which they are mentioned or may be of interest to their audience, but you can also get more creative. Live stories on Instagram, Facebook, and even Snapchat are becoming go-to content for influencers.

Support your influencers with content that works well in a livestream. Offer to discuss a topic related to your industry or discuss your business. Or draw attention to other content you created, like a blog post, an image, a video, or a podcast.

Support influencers with #content that works well in a livestream, advises @IamAaronAgius via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Tip: Influencers are more likely to share and talk about content when they’re directly associated with it. Incorporate their names and social profiles into your content, whether it’s a quote in a blog post, a demo video, or something else.

Additional resources to explore:

Email distribution

Email is the most widespread distribution method. According to data from Statista, an estimated 4.6 billion people – half the world’s population – will be using email by 2025. And HubSpot reports that $1 spent on email marketing returns an average of $42.

Consider when pursuing these goals:

  • Website traffic
  • Brand loyalty
  • Marketing ROI
  • Generating revenue (through up-sells and cross-sells)

Audiences reached

Two broad categories of audiences fit under the email umbrella:

  • Current subscribers (i.e., people who have opted to receive your content)
  • Cold/warm contacts (i.e., email addresses you’ve purchased or rented, or that came in through third-party distribution).

Focus on your subscriber list. They know your brand and will likely be more receptive to your content than a list of strangers.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should send the same email content to everybody in your marketing database. You’re more likely to achieve your goals by segmenting your lists and delivering more-targeted content to each segment.

Don’t send the same #email content to everybody in your list. Segment your lists. @IAmAaronAgius via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Relevant content

Sending weekly or monthly email newsletters is a classic tactic for sharing your content – text, images, and video – and content links to drive traffic to your website.

Since you have some known details about your subscribers, consider personalizing the emails you send them. Go beyond “Dear {FIRST NAME}” and distribute content that’s hyper-relevant based on the individual and their reason (and timing) for subscribing. Research indicates (and logic dictates) that people want to receive content that’s accurate and relevant to their stated preferences, location, engagement history, etc.

You can also use your email newsletters as a cross-promotional content exchange (a different form of influencer marketing): Share relevant content from other brands and ask those companies to include your content in their newsletters.

Use your e-newsletters to cross-promote another brand’s #content, says @IamAaronAgius via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Tip: Create an automated email campaign with evergreen content. For example, when someone subscribes, send them a welcome email that features content about your company’s values.

Additional resources to explore:

Organic social media distribution

The social landscape is continually evolving. With the rise in live storytelling and streaming media, it’s increasingly becoming a content channel that can deliver immediacy, intimacy, and interactivity.

Consider when pursuing these goals:

  • Brand awareness
  • Building/nurturing consumer relationships
  • Lead generation
  • Increasing website traffic

Audiences reached

Sharing your content on your social media channels will primarily reach the audience you have grown on those platforms. Each audience typically reflects the people naturally drawn to use those channels. Let’s look at this recent breakdown of user demographics (from Sprout Social):

  • Facebook (most used social platform)
    • 91 billion monthly active users (MAU)
    • Most-represented age group: 25-34 (31.5%)
    • 57% male, 43% female
  • Instagram (a highly visual-oriented platform)
    • 2 billion MAU
    • Most-represented age group: 25-34 (31.2%)
    • 8% male, 48.4% female
  • LinkedIn (primarily B2B-focused)
    • 810 million MAU
    • Most-represented age group: 25-34 (58.4%)
    • 52% male, 48% female
  • Twitter (chronologically focused)
    • 211 million MAU
    • Most-represented age group: 18-29 (42%)
    • 6% male, 38.4% female
  • Snapchat (a time-dependent chat app)
    • 319 million MAU
    • Most-represented age group 15-25 (48%)
    • A higher concentration of women: 54.4% female, 44.6% male
  • TikTok (short form video app)
    • 1 billion MAU
    • Most-represented age group: 10-19 (25%)
    • 9% female, 39% male

Relevant content

Because of the nature of consumer engagement on social media, visual content works best, particularly still or moving images (e.g., GIFs, memes, infographics, short videos), as they can be digested and shared quickly.

Because of the way consumers engage on #social media, visual content works best, says @IamAaronAgius via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Live streaming content is another popular tactic – one that your audience expects to see on these channels. That said, as you move toward B2B social channels like LinkedIn and (to an extent) Facebook, longer-form, text-focused content may also work well.

Tip: Social media platforms are rented land when it comes to content distribution – your brand doesn’t truly own the relationships you build there. Consider ways to convert your social followers to other content channels where you’ll have more control, such as email.

Additional resources to explore:

Paid distribution

Paid content distribution covers myriad channels. It can be split into three broad categories:

  • Native advertising: Content that matches the look and feel of the originating publishing platform
  • Social media and search ads: Content strategically published by platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Google) in their users’ feeds or in search results.
  • Content syndication: Display ads and content distributed by a third party to relevant sites and digital programs

Consider when pursuing these goals:

  • Website traffic
  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Audience growth

Audiences reached

You can attract new audiences or people who are tangentially connected to your brand online. Since you’re footing the bill, you can customize who will see it – from their demographics to geographic location, to specific interests, etc.

When you pay for distribution, you can pick the audience that sees your #content, says @IamAaronAgius via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Relevant content

Paid distribution relies heavily on capturing attention immediately and making a good impression. Therefore, the content you distribute there should be hyper-useful, entertaining, or meaningful at a glance. Engaging imagery or video content with a brief intro (or text atop an image) is more likely to draw your audience in.

Tip: Before you pay to distribute your content on social media, test it organically on those same platforms. Pay to promote the best performers.

Additional resources to explore:

Give it time and pivot when necessary

After going through the distribution channel opportunities, pick the one that best matches your audience and goals. Focus on making that method work by reviewing your performance metrics regularly and tweaking accordingly (just don’t expect to see overnight results – delivering relevant content consistently is the name of the content marketing game). Once you’ve mastered that channel (or realized it isn’t an effective channel), move on to the next.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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