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Running an agile team effectively is nearly impossible without the right software.
But agile project management tools can make your life much easier. It’s the best way to collaborate with your team, manage changing tasks, and keep track of various projects at scale.
In addition to the managerial perks of agile project management software, your entire team will benefit as well. These tools will make it easier for everyone to work efficiently, communicate, and meet deadlines.
Recognizing you need to invest in agile project management software is only half of the battle. Finding the right software for your business and team is a different story entirely—which is why I created this guide.
After extensive research and testing, I narrowed down the top five agile project management tools available on the market today.
There are certain factors that must be evaluated as you’re shopping around and assessing different tools. By following the buying guide I’ve outlined below, you’ll know exactly what to look for and what’s important in an agile project management solution.
The very first thing you need to consider is the agile framework you plan to use. For those of you who are already familiar with the concepts of agile management, you probably have a preferred methodology.
Do you want to use Scrum or Kanban? Lean? Crystal? Are you using agile framework variations such as Scrumban?
Depending on the answer, you’ll be able to find an agile tool that specializes in your preferred framework. It’s worth noting that not every agile project management software supports all agile management frameworks. So make sure the options you’re considering offer the methodology you need to implement.
Team collaboration is a crucial component of agile management. You want to make sure the software you’re considering comes out-of-the-box with collaboration tools.
Most solutions should come standard with features like team tagging, comments, file sharing, and other basic tools. Some software will have more advanced features, depending on your project type, industry, and team needs.
Just because an agile project management tool offers collaboration features, don’t assume that the tool will be robust enough for your specific team.
There are solutions on the market made for small teams with a handful of users. Those won’t be ideal for businesses that have multiple teams, hundreds of users, and multiple projects across several departments.
It should be relatively easy to determine if the tool in question is built to scale. If not, you can always express those concerns with the sales team during a free trial or demo.
The complexity of your projects will also play a significant factor in choosing the best software for your team.
For example, software development teams and internal IT departments typically have more advanced needs since these projects have a higher level of complexity. In these cases, you should avoid beginner tools and look for industry-specific solutions tailored toward your project needs.
On the flip side, managers and teams who are just starting out with agile project management should be seeking basic solutions to manage simple projects.
The best agile project management software will provide you with detailed reports and advanced analytics about your projects.
You can use these dashboards as a way to learn more about your team’s productivity, find out if the project will be completed on time, and if you’re staying on budget. As a project manager, this information is crucial to the big-picture operation of your business.
The usability of an agile management tool is often overlooked during the evaluation process. But it’s definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration.
What is your technical experience? How tech-savvy is your team?
If you choose a rigid solution that’s tough to use, it can do more harm than good. So you need to find a balance between a tool that’s robust enough to handle your project complexity while still easy for your team to navigate. This is another reason why you should always take advantage of free trials and demos as you’re narrowing down different options.
Not every agile project management tool is the same. Before we dive into the reviews and recommendations, I want to quickly explain the different options.
The easiest way to segment these tools is based on the agile frameworks that they offer. It’s also worth noting that some solutions will fall into more than one of these categories below.
Scrum is one of the most popular agile frameworks because it can be used for such a wide range of projects. Over the years, Scrum has gained popularity because of its simplicity, easy implementation process, and proven productivity boost.
With Scrum, the project manager will work closely with the team in terms of identifying and prioritizing functionality in the backlog. This backlog will contain whatever tasks must be accomplished to deliver the final product.
Kanban is the most popular visual workflow management methodology. Kanban boards make it easier for agile teams to manage various tasks in the project life cycle.
Similar to Scrum, Kanban is built to help teams collaborate with high efficiency.
The basic principles of Kanban include visual workflow automation, limited WIP (work in progress), and enhanced workflows. This process helps promote continuous collaboration and ongoing learning for agile teams.
It’s common for software development teams to leverage the lean agile methodology. This iterative framework is highly flexible and doesn’t have rigid rules or guidelines.
The main principles of lean management include team empowerment, enhanced learning, eliminating waste, delivering tasks as soon as possible, making decisions as late as possible, and seeing the big picture.
Individuals and small teams will have more decision-making authority, as opposed to a hierarchical flow. Lean management also helps ensure that the entire team is productive for the longest amount of time.
The Crystal agile methodology is another popular software development framework. It’s lightweight and typically comprised of a family of agile processes. These include Crystal Orange, Crystal Clear, Crystal Yellow, and others.
Each individual framework has its own unique rules and characteristics based on factors like project priority, team size, and more.
Crystal puts emphasis on the interaction between the processes and people involved in a project. Some of the key principles of Crystal include simplicity, teamwork, collaboration, and the ability to improve processes. It promotes high user engagement while removing distractions and bureaucracies.
There are lots of other agile frameworks out there. When you consider the variations and combinations of some, this number is in the dozens.
Other popular types include LeSS (large scale Scrum), SAFe (scaled agile framework), feature driven development (FDD), extreme programming (XP), dynamic systems development method (DSDM), Scrumban, adaptive software development (ASD), agile-agile hybrid, and FAST agile. The list goes on and on.
Forecast is an all-in-one project management and resource management solution. It’s built for project-driven companies that want to empower teams, automate operations, and unite all projects into a single tool.
With Forecast, you can automate tasks for project planning, resource allocation, and more. The software is powered by AI technology to help simplify monotonous tasks.
Here are some of the top reasons and why Forecast ranks so high on my list:
Overall, Forecast has everything agile teams need to improve communication. Create and assign task cards, file sharing, dependencies, subtasks, comments, and priority lists are just a handful of examples.
It’s a popular choice for agencies, consultants, and software teams. Forecast also has solutions for project accounting and business intelligence. The software seamlessly integrates with other popular tools that your team is using.
Forecast’s AI will learn from your previous projects and suggest the number of hours that should be allocated to similar tasks.
Plans start at $29 per seat per month (with a minimum of 10 seats). Try it free for 14 days; no credit card required.
Monday.com has quickly become one of the most popular agile project management tools on the market today. It’s trusted by 100,000+ organizations worldwide, including some big names like Coca-Cola, Adobe, Hulu, and the Discovery Channel.
This is a great choice if you’re new to agile management and need a solution for basic projects.
It’s one of the easiest ways to plan, track, and deliver team projects from a single workspace. Here are some of the other reasons why I like Monday so much:
Monday.com makes it easy for teams to collaborate. You’ll benefit from features like file sharing, task assignments, task priorities, visual boards, and other ways to see what everyone is doing at a glance.
It’s a popular choice for remote work, marketing, creative teams, HR, sales, and more. While Monday does have tools for software development, IT, and construction projects, it’s definitely better for simple projects.
Plans start at just $8 per seat per month (with a minimum of three seats). You can try Monday.com free for 14 days with an unlimited number of users; no credit card required.
Mavenlink is another all-in-one solution for project management and resource management. It’s a modern way for teams to collaborate from anywhere, which is perfect for remote work.
In addition to improving your team’s productivity on the operational end, Mavenlink provides deep insights into the financial performance of your projects and business as well.
Some of the top features, benefits, and noteworthy highlights of Mavenlink include:
Mavenlink is great for larger teams that need to manage projects across multiple departments. This works fine if you’re just using it for a handful of projects. But it works just as well if you have a project portfolio of 500+.
For small teams and enterprises alike, Mavenlink has a plan for everyone. Rates aren’t available online, so you’ll need to contact their sales team for more information.
Try Mavenlink free for ten days.
Jira by Atlassian is a bit unique compared to some of the other tools on our list. This agile project management software is built specifically for software development projects.
With Jira, software teams of all sizes can plan, track, and release exceptional products.
Let’s take a closer look at Jira’s top highlights for agile management:
Jira is arguably the safest project management tool on the market today in terms of data encryption and compliance. It integrates with 3,000+ apps in the Atlassian marketplace as well.
Software teams, look no further—Jira is the best option agile project management tool for you.
The tool is free for up to ten users. Paid plans start at just $7 per user per month. Try it free for seven days.
VivifyScrum is a versatile agile management solution. It’s trusted by small teams and large organizations alike.
Regardless of your team size and project complexity, this tool can help manage everything from a single platform.
Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider VivifyScrum:
The software comes with mobile apps, API access, file storage, unlimited integrations, unlimited active sprints, and so much more.
VivifyScrum starts at $10 per month for small teams. Contact the sales team for more information on Enterprise pricing. Regardless of your team size and project management needs, you can try VivifyScrum free for 14 days.
The only way to effectively manage an agile team is with the right project management tool. Which agile project management software is the best?
It depends on what you’re looking for. Factors like project type, team size, and other considerations must be evaluated for you to make an informed decision.
Follow my methodology and recommendations described in this guide to find the best agile project management tools for your unique situation.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Merchant services exist to help businesses process credit card payments. You might know them by the name “credit card processors.”
Regardless of what you call them, choosing the best merchant service isn’t easy. The “best” one is the one that is right for your specific business, and each of the following services offers particular features that may work for one company, but not for yours.
That’s why, in this guide, I’m catering to each type of business and finding the right merchant service for your needs.
Before we get into the best merchant services, we need to understand the criteria used to make these decisions. Keep all of the following factors in mind as you read through the reviews.
It’s all about the money, and credit card processing is not as simple as you think. You have to weigh the pros and cons with each gateway; otherwise, you can end up paying way more than you planned.
We need to look at the processing rates first. To get a lower processing rate, you usually have to pay a higher monthly fee. If you’re processing payments at high volume, it’s worth it for you to pay the higher fee because your volume will make up for it.
On the other side, if you’re not processing a lot of payments, having a higher transaction fee won’t hurt you as much as a high monthly fee would.
Flat-rate processing is a simple solution for small businesses, but interchange pricing is generally more affordable.
You want to look at what the payment processor offers in addition to credit card processing. Do they offer free POS systems, hardware, mobile payments, integrations, etc? Some merchant services even offer consulting, customer loyalty features, and invoicing tools.
Sometimes the “extra benefits” you get from a merchant service provider can outweigh some of the negatives.
There are two primary types of accounts, one is an aggregator (or middleman), and one is an ISO (or independent sales organization). Let’s compare the two and see why it’s important to understand the difference.
These are middlemen working in between the business and the bank, offering an easy payment processing solution for businesses. Square is an example of this, and while they make it easier, they usually have higher fees and transaction costs.
Payment Depot is an example of an ISO, and while they usually have a more strict acceptance policy, they offer lower rates and user-friendly software compared to a direct processor.
One of the most important factors to consider is, “how will this integrate with my current systems”?
Your payment processor should never get in the way or cause your conversion rates to decrease; it should complement your current process or even enhance it. Make sure you choose something that will easily integrate into your business without requiring too many changes or adjustments.
After much research and careful consideration, these are my top six merchant services for both in-person and online sales.
Square is popular for its credit card processing and POS systems, but it offers much more. It hosts features such as the “Card on File” feature, allowing users to store customer card information that works great for repeat customers trying to accumulate loyalty points and rewards of that nature.
The processor also doesn’t have a monthly fee, and while Square’s features might not be as advanced as some of the other payment processors we’re talking about, for a POS without a monthly fee, you can’t beat the value.
The one thing that stands out most to me is the transaction costs and how they vary whether you’re doing business in person or online.
For in-person sales, expect to pay 2.6% and $0.10 per transaction. For online transactions, it’ll cost you 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction. There are other instances, such as:
These will cost 3.5% and $0.15 per transaction.
Based on these numbers, Square is not the most affordable flat-rate processor, but the transparency makes it easier for you to understand what the rates are and how they’ll impact your processing based on volume and price.
Flagship Merchant Services cut the tape in 2001 and was acquired by iPayment in 2012. Now, they primarily resell iPayment, so keep that in mind.
This company was one of the first to offer free account setup without any application or fees and real month-to-month contracts. They operate tens of thousands of merchants, and they have a strong reputation.
Since they’re not a direct processor, most of their merchant accounts are set up through iPayment. iPayment uses First Data as their processor, and it can get confusing trying to figure out who is processing what through what service.
For retailers, Flagship does offer a free credit card terminal, but you’re responsible for paying account fees and insurance on that terminal to keep it up and running.
For ecommerce, they offer either Authorize.net for processing and integration of an online cart onto your site.
One thing that was a little frustrating about Flagship is trying to find information on their rates. If you go to their website, you’ll see that you need to fill out a form to get any info about what they charge.
I’d like to see more transparency, but you may end up with a more catered package deal with this strategy.
My favorite feature is that you get a single line of contact with the company when you purchase a gateway; they act as account managers. If you ever have a problem, you contact that specific person, and this isn’t a feature I’ve ever seen with any other merchant service.
If you’re a small business owner, Helcim might appeal to you. With this service, you’re able to process credit and debit cards online and in person. You can also do some of the following:
With a Helcim card reader, you can accept all major cards, including Amex plus Google Pay, Apple Pay, and JCB.
Helcim charges $20 per month with transaction fees based on volume. They don’t have any contracts or cancellation fees, and they’ll wave your monthly fee if you don’t process any payments.
Overall, Helcim is affordable but much more for in-person payments than they are online. Here’s a quick breakdown of their pricing structure:
Helcim offers nice features for those of you looking to integrate this payment gateway into your online store. You can add a checkout to your site for invoicing and customer registration while also accepting recurring subscriptions.
Payment Depot uses a membership pricing model, making it simpler to understand but can sometimes result in you paying higher fees. Thankfully, Payment Depot’s rates are pretty competitive, and they include interchange-plus pricing for both online, in-person, and mobile payments.
This strategy actually makes Payment Depot one of the most affordable payment processors for established businesses that are doing a certain amount of volume.
Payment Depot accepts all major cards and contactless Apple Pay and Google Pay as well. You get next-day funding and integration with POS systems as well as ecommerce platforms such as:
I don’t think this is one of the best merchant services for small businesses because of how they structure their pricing. The transaction fees go down as you pay a higher monthly fee, and they seemingly force you to increase your plan because of strict processing limits.
Here’s a breakdown of their pricing:
So, as you can see – if you’re doing high volume, it would make the most sense to upgrade to the most expensive plan for the lowest transaction fees.
Fattmerchant is set up a lot like many of the payment processors. As you increase your monthly fee, your transaction fees go down. They offer Omni, which is where you’ll do your invoicing, payments, and reporting. The service is incredibly user-friendly, great for beginners, and it comes included with your monthly fee.
While Fattmerchant is a great choice for budget-conscious business owners, it’s also a great option for subscription-based businesses. If you’re selling monthly coaching packages, agency services, or counseling, you’ll benefit from Fattmerchant’s structure.
The processor accepts all major cards, including ACH, invoicing, Text2Pay, and more. Same day funding is available, and you get a free iOS and Android POS app and Bluetooth card readers that you can use on the go.
They have two pricing plans:
Fattmerchant has a higher monthly fee than some others, but the company says that is how they keep their transaction fees down.
If your business runs entirely online, Stripe is your best choice. It’s made specifically for ecommerce and internet business, and tons of startups and Fortune 500 companies trust Stripe.
The company offers sophisticated software and APIs that allow online store owners to customize their checkout experience. You can use the pre-built integrations to connect a Stripe checkout right away and then customize it as you go along.
That’s one of the main reasons why I love Stripe; it’s a payment processor that grows with you and allows you to change it as your business needs change.
With all of these features and moving parts comes complications. It’s not the easiest to set up, and if you plan on utilizing the many benefits of Stripe, you’ll likely need a developer to handle it for you.
Stripe offers a “pay as you go” strategy without monthly fees and transparent transaction fees across the board.
You can use all major credit and debit cards plus ACH, WeChat Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and much more. Expect to wait two business days for deposits or pay a one percent fee to get instant deposits.
Stripe integrates with WordPress, Magento, Squarespace, 3DCart, Zoho, Big Cartel, and more.
So, by this point, you should know which of these merchant services is right for you. They all have their pros and cons, and you should choose according to the type of business you own.
Square is an overall solid solution for all businesses, but the transaction fees are a bit high, and scalability is lacking.
I’m also a big fan of Helcim because they allow you to grow with your processor by increasing the monthly payment as your volume needs increase.
Regardless of which choice you make, keep the important factors in mind and choose carefully, so you don’t regret your decision down the road.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Think back to the last time you saw one of those giant, clunky fax machines sitting around.
It’s probably been a while, right? While that old-school hardware is undoubtedly outdated, faxing isn’t dead by any means.
It’s actually very much alive. But thankfully, we have better technology.
The best online fax services make sending secure communications via fax a breeze for individuals and businesses of all sizes with no ugly, expensive, or finicky hardware required.
However, there are dozens of providers to choose from, which is why making the right choice is often more challenging than actually using the service. So to help make your decision easier, I narrowed it down to my top six recommendations—and reviewed them.
There are dozens of online fax service providers to choose from. This makes it challenging to know which one’s perfect for your business, especially if you’re not quite sure what to look for.
All of the options on this list are excellent. However, they may not work for everyone.
So, don’t forget to use the following factors as you go through the decision-making process to help you narrow things down and find the perfect fit.
As a business, you probably need multiple user accounts. Different services have different pricing plans, so it’s essential to consider the number of accounts you need.
Some options may limit the number of users with no way around it. Others may offer extra user accounts with an additional monthly fee. So, this plays a massive role in how much you can expect to pay every month.
With that said, most smaller businesses won’t have problems with account limitations.
But large corporations with multiple departments who need faxing capabilities may run into problems with low-limit plans.
Most businesses rely on cloud storage tools. Whether you depend on Microsoft 365 or Google’s G Suite, your employees probably use these tools daily to create and archive documents.
So, it’s important to consider these integrations if you and your team need to store documents you send or receive via online fax.
This can help streamline your document management processes.
Most providers charge an extra fee if you go over the number of pages your plan includes. So, you need to consider your business’s needs when it comes to monthly fax volume.
A lot of providers place low limits on this to encourage you to upgrade to a better plan.
So it’s critical to choose a plan that offers enough pages per month along with a fair page overage fee (just in case). However, online fax services with unlimited plans are a better option for businesses that expect to send and receive high volumes every month.
If you’re using an online fax service to send and automatically digitize documents, it should come with document archiving as well. This can significantly streamline and automate your document management processes.
Some online fax services provide online databases so users can easily store faxed documents. However, some don’t, and others don’t provide archiving features at all. Without this, you have to print, scan, and store everything by hand.
Which… can be an incredibly time-consuming process.
So, pay close attention to this as you decide, especially if it’s something you need now or may need in the future.
There are lots of different all-purpose online fax services out there. However, sometimes particular providers are more suited to specific industries.
Healthcare is an excellent example of this because you’re dealing with sensitive information and legal regulations regarding how you handle it. So, you need a service that’s secure and compliant with those requirements.
However, healthcare isn’t the only industry like this. As such, it’s critical to consider your industry’s requirements and regulations before making your final decision.
Not all online fax services are the same.
So, before we dive into the reviews, let’s talk about the different types of online fax services so you know exactly what to look for as you go through the process.
The most common online fax services are cloud or browser-based. All you have to do to get started is create an account, and you’re ready to go.
Web-based fax services are known for high-quality faxes as well as ease of use.
And they often offer a wide range of cloud-based integrations with platforms like G Suite and Dropbox, making life easier if you want to archive your communications on the cloud.
Mobile fax services allow users to fax directly from their smartphones. Essentially, mobile faxing is as convenient and as easy as snapping a photo.
Plus, you don’t have to wait until you’re at your computer or rely on team members sitting in front of a desktop to send and receive communications.
Some providers may also support desktop or web-based use, while others are exclusively mobile.
So, keep this in mind as you decide which provider is best for you and your team.
mFax is one of the most flexible and adaptable online fax services for businesses with numerous team members. Their flexible monthly plans allow up to 50 individuals to use the service.
Operating as cloud software, there’s no need to install or download any programs. And you can easily access the mFax interface from any web browser on any device.
With an easy-to-use interface and intuitive setup, it’s an excellent option for those looking to get started with their first online fax service.
mFax comes with various features and benefits, including:
mFax also has a beta version of international outbound fax for 24 countries. So, you’re not limited to one particular country.
Plans start at $7 per month for one user, making it super affordable for businesses of all sizes. Plus, you can try mFax for free or sign up for a product demo to learn more about it.
RingCentral Fax is another popular online fax service. With a solid feature list, flexible user numbers, and robust security suite, it’s my #1 all-in-one online fax service recommendation.
Their unique fax scheduling feature makes it easy to send faxes for future delivery. This is particularly useful if you need to send international faxes to users in other timezones or have employees who don’t work standard operating hours.
On top of that, you also get access to a ton of powerful features and benefits, including:
RingCentral Fax is a great all-around option for small and large businesses who won’t mind the slightly limited online fax storage (you can always store them elsewhere).
Plans start at $17.99 a month, and there’s an unlimited plan for just $24.99 a month.
HelloFax is the best online fax service for integrated cloud storage.
The service seamlessly syncs with G Suite, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box. Users can also access their faxes directly on the HelloFax’s service from any web browser on any device.
Plus, it’s super easy to use. Faxes arrive directly to inboxes as a PDF where they are easily viewable, downloadable, and shareable.
There’s also unlimited storage for businesses that prefer not to use other cloud storage providers for their faxes.
With HelloFax, you can:
Despite having cloud integration with multiple platforms, HelloFax still offers unlimited storage, which is excellent for businesses planning on sending or receiving high-volume communications.
There’s a free plan for up to 5 faxes per month, so you can try it free before you invest. However, most businesses need more than that, and you’ll need to upgrade once you reach that limit.
But their paid plans are affordable, starting at $9.99 per month.
SRFax is a great option for businesses that have high-security concerns. Transferring information over the internet always comes with the risk of interception.
And for specific industries like healthcare, security is even more paramount.
Healthcare providers rely on faxing to transfer sensitive patient data. So, the fax services they use must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
SRFax provides multiple layers of data encryption while maintaining a user-friendly interface, making it an excellent choice for high-security industries.
In addition to HIPAA compliant fax services, SRFax has multiple tiers and plans suited to all security levels and sizes of businesses.
They also offer a variety of features and benefits to make your life easier, including:
For any company that prioritizes high-level security, SRFax is an excellent choice.
Pricing is affordable, with monthly plans starting at $3.29 per month. Or you can sign up for a non-healthcare specific 60-day trial to test it out before you commit.
FaxBurner stands out from other online fax services for its well-designed, user-friendly IOS and Android apps. With FaxBurner, sending faxes is as easy as taking a picture, and you can receive them straight into your inbox.
Set up is quick and easy. Plus, the platform gives users a temporary fax number that expires after 24 hours without upgrading to a paid plan.
On top of that, you also get various features and benefits, including:
For users who need the convenience and flexibility of a mobile-first fax application, FaxBurner is my number top recommendation.
Free packages provide up to 25 inbound faxes and five outbound faxes a month. And their paid plans start at just $12.95 a month, making it incredibly affordable for most users.
If your business is just looking to send the occasional fax, Biscom 123 is an incredibly affordable option. As a leading telecommunications enterprise, Biscom makes online faxing simple for both businesses and individuals with a straightforward interface.
You can also try it free for 30 days to see if it’s a good fit for your business, with no credit card required. However, it doesn’t maintain archival records of your communications. So, keep that in mind.
Depending on your faxing needs, Biscom 123 offers various plans that allow you to send up to 300 pages with support for multiple team members.
Plus, you can also:
Pricing starts at $7.99 per month. This entry-level plan includes 30 pages per month with a charge of 7 cents per additional page. So, it certainly won’t break the bank.
However, that doesn’t mean they’re suitable for everyone in every situation.
So, don’t forget to consider the factors we talked about and take advantage of free trials as you go through the process of picking the best online fax services for you and your team.
What company do you use to send online faxes?
Marketing campaigns get more complex by the day.
Which… is great news for the consumer experience but a nightmare for you as a marketing manager handling thousands of moving parts (and countless employees) on a daily basis.
To put it lightly, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.
Especially complex technical challenges that most consumers and employees will never see or fully understand.
But thankfully more and more automation tools are popping up to make your life a bit easier.
However, that means choosing the best marketing automation software for your business and team is harder than its ever been.
From enterprise-grade solutions to the most affordable options, my team and I have researched, tested, and used just about every software you can imagine. And I can honestly say… that’s not an exaggeration.
But the good news is that I narrowed it down to my top six recommendations, reviewed them, and developed an all-inclusive list of what to consider when making your final decision.
I stand behind all of my top recommendations. However, choosing the right one for you isn’t always easy because it depends on various factors.
So, before we dive in, let’s talk about how to narrow things down and find the best marketing automation software for your business.
B2B businesses have different marketing needs than D2C companies.
Furthermore, marketing agencies present a new set of marketing automation challenges. Because of that, specialized software may be necessary to meet your specific needs at a reasonable price point.
The size of your business matters too. Large companies run complex, massive-scale campaigns and have bigger pockets. So, small business tools aren’t a good match.
However, smaller companies will probably find enterprise-grade features confusing and wildly out of budget, which is why those small business tools exist in the first place.
So, pay attention to who the software is built for when making your final decision.
Most pricing plans depend on the number of contacts or leads you have. The larger your list, the more you need to pay to maintain it and stay in touch with them.
If you have tens or hundreds of thousands of contacts, enterprise-grade solutions are probably more cost-effective. However, that’s not the case if you have a few hundred or even a few thousand leads on your list.
Just be sure to keep this in mind and remember that specific plans may limit the maximum number of contacts you can have.
And if you hit those limits, you’ll need to upgrade to a higher plan or pay an extra fee.
Different marketing automation software supports various marketing channels.
And there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
From SMS and email marketing to social media and push notifications, it’s crucial to choose a software that handles everything you need.
Smaller businesses with simple campaigns may not utilize a wide range of channels and can get away using a more affordable tool.
However, large businesses with complex campaigns spanning numerous channels need something more robust to manage all the moving parts.
Furthermore, some software includes varying channels in different pricing tiers. So, you may start on one level and need to move up to gain access to more marketing channels. Or you may need to move to (or integrate) a new tool altogether.
It may help to map out your upcoming campaigns and decide which channels you plan to use.
Automation is at the heart of every tool on this list. But some offer more advanced automation features than others.
Do you need to score leads and prospects? Maybe you want to combine SMS, email marketing, and Facebook ads in the same customer journey. Or perhaps you need the ability to send hyper-targeted emails on autopilot.
Regardless of the complexity of your campaigns, don’t forget to consider:
You may not need all of them, and some tools don’t include them. So it’s critical to understand what you need (and don’t need) before making your decision.
It’s not uncommon for marketing automation software to include a handful of features typically found in a CRM tool, like live chat or customer support capabilities.
Before making a final decision, it’s essential to understand which additional features you need to fill the gap between marketing and sales or customer service.
You may already have these systems in place. So, you won’t need these additional features. But if you don’t, you might be able to save money, hassle, and time by choosing a software that includes everything you’re missing under one roof.
Hubspot is an excellent example of this.
It includes customer service, sales, and marketing automation tools in a centralized location to streamline data movement and foster automation across your entire business.
Marketing comes in all shapes, sizes, and complexities.
From physical mailers and print campaigns to social media and email marketing, the best marketing automation software helps you build, automate, and optimize all types of marketing campaigns.
Marketing automation software is often confused with customer relationship management (CRM). However, the two aren’t the same or interchangeable.
CRM software focuses on sales activities, while marketing automation software focuses on marketing tasks. Going further, marketing automation software is for generating, nurturing, and qualifying leads.
On the other hand, CRM software is to close the sale and foster communications or relationships after the sale.
In a perfect world, the two systems play well together and create a seamless flow of data from your marketing team to your sales team.
Taking things further, there are numerous subsets of marketing automation software, including:
Each different tool is powerful on its own. But true marketing automation software lets you create and optimize customer journeys across marketing platforms for varying complexity campaigns.
Around here, we’re big fans of Freshworks (if you couldn’t tell).
Freshmarketer is their intelligent marketing automation platform built to help small to midsize businesses save time, attract the right people, nurture their audiences, and make more money.
It’s my #1 recommendation for most users—and for a good reason.
From awareness to retention, you get all the automation features you need to gain more leads, turn those leads into customers, and keep those customers around for life. All while doing less work with better results.
Plus, you don’t need any technical skills or a dedicated support team to get started. And it takes about a minute to get up and running.
You also get access to incredible features like:
Furthermore, the software seamlessly integrates with Freshworks’ other tools, so it’s an excellent choice if you currently use or plan to use any of their business software.
You can try Freshmarketer on their limited free forever plan or a 21-day free trial of their paid plans, which are incredibly affordable and accessible for businesses of all sizes. However, they depend on the number of contacts you have, so keep that in mind.
Their plans include:
Just remember the cost for each plan goes up after you max out your 1,000 contacts.
As a B2B business, you market to other companies, which presents a unique set of marketing challenges. As such, you need a marketing automation tool built for the job.
Pardot exists to help B2B companies build relationships and turn those relationships into revenue. Plus, it’s a fantastic marketing automation software built around the world’s #1 CRM.
So, you know you’re in good hands.
From lead generation to sales alignment, the software offers a wide range of features, including:
Furthermore, over 2.8+ million worldwide users rely on Pardot for their marketing automation needs, making it one of the most popular platforms on this list.
But it is a bit expensive, so it’s best suited for larger businesses. Their paid plans include:
They also offer a few add-ons that come free in the Premium plan. Those add-ons include Salesforce Engage ($50/user per month), Analytics Plus ($3,000/month), and Engagement History ($300/year).
All plans and add-ons are billed on an annual basis.
Email is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. All the tools on this list include email marketing in one form or another, but ActiveCampaign specializes in it.
So, it’s an excellent option if you want to hone in and focus on improving your email marketing strategy. It’s also a super affordable tool that includes numerous automation features for leads anywhere in your funnel.
With that said, they also offer omnichannel automation, including instant messaging and SMS, live chat, and Facebook.
So, you’re not limited to just email marketing automation with ActiveCampaign.
Their most popular features cover leads at every point in the funnel, including:
You can also set up numerous types of emails like autoresponders, targeted or triggered emails, broadcasts, scheduled emails, and automated funnels.
And you can design those emails using their intuitive drag and drop designer, or start from one of their 25+ pre-made mobile-responsive design templates.
Whether you’re just getting started or interested in scaling and optimizing your email marketing strategy, ActiveCampaign is an excellent choice. They offer everything you need to capture, nurture, and close leads at scale.
ActiveCampaign offers four plans, with the price of each starting at:
Each tier includes more advanced features, and pricing is based on the size of your list, starting for up to 500 contacts.
So, keep in mind that you will have to pay more than the prices above as your list grows.
Acoustic offers an array of marketing automation products for centralized cross-platform multi-channel marketing. From personalization and email campaigns to web content management and experience management, they offer something for everyone.
Acoustic Campaign is their marketing automation tool, encompassing mobile apps, push notifications, SMS, group chats, social media, ads, email, print campaigns, and more.
You can also combine this with Acoustic Personalization and Acoustic Analytics for a powerful combination of campaign management, data, and using that data to deliver the right message at the right time.
With Acoustic Campaign, you get access to powerful features, including:
Furthermore, they have a community forum where you can publicly ask questions. They also provide an online academy packed full of educational videos and training so you can get the most of your custom automation package.
Note: Acoustic is built for moderate to large volume campaigns with countless moving parts. So, it’s perfect for businesses managing complicated campaigns across numerous channels.
But it’s overkill for a lot of businesses and anyone running single-channel campaigns.
Pricing isn’t available online, and you have to schedule a consultation to learn more. So, keep in mind that you won’t be able to sign up and get started immediately.
If you’re looking for an easy way to automate your sales, customer service, and marketing processes, Hubspot Growth Suite is an excellent and affordable solution.
And the best part? Hubspot goes beyond automating your business processes. It also helps integrate and optimize different departments in one centralized location, thus streamlining your entire business’s workflow.
This means teams don’t have to jump from software to software to get the information they need, and you can automate the data transfer process from one team to the next.
However, their marketing automation capabilities are powerful on their own, with features like:
Hubspot offers basic features, like emails, landing pages, forms, and live chat capabilities for unlimited users absolutely free. So, you can try it out without spending a penny.
Alternatively, you can sign up for a free demo to see all of their advanced features in action.
The Growth Suite (sales, marketing, CRM, and customer service) starts at $50 per month for two users and up to 1,000 contacts, making it extremely affordable for most businesses.
But they also have advanced plans for larger and more complex campaigns, including:
Each 1,000 contacts after your initial 1,000 cost $16.67 per month. And you can add more users to your sales and service hubs for $8.33 per user/month.
Plus, if you’re a current member or alumni of Hubspot’s approved incubator, accelerator, or Venture Capital partners with a round of Series A funding under your belt, you can get up to 90% off your first year.
As a marketing agency, you handle marketing campaigns for several clients (if not hundreds of them) at any given time. As such, you need marketing automation software with the ability to manage everything, including your own marketing campaigns, in one place.
And Act-On offers the perfect solution.
Their scalable software features unique child and parent campaign capabilities, meaning you can easily manage and handle all of your client accounts from a single Act-On login.
Plus, you can completely brand and customize everything to deliver custom reports to clients in just a few clicks.
With Act-On, you can learn more about your clients’ audiences to personalize and tailor their message to match. Not only does this make their life easier, but it also means your team can work less to produce better results.
When you sign up, you get access to powerful marketing features, including:
Plus, you can build custom real-time analytic dashboards for internal and external use, so you and your clients always know what’s going on.
Furthermore, you can use this information to improve customer ROI, build better technology stacks, and optimize entire marketing campaigns on behalf of your clients. From lead gathering and nurturing to transferring contact information to sales, you’re in good hands.
Sign up for a free demo to learn more and get started today!
Freshmarketer is my top recommendation for most businesses. It’s built for small to midsize companies interested in automating their marketing processes to grow their businesses and save time.
Plus, it’s affordable, easy to use, and packed full of powerful automation features.
However, it’s not the perfect solution for everyone. So, don’t forget to use the criteria we talked about as you sort through finding the best marketing automation software for you and your team.
What are your favorite marketing automation tools?
You may have heard keywords are an essential part of any SEO strategy: they are. Without the right keywords on your site, people won’t find you while searching the web.
But there’s a lot more to keyword strategy than figuring out what people are searching for. It means choosing the right keywords for your business, determining which ones you’ll be able to rank for, and a whole lot more.
If you’re an SEO newbie, understanding keyword strategy can be overwhelming. But in this ultimate guide to keywords, I’ll give you all the info you need to get started.
Keywords are what people type into a search engine when they’re looking for something online. The term “keyword” is kind of misleading because a keyword doesn’t have to be just one word. For example, if I’m looking for a new Chinese restaurant to try out, I might type in:
Each of those phrases is a keyword. Of course, if you own a Chinese restaurant, you might want to figure out how to get your website to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when someone types those in. This is where a keyword strategy comes in.
Why is keyword strategy important? Well, think about the last time you wanted to make a purchase. If you had questions, you probably went online to research them. If you did, you’re not alone. Over half of consumers search for reviews and recommendations online before making purchases. When your website ranks highly in search engine results, you can reach traffic that may be ready to buy. With a really good keyword strategy, you could also reach people who haven’t even thought about your product or service.
With individuals worldwide spending nearly seven hours online every day, advertising through organic search is too good an opportunity to pass up. But if you’re going to advertise through SERPS, it’s important to try to rank as highly as possible. Why? Because people click on the first few results way more often.
Sistrix reports the first organic result in Google search has an average click-through rate (CTR) of almost 30%. The second result has a CTR of just 15.7%, and the third one only has 11%.
By the time you get to the tenth result on Google, only 2.5% of people click through. An excellent SEO strategy can help you move up in these rankings, which may result in higher CTR. A big part of that strategy should be choosing the right keywords for your website
When it comes to selecting the right keywords for a page, there are a few steps you should take. Below, you’ll find a plan to follow when optimizing your website:
Before doing any keyword research, you need to look at all the pages on your website. Put relevant keywords on most of the critical pages on the site. Later, I’ll talk about where you should insert the keywords on each page. Most websites have a similar structure: homepage, “About Us” page, contact page, etc.
If you have a large site, consider making a spreadsheet listing all the different pages so you can keep track of what you’ve improved. If your website has a blog, you shouldn’t write blog posts and optimize them for keywords later. Instead, do it the other way around: use keyword research tools to give you ideas for new blog post topics. But if you already have blog posts on your site that aren’t keyword optimized, you can and should go back to optimize them.
The next step is to choose a keyword research tool. Keyword research tools give you useful data to help you choose the best keywords.
In the next section of this article, I’ll talk more about some of the keyword research tools out there. For now, I’ll give you some examples using my tool, Ubersuggest.
Brainstorm a few keywords that are relevant to your product or service. If you’re optimizing blog posts, think of some that are relevant to the topic of the post you’re looking at. Then, enter the keywords into your keyword tool, and choose the language and region you’re interested in.
Here’s what you’ll get after you hit the “Search” button:
Next, you need to interpret the data your keyword tool gives you. The “search volume” is the average number of searches per month for your keyword:
“SEO difficulty” and “paid difficulty” scores range from 0-100. Lower scores mean the keyword is easier to rank for, while higher ones mean it’s more difficult:
The average cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount you need to pay Google for each click if you want to run an ad in Google search. Keywords with higher CPC are usually more valuable.
The next section on Ubersuggest gives you some information about the webpages currently ranking in the top 10. You can see the number of backlinks they have and their domain scores.
In the following section, there’s detailed information about the keyword. You can see the search volume over time, the number of people clicking on organic and paid search results, and the searchers’ age ranges.
Next, you’ll find some ideas for other similar keywords.
In the last section, you can see some content pieces that are ranking for this keyword and being shared on social media. You can use this to get inspiration for your content.
Now that you’ve seen the metrics, you can get an idea of whether a keyword is good to use or not. Ideally, you’ll want to go for keywords with a combination of the following:
Think about your audience when looking for keywords, though. If a particular keyword doesn’t make sense (e.g., it’s misspelled, awkward, or irrelevant), you might not want to use it—even if the metrics look good.
You don’t want to lead people to your site if they aren’t interested in your product or service. This might lead to a higher bounce rate, meaning people clicking on your site and leaving right away. A high bounce rate is bad for business and may be bad for SEO as well.
We’ve already talked about how to use Ubersuggest, but there are lots of other keyword research tools. Here are a few of the best ones:
Google’s Keyword Planner gives you search volume and competition feedback for different keywords. It’s free to use, although you’ll have to jump through a few hoops to access it without creating a Google ad campaign, such as clicking “switch to expert.” Here’s what you get when you search for “SEO consulting:”
As you can see, you get some info about the search volume, the amount of competition, and what people are paying for the keyword on Google AdWords. Besides the Keyword Planner, you should also check out Google’s other free tools like Google Trends, Search Console, and Google Analytics when building your SEO strategy.
There are also paid keyword tools you can use, like Moz, SEMrush, and AHrefs. These tools are more expensive than Ubersuggest, but Moz offers a limited free version.
Both Moz and SEMRush have free trial periods. Here’s what Moz’s keyword tool, Keyword Explorer, looks like after you’ve typed in SEO tools:
Like Ubersuggest, Moz’s tool gives you a list of suggested keywords and currently ranking content. You also have a range for the monthly search volume, a “difficulty” score from 0-100, information on the organic click-through rate (how many people are clicking on the non-advertising results), and a “priority” score from 0-100.
The priority score is a combination of all the other metrics and is the most crucial score. A high priority score means you’re likely to be able to rank on this keyword.
Remember when I said we’d talk about where to put keywords on your webpages? Of course, you’ll want to add keywords to your website’s copy and blog posts, but there are some other places you should be putting them, too.
Before I dive into this section, I want to say there’s a difference between keyword optimization for organic traffic vs. paid ads.
“Organic traffic” is traffic that comes from regular Google search results—not ads. By adding keywords to your website, you’re helping it rank higher in organic search.
Choosing keywords for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a whole different ball game. For more information about using keywords in PPC campaigns, check out my posts “How to Launch a Successful PPC Campaign for the First Time” and “An Introduction to Pay-Per-Click Search Marketing.”
Of course, keywords should be throughout your content, including website copy and blog posts. But how often should you be using keywords in your content? When planning your blog content, you should choose one focus keyword for each blog post, along with a few complementary keywords.
Consider using a long-tail keyword—a longer, highly-specific keyword, like “what is SEO”—as your focus keyword. Long-tail keywords are often easier to rank on than single words are.
Use your focus keyword and complementary keywords in your content as often as possible—as long as the content makes sense and sounds good.
Long ago, “keyword stuffing” was the norm, with content creators shoving keywords into content repeatedly, making it sound spammy. That’s an outdated SEO tactic and may turn readers off—and upset Google to boot.
In addition to content, an important place to use keywords is in your image tags. By optimizing your images, you can drive traffic through image search as well as text search. Optimizing your images means adding keywords into the filename, image title, and ALT text (a tag people use to optimize their images for search engines and screen readers).
If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you can update the image title and ALT text directly in your website’s media editor. Make sure both your ALT text and title (title isn’t as important as the ALT) are descriptive and explain what the image is about:
A final place you should be using keywords is in your website’s title tags and meta descriptions.
The title tag and meta description show up in search results when people look for your website. They can also usually be edited in your website’s CMS.
Here’s what a title tag and meta description looks like. The blue link is the title tag, while the text is the meta description:
Once you’ve added keywords to your website, how can you tell if your SEO efforts are paying off?
You’ll want to track your performance on each of your target keywords to see how you’re doing and if you need to change anything.
SEO tools can help you do this. Ubersuggest gives you a lot of information about your website’s performance in the search engine results:
Here, you can see NeilPatel.com’s best-performing pages:
And here are some of the keywords I’m ranking on right now:
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to keywords. It’s not enough just to find the right keywords—you also have to know how to use them to rank. To succeed with a keyword strategy, you need to have an organized plan.
Part of this is having the right keyword research tools and knowing how to use them. But you also have to know your audience well and think strategically.
Using the tips in this article, you can get started with keyword research and hopefully boost your place in the search engine results. Good luck!
Did I miss any info about keywords? If you have some tips you’d like to share, let us know in the comments.
Organic and promoted videos serve multiple purposes for consumers in their increasingly multi-channel B2C journey.
More than half of the participants said they switched between search and video channels (Google and YouTube) to make an informed decision about a purchase in a YouTube study.
All these platforms—along with most other social media sites—are ones consumers go to regularly. So as online sellers, these should become your go-to places for running promoted video content. In one study, US online shoppers said they expect to see at least three videos connected to each product when making an online purchase.
But how do you use promoted videos from paid campaigns that translate to tangible results for your e-commerce store?
Goals of promoted videos for e-commerce businesses mostly come down to these three:
Take your goals for promoted videos and choose KPIs that reflect them.
Bigger e-commerce brands often use KPIs like ad recall, message association, and purchase intent, among others.
However, if you’re just starting out or are in your early stages of growth, these KPIs won’t make so much sense for you. Instead, you should map your goals to the more “real” KPIs, like upper funnel metrics like views and impressions, middle funnel metrics like watch time and view-throughs, and bottom-funnel metrics like click-throughs, signups, and sales. (Here’s a primer on e-commerce attribution modeling that can help you with this.)
Analytics in most video platforms will report on the general performance of your promoted videos, including:
Different video platforms have different ways of calculating these metrics. For instance, watch time of three-seconds counts as a view on Instagram (where video content maxes out at 60 seconds), whereas for YouTube, a view happens when someone watches the video content for at least 30 seconds.
Now that you’ve taken care of the “business side” of using promoted videos for your e-commerce business, it’s time to look into the “people side.”
One way to go about this is to tap into the idea of “moments of need” that drive video search and consumption. These are the things consumers want at this exact second.
The four key micro-moments of needs you must factor in when planning video content for paid promotions are:
These micro-moments represent opportunities for engagement, and videos fit seamlessly into them.
For example, if you sell skincare products, you could run a sponsored video on YouTube that targets users in your target market who also Googled “skincare products,” capitalizing on an I-want-to-buy moment. Google’s research has found advertisers who use YouTube video ads and Google search ads report 3% higher conversion rates and a 4% lower search cost/acquisition.
Or you could target broader audience segments and educate them about their top relevant concerns (ingredients, benefits, etc.). This is geared toward the I-want-to-know moments.
When you brainstorm ideas for videos using moments of need, don’t only think in terms of pitching your products. Some of these moments aren’t moments of buying but opportunities to connect with your users via meaningful video content.
The idea is to meet your users with relevant video content wherever they are in their buying journey with you—unaware, considering, or ready-to-buy.
Each video platform has a unique video consumption pattern driven by the viewers’ intents.
For example, Pinterest users appear to have an appetite for “inspirational” video content, with searches for this content increasing 31 percent. “Inspirational,” in this context, means things like how-to guides and backstories of companies and products, making this platform great for “I-want-to-know” and “I-want-to-do” moments.
For YouTube, on the other hand, the top four content categories are comedy, music, entertainment/pop culture, and “how to.” And, 68% of their users take this information and make purchase decisions—so, you can find all sorts of opportunities to use “moments” on this site to make your sales.
It’s also worth exploring how a user engages with the platform you’re using to promote your videos. Pinterest, for instance, serves as a wishlist for many users, as people save images and videos from all over to their personal pages. Meanwhile, a customer who uses YouTube may watch videos to learn how to use a product they want.
Instagrammers’ “moments” can fall into any category, but they want to use the information right now. When you create videos for Instagram, they need to be fast, informative, and provide easy purchasing information.
Before you pick a platform, dig into its demographics and research data. This information can help you set expectations for your promoted videos.
When it comes to creating video content you’ll pay to promote, the only rules are the ones mandated by the video platforms. These rules are about the formats supported and the approval policies, plus a few best practices.
Content-wise, there’s no one right way to do video. You need to know your company, your audience, and what works for similar brands.
For one brand, simply using stock photos, text, and music could do the trick.
Another brand might do better if they use video showing a product in action.
While there’s no one single way to create videos that work, some video types more consistently deliver results when promoted:
The above ideas for promoted video content may often overlap with the video content you’d produce for typical partnerships—but not always. It’s common for brands to create content specifically for partnerships and use it in addition to their other ads.
Alongside these promoted ads and partnerships, UGC (user-generated content) and testimonials can act as good ideas for promoted video content.
No matter what video type you choose, you need a video creative brief to prepare for your campaign. Below, Nic Burrows from Google shares a simple yet effective creative brief you can use to create compelling videos.
His template forces you to think about and research every aspect involved with creating useful, action-inspiring videos:
You can download your copy here (no opt-in needed).
To learn how to make your video content pop, Ben Jones and his team from Google review 1,000 video ad creatives each month and share how brands can improve. Check it out here:
Like your other marketing assets, experiment with your promoted videos to know which ones drive the most revenue.
You can test pretty much everything, from your video’s length and opening sequence to the background music and interactive elements.
You’ll be surprised to realize significant savings with even simple experiments, so don’t shy away from trying all sorts of different things.
For example, when the coffee and bakery brand Dunkin’ experimented by creating an Instagram video ad with poll stickers and another version without them. By comparing these two concepts, they discovered a 20% lower cost per video view for those with stickers.
Avoid testing too many ideas in a single experiment because you likely won’t be able to tell why the winning version succeeded.
Document your findings to save on the next campaign. Additionally, your discoveries can fuel your follow-up experiments.
As with any other marketing channel, you may improve your ROI with your store’s promoted videos if you analyze their performance.
Just remember to look a little deeper than the top-of-the-funnel metrics like views and shares to uncover the “real” performance. No matter how impressive those numbers may be, they don’t necessarily translate to sales and profits.
So keep an eye on your sales volumes and value.
Also, when you use promoted videos on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, you can get instant feedback from your users via their comments, likes, dislikes, and shares.
Listen to the feedback they give and use any insights to optimize your videos.
When trying promoted videos for generating more sales, you should try a variety of platforms one by one.
That way, you’ll be able to identify which platforms produce the best ROI for your promoted video campaigns without needing to invest in complex attribution modeling.
Also, don’t think you need the most high-definition production equipment or the best creative agencies to produce the video content for promoting your products. Audiences crave for authentic content the most—so focus on that.
Remember, you’re competing against your own benchmarks, as there are no industry standards here.
Dive in, try different things, listen to your viewers, and—perhaps—have a little fun along the way.
Have you tried promoting videos on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other platforms? Share your experience in the comments!
The post How to Use Promoted Videos to Generate More E-commerce Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.
Is your company tapping into its local customers through B2B local SEO?
Although business-to-consumer (B2C) brands often leverage local marketing, business-to-business (B2B) ones tend to take a broader approach.
B2B brands without storefronts are even more likely to have their local marketing strategies slip through the cracks.
46% of all Google searches are local, so if you’re not targeting people in your area, you may be missing nearly half of your potential consumers.
Consumers regularly search online reviews and research businesses in which they’re interested. This trend continues to grow—a BrightLocal study showed 90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% looking every day.
Are you wondering how to attract local customers? The answer is deceptively simple: optimize your local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Let’s dive into critical areas and explore the best ways to enhance your B2B local SEO strategy.
B2B local SEO is about improving your online search visibility for nearby customers in your physical service area.
There are several ways in which local SEO varies from traditional SEO. Several ranking factors can move the needle in different ways.
Some of these include a searcher’s location, your Google My Business listing, online reviews, your website’s mobile optimization, and more.
Begin the process with a B2B local SEO audit. This will help you define which areas need enhancement.
When done right, local search engine optimization will help your website rank higher for specific, relevant searches.
When you rank higher, you become more visible to searchers. Higher visibility in local searches often leads to more sales, leads, conversions, and revenue.
Once your audit is complete, you can focus on tactics to take your B2B local SEO presence to the next level.
Start the process of optimizing your business for B2B local SEO by getting everything squared away with Google.
First, audit your Google My Business listing. There are several guidelines for representing your business on Google.
Most importantly, to get a Google My Business profile, your company must engage with customers—in person. This means you need a physical address, not a P.O. box or virtual office address. Businesses that travel to customers may also qualify.
Major categories include food establishments, attractions, professional services, personal services, entertainment, retailers, transportation, and more. If you provide any services to companies, your B2C is likely eligible for Google My Business.
The way you represent your business on Google should be consistent with how you showcase your business to the world.
Ensuring all the information on your Google My Business page is accurate is also critical to local SEO for B2B marketing.
When someone searches for your business, if your Google My Business is set up correctly, your listing appears in a box on the right side of Google’s search results.
It contains all the basics about your business, along with reviews. If you don’t fill out your address, phone number, website, and hours, local customers won’t find you as easily.
Then, there are the results that appear at the top of a Google search when someone searches for something more general, like “printing services in Las Vegas.”
Ahrefs refers to these as “snack pack” results.
The “snack pack” box displays the top local business listings most relevant to the search, along with a map showing where each is located.
Google’s customer reviews are also vital. They help increase transparency and establish trust in your brand. You can also gain a lot of insights into your customers’ perceptions through them.
Both positive and negative feedback can tell you a great deal about how your business is faring in the “real world.” Use these reviews to improve your business.
Creating content is a great way to optimize for B2B local SEO. You want people to find you quickly, and there are many ways to get your business on page one of Google fast.
Perhaps most importantly, you need to use specific keywords related to your industry, products, and area of expertise.
When people search for those terms, your website is more likely to show up if you included them.
Your homepage should clearly illustrate your business. Your “About” and “Contact Us” pages should also feature details your customers may want to know.
This goes for both front- and back-end content. Your title tags, header tags, and meta descriptions should also contain vital information about the business.
Conduct keyword research and determine which ones make the most sense for your business.
The keywords should be contextually relevant and make sense for the audience you’re targeting. In other words, quality matters over quantity.
Ensuring your keywords fit from a regional perspective is also important for b2b local SEO.
While using broad keywords may drive traffic, those visiting may not be the most suitable leads based on location.
This is where strategizing for local customers comes into play.
By integrating region-specific keywords—like city or landmark names—into your content, you’ll be better able to connect with the relevant audience in your area.
Think about how you can give value to this audience in particular. What might they, specifically, be searching for? Create content answering the questions they commonly ask.
Create such content in either written or video form—or a mix of both. Video content is becoming more expected by audiences.
Research by Valasys Media suggests visual storytelling may benefit B2B marketers because:
Take your region into consideration when creating your stories. How wide should you cast your net? Are you targeting a city or a whole state?
Additionally, research the most effective local base to target for the best ROI.
Link building is another pillar of local content marketing strategy. We touched upon link categories before, and they come into play with link building.
If possible, garner links back to your website and digital assets from a variety of local sources.
These may include local directories, industry-related sites, partner sites, chambers of commerce and other organizations, and newspapers’ sites.
A great way to have other sites link to you is to create and promote a useful resource. For example, say you’re a local medical clinic that provides flu shots to businesses, and flu season is approaching. You could create a guide about the best ways to avoid the flu at the office.
This type of guide is something from which anyone can learn, and it’d be beneficial for other sites to feature it.
Many chambers of commerce websites also have areas where local businesses can promote offers.
For example, the Newport Chamber of Commerce has a specials page where various B2B brands like office space and printing services offer deals.
Mobile marketing is a critical aspect of B2B local SEO, as 50% of B2B search queries are from mobile devices.
Since people have their phones with them all the time, they’re able to search more proactively than in the past.
Search Engine Journal compiled some fascinating stats on mobile search trends related to local SEO. Did you know 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day? Or that 78% of local-based searches on a mobile device end in purchases made offline?
Keep these mobile trends in mind when boosting your local online presence. Make sure your website and landing pages are optimized for mobile devices.
Your digital strategy for B2B local SEO should also include social media, which is primarily accessed through mobile devices. Facebook and Instagram have local components that let you include instructions and allow customers to geo-tag your business when they post about it.
There are many ways people search for businesses on their smartphones. This is why having your Google My Business listing up to date is imperative.
Whether your customer is planning in advance or already on the way, you want to make sure to reach them wherever they are.
Why is b2b local SEO important? Because you have a greater potential of driving in-person traffic to your business when you target your local audience.
For a relatively low-cost, you can draw in people who are searching for your type of business.
Diversifying your online presence across various channels has further benefits as well. Many third-party websites and platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other similar directory-like sites are becoming more advanced.
They also have their own audiences, who wouldn’t find you as easily if those directories are their go-to search options.
In addition to maximizing your presence on Google and other websites, optimize your website for local search.
For example, if you’re a dog groomer in San Diego, integrate keywords like “dog groomer in San Diego” so you have specifically mentioned your location.
When people in your region are conducting local searches for “dog groomers near me,” you’ll rank for those, too—but only if Google knows where you’re located.
The key to ranking for “[your term] near me” is to start by Googling that specific phrase or your local-specific phrase that you want to rank for.
When you do that, you’ll be able to see all the localized sites from which Google is pulling. Make sure you’re listed there—if you’re not, you need to figure out why. Have you made your location clear?
If you live in Boston, for instance, there are many suburbs, landmarks, etc. On your website, list different nearby features like these. It could also be beneficial to include directions to your business from those specific places.
Ensure you also have a localized number and not just an 800 number, so people know you’re really there.
Furthermore, when people look for a specific service, they’ll often visit various touchpoints.
For instance, they may land on your website and then go to Yelp to read reviews. This is why having a listing there is essential.
After providing services, ask customers to leave reviews.
Local businesses can hugely benefit from strategic SEO plans.
Think about how many people use their mobile devices to search for local businesses.
There are many ways to get your business found online, from keyword optimization to link building tactics and local listings.
Which b2b local SEO tactics have been most fruitful for your B2B business?
LinkedIn boasts of upwards of 600 professional profiles on its platform – a brawny number of working professionals looking to gain connections. Stating that the platform is a true powerhouse with unlimited potential is no exaggeration. While the platform is a largely untapped ripened dais for the B2C industry too, it is especially for those …
The post Linkedin email finder – Top 6 tools to find emails appeared first on AeroLeads Blog.
A well-rounded email list is the heart and soul of any successful business. From email marketing to newsletters, the prospect of sending emails as a company is a great tool for conversion of leads to potential customers or generating new leads. However, with 3.8 billion users, getting ahold of emails can be a challenge. To …
The post Email Hunter – Hunt email addresses for your business appeared first on AeroLeads Blog.
How often have you purchased a product or a service through an email? Let me guess – Many, hardly any? It might come as a surprise but on every $1 you spend on email marketing the average ROI is $42. Here’s the question – Should you be missing out on this valuable conversion opportunity owing …