White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing https://plugingroup.com Resell Our Marketing & IT Services. Turn Up The Volume. Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:32:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://plugingroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/plugin_logo-47x47.png White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing https://plugingroup.com 32 32 Social-Media Hashtags: 2017 Best Practices for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn & Pinterest https://plugingroup.com/social-media-hashtags-2017-best-practices/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:16:04 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=5210 In the socially connected world that we now live in, new posts are uploaded and engaged with at an absolutely staggering rate. According to Internet Live Stats’ Twitter Usage Stats and Domosphere’s Data Never Sleeps series for 2016:  Twitter users typically send over 350,000 tweets every minute – or roughly 6,000 tweets every second. Facebook users like […]

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In the socially connected world that we now live in, new posts are uploaded and engaged with at an absolutely staggering rate. According to Internet Live Stats’ Twitter Usage Stats and Domosphere’s Data Never Sleeps series for 2016: 

  • Twitter users typically send over 350,000 tweets every minute – or roughly 6,000 tweets every second.
  • Facebook users like 4,166,667 posts every minute – or almost 70,000 posts every second.
  • Instagram users like 2,430,555 posts every minute – or roughly 40,000 posts every second.
  • Pinterest users pin 9,722 images every minute – or approximately 160 pins every second.

We can only imagine that the level of engagement with social-media posts will continue to rise steadily higher during 2017.

With all this activity going on across the largest social platforms:

  • How many of these liked posts do you suppose were discovered via a strategically placed hashtag, which made them easier to find?
  • And how many of them were pinned, posted, or tweeted with a hashtag, in the hopes of becoming more visible and increasing searchability?

Social-Media Hashtag Bubble

Given the mind-blowing rate of release for new social content, this handy little device is a powerful way to put your posts in front of new audiences, expressedly interested in the topics you’ve addressed.

Appropriate hashtags can significantly aid you in breaking through the noise and getting discovered by target prospects, looking for interesting new info about exactly what you’ve touched upon.

A Brief History of Social-Media Hashtags

The hashtag first gained popularity on Twitter.

  • In July 2009, Twitter began to hyperlink all hashtags in tweets to its search results for hashtagged words and common misspellings of them.
  • In 2010, Twitter introduced “Trending Topics” on its front page, given highly prominent display to hashtags with rapid growth in popularity.
  • Soon thereafter, other social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn picked up on the trend – incorporating them to varying degrees, as we’ll explore below.

The Significance of Social-Media Hashtags

Whether you’ve grown to love or hate them, hashtags have clearly become a staple of  social-media marketing.

And if they’re done right, they can significantly help you to increase brand awareness, build relationships, and generate engagement.

With that said, let’s take a look at the best ways to leverage hashtags across five of the biggest social networks


Twitter

As mentioned above, Twitter is where it all started. The “Trends” sidebar on Twitter’s feed curates a list of hashtags that a user might be interested in, which can easily lead to all sorts of discovery for your profile by highly targeted new users.

Remember: Anyone who does a search for a hashtag that you have used in a Tweet should be able to pull up your post, as long as your account is set to public.

Of course, given the rapid rate of release for new Tweets with each passing minute, posts with popular hashtags can get buried quite quickly, so it’s a good idea to incorporate a mixture of both highly searched topics and much more targeted niche phrases – to enjoy a bit of the best of both worlds.

Twitter - Number Of Hashtags

Source Credit: Track Maven via Social Media Today

 

Twitter Hashtag Best Practices:

  • Two hashtags per Tweet is generally considered to be ideal.
    • Though it’s quite possible to use more than two, studies show that engagement tends to decrease in direct proportion.
    • Do a little experimentation, to gauge the ideal number of Twitter hashtags for your profile’s target audience.
  • Use a tool such as Hashtagify.me or RiteTag to explore relevant phrases with active search demand.
  • Incorporate a mixture of broad category terms with high demand and niche phrases that relate to the specific subject of your posts, to maximize your level of exposure.
  • Develop your brand under a single hashtag that is easy to remember.

Twitter Sample 1:

Twitter Hashtag Example 1

 

Twitter Sample 2:

Twitter Hashtag Example 2


Facebook

Facebook didn’t add hashtag support until June 2013.

While the practice hasn’t quite picked up on this platform to nearly the degree found on Twitter, there are still plenty of brands who use hashtags on FB, as a means of exposing their posts to potential new audiences.

Facebook - Number Of Hashtags

Source Credit: TrackMaven via WeRSM “New Study Reveals Best Hashtag Use On Facebook, Twitter, And Instagram”

 

Facebook Hashtag Best Practices:

  • Use one or two hashtags as a general rule of thumb.
    • Studies show that engagement tends to decrease in proportion to the number of tags used.
    • Don’t be afraid to do a little experimentation, to find the ideal balance for your target audience.
  • If you want to promote something brand-specific, create a hashtag for the event (e.g. #PluginForACause).


Facebook Sample 1:

Facebook Hashtag Example 1

Facebook Sample 2:

Facebook Hashtag Example 2


Instagram

Hashtags on Instagram complement photos and helps users discover new accounts. And using the right hashtag can expose your brand to a large, targeted audience.

Photo challenges have found a home on Instagram, and hashtags become a way to associate the post with the challenge. Ever heard of #ThrowbackThursday?

Unlike other social networks, multiple hashtags are highly encouraged on Instagram.

Instagram - Number Of Hashtags

Source Credit: TrackMaven via Social Media Today “New Report Looks at Optimal Hashtag Use on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook”

Instagram Hashtag Best Practices:

  • Multiple hashtags are great, but do not exceed 10 or 11.
  • Use a tool such as Top-Hashtags.com to explore relevant possibilities.
    • Consider incorporating some of Instagram’s most popular and classic hashtags, but only use them if they are relevant to your post.
      • Classic Instagram hashtags include:
        • #regram
        • #tbt
        • #nofilter
        • #photooftheday
  • Hashtags should be kept short and simple.
  • Create custom hashtags for your brand that are unique and memorable – using capitalization for readability. For example: #PluginGroupRocks
  • Declutter your captions by “hiding” your hashtags in the comments section.


Instagram Sample 1:

Instagram Hashtag Example 1

 

Instagram Sample 2:

Instagram Hashtag Example 2


Pinterest

Usage of hashtags on Pinterest is a somewhat debatable practice, since they seem to carry much less influence on the site’s returned search results than they do on other social-media platforms.

Some experts favor skipping them altogether, claiming that they reduce engagement – and inadvertently may even send visitors off to explore other pins from potential competitors that use similar hashtags, since they are clickable for users when placed in Pin descriptions. 

Nonetheless, hashtags still have a place on Pinterest when used correctly. There are some important things to bear in mind, should you choose to include hashtags in your Pin descriptions.

 

Pinterest Hashtag Best Practices: 

  • Only use hashtags in Pin descriptions; never place them in profile names, account descriptions, board titles, or board descriptions.
  • Keep in mind that Promoted Pins are only permitted a single hashtag (i.e., one hashtag per Promoted Pin).
  • Do not use too many hashtags; it may hurt your rankings in the site’s search results, alienate users, and reduce engagement – without providing any added benefit as a counterbalance.
  • Use hashtags to highlight the specific subject of your post using descriptive words, which will then appear in boldface .
  • Utilize unique hashtags to run Pinterest contests.
  • Create unique and memorable hashtags for particular promotional efforts and branding purposes.

 

Pinterest Sample 1:

Pinterest Hashtag Example 1

 

Pinterest Sample 2:

Pinterest Hashtag Example 2


LinkedIn

LinkedIn and hashtags have had an on-again, off-again relationship since 2013.

Hashtags were officially reintroduced in September 2016 – but only on LinkedIn’s mobile app at first.

However, as of the last update, hashtag searches on the desktop site now yield results outside of a member’s own LinkedIn network – effectively reintroducing this tool as a means of exposing your posts to new users on all types of devices.

 

LinkedIn Hashtag Best Practices:

  • Now that LinkedIn hashtags seem to have been reinstated, try using one or two hashtags – to achieve the optimal balance between exposure to new members and active engagement.
  • Experiment further to determine the ideal amount for your particular target audience.
  • Avoid excessive usage of hashtags, to avoid the appearance of spammy desperation or overly aggressive salesmanship.

 

LinkedIn Sample 1:

LinkedIn Hashtag Example 1

 

LinkedIn Sample 2:

LinkedIn Hashtag Example 2


 

Need Help with Any Aspects of Social-Media Marketing?

White-Label Marketing from Plugin Group
Keeping up with ever-evolving best practices and the overall workload in social media is a full-time job and a half.

At Plugin Group, we’ve always got your back, as a source of plug-and-play marketing support. Just let us know what you need, and we’ll provide all of the essential acoustics to rock it out.

Simply mark up our white-label marketing services, and resell them as your own – to expand what your agency is able to offer.

Curious to hear more about how we can help you roll out a lot more business? Give us a shout!

The post Social-Media Hashtags: 2017 Best Practices for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn & Pinterest appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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SEO Content-Marketing Case Study: A 2017 Organic-Traffic Success Story https://plugingroup.com/2017-seo-content-marketing-case-study/ Sat, 25 Mar 2017 07:13:51 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=5070 So here’s the lowdown: We just had to share the results of a recent blog post of ours, “The Top 15 Most Popular Social-Media Sites in 2016 [Infographic],” which hit Google’s first page for some super-competitive keywords recently. It’s been the cause of much celebration and “happy dances” here at Plugin Group, as we’ve watched our monthly organic-search traffic grow […]

The post SEO Content-Marketing Case Study: A 2017 Organic-Traffic Success Story appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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So here’s the lowdown: We just had to share the results of a recent blog post of ours, The Top 15 Most Popular Social-Media Sites in 2016 [Infographic],” which hit Google’s first page for some super-competitive keywords recently.

It’s been the cause of much celebration and “happy dances” here at Plugin Group, as we’ve watched our monthly organic-search traffic grow steadily higher and higher.

SEO Content-Marketing Happy Dance

Of course, this isn’t just a shameless puff piece.

Our goal here is to assist fellow ad agencies, web developers, and marketers in achieving similar success with SEO and content marketing. (This is, after all, part of our daily mission at Plugin Group: As a white-label marketing company, we partner with other agencies, as a readily available source of “behind-the-scenes” support for your in-house crew.)

With that said, let’s dive right into the results of this case study, and then highlight some of the key elements that came together to make this SEO content-marketing success story happen.


2017 SEO Content-Marketing Case Study: The Data

First, let’s take a look at the results….

These are just a few of the superstar keywords that have popped to the first page for us recently, due to the aforementioned blog post:

Top-Performing SEO Keywords

Source: SEM Rush, March 13, 2017


And here’s what it has done to our monthly traffic from organic search
, as a result:

March 2017 Organic SEO Traffic

Source: SEM Rush, March 24, 2017

Quite the ski slope in terms of growth, eh?

Thanks to this post, we’ve reached an entirely new level of online visibility — with a more than tenfold increase in monthly organic traffic, which steadily continues to rise! Woohoo!

Granted, we’ve held top spots for a variety of white-label marketing phrases for many years now, which have faithfully delivered targeted leads from agency prospects on a daily basis since 2012.

But this post single-handedly shot us into a whole new strata of organic exposure.

This is often the way it goes with content marketing, as Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot and Larry Kim of Wordstream both explained at the 2016 Inbound Conference: The name of the game in this business is to pump out enough pieces to increase your chances of hitting the jackpot.

Sadly, as Vaughan and Kim acknowledged, a slim minority of your posts are likely to be winners of the highest caliber – but those precious few make all of the sweat and tears involved in steady SEO and content-marketing efforts totally worth it.


Secrets to Success with SEO and Content Marketing in 2017 

As with SEO and content marketing in general, there are many variables that need to converge like a perfect storm, all in the midst of an increasingly competitive environment.

Let’s explore the underlying factors that’ll give you the best chance of creating a success story of your own:

  1. Pick a Solid Topic.
  2. Identify Relevant Keywords with Active Search Volume.
  3. Optimize All Aspects of the Post.
  4. Include Extensive Research.
  5. Create Compelling Graphics.
  6. Take Full Advantage of Social Media.
  7. Build Trustworthy Links from a Variety of Sources.
  8. Spin It Out into Other Forms of Content.

We’ll explore each of these items in greater detail below.


SEO Content-Marketing Secret #1:

Pick a Solid Topic.

Look for areas of opportunity within your industry that are poorly addressed in the existing search results.

Answer the types of burning questions that members of your target audience have been earnestly asking themselves about aspects of your field.

Keep one ear open at all times for questions that you and your own staff members have pondered in the course of churning out daily work, which could easily be leveraged for this purpose. Turn internal project findings into full-blown blog posts, extrapolating on the discoveries for the benefit of the public at large.

In the case of this post, we happened to notice that very few sites seemed to explore the most regularly visited social-media platforms in detail. Most of Google’s top results at the time were simple, straightforward lists with monthly traffic counts for the most popular social sites – without much helpful description or supplementary graphics to go along with them.

Our internal team was genuinely curious to see the growth trends and demographics for each of the top platforms as well, to get a better sense of how best to channel our own marketing budget and those of our clients most effectively.

And so it all began, as we decided to turn this initial pet project into a gigantic beast of a blog post.

Top 15 Social-Media Sites


SEO Content-Marketing Secret #2:

Identify Relevant Keywords with Active Search Volume.

Use a tool such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, Wordstream, or SEMRush to test and select keywords in high demand.

Determine whether the questions that you’ve identified as potential subjects have a sufficient amount of demand to merit their own posts, and hunt down other hot topics that you can tease out into full blog-post form.

Never simply assume that you have an intuitive sense of all of the possible keyword combinations that relate to each post’s subject matter. Do your homework to uncover the most relevant phrases to target, including the level of search demand and competition associated with all potential terms.

Combine a mix of “short-tail” and “long-tail” keywords into your list, with phrases of varying length.

  • Longer, niche-focused keywords are likely to pop first in the search results, due to lower competition.
  • Shorter keywords with heavier demand are the ones that can take your traffic to a whole new level.
  • Targeting a mixture of both will help position your site to receive the best of both worlds.

For the case-study blog post, this strategy worked beautifully: Long-tail keywords were indeed the first to appear in Google’s ranked results, and – over time – all of the other factors included in this list of tips helped us to show up for the much more competitive short-tail keywords.

That’s what lit the fuse of the recent organic-traffic explosion, as the short-tail keywords increasingly began to emerge.

Google AdWords Social Site Keywords


SEO Content-Marketing Secret #3:

Optimize All Aspects of the Post.

Leverage every last bit of your blog post for SEO appropriately, to show Google and the other search engines that you have super-relevant content related to the keywords you’ve identified.

There are hundreds of ranking factors that each play a part in determining organic-search results. Maximize all available opportunities within your blog post.

Here are some of the key SEO elements that you’ll want to capitalize on:

  • Title Tags – The title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO elements. Incorporate all of the keywords and long-tail variations that you intend to target on the page, starting with the most important phrase first. Keep the title tag within 50 to 60 characters – including spaces – and make sure that it serves as an accurate label for the content of the post.
  • Meta Descriptions – To ensure full display of your meta description in SERPs, keep them between 140 and 156 characters. Include keywords in your meta description, to the extent that they can be incorporated naturally; these words will then appear in boldface as users scroll through the ranked results, looking for information related to the phrases they just queried.
  • Keyword Placement – Integrate your targeted keywords into the content naturally. Do not “keyword stuff”; this is one of the worst SEO offenses, which can swiftly lead to penalization. The best litmus test: Read the content aloud, and tone down the use of keywords if any of them sound unnatural.
  • Headings – Heading tags are lines of text on a web page that are wrapped by HTML to create a heading element on a web page. These tags range from H1 to H6.  However, it’s best if you limit each page to one H1, one to two H2s, and then use H3s. For best performance, include target phrases in heading tags, as long as this can be done appropriately.
  • Image Tags and Alt Tags – These are the fields used to identify the subjects of photos. Incorporate keywords only if they can be used to describe what is legitimately pictured in each photo. Keep the length of each tag contained to five words or less.
  • Anchor Tags – Anchor tags are hyperlinks that skip users further down to respective sections within the post. These handy tools are one of our favorite devices; not only do they serve a powerful SEO purpose, but they also help make your posts more navigable for users.
  • Structured Data – Structured data – such as rich snippets and schema markup – are special forms of on-page markup that can be added to HTML, signaling the type of information featured on the page to all search engines. This is still a highly underutilized feature by most marketers, so it’s a great way to give your post a competitive edge.

In creating the case-study blog post, we kept the keywords top of mind in developing all text and graphics, incorporating these terms wherever they logically fit.

At the same time, we also held deep reverence for the fact that human users are our ultimate target; content should invariably be written to please them first and foremost.

Based on the results, the post appears to have satisfied both.


SEO Content-Marketing Secret #4:

Include Extensive Research.

Pull together detailed information from a variety of different sources, to create a brilliant new resource of your own – instead of simply rehashing what one or two others have already said.

Long-form posts often fare the best in the SEO results; according to a 2016 Searchmetrics report, the highest-ranking content averages at about 1,200 words in length.

Properly cite these sources with links – not only out of common courtesy, but because association with other trusted resources will help raise your own credibility in the eyes of the search engines.

For the case-study blog post, we poured through literally hundreds of sources, synthesizing data related to monthly visitation, demographics, and growth trends for each social platform. When it was all said and done, it was quite a comprehensive post.


SEO Content-Marketing Secret #5:

Create Compelling Graphics.

Put concerted effort into the images featured in your content – which generate 94% more views for blog posts, according to Social Media Today.

If possible, create your own images, instead of simply grabbing the same old stock photos and data found elsewhere online.

Be sure to use Image Tags and Alt Tags, incorporating keywords to the extent that they legitimately describe the subject of the featured image.

For this case-study post, we combined a robust set of 22 custom graphics with a beautifully designed main infographic – and that’s when results really took off!

Sample Graphic from the Post:

Social-Media Usage by Age

Main Infographic for the Post:

Top 15 Social Sites Infographic


SEO Content-Marketing Secret #6:

Take Full Advantage of Social Media.

Obviously, announce the post on all relevant social-media profiles associated with your business.

Promote the post to relevant social-media groups, by searching for appropriate communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other key forums that might be interested in it.

Put the piece in front of all of the powerful social influencers you know, with a personal note that inspires them to click through. If they are sufficiently moved to promote your post to their followings, you could be looking at a massive amplification of your own social-media efforts.

Finally, use social-media advertising to add extra fuel to the fire, particularly once you see that a certain post is genuinely well-liked from an organic perspective. When used wisely, this element can serve as a powerful accelerant.

For this case-study blog post, we definitely had help from some powerful allies in the marketing industry, which helped to circulate it much farther and wider than we ever could’ve imagined.

Top Social Networks Facebook Post


SEO Content-Marketing Secret #7:

Build Trustworthy Links from a Variety of Sources.

Now it’s time to get out there in the digital world, building all of the inbound-link support you’ll need to win Google’s favor for highly competitive keywords.

Look for other posts that address similar topics and related themes, and engage with the owners of these sites and articles.

Utilize high-quality article-submission sites – such as Medium, EzineArticles, and others – to further increase your level of online exposure. Be sure to create original material for each of these resources, to avoid having your posts downgraded as duplicate content.

Look for popular resources within your industry that accept content submissions, to introduce it to even more targeted audiences.

For the case-study blog post, we were able to broker relationships with a number of high-profile sites, based on the quality of the content. These sources enabled us to submit original, info-rich pieces that referenced the post with solid hyperlinks.

With each new site link secured, the rankings ratcheted up accordingly.

Top Social Sites Medium Article


SEO Content-Marketing Secret #8:

Spin It Out into Other Forms of Content.

Turn the original post into various other types of content, to compound the momentum and make the info accessible to even wider audiences.

This is a brilliant, highly cost-effective technique known as “Content Atomization,” which we’ll be exploring in greater depth in a future blog post.

Just a few of the possible forms of adapted content include:

  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Slide decks
  • Ebooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Press releases

But the list goes on. Get creative! At the end of the day, that’s ultimately what success in SEO and content marketing is all about: Differentiating yourself through uniquely memorable material.

For this case-study post, we’ve only just begun to tap into all of the possibilities mentioned here. Once the current growth trajectory finally peters itself out – based on the blog post and embedded infographic alone – this is a readily available way for us to keep the momentum going strong.


Need Help with Any Aspects of SEO or Content Marketing?

White-Label Marketing from Plugin GroupSuffice it to say, there are a ton of moving parts involved in generating success through SEO and content marketing in 2017.

And at Plugin Group, we’ve always got your back, as a source of plug-and-play marketing support. Just let us know what you need, and we’ll provide all of the essential acoustics to rock it out. Simply mark up our white-label marketing services, and resell them as your own – to expand what your agency is able to offer. We’ll handle the work, and you’ll take all the credit.

Let’s start making some hits together!

The post SEO Content-Marketing Case Study: A 2017 Organic-Traffic Success Story appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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10 SEO Copywriting Tips & Best Practices for 2017 https://plugingroup.com/10-seo-copywriting-tips-best-practices-2017/ Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:38:37 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=5048 Google is now processing over 40,000 search queries per second. That’s over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year from more than 3 billion Internet users worldwide – earnestly looking for relevant, reliable answers to all sorts of burning questions. For this reason, SEO experts know how critical it is to […]

The post 10 SEO Copywriting Tips & Best Practices for 2017 appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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Google is now processing over 40,000 search queries per second. That’s over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year from more than 3 billion Internet users worldwide – earnestly looking for relevant, reliable answers to all sorts of burning questions.

For this reason, SEO experts know how critical it is to produce excellent copy, based on its potential to rank well in searches and thereby generate highly qualified, motivated prospects.


The Ultimate Objective of SEO Copywriting

Content that is optimized for peak search-engine performance can assume a variety of forms – from compelling and entertaining to informative and possibly even controversial – all for the purpose of attracting attention and provoking emotional responses from online audiences.

Regardless of form, the underlying goal for any copywriter remains the same:

Position a business as a trustworthy resource, and establish the foundation needed to initiate purchasing behavior.  

Naturally, this is easier said than done. Robust copywriting can be quite challenging.

Just ask anyone who has stared into the vast emptiness of a blank page, tasked with creating “effective marketing content.” It’s a scientific art form, not to be approached lightly.

What are the secrets to success?

SEO Copywriting Tips


SEO Copywriting Best Practices: 10 Helpful Tips for 2017

Fear not: We’ve conveniently rounded up the top SEO copywriting tips for 2017 – designed not only to improve your search-engine rankings, but your ability to connect with readers successfully.

1. Research Relevant Keywords
2. Write for Both Humans and Search Bots
3. State the Facts
4. Address the Needs of Your Target Audience
5. Speak Their Language
6. Create Click-Worthy Titles
7. Take Full Advantage of Meta Descriptions
8. Don’t Ignore Internal Links
9. Include Calls to Action
10. Keep It Clean


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #1:

Research Relevant Keywords

Do your homework. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that you know offhand all of the terms and phrases that potential customers might use to look for information about what you offer as a business. Use a tool such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, Wordstream, or SEMRush to test a variety of different search-term possibilities.

Take careful note of active search volume for each term, as well as the relative level of competition associated with them. Incorporate a mixture of “short-tail” and “long-tail” keywords into your list, with varying degrees of competitive challenge.

Examine the way your competitors have approached the keywords targeted on their sites, but don’t assume that they have necessarily executed SEO in the most effective way; test their targeted terms in your favorite keyword tool, and add to your own master list accordingly.

Use each text page of your site to target a different keyword with strong search volume – as well as an assortment of less competitive variations – to drive the maximum number of qualified customers to your website.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #2:

Write for Both Humans and Search Bots

Don’t be so hell-bent on attracting web crawlers to your site that you forget that it is actual humans who determine the popularity of your pages at the end of the day.

Over the years, people have learned to identify within the first few sentences of an article if someone is trying to sell them something. So take it easy; concentrate on relating to your audience with a personal, natural touch.

Stop stuffing your content with your keywords. Not only will they turn your reader off, but Google will actually penalize you for them.

There is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to “keyword density” anymore; it comes down to a litmus test, best performed by reading content aloud to yourself. Does it sound spammy? If so, take it down a notch.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #3:

State the Facts

Establish your credibility by backing up your points with statistics and other objective forms of evidence.

Share information responsibly by giving credit wherever it is due. Correctly cite authors, bloggers, influencers, and other resources.

For obvious reasons, don’t steal other people’s content. Plagiarism can quickly turn both the search engines and otherwise powerful allies in your industry against you – never a good idea.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #4:

Address the Needs of Your Target Audience

Deliver comprehensive content. Readers have arrived on your site looking for answers; it’s your job to address their needs, concerns, and interests.

Your content should be informative and engaging – approached from your readers’ perspective, instead of your own self-centered viewpoint. Frame the features of your business and its offering in terms of the benefits that your readers will receive.

Consider what your audience cares about most deeply, and describe how you can help them satisfy their innermost desires.

Also, keep in mind: People don’t just type keywords into search boxes; they type full questions too. Respond to their specific needs.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #5:

Speak Their Language

Don’t go overboard with fancy vocabulary and technical jargon, which will only serve to scare off most readers.

Relate to your audience in their own words. Draw them into an easy conversation with questions. Use the word “you,” to make your readers feel as though you are speaking directly to them.

Adopt a conversational tone that resonates with your target audience. Read your finished draft aloud. Does it sound like something you would say in a face-to-face chat? If not, revise your draft until it meets this comfortable standard.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #6:

Create Click-Worthy Titles

Don’t make your title tags too long, or you’ll get cut off abruptly.

For years, Google required that title length stay within 55 to 60 characters to appear in the ranked results in their entirety. In 2016, title length was bumped up to 70 to 71 characters for desktop display, and 78 characters for mobile.

However, despite this recent change, titles should still be kept short but accurate, catchy yet descriptive.

Because people typically scan the first few words of a title – looking for relevance to their input query – front-load this field with your most important keywords. Include these terms in your URL too.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #7:

Take Full Advantage of Meta Descriptions

On their own, meta descriptions do not serve as a “direct ranking factor”; they’re not included as one of the hundreds of signals that the search engines directly examine to determine their displayed rankings.

However, well-written meta descriptions play a large role in encouraging more people to click through to your page, which boosts your popularity and authority. Entice readers to click through each page listing, based on the valuable information and other goodies they’ll find by doing so.

To ensure full display of your meta description in SERPs, keep them between 140 and 156 characters.

Include keywords in your meta description, to the extent that they can be incorporated naturally; these words will then appear in boldface, as users scroll through the ranked results – looking for information related to the phrases they just queried.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #8:

Don’t Ignore Internal Links

From both a ranking and user-experience perspective, internal links play an essential role in SEO.

These valuable tools help to distribute links evenly throughout your site, and also increase views for internal pages – encouraging users to explore your website in greater detail.

However, don’t go overboard; add links to the extent that they provide the reader with legitimately helpful info for further investigation, and only link to highly-relevant content. There is no set benchmark to follow; it’s more of a sound judgment call.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #9:

Include Calls to Action

As a copywriter, you ultimately have a mission to drive certain business objectives – whether it’s product purchases, completion of contact-request forms, or content downloads in exchange for email addresses. (This is the key element that differentiates “copywriting” from all other forms of writing.) Make it happen.

Point readers toward what you’re able to offer them. Don’t be shy. Encourage them to take the next logical step in engaging with you.

Express your calls to action in strong, succinct form – highlighting the benefits that they’ll receive as a result.

Experiment with both the language and location of your calls to action – in terms of where they’re placed on the page – through rigorous A/B testing. Pinpoint the most effective ways to convert your readers into satisfied customers.


 

SEO Copywriting Best Practice #10:

Keep It Clean

Beyond excellent copywriting, make sure the content is presented in a way that is easy on the reader’s eyes.

Boldfaced subheadings, bulleted and numbered lists, and block quotes make it easier for the reader to skim through content quickly, guiding them through info-rich text with effortless efficiency.

The ideal font in the right size can be used to enhance visual aesthetic; fonts such as Arial, Impact, Century Gothic, and Times New Roman are a few that are considered web-safe. Above all, be sure to proofread carefully.

Leave your readers with a lasting impression about your degree of credibility – as an authoritative resource that they can trust, personally and professionally.

The post 10 SEO Copywriting Tips & Best Practices for 2017 appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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6 Web-Design Trends for 2017: Bold Website Techniques [Infographic] https://plugingroup.com/6-web-design-trends-2017-bold-techniques-next-website/ Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:09:31 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=5026 The year of 2016 was an innovative time period for websites, which appeared in many ways to mark the end of traditional web design. With more and more brands adopting a “mobile-first” approach and wider implementation of responsive design, the industry flourished in terms of user experience – with more personal and interactive accessibility across […]

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The year of 2016 was an innovative time period for websites, which appeared in many ways to mark the end of traditional web design.

With more and more brands adopting a “mobile-first” approach and wider implementation of responsive design, the industry flourished in terms of user experience – with more personal and interactive accessibility across all our devices.

However, now that we are already halfway through the first quarter of 2017, we’re looking forward to new trends.

Here are six web-design trends that have been getting a lot of attention lately, as we roll even further into 2017:

1. Color
2. Animation & GIFs
3. Bespoke Imagery
4. Long-Scrolling Single Page
5. Big, Bold & Beautiful Typography
6. Card UIs

First, we’ll present an infographic that covers all six web-design trends, and then we’ll explore each one individually….


Infographic of 2017 Web-Design Trends

2017 Web-Design Trends Infographic

Now let’s take a closer look into each of the web-design trends for 2017….


Web Design Trend #1:

Color

Artists and web designers appreciate that there is a fascinating psychology behind color.

Combine that with Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, “Greenery,” and you’ve got a winning color foundation that is not only refreshing but relevant.

Of course, bearing their own brand colors in mind, certainly not every company is suddenly going to “go green” this year. But we do feel that many will be inspired by this trend on some level.

For those who decide to revamp their websites, we suspect that bright and bold is the direction they will go.

Based on Google’s “Material Design” guidelines and recommendations, it appears as though:

  • Soft, muted pastels are out.
  • Eye-popping colors are in.


Web Design Trend #2:

Animations and GIFs

With the modern sophistication of new animations and GIFs, we predict that they will start to be substituted in place of images and video to a greater degree.

Cinemagraphs, for example, are visually captivating.

They’re super-fun to watch, and elegant in their simplicity – showing you how things work or revealing content without the need to watch a full-blown video.


Web Design Trend #3:

Bespoke Imagery

We believe that 2017 is the year when a lot more companies will say goodbye to stock photos on websites.

Websites that go beyond generic images with their own commissioned photos and illustrations breathe much greater authenticity into their work.

They prove that they know who they are as a brand, with a distinctly defined look.


Web Design Trend #4:

Long-Scrolling Single Page

Admit it: You can scroll through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for hours.

We’ve gotten so used to the never-ending feeds found on social media that – nowadays – scrolling through a single page doesn’t seem nearly as torturous on our index finger as it once may have.

Because this activity has become so natural for us, many websites are even removing tabs and menus, in favor of placing everything on one very long page – to give us the same experience found on our favorite social-media sites.


Web Design Trend #5:

Big, Bold & Beautiful Typography

It’s time we moved beyond the old, overused web fonts of the past.

New typefaces are entering the scene – appearing bigger and bolder, up-front and center.

They’ve been showing up in vibrant colors or textures, as well as solid hues that strike a sharp contrast against the background, making them pop out even more.


Web Design Trend #6:

Card UIs

Card UI Web-Design Trend

 

By efficiently allowing brands to organize and display more content on the screen all at once, cards invite users to scan what interests them and ignore what doesn’t quickly.

With individual cards that feature text, images, or video, navigating through content is instantly made a whole lot easier and more fun.

This minimalistic approach also applies to menus and navigation, vastly simplifying the UX of a site.

The post 6 Web-Design Trends for 2017: Bold Website Techniques [Infographic] appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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2017 SEO Predictions: 5 Top Trends in Search Engine Optimization [Infographic] https://plugingroup.com/2017-seo-predictions-5-top-trends-search-engine-optimization/ Mon, 06 Feb 2017 16:14:27 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=4994 Alright, so let’s be practical with our SEO predictions and trends for the coming year: We’re not entering 2017 with the radical perspective that 2016 will suddenly become a distant memory. By integrating a little hindsight into this forward-looking post, we can channel our time, energy, and available resources into areas of SEO with a […]

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Alright, so let’s be practical with our SEO predictions and trends for the coming year: We’re not entering 2017 with the radical perspective that 2016 will suddenly become a distant memory.

By integrating a little hindsight into this forward-looking post, we can channel our time, energy, and available resources into areas of SEO with a bit of proven traction – instead of leaping headfirst into entirely untested territory with triple-crossed fingers.

For pragmatic digital marketers, a number of SEO trends with documented momentum in late 2016 can help direct our marketing focus in powerful ways, as we kick off this new year.

A number of questions arise at this point in time:

  • Will Google continue to dominate to such an overwhelming extent?
  • Will Twitter regain its previous level of influence?
  • Do industry experts foresee any new marketing trends that will completely blindside us?

Search Market Share - January 2017

Here are our predictions for Search Engine Optimization, based on five of the top SEO trends that picked up speed toward the end of last year, which seem as though they will only continue to build momentum in 2017:

1. Mobile Growth & Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Messaging Apps, and Chatbots
3. Interactive Experiences through VR Devices
4. Influencer Marketing
5. Video

We’ll first present our infographic that covers all five SEO trends, and then explore each area in greater detail….


Infographic of SEO Predictions for 2017

2017 SEO Predictions Infographic

Let’s now take a deeper dive into the SEO trends for 2017, one-by-one….


SEO Trend #1:

Mobile Growth & Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

The ever-increasing takeover of mobile should come as no surprise, considering that it was reported that for the first time in history, mobile usage surpassed desktop.

This announcement on November 1, 2016, came from web-analytics company, StatCounter, whose data showed that 51.3% of Internet users preferred their smartphones or tablets over their desktops or laptops when visiting websites.

Internet Usage Worldwide

If your organization hasn’t made the shift towards defining your mobile-marketing strategies by optimizing your websites for mobile users, now is definitely the time.

With Google progressively shifting many of its algorithmic factors to reward sites optimized for mobile performance with higher rankings, it doesn’t seem like something you can put off any longer.

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open-source initiative – jointly spearheaded by Google and Twitter – which can provide an even greater boost in this category. In short, AMP pages are a stripped-down form of HTML, explicitly designed to load extremely fast on mobile devices.

The shift towards Accelerated Mobile Pages has been causing serious buzz, with Google saying: “We want webpages with rich content like video, animations, and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously.”

Although AMP is not necessarily a search engine ranking factor in and of itself, sites that adopt AMP will register more clicks, more impressions, and better user experiences – all of which do affect SEO.


SEO Trend #2:

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Messaging Apps, and Chatbots

Internet mogul Gary Vaynerchuk, HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, and SEO magnate Mike King all stressed the rise of artificial intelligence, messaging apps, and chatbots as some of the most significant areas of focus for growth during the Inbound Conference toward the close of 2016.

2017 Rise Of Artificial Intelligence

Messaging apps such Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Twitter DM, and WeChat are already being used to hail taxis, order food, purchase customized shoes, and so on.

With 63.9% of consumers in a survey agreeing that “businesses should be available and contactable via messaging applications,” we wouldn’t be surprised if 2017 is the year that consumers get what they’ve been asking for.

And as LiveWorld chairman and CEO Peter Friedman predicts: “In 2017, brands will strategically and seamlessly integrate humans into chatbot interactions to scale and advance the effectiveness of their chatbot programs.”

Chatbots will be a way for brands to stay responsive to inquiries 24/7. We predict that we’ll soon be having conversations with chatbots more and more.


SEO Trend #3:

Interactive Experiences through VR Devices

Retailers want to change the game by introducing full shopping experiences via virtual reality.

Think about shopping for everything from your clothes to a car and even real estate through an interactive shop via a VR device?

Alibaba introduced the world to the first virtual reality shopping experience at the end of 2016, and there’s no doubt other merchants are developing their own versions as we speak.

Given the inherent “likeability” of this super-cool new technology, it’s bound to register the type of positive social signals that bode extremely well for SEO.

Keep a sharp eye on this next-gen frontier of Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimization.


SEO Trend #4:

Influencer Marketing

Between the “real-world” perspective provided by social-media reviews, behind-the-scene footage of how commercials are made, and leaked transparency about how much actors are paid to endorse products, consumers no longer trust ads.

Instead, people’s purchasing behavior is influenced by industry leaders – i.e., “real people” with legitimate expertise related to particular types of subject matter.

These “influencers” are replacing celebrities as sources of genuine admiration, perceived as being more relatable and – in consumer’s eyes – “more honest.”

Because the majority of buyers trust influencers such as bloggers and YouTubers more than celebrity endorsements, expect there to be a rise in influencer marketing in 2017.

One thing is clear: Inbound links and social shares from highly trusted sources can make all the difference in Search Engine Optimization – lifting your SEO rankings to a whole new level of prominence for competitive keywords.


SEO Trend #5:

Video

According to Neil Patel, 80% of online traffic is expected to be generated by video by 2019. That’s just two short years away.

Video Search Engine Optimization – or VSEO – is certainly nothing new. Primary factors range from keywords appropriately incorporated into the available fields of meta data and video transcripts included in the main description to inbound links, associated social signals, and many other best practices.

However, with video growth projected to skyrocket, this subset of SEO will become even more critical for marketers to master in 2017.

The post 2017 SEO Predictions: 5 Top Trends in Search Engine Optimization [Infographic] appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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Marketing Automation Process: An Easy Guide to the Steps & Tools https://plugingroup.com/marketing-automation-easy-guide-process-steps-tools/ Mon, 30 Jan 2017 17:42:08 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=4893 We live in an increasingly automated world, with various forms of software and artificial intelligence now gearing up to handle an ever-widening sphere of marketing functions. Instead of fearing this progressive shift as a sign of the apocalypse, it’s time to start putting it to work for the powerful benefit of your business. To help […]

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We live in an increasingly automated world, with various forms of software and artificial intelligence now gearing up to handle an ever-widening sphere of marketing functions.

Instead of fearing this progressive shift as a sign of the apocalypse, it’s time to start putting it to work for the powerful benefit of your business.

To help ensure that your staff’s time is being leveraged most effectively, there is now a full range of software tools that automate repetitive tasks, such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Social-media marketing
  • Other website actions

This category of software is referred to as “marketing automation.”

These tools streamline, measure, and automate marketing tasks and workflows, making it possible for your marketing crew to enhance operational performance in a variety of ways, including:

  • Greater speed
  • Increased accuracy
  • More reliable consistency

Steps of the Marketing Automation Process: An Easy Guide

1. Find a System That Meets Your Needs

A marketing automation system with a built-in CRM is essential, if you want to be able to track your website activity and analyze the success of your marketing campaigns. When choosing the right marketing automation tool, consider your business needs, the size of your organization, features, and budget. To help you pinpoint the best system, we’ve included some of the most popular marketing automation tools toward the end of this blog post.

2. Kick Off Your Persona Development

Meet with your sales and marketing team to determine the types of demographics and characteristics that align most heavily with customers purchasing your product or service. Develop three to four personas that capture the most common traits. Let the persona information you’ve gathered inform your marketing strategies. Think about the types of campaigns that could be deployed that would be most helpful to each of these personas. What types of enticements could you offer that would lead them back into engaging with your business?

3. Build a Campaign Plan

Before developing your campaign plan, you’ll need to understand your customers’ needs and what it takes for them to make purchase decisions. Analyze their process of consideration, to ensure that you have incorporated the assurances they need to feel confident about doing business with you. Consider each of the various stages of the customer lifecycle, and be prepared to rethink your existing campaign strategies from this perspective, to maximize all possible touchpoints.

4. Collect More Specific Information

You want to create the clearest picture of your customer that you can – from their backgrounds to their demographics to an in-depth analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. These types of details are the essence of the most successful campaigns; the more directly you’re able to address your customers’ specific needs, interests, and concerns, the better your campaigns are likely to perform. However, asking too many personal questions via the sign-up page or welcome email may scare them off. Instead, gain more information gradually through additional content offers, landing pages, and forms throughout your email campaign. Use these details to develop a diverse set of campaigns that lead customers back to your site, leveraging all sorts of different angles that relate to their specific interests.

5. Analyze Your Success

Let your marketing automation software do the work for you. Run A/B testing on your email campaigns with variations in titles, phrasing, and content, and let the data show you what works and what doesn’t. Your marketing automation tools will tell you where your quality leads are coming from, so you know which channels deserve primary focus. Continue to develop new campaigns, and optimize existing ones; subject them to testing; and refine your overall approach accordingly, to see ever-improving results.  


Marketing Automation Tools: The Best Platforms

With so many of your competitors already leveraging the power of marketing automation, it has become more of a necessity to start implementing these tools – simply to keep up with the pace of modern business.

Perhaps the reluctance to shift from traditional operational processes to adopting marketing automation is due to the overwhelming amount of software options.

To determine the tool that is right for your company, take into consideration:

  • Price
  • Features
  • The size of your organization
  • Your business needs


Best-in-Class Marketing Automation Tools

The following are the highest-rated tools, based on G2 Satisfaction Score and industry research. Prices depend on your company needs, with some platforms customizing price plans, based on the features your organization requires.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform which offers a wide range of marketing automation features and capabilities. Its comprehensive suite of integrated marketing tools spans blogging, SEO, social, email marketing, and more.

2. Marketo

Marketo is a multi-functional marketing automation platform offering customer engagement marketing, real-time personalization, personalized messaging across marketing channels, and marketing management functionality; the includes budgeting tools and marketing calendars.

3. Active Campaign

Active Campaign is all-in-one marketing platform that will grow your business with email, automation, and sales tools. 

4. Pardot

Pardot is a B2B marketing automation platform with features like lead scoring, nurturing, and email marketing. Its full-featured marketing automation tool for accelerates pipelines and drives sales through lead generation, email marketing, social marketing, and sales intelligence. 

5. Autopilot

Autopilot automates the customer journey. Marketers use Autopilot for acquiring, nurturing and growing leads into customers with in-app messages, personalized email, SMS, and postcards.

 

Budget-Friendly Marketing Automation Tools for Small Companies

The following are ideal for small businesses on a limited budget, without the need for all of the functionalities built into the more complex marketing automation software tools that large organizations use.  

1. Wishpond

Wishpond is one of the few marketing automation platforms that offer a basic free plan. If running contests are important to your marketing, Wishpond has a contests and promotions feature that makes it unique from other platforms.

2. Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft Analytics is a solution that can measure precisely what’s working, what doesn’t, and the ROI for every last email, web page, and campaign that you create. 

3. Act-On

Act-On is considered the closest alternative to HubSpot, but is available for much less. It is also worth mentioning that while being affordable, it is rated as one of the top marketing automation products. It offers lead email marketing, management and scoring, landing pages, lead nurturing, forms, visitor tracking, and social-media management.

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How to Live and Work Anywhere: The 16 Best Digital Nomad Tools https://plugingroup.com/work-anywhere-16-best-digital-nomad-tools/ Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:21:47 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=4629 Why spend the best years of your life straining under artificial light in a narrow cubicle, counting down the days until your next vacation? For those brave enough to step up and embrace the freedom of “digital nomadism,” the fixed constraints of a nine-to-five job can now be left in the dust – opening up an entirely new standard of work-life balance. […]

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Why spend the best years of your life straining under artificial light in a narrow cubicle, counting down the days until your next vacation?

For those brave enough to step up and embrace the freedom of “digital nomadism,” the fixed constraints of a nine-to-five job can now be left in the dust – opening up an entirely new standard of work-life balance.
Freelance Digital Nomad Workspace
Consider just a few of the formerly unthinkable scenarios, now available to an increasingly mobile group of freelance marketers, designers, developers, and creatives throughout the world.

  • Spend mornings with your laptop open in a New Zealand café, then go out for a mountain climb after lunch.
  • Work beneath the brilliance of the sun on a Brazilian beach through your smartphone, and head out surfing whenever optimal conditions roll in.
  • Gather fresh perspective in a Parisian museum or gallery, and then pour your newfound inspiration into your latest web-design project.

These are just a few of the countless possibilities out there on the open road….

Make no mistake: This is not just dream-fueled rhetoric.

Modern digital technology makes it possible to earn a steady stream of freelance income while traveling continuously – in ways that may seem to defy imagination for previous generations of workers, who spent their lives reporting to the same fixed location for years on end.

Granted, as with any form of life, it comes with its own unique set of risks and challenges.

Life as a digital nomad requires a relatively fearless spirit, quick-witted street smarts, and a ready willingness to trade in the familiar comforts of a fixed homebase for continuous adventure.

But for those who crave novelty at the expense of sedentary security, it’s a form of living that simply cannot be traded.

Personally, I can vouch for this lifestyle; I first took the plunge back in 2015.

It suddenly dawned on me that nothing in particular tied me down to any given location on Earth.
Digital Nomadism - Around the World
Equipped with a broad range of SEO, copywriting, and digital-marketing skills to wield for income, I realized that I was actually free to roam the planet, as long as I had a viable Internet connection.

So that’s what I did.

I promptly gave up my apartment in Manhattan, and started blazing a trail through Spain, the UK, France, the UAE, Japan, India, and Malaysia – all in a mind-blowing 10-month span.

Today, the adventure continues: I’m currently writing from a coffee shop in San Jose, Costa Rica.

And for the record, I’m hooked; this type of living is seriously awesome. Each day is new and different!


With the right technology at your fingertips, you can work from anywhere.

It’s actually a lot easier than you might you think to get up and go, as long as you’re properly armed from a technological standpoint.

Thus, to help more freelancers join us in enjoying the “rock ‘n’ roll” lifestyle of a digital nomad, we’ve taken a close look at the many tools designed for this segment.

We’ve narrowed the list down to 16 indispensable tools, which will help you work super-efficiently and travel light.

And away we go….



The Top 16 Tools for Digital Nomads: Quick Tour

Here’s a brief breakdown of our favorite tools for digital nomads – cleverly built for continuous travel and running a freelance business from any continent.

  1. Nomad List. Discover the best places to thrive as a digital nomad.
  2. Hitlist. Track the best airfare deals.
  3. Rome2rio. Find the fastest and cheapest way to your next destination.
  4. Pocket Earth. Access offline maps to virtually anywhere.
  5. Workfrom. Meet other digital nomads.
  6. Shoeboxed. Log business expenses with ease.
  7. Private Internet Access. Protect your data with a secure connection.
  8. Trello. Keep everything organized.
  9. Focus@Will. Apply laser focus to tasks.
  10. Dropbox. Store vital documents safely.
  11. World Time Buddy. Navigate time-zone differences around the world.
  12. Google Hangouts. Stay connected with your friends and clients.
  13. NomadForum.io. Interact with a global community of digital nomads.
  14. XE Currency. Convert currency with ease.
  15. Google Translate. Translate words and phrases on the spot, even offline.
  16. Earth Class Mail. Maintain an address for your business.

Let’s go ahead and walk through the unique benefits of these tools, one-by-one….

 


Digital Nomad Tool #1:

Nomad List

Discover the best places to thrive as a digital nomad.

Nomad List App Screenshot 1

If your dreams don’t reveal your next destination, try Nomad List.

Its free app – NomadMe – provides a list of cities that fit the free-spirited digital-nomad lifestyle.

Explore cost of living, weather, safety, and many more essential facts. You’ll quickly realize why we placed it first, to help steer you in the right direction.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #2:

Hitlist

Track the best airfare deals.

Hitlist Screenshot 1Hitlist App Screenshot 2Hitlist App Screenshot 3

Airfare is the main expense and central concern for any nomad. Before you take off, you’ll clearly need an app that equips you with the best deals for upcoming flights.

Hitlist offers a fun way to keep track of cheap airline tickets and search for affordable flights. It also suggests the best destinations.

Additionally, thrill seekers can tap into the “Best of the Rest” category. This offers great prices for more remote or challenging locales. Just what a nomad loves.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #3:

Rome2rio

Find the fastest and cheapest way to your next destination.

Rome2rio App Screenshot 1Rome2rio App Screenshot 2Rome2rio App Screenshot 3

You don’t want to arrive at your destination and wonder: “Hmm, how do I get from the airport to my hotel, and how much will the trip cost?”

Whether you’re driving a rental car or getting on a bus, Rome2rio can help you get anywhere.

It gives you estimated travel times and fares for trains, ferries, and everything else that carries a nomad around. Camels may not be covered, though.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #4:

PocketEarth

Access offline maps virtually anywhere.

Pocket Earth App Screenshot 1Pocket Earth App Screenshot 2Pocket Earth App Screenshot 3

PocketEarth provides detailed maps and guides. Even better, it works offline, which is incredibly useful when you’re roaming around in unfamiliar territory.

Having this app means you’re free to explore without any fear of getting lost.

It can be accessed anytime, anywhere, with no Internet connection. PocketEarth really is made for adventurers.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #5:

Workfrom

Meet other digital nomads.

Workfrom App Screenshot

Why work alone just because you’re independent? If you enjoy sharing time and space with other freelancers, try Workfrom.

This app provides recommendations on the best co-working locations – including coffee shops and bars – in major cities around the world.

Plus, it tracks Wi-Fi speeds. This means you can discover the café with the fastest connection in your district.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #6:

Shoeboxed

Log business expenses with ease.

Shoeboxed App Screenshot 1Shoeboxed App Screenshot 2Shoeboxed App Screenshot 3

Say goodbye to the enormous stack of receipts that inevitably pile up after any amount of business travel.

With the Shoeboxed app, you can immediately snap a photo of each receipt, and store it neatly –providing all of the digital evidence you need to file this critical piece of your tax returns.

You can also use the app to stow away business cards, prepare expense reports, track mileage, and more.

It’s a tidy solution that frees up much-needed space in your baggage, replacing it all with solid peace of mind.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #7:

Private Internet Access

Protect your data with a secure connection.

Private Internet Access Screenshot 1Private Internet Access Screenshot 2Private Internet Access Screenshot 3

You’ve all heard the warnings about sharing Net connections, and you know the risks.

How do you avoid security headaches such as stolen passwords or credit card numbers? With a virtual private network or VPN such as Private Internet Access.

VPNs keep your sensitive data secured and enable access to sites that might be blocked in certain countries (like Facebook in China). For a digital nomad, a VPN is simply a sensible requirement.

And it allows you to rock in the less-than-free world.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #8:

Trello

Keep everything organized.

Trello App Screenshot 1Trello App Screenshot 2Trello App Screenshot 3

As a remote worker, you’ll frequently handle more than one client at a time. So a tool to keep all your projects organized is essential.

Trello is a visual project-management app, which uses drag-and-drop boards and cards. You can plan and schedule everything with it.

Comment on cards. Attach files. Set deadlines and notifications. Share with others. These are benefits that Trello offers.

Trello is great for keeping track of your own personal projects and goals too.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #9:

Focus@Will

Apply laser focus to tasks.

Focus@Will App Screenshot 1Focus@Will App Screenshot 2Focus@Will App Screenshot 3

You know the wonderful sensation of being lost in a song. But music doesn’t just help you relax. It enhances your concentration.

Tune out the surrounding distractions while working with Focus@Will – a service that provides music to help you focus. It uses a neuroscience-based approach, so it’s truly mind expanding.

The music offered is diverse and deep. It will appeal to all types of brains. Even the unique cerebral structures found within digital nomads.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #10: 

Dropbox

Store vital documents safely.

Dropbox App Screenshot 1Dropbox App Screenshot 2Dropbox App Screenshot 3

Back up important personal and work documents in the cloud through Dropbox – a cloud-storage solution.

Since it allows you to share files, you will use it constantly. This is what nomads like and appreciate.

A free account offers you 2 GB. Upgrade to receive more space.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #11:

World Time Buddy

Schedule meetings and calls in other time zones.

World Time Buddy Screenshot 1World Time Buddy Screenshot 2World Time Buddy Screenshot 3

You’re in Riyadh, but you want to call your employer in Johannesburg. How do you know if she’s home asleep or in the office?

World Time Buddy, a time converter, is the problem-solver here. Select any zone or location you wish – it covers them all.

This free app is easy to use, thanks to its intuitive grid layout.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #12:

Google Hangouts

Stay connected with your friends and clients.

Google Hangouts App Screenshot 1Google Hangouts App Screenshot 2Google Hangouts App Screenshot 3

Whether you’re connecting with clients or loved ones back home, communication is key to building and maintaining great relationships.

Google Hangouts provides messaging, voice calls, and videos for free. Or pay a nominal rate if you choose.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #13:

NomadForum.io

Interact with a global community of digital nomads.

Nomad Forum Tool Screenshot

Having a supportive community that understands the joys and woes of being a digital nomad can be a life-saver. Especially when loneliness strikes – or when a tricky question arises that only a nomad can answer.

NomadForum.io is a great resource for practical information on the digital-nomad lifestyle. It also offers meet-up events with other perpetual travelers.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #14:

XE Currency

Convert currency with ease.

XE Currency App Screenshot 1XE Currency App Screenshot 2XE Currency App Screenshot 3

Keeping track of the different currencies and conversion rates can be frustrating, so leave it to XE Currency.

This app provides conversion rates in real time. That’s the most accurate tool you can use – rates change from moment to moment. You can also save conversion rates for offline access later.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #15:

Google Translate

Translate words and phrases on the spot, even offline.

Google Translate App Screenshot 1Google Translate App Screenshot 2Google Translate App Screenshot 3

One of the most significant hurdles of international travel is language, whenever you touch down in places where your native tongue isn’t the primary means of communication.

Google Translate can provide invaluable assistance – translating words, phrases, and even whole paragraphs into more than 100 languages.

Best of all, you can download offline files for over 50 languages through the app, which enables you to access translations even when you’re out walking around without an Internet connection.

Granted, the translations may not be entirely perfect, because nailing the context of language in every situation is a complex, highly nuanced task. But its suggested output should get you close enough that natives will be able to figure out what you mean.

 


Digital Nomad Tool #16:

Earth Class Mail

Take care of postage back home.

Earth Class Mail Nomad Tool

This service gives you a real-world address while you’re in constant motion.

Earth Mail Class picks up your packages and signs them for you. It scans and forwards important mail to your email address. It even deposits checks.

With this, personal business will no longer restrict your global jaunts.

 


Parting Words on the Top 16 Digital Nomad Tools

Digital Nomad Travel Map
So those are the 16 digital-nomad tools that allow you to travel, work, live, and connect with ease.

Some of the tools in this list might already be as familiar to you as your hometown. Others may be new to you, expanding your definition of what’s possible from the open road.

 


Are You Ready to Work from Anywhere?

Plugin Group is an interactive marketing agency that fully embraces the digital nomad lifestyle.

In fact, it’s a huge part of our ethos. We consider it part of our central mission to help empower freelancers to do more of what they love from anywhere in the world.

As a source of white-label support for advertising agencies, web designers and developers, consultants, and marketing companies, we provide “behind-the-scenes” backup for a variety of specialties, including:
Rockstar Freelancers in Marketing, IT

  • Copywriting, Blogging & Content Development
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Search Marketing (SEO / SEM)
  • UX, Web & Print Design
  • Photography, Videography & Multimedia
  • Web Development
  • Mobile Development
  • Digital Media Buying
  • IT / Marketing Project Management

Sound like a cool gig? Apply to join our freelance crew! We’re always scouting for brilliant new marketers in a variety of specialties to join our team.

Needless to say, we welcome highly talented applicants from all corners of the globe. Show us what you’ve got!

Safe travels!

The post How to Live and Work Anywhere: The 16 Best Digital Nomad Tools appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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Marketing Agency CRMs: Comparison Reviews for the Top 10 Best Systems https://plugingroup.com/top-10-marketing-agency-crms-comparison-reviews/ Tue, 06 Dec 2016 05:49:20 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=4494 As a marketer, you live in a continuously running play – with an ever-expanding cast of characters that you meet and engage with, online and off. These contacts do not merely consist of your current customers; the list also includes anyone who could possibly turn into a customer down the road and / or introduce […]

The post Marketing Agency CRMs: Comparison Reviews for the Top 10 Best Systems appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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As a marketer, you live in a continuously running play – with an ever-expanding cast of characters that you meet and engage with, online and off.

These contacts do not merely consist of your current customers; the list also includes anyone who could possibly turn into a customer down the road and / or introduce you to other potential sales prospects.

Once you’ve established a relationship with a business contact, you need to monitor all of your interactions with that person – to keep things moving progressively in the right direction. These exchanges include:

  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • Social-media conversations
  • Face-to-face meetings

This is a ton of information to manage and make sense of, to say the least.

In the past, you’d file this vast amount of information away as written notes. Today, marketing automation enables you to take charge of these volumes of facts in far more systematic fashion – retrieving relevant details in record time, and even suggesting the next logical steps on your behalf.

One thing is clear: In this era, you really need a system that efficiently organizes all of this data, and makes it readily usable for you and your entire team.

Enter CRM.


What Is CRM?

Plugin Group reviews Customer Relationship Management toolsThink of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems as clever assistants who never forget a face or a single personal detail, meticulously storing the key facts about all of your contacts.

These systems use strategies and technologies that gather data from a variety of different channels, providing a detailed directory of customer information. You can leverage them in a variety of powerful ways to:

  • Increase new sales
  • Retain and improve current customer relationships

In fact, CRMs automate interactions, so that your business can optimize relationships with both current and potential customers.

The data they gather helps you to see the big picture, and points you toward closing a sale – which is, of course, your ultimate objective.


What Are the Different CRMs Available?

There are many CRMs out in the market today.

  • Some are available for free, as long as you’re willing to put up with a certain set of limitations.
  • Others come with a price, which might actually prove its weight in gold, by streamlining the sales process for your business.

Comparison of the Top 10 Most Popular CRMs

The following blog post will review 10 popular CRMs for marketing agencies:
Free & Paid Marketing Agency CRMs

Paid CRMs

Free CRMs

At the end of this post, we’ve included a pair of comparison charts – but let’s give these quick references some helpful context first.


Three Keys to Choosing the Right CRM for Your Marketing Agency

Each system has its respective set of pros and cons. The key to identifying the best CRM for your agency is to figure out:

1. What type of information needs to be tracked?

  • Map out all stages of your sales funnel, to determine the different types of contacts that need to be stored.
  • Determine the level of detail that needs to be recorded for each contact.

2. Which characteristics are the most important, based on your core needs?

  • This will help you pinpoint the best system for your agency, by helping you to prioritize what matters most in the selection process.

3. Which bells and whistles are the least important for your agency?

  • This will help you weed out unnecessary luxuries, which carry extra cost.

Note that the pricing and features highlighted in this blog post reflect those pulled from the respective sites in November 2016. As we move forward in time, you’ll want to verify that it’s all still current, since things continue to evolve so rapidly.

With this preliminary context and disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive into our analysis.



 

Paid CRMs for Marketing Agencies

We all know the old saying: “You get what you pay for.”

So let’s start by exploring some of the best-known premium/paid CRMs for marketing agencies.

 

Base

Paid CRM #1

Base CRM Screenshot

Pros:

  • Simple user interface
  • Information presented in truncated views for at-a-glance scanning
  • Ability to call or send an SMS message from the CRM
  • Free resources and training webinars
  • Full-featured mobile apps

Cons:

  • Limited customizability
  • Certain useful features only available at more expensive plans
  • Limited document storage
  • Limited options for third-party integrations

Best for:

Base provides features that are suitable for a small to mid-size sales team, which doesn’t need many third-party integrations.

Price:

Base is available in three plans:

  • Starter ($25/user/month; max: 5 users) provides basic sales tracking and management, email and voice integration, and unlimited deals and contracts for up to 5 users.
  • Professional ($75/user/month) is a complete CRM and reporting solution for a growing business. Additional features include sales forecasting, task automation, activity report and document management.
  • Enterprise ($125/user/month) promises to be an “all-in-one sales platform” for data-driven enterprises. Includes access to a rapid dialer, multi-level permissions, lead and deal scoring, multiple sales pipelines, intelligent data and analytics, and more.

On the fence? Base offers a 14-day free trial to help you decide if it’s the right CRM for you.

Video:


 

Close.io

Paid CRM #2

Close.io CRM Screenshot

Pros:

  • Built around VoiP calling and email integration
  • Automatically tracks sales activity and records calls
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Powerful search capability

Cons:

  • No mobile integration
  • Despite focus on calls, there’s no dial pad or capability to transfer or hold calls
  • No HTML emails or email signatures
  • More expensive than other CRMs in the market

Best for:

Close.io is best suited for teams that focus their sales strategy on cold calling. Sales agents or teams that do more work over the phone will benefit the most from this CRM. Close.io’s ability to make calls right inside the app and its automatic recording feature help sales agents focus on closing the deal instead of worrying about logging entries.

Price:

You can try Close.io for free for 14 days. After that, you can choose from three plans:

  • Basic ($65/user/month) provides two-way email integration, API access, and unlimited leads, contacts and opportunities.
  • Professional ($110/user/month) includes the ability to send bulk email and track calls automatically. This plan also provides a phone number and unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada in addition to the Basic features.
  • Business ($165/user/month) features voicemail drop, call transfer, call audio recording, custom reporting graphs, unlimited international calls, and toll-free numbers/ring groups in addition to the Professional features.

Video:


 

Pipeliner

Paid CRM #3

Pipeliner CRM Screenshot

Pros:

  • Takes a visual approach
  • Easy drag-and-drop
  • Marries into or ability to develop your own sales process or stages
  • Offline and sync capabilities
  • Strong social media integration

Cons:

  • Limited custom reports
  • Security can be improved

Best for:

With its visual orientation, Pipeliner works best for teams that respond better to a graphical view of stats and customer relationships. According to the company, Pipeliner has been generating results for sales-process-focused businesses comprised of 50 to 500 people.

Price:

Pipeliner has two main pricing plans: Personal and Business plans.

  • The Personal Plan provides two options: a free one and a paid one.
    • The free version offers basic sales management and tracking and limited records at 500 MB storage.
    • The paid option ($8/user/month billed annually) increases storage to 2 GB and adds mobile integration and unlimited records.
  • The Business Plan has three tiers: Starter, Business, and Enterprise.
    • Starter Plan ($25/user/month) provides basic sales management, tracking, and collaboration with 2 GB storage.
    • Business Plan ($55/user/month) affords users full CRM functionality, advanced reporting, and customization with 5 GB storage.
    • Enterprise Plan (inquire for price) adds advanced integrations, training, back-up, and many more with 200 GB storage to the mix.

Note: All business plans are available for an unlimited number of users, and a free trial is available for Starter and Business plans.

Video:


 

SugarCRM

Paid CRM #4

Sugar CRM Screenshot

Pros:

  • Easy-to-configure dashboards
  • Highly customizable (open source)
  • Global and full text search
  • Deep app integration and analytics
  • Option to self-host
  • Multi-currency support

Cons:

  • Pay more for offline mobile access
  • Pay more for offline sync
  • Annual billing
  • Minimum of 10 users to subscribe

Best for:

SugarCRM is best suited for teams that like to tweak and run their software on their own servers. Its long list of features also most likely matches the needs of big businesses rather than small ones. Its price, from $4,800 up to $18,000 per year, is rather a hefty amount for smaller businesses to shoulder.

Price:

SugarCRM is available in three price tiers as follows:

  • Sugar Professional ($40/user/month) offers sales, support, and call center automation; mobile apps; reporting tools; and unlimited customizations and online support – all at a 15 GB storage limit.
  • Sugar Enterprise ($65/user/month) increases storage to 60 GB and adds advanced workflow tools, role-based views, a self-service portal, Oracle and DB2 support, SQL-based reporting access, product level quotes, revenue line item opportunity tracking and forecasting, and email and phone support during business hours.
  • Sugar Ultimate ($150/user/month) maximizes storage at 250 GB and adds 24/7 support, up to 5 sandbox instances, and assigned technical account manager.

Video:


 

Salesforce

Paid CRM #5

Salesforce CRM Screenshot

Pros:

  • Cloud based
  • Highly configurable
  • Many advanced features and apps
  • Supports so many different use cases

Cons:

  • It can be complex and overwhelming for microbusinesses
  • Customization might require hiring developers
  • Annual billing
  • Higher price
  • Lower tiers lack functionality
  • Add-on third-party apps can be expensive

Best for:

Salesforce works best for businesses that work in an ecosystem where integration with many third-party apps is vital to success.

Price:

Salesforce offers potential users the following options:

  • SalesforceIQ CRM Starter ($25/user/month) provides basic features – such as contact and lead management, sales pipeline, basic reporting, and task management – necessary to run a small team of up to five people. This version has minimal automation, is limited to one list only, and lacks a calendar and document management. On the plus side, it does have a mobile app and Chrome extension.
  • Lightning Professional ($75/user/month) adds email integration, customizable reports and dashboard, and unlimited apps and tabs for an unlimited number of users. However, the number of processes, profiles, record types and permissions are limited.
  • Lightning Enterprise ($150/user/month) is a feature-rich and highly customizable CRM option. This option adds growth features, advanced reporting, sales forecasting, and API access.

All three tiers offer a free trial.

Video:


 

Free CRMs for Marketing Agencies

If you’re low-budget or have no budget for a CRM (yet), don’t fret. There are many free options available in the market.

Free CRMs can be categorized into two basic types:

  • Freemium CRMs are free versions of popular CRM software that most likely offer either only the bare-minimum capabilities or offer more or the full features but limit the number of users or records.
  • Open-source CRMs offer full functionality; however, this comes at the price of requiring someone to install and/or customize one for you.

With that out of the way, here are five of the best free CRMs for marketing agencies today:


 

Insightly

Free CRM #1

Insightly CRM Screenshot

Insightly’s free version provides the most basic features for up to 2 users. Paid options start at $29 and go up to $99/user/month billed annually.

Pros:

  • Connects to a growing number of other tools
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Provides basic features but scalable

Cons:

  • Storage is limited to 200 MB
  • Other limitations include: 5 email templates, up to 10 mass emails daily, 10 custom fields, 500-row file import limit, and 2,500 records only
  • Support offered is through online community only
  • No advanced permissions, MailChimp Auto-Importer, lead assignment rules, business card scanner, email scheduling, or onboarding sessions

Best for:

Insightly works for small and mid-size businesses that require a powerful CRM tool with team-friendly features.

Video:


 

Streak

Free CRM #2

Streak CRM Screenshot

Five users can enjoy the benefits of having a CRM right inside their Gmail inbox. Upgrades run from $19 to $89/user/month.

Pros:

  • No adoption or learning curve required; takes advantage of a user’s normal behavior
  • Easy to use
  • Email power tools (tracking, scheduling)
  • Unlimited private pipelines and boxes

Cons:

  • Since it’s a plug-in for Gmail, users on other email domains won’t be able to use it
  • No Android app
  • Max of 200 emails tracked per month

Best for:

Streak is best for one-man teams and startups that make use of email a lot. It’s a handy-dandy tool that tracks contacts as they progress from leads to sales.

Video:


 

Zoho CRM

Free CRM #3

Zoho CRM Screenshot

Zoho CRM is free for 10 users. This free edition comes with basic reporting and forecasting tools and sales leads, marketing, and customer-support automation. Upgrades start at $12/user/month.

Pros:

  • 360-degree view of contacts, sales cycles, and pipelines
  • Integration with other Zoho apps, social media, Outlook, and Google apps
  • Website visitor tracking
  • Document management
  • API access

Cons:

  • Clunky and unintuitive interface
  • Not a lot of customization options
  • No calendar sync
  • Limited customer support

Best for:

Zoho CRM’s free version will work best as a simple and budget-friendly solution for small to large businesses.

Video:


 

Bitrix24

Free CRM #4

Bitrix24 CRM Screenshot

Bitrix24’s free plan provides a full-featured CRM with 5 GB online storage to an unlimited number of users, though its more than 35 business tools is limited to only 12 users.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Includes project management features
  • Built-in email marketing
  • Call recording, dial-out directly from CRM
  • Sales automation
  • Sales funnel and reporting
  • Invoicing
  • Sales team management

Cons:

  • Interface can’t be updated
  • Overwhelming options
  • Complex administration panel
  • Customization options can be improved

Best for:

Bitrix24 is best-suited as a CRM for small and microbusinesses, especially those with a sales team or department.

Video:


 

HubSpot CRM

Free CRM #5

HubSpot CRM Screenshot

HubSpot’s free CRM promises to help users “adopt an effective, efficient inbound sales process.” It does a decent job of managing contacts and staying in touch with them as well as tracking leads and deals. HubSpot CRM is meant to work well with Sidekick and HubSpot’s very own marketing automation software, which starts at $200/month.

Pros:

  • Unlimited number of users
  • As many as 1 million contacts, companies, deals, and tasks
  • Interface is simple, easy to understand, learn, and use
  • Customizable layout through drag-and-drop
  • Gmail and Outlook integration
  • Integrates with free Sidekick extension to provide contact insights and email tracking and scheduling
  • Auto-fill contact and company details
  • iOS and Android apps available

Cons:

  • Support is limited to the HubSpot Community
  • Lacks advance reporting
  • Lacks marketing automation
  • Not as powerful or customizable as other CRMs

Best for:

HubSpot CRM is great for small to mid-size businesses that will be using a CRM for the first time. It will also work well with marketing agencies that have smaller or less complicated sales pipelines and processes or that don’t have a fleet of salespeople. Existing HubSpot account holders can also use this CRM to make HubSpot’s marketing software even more helpful.

Video:

 

How to Pick a CRM for Your Marketing Agency

Which CRM Should You Use?Because of the myriad options of CRMs for marketing agencies that are available to you, it can be confusing come decision time. So, here are some tips to help you pick the best one.

  1. Remember that any piece of CRM software is a contact management system at its core. It is expressly designed to give you a clear overview of who you are selling to.
  1. Don’t be dazzled by a CRM with a lot of bells and whistles that aren’t useful for you. Find out what you need, and stick to options that provide effective solutions.
  1. Determine how much you’re willing to pay for a CRM. Narrow the options to two to three, and pick one that fits your team’s needs.

Choose a CRM that your team will actually use. It doesn’t necessarily have to be “the best” out there on the market, but one that you and your team will be committed to using on a regular basis. This most likely means the CRM has to be: (1) simple, (2) easy to use, and (3) integrated with the third-party apps you’re already relying on.

In other words, your ideal CRM is useful, straightforward, and appropriate for your budget. And it fits your needs very well. Pay the right price for functions that you will use every day – it just makes sense.


 

Comparison of Paid CRMs

Paid CRM Comparison Chart

Comparison of Free CRMs

Free CRM Comparison Chart


Final Thoughts

Keep Track of Your ContactsSo there you have it: The pros and cons of some of the most popular paid and free CRMs.

As you can see, these 10 systems serve a wide range of businesses and salespeople.

No two CRMs are built alike, and that variability means you’ll have a better chance to find the one that’s best suited to help your agency succeed.

 

The post Marketing Agency CRMs: Comparison Reviews for the Top 10 Best Systems appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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Inbound 16 Conference Recap: Outward-Bound Takeaways https://plugingroup.com/inbound-16-conference-recap-marketing-takeaways/ Fri, 18 Nov 2016 08:39:18 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=4306 Oh man! My head is still spinning from last week’s Inbound 16 conference in Boston, hosted by HubSpot. The following blog post will cover just some of the most valuable nuggets that I was able to extract from the four-day marketing extravaganza. Let’s be honest though: There’s no way that one post could possibly capture everything of […]

The post Inbound 16 Conference Recap: Outward-Bound Takeaways appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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Main Floor - Inbound 16Oh man! My head is still spinning from last week’s Inbound 16 conference in Boston, hosted by HubSpot.

The following blog post will cover just some of the most valuable nuggets that I was able to extract from the four-day marketing extravaganza.

Let’s be honest though: There’s no way that one post could possibly capture everything of substance that happened there … honestly! The sheer volume of breakout sessions alone was mind-boggling!

So often, I wished that I could clone myself at will to attend multiple breakouts, torn by the gravitational pull of equally interesting subjects … but alas. This sort of scientific breakthrough will apparently have to wait for mass consumption. Meh.


The Political Backdrop

2016 U.S. Presidential ElectionFirst, something must be said about the massive political spectacle going on in the background throughout the conference.

The U.S. presidential election added some interesting punctuation to the event, to say the least.

Regrettably, I didn’t get a chance to attend the breakout session entitled “Trump, Bush, Clinton & Sanders: How Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales Decided the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” presented by David Meerman Scott. However, my good buddy Pete Karabetis from LMO said it was one of his personal-favorite sessions from the week’s full lineup.

The central point of David’s talk:

All politics aside, it’s very simple: For better or worse, the *best marketer* won the election.

Say what you will about his record: Branding is one thing that Trump knows inside and out, with plenty of practice in building an empire. Despite all of the electoral antics from both sides of the table, those skills appeared to serve as the “trump card” in the final hour.

Alec Baldwin at Inbound 16Fortunately, Alec Baldwin was featured as one of Friday’s keynote speakers, which helped to take a bit of the edge off.
To everyone’s delight, he fired off his famous impression of Trump a few times, in the course of chatting with former “Daily Show” correspondent and comedian Jason Jones on stage.

Of course, if we had some much-needed campaign-finance reform in this country, things could’ve gone a completely different way, as Baldwin did suggest … but that’s the subject of a whole ‘nother conference.Alec Baldwin - Inbound 16

At any rate, the election added a bold exclamation point to everything being discussed throughout the week. The implication:

Successful marketing and branding carry a heck of a lot of power … and they can take you straight to the top, if you play your cards right.

Let’s break it all down.


The Journey of Inbound

Just HubSpot Journey Keynote - Inbound 16ignore the bounds of linear time for a second.

We’ll begin this brief recap by diving straight into the back-to-back keynote speeches from HubSpot cofounders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

While the rest of the featured speakers for Inbound 16 tended to zoom in on particular pieces of the marketing puzzle,
Brian and Dharmesh’s talks provided more of a big-picture overview of key trends in
the industry.

Pay Per Impression Click LeadA few quick highlights:

1. Brian outlined the progressive shift of the most attractive “unit buy” in online advertising from:

  • Pay Pay Impression, circa 1994
  • Pay Per Click, circa 2002
  • Pay Per Lead, as of 2016

Brain Wallet Power - Inbound 16He urged marketers to jump on Facebook Lead Ads, to glean the best bang for their buck at this stage.

2. Overall reach is achieved through a potent combination of creative thinking and effective ad spend:

Your success is about the width of your brain to the wallet power.

A quick translation for liberal-arts Modern Marketing Advice - Inbound 16majors:

  • Creativity provides the initial spark needed for social success.
  • Advertising dollars can then light a fire extremely efficiently, like gasoline poured directly on top.

3. Overall, Brian encouraged marketers to consider the following “frontiers”:

  • Convert text to Cold Calling Dead - Inbound 16video
  • Live in social platforms 
  • Accelerate content 
  • Automate buying

4. Brian pronounced Cold Calling officially dead.

  • Through microtargeted social and digital tactics, there are far better ways to reach your target audience cost-effectively.

5. Email marketing is Customer Success Incentives - Inbound 16still alive and kicking.

  • Automation has proven to be a particularly effective way to deliver targeted messaging, based on user behavior and other contextual cues.

6. For long-term success, Brian urged that “Customer Success” be used as the benchmark gauge to establish:

  • Messaging Stronger Connections - Inbound 16Commission Structures
  • Pricing Plans 
  • Recurring Revenue

7. Dharmesh praised the use of social messaging as an essential sales tool.

  • This technology enables us to get much closer to customers than ever before, through real-time response rates and the much deeper trust factor involved.
  • To make full use of it, communication simply must beChatbot Slide - Inbound 16 transacted with a human touch.

8. Chatbots are not just a passing fad; Dharmesh heralded them as a staple for the future.

  • We’ve moved far past the limitations of “Clippy,” the Microsoft Office assistant of yore.
  • Through powerful advances in machine learning, this technology is now poised to help us make sense of our busy Clippy Slide - Inbound 16lives, including the massive data stream that we each need to process on a daily basis.

Finally, there was a central point of stress for both Brian and Dharmesh, which provides the perfect way to wrap up this section:

9. As marketers, we need to focus on “Human Enjoyment Optimization” first and foremost.

  • With AI technology such as RankBrain on the loose, Google’s ability Human Enjoyment Optimization - Inbound 16to simulate a human’s ability to gauge “genuine likeability” is only going to increase exponentially.
  • Brian summed things up in similar fashion: “Always Be Helping” is the name of the game at this point.

It doesn’t get simpler or more straightforward than that, as a central point of focus for all efforts … no matter which particular form they may take.


Other Particularly Memorable Concepts

Gary Vaynerchuk at Inbound 16

1. Self-Awareness Is Key.

Legendary entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk kicked off Inbound 16 on an extremely high note with this core theme:

Figure out who you actually are. What are you good at? Then bet on yourself, no matter what anyone else says.

Gary Vaynerchuk 2 - Inbound 16Practical risk taking is the name of the game. We are living in an amazing time, and those who aren’t willing to step up and do something original are going to fall behind. Creativity and courage are the secrets to success.

Oh, and if you’re still bulk-messaging people … cut it out right now. Reach out to target individuals as living, breathing humans through social media; don’t be a schmuck.

2. Sadly, Your Blog Posts Won’t All Be Winners.

HubSpot Historical Optimization - Inbound 16Pamela Vaughn, principal marketing manager of optimization for HubSpot, presented some shocking results related to their well-known blog. Among the most jaw-dropping:

  • 77% of HubSpot’s monthly blog-post leads came from just 100 posts

    • These posts represented just 1.4% of total posts on the Marketing Blog at the time.

She described the process of “Historical Optimization” – going back in time, in a sense, to tweak old blog posts to Historical Optimization - Inbound 16improve their SEO rankings, with highly worthwhile results.

Among many other actionable tips, she offered a variety of factors to test for better conversion, including:

  • CTA designs
  • Button color
  • CTA imagery
  • Blog design elements
  • CTA types
  • HubSpot Blog - SEO EnhancementsOffers
  • Anchor-text CTAs
  • Slide-in CTAs
  • Exit pop-up models
  • CTA timing
  • CTA copy
  • CTA placement
  • Testimonials
  • Social proof 
  • Smart CTAs
  • Embedded forms
  • Form overlays / modals
  • Form fields

3. Use Advertising as Accelerant for Your Best Social Posts.

Unicorns v. Donkeys - Inbound 16Wordstream founder Larry Kim explained the critical importance of separating “unicorn posts” (i.e., those that fly high, in terms of popular appeal) from “donkeys” (i.e., total duds). Sadly, donkeys will far outweigh your unicorns in number; this is just the harsh reality.

He recommended the usage of social advertising as rocket fuel exclusively on your best posts, to further ignite them.

Fox News - Larry KimHe told a priceless tale about a super-simple $50 Promoted Tweet that went on to land him:

  • Business Insider story
  • Fox News interview
  • 250 other high-value press pickups and links
  • Over 100K site visitors
  • More!

Brilliant math!

4. Design Is Not Art.

It’s a provocative title that was bound to ruffle a few feathers, but wow … such an eye-opener!

HubSpot Senior UX Designer Austin Knight explained the diametric differences between design and art, although they may seem to be a lot more closely related at first glance.

  • Design Not Art - Inbound 16Art is about:
    • Personal expression
    • Provocation
    • Exploration
    • Creativity for its own sake
    • The artist
  • Design is about:
    • Use
    • Alleviation
    • Observation and iteration
    • Function
    • The user

Thus, humility is actually the most important quality a designer can possess. Remaining receptive to feedback from users, other team members, and data signals is absolutely crucial to the job.

5. Own Your Niche.

Scott Meyer - 9 Clouds - Inbound 16Scott Meyer, “brofounder” of 9 Clouds, gave an exhilarating talk about the value of choosing a niche, mastering it, and being known. Indeed, be bold! Dare to be different!

The million-dollar question:

How do we put our agency “out on the tail,” so that we get found?

Here’s the action plan:

  • Choose an industry or service
  • Own the intersection of industry and service
  • Put in enough time to create process

The story he told of 9 Clouds’ rise to success was just so inspirational! This is a company built on the wings of pure creative genius. Hearing about the difference that they’ve made in the lives of local community members was deeply touching, based on a variety of initiatives that they’ve kicked off – from a local version of TED talks to a “Before I Die” wall.

Clearly, I’m leaving out tons and tons of other insanely awesome speakers from this year’s packed lineup … but these were five of my personal favorites from the entire mind-boggling event.

 


One Final Unofficial Theme

Main Floor 2 - Inbound 16Some might debate me on this, but here’s an overall theme that came screaming at me loud and clear, by the time the conference was all said and done. You ready?

Honestly … no one can keep up with the full spread of available marketing tactics in this vast, ever-changing industry.

I don’t care how well-funded your company happens to be, or how relentless you are as a go-getter.

There are just too many different channels out there – each evolving new dimensions and best practices at their own supersonic pace – with new platforms popping up all the time.

We’re living in a quantum world, and we’re forced to keep up with woefully analog brains.

I know what you’re thinking:

This sounds like the most depressing conference takeaway ever.

Ultimately though, here’s the reality of it:

It’s such a huge relief. 

Here’s why:

It’s so easy to get caught up in the high-pressure frenzy to create a ridiculous amount of content everywhere.

If you’re not careful, you can find yourself scurrying around like mad, attempting to conquer myriad channels that can be used to reach potential audiences – spinning your wheels for little return.

That’s not the power play here, thankfully.

Instead, the key comes down to:

  1. Keeping a level head, and staying extremely focused on your niche segment
  2. Learning how best to reach your super-specific target audiences
  3. Doubling-, tripling-, and quadrupling-down on the tactics that work the best

Thank God for the 80/20 rule.

Inbound StageUltimately, we all attend conferences such as Inbound 16 to learn about what has worked really well for other marketers, especially as things continue to evolve so rapidly. Then we head back to the office, and we give a few new things a try. Some will work, and we’ll eagerly add them to our playbook. Others … eh, not so much … and we’ll strike them from the record.

But at the end of the day, we all need to return to our own core method to the madness … to keep things totally doable in this crazy profession we call marketing.

This was an important point of reflection for me, because that sense of urgency had been starting to creep in for me lately. I hope this little reminder helps to bring others similarly renewed inner peace.

Own Your Niche - Inbound 16For us at Plugin Group, our sweet spot has always been SEO and copywriting; that’s where we began, as the central source of most of our leads from the start. The rest of our white-label business model – assisting other agencies as a source of overflow support – has just unfolded like a picnic umbrella from there.

As Scott Meyers of 9 Clouds mentioned in his “Own Your Niche” talk:

We all own a little piece of the universe, where we can become a master.

I just love that idea. Inspiring words from a truly mind-blowing event.


Sound Off, Fellow Inbounders!

Photo of Nikki Johnson at Hubspot Inbound 16 conferenceTo all Inbound 16 participants, we’d love to hear your impressions!

No doubt, you’re still digesting plenty of noteworthy tidbits of your own. (After all, there were 19,000-plus attendees this year, and more than 300 breakout sessions in total!)

Tell us about what you found most meaningful and provocative from the Inbound 16 conference.

Share your own takeaways with us here:

In the true spirit of the event itself, let’s get some collaborative knowledge sharing going! Time to take what we learned to the streets!

It was super-cool hanging out with all of you. Until we meet again….

The post Inbound 16 Conference Recap: Outward-Bound Takeaways appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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The Top 15 Most Popular Social-Media Sites in 2016 [Infographic] https://plugingroup.com/top-15-popular-social-media-sites-november-2016/ Mon, 07 Nov 2016 16:58:59 +0000 https://plugingroup.com/?p=4147 Explore the Social-Networking Websites Most Visited on a Monthly Basis Social media has become an incredibly seductive realm throughout the globe. Through its many enticing forms of communication and entertainment, it attracts steady followers from virtually all age groups on a regular basis. Active social-media users now register at around 2.34 billion people globally. According to eMarketer’s […]

The post The Top 15 Most Popular Social-Media Sites in 2016 [Infographic] appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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Explore the Social-Networking Websites Most Visited on a Monthly Basis

Social media has become an incredibly seductive realm throughout the globe. Through its many enticing forms of communication and entertainment, it attracts steady followers from virtually all age groups on a regular basis.

Active social-media users now register at around 2.34 billion people globally. According to eMarketer’s “Worldwide Social Networks Users” report, published in June 2016, this grand total represents:

  • Approximately 32.0% of the world’s population
  • Roughly 68.3% of global Internet users

Regular social-media usage rose 9.5% from its recorded level in 2015, and is projected to continue climbing upward.


The following post explores the top 15 social-media sites – ranked in order of monthly visitation
– as tabulated by DreamGrow, last updated on November 13, 2016.

In the chart below, the total number of Internet users was sourced from Internet Live Stats, estimated as of November 6, 2016.

Top 15 Social-Media Sites

Note: If the percentages of monthly penetration for these social networking sites initially strike you as low, consider that:

  1. Total Number of Internet Users represents those with even the faintest connection to the Web throughout the globe, including developing markets.
  2. Estimated Monthly Users are not just members who have signed up for an account, but those who faithfully return to these social networks on a monthly basis.

Indeed, social platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are now among the most visited websites online. Millions of visitors descend upon these types of sites daily, as a means of efficiently engaging with the world at large.

One Final Disclaimer: Social networking apps – including WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and others – will be covered in similar fashion in a future post.

And now, with all of that being said … let’s dig into the data.

 


Infographic of the Top 15 Most Popular Social-Media Sites

Top 15 Social Sites Infographic

 


Overall Trends in the Social Networking World

Before we dive straight into each of the top-ranked sites individually, let’s take a quick look at overall 2016 trends in the social sphere.

Age-Level Usage of Social Media

Utilization of social media cuts across all age groups, as reported by Search Engine Journal’s latest report in January 2016.

The youngest segment – aged 18 to 29 – predictably leads the pack, with a rate of 89% engaged in social media.

However, even seniors – aged 65 and older – are picking it up in increasing numbers, with 49% currently linked into at least one platform.

Geographic Distribution of Social Media

North America leads the world in terms of social-media penetration, with 59% of its population connected to at least one platform.

However, East Asia holds a commanding lead by virtue of sheer head count, with 769 million active social-media users.

The following chart shows the penetration rate of some of the world’s most socially connected countries, as of January 2016:

In terms of social-media growth rate, the heavily advanced digital markets of North America and Western Europe are now approaching saturation, leaving less room for further expansion. According to eMarketer, social-network users in these two geographic areas are predicted to increase by just 3.1% and 3.8% by the end of the year, respectively.

By contrast, developing markets are currently driving much of the rapid growth for social media. According to We Are Social’s “Digital in APAC, 2016” report, released in September 2016:

  • Myanmar’s increase in social-media usage was an astounding 189%!
  • Laos, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, and Bangladesh are also showing strong pickup – respectively registered at 91%, 76%, 75%, and 67%.


Amped-Up Mobile Usage for Social Networking Sites

Mobile devices have increasingly become the preferred method for accessing social media.

In countries with a growing middle class, such as India, there are now many more people equipped with both the means and the desire to connect to social media via mobile equipment.

Except for LinkedIn and Tumblr, most traffic to social networks comes from mobile devices.

Pinterest and Instagram receive an upwards of 90% of their traffic from mobile devices – driven largely by their central focus on the quick upload of photos.


 

A Closer Look at the Top 15 Social Networking Websites

Now let’s take a deeper dive into each of these social-networking site powerhouses….

1.  FACEBOOK

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    1,790,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    51.2%

Facebook Logo

Love it or hate it, Facebook has firmly established itself as a worldwide institution.

Facebook is a platform where users can share all sorts of comments, links, images, videos, and files. From relatively trivial posts raving about lunch at the new bistro down the street to serious rants against the misuse of government power, Facebook covers the full spectrum of the human experience … the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

Despite recent coverage about increased adoption by more senior generations, most Facebook users still tend to be younger. The largest age demographic is between 20 and 29.

Facebook is also very balanced from a gender perspective, with a near-even split of males and females internationally.

During the course of the past year, India surpassed the United States, as the country with the highest number of Facebook users.

Indeed, Facebook is very popular in the developing world. Four out of the top five countries with the most FB users are in the developing world.

Due to its broad reception, it also boasts strong growth and a solid revenue stream. In the Second Quarter of 2016 alone, it hauled in $2.1 billion in profit, according to its official earnings report.

Much of Facebook’s usage currently pours through mobile devices. The following graphic displays access by device, as of January 2016:

2.  YOUTUBE

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    1,000,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    28.6%

YouTube Logo

As part of the Alphabet group of companies led by Google, YouTube is the most popular video-sharing website.

Every minute, approximately 400 hours of new content are uploaded to YouTube.

YouTube has over a billion users – roughly a quarter of whom are active users.

Users for the site stretch across all age segments, with the largest demographic being those between 25 and 34 years old.

 

3.  INSTAGRAM

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    500,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    14.3%

Instagram Logo

Instagram is a platform geared toward the sharing of photos and videos.

It focuses heavily on mobile devices, since smartphones have rapidly become our go-to camera – capturing so many of life’s precious moments.

There are over 400 million users on Instagram, with over 80% of them coming from outside the United States.

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social-media platforms – expanding at a rate of 15.1% this year, according to an eMarketer report published in February 2016.

This growth is being driven by the fact that over 89% of Instagram’s users are under 35. It’s a hit with the smartphone generation.

 

4.  TWITTER

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    313,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    9.0%

Twitter Logo

Twitter is the most popular microblogging platform, with a user base of over a billion people. Over a third of those members are active users.

Its most defining characteristic is the signature length limit on posts – restricted to 140 characters, although photos and links are no longer counted toward this tight cap.

The average Twitter user is also among the youngest – with a large plurality, 37%, under age 29.

Reportedly, 24% of adult men and 21% of adult women use Twitter, based on a “Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms” study conducted by Pew Research Center.

Fueled by its support of more than 40 languages worldwide, 79% of Twitter’s user base is located outside of the United States, as reported by Hootsuite in August 2016.

eMarketer found that the top three non-U.S. countries are Brazil, Japan, and Mexico – with considerable growth also taking root in India.

Despite these demonstrated successes, Twitter has faced ongoing battles this year from a profit standpoint, with a series of less-than-expected earnings. A round of layoffs was triggered in Q3 2016, as a defensive measure to this end.

 

5.  REDDIT

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    234,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    6.7%

Reddit Logo

Reddit is known as the “Front Page of the Internet.”

With lively real-time debate and discussion from users all over the world – ranging from serious commentary focused on the latest world news, to light-hearted fan art posted in tribute to favorite TV shows – there’s never a dull moment on Reddit.

Most Reddit users – or “Redditors” – are from the United States, with some 62% being American.

Redditors also tend to be younger – with 63% of users under age 25, and 87% under 35.

 

6.  VINE

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    200,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    5.7%

Vine Logo

Vine is a video-sharing platform, where users share and create six-second videos.

However, it won’t maintain its present status for long: On October 27, 2016, official announcements were made that the popular video site will soon be shutting down. The upsetting move was spurred as part of cost-cutting efforts at Twitter, which purchased Vine back in 2012.

In the meantime, Vine enjoys over 40 million registered users – with over 71% of them reported to be millennials by DMR, as of September 2015.

Vine’s era has now ended. But there are always a dozen new recruits waiting to take the place of any fallen soldier on the World Wide Web.

 

7.  ASK.FM

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    160,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    4.6%

Ask-fm Logo

Ask.fm is a social-networking service whereby users can send each other questions and answer them.

It gets 180 million unique users per month, of which half are under 18.

Indeed, Ask.fm seems eager to serve teens and millennials, based on the focus on its press materials.

Its full audience is reportedly spread out across 150 countries.

 

8.  TUMBLR

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    115,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    3.3%

Tumblr Logo

Tumblr is a social-networking and microblogging site. Users can follow blogs and publish short posts and media, such as images, music, and video.

The site is most heavily used by Americans aged 25 to 34, according to an eMarketer report published in February 2016.

Purchased by Yahoo in 2013, Tumblr ranked as one of the fastest-growing sites in 2014, showing a meteoric rise of 95% in active users during 2014.

This year, however, it has comparatively shown only 10.5% growth, signaling a possible plateau for further expansion.

 

9.  FLICKR

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    112,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    3.2%

Image of Flickr logo

Flickr acts mainly as an image-hosting website for users, who store and share personal photos and videos.

Over 112 million people use this platform, which caters to both professional and amateur photographers.

However, in March of 2016, Flickr’s owner – Yahoo!, which purchased the site in 2005 – announced that the photo-sharing service would henceforth only be available to paying users.

The move has prompted a steep decline in usage this year; former enthusiasts have shifted their loyalty over to competitors such as 500px, SmugMug, and Google Photos.

 

10.  GOOGLE+

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    111,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    3.2%

Google Plus Logo

Google Plus emerged in June 2011, as Google’s attempt to enter the social-media market and compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

It currently has 375 million active members. However, less than 5 million published posts in 2015, as reported by Infinit Datum.

Its largely male base comprises 74% of its users, according to Statistic Brain. Engineers and Web Developers are reportedly among the most top occupations for its members, accounting for the majority of its users.

The user base of Google Plus is mainly in North America, with 59% of the total membership coming from the United States and Canada.

 

11.  LINKEDIN

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    106,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    3.0%

LinkedIn Logo

While LinkedIn has many of the same features as Facebook, it is explicitly designed to serve the needs of business professionals.

Finding work. Building professional networks. Advertising one’s acumen for business and overall skillset. These are the central functions of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has a user base of 467 million users, according to DMR as of October 2016.

The United States is by far its top country – with 128 million members, as of First Quarter 2016.

However, LinkedIn’s members hail from 200 countries and territories around the world, with 70% of users based outside of the U.S.

Men comprise 56% of the total user base.

Two new members join each day – on average – and 40% of users log in daily, according to a compilation of LinkedIn statistics published by Katy Elle Blake in August 2016.

 

12.  PINTEREST

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    100,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    2.9%

Pinterest Logo

Pinterest acts as a virtual bulletin board. Users can save or “pin” media content – mainly videos and images – from other users in personalized collections.

Pinterest historically has trended toward a disproportionately young, female user base – with some 85% of total users being women and girls, and 67% being millennials, according to October 2016 statistics from DMR.

However, a Marketing Land article published last month shows that its demographics are shifting – with men accounting for 70% of global signups this year, now comprising 40% of new members.

The site has shown 50% growth in its monthly user base this year.

 

13.  VK

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    80,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    2.6%

VK Logo

VK, or VKontakte, is the largest social-networking service in Europe.

It’s particularly popular among Russian speakers in former Soviet Republics, such as Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. It’s also the second-most-popular social-networking platform in Israel, behind only Facebook.

VK has over 300 million registered users, and it continues to dominate the Russian market. As the largest platform of its kind in that country, it has an active user base that rivals the viewership of national TV channels.

It also has one of the youngest user bases – with 24% of VK users being under 18, and virtually no one over 45.

 

14.  CLASSMATES

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    57,000,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    1.6%

Classmates Logo

Classmates is a service created to help users find former schoolmates, from long-lost kindergarten pals to fellow alumni from college.

It is primarily targeted at users from the United States.

Despite being one of the first social-media platforms – initially founded in 1995 – its usage has fallen significantly. Many of its users have switched to Facebook, and it has dropped from the top 1,000 ranking in 2010 to below 4,000 on Alexa.

It has over 70 million users.

 

15.  MEETUP

  • Estimated Monthly Visitors:
    27,500,000
  • Percentage of Total Internet Users Visiting Monthly:
    0.8%

Meetup Logo

Meetup is a social-networking platform that helps people with an extensive variety of shared interests – ranging from politics and business to fitness and movies – to meet offline. In this way, it bridges the gap between the virtual world and “real life.”

The site currently boasts over 28 million members, spread out over more than 260,000 groups in 179 countries, as of November 2016.

The countries with the most Meetup users are the United States, United Kingdom, and India, according to Alexa.


 

Final Thoughts about the Most Popular Social-Media Sites

Clearly, social media has grown to serve so many powerful human needs, all at the same time:

  • Maintaining Existing Connections:
    • Personally:
      • Social media provides an effective way for us to stay in touch with our many friends, loved ones, and acquaintances. It offers an ever-open window of visibility into the lives and thoughts of our present social circle at any given moment.
    • Professionally:
      • Social media also enables us to keep tabs on an expansive network of current and former colleagues, vendors, businesses, brands, and industry resources. Staying up-to-date with all of the latest moves is now so much easier.
  • Expanding Our Horizons:
    • Personally:
      • Social media further presents the opportunity to explore entirely new worlds, far beyond the boundaries of our own immediate physical proximity. Through social media, it is now possible to delve a full range of subject matter and initiate contact with people, places, and things heretofore unknown to us, based on shared personal interests.
    • Professionally:
      • Social media additionally empowers organizations and brands to connect with individuals based upon a variety of micro-targeted demographic characteristics – from Age, Gender, and Location to Educational Level, Relationship Status, and Likes / Interests. Companies and organizations can now interact with individuals that fit their target profile with all sorts of personal touches.

    Being Social
    By offering such vast capabilities to connect us with the people, places, and things that match our interests, it’s little wonder why social platforms have such extensive appeal across the globe.

    At the same time, it’s quite a competitive space in which to operate, let alone dominate. Constant attention is required to remain on top of ever-evolving trends in technology, business, and culture at large.

    In light of Vine’s imminent shutdown, Twitter’s ongoing battles to generate profit, and many other serious pressures faced even by these Top 15 of the world’s most popular social sites, one has to stand in awe at the level of stamina required to thrive in this feisty industry!

    In our present age, marked so heavily by continual disruption, the sites that continue to draw social audiences will be those that prove themselves agile enough to evolve with the ever-changing times.

The post The Top 15 Most Popular Social-Media Sites in 2016 [Infographic] appeared first on White-Label Marketing Agency | Plugin Group | SEO, Web Design, Content Marketing.

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