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Monthly Archives: November 2019

How To Get More Out Of Excel Solver

November 30, 2019 No Comments

Excel Solver is a fantastic tool, but most examples only cover simple marketing use cases. We’ll cover the next steps of enhancing your models and how to automate the process.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Instagram founders join $30M raise for Loom work video messenger

November 30, 2019 No Comments

Why are we all trapped in enterprise chat apps if we talk 6X faster than we type, and our brain processes visual info 60,000X faster than text? Thanks to Instagram, we’re not as camera-shy anymore. And everyone’s trying to remain in flow instead of being distracted by multi-tasking.

That’s why now is the time for Loom. It’s an enterprise collaboration video messaging service that lets you send quick clips of yourself so you can get your point across and get back to work. Talk through a problem, explain your solution, or narrate a screenshare. Some engineering hocus pocus sees videos start uploading before you finish recording so you can share instantly viewable links as soon as you’re done.

Loom video messaging on mobile

“What we felt was that more visual communication could be translated into the workplace and deliver disproportionate value” co-founder and CEO Joe Thomas tells me. He actually conducted our whole interview over Loom, responding to emailed questions with video clips.

Launched in 2016, Loom is finally hitting its growth spurt. It’s up from 1.1 million users and 18,000 companies in February to 1.8 million people at 50,000 businesses sharing 15 million minutes of Loom videos per month. Remote workers are especially keen on Loom since it gives them face-to-face time with colleagues without the annoyance of scheduling synchronous video calls. “80% of our professional power users had primarily said that they were communicating with people that they didn’t share office space with” Thomas notes.

A smart product, swift traction, and a shot at riding the consumerization of enterprise trend has secured Loom a $ 30 million Series B. The round that’s being announced later today was led by prestigious SAAS investor Sequoia and joined by Kleiner Perkins, Figma CEO Dylan Field, Front CEO Mathilde Collin, and Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

“At Instagram, one of the biggest things we did was focus on extreme performance and extreme ease of use and that meant optimizing every screen, doing really creative things about when we started uploading, optimizing everything from video codec to networking” Krieger says. “Since then I feel like some products have managed to try to capture some of that but few as much as Loom did. When I first used Loom I turned to Kevin who was my Instagram co-founder and said, ‘oh my god, how did they do that? This feels impossibly fast.’”

Systrom concurs about the similarities, saying “I’m most excited because I see how they’re tackling the problem of visual communication in the same way that we tried to tackle that at Instagram.” Loom is looking to double-down there, potentially adding the ability to Like and follow videos from your favorite productivity gurus or sharpest co-workers.

Loom is also prepping some of its most requested features. The startup is launching an iOS app next month with Android coming the first half of 2020, improving its video editor with blurring for hiding your bad hair day and stitching to connect multiple takes. New branding options will help external sales pitches and presentations look right. What I’m most excited for is transcription, which is also slated for the first half of next year through a partnership with another provider, so you can skim or search a Loom. Sometimes even watching at 2X speed is too slow.

But the point of raising a massive $ 30 million Series B just a year after Loom’s $ 11 million Kleiner-led Series A is to nail the enterprise product and sales process. To date, Loom has focused on a bottom-up distribution strategy similar to Dropbox. It tries to get so many individual employees to use Loom that it becomes a team’s default collaboration software. Now it needs to grow up so it can offer the security and permissions features IT managers demand. Loom for teams is rolling out in beta access this year before officially launching in early 2020.

Loom’s bid to become essential to the enterprise, though, is its team video library. This will let employees organize their Looms into folders of a knowledge base so they can explain something once on camera, and everyone else can watch whenever they need to learn that skill. No more redundant one-off messages begging for a team’s best employees to stop and re-teach something. The Loom dashboard offers analytics on who’s actually watching your videos. And integration directly into popular enterprise software suites will let recipients watch without stopping what they’re doing.

To build out these features Loom has already grown to a headcount of 45, though co-founder Shahed Khan is stepping back from company. For new leadership, it’s hired away former head of web growth at Dropbox Nicole Obst, head of design for Slack Joshua Goldenberg, and VP of commercial product strategy for Intercom Matt Hodges.

Still, the elephants in the room remain Slack and Microsoft Teams. Right now, they’re mainly focused on text messaging with some additional screensharing and video chat integrations. They’re not building Loom-style asynchronous video messaging…yet. “We want to be clear about the fact that we don’t think we’re in competition with Slack or Microsoft Teams at all. We are a complementary tool to chat” Thomas insists. But given the similar productivity and communication ethos, those incumbents could certainly opt to compete. Slack already has 12 million daily users it could provide with video tools.

Loom co-founder and CEO Joe Thomas

Hodges, Loom’s head of marketing, tells me “I agree Slack and Microsoft could choose to get into this territory, but what’s the opportunity cost for them in doing so? It’s the classic build vs. buy vs. integrate argument.” Slack bought screensharing tool Screenhero, but partners with Zoom and Google for video chat. Loom will focus on being easily integratable so it can plug into would-be competitors. And Hodges notes that “Delivering asynchronous video recording and sharing at scale is non-trivial. Loom holds a patent on its streaming, transcoding, and storage technology, which has proven to provide a competitive advantage to this day.”

The tea leaves point to video invading more and more of our communication, so I expect rival startups and features to Loom will crop up. Vidyard and Wistia’s Soapbox are already pushing into the space. As long as it has the head start, Loom needs to move as fast as it can. “It’s really hard to maintain focus to deliver on the core product experience that we set out to deliver versus spreading ourselves too thin. And this is absolutely critical” Thomas tells me.

One thing that could set Loom apart? A commitment to financial fundamentals. “When you grow really fast, you can sometimes lose sight of what is the core reason for a business entity to exist, which is to become profitable. . . Even in a really bold market where cash can be cheap, we’re trying to keep profitability at the top of our minds.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


The finite era of “actionable insights”

November 29, 2019 No Comments

For years, “actionable insights” have been the Holy Grail for data analytics companies. Actionable insights, the thinking goes, are the end product of data collection, aggregation, analysis, and judgment. They enable a decision-maker to modify behavior and achieve desired outcomes.

The process begins with data collection, which can take many forms. There’s a big difference between collecting data and aggregating it in a meaningful way that can provide a picture of reality. That’s the “insights” part of the puzzle. First, you need high-quality data, then you need the technological prowess to clean and organize it.

With high-quality data that’s been cleaned and organized, the next step is to provide context. This is the realm of companies like Tableau, which provide tools that translate machine-friendly data points into human-friendly visualizations that strive to depict an objective picture of current conditions.

But whereas a snapshot of current conditions may, in fact, yield new and meaningful insights (for example, if I look ‘sales numbers’ across an organization I can see which channels are over- or under-performing), human judgment has always been paramount in choosing a particular action. A perfect picture of static conditions doesn’t by itself offer any suggestions as to how to achieve particular outcomes. We still rely on management to tweak sales incentives or redistribute resources.

Or at least we did, up until recently. Machine learning is now shifting the balance of institutional decision-making. Advances in processing and algorithmic self-improvement mean that computers can now anticipate future outcomes and take steps to maximize particular ones. Intelligent systems can now see the world in shades of gray and evaluate likelihoods from multitudes of variables far beyond human comprehension.

That’s the world we currently live in, and the evidence is all around us. Machine learning algorithms have swayed elections by stoking targeted outrage. Our clothes, food, and consumer products are designed according to data-driven analytics. Every design feature in your favorite app is being constantly optimized according to how computers anticipate your future behavior. It’s why YouTube is actually pretty good at showing you videos that keep you engaged.

The day is coming when we will no longer require “actionable insights,” because the action will have already been taken. Nobody at YouTube is looking at your viewing history to determine what to recommend next. Computers do that. The value of the stock market is now largely driven by automated trading algorithms, and as a consequence, there are fewer stock analysts than there used to be. Not only can computers process information far better than humans, but they’ve also demonstrated better financial judgment.

The day will soon arrive when “actionable insights” will seem like a quaint notion from a simpler time. Computers will be smart enough to act on insights by themselves. In doing so, they may, in fact, diminish the need for human oversight.

Until then, however, human enterprise is still structured around hierarchies of decision-making and judgment. The CEO of a company still needs to delegate day-to-day responsibilities to human actors whose knowledge and judgment have proven sound.

And so, for now, we still need actionable insights. Data analytics companies will continue to build better mousetraps, until the day when there are no longer mice.

Gil Rachlin, SVP of Products and Partnerships at Synup.

The post The finite era of “actionable insights” appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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57 Absolute Best Black Friday 2019 Deals: Amazon, Walmart, Etc (Updated)

November 29, 2019 No Comments

(Updated Frequently) Don’t bother trudging to the store. We’ve gathered the very best Black Friday and Cyber Monday tech deals you can buy online.
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New Amazon capabilities put machine learning in reach of more developers

November 29, 2019 No Comments

Today, Amazon announced a new approach that it says will put machine learning technology in reach of more developers and line of business users. Amazon has been making a flurry of announcements ahead of its re:Invent customer conference next week in Las Vegas.

While the company offers plenty of tools for data scientists to build machine learning models and to process, store and visualize data, it wants to put that capability directly in the hands of developers with the help of the popular database query language, SQL.

By taking advantage of tools like Amazon QuickSight, Aurora and Athena in combination with SQL queries, developers can have much more direct access to machine learning models and underlying data without any additional coding, says VP of artificial intelligence at AWS, Matt Wood.

“This announcement is all about making it easier for developers to add machine learning predictions to their products and their processes by integrating those predictions directly with their databases,” Wood told TechCrunch.

For starters, Wood says developers can take advantage of Aurora, the company’s MySQL (and Postgres)-compatible database to build a simple SQL query into an application, which will automatically pull the data into the application and run whatever machine learning model the developer associates with it.

The second piece involves Athena, the company’s serverless query service. As with Aurora, developers can write a SQL query — in this case, against any data store — and based on a machine learning model they choose, return a set of data for use in an application.

The final piece is QuickSight, which is Amazon’s data visualization tool. Using one of the other tools to return some set of data, developers can use that data to create visualizations based on it inside whatever application they are creating.

“By making sophisticated ML predictions more easily available through SQL queries and dashboards, the changes we’re announcing today help to make ML more usable and accessible to database developers and business analysts. Now anyone who can write SQL can make — and importantly use — predictions in their applications without any custom code,” Amazon’s Matt Asay wrote in a blog post announcing these new capabilities.

Asay added that this approach is far easier than what developers had to do in the past to achieve this. “There is often a large amount of fiddly, manual work required to take these predictions and make them part of a broader application, process or analytics dashboard,” he wrote.

As an example, Wood offers a lead-scoring model you might use to pick the most likely sales targets to convert. “Today, in order to do lead scoring you have to go off and wire up all these pieces together in order to be able to get the predictions into the application,” he said. With this new capability, you can get there much faster.

“Now, as a developer I can just say that I have this lead scoring model which is deployed in SageMaker, and all I have to do is write literally one SQL statement that I do all day long into Aurora, and I can start getting back that lead scoring information. And then I just display it in my application and away I go,” Wood explained.

As for the machine learning models, these can come pre-built from Amazon, be developed by an in-house data science team or purchased in a machine learning model marketplace on Amazon, says Wood.

Today’s announcements from Amazon are designed to simplify machine learning and data access, and reduce the amount of coding to get from query to answer faster.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Hero Conf Has The Best Content

November 29, 2019 No Comments

The content team hand-picks experts from hundreds of speaker pitches, with a focus on the most original, actionable and relevant content. Get your ticket for Hero Conf Austin before they sell out.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Top five SEO tools to generate more leads in 2020

November 29, 2019 No Comments

Lead generation via SEO is one of the best ways to improve the overall conversion rate of your website. There are several go-to SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Keyword Planner that most marketers use for keyword research, competitor tracking, and SERP movements. However, this is only one side of the equation.

Once people’s organic searches have pointed them to your web pages, what’s the best way to ensure they take the next step and opt into your email list? 

Let’s take a look at the top five SEO lead generation tools and how you can use them to convert more of your site’s visitors in 2020 and ahead.

1. Hello Bar

With Hello Bar, you can convert your existing visitors into customers. You can design custom messages for your visitors and display them just at the right time.

Hello Bar sits at the top of your site, and it can be used to display irresistible offers to your visitors. You can even collect email addresses from your visitors to increase your subscriber database. Here is an example of Hello Bar in action:

Source

Besides, you can use Hello Bar to create pop-ups that collect the name and email id of your visitors. 

Pop-ups help to drive 1375% more subscribers.

An example of a Hello Bar pop-up is provided below:

SEO tool for lead generation - Hello Bar

Source

You can easily customize your headline, CTA and the overall design of the bar and the pop-up. The platform automatically chooses the best color combination for the CTAs so you don’t need to spend hours testing that. 

With Hello Bar, you can customize your message targeting by:

  • Sending holiday-related messages to visitors during the holidays. 
  • Customize your pop-up for the mobile audience as the screen size is less.
  • Customize your message based on the location of your customer. 
  • Display the pop-up during the exit-intent, just when the visitors are planning to leave your website.

2. ClickMeeting

Webinars are one of the best ways to generate leads. 

Webinars offer a dual advantage. Firstly, you can generate leads right when you run a webinar, and secondly, you can repurpose your webinar into a blog post. 

Generate leads directly via webinars

With ClickMeeting, you can run custom webinars to share product demos, conduct training sessions or run online courses. You can customize your webinar with a few clicks, and run them without worrying about the type of device and operating system. You can even stream your webinar live to Facebook or YouTube, allowing you to acquire even more leads.

But the true SEO-based lead capture power of webinars is to be found in evergreen topics that will continue to attract relevant audience members over time.

A screenshot of a social media post Description automatically generated

Source

On-demand webinars are one of the fastest and easiest ways to expand your lead base. 

Repurpose your webinar

Repurposing your webinar into a lengthy blog post, consisting of more than 2000 words, helps it to rank for new search queries. When your site achieves higher rankings for new keywords, it automatically maximizes your organic traffic, leading to more conversions. 

Here are some great ways to repurpose webinars to generate leads:

  • You can divide your webinar recordings into short videos of three to five minutes each and post the video on channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Add a compelling call to action, and people who watch the video are likely to reach out.
  • Turn the entire webinar into a blog post and promote it on your social networks for added visibility. Try to present the blog post in a series of steps. This helps your site to get ranked as a featured snippet.
  • Turn your webinar Q&A into a support resource page. FAQ pages offer an excellent opportunity to rank as a featured snippet. When people find answers to questions related to your business niche, they will be all the more likely to connect with your business.
  • Create a transcript of your webinar and include long-tail (especially question keywords) in it. 

3. VideoBoost

It is difficult to succeed in your lead generation efforts in 2020 without videos. 

VideoBoost is an app that lets you create trendy videos easily. It has an impressive collection of ready to use video templates and marketing copy. You can easily brand it and start generating leads for your business.

Next time when you are planning to optimize your website for the festive occasion, head over to VideoBoost and create a video for your audience using video templates for Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

SEO tool for lead generation - VideoBoost

 

4. vCita

vCita offers a dynamic widget that you can add to your site to convert your visitors into leads or customers. 

With vCita’s lead generation widget, you can capture leads from all the pages on your website with a floating CTA that follows the users from page to page.

The tool also lets your audience to book appointments without leaving the site. All the contact details of the visitors get stored in a built-in CRM that can be used later to trigger follow-up nurture messages via email or SMS.

The best place to start with this kind of strategy might be to identify the pages on your site with the most traffic from high-intent organic search terms rates and add the vCita widget to them. I am sure you’ll be able to notice the difference in the number of conversions happening on your site.

5. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is the most powerful conversion optimization tool in the world. It easily integrates with all the major email marketing and CRM platforms. 

One of the tricks that OptinMonster uses to generate leads is via content upgrades. With the help of content upgrade, you offer users bonus content for performing an action on your site. This action can be – joining your email list or filling out a form. 

SnackNation was able to generate 1200 new leads each month by using OptinMonster for content upgrades. 

 

With features like MonsterLinks, you can convert any image or link into a two-step opt-in process. It works on the Zeigarnik effect which states that people are more likely to complete a task if they start it. 

 

Final thoughts

SEO is all about generating relevant, and quality leads for a business. Moreover, your SEO strategy should also focus on converting the acquired leads. Both lead generation and CRO forms an integral part of a comprehensive SEO strategy. 

Start making the most with the power of the above five SEO tools to generate quality leads in 2020 and ahead. Happy marketing! 

Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of the SEO Sandwitch blog.

The post Top five SEO tools to generate more leads in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Xerox tells HP it will bring takeover bid directly to shareholders

November 28, 2019 No Comments

Xerox fired the latest volley in the Xerox HP merger letter wars today. Xerox CEO John Visentin wrote to the HP board that his company planned to take its $ 33.5 billion offer directly to HP shareholders.

He began his letter with a tone befitting a hostile takeover attempt, stating that their refusal to negotiate defied logic. “We have put forth a compelling proposal – one that would allow HP shareholders to both realize immediate cash value and enjoy equal participation in the substantial upside expected to result from a combination. Our offer is neither ‘highly conditional’ nor ‘uncertain’ as you claim,” Visentin wrote in his letter.

He added, “We plan to engage directly with HP shareholders to solicit their support in urging the HP Board to do the right thing and pursue this compelling opportunity.”

The letter was in response to one yesterday from HP in which it turned down Xerox’s latest overture, stating that the deal seemed beyond Xerox’s ability to afford it. It called into question Xerox’s current financial situation, citing Xerox’s own financial reports, and took exception to the way in which Xerox was courting the company.

“It is clear in your aggressive words and actions that Xerox is intent on forcing a potential combination on opportunistic terms and without providing adequate information,” the company wrote.

Visentin fired back in his letter, “While you may not appreciate our “aggressive” tactics, we will not apologize for them. The most efficient way to prove out the scope of this opportunity with certainty is through mutual due diligence, which you continue to refuse, and we are obligated to require.”

He further pulled no punches writing that he believes the deal is good for both companies and good for the shareholders. “The potential benefits of a combination between HP and Xerox are self-evident. Together, we could create an industry leader – with enhanced scale and best-in-class offerings across a complete product portfolio — that will be positioned to invest more in innovation and generate greater returns for shareholders.”

Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategies, thinks HP ultimately has the upper hand in this situation. “I feel like we have seen this movie before when Carl Icahn meddled with Dell in a similar way. Xerox is a third of the size HP Inc., has been steadily declining in revenue, is running out of options, and needs HP more than HP needs it.”

It would seem Xerox has chosen a no-holds barred approach to the situation. The pen is now in HP’s hands as we await the next letter and see how the printing giant intends to respond to the latest missive from Xerox.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Four initiatives B2Bs must tackle now to win in 2020

November 28, 2019 No Comments

While ecommerce businesses are in the midst of the Q4 craziness and rising CPCs of the holiday season, B2B clients are planning for their business to pick up at the start of 2020.

In this post, I’ll walk through a few things to consider and refresh before Q1 gets here.

1. Study the competitive landscape

One of the most valuable sources of knowledge from Google campaigns is the ‘Auction Insights’ report, which provides info on when competitors have come into and out of the auction during the year. It’s also valuable to look at competitors that might be newer in the space and have recently entered the auction. With this information, you can dive into new keyword research by using tools like SEMrush and SpyFu. I also recommend studying creative, offers, and copy that your competitors are using across their ads helping to inform potential creative and development and testing for the start of the year. 

2. Reevaluate budgets for 2020

As the start of the year approaches, look to set budgets based on historical performance and anticipated seasonality. In order to have a strong plan in place, you should look beyond monthly breakdowns.

Some questions to consider

  • Did you expand into new channels late into the year?
  • Do you need to invest in more budget into certain channels?
  • Are our remarketing campaigns fully funded across channels?
  • Are you planning on investing budget into new channels?
  • How much of the budget will you set aside for testing?

Answering these questions will help ensure you budget appropriately for both historically efficient channels and promising new channels that can get you some early-adoption benefits. 

3. Refresh and rethink audiences

It’s important to review the audiences that you have been targeting over the past few months. Along with identifying new audiences to add and poor-performing audiences to pause, consider re-engaging qualified leads that went dark, bolstering account-based marketing efforts, and testing new lookalike audiences

4. Map out new creative and content

Creative and content are some of the most crucial aspects of campaign development. While you are preparing for Q1, make sure to do an audit of your current and planned creative and content. Are you thinking about the full funnel? Users who haven’t engaged with the brand before are typically looking to download a piece of content that they find valuable. It could be a whitepaper, case study, infographic, or something else that could engage them. 

As users progress down the funnel, they will be more willing to give their information to request a demo or get contacted by your company. It’s important to understand where a user is in the funnel and offer them content that aligns with that step. Make sure you’re analyzing content from 2019 and identifying your successes. Which can be spun forward, made into a series, or meaningfully refreshed? Give yourself a leg up by producing content you know to be effective.

Looking at historical performance will help you understand your successes and failures in 2019 and incorporate those into the 2020 planning. Creative, testing, competitive insights, and new audiences will be key efforts in driving growth and performance in the new year, so lay the groundwork now to get ahead of steam going into January.

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

The post Four initiatives B2Bs must tackle now to win in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Revolut supports direct debits in the UK

November 28, 2019 No Comments

Fintech startup Revolut is adding a key feature for users who want to replace their traditional bank account altogether. You can now pay with GBP direct debits. Revolut already added EUR direct debits last year.

While most people use cards to pay for goods and services in the U.K., some businesses require you to pay with direct debit. It can be a utility bill, a gym membership or a phone contract for instance.

Compared to card transactions, direct debits pull money directly from your account and transfer it to the recipient’s account. It doesn’t go through Mastercard or Visa. Some businesses love direct debits because it’s usually cheaper than card processing fees. Direct debits also don’t have an expiry date, unlike cards.

Customers from the European Economic Area can now share their GBP account details for direct debits in the U.K. Direct debits are protected against some fraud and payment errors by the U.K. Direct Debit Guarantee.

Revolut has partnered with Modulr for this feature as it uses Modulr’s API. Business customers will also be able to take advantage of direct debits. You can now pay suppliers with your account details, which could be convenient for large sums of money for instance.

Mobile – TechCrunch


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