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SharpestMinds (YC W18) Is Hiring a Full-Stack Developer in Toronto

Article URL: https://public.3.basecamp.com/p/gCuDuaVRKTbTKYdVz2yzg6wd

Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24990787

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Marketing Automation Consulting

Why aren’t more companies using marketing automation?

A recent survey from Liana Technologies found that 60 percent of respondents said they didn’t know how to use marketing automation. They listed a lack of know-how as the main reason they weren’t adopting marketing automation campaigns.

Half of those surveyed also listed a lack of strategy or personnel as yet another reason they weren’t moving forward with marketing automation. 

As you can see from the research, these companies need marketing automation consulting. 

10 Ways a Marketing Automation Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business

Marketing automation is often viewed as a nice-to-have option, something that could be helpful but really isn’t all that necessary for companies looking to grow. Marketing automation isn’t an extra; it’s a component that’s an essential part of your marketing. 

This isn’t always as clear until you breakdown the benefits that come with marketing automation. 

Here are ten ways a marketing automation consultant can help you grow your business. 

  1. More targeted marketing: Many companies force their customers into the same marketing funnel. They’re not focused on optimizing their funnel based on the buyer’s journey, so most of their prospects fall out of their marketing funnel. A marketing automation consultant helps you segment and target your customers properly. A good consultant will help you identify customers who are ready to buy, leads that need to be nurtured, and leads you can disqualify. 
  2. Improve customer experiences: According to Salesforce, 76 percent of consumers expect you to understand their needs and expectations. Another 84 percent said, “being treated like a person, not a number” is essential to earning their business. Marketing automation helps you achieve this at scale, so you’re able to provide the one-on-one attention and personalization customers expect.   
  3. Increased traffic: Big companies have embraced analytics, but most don’t know how to use their data. Most don’t have a data-driven culture, so it’s difficult for many organizations to have confidence in their marketing decisions. This isn’t just big companies, though; it’s most companies in general. This means it’s harder for companies to identify the traffic sources working well versus those that aren’t. With marketing automation tools like lead scoring and lead nurturing, you can identify your best performing traffic sources.
  4. Higher quality leads: When customers go through the same funnels, without segmentation, lead quality suffers. Your marketing automation consultant should help you outline the buyer’s journey and segment customers based on their place in the funnel. Doing this increases lead quality as customers are pre-qualified before and after they convert. This keeps the quality of the leads sent to sales high. 
  5. More leads: Once you’ve identified the list of marketing automation tools and workflows you need to generate high-quality leads, you can use those same automation tools to scale your lead generation campaigns. Your marketing automation consultant will help you increase lead production, using the lessons learned from your smaller campaigns. You’ll know which traffic sources perform best, how to improve lead quality, 
  6. Increased conversion rates: One of the hidden benefits of marketing automation is that the benefits are cumulative. Your marketing automation consultant will show you how to combine the strategy, tactics, workflows, and tools you’ve put together into a single system. Each component, when optimized, should produce increased conversion rates consistently in your campaigns over time.   
  7. Increased ROI: As your conversion rates increase, your ROI will continue to grow. A great marketing automation consultant will show you how to maintain your ROI as you continue to scale. You should see more revenue with less spend consistently over time.   
  8. Reduced expenses: As metrics like your return on ad spend (ROAS) and your conversion rate improves, you should see a decrease in costs (e.g., cost per lead, cost per action, customer acquisition costs). Your marketing automation consultant should monitor your returns and expenses, ensuring that both are moving in the right direction. 
  9. Data sharing between marketing channels: Your marketing automation stack should provide your team with the right data analysis tools. If you use analysis tools like Cyfe or Power BI, you’ll want to make sure that your team has access to data across marketing channels; your consultant should help you set this up, so your team has need-to-know access to data. Doing this will reduce operational silos, keeping everyone in your team on the same page; no more fights between sales and marketing for control. 
  10. Shorter sales cycles: Let’s say you’ve received two sets of leads. Set A has customers who are ready to buy now. They’ve done their homework, and they’ve decided your company is the best fit. Set B has interested customers; they won’t be ready to decide for another three to six months. Set A has a shorter sales cycle — your consultant helps you find and segment these customers as they come into your funnel.  

These benefits aren’t random one-offs; they’re outcomes your business needs to grow. The problem with growth is scaling. As you grow, it gets harder to manage all of this manually. 

How to Get Started With a Marketing Automation Consultant

Your marketing automation consultant should be a specialist with deep expertise in automation. They should also have experience across a broad range of marketing disciplines and channels, including:

  • Advertising (display, content,
  • Analytics
  • Branding
  • Content
  • Direct response
  • Email
  • Market research
  • Mobile 
  • Sales
  • Search (organic and paid)
  • Websites (e.g., conversion rate optimization, usability, etc.)

If you’re ready to get started with a marketing automation consultant, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare ahead of time. Upfront preparation makes it easier to get started; your consultant doesn’t have to waste a lot of time (and your money) getting you up to speed.

Both of you will be able to jump in right away. 

You’ll want to make sure that you have a list of:

  • Goals, KPIs, and objectives: For example, this could include a list of tools you’d like to integrate in your technology stack, as well as how you’d like these tools to perform. This could also provide your consultant with information on the specific outcomes you’d like to see due to automation (e.g., a 7 percent increase in productivity, shorter sales cycles, less double entry, improved utilization rates, etc.).
  • The tools and resources you’re using: You’ll want to make a list of the tools and resources you’re already using. Collect additional information on the number of users for each software, tool, or subscription. Make note of any API keys and special instructions. Also include a list of the software, tools, and resources you’d like to use.
  • Decision-makers and influencers: If you’re part of a team, you may find that some people aren’t all that excited to share their data. Others are interested in working with your consultant to automate essential marketing tasks. Sharing a list of decision-makers and influencers with your consultant makes their job easier. Right from the beginning, they know where everyone stands and who to talk to if they need help getting everyone on the same page.
  • Obstacles and challenges: You’ll want to outline the list of barriers and challenges that may prevent you from achieving the goals and objectives you’ve listed above. Maybe some of the services you use don’t offer an API or integrate with third-party services like Zapier. Maybe some of the tools in your list are outdated, or they’re unsupported legacy options (i.e., legacy software running on Windows XP).
  • Policies and procedures: If your company has specific policies, procedures, or guidelines for software purchases, you’ll want to share that with your consultant as well. You want to let your consultant know what’s allowed, required, forbidden, and unacceptable. You want to set your consultant up for success by giving them a clear set of guidelines to follow; this helps your company grow. 
  • Strengths and weaknesses: This step is uncomfortable but it’s also important; if your team, division, or company has problems in a specific area, spell that out for your consultant as clearly as possible. Does it take your company a long time to make important decisions? Is your organization good at finding great employees and contractors? Give your consultant a brief overview of your strengths and weaknesses. Getting people on board is easier when you know what you’re working with. 

Sharing this information upfront makes automation smooth and efficient.

If you’ve already answered these questions for your consultant, they’re able to focus their attention on helping you automate your marketing campaigns, projects, and tasks. 

Measuring the ROI of Marketing Automation Consulting Services

In general, consultants aren’t big on measuring ROI, but they should be. It’s reasonable to expect the same from your marketing automation consultant. If you’ve done the upfront work I’ve mentioned already, you should have everything you need to measure the ROI ahead of time. 

Remember the list of goals, KPIs, and objectives you wrote down earlier?

Your consultant should be able to help you refine your goals and objectives. If you haven’t already, you want to add some specificity to these goals. You’ll want to add specific numbers, facts. or figures to these goals. Use these figures as a general guide — you want to discuss these with your consultant making sure they’re realistic and achievable.

Here are a few examples you can use:

  • Increase productivity becomes — Increase our marketing team’s productivity by 16 percent
  • Improve lead quality becomes — Use lead scoring to achieve a 6 percent lift in marketing qualified lead volume
  • Identify top-performing marketing channels becomes — Identify top performing marketing channels by automating URL tagging for all current and future marketing campaigns
  • decrease customer acquisition costs becomes — Reduce customer acquisition costs on Google ads by a minimum of 11 percent

Measuring your ROI is pretty straightforward if you have a clear idea of your campaign goals and objectives. The easier it is for you to list a starting point, the easier it will be for your consultant to help you reach your goals and objectives.

4 Point Checklist For Finding the Right Marketing Automation Consultant

Choosing the right marketing automation consultant is simple if you’ve prepared ahead of time. From there, you can screen consultants the same way you would for any other consultant or professional. First, you outline your process, listing your goals and objectives, your current technology stack, decision-makers, influencers, etc. Second, you filter your providers through your process, ensuring each candidate meets the criteria you’ve set.

Here’s a shortlist of the criteria you can use to evaluate your consultants.

  1. They understand digital marketing. The best marketing automation consultants are marketers themselves. The ideal candidate is a marketing veteran who’s managed marketing campaigns from beginning to end throughout their career. You’re looking for someone who got their start as a marketer.
  2. They understand your business. Your marketing automation consultant should have an in-depth knowledge of your business — how it works, what you need, mistakes to avoid, etc. If you’re managing a retail or ecommerce company, your consultant should have experience managing marketing campaigns for retail or e-commerce companies. You’re looking for someone who has a native understanding of your business.
  3. They’re data-driven. Marketing automation requires a mix of art and science. You’ll need someone who loves to read through data but is skilled enough to explain it to the people on your team who aren’t data-driven. The ideal consultant can tell stories with data and helping your team make important decisions. 
  4. They’re proactive and knowledgeable. When it comes to automation, you shouldn’t be as knowledgeable as your consultant. They should be able to make recommendations and connections you weren’t even thinking of. They should be able to help you automate your campaigns in new ways; to increase your productivity by customizing your marketing stack.  

This checklist is pretty simple. 

A great marketing automation consultant should be able to handle everything we’ve covered so far comfortably. They should be able to break things down for you, showing you how to improve your plan, refine your goals and objectives, and add to your technology stack. 

They should be asking questions. 

If they’re good at what they do, they’ll have some questions and requirements of their own. 

Conclusion

While many organizations are switching to marketing automation, most don’t have a clear plan they can follow. Companies list a lack of know-how, strategy, or personnel as the reasons why they weren’t completely on board with marketing automation. 

That’s changing fast, though. 

More companies are investing in marketing automation. They’re taking the time to implement a strategy for their business. Marketing automation isn’t an extra; it’s a component that’s an essential part of your marketing, especially as your company grows. 

With the right consultant and a clear strategy, you’ll have the people, process, and technology you need to grow your business quickly. 

The post Marketing Automation Consulting appeared first on Neil Patel.

A Covid-19 Update: Trump’s Treatment, Vaccines, And The Challenge of Colder Weather

Diane talks to Pulitzer prize-winning science writer Laurie Garrett about the state of the pandemic inside the White House, and across the country.

The post A Covid-19 Update: Trump’s Treatment, Vaccines, And The Challenge of Colder Weather appeared first on Buy It At A Bargain – Deals And Reviews.

Monitor Your Credit Score at D&B, Experian, and Equifax

While there are a number of other business credit reporting agencies out there, D&B, Experian, and Equifax are known as the big three.  Not surprisingly, they are the largest and most commonly used. As such, their reports have an influence on lenders when it comes to making lending decisions.  This means that it is vital to your business to monitor your credit score with these companies. How do you do that? What does your score even mean? What else are the reports telling lenders?

Monitor Your Credit Score and Understand What It is Telling Lenders

Your business needs funding to survive.  Of course, your business credit score plays a huge role in the fundability of your business.  If you do not understand your score and the rest of the report however, you can’t do anything about it.  You have to know what reports the CRAs are showing lenders, what is on them, and how they are used. To do this, you have to monitor your credit score. 

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit.

Monitor Your Credit Score: Dun & Bradstreet 

Dun & Bradstreet offers a number of business credit reports.  In fact, there are six in all. Each contains varying information that is meant to alert lenders to your creditworthiness, or lack thereof.  

The PAYDEX is the report lenders use most often.  Likely, this is because it is most similar to the consumer FICO.   It measures payment history on a scale of 1 to 100. A 70 or higher is acceptable.   For context, a score of 100 shows payments are made in advance. A score of 1 indicates that they are 120 day, or more, past due.

The other Dun & Bradstreet Credit Reports include:

Dun and Bradstreet Delinquency Predictor Score

The delinquency predictor score measures how likely it is that the company will not pay, 

will be late paying, or will fall into bankruptcy.  On a scale of 1 to 5, a 2 is good.

Financial Stress Score

As you might imagine, the financial stress score measures pressure on the balance sheet.  As a result, it shows how likely the company is to shut down within 12 months. These scores range from 5 to 1, and a score of 2 is good.  

Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating

This one ranks the odds of a company surviving for a year.  The minimum score is a 9 and the

 maximum is 1.  A good score is 5.

Credit Limit Recommendation

As its name indicates, this is a recommendation that reflects a business’s borrowing capacity.  Even more, it is a guide for how much debt a company can handle. Typically, creditors use this to 

determine how much credit to extend. 

D&B Credit Rating

This is a rating that ranks business risk on a scale of one to four.  A score of 2 is good. The rating is 

given in conjunction with letters, the combination of which indicate a company’s net worth. 

Monitor Your Business Credit: Experian Commercial 

Experian uses what it calls Intelliscore for its ranking.  This involves more than 800 unique factors combined to predict a company’s credit risk. With Intelliscore, a score of 76 or higher indicates a low risk of default. If a score falls between 51 to 75, it shows a low to medium risk.  Scores from 26 to 50 are medium risk. Lastly, from 25 down to 1 is medium high to high risk. 

Experian offers a number of other scores including: 

  • Intelliscore Plus

The Intelliscore Plus is a predictive percentile score that indicates the likelihood that a business will be seriously delinquent, or have a major financial issue, in the next year.  

It uses more even more factors to calculate a score than the original Intelliscore.  Payment history still accounts for 5 to 10%. However, current payment status, trade balances, and percent of accounts delinquent make up 50 to 60% of the score. Credit utilization, company profile, age of the business, industry risk, and public records account for the rest.  Public records include: 

  • liens
  • judgements
  • collections
  • bankruptcies
  • other derogatory items

Data comes from suppliers, lenders, legal filings, collection agencies, credit card companies, and of course public records.

  • The Experian Financial Stability Risk Score (FSR)

This predicts the potential of a business defaulting on its obligations or going bankrupt.  The score identifies high risk businesses using public records. These records include high use of credit lines, severely delinquent payments, tax liens, judgments, collection accounts, risk industries, length of time in business, etc. 

  • Experian’s Blended Score

This is a one pager that provides a quick look at the business and its owner.  A combined business-owner credit scoring model is more comprehensive than a business only or consumer only model.  Blended scores have been found to outperform consumer or business alone by 10 – 20%.

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit.

Monitor Your Credit Score: Equifax Business 

Equifax business combines financial data with industry trade data, and then adds in utility and telephone payment data.  They also use public records information.  

Credit scores from Equifax Business include: 

The Small Business Credit Risk Score for Suppliers

This ranks on a scale 1 to 100, with 90+ indicating that a business has paid its obligations as agreed.  An 80 to 89 means they are 1 to 30 days past due, 60 to 79 indicates they are 31-60 days overdue, and a score of 40 to 59 is 61 to 90 days past the date the payment was due.  In the same way, score simply decrease further from this point. 

Business Failure Risk Score

This score indicates the chance of a company paying its bills late on the following scale: 

  • 497 – 816: 25% or less chance of payment being late
  • 452 – 496: 26 – 50% chance of late payment
  • 415 – 451: 51 – 74% chance of late payments
  • 101 – 414: 75 – 100% chance of late payments

Public Records Report

The purpose of this report is to list bankruptcies, judgments, and liens along with the amount, date of the most recent filing, and how they were satisfied. 

Credit Usage Report

This is a pie chart that gives a visual of your company’s credit usage.  It is a way to see in picture form what percent of your available credit you are using. That is known as your credit utilization ratio, and it has a pretty big impact on your overall credit score.

Credit Report Summary

The summary report shows the number of your business’s credit accounts, as well as the date each one became active. It also lists any amounts past due, along with your most severe status of the past 24 months. 

The highest amount of credit extended, the median balance, and the average open balance are also included.

Additionally, the report lists recent activity such as number of new accounts opened recently, delinquent accounts, number of updated accounts, and inquiries. 

Financial Account Highlights

This report shows details for the past 36 months, including credit accounts and leases. It lists the status, open and close dates, and original and current credit limits. It also shows any past due amount for each.  In addition, the payment amount and frequency for each account, as well as its security status can be seen.

Monitor Your Credit Score: How Can You See Your Reports? 

Now that you know what reports each of the big three offers, you need to know how to see what yours are telling lenders about your business.  That’s the whole reason you monitor your business credit. It can help you get an idea of the fundability of your business. Unfortunately, you cannot get a free copy of your business credit reports like you can with your personal credit reports.  It costs money to monitor your business credit as a general rule.

For example, the big three charge close to $50 or more for each report: 

  • Dun & Bradstreet reports range in price from $61 to $229 per report. 
  • Experian reports are $49.95 per report. 
  • Equifax is $99.95 per report. 

However, you can monitor your credit with D&B and Experian at a fraction of these costs by going to https://www.creditsuite.com/monitoring/

Knowing this, there are some one-time options for seeing at least some of the information on some of your credit reports for free.  These typically come in the form of a free trial. 

Monitor Your Credit:  See Your Credit Report for Free

The only real way to get a free copy of your credit report is if you are denied a loan based on your business credit.  Of course, this is not a fun way to see your business credit reports for free. After denial, you will receive a letter in the mail from the agency that provided the lender with your report.  You will have the opportunity to request a free copy of the report that the lender saw, so that you can see why the result was a denial. You have 90 days to submit your request.

In addition to business loan denial, there are a few other options. 

Nav

Nav is a service that will let you see a summary of your credit reports from all three of the major credit reporting agencies.  However, these are only summaries, not full reports. Generally, that means you can see your score, and maybe the accounts you have listed.  While this will help you see where you stand, it will not suffice for the purpose of correcting mistakes or even to show you what you need to do to improve your score. You do have the option to pay for more information though.

Credit.net

While Credit.net does not offer ongoing free business credit reports, you can access a free trial.  There is no credit card required, and after you pull the report, you have 30 days to check it out. This means at least once you can get a totally free look at your report, because there is no fear of missing a cancellation deadline and having to pay anyway. 

Scorely 

This is a lesser known credit reporting agency that will let you see your credit report for free before you pay for an ongoing subscription.  Unlike Nav or Credit.net, they actually calculate their own score similar to the big 3 (Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet.) They strive to be totally transparent and to make their reports easy to understand. 

Monitor Your Credit Score: What Can You Do About It?

First, if your business score contains mistakes, you can dispute them.  Then, you can have the mistakes taken off. It needs to be in writing directly to the credit reporting agency.  In addition, you will need to include backup documentation that supports your argument. Do not send originals however. Instead, send copies. 

In contrast, if there are no mistakes but your credit is still lacking, start now making payments on time.  Furthermore, ask telephone and utility accounts to report your on time payments to the CRAs. They are not required to, but some will if you ask.  Additionally, ask your landlord to report your rent payments. Also, work with starter vendors that will offer net 30 invoices without a credit check and that will report your payments.  Go here to find a few to start with. 

Most importantly, pay your bills on time. This is the number one way to increase your business credit score.

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit.

 monitor credit rpts Credit Suite

Monitor Your Credit Score: The More You Know the More You Grow

You can’t know how to fix a problem until you know the problem exists.  This is why it is important to monitor your credit score. Once you know your score and whatever else your reports say about your business, you can figure out what to do about it.  Knowing is half the battle. 

Once you know what information lenders are seeing about your business, you can take action that will help you become more fundable.  Maybe you need to get more diligent about making payments on time. Perhaps you need to dispute mistakes or add accounts. Regardless, you will have no clue what you need to do if you do not monitor your credit.  By keeping an eye on things, you can be sure your business has access to the funding it needs to grow and thrive.  

 

The post Monitor Your Credit Score at D&B, Experian, and Equifax appeared first on Credit Suite.

SEO Doesn’t Have to be a Long-Term Game: There Are Quicker Ways to Get Results

Everyone thinks SEO is a long-term game… that you have to wait months if not years to see results. And, maybe that was the case a few years ago when content was still king.

With Google making 3200 algorithm changes in just one year, their goal isn’t to make a website wait a year or two before they are able to achieve a top spot.

Instead, they want to show the user the right site as quick as possible. It doesn’t matter if the site has been around for 10 years, or 10 days.

How SEO has changed

It used to be that if you want to rank well, you would have to create tons of long-form content and build links.

Or have a really aged domain with history. But as Google has clearly stated, having an older domain or even a new domain won’t affect your rankings.

And sure, those things still matter today. But there are over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm.

In other words, there are other tactics that produce quick results.

For example, a few weeks I wrote a blog post about FAQ schema and how you can see the difference with your Google listing in 30 minutes.

Literally, 30 minutes.

That kind of stuff wasn’t possible before.

And SEO is no longer just a game of ranking on Google. There are tons of popular search engines like YouTube, in which you can get results in 24 hours.

Their algorithm is a bit different than Google’s in which if a video does really well in the first 24 hours of it being released, it will get shown more and rank higher.

In essence, you can take a top spot on YouTube in just days, no matter how competitive the term maybe.

You are full of it Neil?

Look, I’m not trying to say you can rank for “auto insurance” on Google within 24 hours or achieve unrealistic results, but you can drastically grow your search traffic in a reasonable time if you follow the right tactics.

It doesn’t matter if you have a new website or an old one.

So how do you get results faster? What’s the secret?

Well, I have a Master Class that will teach you how to double your traffic, but you’ll have to wait till Thursday.

I’m going to be introducing something new in which you can get more search traffic in 30 days.

All you have to do is take one simple action each day. And the action is so simple that it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes.

Stay tuned!

PS: Don’t forget to add the Master Class to your calendar. That way you’ll get notified on Thursday when it comes out.

The post SEO Doesn’t Have to be a Long-Term Game: There Are Quicker Ways to Get Results appeared first on Neil Patel.

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