Everything’s my Fault!

 

Clients suck…

Work sucks…

Man I just can’t find the right staff…

 

Heard that before right?

Over the last few months, I’ve caught myself again and again slipping into that mentality. The mentality of blame.
And don’t hear me wrong, its easy! SO easy.
When you suddenly find yourself in a position where everyone one is hailing your work as amazing, but you also have a handful of clients owing you more money than you used to make in a year.
It’s easy to slip into the blame mentality when someone doesn’t perform the way you “wanted them to”, when “you thought they could do xyz”

And once again I have had to remind myself that “everything’s my fault”.
Understanding that fundamental, simple, easy to understand and hard to stomach line, changes everything.

Here is the reality. And boy, buckle in because this one sucks to admit.

As number 1 in your business (no matter if you are a 1 man band or 100 staff) you are not the fancy entrepreneur, you aren’t the illustrious leader… You are… a firefighter.
Every single day.

“This hasn’t worked out..”
“This client is complaining…”
“These guys aren’t paying…”
“This guy isn’t performing the way he should…”

There is no “passing it on” for you, there is no “blame the boss”. Because its all on you.

Now, if you have read my rant up until this point, you might think I’m a depressed onion cutting myself.
But that’s not the case. I am merely painting the picture for you of what the world of leadership DOESN’T talk about.
Yeah sure, its all fancy and shiny when you pull up in your shiny Mercedes (I love mine), or when you are out dining clients or partners.

But there is a whole layer to entrepreneurship that people don’t speak about, and that is the fact that the better you are doing, the larger your organisation gets, the more problems you will face. The more “bugs” you have to fix.
And a lot of people are “afraid” to speak of the sleepless nights, or the fact that they put in 12 – 14 hour days to get things on track while their staff does a chilled 9-5 and goes home without worries.

BUT, the sooner that you can detach yourself from a victim mentality, the sooner you truly believe and understand that “everything is your fault”, the sooner you can make changes.

Because guess what!

When everything is your fault, it also means you have ultimate control.

What I am getting to, is that when you have the control, when you understand that you have the levers in your hands, you can slowly but steadily make changes to avoid the shortcomings of the past.
You are the captain, the captain that has the power to steer the vessel that is your business into calmer seas.
And often as the captain that means having to look after your crew, not just on a professional level, but a personal level also.
Because when the home life is broken, so is the professional one.

When you embody this personality wholeheartedly, its quite likely that you take failures as personal ones.
For me for example, I recently tried to host a bootcamp in Kentucky in the US, and after starting to sell tickets for 2 weeks, I realised I had done everything wrong.
I had to make a decision, run the bootcamp and loose $30k or eat my pride and cancel the event.

Man that hit home, I had invited my friends, my peers to speak at the event. And of course there were excuses going through my mind, some of them very valid, but in reality, it was set up for failure from the start.

Everything’s my fault.

And so, I decided to refund the few tickets we had sold, cancel the venue and postpone the event until early next year. Giving me more time to plan, and come out guns blazing!

I truly believe that if you are able to detach yourself from the situation, and look at it laterally, you will find it much easier to make logical decisions rather than purely emotional ones.
(This is why its always so “easy” to give other people advice)

Now whats also important is this, and I cannot say this enough;

YOU are not alone!
It is imperative that you have a support system in place. Find a group of entrepreneurs that are doing better than you, invite them out for dinner and catch up. You will suddenly realise that you are not the only one going through this.
Speak to your wife/husband or business partner.

I believe in you!

Homework;
1. Share this post on your social media and tag the people that you think could use it the most.
2. Write down the top 3 things you are struggling with right now.
3. Take a step back, and look at how it is your fault that they have happened.
4. Make an action plan on what you can do to remedy the problem.
5. Book a call/meeting/dinner/drink with one of your peers to just talk about life the universe and everything.
6. Come back to this post and leave a comment.

How To Automate Keyword Research With APIs & Python Scripts


Introduction:

It’s time for some more SEO tips!

The latest ‘Words from the Wise SEO’ blog post is an interesting read from Paul DeMott – about how you can cut your keyword research down to just ten minutes! Impressive.

Find out how you can start automating your keyword research to save a bunch of time that you can spend wisely elsewhere.

Leave us a comment if you have any points to add!

 

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How To Automate Keyword Research With APIs & Python Scripts

Introduction

My name is Paul DeMott and I’m the CTO of Helium SEO, a fast growing Cincinnati SEO company. I’ve been in the SEO game for over a decade and over the last few years I’ve been specifically focused on building software and AI for SEO. Today I will share with you one of the key processes we’ve automated.

Disclaimer: Our agency has access to many tools that are not available to everyone. There are many free substitutes for these tools and I hope to update the article with these as I work on replicating this system with free tools.

Automating keyword research is a tall order, but if you are able to do it, it can save hours of work. We took our process from 2 hours down to 10 minutes by strategically programming parts of the process. What makes it tricky, like so many parts of SEO, is that there is a large subjective component. Computers rely on instructions and rules to make decisions, and a keyword that can look great to a computer can look bad to a human.

Our team spent a lot of time brainstorming as well as making revisions to this process. I will do my best to walk you through the whole process.

Our goal was to build software that could find keywords that had the following characteristics.

  1. High buyer intent (Not only will it drive traffic but this traffic can produce leads. Also notice keyword volume is not the priority)
  2. Trending upwards (we expect this query to get more searches over time)
  3. Low difficulty (The easier it is for us to rank and get clients leads the better)
  4. Fits well into our clients strategy and the products they serve

 

Do not use a process like this if your client already knows their keywords.

 

Sometimes keyword research is easy and there are a few keywords that can be knock out without revving up our software. For example, sometimes our clients have run Adwords for years and have statistical significance on which keywords specifically drive leads. If your client has this it should be a no brainer which keywords to pick, but often this data is not available and that’s when you need to dive a bit deeper.

Quantifying the Keyword Goal

The true challenge of this project, as mentioned above, is successfully quantifying what a good keyword looks like.

Through trial and error we’ve found there is no single tool that works best for keyword research.

Each tool has its own strengths, but to be able to utilize their strengths requires understanding what they attempt to do.

In the following sections I’ll elaborate on which metrics we ended up selecting and why. I’m a strong believer that understanding the why is necessary to implementing any system.

Ahrefs Keyword Difficulty

Ahrefs KD claims to have the highest correlation to actual search results. (Keep in mind that Long Tail Pros algorithm has significantly improved since this post was created.)

Ahrefs KD metric strongly correlates to real results because backlinks still carry a huge weight as a ranking factor. KD works by averaging the number of referring domains to a page inside the top 10.

This is helpful, but also limiting. On one end, assuming links of equal quality, this score can give you a good estimate of the number of incoming links required to get to page 1. However, in many cases it’s not accurate to assume that all incoming links are of equal quality.

Despite this keyword having a low difficulty rating, it might be easy to get onto page 1, but another story to get into the top 3 results.

In this example, it might be easy to get on page 1 but very hard to get spot 1. Additionally, some of the most competitive keyword searches get assigned a low difficulty score because there are few incoming referring domains; however the sites ranking on page 1 are massive authority websites that pass around a lot of power with strong internal linking schemes.

Long Tail Pro KC

Long Tail Pro KC is a complementary tool to Ahref’s KD and DR.

At a high level look, Long Tail Pro KC factors in domain authority, incoming links, keywords position in titles and their respective majestic trust flows, and then weights each of these values to arrive at a KC score. Our agency uses the chart below to interpret the KC value and we’ve found this chart to be very accurate from the 1000s of keywords we have ranked.

Unlike Ahref’s KD, which doesn’t give us specifics about the quality of links, Long Tail Pro’s KC does.

Additionally, one of my favorite features of Long Tail Pro is that it can provide insights into internal linking and site age.

By clicking on the word you can pull up a more complete view of the SERPs for any given keyword.

SEOs often overlook internal links even though they can carry as much power as referring domains.

PRO-Tip: Pay attention to the site ages in the top 10. One or two young sites in the top 10 can be a good indication that you can rank for the keyword quickly.

Ahrefs DR

Domain Rating serves one purpose in our keyword process. Sometimes you’ll encounter keywords that look great but in actuality would be near impossible to rank for. With DR we can catch these false positives.

For example the following scenario the domain has a KD of 0, but when you look at the DRs the keyword is much more challenging.

Why does this happen? A very authority site passes incredible amounts of link equity to every site it links to, including internal pages. This article is worth reading to better understand it (link here).

Why DR instead of DA? Ahrefs simply has a much better crawler than MOZ. It’s second in size next to Google.

Checking the top 3 Spots

Unfortunately, KD and KC just tell us the difficulty of getting onto page 1. If we want to know how hard it is to rank in the top 3 spots we need to look at the DR of these sites as well as their referring links.

We have not yet automated this process, but will in the future.

Automating the Process

Now that we have the metrics defined that we are looking for. Let me walk you through the automation process.

 

Tools required:

  • SEMRUSH
  • KEYWORDTOOL.IO
  • Selenium
  • Pikotocharts

 

Phases

  • Keyword Expansion
  • Culling
  • Graphically representing
  • Manual Review Stage

 

Keyword Expansion

Keyword expansion is one of the most important pieces of this process. The good news is, even if you are not a developer you can still use this process, and while it may not take 10 minutes and be done automatically for you, it is still a systematic way to find good keywords.

During the expansion phase the most common issue we ran into was not casting a wide enough net to catch enough good keywords. We tried many different tools but here is our finalized process.

To programmatically do these processes we use a browser automation tool called Selenium. It functions just like a human would on each page. (If there is interest on how to use this tool I’d happily write another article.) Lastly, if you have API access to any of these tools it speeds up this process.

  1. Collect seed keywords from customer. Make sure you have a procedure for learning which keywords your customer wants.
  2. Type keywords into Google and grab top 5 results. We use a python Google API to automatically grab these 5 pages.  
  3. Pull list of keywords between 1-20 from all 5 competitors in Semrush.
  4. Place seed keywords in keywordtool.io. This tool is great because unlike other tools it grabs a high diversity of unique related keywords. They even have a free version.


  5. Combine the list generated from Keyword.io and the 5 Semrush competitors. Just save the search volume and keyword name.

Curating the List

Now that we have a list of close to 1000 keywords we begin trying to find the needle in the haystack. (Note: We have written an internal script to apply the following changes. Python has a few nice libraries for dealing with csv data.)

  1. Cut all keywords with less than 10 searches per month.
  2. Copy list into LongTrail Pro. Cut all keywords that have a KC>40, save CPC and whether or not site links appear for the search query
  3. Cut all keywords that have a KD > 20
  4. Sort KD by Descending Order – The idea here is that we are looking for the least competitive keywords that still meet our qualifications. We want to prioritize keywords by lower difficulty ratings.

Check Google Trend Data

We built a tool that can take our final list of keywords and see whether they are trending upwards in popularity and then plot all of our relevant data. (I’ll be updating this content with a download link soon.)

Plot

Lastly, we take all of the keywords and plot them on a 2-dimensional graph.

These plots are much more aesthetically pleasing to look at than excel tables and they make it easier for a human to identify which keyword fit a list of criteria.

While it may be easy to sort an excel sheet by a single column, such as search volume, it’s more challenging to compare a ton of fields such as high search volume, low difficulty and is trending upwards in popularity. These visualizations simplify the process.

Visualize the Information

Red = SERPS had Adwords Ads

Blue = SERPS did not have Adwords Ads

Circle Size = The keyword Volume

In this chart we express buyer intent by identifying whether or not the keyword had site AdWords links on the SERP. It’s not a perfect method but it at least helps pick out good keywords. The x-axis is keyword difficulty and the y-axis shows the sloping trend of the keyword (whether it has become more or less popular).

Lastly, if we hover over a keyword we can see specifics. I also have the Semrush difficulty metric displayed, however I don’t find it very useful.

The ideal keywords have the following traits:

  1. Large circle
  2. Red Color
  3. Low difficulty
  4. High CPC
  5. Positive Slope (upward trending)

Final Step

The final results of this process are 10-100 good potential keywords. Once we have them we throw them back into Long Tail Pro and Ahrefs to do one final check. This is the point where we double check for false positives.

Additionally, if the DR is above 45 (our metric to differentiate an authority site from a normal site) for every domain in the top 10 and our client doesn’t have a DR of 45 we may put these keywords on the back-burner.

They may still be possible to rank but, they would likely take longer for us to generate leads for.

I hope this process is helpful and would love to hear your guys’ feedback!

Thanks for taking the time to read the SEOButler blog today – how has this post helped you?

Check back next week for more!

 

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If you want to see your blog featured here, get in touch – we’re always looking for new contributions. Send in your pitch via our Contact Page your post could be next!

How Amazon’s Algorithm Is Google’s, Pre-2010

Hey pals – long time no speak!

We’re back with a brand new weekly blog series, ‘Words From The Wise SEO’: where the seasoned pros of the industry will be sharing tried-and-tested hot tips, tricks and takes on how to improve your rankings.

Our premier post is by Amazon SEO Consultant, Tom Buckland, who has some ideas about how Amazon’s algorithms are quite similar to Google’s, circa-2010. Do you agree? Read on to find out…

 

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How Amazon’s Algorithm Is Google’s, Pre-2010

Background

Before the Panda and Penguin updates of 2011/2012, Google used to be a wonderful place. It was easy to rank using black and white hat SEO techniques. Content was easy. Any links would do. Life was great.

Then in 2011, a major update called the Google Panda update hit and changed the game forever. 12% of search results were affected! That’s the biggest impact an update has ever had.

In April 2012, Google released an algorithm update called Penguin. This was felt heavily by most of the SEO community at the time. Without getting into too much detail (as many of you will probably already be familiar with this) the Penguin update considered sites that were manipulating the SERPs, and they did this specifically by targeting OVER-optimisation. 3.1% of English queries were said to be affected and thousands of SEOs worldwide panicked at the same time.

So, What’s This Google Algorithm History Lesson Got to Do with Amazon?

Amazon is the largest B2C ecommerce store in the world. They also have a very advanced search algorithm that attempts to qualify products and searches and present the most relevant product at the top of the results to their users – of course, very similar to what Google’s primary goal is.

The issue with Amazon is they have other things to worry about. Operations, arrivals, packing, delivering, back-end maintenance, customer service (which has gone horrific in the last 12 months), ads, AWS, and hundreds of other individual elements.

All this means is search is not their priority. The investment going into improving their search algorithm is limited, and as a result they are quite far behind other search giants, such as Google (and even Bing).

Amazon and Google are two massive businesses with the sole goal to make money (by any means necessary in some cases). But, what they want from people is very different and how they do this is very different.

-Google wants users to use their search engine and click on Ads. Every decision they make is towards this one goal.

-Amazon (on the other hand) wants users to buy products from Amazon (as their core B2C goal). But they also want suppliers to sign up and start selling on their platform.

When doing optimisation or marketing for Amazon, keep one key question in mind (it’s what everything is related to) – “By taking this action, will I make AMAZON more money?” If the answer is YES, then chances are you will improve your organic rankings by taking that specific action.

What Do I Mean By “Amazon Is Google Pre-Updates”?

Amazon IS Google in 2010. Amazon sellers need to beware of this.

Whether it takes Amazon a year or a decade to get to a more evolved algorithm and improve their search results to the level of Google is yet to be seen. But one thing you don’t want to happen is to build a substantial business that is reliant on Amazon only to have a massive algorithm change based on a black and white animal ruin your hard work.

Personally, I believe Amazon will crack down on 3 key areas in the next few years. These elements will “make them more money” and hence they are starting to invest resources more heavily into these mediums, especially two of these. Stay aware and ahead of them to avoid the Google fate many suffered around 2011-2012.

3 Areas They Will Initially Target

With Google’s evolution in the past 5+ years, we can see the future of search engines and how they ideally should progress. This gives a huge advantage as we know what Amazon is looking towards in for the future. Again, whether this vision takes them a year or a decade to implement shouldn’t matter too much.

There are three obvious core areas where Amazon will crack down on first. Some areas they’ve already started.

Once these are complete, they will likely look to targeting specific smaller elements. But as the Amazon search algorithm is NOT Amazon’s “one thing” to quote Gary Keller, they will unlikely ever get to a manual penalty team (there is simply no need yet.)

  1. Reviews

Amazon is cracking down on fake reviews hard (they just aren’t very good at it yet.)

This is a huge issue, as reviews are the social-proof that gives buyers the confidence to make an educated decision about a specific product. If every specific product review is fake, then buyers can no longer make an informed decision, ultimately driving shoppers to another website.

There does need to be a middle ground here, though, and if there isn’t, then there will be a vicious cycle:

If you have no reviews 1. No one will buy your product 2. You cannot get reviews without people purchasing your products…

How Amazon Will Crack Down on Reviews

Amazon will be able to crack down on this by using patterns similar to how Google discovers users of PBNs who haven’t hidden their network well enough.

For example, having reviewers purchase a product at a discount is the first one they’ve considered. Any discounts over 20% are now flagged by Amazon’s internal system (more on this in the spiking best seller rank section) and if multiple reviews are posted without labelling that this was an incentive review, the product is suspended, or reviews are pulled at best.

Eventually, Amazon wants to completely eradicate fake or incentivised reviews. This is not possible with the technology they are currently integrating but as AI becomes more advanced and mainstream, I do not see this being a problem for them in the future.

What Sellers Can Do

Be extremely careful when starting out or scaling your reviews for specific ASINs. Remember the golden ratio – for example, if you get 100 sales and 50 reviews, that’s appears extremely unnatural to Amazon (it’s kind of like getting 100 visitors and 50 links… Google knows it’s BS and Amazon will too.)

Instead, look to get about one review per 10 full-priced sales at the start. Anything that is a full-priced sale, Amazon will usually over-look something dodgy. But a discounted review with a very high review ratio is going to send up all the red flags.

So, for Amazon sellers, the use of manual review processes is very important, but only with the right ratios. The family and friends reviewing your products is still officially against Amazon’s ToS, but as I’ve mentioned previously, it’s very difficult to currently track fake reviews.

2. Spiking Best Seller Rank

This is the specific service we offer to clients. It’s popular because its hard to do. BUT, there are easier ways that most sellers have been using for the past three years that many people are probably familiar with. But these methods are starting to disrupt Amazon and become less and less effective.

For anyone not familiar with best seller rank, it’s the Google PageRank of Amazon. It’s based on how many sales a product makes in a given time period (no one knows the exact time period, but it doesn’t matter all that much. I’ll use 24 hours for ease of explanation).

So, if a product makes 100 sales everyday and another product makes 50 sales a day, the product that makes 100 sales will OUTRANK the product that has only 50 per day. Even if the on-page optimisation of the other product is very poor (it has to be a certain quality but it’s a very low benchmark.)

This is one of the reasons why you sometimes see strange results when you search in the “all departments” section of Amazon with a broad keyword. Amazon tries to quantify the search, they just aren’t all that good at it (yet).

SALES ARE AMAZON’S “OFF PAGE!”

Similar to Google, it doesn’t matter how good your on-page optimisation is, if you don’t get any links, then you aren’t going to rank for anything competitive.

Amazon takes this to an even higher level. If you don’t make sales, you won’t get organic rankings.

But how are you meant to make sales without ranking for any keywords?

And this is the reason why 90% of Amazon sellers fail.

The answer is to use external marketing sources, or 3rd parties, that manually spike best seller rank using techniques that are against Amazon’s ToS.

How Amazon Will Crack Down?

The title of this post is how Amazon is Google of the past. With reference to sales equalling links, this could not be clearer.

If we took two websites that have perfect on-page optimisation (in 2010) and built 10 average links to one of them and let the other one sit with zero links, what would happen?

As it’s 2010 and any “good enough” link gives us some value, we end up ranking higher the more links we build. As a result, we get more organic traffic and more revenue. Happy days.

On Amazon, the exact same happens but replace the word links with sales.

If we have two product listings selling the same product, at the same price, with the same on-page optimisation, and we then generate 10 sales a day for one product and zero sales a day for the other product, what happens?

Well, currently Amazon will rank that product with 10 sales a day HIGHER for its related keywords. Once the product ranks organically it starts to generate organic sales and hence increases total revenue.

The issue is with HOW these initial sales come in.

If you build them in natural ways generating full priced sales, Amazon loves you, you rank higher, happy days.

The problem (for Amazon, not the sellers yet) is that generating these sales is usually done in a non-Amazon-friendly way. For example, things like discounted products (90-100% discounts) asking everyone you’ve ever met to purchase it, and even paying random people to purchase your products.

Amazon wants to get as far away from this as possible. If they do not solve this issue, then low quality products will start ranking highly for keywords and customers start to become unhappy with what they purchase.

Long term, this would lead to less customers shopping on Amazon.

How Amazon decides to solve this problem is far beyond my thought capacity, but it is something they are starting to look into judging by the lack of effectiveness of some of these 3rd party best seller rank companies in the past few months.

What Sellers Can Do

Put simply, you need to invest into external marketing sources to spike best seller rank. These work even better and can be even cheaper in the long run than paying a 3rd party to spike best seller rank unnaturally.

3. On-page keyword stuffing

Again, when it comes to on-page optimisation of Amazon, it is very similar to Google (pre-Panda). Meaning you can do as much keyword stuffing, long tail keywords, everything just get those keywords IN!

But.

If we think about the first major update that Google implemented (which was Panda) this targeted sites that had very poor or thin content. This is what the majority of Amazon product listings look like. So, instead of keyword stuffing, we must get a mix of optimisation for Amazon and users.

The key I recommend here is learning keyword focused copywriting.

At the end of the day, we optimise for search engines, but we need to convert visitors once they visit our website or product listing.

Inside Amazon there are 4 key elements to implementing keywords. Use the similar over-optimisation rules as you would apply to Google or you can check out our 5,000 word guide to perfect on-page listing optimisation on Amazon.

How Amazon Will Solve This

This is an easier one than the previous two, as we can almost use a simple keyword density tool, mixed with a relevance score, to give a percentage. This can then raise a flag to Amazon’s internal processing system to monitor whether there are high refunds and returns for this item. If everything points to a low-quality listing, they can have a human (if there are any left in Amazon) to review these quickly and give a suppression if so.

Saying all this, I can’t see Amazon investing the resources into achieving that positive result. But it would improve the overall user experience of the site, so one can hope.

What Sellers Can Do

Sellers should be using correct on-page optimisation as the benefits drastically outweigh any time investment. For example, spending two hours upfront on a product doing keyword research, competition analysis, listing optimisation, and copywriting can led to a huge ROI throughout the life of your product and business. Conversions and rankings will help you in the long run.

Conclusion

Remember, Amazon is NOT Google.

They started as an Ecommerce store, so their goals are different. As a result, you can currently “get away” with more: free giveaways to spike best seller rank, keyword stuffing listings, and just an overall spam approach to promotions.

The solution is to use REAL external marketing sources, such as influencer marketing, FB ads, content marketing, and others, to manually spike best seller rank and increase organic rankings. If done correctly, you won’t have to offer discounts or free products and you will build a better quality following in the process,you won’t have to offer discounts or free products and you will build a better quality following in the process. Organic rankings themselves and tracking them effectively is one of the key areas you can invest your Amazon marketing efforts, the ROI is incredible and the added benefits of this are massive too. You can see the exact process we use from start to finish that has worked for dozens of clients here.

Thanks for reading – we hope you enjoyed this post! Leave us a comment below with any thoughts!

 

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PS: we’re always looking for new contributions with original angles. If you’ve got an amazing tip, engaging story or hot take on anything SEO to share with our growing audience, send us a pitch today via our contact page!

 

The Top 25 Social Media Marketing Tools

Introduction:

We’ve got a treat for you this week!

It’s Wednesday – which means our second ‘Words from the Wise SEO’ blog post is up, part of our new series of contributions from SEO geniuses across the globe.

This week it’s all about the very best FREE social media marketing tools. You might just discover a new platform that saves you tons of time and hard-earned cash!

Find out which tools are best recommended by social media pro, ContentStudio’s Umair Mansha. Is your favourite not listed? Leave us a comment below if you have any further suggestions!

 

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The Top 25 Social Media Marketing Tools

As we advance new forms of technology, we are able to improve connectivity, form strong networks, promote our businesses, and utilise many other brand-enhancing benefits. It’s at this point that we should think about moving forward even further and establish platforms where interconnectivity is continually improved.

Social media sites are undoubtedly amazing platforms where we can connect to millions of like-minded people and promote our networks. As a wise man once said:

“Your network is your net worth.”

In this guide, we are going to discuss the best free social media marketing tools that are highly praised among the social media community and online influencers.

The use of these tools can put you ahead of the game in terms of content management and marketing. We’ll discuss the benefits of each LinkedIn social marketing tool throughout the post so that you’ll be able to find the best platform for your requirements. Let’s begin!

Contentstudio.io

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Contentstudio takes care of all your content management at once. You will get to know trending content even before it is trending to boost your own promotions and increase audience engagement. This is content from the entire web, not just social media. You’ll get the most relevant content to shoot.

In social media management, this tool will help you to discover the top performing content relevant to the industry, and will let you compose a custom post to attract more users to your social media. Not only that, it will also help you to create SEO-friendly posts for the top attractions, as well as enable you to schedule posts for peak times in order to target the active audience.

So, whether you’re a marketing agency, a business, or an enterprise – this tool is for you. You can opt for a free trial before becoming a paying member to see if it’s the solution for you.

Buffer

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Buffer is known to be the best tool to make things easier for you in terms of social media management. It lets you schedule the posts and simplifies your routine to generate more audience engagement. As we all know, social media is the best way to drive traffic: therefore it is important to keep in touch with all your social networks at once, saving you time in the long run.

There are multiple features to choose from depending on your own social media platforms, so it can be designed to suit your needs. It will help you grow your relationship with your audience on social media, improving customer satisfaction.

Buffer has a 7-day trial version, after which monthly payments begin, ranging from $10 to $400.

Hootsuite

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In terms of social media management, Hootsuite is a great contender. This programme lets you schedule your posts from one place, saving you a lot of time. It provides you with ready-made content and images, analytics on your social media progress, and offers brand security on all of your social platforms. On top of this, if you’re thinking about team management, they offer this as a core feature; as well as encouraging you to participate in contests to keep your accounts up to date. 

You can sign up for the free version – but be aware that it has limited tools. To make the most of this programme, I would recommend signing up for a paid plan that allows you to have full use of the features.

Followed

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Whether you’re a small business owner or a highly experienced marketing professional, Followed will halve the time it takes you to update your business’s social media accounts. I would especially recommend this programme to beginners who may be more concerned about their social marketing and management performance.

If you want to enhance your daily audience interaction, Followed predicts the best time of day that people are most active online, and allows you to post unique content to multiple platforms at once.

It offers all the best features that will turn the bumpy road of social media into a marketing highway!

Brand24

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Brand24 is a social media monitoring system for all types of businesses. What people say about your brand or business online can have many detrimental effects, so it is important to monitor these conversations.

It is both good for you and your business if you are aware of the issues people are facing when using your service. By using Brand24 you will be able to resolve the problem sooner and protect your brand from further complications and user backlash. This programme will help you keep an eye on discussions throughout your social media platforms so that you can engage directly with the people who bring up issues. Monitoring customer feedback will improve customer satisfaction, ensuring that they continue to use your service.

Try a free 14-day trial before upgrading to the premium plans. 

Sprout Social

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If you want to strengthen your social media strategy, Sprout Social might just be the thing for you. It works for everyone: small business owners, marketing agencies, and enterprises. 

As a business owner, you need to be marketing your brand on social media in order to increase audience engagement and generate more sales. If you are a marketing agency, a priority should be team management. And if you are an enterprise, communication and customer interaction is your biggest concern.

Sprout Social helps with everything. It will assist you with content creation and management; which will improve your social media professionalism and enhance the business-consumer relationship. By using Sprout Social, you’ll be able to make better decisions for your business, and save yourself a lot of time in the process.

You can try their free trial before signing up for their premium version.

Okto Post

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If you want to boost your B2B marketing, Okto Post is a great social management tool you could use. It manages multiple social platforms and allows you to promote your content to establish better leads for your business. By tracking every single lead that you generate, it provides you with perfect analytics: so you can keep tabs of what posts, on which social profile, on which social network, is performing the best.

It makes social publishing much easier, from scheduling to automatic posting at specific times on multiple networks. It lets you discover trendy content and notifies you when people are talking about your content online. With Okto Post, monitoring your social media engagement is simplified and consumer satisfaction can be easily maintained.

Go to their website and request a demo for free.

Zoho Social

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Zoho Social is a software for businesses that allows you to manage everything from a single platform. From management to marketing and analytics, Zoho Social does its job well. You can even manage all of your social media accounts on your mobile phone using their app. It allows the scheduling of multiple posts at peak times of the day to ensure that your content is being seen online by as many people as possible.

You can also track keywords and stay in touch with your team using this programme, guaranteeing a smooth and flawlessly-run business.  Zoho Social provides all the facilities and features on a single dashboard from which you can manage your market on social media. For a business purpose, their plans are different and inexpensive, and they have categorised Agency Plans and Business Plans individually, making navigation around the site very easy.

You can sign up to Zoho Social for free.

Agora Pulse

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Even if you’re a beginner and aren’t sure how to manage your social media strategy yet, Agora Pulse is a very easy social marketing and management model. This programme helps you manage your social media activity from one place, which is great if you have multiple accounts on different social platforms.

From publishing to team collaboration, Agora Pulse offers many features that will ensure the effective management of your business’s social media accounts. From small businesses to large enterprises and agencies, Agora Pulse provides a simple, easy, and affordable service.

They offer a great discount if you sign up to their annual plan.

Falcon.io

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Falcon is a well-known social media marketing platform suitable to any type of business, allowing you to create both paid and organic posts for all your social networks entirely from one place. You can manage all channels and monitor audience engagement from a single dashboard, ensuring that you are constantly updated with user response and customer satisfaction.

This is great for staying in-the-know with your audience, so you can maintain your business-consumer relationships. Besides being a strategy maker, it will also help you with your team management.

Curata

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Curata is a brilliant tool for content marketing and content curation. As a curator, it will help you to discover the top trends and upcoming hot topics to shoot, organise, and contextualise your content on the go.

In terms of content marketing, it has a feature that analyses your posts and allows you to streamline production processes depending on the feedback. Curata leads in terms of content curation but is a great contender for a curation and marketing management combination programme.

Book a demo now and try it out!

Buzzsumo

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As a marketer or an SEO expert, analysing a keyword before embedding it into your content is a sensible thing to do. Buzzsumo allows you to analyse the best performing content for any industry or competitor right now. Finding a key influencer isn’t a problem anymore with this tool.

BuzzSumo allows a demo, but in order to take full benefit I would recommend going for one of its premium plans according to your requirements.

Spredfast

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Spredfast takes the number one spot for social media marketing and management for enterprises. It helps you to upgrade your social media marketing strategy by targeting audiences in peak periods, improving your relationships with users and therefore ensuring their continued custom.

As a programme that assists with the most complicated of enterprise social media strategies, it will undoubtedly be able to enhance the strategies of much smaller businesses and agencies, too.

Sprinklr

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Sprinklr isn’t just a social media management tool, but it is also a device that enables you to find out what your customers are saying about you and your business. You can monitor all of your social media accounts, gaining an insight into customer reviews and user satisfaction from a single dashboard in real-time.

It will also help you to adjust your social media strategy accordingly to get the most out of the specific platform in order to boost sales and business reputation.

Talkwalker

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For general marketing, a powerful tool is Talkwalker. It offers vast data coverage, top-quality image recognition, and is the best programme for customer satisfaction analysis with its AI-Powered Sentiment feature.

Try out the free demo to see if it’s right for you.

Edgar

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If time is your biggest problem, Edgar efficiently manages your social media platforms at your own convenience. Sharing your content on social media is something that requires a lot of time, which instead could be invested into other important tasks.

This programme will help you schedule your posts on multiple social networks at once, while also homing in on sharing and re-sharing to boost your online presence and audience engagement.

Simply Measured

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Simply Measured works best as a social media analytics tool to keep you updated with the conversations that your customers are having on your social media accounts. Like some other big social media marketing tools, it works by analysing your social performance, tracking which of your posts are being shared the most, and processing the conversions to create a report on your performance to see how you could improve.

It is important to track your social media platforms to stay aware of online movements and audience satisfaction in order to sustain growth marketing.

Sendible

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Developing a strong social media strategy makes for a successful business. Sendible helps you manage several social networks from one place at one time. You can schedule your posts and engage with your audience whenever you like with this programme. Sendible also helps you measure your ROIs easily from one place.

Navigating around this site is very easy, with everything on a single dashboard. Social media management has never been easier with their mobile app, allowing you to monitor your accounts on the go.

Cision

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Cision is one of the leading online marketing tools for any business type. It will help you manage your social media marketing strategy and simultaneously keep track of your progress.

You will also be able to identify relevant social influencers to hit the right audience; plan and share the interesting content; and keep track of all the impact happening around. It helps you to engage and communicate with your audience with simple and easy methodology.

Facebook Pages Manager

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Facebook is currently the biggest social media network being used by almost every individual, whether for personal or business use. So, using Facebook as a marketing platform for your business is a no-brainer.

You can create meaningful posts on your pages for your own targeted audience, schedule multiple posts to save time, and engage with your audience constantly. In Facebook Pages Manager, you can manage multiple pages at once; even if you have different businesses. It’s especially useful for agencies dealing with multiple clients.

Facebook is the way to go for your growing marketing strategy.

Leadfuze

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Whether you’re a marketer, a businessman, or an agency runner, it is your mission to continuously increase sales. LeadFuze takes away your worries with regards to targeting the right audience and managing your marketing strategy to boost sales. This programme will reach out to the rightful audience through personal emails or other contacting perspective in order to pique interest in your product or service.

You don’t have to even create an email list manually: LeadFuze bots will do it for you automatically.

Nuvi

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You won’t stop loving the visuals of this social media marketing tool: its unique dashboard provides you with easy monitoring of your traffic and social media audience. Plus, it keeps you constantly up-to-date with mobile alerts.

Its monitoring, analysis, reporting, and publishing features will help you to stay one step ahead with your marketing strategy. Go for this tool to push your social media marketing to success, and to take your mind off the intricacies of managing every small task.

eClincher

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eClincher is known to be a powerful social media marketing tool, supporting all the top social networks for you. It’s best for small businesses, marketing professionals, and brands. It helps with scheduling posts and publishing them automatically at the time you set it, which could save you a lot of time.

It contains a Google Chrome extension and also a link shortener, which makes things a lot easier for you on the go.

Tracx

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Tracx is a powerful social marketing and monitoring tool that will track all insights, social engagements, measurements of the ROIs and team performance, and will help you to analyse all initiatives in order to take your strategy to the next level. What are you waiting for?

Conclusion

Whatever tool you are going to use for your social media marketing and management strategy, each one of the above offers the best features you need, one way or another. So, choose your tool wisely, depending on what you’re currently focused on. Try out multiple trial versions to find your perfect solution.

Let us know in the comments what you use – do you have any more to add to this list? 

Hey – thanks for reading! We hope you learned a lot about social marketing tools today.

 

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How We Used Facebook Ads To Generate Over $200,000 In Extra Revenue In 2017

Introduction:

Welcome back to ‘Words from the W I S. E. O’ – we’ve got a great post for you today!

This post is by Alex Meyerhans of Human Proof Designs shares how the company made a lot of extra cash last year just through Facebook ads – a whopping $200,000 to be exact.

Want to know how? Keep reading to learn how you could do the same…

 

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How We Used Facebook Ads To Generate Over $200,000 In Extra Revenue In 2017

In February 2017, I joined HumanProofDesigns as the guy in charge of paid traffic. I had never run an ad in my life. What’s between that and six figures in revenue from FB ads with a 20x ROAS?

That’s what you’re going to discover today.

For those of you who don’t know, HumanProofDesigns is an Internet Marketing company focused on helping affiliates succeed. We build done-for-you affiliate sites and provide pretty much every service affiliates may need, from content to links. But most importantly, we focus on training, community, and “showing the way” through our blog.

In this article, we’re going to be dissecting FB ads and how we’ve used them to get awesome results, but first…

  1. Why Paid Traffic?

For some of you the answer may be dead clear. Paid traffic is on-demand, is scalable and can be sent to any page of your liking. Because, you know, good luck ranking a squeeze page like this one for anything:

For every goal you may have in your marketing needs (such as generating leads or sales) there’s a campaign for you. Ads allow us to put our message in front of the right people, pretty much instantly, and that’s a powerful thing. How powerful, you may ask? Well, a post of this kind wouldn’t be complete without a mandatory “money shot”.

So here it is:

Let me explain a couple things: Most of our campaigns are retargeting campaigns. Like that one you see there where $223.49 ad spend “got us” $53,243.00. There’s quotes there because there’s a lot more than meets the eye (and I’ll explain later).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “retargeting” it basically means advertisers follow people around based on their behavior (a bit creepy, I know). So, for instance if you’ve seen a sales page on our site, a retargeting ad would bring you back to that sales page in hopes of a second touch getting you to buy the product, basically.

Retargeting is 80% of our ad game, and the rest is lead generation… and sometimes (but rarely) just traffic for brand awareness purposes and audience building (more on this later).

So, let’s jump into each type of campaign and how you can use them to grow your business.

2. Before we start: Understanding sales funnels

I’m not going to go crazy explaining what sales funnels are here, mostly because I think Digital Marketer has done a better job on this article than I’d ever be able to do myself. But to give a tl:dr version, a sales funnel is a system that transforms visitors into buyers, and then into repeat customers.

I’m mentioning funnels here because FB ads aren’t magic. Sure thing, they’ll bring traffic to your site, but without a funnel you’ll be wasting that traffic. If you have a system in place though, you can do wondrous things.

So, what makes a good funnel?

  1. A good funnel warms up brand-new visitors: Funnels start by simply warming up visitors. By presenting the brand, who we are and what we do. New customers are the blood of any business, and most new customers start with someone who doesn’t know you at all.

Think about a series of blog posts with your most stellar content. If a brand-new visitor was ever introduced to that series, he or she would be much more likely to then (at least) consume more of your content and hopefully care about what you have to offer.

Here’s a good explanation about traffic temperatures.

2. A good funnel generates leads: The next thing is to transform those visitors into contacts – people you can reach out to directly via email or FB messenger (or any channel of your choice really) whenever you want to tell them something. About your latest post (so you warm them up more) or about your product or your latest offer.

3. A good funnel generates customers on the cheap: So, obviously a funnel’s mission is to generate customers, but a good funnel will also get those customers for a low amount of money. Both in terms of what the customer pays (so the barrier to become one is low, think about a $7 product vs a $700 product) and what you pay to acquire that customer

4. A good funnel increases LTV: The more your customers spend with you over time, the more you can spend to acquire them simply because you know that you’ll make the money back multiple times over the course of the next 3-6-12 months. A good funnel is designed to make repeat sales out of the same customer pool.

If you’re a seasoned marketer you know this already, but do you know what you NEED to make the most out of FB ads? A strong email marketing game.

Let me rephrase: Email is the single most important part of a good sales funnel. If your email game is on-point, you can plug FB ads at any point of the funnel and get crazy returns. And we’re going to see how right now:

3. Plugging Paid traffic into a funnel – Types of campaigns and how to make them work.

So, before I jump into each campaign, I’m assuming you know how to set up your account, use the FB ads manager  and how to create audiences. If you don’t, I’ve linked to some good resources in the previous sentence.

Now, let’s start at the beginning:

  1. Traffic Campaigns

These campaigns have a very simple goal: Bring NEW visitors to your site. Or put otherwise, to increase brand awareness. They also serve to build up pixel data (and therefore, audiences you can market to).

The type of content you send traffic to via this campaign has to be epic. Actionable stuff that leaves the reader better than he or she was when the initial click happened, and hopefully eager to read more of what you have to offer.

At the same time, whenever you’re doing paid traffic to a blog post, you must be sure your lead-generation elements are ready. Think about content locking, sidebar widgets or a lightbox offering a free eBook, to name a few ways. If you can convert some of that direct traffic to leads on the first touch, that’s awesome.

Now, you run these campaigns to cold audiences, so how do you go about targeting them the right way?

Here are a few tips:

  • Spend a couple minutes dissecting the person who’d benefit the most by reading the blog post you’ll be promoting. List a bunch of interests and some demographic data (age, gender, location…)
  • Cross-section as many of those interests as you possibly can so you show the ad to people with a STRONG interest
  • Exclude demos that you know won’t/can’t buy your products (there’s no point obviously)

Here’s an example of the targeting I used to promote a blog post about Dom selling a “failed” site for 40k. We chose that post because it shows who Dom is, how we make money with websites and tells a good story. You’ll see it’s got plenty of lead-generation elements on the page. Feel free to subscribe!

I cross-sectioned three pools of interest. One is sites and site builders, the other one is affiliate marketing and the other one is marketing. You’ll see each “pool” has many interests inside of it, but they’re all super-similar. This helps bringing the final audience size up. For this sort of campaign, you want a pool of 500k to 1M people.

I also excluded an audience made of all website visits in the last 180 days, so we show the ad ONLY to new, fresh eyes.

The results were quite decent:

We did generate more than 10 leads though, as the event “lead” would not trigger with many of our leadgen elements. You see too that we tested more than one audience. Always be testing.

What about the copy and the creative?

For the image, I advise you always use the same image you’ve got as the post featured image to keep the ad scent (so the image the visitor clicks on the ad is the same one that he/she sees on the other side).

For the copy, here’s the one I used:

See, the copy screams “content, content, content” and, if you own a site you consider a failure, it also screams “value!” and that’s what you’d like your copy to look like.

2. Lead Generation Campaigns

These are meant to grow your email list and launch people down the email sequence that will ultimately transform them into buyers, so it’s very important that you get them right. We do leadgen campaigns to two different audiences.

  • Cold audiences: Like the ones I showed you on the previous section.
  • Warm audiences: People who already know who we are (but aren’t in our list). Let’s see how to set this up…

So, for you to be able to show your leadgen ads to people who’ve already seen your content effectively, you need to be segmenting your traffic. For that, you want to go and create custom audiences based on topics. Here’s what ours look like:

Since we talk about several different topics on our blog, I’ve created audiences based on the main topics we cover (hint, here’s how: which essentially means you list every URL on the topic and then put a few fall-back slug keywords so that new posts you publish in the future get added to that audience too).

Now, if I want to promote a lead magnet about some email outreach templates, I’ve already got an audience that knows who we are and it’s interested on SEO. It should get fairly good results from that, shouldn’t it? You bet it does:

Let’s have a look at one of those ads to see the type of copy and creative I use for leadgen ads (this isn’t for the email templates but for another lead magnet we launched earlier last year):

I know that green background is ugly, but I split-tested 7 different color variations and this was the winner. And I’d say the reason is that it simply stands out.

You see, something I’ve come to realize over the last months is: most people try too hard with their ads, with their copy and with their landing pages. Sometimes (most of the time really) simpler is better.

So, key elements here: The same PDF cover we feature on the landing page is featured in the image (ad scent). It’s clear that is a download by both the image and the [FREE DOWNLOAD] text. I’ve used copy from the landing page on the description (for congruency and ad scent) and the image lands on the ugly side. Ugly stuff gets noticed. That’s what we want.

Extra tip: Keep your ad copy short, for the love of God. People don’t want to read the 70,000 reasons they should download your stuff, they only need one quick line telling them what’s inside/the benefits.

You can also create retargeting ads for your lead magnets to maximize the amount of people who sign up. I’ll show you how to create retargeting audiences in the next section

3. Product Campaigns.

For me these could be split into two different types of campaign:

  • Product retargeting: Where we retarget people who have seen the product page but haven’t bought
  • Product promotion: Where we bring a product in front of a fitting (warm) audience for the first time

There’s a few caveats to be aware of when we create our retargeting audiences, so let’s proceed with an example and have a look at what our audiences look like.

So, at HPD we sell done-for-you affiliate sites like I’ve mentioned above right? Here’s how I set the retargeting audience:

Quite simple. Include people who have seen and exclude people who have bought (if you’ve seen the upsell page, it means you’ve bought). You need to think the logic because it isn’t always that easy though.

Here’s another example. This is a cart abandonment retargeting audience:

It’s not perfect, as someone could have seen the /checkout/ page while purchasing something else, but it’s alright.

What about product promos? We simply use our segmented audiences shown above.

An ad example you say? Sure:

So, this is a retargeting ad for our Aged Sites. You see the same elements as we’ve talked before. Short, to the point copy. Some emojis to get extra visibility and the same wording as we use on the sales page for consistency.

Oh, and this is the ad that got us 53k out of $200. Here are the reasons:

 

  • It’s our most expensive and exclusive product. People looking at Aged Sites have budget. I don’t need to tell you what people with budget do.
  • The audience is very small (less than 2,000 people) and we’ve been running the SAME ad for months. Facebook has so much data on that ad that the optimization is ridiculous.
  • Display frequency is very high. I see that ad literally every time I open Facebook.
  • Because all the previous, our cost per click is extremely low. And most of the times when we get a click, it’s from someone with intent to buy (if not a site, some of our other services)

And if you clicked on that link above that ad will hunt you forever 😀

  1. Promo Campaigns.

Whenever you’re doing a promo (for instance on Black Friday) it’s a good idea to double down on your paid ads. For these campaigns, you can do both retargeting and product promotion. Here’s the trick:

Remember to turn off your regular product ads when you run promos. So, if you have an ad retargeting some PBN links and then you run a promo, turn the original one off. When you have more than one campaign going for the same audience, results may be hurt. Plus, you don’t want to put two different messages in front of the same audience and confuse them.

A trick you can also use is to do PPE (pay per engagement) campaigns during this time.

For that, create a regular post on your FB page talking about the promo and boost it for shares and likes targeting people who already like your page. These cost virtually nothing and for $10 you may get a couple hundred likes and comments. What this will do is also increase the organic reach of that post to a lot more people who likes your page.

The result? You’re getting your message in front of people who already know who you are for virtually nothing. Because they’ll also be seeing the regular promo ad (on top of getting the boosted post) you make double sure your target audience SEES that you’re running a promo.

It’s more of a visibility thing. It works pretty well!

4. How to make sure you’re running the best possible ad

You want to be testing multiple ad variations at any given time. Different copy, different creatives, and when you do an ad to a cold audience, you may want to test different audiences at the same time.

We use AdEspresso, which allows us to input several variations of a given element of the ad (for instance, copy, but could also be the CTA button) and then it’ll create ad variations and split test them. You can do that manually too, it’s just a lot more time consuming.

Things I test: Plain copy vs copy with emojis. Professional creatives vs ugly creatives. Color vs b&w (black and white tends to perform very well because it’s uncommon to see a b&w photo in your feed. Expect this visibility trick to die as quick as general marketers get a hold of it though).

Things that aren’t worth testing (most of the time): CTA buttons. If you’re doing leadgen, “Download” is what you want, if you’re doing product “Learn More” is what you want. Same for traffic only. The rest don’t make much sense

5. Know your numbers

Before I mentioned that the more we can get people to buy from us, the more we can spend to get new customers. This essentially means: the higher your LTV (customer lifetime value) is, the higher your CAC (customer acquisition cost) can be without it hurting your business.

There’s a ton of different ways to estimate LTV, so I won’t cover that here. To put things simply, keep this rule of thumb in mind: If you know you’re going to make $300 off a customer over one year, you know you can spend up to $100 to acquire that customer and you’ll still have a healthy business (a 3:1 ratio is what you’re looking for here).

It’s obviously quite important to know this because if you don’t know how much you’re going to make from a customer, you don’t know if you’re paying too much (even though you may be paying “only” five bucks for a customer) or if you have room to scale an adset.

The best tip I can give you to make more money from FB ads is: Work out your post-purchase sequences (via email marketing mostly) so that the same customer comes again, and again, and again…

Also, keep a close eye on your ads. A lead generation campaign that’s getting you leads for $1 may from one week to another jump to $5 per lead and at that point you can’t keep the campaign running. That typically happens when the audience is depleted, or you’ve scaled the ad too far with an audience too small.

6. Final Thoughts.

FB ads are a great way to increase your reach, your list, and your sales. But you want to make sure you’re doing it right (and always keeping an eye on the results) so you’re not wasting money.

More importantly, you want to make sure you’ve got the systems on place to maximize returns from your ad spend. So, if you’re going to be working on one single thing, work on your backend… your upsell sequences, your indoctrination series, your post-purchase experience. Know your numbers.

Then you’ll be able to go and crush it with paid traffic.

Phew – that’s a lot to take in! We hope you learnt as much from this post as we did!

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A Beginner’s Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Legislation and How It Affects You

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One of the most important influences for business owners is governmental changes in legislation. And a piece of new legislation is about to be put into effect in the European Union, or EU.

This legislation is the General Data Protection Regulation, also known as GDPR, and it comes into effect on 25 May 2018. GDPR was originally proposed in the year 2014, and up until April 2016 Parliament had worked on creating a piece comprehensive data protection legislation.

Basically, if you do business in or with the EU, you need some clear, concise information about how this law works. Otherwise, if your business is in non-compliance, heavy fines await you.

The aim of this blog post is to break down, in simple terms, what exactly each of those requirements are and some tips for how to become compliant with them before the deadline.

As always, consult with your lawyer if you want specifics on how the new regulations are likely to affect you. Also note that this post does not constitute legal advice but simply serves as a guide to get your feet wet about all the new changes with GDPR.

Background

But first, a brief history. According to the dedicated website, GDPR is designed to defend EU citizens against any potential online threats. The online sphere has changed since 1995, when the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC was enacted. Data privacy as a whole still remains the focus. However, there are multiple changes to the regulations associated with how the EU protects citizens’ data.

In the past, there was a lot of legwork that went with data protection. Local Departments of Political Affairs, or DPOs, needed to approve any data processing done by data controllers. This consisted of sending new notifications or registrations to every DPO. If you own a multinational company, you know how much of a nightmare that was if you did business in the EU. Most Member States had varying requirements for notification.

However, GDPR is changing much of that. Many of the sweeping changes are listed below.

A Larger Range of Influence

If you run a business outside of the Union, get ready for some changes. The enforceable range of the GDPR is one of the larger changes to come from the law.

GDPR affects all companies that process the personal data of citizens in the EU, wherever that company resides. Before GDPR came into effect, jurisdiction of data protection was not clear and often was situational. Now, however, any personal data processing by controllers and processers residing in the Union is subject to GDPR. It doesn’t matter whether or not those individuals or companies are also in the Union. Operations that are outside of the Union have technically fewer restrictions, but not by much.

Any businesses offering services or goods (whether or not they require payment) in the EU is subject to the GDPR. Businesses that engage in behaviour monitoring in the Union are subject to the GDPR.

A representative in the EU is also required for businesses who process EU citizens’ data.

Stricter Consent

You know those really long Terms of Service that appear before using a digital product? Under GDPR, those are looking at some changes. Although longer Terms of Service are likely to always exist, what goes into the Terms of Service and when they’re seen is now more regulated by GDPR.

Citizens of the EU now must fully understand what they agree to. In addition, the reason why data processing is required now must be present in the consent given.

Additionally, users must now affirmatively give consent, rather than passively doing so. To give an example, when presented with a check box on a website, the user must tick the box themselves, affirming their consent. The box cannot be pre-checked for the user. That would be an example of passive consent.

The subject giving consent must be discernible from other matters in legal documents. The client’s consent must be provided in a form that is both intelligible and accessible.

An important exception to note is that there are six lawful reasons to hold personal data which are as good as a user’s consent. These are contracts, legitimate interests, vital interests, public tasks, legal obligations and member state derogations (which includes investigative journalism, negotiations, and other matters of that nature).

Finally, the subject has to be able to withdraw consent as easily as they gave it. A good piece of advice is to dedicate a process to this; for example, you could set up a web page on your web site that explains the process to the user, asks them if they are sure if they wish to have their data deleted, and then submits the request that the user’s data needs to be erased.

Harsher Penalties

If you are not compliant, the highest fine that can be levied against you under GDPR is 4% of your annual global turnover. Alternatively, depending which amount is higher, the government may fine you for up to €20 million.

Now, before you start hyperventilating, let’s be clear. In all likelihood, a lower fine should apply to you unless you break a very important rule. For example, they could fine you for not having valid consent as defined by GDPR before processing personal data.

Designed for Privacy

Though the EU has always held privacy as an essential right, the GDPR ensures that organisations and companies have safeguards in place to protect privacy. Under GDPR, controllers need to design data systems with data protection in mind. This is instead of controllers tacking it on as an afterthought.

Also, controllers can only hold and process the data that is necessary for processing. Identifying data, such as race, religion, political affiliation, and ethnicity, is to be collected as little as possible. Companies that process more data than is needed are opening themselves up to some pointed questions from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Data Protection Officers

The previous system of approval for data-processing activities was inefficient to say the least. Now, under GDPR, companies hire or appoint data protection officers, or DPOs, to keep records internally. Though they can be employees of the company, it is not recommended, because that could result in a conflict of interest, more of which is covered below.

DPO appointment is mandatory only for controllers and processors who regularly and systematically monitor data subjects “on a large scale“, as the GDPR says in Article 37 1b. DPO appointment is also mandatory for those who manage data related to criminal convictions or offences.

Here is a list of DPO responsibilities.

-The DPO must be an expert on data protection law.

-The local authorities in the province of your company needs to receive the officer’s contact information, as stated in the GDPR in Article 37 7.

The officer needs relevant resources from the data processors and controllers to do their job and keep up-to-date on updates in their field.

-The DPO must report to the highest manager of your company and no one else.

– DPOs cannot perform tasks that cause a conflict of interest. For example, if the DPO is a controller processing data, he or she may be tempted to steal or misuse the data being parsed. Alternatively, if the DPO is a subordinate of another manager, that manager could use the subordinate’s position as a DPO to manipulate the data.

Cloud-Based Applications

Therefore, cloud storage, cloud servers, and cloud applications are not out of GDPR’s consideration and enforcement. These cloud applications include services such as DropBox and WeTransfer. If you use the cloud, here are a few suggestions to become GDPR-compliant.

  1. Ensure that any cloud service that your company uses has airtight security. If an application does not meet the bar, either migrate to a similar application with better security or implement security measures for when a security breach happens.
  2. Create a data-processing agreement with the companies that you decide to work with. The agreement should ensure somewhere that both companies are GDPR-compliant, or that they both work to become so as soon as possible.
  3. Talk with the companies that you have created the agreements with and make certain that they only collect and process the bare minimum of personal data. They should also limit “revealing” data, which includes information such as race, religion, ethnicity, or political affiliation.
  4. Finally, look over the Terms of Service of the application and check to see if a user’s data is deleted upon the deletion of the application. You do not want the information that you have collected from users hanging around cyberspace. The faster that they delete the information that you have stored, the better it is for you and your company.
  5. Ensure any processors you use who have servers based in the US have valid certificates under the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement. (You can find this out by checking this website https://www.privacyshield.gov/list).

Becoming Compliant

The primary rules for which the government could fine you for non-compliance are below. Keep in mind that the rules here apply to controllers and processors slightly differently. Data processors act under the authority of your company’s instructions; data controllers, act on their own, in compliance with the GDPR (so more than likely, you!). These new rules are in accord with the new rights that data subjects have, including breach notification, right to access, right to be forgotten, and data portability.

Rule: Breach Notification

From time to time, you hear about giant data leaks in the news. These leaks are almost always followed by a rush from the affected to change their passwords and secure their accounts. Though leaks could always happen, your company’s potential response is changing thanks to GDPR.

Your company must notify customers of any breach within 72-hours after becoming aware of it. Your company must alert the Information Commissioner’s Office about the breach as well. Your company’s data processors must notify the affected customers. You must alert them without any extraneous delays on your company’s part after you become aware of the issue.

Rule: The Right to Access and the Right to Be Forgotten

These two rights are a big part of the expansion of data subject rights. It’s appropriate that you hear about them first.

  1. For the first right (the right to access) companies must be able to provide information about personal data, including if it is being processed, why, and where. Data controllers must also have an electronic, free copy of any personal data.
  2. The second right (the right to be forgotten) can also be called data erasure. This right allows data subjects to contact data controllers to do three things: erase his or her personal data, prevent any further spread of that data, or potentially prevent third parties from processing that data.

A withdrawal of consent from the subject or an outdated purpose for processing are both valid reasons for a subject to request erasure. However, there is an exception to this. Data controllers are required by this right to consider and compare the person’s rights to any interest from the public in the data’s availability before commencing erasure.

Rule: The Right of Data Portability

There is a brief, yet important, right outlined by GDPR that bears mentioning. It is the right for subjects to receive personal data related to them that they previously gave in a common, machine-readable format. They then possess the right to send the data to a different controller.

Putting It into Practice

Although there have been some tips included within these past few points, all of this still probably seems pretty complicated. A couple of possible real-world examples may help.

Say (like us) you run a digital marketing business. Your website also has a newsletter that helps customers stay on top of recent events. However, your newsletter isn’t quite off of the ground, so you want to boost it. You create a check box that pops up asking if users want to subscribe. If you do this, you cannot pre-check the boxes. Doing so would violate the GDPR. The users must check the boxes themselves.

The key here is that users must now choose to opt-in, rather than choosing to opt-out when relying on consent. Alternatively, you could potentially rely on one of the aforementioned alternatives to consent, which, as a reminder, are contracts, legitimate interests, vital interests, public tasks, legal obligations and member state derogations.

Speak with your lawyer about conducting a Legitimate Interest Assessment to find out if you can hold that personal data based on your legitimate interest in a given data subject.

For another example, say that you are the owner of a prominent prison in the EU. An ex-convict contacts one of your data controllers, requesting that his or her data be erased. What should you do? Well, at first you may think that you are obliged to submit to the request. However, the GDPR does allow data controllers to decide to honor a request like that only if it is good for the public. So, in this scenario, keeping the ex-convict’s data is probably in the public’s best interest. Therefore, you could safely deny the request.

Let It Settle

Oh, there is one last thing that wasn’t mentioned yet. Do not panic. If you start to panic, you are more likely to make mistakes. There are eighty-eight pages worth of material to go through and apply, and the EU’s courts should start to iron out any discrepancies that exist within the document.

Ultimately, education is key and if you continue to stay informed, current, and lawful regarding GDPR, you should emerge unscathed by all the new changes. One concrete way that you can prepare is by training all of your employees in accord with the newly revised Privacy Standard. If you can do that, you are well on your way to getting through this change.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”Still not quite sure about GDPR?” txt_align=”center” style=”flat” color=”pink”]Our law partner, Helix Law, have created a free legal advice line for any business owners concerned with GDPR.
Mention “SEOButler” when you call to make sure you speak with the right person.
CALL: +44 (0)1273 761 990 [/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Experts Tell Us What They Learnt in 2017

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We wanted this expert round-up to focus on new beginnings. With us having just transitioned to yet another New Year, there seems no better time to ask industry leaders how they want to apply their energy in the coming months, after last year’s learning-curve.

2017 has been quite the year for SEO – perhaps the year SEO went even more mainstream than ever – and we wanted to find out from big-players in the industry just what they’ve taken from it, and how they plan to make progress in the year ahead.

This article is an opportunity to learn from some of the most motivated guys in the field, how they plan to improve their business in the coming year.

Sit back and take notes – these tips might just be the key to business growth never seen before, in 2018.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_separator color=”white”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Ashley Faulkes” alignment=”left”]SEO, Content and WordPress Specialist. Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much Lindt chocolate – a habit he is trying to break).[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47228″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“This year was all about focus for me.  In 10 words or less: do more of the things that are working (and stop the ones that don’t). We all have limited time and a huge list of things to do – social media, blog posts, videos, client work, collaboration etc. Some of it really helps your business, some of it is just wasting your time. It is important to measure or track what is working for you and your business (it’s always different for everyone) and then to focus on those things. Sure, you should be blogging more, hanging out on Facebook, sharing on Twitter, etc etc. But in the end, some things are just not worth your time. As a business owner/entrepreneur it is your job to figure that out and FOCUS.

So, with 2018 just around the corner – what are those things worth focusing on for you?”

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Website: http://madlemmings.com/
Twitter: @madlemmingz[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Zac Johnson” alignment=”left”]Entrepreneur, Internet Marketer, Blogger- CEO and president at MoneyReign, Inc.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47229″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“While it’s been on my mind for quite a while now, one area that I could definitely use improvement on is the connection between my websites, blogs, mailing lists, and also the power of remarketing. For anyone that is still sitting on the sidelines and not using remarketing to target their audience after they leave your website, you’re missing out big time. This is especially true for anyone that wants to focus on the power of Facebook advertising. Remarketing is also quite powerful when you look at the options available in Google AdWords. No matter how you are currently marketing your business or targeting your audience, be sure to integrate remarketing into your 2018 marketing efforts.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: http://zacjohnson.com/
Twitter: @zacjohnson[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Chris Dreyer” alignment=”left”]I have 12+ years of SEO experience and I’m the founder and CEO of Rankings.io. I have worked with 100s of law firms as well as other businesses to help them increase leads and get more clients with search engine optimization.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47217″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“This year was a transformative year for our company as we took a hard look at our core services and decided to focus only on SEO. It might sound counter-productive for a business to offer fewer services (especially when there are people asking you to help with marketing tasks outside of SEO) but the change has accelerated our growth in two notable ways.

Focusing only on SEO allows us to streamline our messaging, our marketing, and our systems and processes to deliver a better customer experience. In essence we’ve been able to master the practice of performing SEO for our clients without the distraction of other service offerings that we may not have been as good at.

The second benefit to ‘niching down’ is that it allowed us to start building stronger relationships with other agencies near to our industry. That has opened up some fantastic opportunities for growth for us and our partners because we aren’t directly competing for the same customers.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: https://www.attorneyrankings.org
Twitter: @Rankingsio[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”David LeonHardt” alignment=”left”]Freelance writer and social media marketing specialist.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47230″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“My lesson this year, which I am already implementing is circumstantial. My daughters are getting older, but not yet driving. Their schedules, both extracurricular and social, have become very taxing on our schedules. This has made it increasingly stressful to keep up with all the requests that come my way.

The lesson is: streamline. I am now saying ‘No’ to a lot of smaller jobs that are taxing to keep track of. I am also not personally doing any large job, such as writing a book, but leaving those all to my team. I had been trying to write one or two per year myself for a while.

The long-term benefits of this streamlining are two-fold. When the girls leave home and/or start driving themselves in a few years, I will not longer be chasing the low-value, high-maintenance jobs. And I will be able to resume some of the high-value jobs that I enjoy.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: http://www.seo-writer.com/
Twitter: @amabaie[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Dominic Wells” alignment=”left”]Dom Wells is the owner and founder of Human Proof Designs, where he teaches affiliate marketing, and provides industry leading services to help other affiliate marketers get their websites off the ground and help them scale.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47227″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“In 2017 I learned a lot about the benefits of hiring and training talented people. In 10 months, I’ve learned more from my A-players than they’ve learned from me, or at least it feels that way sometimes. In 2018 I’ll be giving them a lot more responsibility, something Jonathan knows well about too. For example, I’ll be branching out a lot of my projects and instead of doing them myself, I’ll be putting key team members in charge instead and letting them run with it.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: http://humanproofdesigns.com
Twitter: @Human_Proof[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Tim Bourquin” alignment=”left”]Co-founder of afteroffers.com[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47226″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“As important as email marketing is, it’s still a game of trying to figure out how to best improve open rates and deliverability at all times. Gmail is now one of the largest email service providers on the internet today. With so much focus on Gmail, it’s important to make sure your brand and email provider can get through the spam filter and not get thrown into the social media or promotions bulk folders. The difference between landing in one of these subfolders can mean the difference between having a successful email campaign or a complete failure. This is one area that all online marketing experts and brands should be focusing their efforts on in 2018.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: https://www.afteroffers.com
Twitter: @TimBourquin[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Douglas Karr” alignment=”left”]Douglas Karr is a Marketing and Technology expert and public speaker, host of MarTech Interviews Podcast, founder of the MarTech Zone, author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies, and CEO of DK New Media. He’s a proud Navy Vet and single father of two incredible children. He works in downtown Indianapolis where he’s built a state-of-the-art podcast studio and has committed much of his time and resources to the Veteran and technology communities.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47225″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“2017 was a banner year for my agency, rebuilt from the ground up. What I learned wasn’t discovered overnight but was finally put to the test and skyrocketed my agency’s success. With years of working with incredible employees and clients, I’ve learned that closing quick will never produce the results you want – whether it’s hiring an employee or signing a contract with a client. Spending time to ensure your businesses and processes are compatible, expectations are reasonably set, and value is recognized for a well-negotiated engagement is essential to the success of your company. Being patient when you’re building relationships before the handshake will ensure your continued success after the handshake.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: https://martech.zone/
Twitter: @douglaskarr[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Jacob Varghese” alignment=”left”]Director of Marketing @Solufy | Blogsmith @ jacobv.com | Content chef; words, images, analytics, some code | Leadership | Business | Martech | AdTech | Part-Time Moonshot Hunter[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47224″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“Sales and Marketing alignment is a cherished goal for any goal due to the fact that it enables growth and scale. However, it can be a challenge when the business units of sales or marketing have inherited legacy pipelines and entrenched mindsets. As digital transformation becomes a business imperative, both business units have to undergo big changes while remaining aligned. This can be even more complicated than it sounds. Sales and marketing have to not only be agile to deal with rapidly changing market but also have to do this while reworking internal processes and leveraging new technologies.

Successful change management is dependent on both people and processes. Though I’ve always known this, 2017 has been another year I was reminded of the fact that good processes that include workflows, integration, technology implementations, and metrics are only one part of the equation. Leading and motivating people on both the sales and marketing side to work together on common goals is an often underestimated and challenging part of digital marketing leadership. Effective change management is a predication of business success. Probably even more so in the current digital age.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: http://jacobv.com
Twitter: @jacobvar[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”John Rampton” alignment=”left”]Founder and CEO of Calendar, a time management and productivity platform that enables businesses of all sizes to improve various aspects of their work and personal day, including meetings, appointments, and projects.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47223″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“2017 was an incredible growth year for my company and included integrating other businesses. This took considerable time to ensure it was done correctly. The rapid growth meant that I did not get to spend as much time on other formal processes for the team that I’ve been building out. While the growth was extremely positive and has helped take what I want to achieve to a new level, it’s also important to start focusing on more formal structures that will guide my team, which is primarily remote, while I continue to working on these strategic endeavors. That means taking more time in 2018 to implement structures related to communication, delegation, and specific timelines. It will help me get more information to my team so they can continue to amazing things behind the scenes to make the newly expanded company align with the vision I have for it.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: https://www.johnrampton.com/
Twitter: @johnrampton[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Sean Si” alignment=”left”]Sean Si is the CEO and Founder of SEO HackerQeryzSigil, and Workplays. A start-up, data analysis and urgency junkie who spends his time inspiring young entrepreneurs through talks and seminars. Check out his personal blog where he writes about starting up two companies and life in general.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47222″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“The best business lesson that I’ve learned in 2017 is that you should optimize everything. From lead generation to operations, each and every aspect of a business should be optimized accordingly. My team and I have slowly learned how to optimize our time, efforts, and workload. And slowly but surely, output generation has been improving. So, in 2018, My team and I will continue to optimize everything for a much better work dynamic, and more satisfied clients.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: http://www.seo-hacker.com
Twitter: @SEO_Hacker[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Steve Wiideman” alignment=”left”]SEO Expert & Senior Strategist, Wiideman Consulting Group[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47221″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“2017 was our third year as a corporation, and a train wreck of experiences. The most important lessons I learned included having a better pre-qualification process and building formalized training for new team members. Finding and hiring good digital PR talent was our most difficult challenge, followed by the challenge of scalability as a consultancy (there are only so many hours in the day to be on consultation calls). We also spent a lot of money on software, most of which was rarely, if ever, used.

From these lessons, we’ve built solutions we can sell in 2018 that require less or none of our time. We’ve started to improve our recruiting and training process, including a full wiki and intranet for employees and contractors. Our new rule with software procurement is that the software must replace something we are already actively using and cost less. We expect our costs to go down next year by 60% or more from 2017 and our efficiency to improve by 30% as it relates to recruitment and training. It’s going to be a great year!”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: https://www.wiideman.com
Twitter: @seosteve[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Ted Rubin” alignment=”left”]Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, MC/Host of [url=brand-innovators.com]Brand Innovators Summits, and Co-Founder of Prevailing Path. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to SocialMedia Marketing Magazine; one of the most interesting CMOs on Twitter according to SayMedia, #13 on Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, and number #2 on the Leadtail list of Top 25 People Most Mentioned by digital marketers. Return on Relationship, ROR, #RonR, is the basis of his philosophy… It’s All About Relationships! His book, Return on Relationship was released January 2013, How To Look People in the Eye Digitally was released January 2015, and and The Age of Influence… Selling to the Digitally Connected Customer was just released. Connect with Ted at TedRubin.com or @TedRubin.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47220″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“2017, just as in years past, made it even more clear to me the value of relationships. Many this past year have come to the realization of how the personal influence of consumers can be the cornerstone of their brand marketing. Welcome to the ‘Age of Influence,’ where anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference. Relationships are like muscle tissue… the more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become. #NoLetUp!”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: http://tedrubin.com/
Twitter: @TedRubin[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Tor Refsland” alignment=”left”]I help healthy businesses to get on first page of Google within 60 days. Multi award-winning blogger & SEO strategist.[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47219″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“The one sentence that I have truly learnt in 2017 that has impacted my life in more ways than I could ever imagined is to focus on one thing. I apply this in every aspect of my business.

What services do I provide?
Only one – I help companies get on first page of Google within 60 days.

What strategies do I use to get leads and clients?
Only one – by building genuine relationships with other people.

How many positioning messages do I have for my company?

Only one – I never compete on price. Healthy companies choose my services when they want the absolutely best SEO service.

You might be thinking, ‘Tor, that is cool and all that, but does focusing on one thing ACTUALLY work?’

Great question!

Judge for yourself.

I have in a 16 weeks been able to build the best SEO Agency in Norway.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Website: www.torrefsland.com
Twitter: @TorRefsland[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Srish Agrawal” alignment=”left”]Entrepreneur. `Branding Consultant. Internet Marketing Expert. Angel Investor. Speaker. Founder – @A1Future, @LogoDesignTeam, @InfoGraphicTeam, @AnitmatedV[/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”47218″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

“One of the biggest lessons that we learned in 2017, is that you need to continually be promoting your content after it goes live on your website or blog. At the same time, it’s also important to create much longer content than what you are normally used to. The top pages that are ranked in Google now have roughly 2000 to 4000 words of content per page. This is why it’s important to create better content on your site, and also focus more time on promoting that content as well. This has been a valuable lesson not just for ourselves, but for many other bloggers and content creators as well. There is no longer a need to create a lot of short articles, as it’s now important to simply focus on higher quality content with more text content in those articles.”

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Website: https://www.infographicdesignteam.com
Twitter: @srishagrawal[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Having read all of these wonderful responses from our lovely contributors, its clear to see that everyone is quite excited for another year of exponential growth and hard work.
I think that its quite clear that one of the main focuses for these experts, is focus itself. Getting rid of distractions and doubling down on ones strengths is often the deciding factor between failure and success.

Another clear point is that business success is all about adapting to your specific circumstances. It’s clear the most successful Entrepreneurs know how to apply their focus, even if that means narrowing the scale of their operations. In every bit of feedback we received, almost all industry leaders were focused on learning and adaptive growth.

A blue print for success can be found in these answers – a capacity to adapt, grow, and trust your instincts while trusting your team, are our industry experts top-tips for business success in 2018.

 

What are your plans for 2018? Comment below!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

SEOButler Survey: Agency Linkbuilding in 2017

Last week we asked industry experts what their preferred link building methods were, the result was a phenomenally diverse post with 16 experts sharing about all kinds of backlink methods. From using Private blog networks, to outreach and even building relationships with influencers in order to attract links in the long term.

You can read the post here: www.pbnbutler.com/number-one-link-building-method/

And as fascinating as that was, we just had to know. What is your take on it? So we conducted a survey in different parts of the industry, to get at least a small sample of opinions on link building.

The findings, have been added to a wonderful infographic for your reading pleasure.



The Butlers Thoughts:

It is undeniable that there are various backlinking strategies out there. It is also very difficult to gauge which one may be the most effective, taking into consideration that the desired outcome may be very different from agency to agency.

After reviewing these survey results, I believe it is undeniable that both outreach links as well as links from private blog networks are vastly successful link building methods.

 

I believe that there is somewhat of a change going through the industry, a change that is happening in the mindset of digital marketers who previously may have been relatively frivolous with the types of links that they would send to their own or their clients websites.

No matter if those people are using outreach or pbn links, the quality of those links are now required to be of a much higher level. And that shows in the way people are building links.

Feel free to share it as much as you like, as well as letting us know what you think in the comments below.

16 Experts Reveal Their Number One Link Building Method

Links links links..
The question isn’t if, the question is how.

How exactly does the marketing elite build their backlinks these days? How do they make certain their campaigns are seeing green arrows month-after-month, either for their own campaigns or their clients?

These are just some of the questions we have been asking ourselves in the lead-up to this roundup. So, we posed these same queries to some of the industries top influencers, and boy, did they deliver!

What is great about this roundup is the fact that we gathered amazing responses from one of the most diverse groups of business people we’ve ever polled, all who lead different types of campaigns, with different budgets, and vastly different outcomes.

We sincerely hope that you enjoy this roundup!

#1. James Dooley

James Dooley is digital Nomad synergising with the biggest online marketers in the world. Get his team to execute the work while he networks with like minded people. He travels the world to meet the biggest affiliates and online entrepreneurs as a way of life now.

Website: www.fatrank.com | Twitter: @james_dooley

“Link Acquisition to existing articles ranking for your keyword. This is the best form of backlinks, period!! Ideally contextual links and adding some freshness of content around the backlink. Linking out benefits the blog owner if it’s relevant, it drives you real traffic and there is no better signal than it ranking for your keyword in the SERPs”

#2. Daryl Rosser

Daryl is an SEO agency owner, local PPL guy, and founder of LionZeal.com, a 9000+ member Facebook group
Website: www.lionzeal.com | Twitter: @darylrosser

“Private Blog Networks.

Anyone that says they aren’t working today, doesn’t know what they’re doing. The ROI on PBNs is huge. You get a massive amount of control over the links, from homepage links, to 100% choice over the anchor text. And honestly, they just plain work – easily. Throw together a few sites, even hire someone to do it (not that expensive), then add links.

You control the page it links from, the content on the site, the anchor text of the links, the velocity you build links, everything.

Very hard to replicate that with any other link types. “

#3. Charles Floate

20 year old British SEO currently living in Cancun, specializing in Affiliate and Grey Hat SEO.

Website: www.charlesfloate.co.uk | Twitter: @Charles_SEO

“Now-a-days it’s got to be guest posting, but not the traditional style of outreaching and winning over a blogger with your awesome piece of content – Instead, it’s all about that cold, hard cash. I do a very similar approach to reaching out to bloggers but with the twist of offering them a financial incentive to either A) Write a blog post for us or B) Put up one of our writers had created. We’ve managed to scale well beyond 100 RDs/Month from this without having to create gigantic pieces of content or manage an insane network.”

#4. Yashar Ghaffarloo

Yashar is an SEO with a large presence in the finance industry. He used to run a network of 10,000 PBN sites and managed WallStreet.org and Stocks.org. You can find his personal blog at http://yashar.io
 Twitter: @twoupfour

“My favorite way to build links has to be my PBN. When I say PBN, what seems to be the standard in our industry is domains picked up at the drop with 20, maybe 30 referring domains in its link profile.

If you asked me a year ago, I would be in complete agreement with that statement. Hell, I ran (and even did an interview about) a network of 10,000 domains that I had that fell into that category: a network that I was building since I started building my expired domain SaaS DripWay 3 years ago. I have let that network expire and around the same time started building a network of powerhouse domains of which I have around 200 now. These are domains with thousands of referring domains, a real history and coverage, and some of the domains in my new network were household names at one point. Instead of 20-30 referring domains, these domains have an average of 1,500 ref. domains and go as high as 30,000 for some domains. Most of the domains I have are more powerful than the sites my competitors pay hundreds to “guest blog” on.

Enough about my life.. 🙂 Why a smaller network, and why the switch?

Managing a smaller network of more powerful domains is similar to running your own network of real sites. When you spend several thousand dollars on a domain, each domain holds a special place in your heart and I’m personally guilty of being able to recite most of my PBN domains by heart. The reason this is important is because you can spend time and justify doing so to consistently put out new content, pay for a VPS and dedicated IP for each site, and staying on top of new developments for each site. When you run a network of thousands of weak sites, a link on the domain is hardly worth the content cost you’re paying for the articles you’re posting. You can pack a lot of power with a few links.

I’d recommend to anybody not happy with their PBN results to shift to this strategy. Market conditions have changed a lot since I started building my more powerful network and domain prices have skyrocketed due to increased competition on DNAM sites like NameJet, but the sooner you get started, the better.

90 days and a few good PBN links is all it takes to achieve “explosive” organic growth. ;)”

#5. Heidi Cohen

An Entrepreneur Magazine Top 10 Online Marketing Influencer of 2016 Heidi Cohen is the Chief Content Officer of the award winning Actionable Marketing Guide, focused on social media, content, and mobile. As a consultant and a professor, Heidi helps executives and students understand and apply actionable tactics to execute their marketing strategy.

Website: www.heidicohen.com | Twitter: @heidicohen

“My top link building strategy is to create high quality content on a consistent basis. Quality content is the minimal viable offering needed to attract audience attention including social media, search and influencers. Over time this activity yields links.

Like a media entity, offer quality content on a regular basis (at a minimum weekly or every other week) to ensure you become part of your audience’s weekly content consumption. Ideally, you want to become part of their content inner circle.

Additionally, pay-it-forward by helping other content creators without expecting anything in response. Build your squad of content fans. To this end, contribute to, read, comment on, share, and link their content.

Further, get out from behind your computer and meet others IRL to build relationships person-to-person. Start with content creators and marketers at your level before focusing on the top influencers in your category.”

#6. Douglas Karr

Douglas was named one of the top sophisticated marketers across the globe by LinkedIn and works with marketing and technology clients to build their businesses online through digital marketing.

Website: www.martech.zone | Twitter: @douglaskarr

“The number one link building method we use is earning the link. By producing relevant, highly engaging infographics, we get far more attention from our industry and far more links from our peers than spamming everyone begging for them to let us guest post. “

#7. John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, SEO for Growth – The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs, is changing the way the world thinks about SEO.​

Website: www.ducttapemarketing.com | Twitter: @ducttape

“Link building is networking! I get links by meeting real people and promoting their content as much as asking for links. Guest posting is still the best link building, but you do it by networking, not spamming. 

#8. Nina Radetich

Nina Radetich is an Emmy-winning former news anchor who made the transition to digital marketing in 2012. She is a certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and owns Radetich Marketing & Media.  They company’s mission is to solve the mystery of marketing for small businesses.

Website: www.ninaradetich.com | Twitter: @NinaRVegas

“My number one link building method is based in good old fashioned public relations. When I’m looking for opportunities on behalf of my clients, I start by identifying local strategic partners with a strong web presence whose customers could benefit from what my client offers. I reach out to those strategic partners to see if they’d like to set up a reciprocal guest blogging schedule. They send us a post relevant to our audience, and we send them a post relevant to theirs. The result is a strong, non-spammy backlink that doubles as an authority builder.

 

#9. Ted Rubin

Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Acting CMO of Brand Innovators, and Co-Founder of Prevailing Path. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to SocialMedia Marketing Magazine; one of the most interesting CMOs on Twitter according to SayMedia, #13 on Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, and number #2 on the Leadtail list of Top 25 People Most Mentioned by digital marketers. Return on Relationship, ROR, #RonR, is the basis of his philosophy… It’s All About Relationships! His book, Return on Relationship was released January 2013, How To Look People in the Eye Digitally was released January 2015, and The Age of Influence… Selling to the Digitally Connected Customer is due April 2017. Connect with Ted at TedRubin.com or @TedRubin.

“I create valuable content, with a specific purpose, and syndicate it via TedRubin.com and various other blogs… then share it each time it is posted via all my applicable social channels including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. Others link to my site, when and if relevant… not due to a “strategy.”

#10. David Scott

David Meerman Scott is Marketing & Sales Strategist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of 10 books including The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

Website: www.davidmeermanscott.com | Twitter: @dmscott

Newsjacking — the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate tons of media coverage, get sales leads, and grow business — is my favorite link building strategy!”

#11. Aaron Lee

Aaron is the founder and writer at Ask Aaron Lee.

Twitter: @AskAaronLee

“There’s one method that really works for me. Link partnership. I’ve partnered up with blogs in the same industry as me and we’ll link each other’s post whenever it’s relevant. Call it link biased if you must since instead of linking to a resource we found through Google, we’re linking it to someone we know. It’s a win-win. Key is relevance and quality post.”

#12. Sam Hurley

Sam Hurley is a #1 ranked digital marketing influencer & founder of OPTIM-EYEZ.

Twitter: @Sam___Hurley

“My #1 link building method? RELATIONSHIPS.

A respectable social media presence + strong relationships = Links (often without needing to ask for them).
Combine the power of personal branding with relationship-building to maximise your chances of authoritative features on top publications…which ends up becoming a domino effect.
Check out a snapshot of the links to my single-page website (OPTIM-EYEZ), which has NEVER been fully live!


Links include credible sites like Forbes, Muck Rack, Linkdex, IBM, Alexa, The Next Web and Inc (so far!)I explain more in my 3 actionable link building boosters.”

#13. Ashley Faulkes

Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much Lindt chocolate – a habit he is trying to break).
Website: www.madlemmings.com | Twitter: @madlemmingz
“At the moment, my go to link building technique is guest posting. You can build targeted links, reliably on top level blogs without having to spend hours creating specific content or begging people for links. Other techniques can work, but the market is getting saturated with outreach and the effort required is often too high.

#14. Keri Jaehnig

Keri is the Founder and CMO of Idea Girl Media, a Social Media Marketing Agency that works with international business brands and public figures, providing customized marketing campaigns and social media training. Now the Social Business Faculty Chair at Simplilearn, She is humbled to have received a Small Business Influencer Honorable Mention Award, and a commendation for Outstanding Attainment in Social Media from the Senate of the State of Ohio. Her insight has been featured at Social Media Today, SteamFeed, Search Engine People, AOL Small Business, as well as Forbes and Business Insider. Non-fat lattes, travel & quick wit make me smile, and she is always enthused to meet new people!

Website: www.ideagirlmedia.com
| Twitter: @kerijaehnig

“My top, and most favorite, method of link building is guest posting. To share my insight with a different audience as well as share helpful insight with a complimenting organization brings benefits to them, and also to me. A win/win. This process, if done correctly, offers a share of audience as well. They will share the content, I will share the content, and there is opportunity for those audiences to share.

With the right match, this can serve a long-term interest, which is really optimal. As a guest author, I can also link to this post when writing for my own blog, or others’ blogs, so there is an opportunity to be a good social citizen and helpful professional.

There may be more scientific impactful methods, but the opportunity to build relationships in guest posting, for me, brings multiple wins that I can share. “

#15. Lilach Bullock

Forbes listed Lilach as one of the Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers, Career Experts named me the Number 1 Digital Marketing Influencer and she won the title of Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle.

“One of the main link building techniques I use is guest blogging – not only do I enjoy writing content, but I’m also making valuable connections with other influencers in my industry and gaining high-quality links from top websites.

#16. Mansi Dhorda

Mansi Dhorda is PR Account Manager at PRmention, a Digital PR agency. She is well-versed in all things PR and Branding. Feel free to hit her up anytime on her Twitter handle: @mansidhorda.
“Link-building via outreach is the number one method I prefer for SEO. Outreaching can be done for various factors like guest posting, broken links or brand mentions. Though it is time-consuming and tedious, it does work. Each of these techniques involves reaching out to people in order to earn link(s) to your website or include a mention in the content created by you or them on their websites, ultimately earning a relevant and quality back-link to your website.
And there you have it folks! Our roundup of some of the industries experts on link building.
We would love to know if you agree with what they had to say, if you have questions for them or any commentary at all, leave a comment below!  

7 Experts Reveal How They Scaled Their Digital Marketing Agencies

Are you the owner of a digital marketing agency and have been struggling to scale? Have you ever wanted to know how other owners of digital marketing agencies have grown their firms to where they are today? We’ve all been there, so why not talk about it?


We work day and night to scale our brand and compete with other agencies. With any luck, our business grows, as does the amount of responsibilities we have to manage.
Of course, adding more clients to the work flow is ideal, but when you consider the micromanaging that naturally comes with scaling, it is understandable why so many of us fall short of our targets. In fact, some of us don’t even get out of the gate.

So, to give us all better insight for 2017 and to better understand the struggle we all inevitably face, we decided to pose the following question to some big names:

“What was the hardest part of scaling your digital marketing agency?”

See what they had to say below!

#1. Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler is co-founder and creative director of Velocity Partners, the London-based B2B content marketing agency. Doug has written a lot about content marketing including the B2B Content Strategy Checklist, Insane Honesty in Content Marketing and Crap: Why the Biggest Threat to Content Marketing is Content Marketing.    

Website: www.velocitypartners.com | Twitter: @dougkessler

“Growth is change and change is f**king hard.

For us, we’re always having to learn which parts of our business – which systems, processes, methodologies – are important to fight for and which are better to let go of.

I hope that our culture hasn’t changed too much but culture is a fragile thing. It does have to adapt.

The important thing is that the values that drive that culture don’t change: integrity; mutual respect; no a**holes; no blame; respect for the audience; serving the client by challenging them; and never stopping the learning… if we betray these values, we become hacks.”

#2. Sean Si

Sean Si is the CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker and Qeryz. A start-up, data analysis and urgency junkie who spends his time inspiring young entrepreneurs through talks and seminars. Check out his personal blog where he writes about starting up two companies and life in general.
Twitter: @SEO_Hacker

“Oh my, where to begin?

Scaling up any kind of company is difficult and digital marketing agencies are none the easier. Digital marketing agencies deal with people and processes and clients and art. Those things have numerous factors in between. Fluctuating factors that are extremely hard to control and temper.

I wrote an answer exactly for this question in my book “CEO at 22” but that’s going to be too long for a round up post like this. So I’ll summarise it into one: People.

Scaling up a digital marketing agency is difficult because you just cannot be 100% sure about the kinds of people you get, what they would do in certain situations, how they would respond in certain incidents, etc. Being able to predict those things deal with the supernatural. It’s just impossible.

How I was able to scale up SEO Hacker was in making sure that I become better with handling and leading people. Engaging them at work. Putting systems in place that don’t choke them. These things have helped my team flourish and bloom. And somewhere in between, that made us the company that we are today.”

#3. Lamar Hull

Lamar Hull  is the Founder of Organic Clicks, a Digital Marketing Agency and a Charlotte SEO Expert & Consultant. He spends time blogging on Inspirational Basketball and driving growth for small to medium sized businesses.

Twitter: @lamarhull20

“I’m a small business owner trying to create a brand that adds significant value in the local online marketing industry. The hardest part of scaling my digital marketing agency is creating processes that makes systems function without me heavily involved in the day-to-day technical work of the digital marketing strategy. Michael Gerber, the author of E-Myth Revisited: Why Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, talks about who you become when scaling a small business. The small business owner is a technician, manager and entrepreneur all-in-one. The technician does all the day-to-day technical work (the job), the manager spends time managing the business (staff), and the entrepreneur dreams and focuses on the future (growth, new clients, etc.). Most small business owners start out 70% technician, 20% manager, and 10% entrepreneur. This is so true for a lot of small digital marketing agencies, so scaling in terms of maximizing capacity and growth in a cost effective way is important. At the same time, the business owner has to determine how he or she can be removed from the day-to-day technical work so that he or she can grow the business. This is very challenging at first to figure out. Not all cases are like this, but definitely a high percentage of small businesses experience this at first. So having processes for link building, on-page optimisation, social media marketing (i.e. FB Ads), reporting, and etc. is so important, so when you hire someone to cut cost at the beginning who potentially doesn’t have any experience, your systems and guides can still help them make an immediate impact for your clients because you have a winning formula. This is important so that training can be developed, the right people can be put in place, and the business can continue to grow and not plateau! 

 

#4. Douglas Karr

Douglas is the CEO of DK New Media and Founder of the Marketing Technology Blog. He is also a recognized expert on digital marketing, speaking and consulting enterprise clients all over the globe on their omnichannel marketing efforts. 
Website: www.marketingtechblog.com| Twitter: @douglaskarr

“By far, the hardest part has been finding the right clients. Notice I didn’t say great clients… I said right clients. The right clients respect our experience, accept our culture, recognise our value, and don’t hesitate to pay well for the value we provide. Passing over prospects that aren’t a match is difficult when you’re trying to grow – but necessary to provide you the resources and time to find the “right” clients.

#5. Jerry Low

Jerry Low is the CEO of Web Hosting Secret Revealed.
Website: www.webhostingsecretrevealed.net| Twitter: @WebHostingJerry

“Because the entry barrier is so low, finding good talents you can trust is the hardest part of scaling up. Turnover rate is extremely high compare to traditional offline business – people often come and go (to start their own online businesses) within the first six months. 

#6. Chris Raulf

Chris is the founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique digital marketing agency located in beautiful Denver and Boulder, Colorado. Recently recognized as a “Top 30 SEO Agency”, Chris and his team assist local, national and international customers with all of their search engine optimization, social media and content marketing needs. Chris is an international keynote speaker and his self-paced, non-technical online SEO training allows anyone to implement a powerful online marketing strategy. His international background makes him one of the few professionals in the industry who truly live and breath multilingual search engine optimization on a daily basis. Learn more about Chris and Boulder SEO Marketing by connecting with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Website: www.boulderseomarketing.com/| Twitter: @swisschris

“When I first started my SEO agency, I had to take on every client that I could get. In some occasions, my stomach told me to stay away from certain clients, yet I still ended up taking them on and ended up regretting it later. Here’s my tip to other new agency owners: If your financial situations permits, try to be selective on who you take on as clients. You need to have a good feeling about it and it should sort of feel like a partnership instead of an agency-customer relationship. Most of our current customers have now been with us for 5+ years and the results that we’re seeing are quite amazing. 

#7. Sam Hurley

Sam Hurley is a lateral-thinking, #1 ranked digital marketer. Catch his digital marketing venture and helpful material over on Twitter and LinkedIn

Website: www.optim-eyez.co.uk|

“My story is a little different! I built my audience and business on social media, without a website.

For that reason, it’s been difficult to scale because the clients and opportunities all came at once…which has given me relatively little time to focus on operations and one of the most important components of online presence…a website.

Right now, it’s a juggling act between social activity, business growth / direction and client work.

All the above said, the most difficult part of scaling has been finding the time. At one point, it was taking me 8+ hours every day (including weekends) just to get back to everybody on Social Media. I’ve had to drastically re-shape my daily schedule each quarter to adapt accordingly with the ever-increasing demands and ever-decreasing amount of hours available.

If there’s one takeaway here, it’s: Be flexible and adaptable in order to grow. Sometimes, growth can be hiding under a stone you never before thought to unturn…and you may just need to shut the door on other activites to discover it. “

What was your hardest part of scaling the digital agency? Share it in the comments below. As always, stay tuned for our follow-up post and contribution coming soon!