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Succeed in an automated world: Let AI do your dirty work

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As I write this in winter, the weather is cold and miserable. Trees are without leaves, and grass isn’t growing like it was six months ago. There can’t be a summer without a winter. The cycle of life involves death, and often in nature, without death new life can’t come forth.

Why am I telling you this? The same is true of digital agencies. If an agency refuses to adapt old processes that are no longer necessary, it will eventually die. It will become the dodo of the digital agency world.

Within the last 12 months alone, there have been huge shifts in technology changing how tasks are tackled in paid search. More often that not, this is good I’m excited by how automation can do our ‘dirty work’ – the tasks we humans no longer need to do.

Every end has a beginning

2020 has the potential to be the beginning of the end for many things within PPC, but this needn’t be feared. Old habits do sometimes die hard, but it’s better for old habits to die hard, than for the source of the habit to die itself.

Rule number one: don’t settle.

Think about BlackBerry; their end started when Apple launched the iPhone, and companies realised you didn’t need a physical keypad on a phone. Touchscreen phones, and Blackberry’s lack of innovation on this front, was the beginning of their decline.

A similar issue is arising in PPC, one that’s both great and terrifying for agencies.

You might have built who you are on fairly solid foundations, and success may even have come quickly and with ease, but resting on laurels could be the worst thing you ever do where emerging technologies are concerned.

Future-proof your workflow

First things first, a confident prediction: paid search agencies who don’t get on-board with Smart Bidding won’t be around in five years.

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You’re probably often looking for the most efficient ways of completing tasks, and getting the best results. This does not, I should stress, involve cutting corners. What it does involve is looking for ways of making inefficient practices efficient.

There are many ways you can achieve efficiency within Google Ads, as well as using external software. Firstly, here are the Google Ads wins you should be aware of:

Automating rule changes for ads/campaigns

This is one of the oldest and simplest tricks in the Google Ads book – using rules to enable or pause ads for sales, or to ensure a particular campaign goes live at an exact hour.

Using these rules means all you have to do is set them up and let Google do the rest. If that means you save a good chunk of time enabling and pausing hundreds of sale ads, why wouldn’t you do it?

Optimising Smart Bidding

Your daily task management may have changed so you now spend only half the time you previously did changing bids and tweaking adjustments across location, schedule, device and audience datasets. And so it should if you’re using Google’s Smart Bidding.

However, smart bidding still needs optimising. The captain of an aeroplane doesn’t just put the plane on auto-pilot and have a nap; they ensure it reaches its destination safely and adjusts the flight path accordingly, should there be changes needed.

The exact same has to be done with Smart Bidding. Two of the most common pitfalls are people setting up Smart Bidding and expecting it to work instantaneously, and users not optimising Smart Bidding.

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The latter is especially problematic as it means you’re just leaving Google to run the Smart Bidding for you. The best way to achieve the performance you need is to manipulate and optimise individual ad group targets.

If, for example, you have a campaign using Target ROAS Smart Bidding working towards 1,000%, there will likely be ad groups within there that are both surpassing target and not hitting it. Optimising the targets of these individual ad groups is essential to rounding out the campaign’s performance.

Utilising external tech

You’re good at what you do. That’s great. But you probably have limited brain capacity. Eventually, we all hit a level where we consistently flatline our ability to do tasks that don’t require too much specialisation.

If this is the case, why not consider using external software to help efficiency? This could be something like Optmyzr, which can severely aid productivity. Where both external software and Smart Bidding are concerned, the chance to alleviate potential human error is one that shouldn’t be sniffed at and offers huge peace of mind.

Reinvesting time saved Into creative endeavours

One of the best things you can do with any time saved from utilising a smarter way of working, is using it to do the tasks you maybe didn’t get round to as often as you wanted, or even visiting new areas.

This could come in many forms: setting up dynamic remarketing for the first time, creating more innovative audiences, checking and updating your ad extensions. The time saved thanks to AI-completed tasks can mean an account gets more attention and better optimisation and results than ever before. This is a huge win-win.

A challenge to agencies

Any agency refusing to use smart bidding will lose clients clicks, revenue and return by not being able to compete with those utilising it. They’ll do too much manual work in the account, ultimately not spending their time wisely and achieving the same results, or worse, than what smart bidding could – all without being as productive as they could be.

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Don’t try and reinvent the wheel when it comes to practices and patterns of work, but be mindful that previous success could in fact be your downfall if you fail to keep up with where your industry is going. This applies to a wider field than just PPC.

Ensuring you still offer value is the most important thing you can do as an agency – or freelancer – especially with more and more of the tasks you made your name for previously now being completed by AI. Building and maintaining client relationships, being at the forefront of new types of ads and campaigns, and ensuring you know how to get the best out of the AI you’re using in accounts will go some way to making sure you’re still valuable, in whatever capacity you operate.

Finally, embrace new methodology. Try new things. Experiment. If you work in Paid Search, use Smart Bidding to help shape a more efficient working day. Whatever you do, don’t relent and think that the way you’ve always done things will be the way things will always be done.

Agencies can still have a future, provided they remain client-focused and latch on to the industry’s creative shift.

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MARKETING

How Planning To Fail Can Succeed [Rose-Colored Glasses]

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How Planning To Fail Can Succeed [Rose-Colored Glasses]


An interesting question came up recently in a marketing group I follow on social media: “What content should we create?”

The first few comments on the post were what you might suspect. Some people encouraged the poster to interview people who fit their personas to find out what they struggle with. Others talked about getting over writer’s block. A few suggested they list every question their potential customers might have and write posts about that.

The original poster responded by acknowledging the value of these responses but clarified the question. They weren’t asking what they should write that would resonate with their target audiences. They were looking for content ideas that would drive the most reactions. Full stop.

They wanted to create controversy, provocation, and a level of virality. The theory: Do something that makes a lot of noise and inspires a boatload of people to react, then the right people will pay attention to your other content that focuses on the things you do.

Predictably, the tone of the discussion shifted into a fiery debate of the flawed notion (if not ethics) of that theory. Let’s save that discussion for a different day.

But it got me thinking. Is there a case where it makes sense to deliberately put out content you don’t like, agree with, or approve of – with the explicit goal of failing?

My answer is yes.

Is there a case where you should publish #content with the explicit goal of failing? Yes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Why intentionally failing can be a good thing

We all know failing can be a productive result. There are entire books written on how people tend to learn more from failures than successes.

But this concept almost always gets covered in the context of failing when trying to succeed. In other words, you do your level best to accomplish something – and something in that approach failed. The lesson is that you should have done something differently.

I’m interested in what happens when you deliberately try to fail or at least try something the world deems incorrect. You either confirm what you expected or get surprised by the results.

Of course, some activities lend themselves better to this approach than others. For example, I wouldn’t try to fail while learning to fly an airplane. However, in marketing – and especially content – this approach gives you an invaluable opportunity to expand your toolkit.

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According to the book Brilliant Mistakes by Paul Schoemaker, advertising icon David Ogilvy made deliberate mistakes frequently. He would run ads that he and the client team had rejected just to test their collective thinking. Most would fail. But a few, including the iconic eye patch Hathaway shirt ad – would become legendary campaigns.

Think about making time, money, or content available to test your core instincts. I don’t mean running a simple A/B test to evaluate two good efforts. That only determines which one resonates better.

I’m suggesting that you try a content piece that poses an idea you flat-out rejected. Or try investing in a channel that from every angle seems to be wrong. For example, later this month, I’m going to try TikTok. I’m 99.9% sure I will fail spectacularly.

What if you invest in a channel that from every angle seems wrong? Soon, @Robert_Rose will try on #TikTok via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

But what if I’m wrong?

There’s a famous quote attributed to IBM founder Thomas J. Watson: If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” It seems to me there’s only one mathematical way to double your failure rate – and that’s if you occasionally deliberately try to fail.

How to fail on purpose

A friend and I had a funny saying we used to tell each other whenever we failed a test at school. We’d say, “I’d rather get a zero than a 59.”

Why? Because getting 59 means we tried and still failed.

Of course, we weren’t saying no one should ever try. We were being silly teenagers.

In content marketing, we know the value of tests and experimentation. However, most testing is done to confirm an initial assumption. In fact, a core piece of an A/B test is to form a hypothesis first. You have a suspected or proven winner, and you test an alternative version to see if it performs better.

Making a deliberate mistake is a bit different. In these are experiments, you assume you’re going to fail.

What could be the value of doing that?

Well, there can be two valuable outcomes. One is that you confirm your assumption of failure and learn something. The other is that you succeed (in other words, you fail at failing) and that long-shot effort might pay off handsomely. Even if it doesn’t, you’ve learned something.

If you make a deliberate mistake and succeed, you not only learn something, but the takeaway could pay off handsomely, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

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There are different flavors of deliberate mistakes. One of my favorites was made by a vice president of marketing at a big B2B company. Over the years, they had accumulated tens of thousands of subscribers to their email newsletter. Every week they would dutifully email almost 90,000 newsletters, and every week, the engagement rates were extremely low.

So, the vice president did something interesting. He sent a large segment of the subscribed but disengaged audience an email with the subject line: Sorry to See You Go.

In the body of the email, the copy told the recipient the company was sorry they’d unsubscribed from the newsletter. But, the text continued, if they thought this unsubscribe might be in error, they could respond by clicking through to a survey.

This move was clearly a deliberate mistake. Certainly most, if not all, of these subscribers wouldn’t engage with the email. But their marketing team decided it was worth making the mistake and risk losing 30,000-plus subscribers to see if they had any shot with this unengaged audience.

The result? About 60% never responded or clicked and got officially unsubscribed from the newsletter. But 40% clicked and responded, “No, this was a mistake.” They hadn’t unsubscribed. For a while, this email had the highest click-through rate.

One other surprising result? Among those who responded, about 10% indicated they were interested in subscribing to a different topic addressed by the company.

The vice president of marketing told me, “We learned a lot from that ‘mistake.’”

There are a few key moments when deliberate mistakes might make sense for your content marketing:

1. There’s less to lose

Obviously, risk plays a role in how big a mistake you should deliberately make. Skydiving, for example, isn’t the best activity where an intentional mistake is likely to pay off. You don’t want to publish a content piece completely off-brand, run afoul of legal or compliance issues, or really offend your audience. But like the vice president of marketing at that B2B company. What could they lose other than a third of the email database that wasn’t engaging anyway?

2. Rigid, institutional rules

When you intentionally make a mistake, it will more likely go your way when the mistake goes against an institutional rule or rigid, outdated convention. A great example of this is the marketing for the movie Deadpool. It was, by most counts, a campaign filled with deliberate mistakes. Perhaps the biggest was its outdoor billboard campaign with a pictogram of a skull, a poop emoji, and the letter “L” with the premiere date. Adweek called the campaign “so stupid, it’s genius.”

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Billboard containing a skull, poop emoji, and letter L.

How about that rule that says never publish blog posts on the weekend? Everybody says it doesn’t work, and publishing on those days is a mistake. Why not make that “mistake” and see what happens?

3. You are the newbie

An optimal time to make a deliberate mistake is when you’re new to a particular problem or challenge. It’s when your audience, customers, or colleagues are most likely to forgive your mistake – and then, of course, you can refer to the first moment above.

One of my good friends has been the CMO of several startup companies. He told me that when he joins a new company, he goes on a “listening tour” to hear from the practitioners. He often introduces a marketing newbie mistake into the conversation to see if a practitioner will push back, correct it, or just go with the flow. Certainly, he risks coming across as inexperienced. But, he says, what’s more important is that they start on equal footing, and he can start a dialogue with his new colleague.

Failing to fail to fail

Of course, not every deliberate mistake will end up with a successful outcome. Sometimes, after all, a mistake is a mistake – and deliberately making it will get you exactly what you asked for.

There is only one thing that’s assured: If you only fail when we’re trying not to, you may just miss out on proof you should trust your initial instincts.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just three minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Rose-Colored Glasses is a new weekly column in which Robert Rose shares his view of content marketing challenges. Every Friday, he offers reasoning, rationale, and rhetoric to help you advance the practice of content marketing in your organization.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week.

 
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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Top 11 Payment Processing Companies in 2022

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Top 11 Payment Processing Companies in 2022


Which payment processing companies should you choose for your business? Many business leaders struggle with this question. After all, payment gateway and digital payment can be fierce, especially if you are not a regular user.

With dozens of companies offering credit card processing and online payment solutions to choose from, it will be difficult for merchants to make decisions.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of the industry’s leading payment companies to help you decide.


Table of Content


List of 11 payment processing companies with their pros & cons

  • Helcim
  • GETTRX
  • Paypal
  • Stripe
  • Adyen
  • Payline
  • 2checkout
  • Authorize.net
  • Paymentcloud
  • Clover
  • Alipay

How to pick a payment gateway

FAQs

Conclusion

Helcim is one of the top competitors in the payments gateway market. It enables merchants and sellers to grow their businesses with hassle-free payment processing solutions.

Pros

  • Hassle-free to use
  • No monthly fee
  • Quick and convenient for customers

Cons

  • Complex user interface
  • Not suitable for high-risk industries

GETTRX is a best-in-class gateway. So whether you have an eCommerce platform or online shop with Edgepay, you can choose the right integration for your business.

Pros

  • Customized POS options
  • Secure online payments
  • Non-profit solutions

Cons

NA

PayPal allows access to millions of PayPal sellers and merchants for payment processing. It is a market player of some of the world’s most prominent digital merchants, including Airbnb and Uber.

Pros

  • Fast, hassle-free setup
  • Offers mobile wallet options in-store
  • No monthly fees or contracts

Cons

  • Not suited for a high volume of transactions
  • It doesn’t have 24/7 phone support

Stripe has been one of the renowned payment gateways in the market for a decade. Transparent fee structure, smooth integration with all major e-commerce systems, and easy-to-use interface have been essential factors in helping Stripe become one of the top options for customers.

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Stripe enables you to manage one-off payments, invoice on a recurring basis, or even handle in-person payments.

Stripe also ensures payment processing security and securely saves all credit card numbers and transaction details (using good AES-256 encryption keys).

Pros

  • Hundreds of integrations with business software
  • Custom pricing available
  • Accepts all mobile wallet payments

Cons

  • High-risk businesses must wait seven days for payment
  • Phone support upon request
  • Fraudulent activity may result in a hold on your funds

Adyen enables you to accept every payment made to your company from a single platform and provides you tools to manage risk and track results.

Adyen accepts more than 150 global currencies and 250 payment methods. Further, it lets you analyze transaction data to benefit from “data-rich insights.”

Pros

  • Ensure smooth streamline process
  • Ensure managing risk

Cons

  • No support for PayPal payments
  • Mixed reviews on functionality

Payline has been in the payment gateway business for a decade. It offers transparent fees and a fruitful interchange-plus pricing model.

It is a custom payment gateway that allows you to set things up like recurring payments or other non-standard payment schemes. Also, it provides mobile solutions designed to accept payments via mobile apps.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • The transparent interchange-plus pricing model

Cons

2checkout offers services in over 180 countries. It provides a comprehensive solution to ensure the payment process seamlessly. Also, it will let you access an advanced platform where you can manage your business’ finances and e-commerce efforts.

Pros

  • Good customer support
  • Robust API

Cons

  • Slow process
  • Need improvement in security protection

Authorize.Net is a recognizable and oldest payment gateway operating on the web. It has made the payment process hassle-free for businesses of any kind to accept payments on the web and in person.

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As per your business needs, you can use Authorize.Net to issue invoices, set up recurring payments, and simplify the checkout process.

Pros

  • Ensure smooth streamline process
  • Ensure managing risk

Cons

  • No support for PayPal payments
  • Mixed reviews on functionality

PaymentCloud supports various customer bases and offers solutions for eCommerce stores and other online business needs. Since high-risk companies face many barriers, they ensure the process seamlessly mitigates security risk.

Pros

  • Fast application approval
  • Easy to set up
  • Next day funding
  • Dedicated account manager

Cons

  • No pricing information on the website
  • Pricing varies by risk
  • May face early termination fees

Clover offers an extensive range of POS systems that work with its credit card processing service. It processes payments using its own POS systems. In addition, it provides four credit card processing plans: Register, Register Lite, Table-Service Restaurant, and Counter-Service Restaurant.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Smooth processing

Cons

  • Complex dashboard
  • Customer service needs improvement

Alipay is a popular payment platform launched by Alibaba and has grown as an Eastern payments player. It can process payments through online, mobile, and in-store channels. The company claims over 1 billion users.

Pros

  • Real-time monitoring
  • Risk management

Cons

  • Stores detailed transaction history of users
  • Average reviews on functionality

How to Pick a Payment Gateway

Let’s find out what to look for in a payment gateway;

  • Does the gateway support your eCommerce platform?
  • Do you need more than one payment gateway?
  • What features do you need, specifically?
  • Does the payment gateway support the payment methods your customer base uses?
  • What fees are acceptable?
  • Does the provider have a good reputation?
  • Are you in a high-risk business?
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Does a Payment Gateway Work?

Payment gateways enable buyers and merchants (and their banks) to carry out transactions digitally. For example, after swiping a card, the payment gateway makes sure the card is authentic, makes sure that they have enough money to cover the transaction, and lets the customer know if the purchase is accepted or declined.

What is the Difference Between Payment Gateways and Payment Processors?

Payment gateways and payment processors are alike because they connect the merchant’s and customer’s banks. However, payment gateways can identify that the cardholder is who they say they are, while payment processors alone cannot.

Do I need a Payment Gateway?

Payment gateways used to be beneficial for eCommerce stores, but today they are a short-term necessity for almost all businesses. Especially after the covid-19 impact, people started considering digital payments and e-commerce and the declining usage of cash payments.

Over to You!

So, these are a few popular payment processing companies out there. Some companies have great advantages over others and do the required work seamlessly. Before choosing any of these options, ensure to consider their pros and cons to determine if they can match your business needs.



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MARKETING

How Your Company’s Attrition Rate Could Be Impacting Your Business

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How Your Company's Attrition Rate Could Be Impacting Your Business


Happy employees are the key to a successful business. According to the University of Oxford, happy employees are 13% more productive. High employee satisfaction can go a long way towards your bottom line.

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