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Top 7 Must-Have Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

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As a small business, you need to be marketing your products or services to stay afloat and ahead of the competition. There are many marketing tools available, but which ones are the best for small businesses?

Cut through the noise and identify the exact tools that will help you attract and convert customers with our ranking of the top 7 must-have marketing tools for small businesses:

1. Google Analytics:

This free tool from Google allows you to track your website traffic, understand your customer’s behavior, and measure the success of your marketing campaigns. Every small business should use Google Analytics to track their marketing progress and make data-driven decisions.

If you don’t know how your campaigns are performing, how are you supposed to adjust and improve them?

Google Analytics can be a bit overwhelming at first,  but there are plenty of resources available to help you get started.

2. Canva:

Canva is a free online design platform that makes it easy to create professional-looking illustrations for your social media accounts, website, and marketing materials. Canva is extremely user-friendly and even has built-in templates so you don’t have to start from scratch.

If you’re not a designer, Canva is the perfect tool for you to create high-quality visuals and GIFs for your marketing campaigns. By the time you’re done, no one will be able to tell that your graphics weren’t made by a pro.

3. SEMRush:

SEMRush is a powerful, comprehensive marketing platform that allows you to schedule social media posts, perform keyword research, analyze competitor performance, optimize content for search engines, and gain insights into your performance.

You can view a dashboard for each project or account you’re working on and see all the data you need at once so you can gain a better understanding of your marketing progress and where you need to improve.

SEMRush offers a free 14-day trial so you can try it out before committing to a paid plan.

4. Animoto:

Animoto is a video marketing platform that makes it easy to make a video for your small business. With Animoto, you can create professional-looking marketing videos without any prior video editing experience.

One great thing about Animoto is that it offers a wide range of video styles to choose from, so you can create a video that matches your brand’s style and tone. You can even combine photos, music, and different video clips to create something seamless and beautiful.

5. WebinarJam:

WebinarJam is one of the best webinar platforms that allows you to host live, interactive events with your audience. With WebinarJam, you can reach more people, build relationships with your customers, and generate leads for your business.

Webinars are a great marketing tool because they allow you to show off your expertise and build trust with your audience. When they can pair a face with the brand, it creates a personal connection. Plus, live webinars can be much more engaging than some pre-recorded videos.

WebinarJam makes it easy to host a webinar by providing everything you need in one platform, including registration, email marketing, and live streaming.

6. Video Animation Tools like Vyond:

Vyond is an animated video marketing platform that makes it easy to create educational marketing videos for your small business. With Vyond, you can create professional-looking videos without any prior video editing experience.

Use the built-in templates within Vyond to create marketing videos in minutes, and drag and drop elements until you get the finished product you’re aiming for.

7. Automation Tools like Hubspot or Skillfuel:

Save time by automating your marketing campaigns with a platform like Hubspot. Hubspot is a powerful marketing automation tool that allows you to automate your marketing campaigns, including email marketing, social media marketing, and lead generation.

Business owners say that the biggest benefit of marketing automation is the time it saves. It can improve productivity by 20%.

Consider the time and effort it takes to track marketing emails and follow up with the right responses. Rather than hiring someone to manage this job, you can let Hubspot do the work for you, saving thousands and lots of your own time.

Another example could be social media recruiting. That alone could be someone’s entire job, but with the help of tools like Skillfuel, you can let the software drive qualified candidates to your postings without lifting a finger (or spending the money to hire someone).

Why Marketing Tools are Important

There are several marketing tools available to small businesses, each with its own unique purpose. When used together, these tools can help you save time and money, while still marketing effectively to your target audience.

There’s no sense in trying to do everything yourself. Part of the benefit of running a small business in this day and age is the increased access to marketing tools and software that can improve or automate many of the marketing tasks that would otherwise fall on your plate.

Plus, with help of advanced technologies, you can improve your results without adding any extra effort.

How to Choose the Best Marketing Tools for Your Small Business

The best marketing tools for your small business will depend on your budget, your marketing goals, and the resources you have available.

If you’re on a tight budget, look for free trials on tools like SEMRush and Vyond to test things out before you commit to the investment. If you have a little more to spend, consider investing in a tool like Hubspot or Skillfuel to automate your marketing campaigns and save you time.

The most important thing is to choose marketing tools that will help you reach your marketing goals and make your life easier. With the right marketing tools, you’ll be able to save time, money, and energy while growing your small business.

Grow Your Small Business with Marketing Tools

The right marketing tools can help you save time and money while marketing effectively to your target audience. Use the list of vetted and recommended tools above, choose the ones that fit your budget and your marketing goals, and see how they can help you grow your small business in a short amount of time.


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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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