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Different experiences with free and freemium software trials

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Different experiences with free and freemium software trials

There are a number of hurdles to clear internally that make free trials hit-or-miss when businesses are updating their martech stack. In disruptive times like these, however, organizations are looking to evolve and further transform their digital capabilities. When are free trials helpful to the process?

A B2B company, for instance, could see growth potential in e-commerce sales and in adding consumer customers. In other cases, marketers are looking to expand their reach or improve measurement in existing channels.

Playing in a sandbox and upgrading a low-tier subscription

M&D Distributors, a Texas-based engine parts distributor, is building out its e-commerce sales, a project several years in the making. Since the pandemic, the company has seen an increase in direct-to-consumer sales (reflected in their new website).

According to E-commerce Product Manager Tyler Simons, the company decided to adopt a payment app, in keeping with what they saw some competitors doing. After looking at the various plans different vendors offered, they found Affirm’s monthly options the most desirable for customers.

Though there was no trial offer for Affirm, the M&D Distributors marketing team got to test the experience, before going live, via Affirm’s sandbox environment.

“Using Affirm was just another opportunity to show the extra capabilities we have and offer to make the consumer experience a little better,” said Simons. “One of the reasons we chose Affirm was that we know a lot of consumers are strained on their budgets.”

Installing a payment plan app is part of a larger transformation project for M&D Distributors. In January, the Marketing Business Development Manager and his team began using HubSpot’s CRM. The success with this system already spurred the company to upgrade from a low-cost to a medium-cost tier, Simons stated.

Because Affirm doesn’t offer a free trial to marketers, there is added pressure for the system to generate new revenue.

“We’ve had mixed feelings about the response,” Simons said. “It’s worked from the standpoint that we get 20 orders per month through it. But we were hoping it would get 30 or 40 to recoup the initial investment faster.”

Privacy concerns narrow opportunities for experimentation

Some companies have a limited ability to try new solutions on a trial basis due to constraints within their industry. For instance, in the financial sector, the amount of security needed to protect customer accounts makes many free trials unfeasible.

“When vendors want to push a free trial or freemium product, for us this means anything from change management to how it plays into cybersecurity,” said Chris George, Director of Martech for Canadian regional bank ABT Financial. “It’s very difficult to onboard something just to try.”

Having access to top-of-the-line technology at no cost might seem enticing. But often the value also comes with the service that accompanies the technology, and that’s not provided in many freemium versions.

“Freemium generally means we don’t get the support for onboarding and change management,” George said.

There are areas in the company’s marketing and operations that are a little less strictly regulated. For example, ABT Financial chose to evaluate ClickMeeting to host webinars over the last year. According to George, Zoom wasn’t possible for security reasons. “We use G Suite, and that’s not ready for prime time when it comes to Webinars,” George said. “It’s not appropriate for marketers right now.”

For the moment, ABT Financial is continuing to use the freemium ClickMeeting to host webinars, and is still reviewing next steps.

Because of the change management factor, the ideal use case for a free trial might not be to replace existing solutions. Of course, replacement is a major part of managing a martech stack, but free trials are easier to implement when looking at new tools.

Take the Martech Replacement Survey.

Melissa Chiou is a social media specialist for a marketing consulting agency, working as a team member embedded in the marketing department. Her client is a branch of the U.S. government.

Chiou wanted to trial a measurement tool for competitive analysis to see how her client’s presence ranked on different social media channels.

“A couple of vendors had free trials,” she said. “Most are really new, and there’s no brand recognition. For a freemium service, you can work with this layer and find out – does it solve a problem for your team?”

A vendor provided a 14-day trial with free analysis. Chiou found that the solution did solve a problem for the team, and she put forward her recommendation to the government in favor of using the vendor.

This kind of success shows that marketers can benefit from free trials. But there are specific instances when they work best, and other times when they work against the goals organizations are trying to reach during the regular course of business.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

https://martechtoday.com/different-experiences-with-free-and-freemium-software-trials-247620

Marketingland.com


Author:
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO.

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Massive Volatility Reported – Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update

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Google Logo Exploding Cracking

I am seeing some massive volatility being reported today after seeing a spike in chatter within the SEO community on Friday. I have not seen the third-party Google tracking tools show this much volatility in a long time. I will say the tracking tools are way more heated than the chatter I am seeing, so something might be off here.

Again, I saw some initial chatter from within the SEO forums and on this site starting on Friday. I decided not to cover it on Friday because the chatter was not at the levels that would warrant me posting something. Plus, while some of the tools started to show a lift in volatility, most of the tools did not yet.

To be clear, Google has not confirmed any update is officially going on.

Well, that changed today, and the tools are all superheated today.

Google Tracking Tools:

Let’s start with what the tools are showing:

Semrush:

Semrush

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Mozcast:

Mozcast

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Wincher:

Wincher

Mangools:

Mangools

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

Algoroo:

Algoroo

So most of these tools are incredibly heated, signaling that they are showing massive changes in the search result positions in the past couple of days.

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the chatter from various comments on this site and on WebmasterWorld since Friday:

Speaking of, is anyone seeing some major shuffling going on in the SERPs today? It’s a Friday so of course Google is playing around again.

Something is going on.

Pages are still randomly dropping out of the index for 8-36h at a time. Extremely annoying.

Speaking of, is anyone seeing some major shuffling going on in the SERPs today? It’s a Friday so of course Google is playing around again

In SerpRobot I’m seeing a steady increase in positions in February, for UK desktop and mobile, reaching almost the ranks from the end of Sep 2023. Ahrefs shows a slight increase in overall keywords and ranks.

In the real world, nothing seems to happen.

yep, traffic has nearly come to a stop. But exactly the same situation happened to us last Friday as well.

USA traffic continues to be whacked…starting -70% today.

In my case, US traffic is almost zero (15 % from 80%) and the rest is kind of the same I guess. Traffic has dropped from 4K a day to barely scrapping 1K now. But a lot is just bots since payment-wise, the real traffic seems to be about 400-500. And … that’s how a 90% reduction looks like.

Something is happening now. Google algo is going crazy again. Is anyone else noticing?

Since every Saturday at 12 noon the Google traffic completely disappears until Sunday, everything looks normal to me.

This update looks like a weird one and no, Google has not confirmed any update is going on.

What are you all noticing?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Vonage and AWS leverage communications and network APIs to deliver solutions

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Cloud Computing News

Vonage, a specialist in cloud communications helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation and a part of Ericsson, has collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to accelerate the availability of new solutions to millions of AWS developers through AWS Marketplace.  

This collaboration will bring together Vonage’s platform, which is based on communications APIs and network APIs that connect to communications service provider (CSP) networks, Ericsson’s 5G network capabilities, and AWS services. This will enable AWS and Vonage to create a suite of solutions that empower customers to use the network to drive innovation and create a better overall customer experience.

Kathrin Renz, Vice President of AWS Industries, said: “AWS and Vonage have a shared passion for helping customers deliver innovation and value.

“Working together with Vonage, we aim to drive new industrial and enterprise applications across industries that combine 5G networks and technologies like generative artificial intelligence to fuel new products and enhance the overall customer experience.”

Omdia’s Cybersecurity Decision Maker Survey 2023 noted that 92% of organizations had suffered a security incident or breach during the preceding 12 months, while imposter scams resulted in $2.6bn in losses in the US in 2022 alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Fraud risk is a growing concern for businesses, but the risks can be mitigated.

The new Vonage Fraud Protection solution to be made available in AWS Marketplace will include the Vonage CAMARA-based* API SIM Swap (in alpha when available), its Fraud Defender solution, enhanced by AWS generative artificial intelligence (AI) services, and its Verify and Number Insights APIs paired with Amazon Rekognition. With this new update, Vonage will further build additional solutions like this that will accelerate bringing the power of network APIs to the market.

Among its features, the SIM Swap network API is designed to allow a developer to determine whether a phone number has recently changed SIM cards and if fraud was involved. Vonage’s enhanced Fraud Defender API will proactively detect fraud signals, Vonage Verify API allows for secure silent authentication, and Vonage Number Insights API provides Fraud Scoring capabilities.

The fraud detection capabilities of this solution will be further enhanced by supporting AWS generative AI services. This will enable businesses to better protect themselves from mobile fraud while simultaneously improving the customer experience.

Niklas Heuveldop, Vonage CEO and head of business area global communications platform for Ericsson, said: “By working with AWS, we will accelerate our ability to embed communications and network APIs in applications and deliver new product offerings for AWS and Vonage customers.

“With network APIs, we are exposing new capabilities from within the 5G network that have never been available before, allowing existing applications to be enhanced with network information and enabling the development of a new class of applications.”

Nick Laidlaw, CTO at Voicify, said: “Voicify already integrates Vonage’s communications APIs into our conversational AI experiences tailored for the restaurant industry.

“With the new Fraud Protection Solution that includes AWS and the addition of network APIs, such as SIM Swap, we can enhance the level of security we offer for SMS and telephony, ensuring transactions are secure and valid and reinforcing our commitment to providing a trusted conversational AI service.”

Check out the upcoming Cloud Transformation Conference, a free virtual event for business and technology leaders to explore the evolving landscape of cloud transformation. Book your free virtual ticket to deep dive into the practicalities and opportunities surrounding cloud adoption. Learn more here.

Tags: APIs, AWS, communications, Vonage

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Waitress was fired because of ‘hoopla’ from $10K tip, attorney argues

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BENTON HARBOR, MI — In the weeks after being fired, a former waitress has spoken out in a TV interview and shared a statement through her attorney, …

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