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Twine raises $3.3M to add networking features to virtual events

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Twine, a video chat startup that launched amid the pandemic as a sort of “Zoom for meeting new people,” shifted its focus to online events and, as a result, has now closed on $3.3 million in seed funding. To date, twine’s events customers have included names like Microsoft, Amazon, Forrester and others, and the service is on track to do $1 million in bookings in 2021, the company says.

The new round was led by Moment Ventures, and included participation from Coelius Capital, AltaIR Capital, Mentors Fund, Rosecliff Ventures, AltaClub and Bloom Venture Partners. Clint Chao, founding partner at Moment, will join twine’s board of directors with the round’s close.

The shift into the online events space makes sense, given twine’s co-founders — Lawrence Coburn, Diana Rau and Taylor McLoughlin — hail from DoubleDutch, the mobile events technology provider acquired by Cvent in 2019.

Coburn, previously CEO of DoubleDutch, had been under a non-compete with its acquirer until December 2020, which is one reason why he didn’t first attempt a return to the events space.

The team’s original idea was to help people who were missing out on social connections under COVID lockdowns find a way to meet others and chat online. This early version of twine saw some small amount of traction, as 10% of its users were even willing to pay. But many more were nervous about being connected to random online strangers, twine found.

Image Credits: twine

So the company shifted its focus to the familiar events space, with a specific focus on online events which grew in popularity due to the pandemic. While setting up livestreams, text chats and Q&A has been possible, what’s been missing from many online events was the casual and unexpected networking that used to happen in-person.

“The hardest thing to bring to virtual events was the networking and the serendipity — like the conversations that used to happen in an elevator, in the bar, the lobby — these kinds of things,” explains Coburn. “So we began testing a group space version of twine — bringing twine to existing communities as opposed to trying to build our own, new community. And that showed a lot more legs,” he says.

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By January 2021, the new events-focused version of twine was up and running, offering a set of professional networking tools for event owners. Unlike one-to-many or few-to-many video broadcasts, twine connects a small number of people for more intimate conversations.

“We did a lot of research with our customers and users, and beyond five [people in a chat], it turns into a webinar,” notes Coburn, of the limitations on twine’s video chat. In twine, a small handful of people are dropped into a video chat experience — and now, they’re not random online strangers. They’re fellow event attendees. That generally keeps user behavior professional and the conversations productive.

Event owners can use the product for free on twine’s website for small events with up to 30 users, but to scale up any further requires a license. Twine charges on a per attendee basis, where customers buy packs of attendees on a software-as-a-service model.

The company’s customers can then embed twine directly in their own website or add a link that pops open the twine website in a separate browser tab.

Coburn says twine has found a sweet spot with big corporate event programs. The company has around 25 customers, but some of those have already used twine for 10 or 15 events after first testing out the product for something smaller.

“We’re working with five or six of the biggest companies in the world right now,” noted Coburn.

Image Credits: twine

Because the matches are digital, twine can offer other tools like digital “business card” exchanges and analytics and reports for the event hosts and attendees alike.

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Despite the cautious return to normal in the U.S., which may see in-person events return in the year ahead, twine believes there’s still a future in online events. Due to the pandemic’s lasting impacts, organizations are likely to adopt a hybrid approach to their events going forward.

“I don’t think there’s ever been an industry that has gone through a 15 months like the events industry just went through,” Coburn says. “These companies went to zero, their revenue went to zero and some of them were coming from hundreds of millions of dollars. So what happened was a digital transformation like the world has never seen,” he adds.

Now, there are tens of thousands of event planners who have gotten really good at tech and online events. And they saw the potential in online, which would sometimes deliver 4x or 5x the attendance of virtual, Coburn points out.

“This is why you see LinkedIn drop $50 million on Hopin,” he says, referring to the recent fundraise for the virtual conference technology business. (The deal was reportedly for less than $50 million). “This is why you see the rounds of funding that are going into Hopin and Bizzabo and Hubilo and all the others. This is the taxi market, pre-Uber.”

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Of course, virtual events may end up less concerned with social features when they can offer an in-person experience. And those who want to host online events may be looking for a broader solution than Zoom + twine, for example.

But twine has ideas about what it wants to do next, including asynchronous matchmaking, which could end up being more valuable as it could lead to better matches since it wouldn’t be limited to only who’s online now.

With the funding, twine is hiring in sales and customer success, working on accessibility improvements and expanding its platform. To date, twine has raised $4.7 million.

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Amazon Listing Optimization for Maximum Conversions (Step by Step)

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shopping cart on amazon site

Amazon is one of the great places brands and individuals sell their products. It’s a marketplace where buyers search for what they want to purchase. 

According to research done by Statista, the site gets traffic in billions. In December alone, the website got 2.9 billion visits from target customers.

Data showing traffic to Amazon website from september 2021 to February 2022

Source: Statista

This shows that more target customers visit the site to search for products. Therefore, if you have a product you want to sell, it is essential to make sure many of your target buyers see it to increase the chance of selling it. 

This short article will teach you how to optimize your Amazon listing to increase visibility, drive more traffic to your product, and increase conversion rates and sales.

What is Amazon Product Listing Optimization

This is a strategy used to optimize your product’s visibility on Amazon. The plan lets more target customers know about your product and how it can solve their pains.

It makes it easy to rank on Amazon search engines, be discovered by target customers, increase your product’s conversion rates, and drive more sales and revenue.

Why Invest in Amazon Listing Optimization

As an individual seller or a business owner, there are important reasons why you should invest and optimize your products on Amazon. This section of the article will highlight some of these reasons and their importance when selling products through Amazon.

Attract More Target Customers to Your Products

When your listing is optimized, more target customers engage with the products you have to offer them on Amazon. Since they’re on Amazon to search for products to solve their pains, they will get to know about your product and how it can help solve their pains. 

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Increase Brand Awareness

You could be a business offering products through Amazon, but most of your target customers don’t know about your brand or your products. With Amazon listing optimization and the traffic you drive to the product, more people will learn about the different products you offer. 

They will also know about your brand and engage more with it from the website links, where they get to hear from other customers and build more trust with you and your products.

Drive More Conversions and Sales

When your product is optimized with the right quality images, descriptions, and key features or keywords, your target customer can easily search for the product and engage with it. 

They can see that the products can solve their pains and be convinced to try the product to solve their challenges leading to more sales.

Steps for Amazon Listing Optimization

You want to reach more target customers and drive them to engage with your products on Amazon and even buy them, right? Well, to effectively achieve that, there are steps you can follow for your listing optimization. Here are some of these steps for your Amazon listing optimization

Research Keywords

Target customers’ search for products starts with using the keywords associated with what they want. As part of Amazon optimization, keywords target customers use in their search are essential. 

Do a keyword search to know the best keywords your customers use when searching for what to buy from Amazon. You can use the best Amazon PPC management tools and other keyword research tools to help get the best keywords.

It is also essential to use keywords with high search volume. High search volume makes it easy for many of your audience to know about your product listing.

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One way to use the right keywords is to research competitors making more sales from the Amazon website. See the keywords they use and how they connect with their target audience. 

Since you’re in the same market and target the same customers, you can use those keywords for your product optimization and promotion through Amazon. 

You can also read through their product description and key features. See how they write the descriptions and how they use the keywords within the product description and key features sections.

Ensure you don’t copy their description for your products as that can affect your product’s optimization and traffic to your products, affecting your sales.

Use Informative Titles For Your Products

Another essential part of your Amazon listing optimization is your Amazon product titles. Ensure that the headlines of your title are captivating and attractive and use primary keywords in the title. 

Make the titles easy to read and ensure the target audience can get a glimpse and know more about your product from its title even before they read the description. 

Target customers now use mobile devices more than ever for their product search. As you look for the title description of your products, ensure that the title is optimized for mobile search. 

Suppose the target customer is using a mobile device and can’t engage with your product title, description, or any other part of your product optimization. In that case, they will look for other alternative products to buy. As a result, you lose an opportunity to engage and convert a potential customer and make sales.

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Remember, you’re optimizing the listing to drive and engage more target customers, increase conversions, and make more sales. So, if you can’t engage target customers on their mobile devices, you lose a big chance to drive them to take action and convert to be customers.

Use Quality Images For Your Products

Your target customers need to see the product you’re promoting on Amazon, even if you have an excellent product description. As part of Amazon optimization, ensure the product pictures have a high resolution and are clear, especially your main pictures.

It will be easy for the target audience to see the images of what they want to buy clearly. You can even drive the target customers to make a purchase easily when they see the main parts of the product you sell on Amazon.

Your target audience should also be able to zoom in on the product images. It will help them see the parts of the products well. For example, here is a picture of a hp laptop from Amazon with the main product image and other zoomable images.

Zoomable images for a laptop on sale from Amazon site

Source: Amazon

When taking the images for the product, use a white background like the above images for the laptop. Your product should be large enough to occupy  85% of the space allocated for the image on the Amazon site. 

Write Optimized Product Descriptions

Your target customers need to know more about the product. So explaining how your product works in detail is essential. Help the customers know how your product solves their pains and convince them that it’s the best they can have.

Let the customers see the benefits of your product. It will help them quickly see the value and connect how the benefits will help them solve their pains.

As you write the description, use the right keywords with high search volume. The target customers mostly use keywords to search for products from the website. 

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When writing the description, mention relevant details about the product that your target customers can easily understand and are more linked to the pains they want to solve. In addition, it raises their curiosity and makes them engage more with the product to learn how it will quickly help solve their challenges.

Optimize Product Key Features (Use Bullet Points)

When describing the product value and showing the target customers how it works, use bullet points to make it easy for readers to view the content about your products. 

They can quickly skim through the content and engage with it with ease. Use short sentences when showing target customers the product’s key features.

Highlight key benefits of the products to the customers for them to notice as they read and know more about the features. Don’t forget to add to this section’s primary and secondary keywords.

Add Q&A for Customers and Reviews

You have done your customer search and understand their pains and how to address them. Even if you have given the target customers all the other information and description for the product, they will have questions to ask.

You can identify the possible questions your target customers can ask about the product and then provide the best answers. For example, some customers have questions about a car vacuum cleaner sold on Amazon.

Samples of questions and answers customers asked for a car vaacum clearner on Amazon

Source: Amazon

You can also see the questions addressed by your competitors and add them to your questions collection in this section of the Amazon optimization.

You should also add keywords within this section. They will make it easy for your optimization efforts and can also drive more potential customers to engage more with this section and the others above.

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To help build trust and show potential customers that your products have value, add reviews of the product from the past customers. 

Customers trust other customers. Here are the car vacuum cleaner product reviews from the above customer Q&A. Since some sellers want to get customers, it’s essential to use an Amazon review checker to see if the reviews are genuine.

Customer reviews and ratings for the car vaacum cleaner from Amazon site

Source: Amazon

When they hear that other customers with similar problems benefited from the products, they’re more likely to try the product to get equal or far much better results for their pains.

Ready to Improve your Amazon Listing For More Sales on Amazon?

Brands and other sellers are looking for the best channels to drive traffic to their products on Amazon, engage with the target audiences and convert them to make more sales. 

Using Amazon and optimizing your product listings can help you reach those goals and drive more sales for your product.

Suppose your products are not selling on Amazon. In that case, the above steps will help you optimize your product and attract a large target audience who will get to know about your product offers and even convert more customers to your amazon products.

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