7 Experts Share Their Best Tips to Launch a Successful Product Marketing Strategy

When you scour the internet, you’ll find heaps of resources about product marketing.

But if you’ve launched any strategy, you know that catch-all best practices and research don’t guarantee success.

That’s why I decided to talk to real entrepreneurs and get their insights on what makes a product marketing strategy successful.

On top of that, this article will also include tips on how you can apply these ideas to your business, regardless of your industry.

7 Strategies to Launch a Successful Product Marketing Strategy

1. Understand What Your Customers are Looking For

For CocoDoc’s co-founder and marketing director, Alina Clark, the best product marketing strategy is selling a product that people genuinely need.

SaaS companies, in particular, will find it easier to sell a product that fills in a consumer’s need than to create a new one.

According to Clark, “I would recommend studying the target market and learning what they need before launching a product. Is your product offering any added value compared to the ones available in the market? What would make them come to you instead of your competitor? These are all questions that should be answered at the targeting stage.”

She explains that the idea for CocoDoc came about when they realized that there were a large number of PDF users who wanted to edit their PDFs without making any format changes. They implemented a few things before their product launch to verify their product offer.

First, they looked online for reviews and posts from online communities about related apps. In particular, Clark mentions noticing several questions about Adobe Acrobat and how to use the tool for this specific use case. They also checked online for popular Google searched about PDF editing and figured out what people wanted based on their queries.

Combined with doing surveys with their sales team, CocoDoc was able to determine the viability of their product and create a unique tool that solved their customers’ pain points in ways the competition might not currently be doing.

According to Clark, all these efforts led them to create CocoDoc’s unique selling proposition: “Although there were other players in the [document editing and management] field, we used our ease of use and web-based accessibility as the ultimate selling point […] and the fact that you can add an e-signature using the tool.”

They then implemented an email marketing strategy, among other marketing efforts, that focused on serving remote workers who wanted to edit, sign, and share PDFs all in one platform.

The biggest takeaway from Clark? “One should exclusively focus on the possible customers. Narrowing down on the people who are more likely to buy from you will save you the expense. Also, your best prospects are those with a perceived need for what they want and those who purchased from your competition. As such, studying your competitor’s most likely buyers will help you arrive at your best prospects.”


2. Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams

One can’t deny the role of your sales team for closing sales and getting more customers, but we can’t also ignore the contribution of your marketing team to getting those potential sales and customers to begin with.

As Mo Rassolli, TrendScout Senior Consultant, shares, “[W]hilst your marketing team will indeed be responsible for planning and executing the campaigns for your product, your sales team will also have a role to play to make sure that the campaign is successful.”

Rassolli emphasizes the importance of ensuring that both sales and marketing teams are aligned and have a clear understanding of your product’s ideal customer. He notes factors like their position in the company and their annual revenue as some starting points.

Aside from knowing the customer in and out, both teams must understand your buyer’s journey. This includes knowing lead generation strategies are currently being used, sharing assets of active campaigns, and the like.

“Above all,” notes Rassolli, “[you] need to make sure that your marketing team gives your sales team not just a steady stream of leads to convert but also the right information. Otherwise, your sales team won’t be able to reach out properly to your leads. And when that happens, you can lose your chances of converting otherwise ready-to-buy leads.”

Indeed, we’ve seen evidence of how marketing and sales team alignment is crucial to the success of B2B companies. Because of this, it’s essential to get everyone on the same page and ensure your management team is communicating openly and regularly.


3. Organize a Pre-Launch Giveaway

Another great way to create hype around your product marketing strategy is to have a pre-launch giveaway.

Stand with Main Street’s founder, Charles McMillan, can’t recommend the strategy enough. “In this way, you can capture the attention of your target clients. Give away your products to the lucky group of participants, or you can even come up with a catchy concept for a contest. You can spread the word through a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.”

McMillan shares that he used this product marketing strategy a long time ago, and the results were stellar. Not only did it catch his potential clients’ attention because of hype, but the giveaway even gained recommendations for their team.

When we ask him how they prepared for the pre-launch giveaway, he shares that the team started to brainstorm and got the idea of spreading the word about their giveaway through their employees’ social media accounts. This would get their personal friends’ eyes on the giveaway, who would then invite more people outside their employee networks to join.

The organic effort was compounded by paid advertising efforts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The results, McMillan shares, is as follows:

“[The pre-launch giveaway] has been very successful, and we were able to double our target gains in the span of one month. Also, some influencers were enticed by the idea and asked to collaborate with us in exchange for free items. With this said, we saved a huge amount by hiring celebrities to promote our brand.”

Based on McMillan’s story, create a giveaway plan that makes the most of organic and paid efforts. Try to tap influencers willing to promote the giveaway in exchange for access to your products to skyrocket brand awareness even before your launch.


4. Invite Beta Testers

To make sure your product marketing strategy is successful, you need to ensure your product is successful first. Enter beta testers and their crucial role to help you identify gaps in your product and even in building up hype around your product.

Yvonne Morriss of IP Toolworks, LLC shares how her company launched their patent prosecution process tool called Arguminer with the help of beta testers that helped them spot bugs and issues before a big release.

“We first got [Arguminer] ready with all the basic functionalities that we wanted to go in the final product,” she says. “We wanted to make sure our beta testers and users had enough functionality to test around.”

Of course, you shouldn’t just get any beta tester. Morriss emphasizes the importance of getting suitable testers who are genuinely part of your target market and who would interact with your product in the most organic way.

Getting beta testers may come with some budget restrictions, as it did with the Arguminer team. ”70% of our beta testers were from industry connections attorneys. They were not the ‘must-haves’ but were ‘nice-to-have.’”

The other 30% of beta testers then were recruited based on what Morriss calls “accurate technography and legal practices,” made up of primarily young attorneys, which was Arguminer’s ideal persona.

With their beta testers working alongside them, the team behind Arguminer focused on feedback to be able to weigh their priorities. Morriss shares that the team was even surprised that some features they found important were not, in fact, critical to their beta testers, so they were free to focus on other aspects of their software.

And after their beta test, Morriss explains how it helped them streamline their product marketing strategy for launch, including getting clarity on who they would be speaking to:

“We got a clear product message and positioning. We wanted to launch this tool for R&D heads and IP attorneys. But after beta testing and A/B testing, we are very clear that it is the best fit for IP attorneys. We became very much familiar with the limitations of the tool. Beta testing helped us think more practically and align our message accordingly.”


5. Launch an Affiliate Marketing Program

A product marketing strategy that many marketers might be familiar with is affiliate marketing. For Simon Dwight of SDK Marketing, he compares the process to another related method that is influencer marketing:

“One of the best advantages [of affiliate marketing] is lower cost. An affiliate program does not require a large amount of investment. If you go with influencer marketing, you have to have a few thousand in the budget to deal with the influencers, and you may need more if you go with well-known influencers.”

Incorporating an affiliate program in your product marketing strategy can be an incredible asset for your company, but you have to know how to manage and launch it properly. Dwight shares some steps his company took to help his clients launch affiliate marketing programs of their own and to get more sales:

  • Check if the product is popular in the market or not.
  • Once you’ve found a popular product, check how much commission they might offer to affiliate partners. Depending on the product, you can get anywhere between 5%-30% in commissions. (Generally, SaaS products can afford to offer higher commissions because of little to no product cost.)
  • Make your affiliate program more compelling than others. According to Dwight, they would give 1-3% more commission compared to their competitors.
  • List your affiliate program in all major platforms like Clickbank, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, and the like to get eyes on your program and for people to sign up.


Following these steps has gotten Dwight’s clients much success. He notes one particular web hosting client as a success story: “We generated $57K revenue from the affiliate program in one year, which is the second-highest revenue channel for that year.”


6. Provide Social Proof

Another product marketing strategy that never fails is giving social proof.

Tal Shelef, realtor and co-founder of CondoWizard, shares the importance of social proof, especially when creating a product marketing strategy for a business in a highly competitive industry. “As an effective form of proof in the social side of your products, posting good reviews help build trust and character of your products to your target clients.”

He adds, “Support the spread of good words about your business. By doing so, launching a product market strategy will have a higher probability of getting success.”

Social proof relies on encouraging your existing customer base and community to help convert new users and get them to buy. When someone sees that other people just like them are enjoying or have obtained value from your product, they may be more likely to make a purchase.

Make an effort to collect testimonials and reviews about your product or service, then post these on your users’ channels. You might use social proof in your ads, across your website, and especially on your sales pages.


7. Retarget Your Abandoned Carts

The last product marketing strategy is retargeting your abandoned carts.

Consumers now are living in a fast-paced world. They may be browsing your online store or catalogue, adding products to their cart, but ultimately failing to check out.

There may be different reasons they fail to do so, from not having made up their minds to getting distracted right before completing their checkout.

Either way, your business could be losing crucial sales because of this. To combat this, your product marketing strategy should be able to prompt users to revisit their cart and complete checkout at least once.

Because of this, I recommend implementing retargeting strategies wherever you can. This might be through abandoned cart emails or retargeting ads that appear on social media platforms and other websites your user is on.



We can agree that there is “no one size fits all” approach to a successful product marketing strategy. However, you can always learn from experts themselves to see what worked for them and the steps they took. Next time you’re looking for tips to make the best marketing campaign, revisit this post to see what these experts have to share.

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7 Steps to Shift Towards A Growth-Oriented Culture

Having a corporate culture that focuses on how your employees perform is no longer healthy for your employees or your business. In fact, 60% of employee absences are due to the overwhelming stress brought about by the understanding that their job security is dependent on their ability to deliver results. This can also cause employees to become less productive, dissatisfied with their work, suffer from burnout, and quit their job.

One study published in the Harvard Business Review recommends the best way to address this by shifting from a performance-based culture to a growth-oriented culture. 

The rise of growth-oriented culture

In recent years, startups have become obsessed with growth hacking. That’s because even though it’s a relatively new strategy, growth hacking is effective in getting customers and generating revenue in a short span of time.

Naturally, startups need to have a culture that encourages growth. And more established companies are beginning to follow suit.

What makes a growth-oriented culture unique?

Growth-oriented culture puts a premium on getting results. At the same time, it focuses on providing the employees a safe working environment where mistakes and shortcomings are valued as part of the growth process. As a result, it encourages everyone to become curious and creative without the fear of being judged.

How to transition to a growth-oriented culture

Communicate your values

In the words of Simon Sinek: “People don’t buy what you do. People buy why you do it.”

The only way you can successfully shift to a growth-oriented culture is when everyone in your business is on board 100%.

For that to happen, it’s not enough that you familiarize your employees with your core values. You need to explain to them why these are the core values of your business. That way, they will get a clearer understanding of what your company stands for and the reason behind this.

Having a meeting where you share these with your employees is one effective way to communicate your core values. Not only will they hear your words, but they will also sense the passion in your voice and see your enthusiasm in your actions.

Follow this up by giving each of your employees a manifesto documenting your business’ core values. That way, they’ll have something to refer back to weeks and months after the initial meeting.

Increase transparency

Transparency is a crucial element in a growth-oriented culture for three reasons.

First, it helps build a level of trust between you and your employees. When it’s clear to them that you sincerely have their best interest at heart, they will be more encouraged to get things done. 

Transparency also helps minimize—if not eliminate—negative gossip and office politics from your organization. That way, you avoid possible tension and friction to arise and affect your employees’ ability to work harmoniously with each other.

More importantly, encouraging transparency within your organization makes your employees feel a part of your business genuinely. When this happens, they become more accountable and more willing to take ownership of their actions.

One way to promote transparency within your business is by making information directly affecting your employees readily available. 

Such was the case with Buffer. Not only did they divulge the salaries paid to their employees, but they also shared the formula used to compute through the salary calculator they have posted on their website.

Source: Buffer

Embrace change

Growth involves some level of change to occur within your business. So if you want to adopt a growth-oriented culture, you must be willing not only to accept change but embrace it.

For this to happen, you must effectively communicate the need for the change and the change it will bring. 

More importantly, you must set an example for your employees. Only then can this become integrated into your corporate culture. 

Adopt the right communication tools

Employees working in a growth-oriented culture need to be efficient in their work process to produce results quickly. That would mean investing in a communication platform to address critical communication pain points, encourage flexibility, and increase productivity. All this was done with just the help of their mobile phone.

Find the right people.

When hiring people to come on board your business, it’s not enough that you evaluate their intellectual knowledge, skills, and expertise. You need to also carefully consider whether they possess the personality and traits that fit your corporate culture. 

This is crucial for startups. That’s because, according to Jim Tolbert, Founder of Vista College, entrepreneurial companies like startups are fast-moving. They want to grow and scale as quickly as possible. As such, they need employees that not only have the skills but the capability to keep pace.

Growth hackers meet these criteria. Aside from being highly-skilled, growth hackers thrive in growth-oriented cultures because, as Sean Ellis puts it, growth is their “true north.”

Make your employees feel valued.

Your employees are your greatest asset. That’s why it’s essential to make an effort to let them know and feel that they are valued and appreciated.

An effective way to do this is by allowing them to take on more responsibilities. This allows your employees to challenge themselves and grow. At the same time, you send them a positive signal that you recognize their skills and potentials.

Other ways to make your employees feel valued and appreciated are:

  • Celebrating their birthdays and other occasions that are special to them,
  • Encouraging them to give suggestions and considering these,
  • Providing mentorship opportunities, and
  • Hosting employee appreciation gatherings.

Welcome feedback

This is perhaps the most challenging of the different steps to take to shift from a performance-based culture to a growth-oriented culture.

Employees working in a performance-based culture have learned to associate their worth and value with their skills and abilities. So, when they receive feedback, they don’t see it as something that could improve them. Instead, they perceive it as a personal attack, making them emotional and defensive.

That said, it’s important to make sure that you carefully ease this into your organization’s culture. And it starts with you.

Ask their honest feedback about your company and leadership style. Mind you, this part is going to be very uncomfortable because you’ll be making yourself vulnerable to whatever your employees will say. However, by setting the example, your employees will become more open to receiving constructive feedback from you.

When giving your constructive feedback, it would be a good idea to follow the sandwich method using the following steps:

  1.   Start by giving your employee some positive comments about the situation that you want to discuss.
  2.   Compliment your employee’s strong points.
  3.   Share your feedback on what can be improved.
  4.   Remind your employee of their strong points.
  5.   Offer your support and help.
  6.   End on a positive note.

Your corporate culture serves as the foundation of your business. Changing this demands a great deal of time, care, and patience. When it is forced onto them, it can cause your employees to exhibit emotional responses to change.


Take these steps and implement them one by one. This allows your employees and leaders to develop the right mindset and slowly adopt the organization’s growth-oriented culture.

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10 Email Copywriting Examples to Inspire Your Marketing Efforts

Email marketing isn’t dead!

In fact, email copywriting remains one of the fundamental skills every business owner and marketer should master. That’s because email marketing is the one strategy that allows you to provide highly targeted content to your leads, engage with them on a personal level, and convert them to customers.

But with the average person receiving approximately 121 emails every day, the challenge is getting your subscribers’ attention, so they open your email, engage with the content, and perhaps share the email with others.

The secret lies in how well you write your email copy. And the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t is by studying email copywriting examples that delivered results. Only then can you apply these to your own email marketing campaigns.

Table of Contents

1. BuzzFeed

What you write on your email’s subject line can mean the difference between your email subscribers opening your email, trashing it, or even flagging it as spam.

The same thing goes for your email’s preview text. That’s the snippet of text you find right after your subject line.

So, it’s only right that we look at this part first.

BuzzFeed’s subject lines and preview text are a great email copywriting example to emulate. 

Image Source

As you can see here, BuzzFeed keeps their subject line short and uses words that will capture your attention.

Also, BuzzFeed ensures that the preview text complements its subject line. In the example above, for instance, the preview text tells you the next logical step.  

How to apply this to your email copywriting:

  • Keep your subject line and preview text short. Making your subject line and preview text concise makes sure these don’t get truncated when your subscribers view them in their inbox. 
  • Treat them like a summary. Giving your subscribers a clear insight into what your email is about will pique their interest and increase the likelihood of them opening your emails.
  • Make it personal. Your customers still prefer receiving emails over other communication channels. But your subscribers are more likely to open an email coming from someone they know than from a faceless company.

2. UncommonGoods

If there’s one thing that every person on your email list craves, it’s the need to belong. They don’t want to miss out on anything, especially not something that is trending.

It’s this Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) that UncommonGoods uses to their advantage in the copy of the emails they send out just like this one:

Image Source

How to apply this to your email copywriting:

  • Use action words. Adding action words in your subject line, preview text, and your call-to-action (CTA) subconsciously evokes a sense of urgency among your readers like “Buy Now” and “Don’t Miss Out.” At the same time, it instructs your subscribers what’s the next action they should take.
  • Include a CTA button. This is more eye-catching and more able to capture the attention of those reading your email copy than a text link.
  • Nudge, don’t push. This is a typical email copywriting mistake startups commit. Ironically, your email subscribers don’t want to receive an email that sounds too desperate, pushy, or salesy. So choose your words wisely. 

3. Postmates

Adding GIFs in your email copy is tricky and can increase conversion rates, provided that it’s strategically done. 

Take this email sent out by Postmates to their email subscribers:

Image Source

Not only does the GIF used in this email copy very entertaining and amusing, but it also will make you start craving for some nachos. And since the email copy encourages you to have some Mexican food delivered, you can say the animated GIF contributed to its conversion rates.

How to apply this to your email copywriting:

  • Use customized GIFs. Using an animated GIF that you’ve created allows you to inject your brand and personality. This contributes to making your brand memorable to your subscribers. You can create this using Photoshop or an online tool like GIFMaker.
  • Don’t go overboard. Having too many animated GIFs in your email will dilute its effectiveness in converting your leads into customers.
  • Add the proper alt description. Alt text can be significant if subscribers can’t see your images, so include it for every image in your campaign. Alt text should be easy to read and digest, so your subscribers can move on to the rest of your message.

4. HireVue

HireVue’s farewell email to those that choose to unsubscribe to their email list is an excellent example of writing your email copy like a human being.

Image source

Rather than appearing like another “cookie-cutter” email from a faceless startup, HireVue’s email copy sounds like they are conversing with those in their email list on a personal level. Not only does this help them build a trusting relationship with their leads, but also useful in retargeting and winning back customers.

How to apply this to your email copywriting:

  • Understand your buyer persona. By going into your target audience’s mind, you can write your email copy in a way that mirrors the way they speak. This helps your emails be more relatable and get your message across.
  • Avoid industry jargon. Use simple everyday words in your email copy. That way, all of your subscribers will understand your content.
  • Loosen up. Write the way you’d usually talk to a close friend, sans the swear words. Not only does it make you more human, but it also lets you inject a bit of your personality into your email copywriting.

5. Hotjar

I like the emails Hotjar sends in their email marketing campaigns because it doesn’t have any frills or fancy stuff to get subscribers to take action. 

Source: CoSchedule

How to apply this to your email copywriting:

  • Brush up on your copywriting skills. Invest some time to read some great copywriting books. You’ll learn lots of great techniques and strategies here that you can apply to your email copy.
  • Use white space. Breaking up your copy into short sentences and paragraphs adds white space to it. This makes your emails easier to read, especially on a mobile device.
  • Use different fonts and colors. Using 2 different kinds of fonts and colors can help make your email copy less boring. These can also help you highlight important parts of your text, like your CTA.  

6. Duffy’s Sports Grill 

Before you send out an email, ask yourself this one crucial question: “what goal do you want to achieve with this email?”

Your answer here will guide you on what to include in your email copy. More important, it will also tell you how to properly structure it so that everything’s cohesive and easy to understand.

Take a look at this newsletter Duffy’s Sports Grill sends out to their subscribers:

Source: Sumo

Since they placed their call-to-action right underneath their banner image, you know right off the bat the email’s goal. That is, to get their subscribers to come and dine at their restaurant.  

Because of this, they laid out the contents of their newsletter following the way how you’d eat a meal in a restaurant. You start with an appetizer. Then you go to the main dish. Finally, either have a dessert or a nightcap.

How to apply this in your email copywriting:

  • Understand your buyer’s journey. “Think of each email you send as a mini-marketing funnel,” Grant Deken of Spark suggests. “Your introduction serves as your awareness stage. The body of your email copy is the consideration stage, while your call-to-action is the decision stage. This allows you to give them the information they need, address possible objections, and convert them more quickly.”
  • Incorporate high-quality images within the text. Images serve two purposes in an email. First, they entice your subscribers to purchase your product or service. Second, it’s more eye-catching than text, so they help guide the eyes of your readers down to the end of your email copy.
  • Split test your email. Part of your email’s ability to convert leads to customers depends on how the different elements are placed in your email’s body. Split testing different versions of your emails will help you get the highest possible conversion rates. 

7. Autopilot

Most people tend to check their emails during their break time. And with so little time to go through hundreds of emails in their inbox, you stand a better chance of getting them to take action when you keep things short and simple.

This welcome email from Autopilot is an excellent CMS example.

Source: Sumo

How to apply this to your email copywriting:

  • Get straight to the point. If you don’t get your message across within the first couple of sentences on your email copy, there’s an excellent chance that your readers will click on the Trash button.
  • Write in the active voice instead of the passive voice. Sentences in the active voice are shorter because you use fewer words. That leads to shorter paragraphs and a more concise email copy.

8. Bonobos 

Still in line with keeping your email simple is this one from Bonobos:

Source: HubSpot

Although there’s very little copy written in this email, it does a remarkable job getting their subscribers to interact and engage with their content.

How to apply this in your email copywriting:

  • Make your message clear. Don’t assume that your readers will know what to do. Give them clear instructions in your email what the next step they should take.
  • Make your images clickable. This will help pique your readers’ curiosity and get them to engage and click on your content links.
  • Test your links. The last you want you to get is messages from your subscribers that your links aren’t working. Send a test email to your inbox and test these out yourself.


Next to your subject line and preview text, your call-to-action is the single most critical part of your email copy. This will make or break your chances of reaching your set goals.

Startups like understand this, which is why they make sure that their call-to-action button in this email is so apparent.

Source: CampaignMonitor

How to apply this to your email copywriting:

  • Use only one CTA in your email. Emails are one of those places where the term “less is more” is a necessity. Having too many CTAs in your email copy makes it look cluttered and sound too pushy.
  • Opt for buttons instead of text. Like I mentioned earlier, images are more eye-catching than text. Adding a call-to-action button will capture your readers’ attention more quickly than a text link.
  • Tell them what they’re getting. If you’re offering a free resource on your email, then make sure to mention this on the call-to-action button. This helps highlight your offer within your email, increasing the chances of your readers to click.

10. Backlinko

People love getting freebies and discounts. Giving them something valuable for free will get them through the door.

However, if you want to get them to keep on opening your emails, you need to convince your new subscribers that they made the right decision to join your list. 

Backlinko’s Brian Dean does an excellent job at this in the email below:

How to apply this to your email copywriting:

  • Introduce yourself. The interest level of your new subscribers is very high at this point. Grab this opportunity to tell them who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. 
  • Explain the benefits of your content offer. Your new subscribers are looking for quick, actionable steps they can apply in their businesses. So make sure that you highlight these in your email copy.
  • Give an additional incentive. Including a content upgrade or other resources will keep their interest level on a high. You’ll drive them further down your marketing funnel more quickly.

Which of these email copywriting examples are you going to use today?

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How to Develop a Sales Training Program that Works

It’s the start of 2021, which means it’s the perfect time to implement changes in your company!  If you’re looking to ramp up your profits this year, now is your chance to start investing in your sales team.

How, exactly?

By developing a sales training program that will help drive new customers to your business, that’s how!

An effective sales training program improves your company’s sales performance in the long run. From lead generation to sales management, the program helps your SDR’s develop the skills they need to cover every step of the sales process.

Sure, you can give a few inspirational speeches here and there. However, motivational talks can only go so far when empowering your sales team. You must help improve your team’s skill set, which is what the program is for.

However, here lies the problem:

Even though businesses are spending more on training, most of them are not getting their money’s worth. Why? Because the training delivered wasn’t right for the team

You want to make the most of your sales training program. In this post, you will learn how to design and execute one that will help your team generate sales effectively for years to come.

Table of Contents

Align your sales training program with your business goals 

For any training program to be effective, it should support your company’s strategic objectives. After all, you’re not just in the business of developing people. You’re running a company with its own needs and priorities. 

One of the most important questions that you need to ask is this:

What should your sales team do in order to achieve your business goal?

Once you answer this question, it will be a lot easier for you to design a program focused on increasing revenue. 

Also, you need to have the right mindset to plan and execute a sales training program. If you want your sales team to improve, your program should be designed in anticipation of changes. It should not be viewed as a one-off event.

 Develop great instructional design

You need to make sure that your training program is relevant and practical for your sales team. Since sales reps are very busy people, you must make the learning experience simple enough for the information to stick. If your sales team can’t see the point of your training, they will only resort back to their old ways. 

One way you can ensure that your sales team takes full advantage of their sales training is by creating compelling content.

Feel free to get creative and use different formats and layouts to bring your content to life. Some people absorb information more effectively when listening to the material. Others prefer visual content, which is why infographics and presentations are much better for them.

Therefore, adapt your training materials based on their preferred content format to catch their attention.

Looking for sales training videos on YouTube that you can incorporate in your next program? Check out this playbook from Nutshell CRM.

Build your program on your industry’s best practices

You can’t build an effective training program without first understanding your industry’s best practices. So, find out what works and replicate that in your sales training program.  

Don’t just rely on your own knowledge but invite subject matter experts who have extensive experience in sales. Ask them to discuss important information that you think your sales team should know.

SMEs can also work with your content team to create content assets that would benefit your sales team. 

Focus on account-based marketing

If you’re a B2B company, make sure to include account-based marketing in this year’s sales training program. This strategic method shifts the focus away from a “one-size-fits-all” marketing approach to highly targeted leads.

By targeting relevant organizations and companies, your team will be able to close a deal faster! 

If you want your sales team to learn how to engage their prospects with a sales pitch, account-based marketing is definitely the way to go.

Reinforce your program

The training process doesn’t end when the last spokesperson has delivered his or her talk. You want your sales team to remember what they learned, so make sure to reinforce your sales training program. 

One way that you can help your sales team retain the information is by letting your in-house communication specialists create campaigns. Use different channels like social networking groups, posters, email drip campaigns, webinars to impart nuggets of wisdom from your training. The more the information is out there, the more likely it is that your sales team will apply what they learned. 


There’s no denying that a sales training program is key to the success of your team. It serves as the foundation to help you generate income for your business.

Therefore, how you communicate your training to your sales trainees is vital in achieving this goal. Hopefully, the tips above should help you get started with building a great training program for your team.

Ecommerce All

7 Strategies to Lower Your Ecommerce Store Cart Abandonment Rates

With the rise of digital technology, industries like ecommerce have become more profitable. Now more than ever is it easier, more convenient, and faster to purchase products from even a smartphone and receive the goods as early as the next day.

We’re already in 2020, and trends are suggesting that in just 20 short years, 95% of all purchases will be made via an e-commerce store. Up to 80% of internet users around the United States have purchased a product online. 

And with millennials, Generation Z, and future generations growing up with technology, it won’t be long until almost everyone with access to the internet becomes an online shopper.

That only goes to show: e-commerce is a lucrative industry to be in – and that’s without mentioning the spikes in sales and profit during holidays like Black Friday. 

Getting into e-commerce isn’t a guarantee to turn a profit, however. There’s still an obstacle most e-commerce sites have to deal with: high cart abandonment rates. Interestingly, the average cart abandonment rate is at about 69%.

So if you want to increase your sales, the answer is to lower your cart abandonment rates and get customers to complete checkout.

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Strategies to lower your cart abandonment rates

Here, we take a look at some actionable tips you can start doing to lower your cart abandonment rates, especially this holiday season.

Improve your website speed

The first thing you ought to optimize is your website’s speed. According to Google, 53% of mobile users are more likely to abandon a website if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load.

The same is especially true for your e-commerce site. If a visitor is browsing and has to wait even a full minute every time for a page to load – be it a product page or, worse, leading to checkout – you can bet they won’t be completing checkout.

Make sure you keep your website blazing fast to provide the best customer experience for visitors. This way, you won’t be losing the sale before you even stand the chance of making it.

Practice omnichannel marketing

One way to really get customers’ attention is using omnichannel marketing. Treat every touchpoint your customers have with your brand as a potential way to convert them and make sales.

Omnichannel marketing (Image source: Smart Insights)

One of the first things you can do is create an effective lead generation strategy to get customers on your email list. From there, it becomes easier to get in contact with them, send them promotions, and even be able to track their purchase behavior.

Consider doing strategic pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns or work with reputable PPC agencies to help you create and manage a campaign. This is something you can integrate a retargeting ad campaign on social media as well, so visitors can get reminder ads of items they were checking out on your e-commerce website. 

Even if a user didn’t add anything to their cart on their first visit, being able to meet them at different touchpoints, not just online, can be a great way to get them to remember your brand. 

This is why omnichannel marketing works great to lower cart abandonment rates: by having each channel supporting each other, you strengthen your brand image, improve customer experience, and meet customers where they are.

Use exit-intent popups

Exit-intent popups are a powerful way to lower cart abandonment rates.

They work by detecting if a user is about to exit your site, either to close or move to a new tab, then entice visitors to stay on board.

For an e-commerce business, one good way to use exit-intent popups to lower your own cart abandonment is by offering an exclusive promo, such as a discount or free shipping.

Example of exit-intent popups in action (Image source: Medium)

Include a guest checkout option

Have you ever tried to check out items on a website but are suddenly prompted to sign up for an account?

While this tactic seems harmless, this can increase your cart abandonment rate because it lengthens the process or people are really not interested to create an account. 

Someone might be in a hurry to check out an item and won’t want to go through the process of verifying their account before they’re able to confirm that their order is successful. Or you could have a guest shopping for gifts and aren’t really likely to repurchase often.

Because of this, be sure to enable guest checkout options to increase a user’s chances of completing the entire checkout process. Most leading e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce allow for guest checkout options as a default feature.

If you really want to encourage sign-ups, focus on providing great customer experiences first – such as allowing users to input their shipping and billing information until they checkout. And then you can offer the option to create an account on your site.

Launch a retargeting email campaign

Creating a retargeting email campaign is a great way to win back cold shoppers.

Sometimes people abandon their carts because of added fees like shipping or handling. Sometimes they change their minds. Or other times, they simply had other things suddenly come up before they could complete checkout.

To win back these shoppers regardless of their reasons, send them some emails to entice them to finish what they started.

There are a number of email ideas you can send to users who abandoned their carts, but one of the most common ones is sending a special, usually time-sensitive, discount code if they complete purchase in, say, 1-3 days.

Example of email retargeting with a discount offer. (Image source: Salecycle)

Tap into the power of FOMO

The urgency has always been a great way to encourage people to take quick action and make a purchase. For your ecommerce business, this principle is no different.

Because people are wired to be afraid of missed opportunities or have a “fear of missing out” (FOMO), this can play a big role in making sure you aren’t full of users who abandon their carts.

Some urgency tactics are tied in with a special sales promotion, such as getting free shipping only until a certain date. Others go the extra mile and tell you how many people are eyeing the same product or service, giving a heightened sense of urgency to buy before the item runs out.

Other scarcity tactics combine urgency with social proof, such as signaling when someone else made a recent purchase of the same product. 

Example of combined scarcity tactics (Image source: Oberlo)

Offer multiple payment options

Last but not least, make the shopping experience as seamless as possible by offering multiple payment options.

This does a great job of lowering cart abandonment rates because many shoppers may abandon their carts because they don’t see a payment option they like. In fact, ComScore has a study that says 56% of online shoppers prefer when an e-commerce site has multiple payment options.

If doable for your business, consider adding Cash on Delivery or supporting payments, which are offered by PayPal and the most popular alternatives.

Key Takeaways

The holidays are always the best time to start reeling in shoppers and ending the year profitably. If you want to lower your cart abandonment rates for your e-commerce business, be sure to implement these strategies above. Review the performance of each, keep tweaking, and soon you can expect fewer cart abandonments over time – even when it’s not the holiday season.

Marketing Strategies All

How to Build Trust and Get More Revenue Using Referral Marketing

Until recently, most people turn to social media platforms like Facebook to learn about the latest news and updates about brands and current affairs. One study shows that 85% of Americans point to Facebook as their leading source for news and information.

Then came the rise of “fake news and the recent Facebook – Cambridge Analytica scandal. In the weeks following the scandal’s outbreak, people’s trust level towards Facebook plunged by 66%.

As a result, people have become increasingly skeptical about online content published by brands, news agencies, and other institutions. 

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Referrals: Word-of-mouth marketing has gone digital

While trust towards branded content may be declining, the 2018 Edelman Global Trust Barometer report shows that the level of trust given to content shared by individuals is rising.

This supports earlier studies showing that 90% of Americans trust product and service recommendations from friends and family, with 29% deciding to purchase within the day.

It’s for this very reason why brands are now tapping into the convincing power of their current customers to get new ones at the door through a strategy called referral marketing.

Referral marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing where customers are encouraged to share a link to people they know in exchange for some form of incentive. 

Why should your company use referral marketing?

High level of trust

Instead of merely publishing the information on a website or social media news feed, your customers now become the medium that delivers your message to people who know and trust them. That personal connection will make them more willing to listen to what your customers have today.

Increase sales conversions

Referral marketing involves giving your customers an incentive for every referral that takes the right action. 

“Since they will already do the heavy lifting for you by choosing which of their friends and family will most likely purchase your products or services,” he explains. “And because people are four times more likely to buy a product or service, you can significantly increase your sales conversion and ROI.”

Quick and easy implementation

Referral marketing software programs like Viral Loop guide you by creating your referral marketing campaigns, making the whole process more straightforward.

At the same time, these software programs provide you with analytic reports so you can track your campaigns and see how it’s helping you and your team reach your set business goals.

Why use emails for your referral marketing campaigns?

Larger user base

According to Radicati, they’re three times more email accounts than Facebook and Twitter users combined! Of these, 76% are email accounts belonging to consumers.

Higher click-through rates

One reason why visitors give you their email addresses is that they want to stay updated on the latest deals and discounts you may offer. In fact, 70% of email subscribers open their emails if they know if a deal or discount waiting for them.

That is why click-through rates from emails are significant compared to click-through rates generated by social media posts. It’s also the reason why email marketing delivers the highest return of investment (ROI)

A huge time-saver

Email marketing campaigns are automated. Once these are set up, it will mostly run on its own. That way, you can devote more time to nurturing and delighting your new customers that come on board as a result.

How to set up a referral program?

Set your goals

Before you launch your referral program, you must first be clear about what goal you would like to achieve. This is crucial as your goal will serve as your guide in creating your referral program mechanics and your terms and conditions.

When crafting your goal, make sure that it’s measurable by setting the proper metrics and benchmarks to monitor. These will help you determine whether the program is a success or a failure.

Segment your email list

Not all of those that sign up to your email list will be a good fit for your referral program. For your referral program to be a success, you’ll need to find those on your list who would be willing to refer their friends and family.

The quickest—and most effective way—to find out is by conducting what is called a Net Promoter Score survey or NPS, which looks something like this:

As you can see, this survey asks only one question: On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you going to recommend us to a friend or colleague?

Those that answer a 9 or a 10 are the ones that will be the best fit to invite to your referral program.

Choose an incentive relevant to your product  

Sites like Slickdeals help consumers receive discounts at their favorite stores to provide a great experience. All businesses should offer an incentive that will heighten your customer’s experience based on your product or service.

Perhaps the most famous example of this is Dropbox’s referral program.

Free users that sign up for Dropbox get limited cloud storage space. Dropbox understood that the one thing that would entice them to refer their service to others was more free storage space. So that’s what they did.

First, they got their free users hooked, getting more free space by connecting their social media accounts to Dropbox. They then offered even more storage space to them by sharing a unique referral link to others however they wanted: embedding it in their blog post, sending it to their email contacts, or sharing the link on their social media account.

Not long after launching this referral program, Dropbox’s user base grew by 3900%, with many of these eventually upgrading to their paid packages.

Use the double-incentive method 

A double-incentive referral program means that you don’t only reward your customer when they successfully refer someone to your business. The ones receiving the referral link will also receive an incentive for taking the prescribed action.

Doing this increases the virality of your referral program without risking it becoming too spammy. At the same time, you can be sure that the incentives you offer won’t cut too deeply to your profit margins since they need to do something that will generate revenue for you.

When using the double-incentive method, make sure that you match the incentive you offer with what you’re asking your customers to do for you. The more you ask, the more valuable your incentive you have to offer.

Take GetResponse’s referral program, for example.

Each time one of their existing customers successfully gets someone to buy one of their packages, both the current customer and the one they referred automatically get $30 off on their next payment.

But wait! There’s more!


If their existing customer manages to get three people to sign up for one of the packages, they get a $30 discount for each of them and enroll in one of their premium certification courses for free.

Be clear on the mechanics and conditions

This is the most crucial part of creating a referral marketing program.

You need to be crystal clear about these details to ensure that your customers don’t feel cheated or misled. Otherwise, they could turn your referral program against you. Instead of bringing in more customers, they could use it as proof that you can’t be trusted and scare potential customers away.

Some of the things to include in your referral program mechanics and conditions are:

Who can sign up for your referral bonus?

  • Are there specific products or services that need to be purchased to get a reward?
  • Is there a limit on the bonus a customer can earn as part of the referral program?
  • How will their earnings be affected if someone they referred cancels or asks for a refund?

Personalize your emails

The importance of ensuring that you personalize the emails you send for your referral program can’t be stressed enough.

Personalizing your email from the subject line to the words you use in the content can affect its open and click-through rate. If you need to develop your brand identity, I recommend checking out Designhill.

Besides adding the person’s name in the subject line and greeting, including a picture of the person who referred them can increase conversion rates. 

In the case of Airbnb, this helped increase the number of new signups and bookings by over 300% per day!

Track and monitor your results

The last step you’ll need to do before launching your referral program is set up a way of tracking it to see if it’s actually helping you reach your set goals.

On top of the analytics provided by your chosen referral marketing software program, you also need to have Google Analytics or a similar program in place that will help you see where people visiting your site are coming from.

Ensure that you also have metrics in place that will help you get a clearer picture of your referral marketing program’s performance. Some of the performance metrics to watch for include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Email click-through rates
  • Lead generation rates


Referral marketing programs are an effective way to gain your target market’s trust and confidence by tapping into the power of word-of-mouth advertising. Only when you’re able to get this would you get them to do business with you.

Remote Work All

Remote Employees or Freelancers: Which One Is Right for Your Company?

Improvements in both internet and tech have now made it possible for companies to hire freelancers and remote employees. Until recently, many assume that they are one and the same. But with the passing of AB5 in California, it’s clear that they’re not.

In case you haven’t heard, the new California law AB5 is taking effect on January 1st, 2020. It has several implications for California-based businesses and workers, but we can only assume that other big cities like New York and Washington could soon follow.

For those who need a quick summary of the new law, it’s been nothing short of divisive. 

Opposing opinions have mentioned the AB5 could either be the gateway for independent contractors to enjoy more benefits that were only awarded to full-time employees in the past – or it may only be an added burden to the businesses who rely on these independent workers, and a loss of said contractors’ sought-after freedom and flexibility.

Regardless, as a business owner, you may be affected by this law one way or another – and if not now, then possibly in the future.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the fine line that separates remote workers and freelancers, and then help you determine which might be the better option for your company.

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Distinguishing remote employees and freelancers

With a law like the California AB5 hovering over us, the distinction between remote employees and freelancers must be made clear.

Remote employees are considered employees of the company – the only thing that sets them apart is their location. Your company might be based in New York but have full-time remote staff in Los Angeles, Canada, or even as far as China. They enjoy all the benefits your company already has, including insurance perks, vacation leaves, and the like.

On the other hand, freelancers are completely independent of your company and instead render services in exchange for an agreed-upon rate. Freelancers typically work per project or by the hour. 

Usually, you and the freelancer agree upon project deliverables and timelines, and your working relationship with the freelancer ends if deliverables have been rendered in full and no upcoming work is expected.

Key factors to consider when deciding on either remote employees or freelancers

As you can see, there’s an apparent difference between remote workers and freelancers. And while you’re deciding which ones may work best to exponentially grow your company, we’ve outlined a few key factors you may want to consider when you’re weighing each option.

The location of your business

The location of your business might tell you if freelancers or remote workers work better for you.

For businesses based in cities with the highest job growth, you might be fine with hiring freelancers for projects. On the other hand, if the specific talent is a little hard to come by, you can consider taking on full-time remote workers with the specific skill set you’re looking for.

Where your virtual staff is based

Whether or not you want to work with remote workers or freelancers, you’ll need to know where they’re based and what that might mean for your business.

For example, hiring a remote worker in other parts of the world may mean being more sensitive to time zone differences. So you can’t expect instant replies about project updates if it were, say, midnight in your virtual employee’s time zone. 

Scope of work you’ll be assigned

Because you won’t be meeting your workers on the regular in an office, assigning different tasks and projects needs some advanced planning. First, evaluate the kind of work you want each member to be responsible for, determine how much work and effort the role requires, and then you can determine whether or not you ought to hire full-time remote employees or part-time freelancers.

Rulings and regulations

As mentioned before, the California AB5 is one of the laws that might affect your decision to either go with freelancers or remote workers.

Assuming you are affected by the AB5, because the law has stipulations that reclassify independent workers as employees assuming they meet certain criteria, you may be better off hiring a remote team instead of a team of freelancers.

How to build a virtual team

One thing in common if you’d work with remote employees and freelancers, however, is the fact that you’d be managing a virtual team. And handling a completely remote team means having some essential benchmarks, metrics, and steps for success. Here are 6 of our top tips.

Establish the right foundation

When you decide to implement a remote team model, your entire company has to revolve around it. This means everything from top to bottom in your plans must reflect this mode of working and is not just some way to entice talent to come work with you.

Determine your remote team model

Part of building a remote team geared towards the growth of your company means knowing the kinds of team models available to you.

(Image source)

In this first example, the independent model organized by flows and features has each person assigned to handle tasks in that workflow.

(Image source)

In this second example, the functional model organizes people in a more structured way, where one person reports directly to somebody else.

You can read more about growth team models and see which you’d like to implement in your own company here.

Create the description for each remote team member

It’s crucial to be very clear about the roles and responsibilities each member has in their team. When you’re planning out your company structure, outline the kinds of responsibilities you believe each person should have, so you know how to attract and then onboard the right candidate.

Conduct a video interview

Aside from their convenience and necessity when working with remote workers, video interviews have more benefits than you might first think. For one thing, they’re more cost-efficient – both with time and resources. And another, it’s a way to get to know somebody behind a portfolio or resumé.

And according to the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) in a 2014 edition of its MBA applicant survey, many applicants feel that their skills and capabilities are better represented if they’d been interviewed via video. 

This is a good thing for companies looking to use more video calls in their hiring process – a candidate’s confidence in their interview can mean getting to know their qualities and skills in the best possible light.

(Image source)

Take them for a test run

It’s fine if you choose to give test assignments or probationary periods to see how well your new hires adapt and fit into the remote role. Be sure to have metrics in mind in order to measure their performance.

Instill a growth culture

A team with a growth culture should have a collaborative spirit and operate on a basis of trust. You’re all working towards one end goal that benefits the company – and, ergo, everyone in it.

Having a growth culture means being able to work on diverse platforms, cross-function, and to be good not just in one specific skill, but to learn how to incorporate marketing and sales, analytics, engineering, networking, and product management into your team. 

Tips to manage a virtual team

Once you have your virtual team, you’ll need to manage them to make the most of your time and resources. We have here 6 tips to help you become the best virtual team manager you can be.

Make sure your leaders are on board

Your leadership team needs to be on board with your decision to employ virtual workers, else you might clash heads, slow down progress on projects, or, worst, have resentment growing in the background.

If needed, train your leaders and managers to handle remote workers, and constantly remind them of the importance of hiring additional help.

Evaluate their performance

You can see how well your remote team is working if you’re able to determine whether their performance furthers the growth of your company. You’ll need to align with your HR department to evaluate these remote workers with fair criteria based on their responsibilities. 

Provide the right tools

A team is only as good as the way they can work together seamlessly, so employ different tools to help you communicate clearly, collaborate on work, and hit your milestones. Luckily, software developments have allowed people to work remotely, and almost without friction.

Consider also business tools that drive your company forward, such as a business website where, more often than not, domains are tied to different tools and software like email. On average, the cost of maintaining a business website can balloon at about $400 to $60,000 per year, so it’s best to factor this in when you’re budgeting for tools.

Have an onboarding process in place

Once candidates come in, make the onboarding process as seamless as possible. Use guides and handbooks that you can share virtually, create workflows and processes to explain how their tasks fit into the big picture goals of your company.

Set expectations early

Roles, responsibilities, and expectations ought to be made clear from the get-go – even as early as the interview process. Let workers know their deliverables, how often they should report back to their department heads, and how they might be able to ask for support when needed.

Communication is crucial

Remote teams are only as effective as the way they communicate. Have tools like Slack and Google Meet to reach out to others better. Google Suite also lets your team collaborate on projects seamlessly. Keep everyone in the loop with new developments, align with team members Constantly, and keep those communication lines open.

Key Takeaways

Hiring remote workers and freelancers at the end of the day requires the same effort and focus – the only difference lies in the way they’re integrated into your company. Keep in mind factors that may affect your decisions when building a remote team, then prepare to onboard and manage these remote workers accordingly.

Remote Work

How to Transition Your Startup Team from In-House to Remote Working Amid Coronavirus Spread

The effects of the recent coronavirus outbreak across multiple countries and cities are more than apparent. Tech events – two of the most notable being Google I/O and Mobile World Congress – are getting cancelled, and many companies, including Lyft, Google, Box, and Microsoft, are encouraging remote working to avoid the disease. 

Other than asking employees to stay home, some companies are turning to hire remote workers, especially since popular roles like web developers are becoming the most in-demand remote positions. Many companies employ a combination of hiring remote or independent workers and in-house staff altogether.

And if you’re thinking of following suit to help curb worry and fear among your in-house employees, you need to be prepared. So here are ways you can transition your in-house employees to remote working, especially amid the coronavirus spread.

How to Transition Your Startup Team from In-House to Remote

Set clear objectives for going remote

It’s important to align everybody on why you want to do remote working, especially to avoid the global pandemic. Be clear about your objectives for doing so, so you can start setting expectations. For some startups, perhaps this can be a golden opportunity to experiment on remote working. Can you incentivize employees with more remote working days in the future if you all prove successful? 

Here are some guide questions to help you flesh out your remote working objectives:

  • What do you hope to accomplish by letting employees work remotely? You can cascade this answer to employees to show them you value their wellbeing while not having to resort to halting company operations altogether, as some companies in China have had to do.
  • What company goals are your team working on in the short-term? You may include making a successful transition from in-house to a remote part of this.
  • What specific skills and outcomes are you working towards by going remote? As mentioned before, do you hope to improve your company working style to be able to introduce more remote working days in the future?

Create updated company policies

Speak with your HR department and managers to update company policies accordingly. Specify whether your employees ought to observe the same working hours as before or whether or not you’re also accommodating flexible work hours. Also consider policies on filing for sick days, processing benefits and reimbursements, and other activities that you commonly take care of in-house.

Communicate always, especially at the beginning

For an in-house team that’s starting to work remotely for the first time, communication is crucial. Keep everybody updated on recent progressions within the company and emphasize the need for constant communication especially while remote. Needless to say, you also ought to communicate any changes in policies or team setup that comes as a response to the transition. As the head of your startup, you ought to model the transparency and open communication you expect from your employees in these troubling times.

Prepare remote hiring contingencies

Despite everyone’s best efforts to implement changes from the minute to the drastic to contain coronavirus spread, we can’t say for certain when the outbreak will come to a complete halt. Given this, it is best to be prepared for long-term remote work setups until the virus is contained. This includes streamlining your hiring and onboarding process while your HR team works remotely as well.

Here are some additional tips for remote hiring and onboarding:

  • Consolidate all onboarding documents and files and put them in shared workspaces for anyone to access from their personal computers.
  • Conduct video interviews using software like Zoom or Skype.
  • Have your managers set up team meetings to introduce new team members with one another without meeting in person?

Support employees’ transition and needs

For many employees, this might be their first time working remotely. To manage your personal expectations, and expect things to be bumpy at first. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide support in whatever way you can. Here are a few ways you can help individual employees make the switch:

  • Ensure they have their work computer or laptop set up in a convenient workspace.
  • Equip them with best productivity practices when their managers are absent.
  • Send links to tutorials for any new software or tools that you plan to use to support your remote working.
  • Consider making hours more flexible. This is especially for working parents whose young children might be stuck at home due to schools being closed as preventive measures. 

Equip your team with the right tools

Last but not least, the right tools can often help you make remote working as painless as possible. Here are a few tools you can use depending on the need:

For virtual meetings and communication

Software like Zoom and Skype have made it possible to conduct video conferencing within teams and companies. Messaging apps like Slack are also helpful for streamlining communication lines, file sharing, and keeping conversation threads organized. Also, consider having a company-wide shared Google Calendar to share availabilities for meetings, or use appointment scheduling apps like Calendly or Acuity to easily set appointments with specific people.

For project management

Track your projects’ progress using popular tools like Asana or Trello. They come equipped with multiple integrations that also make it easy to share files, monitor deadlines, and see any project bottlenecks at a glance. 

For productivity and time tracking

Tools like Zapier can help you automate certain tasks to keep your team productive while working remotely. And if you want to monitor individual members’ performance, at least if only in the beginning, time tracking tools like RescueTime and Timely can help you see where employees are spending most of their time. You can then provide additional assistance to anyone who might be struggling during the transition.

For security 

You’ll want to put up best data privacy practices when your entire team has to work remotely. When so many people are being forced to work from home with the new virus scare, this can make companies susceptible to malicious attacks by hackers who take advantage of insecure networks and vulnerabilities. 

One option for startups is to invest in virtual networks, but that can be costly. A good alternative is resorting to consumer-grade virtual private networks (VPNs), which use the same security protocols but are a fraction of the cost.

Protect your employees and your company amid growing public health concerns

This isn’t the first – nor last – time we can expect a global pandemic to hit our shores and affect our lifestyle. Fortunately, technology is making it easier for startups and companies to continue work operations while keeping employees safe from home. 

Consider this a long-term investment in your company: when you invest in your employees’ health and safety, they’ll reward you with loyalty and better engagement at their jobs. Use the tips above to help you successfully make the transition from in-house to remote, so you make sure your company stays afloat during these trying times.

Remote Work

5 Steps to Finding a Great Accountability Partner

If you’re working on hitting some new goals this year, you might find it hard to stick to them. Life happens, things come up, and sometimes our personal goals end up on the backburner.

But one thing that can really help you stick to any big goals of yours this year? Getting an accountability partner.

Read on to see why accountability might be a good idea for you to stick to new resolutions and goals, how to find your own accountability partner, and how the two of you can make the most of your journey together.

Table of Contents

Outer accountability matters for our goals

First of all, let’s talk about why accountability matters – and why you, of all people, might really need it.

A best-selling human nature researcher and author, Gretchen Rubin, first talked about the Four Tendencies framework, which can tell you how well we respond to inner and outer “expectations.

In a nutshell, inner expectations are things like resolutions or new habits and goals we set for ourselves. And outer expectations are things like favors, work deadlines, and any expectation from others around us.

The Four Tendencies framework tells us our own Tendency – whether we’re Upholders, Questions, Obligers, or Rebels. For a quick summary, the framework is illustrated below.

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According to Rubin, the most common Tendency is that of Obligers – who have great difficulty meeting any inner expectations for themselves. Because so many people belonging to this Tendency have a hard time sticking to better resolutions, habits, and goals, Rubin suggests the only true way they can stick to these is with outer accountability.

And indeed, most everyone can benefit from having outer accountability, Obliger or not. Because someone depends on you to meet your goals, it’s harder to fall off the wagon. 

You get the right kind of support that you might not get from other people, and it’s just nice to have somebody on the same journey with you.

Ready to get some real accountability? Then it’s time to find yourself an accountability partner.

Steps to find a great accountability partner

An accountability partner is someone dedicated to helping you stay on track with any new goals or resolutions you might have. It’s not enough to have just anyone be your accountability partner, though. Here are 5 steps that will help you find the best person to stay with you on your journey.

Determine what kind of accountability partner you want

Are you looking for an accountability partner for your fitness goals? Or perhaps reading goals?

Whatever it is, it’s more helpful to choose an accountability partner who has a similar goal as you. This way, you both can relate with one another and cheer each other on when times get tough.

Once you know what kind of accountability partner you’d like to have, it’s easier to narrow down your search.

Ask around in your local community.

Look around you. Do you know anyone in your neighborhood or community or interest groups who could be a great accountability partner?

Maybe you have a gym membership and can find a fellow cardio-hater to stay accountable for hitting that running goal you set yourself. Or maybe another mom at your kids’ school would love to join you in your goal to write and complete a book.

You might just be surprised who you find when you start asking.

Check on virtual communities, groups, and forums

If you can’t find anyone in your local community, try going virtual. Look at any forums and online groups for people who have similar passions or goals as you do and start a conversation for getting an accountability partner.

Check Facebook groups, Reddit threads, or look in the comments of your favorite niche bloggers. 

Join an accountability group

By joining in this kind of group, you had the further advantage of this relationship’s power by building accountability with many people at once. Every member of the accountability group holds each other members for following through on their commitments.

They are more persuasive than an accountability partner because any mistakes you made will cause you to lose face with several people instead of a single person. Also, with more people to answer, you will be more obliged to achieve your set goal. 

Avoid choosing a close friend or significant other

When choosing an accountability partner, one thing to note is avoiding a sweetheart, spouse, or close friend.

People who are incredibly close to us may not always be the best accountability partners because, according to Rubin’s personal explanation, expectations from people like spouses often feel like inner expectations that you can ignore.

This isn’t to say you can never ask a family member to be your accountability partner, however. You might have a sister-in-law or aunt who’s working towards the same goals, and you can ask them.

But if anyone feels too close to you and you doubt they’d keep you accountable, it’s best to choose somebody else.

How to succeed together as accountability partners

After finding an accountability partner, there are a few ways you can make the most of your time together. Here are some steps to help you succeed as accountability partners making huge progress on your individual goals.

Set goals you want to achieve and stay accountable to 

When communicating with your accountability partner, be specific about the goals you want to achieve together. You might both be looking to get into better, healthier habits like working out more.

Instead of keeping your goals vague – “read more,” “write more,” “run more” – set a realistic goal.

For example, both of you can commit to running at least three times per week. Try to frame your goal as a habit instead of a metric, i.e., “I want to run three times per week” versus “I want to lose 20lbs running,” so it’s easier to manage and stick to.

Send weekly (or even daily) updates

Decide with your accountability partner how often you want to update one another. Is sending a weekly message enough? Or perhaps you want to send a text and photo the minute you’ve accomplished what you set out to do?

Constant communication is key – you can stick to goals if you both stay committed to updating one another about how you’re doing.

Cheer each other on (but don’t be afraid to show some tough love)

Life happens. Things get in the way. They’re a part of life. You and your accountability partner should cheer each other on during rougher times, giving each other the motivation to stick to your goals until the end.

Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in some tough love too. Commit to one another that you’ll call each other out for your excuses.

Find out what’s working and what isn’t

Last but not least, as you go through your next few weeks or months as accountability partners, it’s important to see what is or isn’t working.

Maybe you find out you need daily accountability updates to stay committed to your goal. Or maybe you’d like to create a little reward system as an extra incentive for both of you.

Whichever the case, talk together to see what’s working in your journey together. Your partners are working towards a specific goal, after all, so supporting each other requires adjustments however you need.

Now get accountable

Finding an accountability partner doesn’t need to be complicated. Know what you want to work on, find someone on a similar path, and stick together. You’re both closer to your goals when you work towards them together

Social Media

10 Tips for Working With Influencers on TikTok

Every marketer knows the benefits of using influencer marketing in the age of digital and social media. You’ve probably read the reports about influencer marketing ROI being just as effective if not more than other marketing channels.

And many brands have taken to YouTube or Instagram influencers to help them reach a broader audience or get authentic and organic posts about their product or service. And this 2020, there’s an up-and-coming marketing platform you’ve probably heard is climbing the charts and the next big thing for marketers to look out for.

Enter TikTok. 

Hailed as one of the fast-growing apps on the market, TikTok is more than just an app for teens to share quirky videos. It turns out many adults download and use TikTok regularly, where its rapid growth in the US shows how many people are starting to join the app.

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About 1 billion videos are viewed daily on the app, and with a growing audience actively consuming content made by other creators, marketers are flocking to the app to see how they can leverage it too.

If you’re here, you’re probably wondering how to use TikTok – especially working with influencers on Tiktok who have the reach and audience trust you’re looking for. 

Keep reading because, in this post, we take a look at how you can create a step-by-step strategy to collaborate with Tiktok influencers and get the most return on your influencer marketing budget.

Challenges marketers collaborating with TikTok influencers

Gen Z audience hate marketing

Surveys and studies have found that the biggest demographic on TikTok – Generation Z – don’t respond well to brands who market to them traditionally. If you take a look at their media habits, they tend to skip ads at every given chance, even going as far as installing ad blockers on their devices.

Their media habits are also a far cry from generations before them. Because they grew up in the age of the internet, Gen Z people don’t always watch TV, listen to traditional radio, and have learned to shut out advertising messages and platforms.

With this in mind, marketers can create TikTok influencer marketing campaigns that are creative and unique. Instead of seeing younger generations’ dislike for traditional marketing as a sign not to market to them at all, marketers should look at this as an opportunity to create more effective campaigns that focus on value and creativity that pull people in – a far cry from the typical push messaging that often drowns in advertising news.

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Privacy issues

In February 2019, TikTok was issued a hefty $5.7 million fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), citing predecessor app’s practices of collecting and exposing private data of users, many of whom were under the age of 13. Details such as their age, school, and birthday were visible and accessible to 

Needless to say, privacy issues were a big concern for marketers thinking about moving to TikTok. And they still are to this day. 

Even if it isn’t consumer data you need to protect, it might even be your own company’s. As of writing, TikTok has no two-factor authentication setting, so privacy features might be quite limited.

But these issues shouldn’t stop you from diving into TikTok marketing. An easy fix for this is using a virtual private network (VPN) on your phone when accessing your brand TikTok account – and just about any brand account, for that matter. 

Many of the best VPNs use protocols known as OpenVPN and IKEv2 that encrypt your traffic almost all the time. While they may not fully protect you from the prying eyes of a state-sponsored surveillance mechanism, they will keep your data out of the hands of hackers, ensuring your accounts are safe even with emerging apps and platforms like TikTok.

The Minority issue

A bulk of TikTok users are minors, many being aged 13 and under. Because of this, marketers may find it tricky to market on the platform while staying compliant with privacy laws involving children and minors.

TikTok has since claimed that they’ve taken measures to delete TikTok users whom they’ve found to be underage, but that might not deter said users from creating new accounts or lying about their age.

Because of this, marketers should take proactive steps to make sure all their marketing messages are safe for all TikTok users, regardless of age. This also means trying to get general information and insights about influencers’ followers – but we’ll talk about that in-depth in the next few sections.

How to work with influencers on TikTok

Now that you know some potential challenges and limitations faced by other marketers on TikTok, you can move on to crafting a more informed marketing campaign. To work with influencers on Tiktok successfully, follow these essential steps.

Have a clear goal

Start with your goal of doing influencers on Tiktok marketing. Are you launching a new product or service and need more awareness? Are you an established brand in your niche and need better conversions and sales? Or are you perhaps wanting to work with influencers on Tiktok to boost brand image?

Treat TikTok like any other marketing platform and have tangible goals your brand can work towards together with your chosen influencers. Identify essential key performance indicators for this marketing platform and set targets you want to work for. As with all things marketing: what we track, grows.

Understand how the platform works

TikTok thrives on short video content, with an emphasis on creative AI-powered filters, effects, transitions, and the like. Look into what type of content performs best on TikTok to help you understand and later screen the right influencers for your campaign. 

Chances are leading influencers on Tiktok are both trendsetters and trend followers – which can show you at a glance what kind of TikTok has the likelihood to perform well.

Once you know how TikTok works, you’ll be inspired to create unique and engaging marketing messages, while helping you weed out influencers that aren’t right for your brand.

An incredible library of built-in TikTok effects have contributed to the app’s popularity, but users’ creativity and approach with these effects essentially are what separates successful TikTok creators from the rest.(Image source)

Know your audience

It also helps to look back at your buyer persona to glean why your audiences are using TikTok themselves. Are they in it for entertainment? Do they get information out of it? How well do they respond to new TikTok trends?

This is an important place to start because knowing your audience can help you find influencers and brands that they may already be following on TikTok or are likely to follow in the future.

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Carefully choose the influencers you work with

One part of an effective outreach marketing strategy is working with the right people. Choosing to work with just about any influencer willing to work with your brand won’t guarantee any results if any.

So if you want to make the most bang for your buck, you need to screen influencers and choose only the ones who can stand to benefit your brand and campaign. 

Here are a few things you’ll want to look out for when choosing your influencers on TikTok:

The relevance of their content with your goals and brand

You’ll want to only recruit social media influencers who are either part of your industry or may complement your niche in some way. 

For example, if you’re in the business of meal planning, the obvious influencers on your radar might be those already talking about meal plans, calorie counting, and the like.

But consider a fitness influencer who regularly posts workout content for their followers – this might be a good fit for your brand, especially if the influencer’s broader niche is about wellness or caring for your body.

Who are their followers

If an influencer has several people in your audience following them, you’re in a prime position to reach said influencer’s following. When it comes to effective influencer marketing, quality always trumps quantity. While a TikTok creator with a huge following may seem like a gold mine for any brand, if your audience isn’t among their following, then you might not be making the most of your budget.

Engagement rates

Take a look at how audiences engage with these influencers. Are they getting a lot of comments? What kind of comments are they getting? Pro-tip: while a number of likes can be important to look at, they might very well only be a vanity metric.

Cross-check their activity in other platforms

If you can work with influencers who have reach across a variety of platforms, you might be able to get more out of your influencer marketing campaign. Check whether these influencers have a presence on YouTube and Instagram aside from TikTok and see whether they’ve already worked with brands in the past.

Invest in the right tools

Influencer marketing has long been in the game, and many businesses have sprung up precisely to help marketers like you find and recruit the right influencers for your brand. Use these top influencer marketing platforms designed to find relevant influencers, get to know their audiences, as well as getting insights that might have taken days to weeks to get on your own.

Create a TikTok content playbook for inspiration 

You’ll want to have a separate playbook for influencer campaigns across each platform. Because social media channels vary in their supported (even preferred) content types, allowable captions, and the like, it’s important to make one for TikTok as well. 

This playbook will inform your influencers about key brand messages in your campaign, talking points about certain products, and perhaps even inspiration for the content they can create. This playbook is meant to set up your influencers for success – just remember that your influencer’s success is your success.

Create a branded hashtag challenge for influencers to engage with

You can reach more influencers by creating a unique branded hashtag challenge. Challenges are a popular content format on TikTok, and you can make the most of this by first working with a few key influencers to help get the challenge out.

Once you have a few people doing your branded challenge on TikTok, you can attract more people attempting it themselves. This way, you can find more influencers whom you might have missed or simply get user-generated content to post on your profile. After all, people love being featured by brands.

Give TikTok influencers room to “do their own thing”

TikTok rose to popularity because of users’ creativity. So it makes sense to give your influencers the space they need to create content for your campaign in a way that makes sense for them.

Great influencers are also more likely to work with brands who value their creativity and input when posting sponsored content, so you can get higher-quality influencers than, say, people looking for quick cash by copy-pasting verbatim a caption you’ve supplied.

Set clear rules to make sure they comply with FTC guidelines

Inform yourself about important FTC guidelines to avoid hefty fines and violations when working with influencers. Knowing this, you’re able to cascade that information to your influencers so they’re able to use the right disclaimers and disclosures that inform audiences about advertised posts and content.

Opt for a commission-based payment model

Influencers may be more willing to work with your brand if you don’t cap off their earnings with a set fee. By incentivizing all conversions from their accounts, they can make a bigger income more sustainably.

This also benefits your brand as well. Because influencers will need to talk about your brand consistently to get a commission from your products, you can start more influencer-led conversations about your brand.

Repurpose influencer content on your own profile

You can amplify both your and influencers’ content by repurposing influencer-created content and republishing this on your own profile. This is a way for you to keep posting content consistently while also helping the influencer reach more people who might not be following them. 

Of course, you should have an agreement beforehand with influencers that you’re able to republish content for your own brand’s marketing. 

Time to TikTok

The beauty of social media is it’s a space where users themselves are able to create content that is engaging and interesting to their audiences. Brands might be able to create their own content and release their own TikTok videos, but when paired with the right influencers, your campaign can go much farther. 

Use the tips and steps above to help you work with influencers on Tiktok effectively – and legally. As with anything new emerging in the digital space, keep an open mind, don’t be afraid to experiment, and keep tracking those results.