3 Examples of Brands that Created Unique Site Calculators

Site content is of the utmost importance, but how many times can you keep writing about the same thing over and over again. This is especially true in the world of finance, business and marketing.

However, every once in a while you will come across a site or brand that has put in the time and effort to create a calculator or generation tool to come up with unique ideas or calculations for the end user.

A perfect example of this would be a title generator for bloggers. Sure, you can come up with a title, but putting in a few trigger keywords and letting a smart AI-driven tool come up with a few options is a much better idea.

With this in mind, sites that put in the time and effort to create such tools not only provide a ton of value to the end user, but it also helps them stand out from the crowd in the process.

Today we are going to highlight a few different calculators and generator tools to provide you with examples of what’s working today. After going through the list, you should then think about how you can create similar tools to provide more value to your audience, while standing out from the crowd in the process.

Student Loan Calculator

Every year millions of students head off to college to start a new phase of their lives. This is usually fun and games for the kids heading off to school, but often a financial disaster for the parents that are flipping the bill.

Earnest.com created an excellent student loans calculator as a way for both parents to figure out the costs of student loans, while also helping to inform and teach students about the associated costs of college as well.

To use the tool, all you need to do is input the loan amount, loan term years, graduation data and loan interest rate type. With all of this information provided, the tool will then provide an estimate on the total cost, cost while in school and full repayment options.

The benefit for a site like Earnest to create and offer such a valuable tool to their audience, is that it can help site users better understand the loan and financing process, while also potentially referring new customers to the site.

Amazon Best Seller Rank Calculator

As the largest business in the world today and selling pretty much any and everything, Amazon has millions of products for sale and also works with millions of site partners.

If you were to break down the many different ways to work and make money with Amazon, there would be a ton of opportunities. However, printed books and digital Kindle books are one of the most lucrative opportunities out there, and if this is a space you are currently involved in, you will already know the power and influence of your product sales rank.

Kindlepreneur.com, a blog from Dave Chesson, is all about creating ebooks and selling through Amazon. One of the most popular and useful features on the site is the Amazon Seller Rank calculator.

All you need to do is put in any sales rank number, and it will shoot out an estimate on how many sales that individivual book is selling daily.

If you are currently working with Amazon outside of Kindle or digital books, there are plenty of other tools offered directly from Amazon as well. These will prove extremely useful when trying to find the correct profit margins for any items you might be selling, while also factoring in Amazon’s fees and shipping costs.

Conversion Rate Calculator

It doesn’t matter if you are an affiliate marketer, a blogger, a seller through Amazon or a retail store, it’s important to understand conversions and knowing how to come up with profit and sales numbers.

For the most part, conversion rates are pretty simple. All you need to do is have the number of completed actions (which can be signups, sales, open rates or any task) and also to have a number of visits or views to your site or ad campaign. Then, all you need to do is divide these two numbers and you will have the conversion rate.

Webfx.com has created an extremely simple, yet effective, conversion rate calculator tool that does all of this work for you. Simply input your lead or sales amount, and then the amount of views or clicks, and then the tool will provide you with the actual conversion rate.

It’s an extremely simple tool, but it has done wonders for Webfx in terms of new traffic to the site, and value provided to their audience.

Automation, Calculators and Generator Tools are the Way to Go

With more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, the last thing we all need is more content to clutter up the search results and to waste our time.

What we need more of is unique tools and features like the ones highlighted above. The better the user experience and the more value provided, the more likely the user is to come back to your site, while also taking action on whatever it is you might have to offer.

Take the time to look through the list of recommended tools and calculators mentioned above, and then spend some time on the programming and creation process to see what type of original content you could create for your audience.

Marketing Set up for the Target Group vs Marketing Without Settings

Marketing that’s made for everyone (massive marketing), and not the target group, is the one used in traditional marketing, while the one that’s set for the target group was established with digital marketing. A marketing campaign that’s set up to the target group is cheaper and more effective to reach the goal – to sell a product or service.

Marketing strategy is a very important segment for anyone starting a new business. You should know that over the years, many companies have switched from so-called mass marketing to one that aims at the target group.

Depending on your product and business model, you can adopt either of the two strategies mentioned. However, you should know that marketing will be more effective for you if you target your consumers. That’s why some of the most famous companies use this strategy.

How to Target the Right Consumer Group for Your Business?

Segmentation is one of the most important processes in a marketing targeting campaign because it allows you to reach consumers who are really interested in your product.

Namely, before you start a marketing campaign, it’s necessary to do market research in order to get an image of the ideal customer.

Some items that will help you have a picture of your ideal customer may be the following:

  • Customer age (from-to)
  • Gender (both or only one)
  • Degree of education
  • Marital status
  • Annual income
  • Religion
  • Location
  • Income class
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic origin
  • Or anything else you need to know for your product or service

What Else Is Audience-Targeted Marketing Good For?

Any business that’s in its infancy faces the problem of showing its products or services to the right audience. The problem is that most don’t have enough financial resources to invest in marketing in order to reach a wide range of audiences.

However, today you don’t need huge financial resources to reach the target group. Digital marketing gives you the option of advertising through content (native ad) that you can run with a budget that’s accessible to everyone.

When you start a business, it’s always better to narrow your focus, because it won’t only help you save money, but will also help you build a stronger business reputation and plan an effective strategy for reaching your target group. In this way, your business will be more efficient, more profitable, you’ll build a loyal customer base, and build a long-term business.

Mass Marketing vs Targeted Marketing

Mass marketing, as the name says itself, is trying to reach as many people as possible. In mass marketing, the focus is on numbers, while targeted marketing tries to reach a segmented or specific audience.

Mass Marketing at a Glance

The easiest way to explain this type of marketing is that it’s similar to throwing a net into the river to catch as many fish as possible. This means that you’ll need a bigger net, a bigger boat, and also a lot of hands to help you. As this type of marketing is open to everyone, you’ll catch a variety of “fish”, both large and small, of different species.

Marketing channels in non-target marketing are usually of the traditional type, such as radio, television, magazines, and newspapers. This strategy focuses on low cost to drive high sales.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mass Marketing


  • It reaches a wide range of audiences
  • Maximum exposure to the product/service


  • It isn’t economically viable – it’s expensive
  • It’s difficult to measure its effectiveness
  • The profit margin is usually low
  • It takes a lot of manpower to realize it

Audience-Targeted Marketing

Unlike mass marketing, where you only display an ad to a wide circle of audiences, targeted marketing focuses on certain consumer criteria, i.e. to a refined and segmented target group.

With this type of marketing, the market is divided into segments or demographic data. So, you show and sell your products or services to a smaller audience, but to one who’s interested in them.

Targeted marketing takes time to develop, but it’s easier to measure its success than mass marketing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Marketing Tailored to the Target Group


  • Targeted marketing is cheaper and more affordable
  • It offers a large profit margin
  • It offers a better chance of overtaking the competition
  • It’s easy to build loyal customers with its help because this marketing is tailored to their needs


  • It often takes time to see results, mostly due to the testing that must be performed
  • Determining the target market requires a lot of planning and strategy

Every brand in the market is looking for the most efficient way to reach a wide audience. As a starting point, the best approach you might want to consider is targeted marketing, as it gives you the flexibility to reach an audience that might be interested in your products or services.

Unlike mass marketing, which relies mainly on traditional tools of presentation (television, radio, print media…), targeted marketing uses the power of technology and the Internet to reach a wide range of target groups. 

Using the Internet implies that some of the basic things brands choosing this marketing technique need to have are a website, social media accounts, Google ads, etc. Before they even think of results they can achieve via these tools, brands have to make sure that their online presentations are visible at all times. For that, they need quality hosting.

To run good marketing campaigns, brands need to build a dynamic website, so there’s a big chance it will require the MySQL database. The combination of MySQL database and MySQL servers supporting it is a winning combination. Make a little research and select an option that fits your needs the best. Support options that MySQL hosts have, as well as other features (uptime, response…), will help you develop successful projects.

All in all, MySQL is one of the most used relational database management systems and relatively easy to work with. But, in order for your website to be fast and smooth, servers mustn’t lag behind.

Also, audience-targeted marketing saves time and money during a marketing campaign, but it takes a lot of research and strategies to be able to determine the right segments to target your audience.

Why Should You Embrace Audience-Targeted Marketing?

1) High conversion rate: One of the reasons why you should adopt this type of marketing is that it brings a high conversion rate compared to mass marketing.

2) The metric is clear: Targeted marketing can be easily measured in terms of the results it delivers.

3) You give the audience what it wants: It offers your products and services only to those who might be interested in your offer.

Tips for Integrating Chatbots into your Marketing Strategy

We have all been on a website and had a chat box pop up and ask us if there is anything that we need help with. More often than not, the person who we start chatting to is not a person at all.

Chatbots are computer programs that have been designed to have a conversation with a person in a way that makes it seem they are talking to another person. How natural the conversation will be depends on the sophistication of the chatbot technology.

Chatbots are useful tools for all kinds of businesses and can provide a number of marketing benefits. They are easy to design too, especially with an intuitive chatbot builder at hand.

This article will explain four useful tips for integrating chatbots into your business marketing strategy.

Choose the right chatbot to suit your needs

The first thing you must do when planning to integrate chatbots into your marketing strategy is to identify your goals. The type of chatbot that you will need to use will depend on the objectives that you set out to achieve. A simple chatbot can be used to answer frequently asked questions. They are easy to design and implement and will recognize keywords and phrases in questions and will be able to give the appropriate answer from a pre-programmed list. Booking.com uses a relatively unsophisticated chatbot to answer FAQs about hotel check-in policies, payment options and other basic information. The chatbot’s answers use natural language like “How can I help you?” or “Is there anything else today?”

More complex engagements require a more highly sophisticated ai chatbot which is able to learn from dialogues in order to engage with customers at a far superior level. AI chatbots can be used at every stage of an outreach marketing campaign. AI chatbots are able to evaluate leads and determine whether that lead is a potential customer. Not all people who show interest in your product or visit your website are genuine potential customers and so a sophisticated AI chatbot are able to hone in on the best quality leads which will enable you to more accurately target your marketing campaign. Once a lead has been determined to be a potential customer, chatbots can be used to make the initial sales approach and analyze customer responses.

Sophisticated AI chatbots will learn what approach customers react positively to and are designed to adapt accordingly. 

Use chatbots for 24/7 customer enquiries

As in the case of Booking,com as explained above, one of the easiest but also most effective ways to use chatbots is to answer customer enquiries. One huge benefit of this is that you can respond to customers any time of the day without having to hire extra staff to deal with out of hours enquiries. A simple chatbot can be integrated into your business’s website through a built-in messenger tool and customers can make direct enquiries without having to email or call you. Customers have been shown to much prefer the back and forth interaction with a chatbot rather than a traditional FAQ page on your website. Facebook offers a chatbot service to businesses through the Facebook Messenger program and can be used either on their Facebook business page or integrated directly onto their website. This service can answer customer queries about operating hours, give online quotes, and take food orders for restaurants that offer delivery services.

Use chatbots for fun customer interaction

Chatbots can be used for far more than just given information or answering customer enquiries and one great way to integrate chatbots into your marketing strategy is to create an enjoyable customer experience. You only need to look at how people chat to Siri or Alexa to see that a conversation with a chatbot can be really fun. A fun chatbot experience can help to create a good feeling towards your brand or business. Fashion brands use visually-aided chatbots to enhance the customer experience. The chatbot assists online shoppers through each step of the process in the same way a stylist would, asking questions like “What kind of collar do you prefer?” and then showing the customer different photos to choose from which would then take the chatbot onto the next step, and so on until the perfect fashion item is chosen. Visually-aided chatbots are also great for recipe websites where users can choose different ingredients and the chatbot can suggest other compatible ingredients and popular recipes. Identifying what your customers would enjoy and designing your chatbots accordingly is key to integrating chatbots into your marketing strategy.

Match the chatbot’s tone with your products or services

Whilst the whole point of chatbots is to imitate a person, it is important that it is designed to communicate in a way that is in fitting with your business and the chatbot’s purpose. What this means in practice is that a chatbot should speak in the same way that you or your employees would speak if it was you who was having the interaction. For recipe or fashion websites, the tone of the chatbot can be informal and even playful. Added little remarks will make the customer experience more fun. Take the recipe and fashion website examples, a little comment from the chatbot like “That sounds delicious!” or “That style would really suit you!” can enhance the experience. In the Booking.com example, it is not necessary to add little comments like these as people are just looking for important information and could be annoyed by unnecessary chatbot exclamations. Some businesses require chatbots with a far more formal tone in order to convey a more serious message or service. Lawfirms, for example, who use chatbots for client enquiries should integrate polite and informative chatbots that communicate with clients in the same way that anybody working at the law firm would. Likewise, visually-aided chatbots should not be used for businesses like these where a serious and professional impression needs to be made.

Chatbots are a brilliantly innovative way to enhance your customer experience and there are a huge number of ways to integrate them into a comprehensive marketing strategy. The evolution of chatbots is changing how businesses reach out to potential new customers and how businesses and customers engage with each other. Identify your chatbot needs and integrate a chatbot that meets your marketing objectives and fits your business’s message.

Common Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid

Customers are the most important people to keep happy when you want to grow your business greatly. If they are facing a problem or issue with your product or services, they should be able to reach and contact you quickly to gain the required assistance, help or guidance to get rid of the issues as soon as possible. It is all about providing them with excellent services whenever and how they want. No business or organization can underestimate the significance of quality customer services. The ability to make your customers delighted with your services and making them feel valued is a golden rule to make your business flourish. 

Here is how you can make your customers pleased by getting rid of common customer service mistakes. Otherwise, they have plenty of options regarding with whom to do business. 

Not making smart and data-driven customer services decisions

In this era of analytics and data science, giant brands and companies leverage different types of customer service data to provide their customers with great services. Use of a customer service software is the best way to gain data analysis not only about your customers but to evaluate the performance of your customer care team. In this way, you can have insights on which customer services agent delivers great services and what areas need to be improved. Thus, don’t only rely on software to make decisions but also encourage your team to use their professional skills and expertise to provide users with personalized services experience.

Forcing customers to use a specific medium

Everyone has own communication preferences and you shouldn’t be forcing your customers to use a particular communication channel to contact you. For instance, if you export LinkedIn contacts and reach your connections to convert them into customers, don’t force them to communicate within LinkedIn but provide them with multiple options so they can conveniently reach and interact with your business. Limiting your customer service mediums gives your competitors a chance to grab your customers.

Surface-level understanding of Customers

Most of the businesses just contact their customers to make sales and then forget. Smart business owners and companies take time to get to know the customers more and gather more details about them like what they do, how they prefer to interact and what their corporate culture is. The more you know your customers, the better you will be able to present your products or services that fit their needs. 

Only communicating when something went wrong

A dialogue or conversation shouldn’t always have to be started by the customer. Don’t wait until something go out of order to interact with customers but keep talking with your customers often to make them feel special and valued. The only communication with customers when things are out of order is known as reactive service. Smart businesses focus more on proactive customer services to build strong and trusted relationships with customers. 

Impersonal Response

Using automated responses or common messages saved in your software is no doubt a smart way to save time on typing and respond to customer queries instantly. But you should remember to personalize each message before sending it to provide customers with a personalized experience. You can personalize a saved message within moments by adding the customer’s name in it. Commonly used customer service phrases annoy the customers more. So, try to send personalized responses to make customers feel special. 

Inconsistent customer experience

If your customer care department is quick to pick up calls but the IT team is not there to respond to emails or social media messages, then your customer services are bitty and inconsistent. Customer interaction via different communication mediums should relatively be consistent for each of your customers and the attitude of the customer service agents should also be positive and assistive. Sometimes customers are unable to use a particular channel to reach your business for help or assistance, and they opt for another option to contact your customer care team to get a quick and positive response. Responding to your customers in real-time no matter what medium they are using ensures that you value your customers and are always there to resolve their issues as soon as possible. 

By avoiding all the above-mentioned customer service mistakes you can provide your customers with an excellent and faster experience to keep them engaged with your business for longer.

Advertising Trends: The Top 5 Must-Know Digital Marketing Trends of 2020

Are you trying to stay up with the latest marketing trends so that your company can grow its audience? With advertising constantly changing with the rise of social media marketing and eCommerce, it can feel hard to keep up with the newest, hottest trends your company needs.

Keep reading to learn about the biggest advertising trends we will be seeing this year so that you can get the most out of your marketing plan and budget.

1. A More Shoppable Social

Rather than posting on social media to get your followers to your site, platforms like Instagram are making it much easier with social commerce. Social commerce is a shoppable post or ads, meaning the viewer just needs to click the product tag on the photo to head to its product page and make a purchase on your site.

This makes it as easy as possible for customers to make a purchase with you, an important quality in our convenience-based society. The fewer steps you provide in product purchasing can help to decrease your companies percentage of cart abandonment.

Linking your shop to social media platforms is also pretty easy, as Instagram and Facebook work to link to your eCommerce site. Platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest are also rolling out this feature.

2. Revamping Email Marketing

Email marketing remains to be a great way to reach your customers in 2020, but many companies are taking their emails to a whole new level. Many brands are saying goodbye to newsletters, or plain letter emails full of text and are instead focusing on high-quality images and graphics. This approach is eyecatching to viewers and also lets them quickly scan the information you’re sending them.

Images overlayed with interactive, call to action buttons such as “Shop Now!” and “50% Off” that customers can click to connect to a certain page on your site are a great way to lead someone to make an easy purchase. Creating stunning images and graphics for email marketing is the best way to captivate your subscribers this year.

3. Influencers Still Thriving, But in New Ways

While influencers are still going to be a great way to market to new audiences this year, many companies are turning to micro-influencers as well. A micro-influencer is someone with a medium-sized following that is more niche. With the rise of the mega-influencer within the last few years, hiring them to market your product can get pricey, which is where micro-influencers come in handy.

A great way to utilize micro-influencers is to find one who is more tailored to your audience. This assures that your influencer and their audiences are more likely to be interested in your brand and products. The micro-influencer is more likely to be in touch with their followers, and not overwhelming them with product referrals.

Another upside to using micro-influencer is that they have much more time to engage with their followers. As engagement rates become more important than ever, this can be a great way to get people talking about your brand and products.

4. Engagement to the Next Level

Social media engagement has become increasingly important over the years, and companies are taking communication with their customers to a whole new level. Many companies are using direct messaging (DM) with customers to get more personal and accessible to their consumers.

This tactic helps to increase sales, as customers can directly message your brand to ask questions about products they are interested in purchasing. By answering customer questions and concern, they are much more likely to make a purchase with you, lowering your abandoned sale rates. This is a great way to build brand awareness, loyalty and trust with customers old and new.

By giving your customers a convenient place to contact you it can also be more convenient for your company to address these concerns via DM rather than phone calls and emails. If you roll out this feature, be sure to let your followers know to DM you for questions, comments and concerns.

5. Video Marketing Is a Must

As digital marketing is finding new ways to covey quick, easy and personal content, it’s no surprise that video marketing is going to become a must for companies in 2020. Thankfully, social platforms are making it much easier to use this marketing strategy. You can avoid building a whole YouTube community and instead launch videos on Instagram and Facebook instead.

Try posting live broadcast or video posts to engage your customers. This method is much more compelling, interesting and eye-catching when viewers are scrolling their feed.

This is also a great way to pack in tons of information without having to give your audience long pages of text. Make sure your team brainstorms on interesting topics and ideas that would engage your followers.

There are plenty of video content topic options, such as an informational video about one of your new products, or a behind the scenes look into your office. This kind of marketing is so engaging because you’re getting personal with your audiences, helping them and also bringing them into the interworkings of your brand.

If you’re trying to organize your marketing plan and budget, book a QuickBooks training session today.

Digital Advertising Trends You Should Be Using In 2020

If you’re not already incorporating these advertising trends into your marketing plan, you should start. Make sure your company is at the top of its marketing game with these engaging advertising techniques that can grow your following and customer base.

For more articles on digital marketing, be sure to check out our latest article on Stacked Marketer and how they continue to deliver industry breaking news through email and social media!

5 of the Best Logo Redesigns of All Time (Updated for 2020)

Logo design is more than just freelance and graphic work. Your logo brings life to your brand, while also making it stand out from the crowd and relate with audiences in ways other marketing campaigns can’t.

Just take a look at names like McDonalds, Starbucks, Nike and Target, who can all use their logo identity and not even need to mention the brand name for audiences to know what it is. Now that is brand power!

However, not all businesses and brands get their logo design correct the first time around. Or maybe the problem is that it’s an old idea and the company is looking for a fresh new look. No matter what it is, re-branding and logo redesign is on the rise.

Doing an entire corporate rebranding can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. With that kind of investment, you want to make sure that you get it right.

Take a lesson from these companies and their logo redesigns. By learning their approach, you can make your new logo an effective one.

1. Morton Salt

The Morton Salt logo first featured the iconic little girl with an umbrella in 1914. Over the last century, she has received updates to stay current with hair and clothing fashions. This has led to redesigns in 1921, 1933, 1941, 1968, and 2014.

What’s brilliant about Morton’s logo update is that they stay true to their brand. Instead of following marketing trends, the company keeps current with social trends. This ensures the company remains true to its personality while also staying current in society.

2. Netflix

Do you remember when Netflix was a mail-order DVD rental company? It seems like a lifetime ago when you compare it to the streaming behemoth that it is today. So with the change in direction, a logo update was long overdue.

The old logo worked well for the red envelopes as the black outlining and drop shadow popped on the vibrant red. The new logo leaves the shadow behind and focuses on the red color, which is the brand’s identity.

3. Pizza Hut

The original Pizza Hut logo used four different colors. It’s also a bit busy in the design. The company made a smart choice by reducing the number of colors down to one, red. The one thing Pizza always does right with their redesigns, is that they are always very creative designs.

Not only is red a brand color for the company, but it’s a common color associated with Italian restaurants. It also evokes feelings of hunger.

One signature feature of Pizza Hut is the slanted roof. The company was smart to keep this identifying feature in its new logo.

4. Olive Garden

Olive Garden needed to update their logo because their original one was everything a logo shouldn’t be. It looked more like a street sign. It’s almost as if the local family Italian restaurant got bought by a corporate name, and they never bothered to update the logo.

The new logo brings the chain into modern times and embraces the new healthier menu. The simple font cleans the logo up and gets rid of the distracting details. They also replaced the off-brand grapes with a more fitting olive branch.

5. Marriott

Marriott did a beautiful job of giving its logo an update. While there was nothing inherently bad about their old logo, the new one is simplified while staying true to Marriott’s brand identity.

Instead of using the entire Marriott name, the logo was trimmed down to be just the fancy M. This draws your attention to the elegant M. It also makes the logo much easier and smaller to use on outdoor signs and in the room.

If you want to create a Marriott style logo, then try using a logo creator. Take a look at your logo and see if you can choose a letter or two to create the logo.

Get Inspired by These Logo Redesigns

One reoccurring trend throughout each of these logo redesigns is that the company stayed true to the brand’s image and personality. Each company looked at how it could take the core elements of their old logo and rework it to have a fresh and modern feel.

As always, we cover a wide range of topics on ZacJohnson.com, so be sure to browse our blog for more business-related articles to help make your venture a success.

Delivering Effective Employee Training in the Digital Age

The possibility of remote work used to be little more than a curious novelty offered by a handful of enterprising startups who dared to be different. However, the modern reality of the situation is that remote working is becoming much more of a mainstream option for a number of businesses, regardless of size and scale. Indeed, some of the largest organizations can benefit from the most, gaining access to global talent by way of distributed teams.

But, when your workers are spread out from Lisbon to Los Angeles, Montreal to Melbourne, how can you handle new employee onboarding to the same level of effectiveness as when you have the new hire actually in your physical office. It’s not like you can all gather around the same conference room table, nor can you linger over their shoulder to check in throughout the training process… can you?

However, to solely look at the concept of working and connecting with others through remote technology and opportunities as a business for only businesses, it would be a mistake. Now, more than ever, with the Coronavirus changing the way everyone in the world works, communicates and networks with others, the opportunity for remote working is no longer a nice little advantage and feature to have, it’s now simply a requirement.

With world conferences and events cancelling left and right, connecting audiences globally isn’t just for business anymore. Cancelling an event and postponing it for a later date is not a wise business decision. Instead, we are seeing many of these events focus on virtual events, hosting the same speakers and attendees… but not accessible from anywhere.

With all of this in mind, no matter if it’s for employee training through remote locations or holding conferences and business meetings virtually, it’s a new means  and opportunity for everyone to connect online in this new digital age.

The Importance of Effective Employee Training

It’s undeniable that one of the greatest strengths of any successful company is its people. You want to attract the right kind of talent that will align with the company culture you hope to foster, but the relationship you forge with workers at all levels of the company will begin with the process of training new employees in the first place.

It is absolutely true that new employee training can be costly, because it takes time and resources to get new hires up to speed on what needs to be done and how it should be done. That being said, ineffective training or a complete lack of training entirely can end up costing your company a lot more.

When an employee is trained effectively, not only will this result in fewer complications and conflicts down the line, but the employee is more likely to engage with the company in a positive way based on this initial experience. This helps with employee retention, as well as with long-term boosts in productivity.

A Personalized Approach from Anywhere in the World

What will it take, then, to develop an effective employee training program? It starts with having the right plan and template in place. And while this may sound like you are trying to create a standardized path for every new hire, it’s really much more about having the right initial framework and then adapting it accordingly.

  1. Start with your core objectives.
    It would be impossible (and prohibitively expensive) to train every new employee on every possible protocol, scenario, and system. Instead, it starts with having your priorities in the right place. What is the main goal of the training for this particular employee in this particular role at this particular time?
  2. Develop a plan and a timeline. After you’ve determined what is the most important thing the new hire should learn as part of their onboarding process, you need to determine how you can ensure they’ve actually learned it. Establish a realistic timeline with clearly defined milestones. Remember that training is not just a day or two of digital boot camp. It’s an ongoing process.
  3. Play to their strengths.
    Offer solutions for their weaknesses. Presumably, you’ve hired the new employee because their skill set is a good match for what your company needs. This extends to the type of learning that they may prefer and/or excel at. By leveraging digital tools that can offer contextual learning and instruction using different modalities, you maximize their potential.
  4. Encourage engagement and interaction.
    One of the bigger challenges you may encounter with distributed teams is that remote workers can feel disconnected from the company at large. They’re not gathering around in the same lunch room with their colleagues to talk about last night’s football game. Part of the employee training process involves developing a culture of connection. Casual Slack channels or regular video conferences with the team are great. Training can also take on the form of live video.
  5. Leverage technology.
    Mentoring can be great, but mentors should not be the main source of learning. An automated platform is preferable, with mentors offering clarification and encouragement along the way. Similarly, textbooks are too rote and routine, while contextual learning with proactive support is much more engaging and lends itself to greater retention too.
  6. Streamline the process.
    Technology has come a long way in recent years, particularly when it comes to employee training for remote workers. Digital platforms can leverage an increasingly advanced level of machine learning and artificial intelligence so that the training programs can be both efficient and effective. To minimize cost while maximizing benefit, training should be focused and direct.
  7. Stay organized.
    While you may be following a general template for onboarding, the very nature of personalization means that every employee training experience is going to be slightly different. From an HR perspective, it means that both the HR professional and the new hire — as well as any managers or supervisors who will be working with the new hire — are all suitably apprised of what training has been done, what objectives have been set, and what additional learning is yet to come. Trello boards are a good option, but always choose a tool that everyone will actually use (and appreciate), not one that feels more like a chore.
  8. Keep going.
    The nature of work is just like the nature of technology: it’s constantly evolving. What this means is that employee training is not a one-time process. Encourage continuous learning among all your employees. By working toward more contextual learning and by making digital adoption a priority, all workers are empowered to perform at their highest possible level and feel like they are being recognized for their efforts.

A Digital Solution for a Digital World

Simply relying on digital tools to power your online employee training process isn’t enough. The tools can indeed be very robust, but they need to be used to their fullest extent and embraced by everyone involved in the process. That’s what digital adoption is all about and it is positively critical to developing an effective, efficient, streamlined process for employee training. That’s how employees, both new and old, will feel like they can tackle any challenge and succeed.

What Exactly is OTT Advertising and How Does it Work?

What if taking things “over the top” was the best marketing move your company could make?

Over the top advertising is a powerful new strategy to capture customer attention and build your brand. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t know how what OTT advertising is and how it can work for them.

Keep reading to discover how this new marketing technique can boost your own company’s bottom line!

What Is OTT Advertising?

We’ve put together a guide to help you understand how over the top advertising can work for your company. First, though, it’s important to define what this form of advertising actually is.

The term “over the top” doesn’t refer to some kind of outlandish marketing practices. Instead, it refers to advertisements designed for digital devices.

The rise of over the top advertising shows us how much things are changing in the modern consumer landscape. Simply put, traditional commercials matter less and less as more consumers find digital ways to watch their favorite shows, games, and movies.

Common OTT Devices

What are the devices that someone will see OTT advertisements on? The full list of devices seems to grow every year!

Many rely on video game consoles such as the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. Soon, the next generation of consoles (including the Playstation 5 and the Xbox One X) will be the main way plenty of people view such advertisements.

Special HDMI sticks are also a popular way to stream digital content. This includes things like Amazon’s Fire TV Stick or a Chromecast plug-in.

Some consumers prefer dedicated digital boxes to facilitate digital streaming. This includes things like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV boxes.

Finally, some consumers stream via apps within their Blu-Ray players. And a growing number of smart TVs have streaming apps built into then, meaning customers need nothing else to begin watching.

Where Does This Advertising Play?

The term “streaming content” comes up a lot in relation to OTT advertisements. But where, exactly, will consumers be watching these advertisements?

While Netflix was the early torchbearer for streaming content, customers are highly unlikely to see any OTT ads on that platform. That’s because Netflix has made “commercial-free” a major part of their brand.

However, OTT ads appear on Netflix’s rival Hulu. Unless customers pay more for the commercial-free option, their Hulu streaming will include occasional ads.

Additionally, there are a number of free online streaming apps vying for customer attention, including Tubi, Crackle, and Pluto TV. Those services are free because they rely heavily on advertisements.

Commercials For the Next Generation

Why have OTT advertisements become such a major part of consumers’ daily lives? To understand this, you must better understand the shifting demographics of your customers.

Demographics such as millennials have been leading the way in “cord-cutting” for many years. This means they are turning their back on traditional cable subscriptions for multiple reasons.

The first reason is financial. As cable subscription costs continue to rise, trading that monthly bill in to only pay $10 (or less) per month for a streaming service starts to look pretty good.

On top of that, millennials also prefer the “on demand” nature of streaming entertainment. Why cluster around the TV at designated times when you can watch your favorite content whenever and wherever you are?

Customers love OTT devices and streaming platforms. And this gives you the chance to create your own programmatic TV ads.

The Power of Video Advertising Networks

So, how does a business get started with OTT advertising? One of the easiest ways is to work with video advertising networks.

As the name implies, these networks help manage the flow of ads broadcast to various streaming services. And it’s something you can take advantage of in a couple of different ways.

We’ve already covered the first method: working with these external companies to show your own advertisements elsewhere. The second method is more ambitious: should your company create its own “channel” of content for an online streaming service, you can work with advertising networks to broadcast commercials on your own channel!

Sponsored Ads

A more obvious method of broadcasting your ads is to create sponsored ads. Simply put, you pay to advertise on a very specific platform or channel.

This offers some advantages that mirror traditional advertisements. For example, you can advertise on channels that primarily cater to the same demographic you hope to cater to.

There are also special advantages to OTT advertisement, though. A sponsored message can take almost any form, from traditional video ads to app launch screens to banners and backgrounds.

Such versatility allows you to pick the advertisements that are best for your company and its products.

The Benefits of OTT Advertising

Maybe you’re still not sold on the notion of OTT advertisements. You probably have a pretty simple question: just what are the main benefits of OTT advertising?

One obvious benefit is the potential reach of your advertisements. By the year 2022, nearly 200 million people will view OTT ads each month!

Another benefit is one we have already touched on: the ability to target customers by demographic. You can also target by geographic areas in a way that you cannot with traditional advertising.

The last two advantages are connected. First, it’s easy to conduct and analyze analytics each month to determine how many customers you have reached. Because of those analytics, you can make OTT advertising budget-friendly, especially when you target specific customer niches.

Mainstream vs Niche

It’s tempting to think “bigger is better” and try to reach as many customers as possible. But focusing on specific customer niches can actually create buzz and conversions, all without breaking the bank on your marketing budget.

Take the time to really study your analytics each month with your OTT advertising. You’ll eventually be able to find a “sweet spot” regarding who to target and where, making your marketing more efficient, streamlined, and budget-friendly.

Your Next Marketing Move

Now you know how OTT advertising can make your company some serious cash. But do you know how else to turn real profits in the digital age?

To learn more about thow to grow your online business or offline brand through content creation and affiliate marketing, check out our resources section or contact us today.

vCita Review: The Best Appointment Scheduling Tool for Your Business

It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur or if you’re the owner of a business with employees – managing client appointments while keeping everyone satisfied is by no means easy.

A lot of time is wasted every day going back and forth via email, coordinating time availability options. And then there’s the huge time suck associated with manually keeping track of appointment bookings, cancellations, invoices, and late payments. Worse yet, most SMBs use multiple apps to handle scheduling, calendaring and messaging. As you can probably guess, this results in lower productivity and major drops in work efficiency..

The good news is, by using the right online appointment scheduling platform, you can optimize your appointment bookings, manage clients, keep client files in one place, automate marketing campaigns, and collect payments.

Enter vCita, a powerful online scheduling solution that’s equipped to match the appointment booking needs of SMBs. It offers the tools you need to maximize productivity and improve client engagement. With this in mind, in this post, we’ll take a look at exactly how vCita enables solopreneurs and SMBs to effectively meet their appointment booking needs and more.

What Is vCita?

vCita comes with a suite of client management and marketing tools, available as a web app, a mobile app and a family of CMS and social media integrations, to help small businesses easily manage appointment bookings, billing and related workflows.

In addition to this, vCita offers a number of CRM capabilities such as contact management, segmentation, billing and invoicing, and a built-in client portal. vCita lets you collect payments from your clients for appointments and gives you access to built-in marketing features including automated marketing campaigns, lead capturing capabilities, and landing pages.

vCita’s powerful website widget lets your clients book appointments themselves and reach out to you via whichever communication channels you set as options. It’s the perfect solution for solopreneurs and SMBs who’re looking for a user-friendly, automated, and affordable way to schedule appointments, manage clients, and collect payments.

Appointment Scheduling

vCita helps you improve appointment scheduling workflows, which is especially helpful for businesses that spend a lot of time managing appointments and delivering services.

vCita’s calendar lets you automatically confirm client scheduling requests, saving you time spent on back-and-forth communication. Additionally, you can sync your existing calendar with your vCita calendar, so that only the time slots where you’re actually available will appear as options for people to claim.

On the back end, you can easily set up your widget to display important information such as appointment duration, location, and pricing of each service you offer. And you can easily access all of the details associated with each appointment, including the contact’s payment history, internal notes and associated contact details.

Creating recurring meetings manually is difficult, since you have to make sure the same slot is available for every instance of the recurring meeting. But vCita lets you set it all up with just a few clicks.

Beyond this, vCita lets you link to the client-facing scheduler as a prominent call-to-action on your Facebook Page and Google My Business profile. And you can embed the complete scheduling interface in your web pages, as well as your vCita-powered landing page and client service portal.

But what if you manage a team of service providers, each with his or her own areas of expertise and availability issues? In the back end dashboard, you can sync up everyone’s calendars, and you can associate specific team members with specific services and appointment types, which helps boost productivity and enables you to deliver better user experiences.

vCita gives you access to a branded client portal increasing client engagement and enabling your clients to easily view upcoming appointments, make payments, and share documents. This makes it easy for clients to get in touch with you through their platform of choice, and when you handle all communications through vCita, its CRM will automatically create a log of all messages and their attachments.

Client Management

Your appointment scheduling tool should help you get a bird’s eye view of your client’s history. This way, you’re able to better manage your appointments and track any cancellations in time, to squeeze in more clients.

The contact management system allows you to easily see rich details for everyone in your database, including their payment and appointment histories, conversations, documents, notes and relevant audience segments, which are managed through a super intuitive tagging system.

With all of this information on a centralized platform, you can easily assign clients to team members as they come in. This boosts work productivity and enables you to offer an improved client support experience.

With vCita, you can quickly configure automated pre-meeting reminders and custom post-meeting follow-ups. This means that you can reduce no-shows and get more returning business, by inviting your clients to book their next appointments.

Additionally, vCita comes with a powerful lead capturing widget that gathers emails from your site visitors and converts them into paying customers. It lets you store, manage, and label leads, helping you with your lead scoring and client segmentation efforts.

It also lets you improve your digital marketing efforts via email and SMS marketing campaigns, enabling you to bring in more clients and increase revenue.


You need an appointment scheduling tool that lets you quickly send invoices, receipts, and estimates to clients during the appointment or meeting such as when you’re on a sales call or when you’ve just closed a deal. vCita takes this one step further, allowing you to collect payments via the web, either upon booking or after the appointment has taken place.

It’s important to go with a scheduling solution that allows you to manage client payments from a centralized platform. With vCita, you’re able to deliver a coherent and consistent experience.

Additionally, vCita helps you keep track of pending and overdue invoices, using automated payment reminders, so you don’t miss a payment.

You can enable your clients to pay online through PayPal or credit cards, which are processed by Stripe or Square. People can pay via the client portal, or you can add a payment button to your invoices.

vCita can also be connected with Zapier for additional automation integrations, and Quickbooks, which is great for accounting related tasks.


You should be able to manage your business’s marketing from a centralized platform that allows you to leverage cross-channel marketing including email and SMS. Moreover, it should let you deliver personalized experiences without a traditional marketing tech stack comprised of dozens of apps. You should consider going for a solution that makes it easy for clients to book appointments directly from emails.

With vCita, you’ll be able to quickly create engaging marketing campaigns using its pre-built templates and pre-set automated campaigns. It offers client segmentation – based on different factors such as client location, and interests – and personalization options to help you tailor marketing messages to individual clients.

vCita allows you to quickly set up individual or drip campaigns using pre-built workflow and message templates, optimized for client engagement and retention. For instance, you can send a Welcome email to new clients, a Happy Birthday greeting, or an It’s Been a While email to re-engage dormant clients.

But these are just the pre-built marketing messaging campaigns. You can also use the platform to set up anything you like, segmenting your audience according to any of the data you have in your CRM, including appointment types, loyalty levels or onboarding date. And all campaigns can be dispatched via email as well as SMS.

You can track the performance of your marketing efforts, segmenting reports according to campaign, specific message or contact-specific engagement.


Businesses that require clients to book appointments and meetings have much to gain by using a powerful online scheduling software product like vCita.

We looked at some of the key features on offer with vCita and discussed how it can help solopreneurs as well as small teams improve productivity and schedule their appointments faster. It also comes with useful features like client management, payment handling, and automated cross-channel marketing capabilities.

vCita doesn’t require any coding skills or other technical knowledge, so you’ll be able to easily get started and accept appointments right away.

5 Actionable Tips to Boost Your Customer Engagement

When was the last time you met a customer or client of your business? This might sound like an obvious question but be honest. In today’s digital world of huge corporations, most people who own companies don’t meet their clients or respond to their needs individually.

But engaging with clients or customers on an individual level is vitally important to growing your brand and ultimately your product or service. Without customer engagement, you become another company lost in the wilderness of the internet.

Here’s what you should include in your customer engagement strategy.

1. Make Yourself Approachable

The first rule of business is to ensure that customers know who you are and how they can reach out to you. Be sure to advertise the different methods that customers or clients can reach out to you. Provide a phone number and its operating hours if you don’t have one.

But also provide the names of the people at the company and their roles along with their email addresses. This allows customers and clients to put a name and even a face to the company.

Don’t send out automated messages, try to reply to everybody with personalized messages if you can. This is how you can demonstrate great customer engagement.

2. Improve Your Social Media Game

Social media is the biggest way you can reach out to new and existing customers and often the first channel they will seek to reach out to you.

Be sure to put out regular posts and keep them personal. Nobody wants to see boring corporate tweets or Facebook posts. Give them a personal slant and ensure they are signed by a member of the team.

Social media is also the place that people come to vent their frustrations that something has gone wrong. Be sure to remain sympathetic and calm during interactions where the company is criticized.

Ask the compliant for an email address or a phone number so you can reach out to them individually. This might make them feel more respected and calm.

3. Know What Your Audience Wants

If you want to have a brand or business that stands the test of time, you need to provide real value to your audience. A perfect example of this can be seen with Amazon.com. Not only have they drastically expanded the reach and products from their business, they also continue to gain more customers daily as well.

This is something Print on Demand Academy preaches within their courses and content, which is to focus all of your efforts what the end user wants and how to give it to them.

No matter the size or focus of your business, it’s ultimately going to come down to the engagement and appreciation you get from your customers. Without it, you are just another failing company without a purpose and need.

4. Create a Regular Blog

As well as short-form content in terms of tweets and social media posts, it is important to also put long-form content out there. This is usually in the form of blogs.

Regular blogs help customers see what you are up to and get insider insight into how the company works. They create that personal connection between the company and the customer or client.

But they also do more than that. Blog content should also be search engine optimized. This ensures that it used the right keywords and links. The site is then ranked highly on Google searches, one of the most important customer engagement marketing strategies.

Remember though it’s important to consider what it’s worth investing in social media or SEO.

5. Use Popups and Unique Call to Actions

Thanks to the power of the internet, it’s never been easier to connect with audiences around the world and also capture their email — which leads to an instant way to stay in contact and message them.

With this in mind, the more call to actions you have on your site, the more likely you are find success with your brand or business.

Start with social media and site content, then add in some call to actions for a simple email grab. As you continue to optimize your site, also think about adding popup windows, push notifications and other unique call to actions to get the end user to engage with your content.

Creating A Good Customer Engagement Strategy Is Key to Business in the Modern World

In the modern world, competition is rife. Because of the growth of internet customers, and consumers increasingly have much more power than they once did.

And they use this power to demand better customer engagement through social media, blogs, and personal interaction.

If you are interested in reading more about customer engagement or have to make money online then be sure to check out the rest of my blog.