post covid 2020 holiday season
    The Post-COVID 2020 Holiday Season: Preparing Your Business

    According to the latest reports, the U.S. economy is expected to gradually begin reopening within the coming months. While this is great news to many businesses around the nation, the truth of the matter remains that the repercussions of the pandemic still continue to be far reaching. Those beginning preparations for the post-COVID 2020 holiday season are currently faced with the cold, hard truth that the nation’s biggest time of year for retail sales is most likely going to be hit with a bit of turbulence.

    According to the latest reports from Bloomberg, retail sales in “hard-hit discretionary categories” are expected to see a fall of between 5% and 10% compared to last year. Naturally, this decline is also anticipated to be felt by industries all over. However, we’re not here to project fear – we’re here to provide you with solutions. If you’re interested in learning the steps you can take to proactively prepare your company, then this article is just for you.

    holiday shopping covid


    Reasons behind the less than desirable post-COVID 2020 holiday season projections

    There are numerous reasons behind the projected decline in holiday sales. The tremendous impact of COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our society. However, there are four main reasons which companies need to understand in order to get a better grasp on how to effectively respond to the aftermath of the pandemic.

    1. Unemployment

    In April of this year, the LA Times reported that the unemployment rate hit an astounding 14.7%. That adds up to a whopping 20.5 million jobs lost – the highest in history since the 1940s. What’s even more interesting is that up until this point, the United States had been seeing “record economic expansion” and the “lowest unemployment in half a century”. While the job market will continue to slowly recover as the economy begins to reopen, the truth of the matter is that unemployment will continue to remain high throughout the remainder of the year.

    2. Consumer Psychology

    Consumer psychology encompasses the emotions, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs of the average consumer. The truth of the matter is that right now, the consumer population at large is skeptical – to say the least. Moral is low and people are naturally in a savings mindset and not looking to overspend. This will naturally boost the savings rate. When the future of the economy is uncertain, people simply aren’t looking to spend unnecessarily.

    3. Risk of a second outbreak

    Another factor influencing the projected downturn in holiday seals is the possibility of a future outbreak. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, CDC Director Robert Redfield warned of a second, potentially worse outbreak in the winter months saying, “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time”. This fear will undoubtedly cause the public to continue to want to avoid crowded locations and retailers to continue to face the hassle of taking extensive precautionary measures to meet social distancing standards, including adjusting capacity limits. Naturally, brick-and-mortar stores will be most impacted by this.

    4. Weakened supply chains

    There’s no denying the fact that the pandemic has exposed some glaring vulnerabilities in our global supply chains which have been hit immensely hard during this time. Many manufacturing experts saying that supply chains must get shorter in order to begin to grow stronger. As the Washington Post so succinctly put it, “Supply chains are like the plumbing of an economy: We don’t notice them except when they break, and when they do, it rapidly becomes catastrophic.” As a result, many are naturally questioning whether or not chains will be able to recover in time for the holiday season.

    covid holiday season straregy 2020


    Strategizing for the post-COVID 2020 holiday season

    However, as we mentioned earlier, we’re not here simply just to spread doom and gloom. The pandemic continues to have a serious and palpable effect on businesses across the globe, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. With proper preparation and focus, you can take steps in order to ensure that you set your company up for success in the coming months. Don’t wait until the holiday rush gets here – start working out your post-COVID 2020 holiday season sales strategy now. Here are a few elements to focus on in order to ensure your business stand out in the crowd.

    ecommerce website

    E-Commerce Website

    The e-commerce industry is facing a number of challenges due to the pandemic, including an increasing demand for online shopping. There’s no better time than now to get your online store up in running or in tip-top shape. If you’re interested in learning more about how to get started, Visioneer offers the tools to help you get your online store started off on the right foot in a few simple clicks. We offer easy-to-design, no coding websites which can give you the freedom to create, design and manage your online business in a jiff.

    communications hub

    Customer Communications Hub

    Now more than ever it’s important to ensure that you are providing above and beyond service to your customers. Customer communications hubs help streamline and organize your processes. Tools such as ours allow you to easily send email invites for meeting requests through both GoogleMeet and Zoom. You can also use platforms such as email or SMS to conveniently communicate with your customers securely. But that’s not all – we also offer customizable templates to help make the process quick and easy.

    reputation and reviews

    Reputation & Reviews

    Did you know that 87% of consumers shop around for comparisons for every purchase they make? Even more interesting is the fact that 75% of companies say that their “online reviews, comments, and forum posts are important to the financial and reputational status of their business”. Point blank — your company’s reputation is everything — especially during times like these. Take steps to improve your reputation and garner great reviews so that your business stands out among the competition. With tools such as ours, you can quickly improve how your business looks online by monitoring and managing online reviews, as well as responding quickly to customer comments and concerns.

    online presence and seo

    Online Presence & SEO

    When customers are searching for businesses in your category, do you show up? Implementing SEO best practices is an essential way to boost your online presence and get you in front of the customers who need you the most. With tools such as ours, you can manage how your business shows up on numerous platforms. You can also keep your business hours, addressed and available services up-to-date and in-sync on important social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (to name a few). Furthermore, our company is currently offering a limited-time free version of our Listing Distribution & Listing Sync Pro to help your customers stay in the loop.

    social media management

    Social Media Management

    The increasing demand for online shopping during the pandemic means that now more than ever you’re going to need to bring your A-game when it comes to social media. There are numerous tools on the market which can assist with this including ours. Communicate messages that matter with your community and customers. Post on Facebook and Google My Business instantly or choose the option to schedule. To make posting easier, we offer a variety of post templates that can easily be edited and published. Plus, you also get robust reporting to help you monitor the reach and engagement of your content across all networks.

    email marketing

    Email Marketing

    Did you know that the average ROI for every single dollar that you spend on email marketing is a whopping $42? In 2019, it was estimated that there were over 3.9 billion email users and that number is expected to jump to an astounding 4.3 billion by 2023. Email marketing is still an essential component for anyone looking to create a successful digital marketing strategy. Now is the time to make sure your email communications are operating smoothly and effectively. With tools such as ours, you can send beautiful automated email campaigns and gain access to customizable templates, design professionals and mobile-responsive emails that look great on any device. Check out Constant Contact for a free 60-day trial today.

    automated analytics

    Automated Analytics

    If you aren’t using automated analytics, then you may as well be living in the dark. Analytics help provide powerful insights into your company allowing you to make better informed strategic decisions. Tools such as ours can help you understand how your business is performing online by providing you with easy to understand, automated analytics insights sent directly to your inbox on a weekly basis.



    There’s no denying the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the U.S. economy; and the full effects have yet to be realized. While current projections for the post-COVID 2020 holiday season are bleaker than usual, that doesn’t mean that the situation is out of your hands. Use this time to be proactive and take the necessary measures to prepare yourself and your company. By staying informed and educated, you can effectively keep yourself one step ahead of the game.  

    Visioneer is now offering FREE tools to help local businesses operate online! Fill out the form below and its yours now!















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    video sales funnels
    How to Use Video Funnels to Increase Close Rates

    It seems like nowadays, everyone is always on the lookout for the brightest and newest shiny object that will completely transform their sales process and dramatically boost their conversion rates. However, sometimes, all it takes to see big results is a little bit of creativity and redesigning new models with tried and true elements in order to get the job done. If you’re looking to get an added boost when it comes to your sales process, then we’re here to tell you that video funnels can help you do just that. This article will detail just exactly what video funnels are, their benefits, and the various steps you can take to create killer video funnels to hack the sales process and increase close rates.

    Sales funnels 101

    In order to get a holistic picture of what exactly a video funnel is and what it can do for you, it’s essential to understand the basics of sales funnels in general. If you’re in the business of running your own business or helping others with theirs, then chances are you’re already familiar with sales funnels to some extent.

    Sales funnels, also referred to as “purchase funnels” or “purchasing funnels”, are essentially just models that are designed to guide a consumer through your sales process. They illustrate a theoretical consumer journey towards the purchase of a product or services and identify/define various stages along the way. 

    The great thing about sales funnels is that they provide businesses with a way to structure the sales process. When you have a predefined, mapped out process of the consumer journey where you are able to identify various touch points along the way, you create a process that is both consistent and measurable.

    This means everything.

    When your sales process is consistent and measurable, you are able to effectively analyze it for deficiencies, inefficiencies and strong points in order to take steps to strategically improve upon your sales process and thus increase your conversion rates. 


    demand for video content


    The power of video

    Okay, so now that we’ve done a quick recap of sales funnels and why they’re beneficial, let’s move on to the next topic: the power of video. There’s no denying that video is one of the most popular tools you can use in order to increase brand awareness and boost close rates. This is primarily due to the fact that video content is simply just in high demand. Consumers love video. Not only does it make it easier for individuals to digest important information, but it provides a degree of entertainment that text simply just cannot compete with. In fact, recent research from Hubspot found that a whopping 54% of consumers surveyed cited they wanted to see more video content from brands and businesses which they support.

    Simply put, when it comes to content, visual content is king — just ask your marketing department. According to 2019 research from Wyzowl, an astounding 87% of marketing professional use video as a marketing tool. Furthermore, recent research from Optinmonster found that businesses who incorporate video in their marketing processes get a whopping 66% more qualified leads per year than those who don’t.

    Part of a marketing department’s job is to help funnel leads to sales. If they already see the value in video and reap the resultant rewards, then why can’t your sales department?

    video sales funnel


    Video funnels

     Video funnels, also referred to as “video sales funnels”  are essentially just sales funnels that are structured around video content. Rather than leveraging traditional tactics of pitching, wouldn’t it be better if you could just get someone to watch a quick, entertaining 1-3 minute video to guide them into the sales funnel?

    What is great about video funnels is that they don’t necessarily have to be these independent models that run on their own. In fact, many of them can be and are meant to be designed in order to be integrated with your pre-existing funnels and customer touchpoints. 

    Types of video funnels

    You’ll no doubt find a variety of models for structuring out your video funnels. However, for this particular article, we will go over what we believe to be the most simplified and straightforward process for structuring out and categorizing your video funnels. 

    1. Conversion funnels

    First and foremost your conversion funnels are focused on getting more of your prospects to respond to your marketing/sales efforts. As a result, they are most suited for sales and marketing. Your conversion funnels ensure that your efforts to hook in new customers are effective and causing them to respond favorably. These help get your potential customers in front of your product and/or services, thus exposing them to your brand and offer.

    These funnels are great for engaging prospects, nurturing inbound leads, following up on proposals, warming up cold leads and following up after various events such as sales meetings, webinars or trade events.

    2. Activation funnels

    This is essentially phase two in your video sales process. Activation funnels are first and foremost designed in order to increase customer engagement. As a result, they are best suited for customer success and marketing. This set of funnels is specifically crafted in order to convert potential customers into active customers who are using your products and/or services. These funnels also help to increase both retention rates and customer lifetime values.

    Activation funnels are best used for scenarios such as onboarding new customers, thanking your newly activated customers, responding to customer issues, rewarding your most loyal customers, upselling or reactivating churning customers. 

    3. Growth funnels

    The third set of funnels are your growth funnels and as their name implies, are designed in order to increase growth in all aspects. As a result, they are best suited for everything from customer success to account management and marketing. These funnels are going to be focused on things such as getting more upsells and increasing the number of customer reviews and referrals from your most loyal brand advocates.

    So, if you were interested in getting case studies from customers who have had positive experiences with your brand, growth funnels would be a great option. Growth funnels can also be used to help get reviews, survey responses, referrals and to help re-activate previous customers who have gone MIA.


    Predictable Video Sales System Cheat Sheet | Sales Video Marketing


    Creating successful video funnels

    When it comes to creating successful video funnels, you’re going to want to focus on video content for the three following stages:

    1. Top of the funnel
    2. Middle of the funnel
    3. Bottom of the funnel

    Video funnels work great on a number of channels but perhaps one of the most popular to leverage is social media. After all, it’s no secret that video content dominates most social media platforms. In fact, according to recent research from Animoto, consumers cited video as the favorite form of content to see from a brand on social media.

    When it comes to budgeting, it is suggested that you allocate approximately 20% to 40% of your budget behind your top of the funnel video content and then balance the remaining part of the budget behind your middle and bottom funnel content. 

    Top of the funnel video content

    When it comes to creating your top of the funnel video content, you want to focus on establishing brand awareness. Focus on a length of 1min-5min, but generally speaking, shorter tends to be the recommended choice by social media professionals. When it comes to the type of video content to create, many times spokesperson videos tend to work best simply because as consumers, we naturally respond well to human faces.

    Middle of the funnel video content

    Your middle of the funnel video content generally should be much shorter than your top of the funnel content. We’re talking like, less than 1 minute unless you happen to be using something such as a testimonial video. Make sure that you’re using landscape video for platforms such as Youtube and square video for platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. It’s always a good idea to subtitle your videos as well. Keep in mind that you want your pitch to be more aggressive than it would be for top of the funnel content, but not as aggressive as bottom of the funnel content. It’s also a good idea to look into any historical data that you may have to identify any common FAQs, causes for returns/dissatisfaction or customer pain points. You’ll also want to make sure that you include important information relating to concerns over pricing, quality, trust and shipping.

    Bottom of the funnel video content

    This is where it’s time to really step it up a notch and kick it into gear. Content in the bottom of the funnel tends to be much more aggressive, short and to-the-point and also reminder-based. You’re still trying to win over your customer, but at the same time, you’re also trying to create an efficient process. This is also the perfect opportunity to provide your prospects with additional discounts or offers. This helps persuade those who aren’t quite ready to make a potentially significant investment into your product/services to purchase at a reduced price. It also helps build trust and win over those middle of the road prospects.


    Video funnels are a great way to help invigorate the sales process and increase conversion rates and customer lifetime values. If you’re interested in incorporating video funnels into your sales strategy, use this article as a nifty guide to help you get started off on the right foot. We’re certain you’ll be happy with the results.


    If you’re interested in learning more about how VisioneerIT can help you improve your processes and boost sales, visit us as www.visioneerit.com today.




    10 Video Marketing Statistics That You Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic]


    How to Create Video Ad Funnels That Work




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    Privacy law tracker
    State privacy law tracker

    Day in and Day out we see new privacy scandals. Whether it be improper sharing of data with third parties, too much data collected by ubiquitous apps, or the use of data for nefarious purposes or just plain old data breaches. With privacy getting so much press website owners are trying to figure out what to do about it. Since federal legislature has so much red tap,U.S. states have taken matters into their own hands by proposing new privacy bills to protect consumers of their states. Although the bills all differ somewhat, they would all require updates to your Privacy Policy.

    Since we believe in hiring experts in their field, We have partnered with Termageddon. They are an amazing company who specializes in policies! What is so great about their software is that they keep track of these privacy bills for you and automatically update your Privacy Policies when needed. We have attached a state privacy law tracker below that will help you better understand the proposed bills and how they may affect your business. The privacy law tracker discloses all bills that have been proposed by U.S. states that would affect Privacy Policy disclosures and business obligations. Bills that have become law, nor bills that are dead are not included in this list.

    This sheet is periodically updated when new bills are proposed, when bills die and when bills are passed into law.

    Just so you understand a bit more about the proposed laws, Our friends over at Termaggeddon have summed up the privacy law beautifully as seen below! Here is an explanation of the factors for each bill:

    • Privacy Policy changes: this bill requires changes to the Privacy Policies of companies that it applies to;
    • Business size limit: this bill applies to businesses of a certain size. For example, some of the bills apply to businesses that make millions of dollars in revenue or collect the personal information of a certain number of that state’s citizens;
    • Consumers can sue: this bill allows consumers to sue the business if they violate this law. Note that some of these bills allow consumers to sue if their private information was breached but our privacy tracker does not note this as we’re a Privacy Policy company, not a breach mitigation company;
    • Right to access data: consumers have the right to see the specific pieces of data that the company has collected about them;
    • Right to delete data: consumers have the right to request that the business delete their personal data;
    • Right to correct data: consumers have the right to request that the business correct their incorrect data or complete their incomplete data;
    • Right to restrict processing: consumers have the right to limit how businesses use their data.
    • Right to opt out: consumers have the right to say no to the sharing or selling of their data.
    • Opt-in consent required: consumers have to affirmatively allow the business to collect, use, sell or share their data.
    • Right to portability: consumers have the right to receive their personal data that the business has collected on them in an electronic, commonly-used, machine structured format.
    • Against automated decision making: the bill restricts a businesses’ ability to make certain decisions by solely automated means, without any human involvement.
    • Imposes fiduciary duty: the bill obligates a business to act solely in the best interest of the consumer and not the business when it comes to that consumer’s data.
    • Prohibits discrimination: the bill prohibits businesses from discriminating against consumers that exercise their rights by charging higher prices or by providing inferior quality service or products.

    Since the proposed bills are always changing, make sure to check back frequently to keep up to date!

    If you currently dont have a website policy then please reach out to us and let’s see how we can protect your website with a privacy policy that updates AUTOMATICALLY!. It cant get any better than this! . All of our website hosting plans come STANDARD with this type of privacy policy!

    Here are the state links to each proposed privacy bill:


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    transitioning covid business
    Transitioning out of COVID for Small Businesses

    The COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt been one of the most unnerving and disruptive events that have impacted the functioning of both business and society that we have seen in decades. Perhaps the most disconcerting part of the crisis is the fact that even now in May, two months after mass shutdowns have begun, we have yet to see a definitive timeline for when we will all return to a state of normalcy. This current state of ambiguity undoubtedly leaves businesses, individuals, and the economy at large in a perpetual state of free fall, struggling financially with seemingly no light to be found at the end of the tunnel.

    However, the truth of the matter remains that in time, this too shall pass. Companies now more than ever must begin to take steps to prepare themselves proactively for the eventual return to “business as usual”. But where does one start? How does a company start planning for the transition back to office when the time comes for it to happen and what steps can businesses take now in order to get off on the right foot? This article will discuss a number of things to consider when it comes to preparing for the transition out of COVID-19.


    Rethinking  traditional notions of the office environment

    Now more than ever it’s important for businesses large and small to start rethinking the concept of what is considered “normal” when it comes to the functioning of business operations. It’s no secret that the remote work economy has been steadily growing. In fact, according to recent research, remote work has grown a whopping 44% in the last five years alone.

    One upside to  the current state of affairs is the fact that many businesses are discovering new and innovative ways adapt and collaborate virtually. Fortunately, there are many tools and platforms available on the market such as Bitrix24 which can help facilitate and support virtual collaboration by assisting with project management, file sharing, communications, CRM and more.

    Many companies are even going so far as to considering completely revamping the way their businesses will operate in the future. For example, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently just made headlines due to his announcement that Twitter employees will officially be allowed to work from home not just during the COVID-19 pandemic, but “in perpetuity”. Companies such as Google and Facebook have additionally taken similar steps in the midst of the pandemic and during the aftermath. These decisions reflect their ability to adapt and adjust in the midst of crisis and undoubtedly will help set them ahead and better prepare them for the future.


    Addressing challenges and creating a plan

    There is no better time to get proactive and to begin planning for re-engagement than now. Companies must use this time to strategize and nail down all of the nitty gritty details necessary in order to ensure that when the time comes, operations are able to resume and ramp back up accordingly as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

    Is remote work something that your company should consider in the long-term? If this is the case, have you taken into consideration the infrastructure which will need to be established in order to support this? Additional security measure may furthermore need to be implemented in order to ensure the transition to a remote work environment does not compromise business operations.

    Or, what about when it comes to transitioning individuals back into the office? Have you decided how you plan to gradually phase these employees back into the workplace? Which functions are prioritized and as a result, should come back first? Will schedules need to be changed? What about equipment and software? What are your needs going to be based on your decisions for the future? Will they change? There are many questions and concerns which will need to be discussed and addressed as soon as possible in order to ensure that all of the details are hammered out before business begins to return to normal.

    Reassuring employees

    When it comes to reassurance, most companies have their customers as their number one priority. However, don’t make the mistake of putting your valuable employees on the backburner. They are the lifeblood of your company. When it comes time to begin transitioning out of COVID, do your part to reinforce the sentiment that choosing your company was the right decision.

    Reassure your employees that their health, safety, and well-being are at the forefront of your mind. Keep them in the loop every step of the way and maintain open communications throughout the pandemic so as to ease any feelings of anxiety or uncertainty. Tell them your plans for the future and incorporate them into the decision-making process in any way that you can so as to emphasize how important it is that your company gets through this together as a family. Be empathetic and understanding. Now more than ever your employees are looking towards you to serve as an example and prove your worth during the hard times. Don’t let them down.


    Preparing for reintegration

    When the time comes for reintegration into the workplace, you’re going to want to make sure the process moves as smoothly and efficiently as possible while also keeping in mind the fact that this is a sensitive time where discretion and concern for the well-being of your employees is of the utmost importance. More than likely most companies will choose to gradually return to normal business operations.

    This provides you with the ability to effectively implement any precautionary measures and policies. Companies should consider slowly phasing in employees for reentry into the workplace based on their roles. Many employees are able to work from home, but the truth of the matter is that there are also individuals who will be unable to do so due to numerous factors such as the nature of their role or for other reasons such as security. Start engaging the various departments within your company and begin identifying and prioritizing staff that is considered most essential.

    Keeping social distancing guidelines in mind is also going to be of paramount importance. Consider the layout of the office environment and take measures in order to optimize it for social distancing. This may entail moving around seating or desks or taking additional measures such as by setting up partitions. Many companies may choose to introduce shift work as a way to encourage adherence to protocols while simultaneously allowing the business to ramp back up to normal operations.

    covid 19 business health


    Implementing policies to ensure safety and wellness

    Many companies may find themselves cringing at the prospect of having to screen for admittance into the workplace. However, the truth of the matter is that as an employer, you have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for your employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Adhering to social distancing measures is a great place to start, but it is by no means an effective response in and of itself. Many businesses which are still in operation are implementing mandatory health screenings and assessments for all employees. This includes new hires as well as implementing protocols on a daily basis before individuals even enter the office (i.e. checking temperatures). Keep in mind that it is perfectly legal for you to ask your employees if they are or have been experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and to require individuals to wear masks while on the premises.

    You’ll also want to take measures to increase cleaning protocols. Tech sharing in general should be limited in order to avoid transmission and thoroughly disinfected between use from one individual to another. Professional cleaning services should be implemented for the workplace as well and all areas should be cleaned on a regular basis throughout the day. Provide disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers throughout the office space and include signage throughout emphasizing the importance of social responsibility good hygiene practices.


    Reassuring customers

    When it comes to transitioning out of COVID, we would be remiss not to include a section or two about the importance of focusing on your customer base. The truth of the matter is that your customers need you now more than ever. Furthermore, similar to your employees, they’re also looking to you in order  to provide them with an example of what a company should be and how it should act during times as such. Open communication and transparency is always of paramount importance; however, it is even more crucial during this point in time.

    Now more than ever you’re going to need to establish yourself as a pillar of strength and stability. Stay in regular communications with your customer base and keep them in the loop regarding any important updates or policy changes. Your job now is to provide them with the reassurance that you are just as dedicated to providing them with the same quality of products, care and customer service that they have grown accustomed to. Your corporate reputation is everything. Don’t give your customers a reason to question it.


    Adjusting marketing strategies

    Adjusting your marketing strategies is another essential step that businesses will need to consider when it comes to effectively transitioning out of COVID. Many companies are finding themselves in a perpetual state of panic, not knowing when the pandemic will end, how they will fare and what the future will hold. However, this is not a mindset that is conducive to ensuring that your customer base is well cared for. As of right now – many companies are adjusting their traditional marketing approaches. They realize that  a focus on sales and acquisition is no longer the best strategy given the context of the current situation. Now more than ever, focusing on cultivating long-term retention and instilling trust within your current customer base is going to be crucial.

    Take a customer-first approach and implement conscious marketing practices. Now is the time to show your customers that you truly care for them – that you’re empathetic to their needs and struggles. Your messaging should focus on safety and reassurance first and business second. Furthermore, don’t shy away from acknowledging the current state of affairs. The current climate is scary and uncertain for many and doing so will only prevent your messaging from truly making an impact by connecting with your customers on a deeper level.

    What solutions can you provide your customers with during this time of need? What steps are you taking to ensure them that you are doing all in your power to continue to provide them with the level of care and attention that they deserve? Identify the needs, concerns and pain points of your customer base and do your best to find ways to help alleviate their struggles. Furthermore, remain open and transparent when it comes to your communications practices. Keep them in the loop whenever you can and make sure that all of your accounts and social media profiles remain up to date with the latest information. Your customer base needs to know that they can count on you during times of hardship.

    While times like these are difficult for everyone, smart, socially conscious companies can leverage moments as such to stand out and truly shine among the competition.  Now is the time to show your customers exactly why choosing your company is the best decision. Now is the time to show them your value, your worth and prove to them that they mean more to you than a couple of dollar signs. Focus on converting your customers into lifelong brand advocates and champions of your cause by being there for them when they need it the most.



    While it may currently seem like there is no end in sight, the truth of the matter is that eventually, this pandemic will come to an end and society slowly begin to piece itself together again and return to business as usual. The time frame may still remain ambiguous, but that doesn’t mean that businesses can’t take steps to refocus their efforts towards proactively preparing for the transition ahead. The number one consideration at this point in time should be reassurance; reassurance to your customers and to your employees that you remain dedicated to them and empathetic towards their diverse needs and sets of concerns during this rough period in time. It’s up to you to get it together, regroup, refocus, adapt and trek forward towards the future as a shining example in the midst of the chaos.


    Are you interested in learning more about how to adapt your business operations so you continue to thrive both during and after COVID? VisioneerIT can help your company make the transition by assisting with issues such as website security, virtual collaboration and more. To learn more, visit our website at www.visioneerit.com.












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    voice search optimization
    Everything You Need to Know About Voice Search in 2020

    Over the past few years there has been a marked rise in the growth of voice recognition software and it’s easy to understand why. Many of us lead demanding, busy, on-the-go lifestyles and as a result, convenience has quickly become of paramount importance to the average consumer. According to a recent PWC report an astounding 71% of individuals surveyed said they would rather use their voice assistant in order to conduct a query as opposed to physically having to type it into their device. Voice search isn’t something of the future – it’s here – loud and clear. ComScore infamously predicted that 50% of all searches will be voice by 2020. We may not be there just yet, but that doesn’t mean we’re not close. If you’re interested in learning more about voice search and the various simple steps you can take in order to prepare your website for 2020, then this article is just for you.

    Timeline of mainstream voice assistants


    A brief history of voice search

    Voice recognition software has been around since the 1960’s so it isn’t exactly new, but mass mainstream adoption and commercialization voice assistants is. Google first rolled out Google Voice Search in 2010. The system required users to call into a telephone number at which point they were prompted to speak their search query and wait for results to populate on their mobile device. Needless to say, it didn’t catch on all too quickly.

    In October of 2011 Apple introduced Siri as the first digital virtual assistant with their iPhone 4s and Google rapidly followed suit by introducing Google Now in May 2012. Microsoft and Amazon quickly threw their hats in the ring with Cortana and Alexa in 2014 and Google released Google Assistant in 2016. Now we’ve got Samsung’s Bixby and IBM’s Watson as well. Today, voice recognition software is encoded in everything from mobile phones to laptops to watches and personal home devices. Practically everyone wants a virtual assistant. Which leads us to our next section.


    Have you used voice search to find information for a local business in the last 12 months? | BrightLocal Voice Search for Local Business Study


    The growing demand for voice search optimization

    Today, voice recognition software is encoded in everything from mobile phones to laptops to watches and personal home devices. Practically everyone uses voice search and as a result, the industry is a-booming. According to eMarketer, voice commerce sales peaked to an astounding $2.1 billion last year alone. Juniper Research further estimates that there will be a whopping 8 billion digital voice assistants on the market in use by 2023.

    When it comes to voice search, Amazon leads in the voice-enabled speaker device market but Google still dominates the search engine market with a share of 92.71%. So, needless to say, when they start to make updates in order to further accommodate voice search, everyone takes notice. Their 2013 Hummingbird update changed search in profound ways by emphasizing natural language processing and taking into consideration things such as context and user intent. As a result, the focus became less on keywords and more on conversation and meaning.

    This algorithm update coupled with the widespread popularity of smart devices using voice recognition software means that companies now more than ever need to be prepared to optimize their websites and content accordingly.

    voice query length.png


    5 Ways You Can Start Optimizing for Voice Search Today

    According to recent data from Location World, approximately 2 in 5 adults use voice search at least once daily — and it they use it for more than just finding out information. According to recent data from Amazon, the use of Alexa for shopping more than tripled in 2018 from the previous year (NOTE: at VisioneerIT, we offer voice search technology which can help you sell your products using Alexa voice).  It’s important to note that there’s a significant difference between typed and spoken queries and as a result, voice search optimized websites will have a much greater advantage in 2020. If you’re looking to nab position zero, then we have 5 steps which you can use to get you started off on the right foot.


    1. Use natural language

    Let’s say you’re looking for some great grub in your area for the evening. If you head to your go-to search engine, your query ‘might look something like “best restaurants near me”. However, if you’re like the many individuals who use a voice assistant on your mobile device, your query is most likely to sound more along the lines of “what are the best restaurants near me?”. Our point here is that voice search queries tend to be longer than your average typed query. Not only that, they also tend to be conducted in a conversational tone. This is the exact opposite of what is expected when it comes to typed queries. Instead of ruthelessly optimizing for keywords, focus instead on what you need to do in order to optimize for semantic search. Use conversational keywords and phrases that are common when speaking and phrase these long-tail keywords in the same manner in which they are usually spoken. It’s not only ideal for voice search, long-tail keywords are furthermore a great strategy to use for traditional SEO.

    2. Question phrases

    When someone is conducting a typed query on a search engine, the goal is generally to get the main idea across as succinctly as possible. You’re not exactly trying to write a novel. If you’re looking for a black 1981 Pontiac Firebird you might type something like “1981 black Pontiac firebird for sale”. It’s not exactly a beaming example of English grammar. However, when using voice search, users tend to frame queries in the form of questions such as “Where can I find a 1981 black Pontiac firebird for sale?”. Keep this in mind when it comes to optimizing for voice search. It’s important to consider user intent as well as to think of ways to include potential questions your audience may have in your content, headers or subtitles. Not exactly sure where to start? There are numerous resources online which can help you identify the various questions your target audience may have surrounding your topic. Answer the Public is an immensely popular tool as such.

    3. Aim for featured snippet quality

    You may not exactly know what a featured snippet is by just hearing the name but you’ve definitely seen one. These little guys are the pieces of content that have been awarded the ever so coveted spot of position zero. They are above-the-fold snippets of useful information pulled from only the most worth of articles and featured in the spot before the rest of your search engine results. According to SearchEngineWatch, you can pretty much be certain that if the search results which get pulled up for your query include a featured snippet, your voice assistant is going to pull its answer from it. So, if you’re looking to rank highly in voice search results, you’re going to want to focus on making sure that you are delivering high quality content that Google would display in a featured snippet.

    4. Structured data/schema markup

    Structured data is a system where names are paired with a value in order to help search engines when it comes to indexing and categorizing website content. A while back Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex got together and came up with Schema.org (aka Schema) as a way to help people provide the information that their search engines need in order to provide the best search results possible. Schema is “a semantic vocabulary of tags” (aka microdata) that you can manually add to your HTML code in order to make it easier for search engines to read, interpret and represent your webpage. It often results in rich snippets of information being displayed (i.e. star ratings) underneath the title of your webpage. This tactic has been proven to not only increase click-through rate but to also drive traffic and provide a competitive advantage to websites which use them. While you will need to know a thing or two about code, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert in order to implement it. You can easily generate your own code for your webpages by using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.

    5. Improve your local SEO

    Voice search tends to be more mobile and locally focused. In fact, one 2018 study conducted by BrightLocal found that a whopping 58% of individuals use their voice search in order to find local businesses. It also found that consumers are most likely to use voice searches in order to find additional information about businesses that they are already familiar with. This really comes as no surprise as people tend to use their voice search when they’re already on-the-go or planning on going somewhere. In fact, the phrase “near me” is extremely popular when it comes to voice searches. Most of these search bots use business listings in order to find the requested information. The quickest and most simple way to do this is to head on over to Google My Business and register your company. Fill out as much information as possible and make sure to keep it accurate and up to date.


    Gartner predicted that by the year 2020, approximately 30% of all searches will be screenless. We still have 11 months to find out if that prediction pans out, but the truth of the matter is that you can’t afford to not be prepared. Optimizing your website for voice search is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. Use this article as a useful guide to help you get caught up on all things voice search related and to help strengthen your website so that you have an added edge over the competition in 2020.

    Are you interested in leveraging voice search to help increase sales? At VisioneerIT, we offer voice search technology which can help you sell your products using Alexa voice. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can increase customer loyalty and improve your sales, contact us today at www.visioneerit.com.











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    the ultimate guide to ccpa compliance in 2020
    The Ultimate Guide to CCPA Compliance in 2020

    The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is largely considered a landmark legislative piece set in place in order to afford greater protections to consumers and their privacy rights in the United States. Enacted in 2018, the CCPA officially took effect as of January 1st of this year. If you’re a business owner who is interested in learning more about the CCPA, as well as the responsibilities required of you and the  rights afforded to your consumers, then this article will serve as a great guide to get you in-the-know and compliant for 2020.

    consumer rights


    Consumer Rights

    Right to request disclosure

    The CCPA affords consumers the right to request that a business disclose both the “categories and specific pieces” of personal information that the business has collected as well as the categories of sources from which the information is collected. It also affords consumers the right to request the business/commercial purpose for collecting or selling personal information as well as the right to request that the business also disclose the categories of third parties with whom which the business shares this personal information.

    Right to delete

    A consumer has the right to request that a business delete personal information which they have collected from the consumer.

    Right to opt-out

    A consumer furthermore has the right to instruct a business which sells personal information about them to stop selling said information. This is referred to as the right to opt-out.

    Right to non-discrimination

    The CCPA additionally affords consumers the right to non-discrimination. This means that a business may in no way discriminate against a consumer due to the fact that they have exercised any of the rights afforded to them by the act. Examples of discrimination include denying goods/services, charging different rates for goods/services, providing a different level or quality of goods/services to the consumer or even simply suggesting that the consumer will receive a different price, level or quality of goods/services.

    Consumer remedies

    The CCPA furthermore provides consumer with a number of remedies in the event their personal information become subject to “unauthorized access, exfiltration, theft or disclosure” as the result of a business’ negligence. In the case of such event, the consumer has the right to:

    1) Damages no less than $100.00 and no greater than $750.00 per consumer per incident OR actual damages (whichever amount is deemed greater)

    2) Injunctive or declaratory relief

    3) any other form of relief deemed appropriate by the court

    These remedies are only available if the consumer provides the business with 30 days’ written notice in which they identify the specific provisions which they feel have been violated before pursuing any action against the company.

    In the event the business has the option to and is able to cure the violation within 30 days’ time and provide the consumer with written notice of such, no legal action against the company may be taken.


    CCPA Business Responsibilities and Compliance

    Definition of a business

    The definition of a business as defined by the CCPA includes businesses which:

    1) Have an annual gross revenue of more than $25 million

    2) Receive, purchase, sell or share for commercial purposes the information of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices.

    3) Receive at least 50% of their annual revenue from selling the personal information of consumers


    4) Control or are controlled by a business as such and share common branding with said business

    Providing notice to consumers

    Collection or sale of personal information

    The CCPA mandates that businesses must provide notice to consumers at or before the time of the collection of personal information that they intend to collect said personal information and how they intend to use it. Furthermore, if a business sells personal information to third parties, they must additionally provide “explicit” notice to consumers that their information may be sold and that the consumer has the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information. Children under the age of 16 years must provide opt-in consent and a parent or guardian must provide consent for any children under the age of 13 years.

    Financial incentives

    Businesses must also disclose any financial incentives which may be applicable for the collection, sale or deletion of a consumer’s personal information. They must furthermore provide the consumer with the manner in which they calculate the value of their personal information and how the financial incentive is permitted under the CCPA. Financial incentives may take the form of monetary compensation or discounted goods or services in terms of quality or price. However, these financial incentives must be directly related to the value of the personal information which is provided to the business.

    In the event a consumer gives opt-in consent to enter into a financial incentive program with the business, the business must clearly describe the terms of the program and the fact that it may be revoked by the consumer at will. The CCPA furthermore specifies that businesses may not use financial incentive programs which are deemed “unjust, unreasonable, coercive or usurious” in nature.

    Providing reasonable access to consumers for submitting requests

    The CCPA further mandates that businesses must provide “reasonable access’ to consumers for the purpose of submitting any requests to the business with regards to the collection and use of their personal information. A business must make available to consumers at least two or more designated methods for submitting requests which include at minimum, a toll-free number. In the event a business operates solely online and has a “direct relationship” with the consumer, it may instead only be required to provide an email address for submitting such requests.

    Website compliance

    In the event the business has a website, the website must be made available to consumers for the submission of requests regarding their personal information. There are also specific guidelines associated with this task. For instance, the business must provide a “clear and conspicuous link” on their homepage titled “Do Not Sell My Personal information” which directs the consumer to opt-out of the sale of their personal information. A business may also not require a consumer to create an account with them in order to direct the business not to sell their information.

    The business must also ensure that any and all individuals who are held responsible for handling consumer inquiries are informed of all of the requirements associated with doing so and how to direct consumers to exercise their rights according to the act.

    Furthermore, if the business has an online privacy policy, they are required to update the information on it at least every 12 months. The privacy policy must include a description of the consumer’s rights and a list of categories of personal information which the business has collected about the consumers in the previous 12  months. At VisioneerIT, we make compliance simple by offering a convenient website plug-in which automatically updates your customer policies whenever the laws change.

    Responding to consumer requests

    Identity verification

    The CCPA mandates that businesses must verify the identity of consumers making requests to them regarding the collection and use of their personal information. However, a business may not require that a consumer create an account with them in order to make a verifiable consumer request. If a business is unable to verify the request, they are able to deny the request, but are required to comply to “the greatest extent” that they can.

    Requests to delete information

    In the event that a business receives a verifiable request from a consumer to delete their personal information, the business must comply and also notify any potential service providers to delete the consumer’s personal information from their records as well.

    Opt-out requests

    Businesses receiving opt-out requests from consumers must comply by refraining from selling their personal information. Businesses must also respect the consumer’s decision for a period of no less than 12 months before making another request that the consumer authorizes the sale of their personal information. Consumers may authorize other individuals to opt-out on their behalf and businesses must respect the requests made from said authorized individuals. Businesses must also treat any user-enabled privacy settings which signal a consumer’s decision to opt-out as a valid opt-out request.

    Delivery of requested information

    The CCPA also has various guidelines associated with the delivery of and response to requests from consumers. For instance, business disclosures must cover the 12-month period preceding their receipt of the verified consumer request and must be made in writing.

    Disclosure and delivery of the requested information to the consumer must also be made available free of charge via the consumer’s account with the business, by mail, or electronically within 45 days from the date of the consumer’s request. In the event the disclosure of said information is sent electronically, it must be sent in a “readily useable format” which allows the consumer to easily transmit the information to another entity “without hindrance” (i.e. PDF file).

    The CCPA also dictates that businesses are not required to provide personal information to a consumer more than twice in a 12-month period. Furthermore, a business may request an extension for the delivery of the information in the event one is necessary as long as the consumer is notified of the extension within the initial 45-day period.

    Businesses are also entitled to charge an administrative fee for requests deemed “manifestly unfounded or excessive” or refuse to act on such requests altogether as long as the consumer is notified for the reason of refusal. However, businesses which take such action should keep in mind that they will have to bear the burden of having to demonstrate (potentially to the courts) that a consumer request was in fact “manifestly unfounded or excessive”.


    The CCPA further mandates that businesses must maintain records of consumer requests and the business’ response to these request for a period of 24 months in order to remain compliant. If a business collects, purchases or sells information on more than 4 million consumers, they are subject to additional record-keeping and training obligations.

    Compliance violations

    Businesses are deemed to be in violation of the CCPA if they fail to cure any violations within 30 days after they are notified of non-compliance. In the event the case of such event, businesses will be subject to an injunction and liable for civil penalties of a maximum of $2,500.00 for each violation. If found violations were intentional, businesses can be subject to as much as $7,500.00 in penalties for each intentional violation.


    As of January 2020, the CCPA has officially gone into effect. As a result, businesses of all backgrounds and sizes are now liable for remaining compliant under this groundbreaking piece of legislation. If you’re interested in learning more about the specifics of the CCPA, a copy of the code can be found on the California Legislative Information website. Getting compliant and staying compliant takes due diligence, time and commitment. Use this article as a guideline to stay ahead of the game and set your business up for success in 2020.

    At VisioneerIT we provide automated access to compliance free of charge to all businesses hosting their websites on our platform. Our convenient  plug-in has the ability to automatically update customer policies whenever there are changes in the laws. If you’re interested in learning more, visit our website at www.visioneerit.com.









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    2019 Facebook Messenger Updates You Need to Know

    It’s no secret that Facebook has been taking strides to improve their business features and to continue to position the Messenger app as a “serious channel for business communication”. In fact, at the F8 2019, Zuckerberg notably kicked off his keynote speech saying, “If we would rebuild the Facebook platform today, we would focus it on messaging.” Fast-forward to September 2019 and we find that Zuckerberg has held true to his promise with various updates having been rolled out recently for the Messenger app. Perhaps the most notable of these is subscription messaging.

    If you’re interested in learning more about the subscription messaging update, how you can apply for the service and remain compliant if accepted, as well as other various updates recently announced, then look no further than these next few lines.

    Subscription Messaging

    Facebook is now offering what is considered to be an advanced messaging feature which allows business pages “to send non-promotional content on a recurring basis” via the Messenger application. This service essentially allows you to keep in contact with your customers on a recurring basis as long as the content you are sending is not considered to be promotional in nature. This means that as of July 31st, Facebook business pages which aren’t approved for subscription messaging are no longer able to send chat blasts to their customers unless they do so via the sponsored messages feature.

    So, what exactly are sponsored messages?

    They’re essentially ads.

    That’s right – if you’re not approved for subscription messaging, your chat blasts are going to start costing you a pretty penny. How much, exactly? Sponsored messages will cost around $20.00 – $40.00 per 1,000 impressions. However, the platform recommends that businesses set their bids at $30.00 per 1,000 impressions.

    The 24+1 Rule

    Bear in mind that the 24+1 Rule for Facebook Messenger is still in full effect. For those of you who are unaware, the rule essentially allows businesses to send unlimited updates and messages to users who have opted in for messaging for the first 24 hours. These forms of communication may be either promotional or non-promotional in nature. However, after 24 hours, companies are no longer able to send unlimited promotional updates. Instead, they can only send unlimited non-promotional messages and just one single promotional follow up message.

    Any promotional message must now be initiated through the sponsored messages feature for a fee and if you’re looking to send non-promotional subscription messages, you must receive approval first.

    How do you initiate a request to be considered for subscription messaging?

    Fortunately, there’s no fee associated with applying for the subscription messaging feature. In order to do this, companies must have a page administrator initiate a request for review. The downside is that while the application process is indeed short, the review process is tricky and many times it takes businesses several applications in order to obtain approval.

    In order to initiate the process, you can start by clicking on the Settings tab on the top right corner of your Facebook page next to the “Help” icon. From there you will go to your Messenger Platform.

    Image result for advanced messaging features facebook


    You then go to Advanced Messaging Features and click on Request within the Subscription Messaging box.

    Once this is completed, you will be directed to the application.  You will then be asked to describe how your page intends to use the subscription messaging feature. You have three options:

    1) News

    2) Productivity

    3) Personal Tracking

    You also have the ability to provide them with additional details. An actual person will be reviewing your application, so it helps to personalize what you’re writing and to add as much detail as you can about the information, updates and services that your bot provides.

    PRO TIP: We’ve found through our research that it’s rather difficult to get approved for productivity and personal tracking. As a result, if you choose the “News” option, be sure to provide examples in your application which are actually newsworthy in nature. That means if it sounds like a news site would pick up the story, then you’re good. If not, then don’t include it.

    You will then be asked to provide examples of the blasts that you plan on sending to your customers via your chatbot.

    subscription messaging application examples


    PRO TIP: The most common cause for denials is for inappropriate descriptions and examples. Accounts are also often denied based on the 24-hour standard messaging window. The platform may find that based on the examples you’ve provided, your Messenger experience simply doesn’t need subscription.

    Once you complete the application, the platform is then supposed to respond to your request within five business days. However, the truth of the matter is that according to various reports, this is not always the case. In fact, the five business day review period is turning out to be more of a rough estimate than anything else. Users interested in submitting requests should instead realistically expect a response time of a few weeks to a month.

    It’s also worth mentioning that responses to requests are not made via email. Instead, users must head to the Page Settings > Messenger Platform > Advanced Messaging Features page and look for a green check mark next to the Subscription Messaging option in order to identify whether or not they’ve been approved.

    subscription messaging approval



    How to remain compliant with the subscription messaging feature when approved

    If you happen to be one of the lucky ones who gain approval for the subscription messaging feature, it’s important to keep in mind that there are usage guidelines with which you must comply. Failure to do so will result in your account being flagged.

    First and foremost – the recipient of your message must have already opted in to subscription messaging. You absolutely cannot take advantage of this feature by using it to send content to individuals who have not opted in to subscription messaging from you.

    Second – never send any promotional content to your users through the subscription messaging feature. The platform is pretty much giving you a hard “no” when it comes to this. Keep in mind Facebook uses machine learning to analyze content and as a result, even words such as “free” or including a link  to your website can be considered promotional in nature and cause your account to be flagged.

    Third – subscription messaging is only allowed for three very specific use cases. Any use outside of these three is considered a violation. They are as follows:

    1) News

    2) Productivity

    3) Personal Tracking

    According to platform, news is considered content which  informs individuals about “recent or important events” or provides them with “information in categories such as sports, finance, business, real estate weather, traffic, politics, government, non-profit organizations, religion, celebrities, and entertainment”.

    Productivity on the other hand includes “integrations whose primary purpose is to enable people to manage their personal productivity with tasks such as managing calendar events, receiving reminders, and paying bills.”

    Personal tracking is de fined as integrations which “enable people to receive and monitor information about themselves in categories such as fitness, health, wellness and finance”.

    Fourth – If you find that a user responds to one of your subscription messages, the conversation is then considered standard messaging and as a result, it must “comply with standard messaging policies”.

    What happens if you get denied for the subscription messaging feature?

    If you submit your application and find that you’ve been denied, rest assured that you’re far from alone. As we mentioned earlier, the approval process can be quite tricky. There are pretty much two options you can take from this point:

    1) Modify and resubmit your application for approval.

    2) Try to obtain permission from your customers to contact them on a different channel such as SMS, email or phone.

    If you plan on taking the first option and resubmitting your application, chances are there was an issue with the descriptions or examples you provided. Take a look at our PRO TIPs mentioned in the article to ensure that you’ve done your due diligence in providing the best descriptions and examples possible to ensure approval.

    7 Additional Facebook Messenger Updates

    While this article has primarily focused on the very newsworthy subscription messaging update, that’s not the only feature that’s been making waves in the Facebook community. Take a look at these seven updates which are rolling out this year as well so you can get one step ahead of the game when it comes to crafting your best Facebook Messenger strategy.

    1. Messenger Desktop App
    On the consumer end, Facebook is continuing to seek out ways in which they can further improve their user experience. One of the updates they noted they will be introducing to the public is a standalone desktop application for Messenger.

    2. End-to-end Encryption
    At F8 2019, Zuckerberg announced that the team will be prioritizing the transformation of Facebook into a “privacy-focused social platform”. To achieve this goal, Zuckerberg stated that the platform will be focusing on “six main principles” in order to make the platform more secure. Of the six principles mentioned, encryption was included as one of their priorities with the team seeking to expand end-to-end encryption across their apps including Messenger.

    3. 24-Hour Response Window
    Among the updates includes the implementation of a 24-hour response window for businesses on Facebook. This means that business accounts will now have one full day to respond to incoming messages from users. This change is being implemented as a way to “ensure fast responses and better service”.

    4. Message Tags
    The platform will also be implementing what are called “message tags” for business accounts. These tags enable businesses on Facebook to send personalized tags for “specific use cases”. These tags are se up to help enhance the customer experience even further by including features such as event reminders, post-purchase updates and more.

    5. Automatic Lead Qualification
    The platform is also taking steps to make lead generation more organized, simple and efficient for business users. Their automatic lead qualification process in messenger includes templates which are available in the Ads Manager and the ability to sync these with your company’s CRM tools.

    6. Appointment Booking
    There’s also a new interface within the Messenger app for booking appointments. These can now be done directly in chats and include real-time confirmation as well as the ability to integrate appointments with calendar software.

    7. Conversion Tracking
    Facebook will also be updating their conversion tracking features so that businesses are able to track certain events in Messenger which happen during a conversation.


    Facebook Messenger is quickly being transformed into a serious channel for businesses and marketers alike to leverage in their efforts to attract more customers and engage with them in more effective and efficient ways than ever before. According to recent reports, Messenger alone has over 1.3 billion users who are sending a whopping 8 billion messages “between businesses and people” every month. Furthermore, one experiment by HubSpot found that content sent through Facebook Messenger had an astounding open rate of 80% as well as a click-through-rate of 13%. These rates are more than twice as high as those for email. So, the question begs to be asked – are you currently taking advantage of the opportunity?


    What’s your opinion on the new updates rolling out this year? Do you plan on taking advantage of any of them? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you!


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    Hawley SMART Act
    How Hawley’s SMART Act May Impact Social Media Companies

    There’s no denying that social media has become a strong presence in the lives of hundreds of millions of individuals across the globe. However, these channels which were originally created as avenues to bring individuals together, have also morphed into giants plagued by controversy and criticism. From privacy concerns, to inappropriate uses of personal information as well as social media addiction, it seems as though these platforms could potentially become more monstrous than beneficial to the public. As a result, they have often become the target of concerned politicians and groups wary of the amount of power and information these companies are quickly amassing.

    One such opponent is Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley. Hawley, a known critic of social media, recently came into the spotlight when he introduced a piece of legislation called the SMART Act this past July. If you’re interested in learning more about this piece of legislation, it’s purpose and the potential ramifications it will have on individuals and social media companies if passed, then look no further than these next few lines.

    SMART Act Senator Hawley


    The SMART Act At a Glance

    This past July, Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley introduced a bill seeking to crack down on social media companies and users. The proposed SMART Act stands for Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act and was developed to “change the way social media operates”. The purpose of the bill is as follows:

    “To prohibit social media companies from using practices that exploit human psychology or brain physiology to substantially impede freedom of choice, to require social media companies to take measures to mitigate the risks of internet addiction and psychological exploitation, and for other purposes.”

    In layman’s terms, its goal is to tackle what has been often viewed as a widespread epidemic of social media addiction in the United States.

    Some have described Hawley as an “anti-tech” crusader, so this comes as no surprise that the bill was initiated by him. Hawley in fact wrote an op-ed for USA Today in May of this year where he postulated that social media may be doing our country “more harm than good”. In the article he also described it as a “parasite” on everything from productive investments to meaningful relationships and a healthy society.

    Among many things, the piece of legislation seeks to ban infinite scroll and autoplay as well as impose a 30-minute time limit on social media use across user devices. Its also said to target “certain gamification features”.

    The key difference in this piece of legislation as compared to other proposed bills in the past is that the bill seeks to also impose limits on the users themselves as opposed to the actual platforms, which are notoriously hard to pressure into change.

    Regardless, the bill is looking to not only prohibit numerous features but also classify any platform operating with them as doing so unlawfully.

    Among the restrictions include a ban on infinite scroll as well as a ban on the elimination of natural stopping points as lawmakers feel that these features take advantage of vulnerabilities in our psychology and thus unfairly persuade us to spend more time on the platform than we may innately desire. The proposed legislation also seeks to ban badges and other awards linked to engagement with the platform.

    The proposed bill additionally seeks to impose further requirements on social media companies to comply with. Among these requirements include a willingness to create a user-friendly interface which allows for users to set time limits which block their own access if the amount of time they spend on such platforms exceeds the time limit set by the user.

    It is specifically seeking to require companies to automatically place limits on the amount of time a user spends on such platforms to 30-minutes per day with the option to override this.

    It furthermore seeks to require social media companies to provide users with regular and immediate disclosures of the amount of time they have spent on platforms across all devices as well as to display a “conspicuous popup…not less than once every 30 minutes”. This popup is meant to alert the user of the amount of time they have spent on the platform across their various devices.

    Failure to comply with these requirements could result in enforcement by the state attorneys general.

    But that’s not all folks. The piece of legislation is also looking to crack down on operators of any “website, online service, online application or mobile application”. The bill seeks to require individuals and companies as such to obtain consent of users through a handful of specific methods and seeks to also ban preselected options for consent as well.

    So what does this mean for social media companies?

    Since news of the proposed piece of legislation broke, it seems that every media outlet in the country has made it their prerogative to highlight the 30-minute time limit thus instilling what can only be described as sheer horror into the general public.

    However, many of the impositions are targeted towards social media companies themselves as opposed to the users. The truth of the matter is that the restrictions which are indeed targeted towards individual users, such as the proposed social media daily time limit, are much more innocuous than they seem once the piece of legislation is reviewed. This is because these limits are to be created by the users themselves who also have the power to override them should they prefer.

    Social media companies on the other hand do rightly have a reason to be concerned. The various restrictions and bans set forth in the piece of legislation will require them to make significant changes to their platforms which will undoubtedly come at a significant cost for them – and not just financially. Features such as infinite scroll and autoplay could easily be seen as features which seek to enhance the user experience. As a result, they could face quite a backlash from the public in the event these potentially valuable features are no longer available.

    This is perhaps especially the case with regards to the ban on badges and other awards which are linked to engagement on platforms. These features have become immensely popular since their implementation and are particularly valuable to influential figures, who use them also in part to establish verified accounts so that the public can differentiate between fake profiles and authentic ones. Influencers who earn rewards on platforms often build their social media empires (and lives) on such features and many times put in countless hours of hard work and hard-earned money for advertising and promotions in order to obtain them.

    The looming blanket of worry seems almost reminiscent of the earlier days when the GDPR was first introduced. And unfortunately, you can’t exactly blame them. The truth of the matter is that if this bill is indeed actually passed, social media companies will have very little time to enact the changes required in order to be compliant.

    In fact, according to the bill itself, companies will have to make drastic changes within a span of just three months upon its enactment in order to ensure they are not performing any of the prohibited practices which are listed. They will furthermore have just 6 months after the date of the enactment in order to comply with the various list of requirements.

    Keep in mind that if they are found to be non-compliant, they’re getting much more than a slap on the wrist as the bill seeks to classify non-compliance as unlawful. This means that if they don’t comply with the SMART Act in a timely manner, they could potentially face repercussions from the commission as well as legal repercussions such as civil suits from the state attorneys general office. While the public is concerned about a potential self-imposed time limit which they can override themselves should they want to, these companies are concerned about the potentially disastrous effects that this piece of legislation could have on their glorious empires. That’s a hard pill to swallow.


    Social media — you either love it or hate it. While these platforms have provided countless of individuals with a way to connect to their friends and loved ones across the globe, they have also come under fire for the ways in which they approach user privacy and leverage personal information to their benefit. The SMART Act as proposed by Missouri Senator Hawley was created as a way to keep these companies and users in check and also to help combat what is largely considered a growing epidemic of social media addiction. Will it be passed? Is it as the Federalist put it the “beginning of the revolt against big tech”?  Only time will tell. For now, we can only postulate as to what could be the potential ramifications if it does.


    What is your opinion on Senator Hawley’s proposed SMART Act? What do you feel are some ramifications that could be had should it be passed? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to discuss!

    Share and Enjoy !

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    10 Cognitive Biases and How They’re Impacting Your Social Media Campaigns

    Let’s face it – everyone likes to believe they are a completely rational and logical being by nature. However, the truth of the matter is that both our subconscious and conscious minds are immeasurably complex and as a result, we are often subject to biases that we aren’t even aware we have. Have you ever gotten into a situation where you realized your thinking was a bit biased? Don’t worry if you have – you’re definitely not alone.

    The truth of the matter is that we all have a number of cognitive biases, many of which we are often unaware of.

    So, what exactly are cognitive biases in the first place, you ask?

    Cognitive biases are essentially fallacies or errors that we all tend to make with regards to rationalization, memory and reasoning. These biases often lead us into making irrational decisions or judgments due to the fact that we are all too often undeniably influenced by a multitude of subconscious factors that we have built up as a result of our life experiences, preferences and beliefs.

    The bad news is that as a marketer, cognitive biases are always going to be an impediment for you. However, the good news is that through educating yourself and becoming more aware of the various cognitive biases we all often possess, you can effectively craft smarter, savvier marketing campaigns.

    This article will give you the breakdown on 10 cognitive biases and also provide you with various tips, tricks and tactics you can use to overcome them in your audience.


    1. Attentional Bias

    What it is: Attentional bias, much as its name implies, deals with our attention and how our perceptions on a subject are often profoundly impacted by our recurring thoughts.

    What this means for you: Generally speaking, when it comes to attentional bias, familiarity breeds…content. That’s right. The more often a customer is exposed to your brand, products or messages, the more likely they are to convert. When it comes to marketing – don’t just stop with social media. An omni-channel approach is not only beneficial, it’s quickly becoming the standard.


    1. The Availability Cascade

    What it is: The availability cascade deals with the availability of information to an individual. This is a “self-reinforcing process” where belief tends to be increased through “repetition in public discourse”.

    What this means for you: This means that your target demographic is more likely to trust your brand when they have repeatedly been exposed to other individuals who have had experiences positive experiences with it. The thought process here is that if someone says it – it must be so. The bottom line is that it’s all about generating a buzz. Use smart tactics such as affiliate marketing or influencer marketing to leverage the influence of others and get them talking about your brand.


    3. Post-Purchase Rationalization

    What it is: Post-purchase rationalization is the tendency that humans have to justify a decision such as a purchase once it is completed.

    What this means for you:This rationalization is done in an attempt to counteract feelings of buyer’s remorse – something that everyone experiences in some way, shape or form after a purchase. You as a business can help overcome buyer’s remorse by making your customers feel good about their purchases and interactions with your business after the fact. Automated email campaigns are the best way to do this. Send your customers a message thanking them for their purchase, or better yet, offer them a discount on their next one.


    4. The Cheerleader Effect

    What it is: The cheerleader effect is the tendency we have to view subjects as “more attractive” when in a collective group as opposed to alone.

    What this means for you:This is particularly pertinent when it comes to customer testimonials. While you may be extremely excited about the first positive feedback that you receive, don’t jump the gun on posting it on your website, social media or blog. The truth of the matter is that one single vote of confidence may actually work against you. Wait instead until you’ve cultivated a group and then post several testimonials together instead.


    1. The Peltzman Effect

    What it is: This particular effect deals with our tendencies to take risks when we feel that the environment in which we are taking action is safe.

    What this means for you: Your audience is going to be much more likely to convert into consumers if they feel that you are a safe choice. There are numerous ways you can build up trust in your target demographic’s mind. For instance, make sure that you’re using an SSL encrypted website (https). You can also take the time to research and identify which trust badges are most effective and take steps to install them on your website to give your consumers the peace of mind that their private information and data are secure.



    1. The Decoy Effect

    What it is:This is another bias that deals with our tendencies to misjudge matters in an environment of comparison. Specifically, it deals with the prospect of us having options. For the purpose of this article, we’ll call them Option A and Option B. What happens is that when we are introduced with a third option that is similar to our second option (Option C), we tend to automatically show a preference towards the second, middle option (Option B). This tendency is so strong that we often make this choice regardless of whether or not Option C is truly a better option in the first place.

    What this means for you: This is a great cognitive bias to leverage when it comes to exhibiting your pricing structures. Let’s say for instance that you currently offer one plan or price for a specific product or service. By offering a less costly option and then an upgraded option, you can essentially influence your audience to show preference for your current price point. This makes them feel as if they are in more control of the buying process than if you were to simply present one single price and as a result, positively influences their experience with your brand.



    1. The Focusing Effect

    What it is:The focusing effect deals with tendency to place a great deal of importance on one specific aspect of a subject. While we have the ability to focus on multiple things at a time, the truth is that we also tend to prioritize these things and assess a greater deal of value on a single component.

    What this means for you:This means that when it comes to marketing your products, brands or services, keep in mind that you don’t want to give your audience a major case of information overload. All this does is negatively impact their experience. Instead, focus on one unique quality or aspect that will substantially benefit your customers in some way, shape or form and drive that quality home.


    1. The Distinction Bias

    What it is: This particular cognitive bias deals with our tendency to view things as more dissimilar when compared side-by-side than when compared or evaluated on an individual basis.

    What this means for you:If you really want to take advantage of this cognitive bias in your social media marketing strategy, then doing a side-by-side comparison of your competitor’s brand, products or services is the way to go. The truth of the matter is that you don’t necessarily have to be mountains ahead of your competitor in every way in order for this to be effective. You could simply excel in one particular area and highlight this for maximum effect.



    1. The Hot-Hand Fallacy

    What it is:This bias deals with our tendencies to overestimate subjects who have previously demonstrated or experienced some form of success in the past. We then incorrectly assume that because this is the case, the subject at hand has greater odds at achieving further success in the future.

    What this means for you:You know what they say: Fake it ‘til you make it. Whether your successes are big or small, shout them from the rooftop so that your audience can see the achievement. They in turn will begin to associate you with achievement and subsequently begin to perceive you as a “winning” brand. This in turn gives you their vote of confidence, instills trust and makes them more likely to convert into actual customers.


    1. Information Bias

    What it is: Information bias deals with our tendency to want to stay “in-the-know”. As human beings, we naturally seek out information. We often tend to do this even when the information we are interested in has no impact on the action we are taking.

    What this means for you:Overcommunication is key. People like to feel as if they’re making the right decision and we often have numerous biases that prevent us from establishing trust with a brand in the beginning. The best way to overcome this is by giving your audience and potential customers as much information as you can when the time is right. This means detailed product descriptions and lots of information on your shipping policies and the buying process. Tell your customers about your company. Give them an inside, behind-the-scenes look. Include contact information in your content. Give your customers access to everything they could want to know and more in order to build trust and assure them they’re making the right decision by engaging with your company.



    While we may all want to believe that we’re logical and rational individuals by nature, the truth of the matter is that there are a multitude of cognitive biases that all too often influence our decision making process. Use this article and the information you’ve gained as a guide to help you on your path to enhancing your social media campaign strategy today. Remember — when it comes to conversions, every single percentage point, every little fraction of a percentage point counts. By intuitively understanding your audience, you’ll be able to effectively craft smarter, savvier campaigns and get a leg up on your competition in no time.


    What are some cognitive biases you’ve come across during your path into entrepreneurship? What strategies have you used to help overcome them?






    Social Media Blurb

    Let’s face it – everyone likes to believe they are a completely rational and logical being by nature. However, the truth of the matter is that both our subconscious and conscious minds are immeasurably complex and as a result, we are often subject to biases that we aren’t even aware we have. Have you ever gotten into a situation where you realized your thinking was a bit biased? Don’t worry if you have – you’re definitely not alone.

    The truth of the matter is that we all have a number of cognitive biases, many of which we are often unaware of.

    So, what exactly are cognitive biases in the first place, you ask?

    Cognitive biases are essentially fallacies or errors that we all tend to make with regards to rationalization, memory and reasoning. These biases often lead us into making irrational decisions or judgments due to the fact that we are all too often undeniably influenced by a multitude of subconscious factors that we have built up as a result of our life experiences, preferences and beliefs.

    The bad news is that as a marketer, cognitive biases are always going to be an impediment for you. However, the good news is that through educating yourself and becoming more aware of the various cognitive biases we all often possess, you can effectively craft smarter, savvier marketing campaigns.

    This article will give you the breakdown on 10 cognitive biases and also provide you with various tips, tricks and tactics you can use to overcome them in your audience.

    Share and Enjoy !

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    Marketing Strategies for Real Estate Investors


    Regardless of what type of real estate investment you’re in, the truth of the matter is that you’re never going to be successful without a solid marketing strategy. Fortunately, now more than ever there are numerous avenues, tools and platforms available to real estate investors looking to establish a presence and expand their business with their marketing efforts.

    A recent report by the National Association of Realtors found that as much as 51% of buyers find their properties on the internet. As a result, it creates a valuable opportunity for you to spread the word about your business and generate leads.

    However, with that being said, there’s nothing that substitutes for good old fashioned, traditional face-to-face encounters or interactions within the physical world. While the internet is a treasure trove of information and opportunity, it is always recommended that real estate investors use a combination of online and offline strategies in order to ensure their efforts are most effective.

    If you’re interested in learning about the various strategies you can use to improve and expand your business operations as a real estate investor, then look no further than these next few lines.


    1. Leverage Your Access to Public Records

    Regardless of your approach to real estate investment, you should know that you automatically have a huge advantage simply due to nothing more than the fact that you’re in the real estate industry. As a result, you automatically have the opportunity to access public records which give you all kinds of valuable information on your target demographic such as names, income and more that can help you maximize your marketing efforts.

    Use this wealth of information available to you and create detailed databases based on your research findings. This gives you the opportunity to fine-tune and focus your marketing efforts so that you can successfully reach, attract and make an impact on your ideal target demographic.


    2. Email marketing

    Did you know that according to HubSpot, 59% of marketers say that email marketing gives them the biggest ROI when compared with other channels they use? In fact, email generates an astounding $38 for every $$1 spent.

    That’s a 3,800% ROI.

    There’s no denying that email marketing is one of the most effective options you have available to you. If you still have yet to start building your email list, don’t fret – just know that it’s never too late and it’s super simple to get started. All you need is some kind of lead bait (such as an offer) in order to entice individuals to sign up to your list and an email marketing tool such as MailChimp to get started on creating awesome automated email campaigns to help you generate leads and grow your business.



    3. Direct mail


    4. Owned media

    Have you taken the time to invest in owned media for your business? If you’re looking to make an impact online then you’re going to have to establish yourself in some way,  shape or form. This could be through a company website, a blog or a Facebook page. Ideally, you should have all three. These valuable forms of media are used to help attract customers to your business and as a result, should be carefully crafted specifically for the purpose of generating conversions.


    5. Earned Media

    Earned media is another form of media that every entrepreneur, regardless of industry should be investing in. Earned media encompasses things such as press releases, guest posting, business reviews and customer testimonials.

    Earned media can also come in the form of SEO. Having a search-engine optimized website is the best way to generate organic traffic from search engines such as Googleyou’re your goal is to get your name out, then you’re going to have a hard time doing so when you’re on the 4th page of a Google search result. SEO, press releases, guest posting and reviews all help contribute to your online presence and as a result, should be considered seriously by any real estate investor.



    6. Paid Media

    Did you know that according to recent research individuals who visit your site through a paid ad are 50%

    more likely to convert than those who do so organically?

    Let’s say you already know the basics of online marketing. You have a website; you update your blog on a regular basis and you’ve established your presence on social media. Have you considered paid media?

    Unless you’ve established your presence online for the latter part of a decade, it’s going to be hard for you to get any traction without advertising. Whether your focus is on social media ads or you prefer Google’s Adwords platform, advertising provides a valuable opportunity for you to get your business in front of those that need to see it most.




    7. Video Marketing

    Video marketing is pretty much the hottest thing since sliced bread right about now. Gone are the days when a simple text advertisement or static picture served as sufficient for your marketing efforts. Video is now officially the standard – and it’s east yo see why. Did you know that according to recent research video marketers get on average  66% more qualified leads per year than those who don’t use video in their marketing strategies? Further food for thought – did you know that YouTube is officially becoming the go-to platform for video research? If you’ve already established yourself on a platform such as Facebook, you may want to consider establishing yourself or at least marketing on this insanely popular channel.



    8. Off-Market Properties

    Focusing your efforts on off-market properties gives you a solid advantage financially speaking. Off-market properties, often referred to as “pocket listings”, are real estate listings that aren’t listed on multiple listing services such as MRIS. The great thing about these listings is that they are a niche of sorts and often ideal for investors focusing on flipping because the properties are often listed far below market value. So, how do you find them if they’re not on the MLS? Good old-fashioned networking. Which leads us to our next tactic.



    9. Networking

    Good old-fashioned traditional networking is by far one of the most effective strategies that a real investor can have in their marketing arsenal. However, when it comes to networking, making sure you choose the right people is crucial to success.

    Estate attorneys are valuable resources for real estate investors as they often have lots of properties on hand with title issues and/or tax liens that will soon be on the market.

    Wholesalers make the process simple as they act as the middlemen in the real estate transaction due to the fact that they sell you the contracts to properties.

    Local builders are also valuable resources because these individuals tend to be “in the know” about local, unfinished properties, giving you a great opportunity to take advantage of.

    In an interview with Forbes.com, Chuck Hattemer with Onerent suggests that real estate investors contact the HR teams of local companies and offer a deal for their employees to rent their properties. You can offer to bring lunch and treat the company while getting valuable leads and contacts.




    10. Targeting Motivated Sellers

    Motivated sellers are individuals who for whatever reasons may be, find themselves in a predicament where they have to sell their property as soon as possible. Motivated sellers are a great resource and target demographic for real estate investors because they often are willing to take offers below market value due to their situation.

    The easiest, quickest and cheapest way to identify sellers as such is to check your county’s delinquent tax list. These records give you access to individuals who are behind on their property taxes from as little as two weeks to as long as 2 years. This essentially gives you a database of potential contacts as well as insight into future foreclosure listings.


    If you’re looking to establish awareness and grow your business, then there’s no better way to do it than by implementing these tried and true marketing strategies for real estate investors. While you may want to dive in head-first and try out every single item on the list, the truth of the matter is that it’s much better to focus your attention on just 1-3 of these strategies in order to ensure your efforts aren’t diluted. So, what are you waiting for? Step up your game in 2019 and set yourself up for your best year yet!


    What are some marketing strategies you’ve found successful as a real estate investor? Have you used any of the tactics on our list? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you!






    Regardless of what type of real estate investment you’re in, the truth of the matter is that you’re never going to be successful without a marketing strategy. Fortunately, now more than ever there are numerous avenues, tools and platforms available to real estate investors looking to establish a presence and expand their business with their marketing efforts.

    A recent report by the National Association of Realtors found that as much as 51% of buyers find their properties on the internet. As a result, it creates a valuable opportunity for you to spread the word about your business and generate leads.

    However, with that being said, there’s nothing that substitutes for good old fashioned, traditional face-to-face encounters or interactions within the physical world. While the internet is a treasure trove of information and opportunity, it is always recommended that real estate investors use a combination of online and offline strategies in order to ensure their efforts are most effective.

    If you’re interested in learning about the various strategies you can use to improve and expand your business operations as a real estate investor, then look no further than these next few lines.

    Share and Enjoy !

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