Tag Archives: blogs

Like most of you, I am continually bombarded with articles and blogs claiming mobile, social and data will “forever change the way we do business.” So why would I write another one? I take issue with most of these articles because few actually dig into specifically how these buzz words will change our lives. I have an iPhone, I use social media and I'm sure there's all kinds of data about me floating around the Internet. I want to know how each of these is being used to sell to me better, make me buy more, or otherwise affect my behaviors.

With that in mind, I recently reached out to five top analysts in my field to garner their thoughts on how mobile, social and data will impact customer relationship management specifically. We came up with a list of what we are calling CRM's Next 5 in 5 – a play off of IBM's five innovations that will change our lives in the next five years. My colleague Lauren Carlson devised a similar report last year, so I wanted to update her findings.Future of CRM

For this article, I consulted with each of the following analysts:

• Denis Pombriant, CEO of Beagle Research Group LLC

• Brent Leary, owner of CRM Essentials

• Esteban Kolsky, principal and founder of ThinkJar

• Brian Vellmure, CEO and founder of Initium LLC / Innovantage

• Paul Greenberg, owner of 56 Group LLC

 Here's a list of specific aspects of mobile, social and data they see impacting CRM software during the next five years.

Curating Technologies Will Siphon Data for a Specific Business Goal

As we all know, Big Data means nothing unless you can actually do something with it. But there's so much out there, it's difficult for a business to know what pieces they can use to actually grow their business. Do they want to generate leads? Garner market intelligence? Develop their product?

Curated data services will start with the business goal then filter out the data that achieves it. Let's say you wanted to better score and generate leads off of your website visitors. One technology could, for example, automatically score site visitors as a lead with Dun and Bradstreet, social media and IP address information. Then adjust that score based on how they interact with your website.

In the hypothetical above, sales reps might be alerted through their CRM if a website visitor at that moment is in their buyer persona sweet spot, on the site for the fourth time that day, and just emailed a white paper about your product to a colleague.

Companies Will Leverage Contacts in New Ways with Crowdsourcing

Customers and clients are paying less and less attention to traditional marketing and sales strategies, such as television and print. Just take a look at this recent report showing a huge disparity in marketing spend between traditional and digital channels.

What customers do pay attention to – particularly in today's social and Yelpified world – is what their friends, family and contacts say about your brand. This is where crowdsourcing comes in. It isn't a new concept, but technology developers will come up with services that empower customers and contacts to be personal brand advocates. This could layer in gamification elements, but the idea is leveraging contacts to market your brand for you.

Social Media Will (Finally) Directly Prove ROI

Many of you out there will probably fight me on this, but I still struggle to see the direct ROI in social media. For me, it's a wonderful tool for relationship building and staying “in the know.” But generating leads off the channel is still cumbersome and inefficient because it's a mostly manual process – if you do it at all.

There are definitely some products out there innovating in this space, but they face one huge challenge. The data needed to automate this process is accessed through open social APIs – these are evolving so quickly that the data is often imperfect and unreliable. As these APIs improve, technology developers will innovate new products that leverage social data to generate leads and produce revenue.

Voice-Enabled Technology Will Mobilize CRM

Many CRM mobile apps today essentially work and function much like the desktop version. They might be optimized with slimmed down dashboards and navigation with swiping and pinching. But they still require a lot of tapping and fishing around various pages.

Voice is one way to work around to this. Apple innovated in this space with Siri. But I can't count on one hand the number of times I've seen comedy sketches poking fun at her for getting commands hilariously wrong.

Eventually Natural Language Understanding – the algorithms that understand not just what is said, but the context of it – will perfect voice-enabled navigation. Once they do, CRM developers will feel more comfortable leveraging that technology in their mobile experience.

Predictive Analytics Will Improve Personalized Marketing

Predictive analytics tell companies what a customer is likely to be attracted to based on their past behaviors. We see early versions of this from Amazon, which suggests products based on what you’ve already purchased or searched for.

Uses for this intelligence will continue to improve so personalized messaging, offers and deals will happen right at the moment when there is the greatest opportunity.

Imagine, for example, that you go to a clothing site and add five items to your cart. Five minutes later you navigate away from the page without buying. In the future, you might receive an email or text message a minute later saying “Buy those five items now and get a 10 percent discount and entry into a drawing for an iPad.” This wouldn't be sent to everyone that abandoned their cart. Just to me because the site knows from my history I only buy sale items, or shop when there's a special; and I enter every contest. Additionally, I'm a loyal customer and a big spender. It makes sense to spend money marketing to me.

These are just a few of the specific ways our experts see mobile, social and data changing CRM in the future. What do you see in your crystal ball? Join the conversation with a comment here.

Guest Author:  Ashley Verrill is a market analyst that writes for the Software Advice website. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

 

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Are you clueless on how to blog for SEO? This beginner's guide will take you through simple steps on how to get your blog posts in tip top shape for when the search bots come crawling.

Why Blog for SEO?

There’s two very good reasons you should do this, which lead me to put together this beginner's guide on how to blog for SEO.

1. Since you’re already taking the time to write the blog, so you might as well know how to blog for SEO.

2. It will help drive extra traffic to your blog in the long term – which is why you’re blogging right?

How to Blog for SEO

First you should plan out your blog post. It might seem like extra work, but believe me it will make the whole process a lot easier. You can download the plan I used to prepare this blog for SEO here.

Topic – First you’ll need to decide on the topic you’ll be blogging about. Ideally it should be a trending topic or something you know is popular with your target audience. There’s no point writing about something no one’s interested in.

Keywords – Probably the most important consideration when tailoring your blog for seo is the keywords you’ll use. Once you’ve decided on your topic, the best way to select keywords is to head on over to the google keyword tool, which will show you a bunch of suggestions for the topic you enter. Ideally try to choose 2 or 3 phrases which have high search traffic and low competition. If you downloaded the plan I used for this post, you’ll see that the phrases I’ve selected are ‘blog for seo’, ‘how to blog’ and ‘beginner's guide’, which all have low competition and searches in the thousands. ...continue reading

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Are you trying to build backlinks on a budget?  Just because you don’t have tons of cash to throw around on fancy SEO services, your website does not have to get stuck on page 5 of the search engines.

Here are four of the top no-cost link building techniques that get results fast:

Blog Commenting

Blog commenting is a fairly fast and painless link building technique, but most people do it incorrectly because they spam blogs.  Whether you do it yourself or pay someone else, blog spamming doesn’t make sense and won’t get the results you want.  The problem with useless spammy comments is that they don’t get approved.  This leaves you with zero backlinks.

Here’s the right way to do it:

Post a thought provoking, informative comment that might pique the interest of readers.

The benefit, you ask?

For starters, your comment is much more likely to get approved if you actually provide value.  This will increase the number of readers who click-through to your site.  You want people to see your comments and think, “Hey, that’s a great point.  I wonder what else he/she has to say…” *Click*.

If you can establish yourself as an authority in your comment, the people that click-through to your site are already mentally prepped to have more trust and respect for your opinions.  This means they’ll stick around longer, subscribe, maybe even make a purchase, or share your site on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The only other part to the blog commenting equation is finding blogs to comment on.  There are two ways that I consider the best options for finding blogs to comment on.

The first is to use Drop My Link.  You can search for specific types of blogs such as KeywordLuv blogs and add your keyword in the search.  This will help you find a lot of relevant blogs to comment on.  I suggest searching for KeywordLuv blogs first since they allow anchor text, they are “do follow”, and they add a link to your most recent post if you have a blog.  It’s definitely a big win situation.

For the other blog-finding tactic, I suggest using the SEOQuake plugin for Firefox to sort each page of results by PageRank (PR).  A page doesn’t have to have a high PR to be worthwhile to comment on, but it definitely helps.

In summary, using the above techniques will help you quickly find blogs that are relevant, allow anchor text,  are “do follow”, possibly have high PR, and  allow backlinks that attract visitors plus you get an extra link to your blog…and oh yeah… it’s all at no cost. ...continue reading