Making the Most Out of Your Online Ad Spending

online-ad-spending-done-effectively

Back in January, waspbarcode released fresh data from their small business survey indicating that not only do small business have a marketing budget, they also intend to increase it in 2017. Investing in marketing is great for business growth, especially if the investment allows businesses to reach new customers. The report did mention those small businesses are considering investing some of that budget in online marketing, but is that the right thing for your growing organization?
When I talk to owners of small and medium businesses, they quickly mention Facebook and Google Adwords as the place to start, and that is understandable, these platforms have great targeting ability and the largest audience reach. Google also has the added advantage of search intent. If I am searching for Car insurance, I am more likely to be looking to purchase a policy soon. But are there any things to look out for? Let’s look at the insurance industry.
It turns out that keywords related to insurance are the most expensive ones to bid on, $54.91 USD is the cost of a click on an insurance related ad according to data released by wordstream. Using this data 100 clicks would cost a company $5,491, and if your website is typical it would convert at an 4% rate, that means of the 100 customers that clicked 4 would have provided their information and become a lead, a cost of $1,372.25 per lead. There are ways to optimize that experience, no doubt one can get to a 10% conversion rate by using well-designed web pages, placing good offers on the website, etc…, if we use a 10% rate, the cost per lead is $549.1
That is the range for Cost Per Lead online, approximately $549 – $1,372.25 for an insurance broker. If your brokerage is looking to acquire 100 customers from the web channel, what should your budget be? That number highly depends on how well your brokers/agents close leads, if we assume that they are able to close 54% of all leads, then the cost per customer would be 2*Cost per lead, or $1,098 on the low end or $2,744 on the high end.
The question is, can this be optimized? Remember that customers searching for car insurance probably clicked a few ads and are getting quotes from various parties, converting these customers fast is key to success, here are some tips to convert potential customers.

Optimizing Your Online Ad Spending

  1. Create a Well-Designed Web Page and Clear Value Proposition

Make sure you have a well-designed web page and a compelling offer to increase your website conversion page. In a previous article on usability, we gave some tips on how to optimize your website for a better customer experience
What is important is to create a compelling and clear value proposition: A value proposition is a business declaration that describes why your potential customer should use your product or service. Usually, a great value proposition should address what your company does, how are you are different or unique and who your company serves.
A/B test website content: Split testing, most popularly known as A/B testing, is a method of determining the more successful content piece (that could be a web page, copy or even buttons) by putting two variations of content against each other and basing it on a common goal set by you.
The goal could be, the number of conversions, sign-ups, increase in downloads etc.  

  1. Responding and Interacting to Leads

Responds to leads fast: the 5-minute rule is in full effect here, data released by The Lead Response Management study show that the odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times. The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times. So stay on top of those leads.
Address objections: Objections are a part of the buying cycle and are inevitable. The critical part about an objection is to understand that it might be due to your potential customer’s lack of knowledge regarding your product or inability to understand your solution thoroughly.
Listening to your customer and addressing these objections in a concise manner is primary for your business’ success. In terms of your site, spend the time to address typical questions that you expect or have been asked frequently through an FAQ page or even landing page copy and imagery.

  1. Increasing Trust

It’s natural tendency to make a purchase from a person or company that you trust, so why would this be different for your potential customer? Ensuring you give your potential customers a reason to trust you and your product can be critical in the conversion process. Few ways you can do that is:

  • Being transparent about the services or product features you offer.
  • Always honor any promises you make to your customers, whether online or offline.
  • Display your product or service’s price on your website.
  • Show social proof by creating a section for mentions or quotes about your product or service from happy customers.
  • And finally, be consistent with your brand and product throughout your website, collateral and communication.
  1. Sealing the Deal – Online

Remove the possibility of leakage: customers do not want to print, sign, scan, fax, it’s inconvenient and if I am shopping my quote around and your competitor sent me a document ready for my digital signature, you would have lost me as a potential customer. Stats show that 46% of customers drop off after a broker sends them a paper based quote. In terms of Google online ad spending, that equals $43,920, meaning that if a digital signature solution saves one customer dropping off, the $50 investment is well worth it!
Looking to seal the deal? Why not try Signority’s Digital Signature solution for free. Click here

The Benefits of eSignature

the-business-benefits-of-eSignature

Thankfully, most eSignature software (like Signority) are easy to use—even for the most inexperienced users. In fact, it’s ease of use has been one of the contributing factors to its sky-high adoption rate.
Though the exact process may vary depending on the software solution, the basic workflow is virtually the same.
Here’s how a basic eSignature solution works:

  1. A document is uploaded to a website (usually a third-party software)
  2. The document is tagged to pinpoint exactly where a signature is required
  3. The document is then emailed to the participants who are required to sign
  4. The signer(s) completes all required fields, then signs the document electronically
  5. The completed document is then automatically emailed back to the original sender
  6. The document is automatically stored for safe, secure, and easy access

Now that you understand the basics of how eSignatures work, let’s look at some of the benefits of eSignature.

Benefits of eSignature

Legally-binding eSignatures have a number of important benefits for businesses:

  1. Easy to use. Signing an electronic document is super simple for all those involved. In fact, most eSignature software is intuitive even to complete beginners, which means less time spent learning how to use new software.
  2. Save money: Paper isn’t cheap, especially when you account for purchasing, copying, scanning, and printing costs, among other paper-related expenditures. Needless to say, these costs add up quickly. Moving to a paperless system can reduce expenditures and instantly increase your profit margins. You can access our post ”A Paperless Business and 5 Ways You Can Achieve It Now”.
  3. Save time. Printing, copying and scanning take time. Preparing documents for signature takes time. Tracking down (and waiting for) signatures take even more time. eSignatures can shorten the turnaround time by as much as 90 percent.
  4. Improve accuracy. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a signed document only to realize the recipient forgot to fill out a required piece of information, eSignature software allow you to specify mandatory fields, which, as you probably guessed, require the recipient to complete all such fields before the document can be signed.  
  5. Stay organized. Keeping track of paperwork (regardless of how efficient your filing system may be) is often burdensome. eSignatures create an easily sortable, organized filing system by which you can easily store and retrieve important documents.
  6. Add an extra layer of security: Electronic documents can be protected by a variety of methods, including passcodes, encryption, two-factor authentication, and even biometric authentication methods. These methods instantly make your important documents more secure.
  7. Make things easier for customers and/or vendors. While the benefits of eSignature can be obvious for your own business, they also make things much easier for your customers, partners, suppliers, or other vendors (for many of the same reasons we’ve already covered). Customers prefer eSignature solutions not only because it is more convenient, but it brings a number of important advantages, including eliminating unnecessary back-and-forth (saving time), simplifying internal processes, facilitating quicker onboarding, and increasing operational efficiency, among a laundry list of other benefits.

Planning to take your business paperless? Check out our recent guide “A Brief Introduction to eSignatures”, you can download if for free here.

The Millennial Movement: 7 Ways Your Business Can Optimize for Mobile-Savvy Consumers

The Millennial Movement - How to Optimize for Mobile-Savvy Consumers

Quick, throw out your desktops and burn all your landlines, the millennials are coming!
Millennials are non-traditionalists who want things their way, and they want them now. According to Pew Research, there are 75.4 million millennials in the United States alone; officially surpassing the number of Baby Boomers. With a buying power of over $200 billion, they are quickly becoming a hugely untapped market. With this in mind, millennials account for 41% of the total time Americans spend using their phones. Turns out the stereotype is true, millennials are glued to their phones. Predictably, they use their phones for shopping. In fact, millennials use their phones for every step of the buying process; for researching, browsing/evaluating alternatives, and during the actual purchase. As such, your small- to medium-sized business should change with the tide and implement an optimized, mobile-first strategy, or else face the same fate of the once popular Blockbuster video

How to Optimize for Mobile: The Basics

First things first, before you personalize your site to tailor the needs of millennials, let’s go over some basics:

1. Functionality

In order for Millennials to use your mobile site, it must be easy to use. Concentrate on clear, focused content, with large, easy to read text. Smaller screens will already make navigating your website harder, so having a cluttered/distracting layout and small font will only amplify this. Users should never have to pinch or zoom their screens in order to see something more clearly. Along the same line, keep menus and navigations limited. If your users have to transition between four different pages before they get to the one they want, they’ll be gone after the second page. You should also limit things that will slow down your pages speed, like pop-ups (which can sometimes be super-frustrating to close!)

2. Design

Mobile-friendly layouts are simple and well-integrated with your main website. User’s want the same feel and experience on a mobile site as they would from your desktop website. Having your sites match each other presents a united front and a stronger brand image. And don’t forget about your big-handed customers! Make sure the buttons are big enough for easy usage. Along the same lines, keep your fill-out forms to a minimum, as small screens and big hands can make them difficult to complete. Lastly, the site must be configured in a way that allows for easy scrolling.

3. Use Already-Existing Mobile Features

Take advantage of the various functions and features that are only available on mobile phones. You’ll be able to know where all of your users are located in real time, allowing you to better their search results, and better promote yourself. The camera and microphone also open up a ton of opportunities for user engagement, like barcode scanning, and visual/verbal searches. You can also utilize push notifications, as they are less annoying than email notifications, and easier for users to see. For example, instead of notifying a customer through email when an item has come back in stock, send them a push notification. Not only is this more convenient for them, but it also speeds up the buying process for you. Another way to shorten the buying process is by incorporating click through links on your site. A specific example of how to optimize for mobile is allowing users to click on your business’s phone number, and having their phone directly call.

How to Optimize for Mobile: Tech-Savvy Millennials

Customer experience is taking center stage in 2017, and millennials know exactly what they want. If you can successfully cater to this new and profitable target segment, you will be, as they say, “on fleek”.

4. Online Browsing

According to Data Mentors, 50% of millennials use mobile devices to research products and reviews, a whopping 30% increase compared with non-millennials. They search for product information, product details, and past customer reviews. As such, each item on your site should have an accurate picture, a concise description and a place for customers to directly comment their reviews.

5. In-store Shopping

Millennials use their phone during their entire purchase; a colossal 84% use their smartphones in-store to assist with their shopping. As explained by DigiDay, retailers can leverage this to their advantage in many ways. Home Depot lets their customers see an item’s inventory, location in the store, price, product details and customer ratings, all by using their phone to scan an item’s barcode. Millennials are price sensitive shoppers, and two-thirds use their phones to compare/check prices. As such, you should strongly promote any deals and price promotions on your mobile site.

6. Online Purchases

Unsurprisingly, millennials are not scared to shop online. Roughly 40% prefer to shop online and they are comfortable with paying through their mobile phone — Apple and Android Pay have made this possible. However, millennials are not immune to security concerns. One solution to combat this could be to allow customers to pay through gift cards, as 64% of millennials believe gift cards to be the safest online payment method.

7. Other Features

Since the majority of millennials still shop in store, your mobile site should support this. You can monitor visitors’ behaviour on your site, and, based on their GPS location, refer them to the nearest store location when the time is right. You should also have your store directory easily accessible and noticeable. Additionally, millennials are active social media users and value the ability to share everything online. You can add sharing features on your products, enabling customers to send any items they’re interested in to their friends. Through this, you can increase your exposure and reach, and millennials will appreciate their ability to easily share over their social media pages.
Plot twist, I’m a millennial (and yes, this may have been written on my phone). A new age is here, and your business needs to keep up with the times. Millennials are unlike any other consumer group and we have immense buying power. Ditch the old way of thinking, take a millennials advice and start investing in upgrading your mobile site.
Gotta run, my phones almost out of battery!
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in our recent article on how to “Modernize Your Business for Under $1000 Per Month”.
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get a 14-day free trial to a Signority eSignature Plan.

The Ultimate List: 70+ business experts you should follow for explosive business growth

Ultimate List of Top Business Experts to Follow on Social Media

All of us, including some of the greatest thinkers in the world, have turned to other great achievers and experts of their time for inspiration.
In fact, I think it’s safe to say, that the road to achieving success — whatever success may mean to you — has quite a bit to do with hearing what the experts have to say, looking at problem-solving from their perspective and hopefully learn from their mistakes.
So, I compiled a list of business experts, marketing gurus and those rising business stars that, I believe, can be of great help to small and medium business owners out there. In business, growth and marketing, these women and men are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same.
The list is broken into Top Content Marketers, Top Business Growth Experts, Top Canadian Business Experts, Top Social Media Marketers and Top Up-and-Coming Experts.
So, who are these prominent business leaders and experts in the world you should look out for?
Let’s take a look!

Top Content Marketers

Because content marketing works, yes, even for small and medium businesses. Take a look the list below and make sure to follow these experts to supercharge your learning. The best thing is that all of them put out great free content and resources so you don’t have to spend a dime to get this knowledge

  1. Jeff Bullas–  Jeff was voted  #1 Content Marketing Influencer and h.as been featured in Forbes’ Top 10 Social Media Influencer list, among his other awards. Jeff is also a speaker and author. His self-proclaimed mission is to“Inspire and educate people to win at business and life in a digital world”.
  2. Sam Hurley – Sam frequently published a variety of easy-to-understand articles on Digital Marketing and always pushes the value of strong relationships in business. He also shares heaps of friendly, helpful material each day across Twitter, LinkedIn + Facebook. Interact with him and you can guarantee a vibrant response in the form of emojis and GIFs! Sam’s been featured in Forbes, Inc and FastCompany Magazine.
  3. Kevan Lee – As the Director of Marketing at Buffer, Kevan writes about the importance of content writing and publishing. You can see more about what his thought-process are like and follow his updates here.
  4. Joe Pulizzi – Best-selling author and self-proclaimed “content marketing evangelist”, Jeff Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute and is often found blogging or hosting one of his two podcasts —  ‘Content Inc.’ and ‘This Old Marketing’.
  5. Steve Cartwright –  Is an influencer and content marketer, whose Twitter feed is a curated list of content marketing articles about design, social media, website design and strategy from around the web. His blog is a great resource for marketers and entrepreneurs looking to understand how good design experience can help make great content.
  6. Lee Odden – CEO at TopRank Marketing —  a company that helps attract, engage, convert & retain more business with integrated marketing services: content, SEO, influencer marketing Author, Speaker & Consultant on B2B Content & Influencer Marketing, Social Media, PR & SEO. Proud Dad, World Traveler, Foodie, Beardie.
  7. Ann Handley – Ann is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs and a veteran when it comes to content creation. She is also a Wall Street Journal best-selling author for Everybody Writes, co-author of another best-seller Content Rules, and a big LinkedIn influencer. She was cited by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers, and her knowledge and experience is worth checking out!
  8. Martin Jones – Is a leading content marketer and currently Sr. Social Media & Content Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications marketing team.  He is also a recognized writer and keynote speaker.
  9. Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketer, speaker, professor, journalist shares practical advice on social media, content marketing, small business & life.
  10. Jason Miller – As a global Content & Social Media Marketing leader, Jason leads content and social media marketing for LinkedIn. He is the author of the best seller ‘Welcome to the Funnel’.
  11. Jay Baer – Jay Baer is a prominent Keynote speaker & emcee. He is also the President of Convince and Convert, a marketing & social media customer service consultancy.
  12. Mark Schaefer – Mark is a professional keynote speaker, internationally acclaimed author and strategy consultant, He was recently voted #1 Social media keynote speaker and has five best-selling marketing books under his belt.  Check out his podcast ‘Marketing Companion podcast’.
  13. Joanna Wiebe – Is the founder of Copy Hackers, a site that teaches — just about anyone — how to write persuasive copy that converts. She is also a prominent speaker and a social media maven.
  14. Aaron Orendorff – Featured in Forbes Top 25 Marketing Influencers, Aaron is an expert content writer and marketer. He writes at Mashable, Lifehacker and Huffington Post to name a few.  You can read more about him here.

Top Business Growth Experts

The majority of the people on this list are from the technology world, and that’s because I firmly believe you can take away a lot from their successes in high-tech and still incorporate key learnings into your business — no matter the size.

  1. Sean Ellis – Entrepreneur, angel investor and startup consulter, Ellis is the “original growth hacker”, the person who both coined the term and founded GrowthHackers. He was the first marketer for EventBrite, DropBox and LookOut, and clearly a solid foundation of their successful and fast growth.
  2. Noah Kagan – Originally FaceBook’s 30th employee, now he’s known for founding and growing AppSumo, a web-based company trading in digitally distributes goods such as software and digital material for e-learning.
  3. David King – Another FaceBook-related growth expert, King is the founder of (Lil) Green Patch apps, which in itself is a growth hacking technique, as the brackets will make the apps list first in search results.
  4. Dave Zohrob – Currently an angel investor and working to create the perfect startup job environment, Zohrob comes from a technical background as a web engineer for Hot or Not. He started and launched, among others: Readr, Mix.io, LOLQuiz, 140 Mafia etc.
  5. Andrew Johns – Working with the likes of Quora, FaceBook, Twitter and Wealthfront inc., he boasts an impressive resume, dedicating his career to growth hacking, SEO management and content marketing.
  6. Joe Greenstein – Co-founder and CEO of Flixster and Rottentomattoes.  Prior to Flixster, Greenstein was part of the startup team and Director of Product Management at Edusoft, a curriculum and assessment platform for public school districts. Edusoft grew to serve over 4M students nationwide before being acquired by Houghton-Mifflin in 2003.
  7. Pierre Lechelle –  With a track record of helping 60+ companies reach higher goals. Pierre Lechelle is a passionate growth hacker and SAAS marketer, you can learn more about him and check out his tools on his site.  
  8. Wade Foster – Zapier CEO and co-founder Wade Foster, built the earliest prototype of their product (Zapier) in just two days at a Startup Weekend event in Columbia, Missouri. Since then, Wade has helped  Zapier become the leading automated app integration platform it is today.
  9. Ryan Singer Currently handling the Product strategy at Basecamp, Ryan often writes and speaks about: Product, Design and  Strategy. You can find out more about him via his site.  
  10. Clate Mask:  As CEO and co-founder of Infusionsoft, Clate has been educating and inspiring entrepreneurs for over ten years. Highly popular in the small business community, he is regarded as a visionary leader by many and has also, co-authored ‘Conquer the Chaos’, a New York Times best-selling book.
  11. Eric Siu: Popularly know for insightful weekly interview series, where he interviews leading industry experts. Eric Sui is currently the CEO of Single Grain LLC — a digital marketing agency focused on driving scalable and predictable growth using SEM, SEO and content marketing.
  12. Sujan Patel: With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, Sujan Patel is now a popular name in the digital marketing and tech space. He has led the marketing strategy for Fortune 500 companies, including Sales Force, Zillow, Linkedin and Mint. He is also a  weekly contributor to Inc. and Entrepreneur magazine.
  13. Jeremy Goldman: Jeremy is a marketing strategist and author of the book ‘Going Social’. He is also the founder & CEO of Firebrand Group, a digital branding and marketing consultancy devoted to Fortune 500 brands and high-growth startups.
  14. Ben Thompson: Has worked on strategy for some of the largest tech companies out there,  including Apple and Microsoft. He is the author and founder of Stratechery a blog that is dedicated to strategy, technology and business.
  15. Guillaume Cabane: Is the marketing expert and VP of Growth at Segment, a platform used for collecting important customer data and used for effective business decisions. He currently a startup Mentor.
  16. Andrew Chen: Andrew Chen is a marketer that I personally look up to. His writing is practical, insightful and can almost be applied to any type of growing company. He currently works on the growth team in Uber.  

Top Canadian Business Experts

We’re Canadian, so I had to include some of the top Canadian experts we follow at Signority. These people are change makers that inspire us every day. Follow them and learn about their stories and the knowledge they share.

  1. Mitch Joel – A communications and digital marketing visionary, Mr.Joel is often seen speaking at tech conferences on how digital technology and data are transforming the business world. He is president of Twist Image, a digital marketing agency and president and a founding partner of Distort Entertainment.
  2. Michael Hyatt – Executive Chairman of Bluecat, one of the leading growth companies in Canada focused on Internet of Things (IoT), he is a “virtual mentor”, open to discussing everything entrepreneurship, building and developing successful teams and how IoT is shaping up to be.
  3. Byron Holland – Byron Holland has been the president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and has held many other leading positions. He gives his opinions on technology and recent trends in the blog “Public Domain”.
  4. Tobias Lutke – He’s the founder and CEO of e-commerce company Shopify, and a the same time, a part of the core development team for Ruby on Rails. An important name in the tech industry, making Shopify one of the biggest companies in the world was definitely one of his biggest achievements.
  5. Ryan Holmes –  Founder and CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool for businesses developed by him through his agency Invoke Media. Additionally, he is an influencer and contributor to LinkedIn’s Influencer Program, writing about tech and entrepreneurship.  
  6. Peter Aceto Peter Aceto is the CEO  of Tangerine Bank. He is a globally recognized business leader and is the author of Weology — an insightful and practical approach to successful business leadership.   
  7. Eli FathiEli Fathi is a serial entrepreneur with several successful exits and currently the CEO of MindBridge Ai.  He helps other emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, by sharing his experiences in business on his blog ‘My Take On Business’.
  8. Adrian Salamunovic : Founder of several multi-million dollar companies including CanvasPop.com, DNA11.com and Crated.com. He’s been featured in Techcrunch, Mashable, CNN, The Verge, WIRED.  He loves working with and helping entrepreneurs like you kick ass. You can connect with him on Clarity.
  9. Mathew Ingram: Mathew is a senior writer at Fortune and a former columnist for the Globe and Mail. He is also an active player in the Canadian technology space and co-founded the Mesh Conference in Toronto.
  10. Rick Spence: As a former editor of Profit magazine, he has an extensive career helping entrepreneurs and SMBs evolve into revenue-generating powerhouses. He’s a columnist for the National Post and regularly publishes on LinkedIn.
  11. Sarah Prevette: Sarah has a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to the SMB market. She was the co-founder of Sprouter, an online community that helped connect small businesses with helpful advisors, as well as, founding BetaKit, an online magazine about tech startups. She’s currently a managing director at BrandProject, a venture capital firm looking to help push innovation within Canada.
  12. Andrew Patricio: Andrew is the CEO of BizLaunch, a company that specializes in webinars for small and medium businesses. With a bevvy of knowledge in search engine optimization, email marketing and other areas of marketing operations, Andrew has a wealth of knowledge, having started seven businesses himself, written two books on running a small business, and has a YouTube channel, BizlaunchTV.
  13. Victoria Lennox: The co-founder of Startup Canada and is one of the most recognized young entrepreneurs in Canada, as recognized in 2012, where Victoria was one of Canada’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs by PROFIT Magazine. She is also the first Canadian and one of the youngest recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion thanks to the work she did in the UK with the founding of NACUE.
  14. Erin Bury: Erin is the Managing Director at 88Creative, a creative communications agency in Toronto, as well as a columnist at the Financial Post and part of the founding team for Sprouter. With experience as the Managing Editor at BetaKit and Marketing Advisor for Abacus.Agency, her knowledge and skill set have made her one of Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Marketing Pros in 2012.

Top Social Media Marketers

It’s very likely that you found this list via social media and that you’re active on it, so I’m not going to sell you on the benefits of having your business being present there. Read on to find out about the top minds in this category and take your social media business account to the next level.

  1. Kristin Maverick – Director of The Barbarian Group, she’s one of the top social media marketers in the world. She has led social media campaigns for the likes of Samsung, General Electric, Attention and BBDO.
  2. Laura Olin – If you think you don’t know Laura Olin, think again. She’s the moving hand behind President Obama’s social media campaign. Except from overseeing the social media presence of  no-ex POTUS, Michelle Obama and Joe Biden, she also has created a ton of Obama-memes circulating around the internet.
  3. Sarah Hofstetter – As President of 360i and leader of one of the coolest social shops of the moment. Her company was behind Oreo’s viral response to SuperBowl blackout, and this was successful not because of dumb luck but because she had a team waiting to live comment on any occurrence during transmission.
  4. Jeff Greenspan – Now a freelancer, his most notable stints include BBDO, FaceBook and most recently being Chief Creative Officer at Buzzfeed. He is one of the few creatives who has experienced social marketing from every end of the spectrum. He has worked inside agencies, experimented with native advertising on one of the most viral publishers out there, and even has insider knowledge of what works on social media from his days at Facebook.
  5. “The Squirrels” – DraftFCB has a group of four creatives (Jared Isle, Noel Hamilton, Michael Lubrano, Jackie Anzaldi)  who worked together on one of Oreo’s most successful FaceBook campaigns: Oreo’s Daily Twist. They did some pretty memorable, culturally relevant posts, such as the one for Gay Pride, or celebrating the landing of the Mars Rover.
  6. Ram Krishan – He’s the one leading Lay’s and Doritos’ “Do us a flavor” and “Crash the SuperBowl” social media campaigns. His speciality is engaging users; they were asked to choose the Lay’s flavor that would get to go on markets on a very successful FaceBook campaign.
  7. Michaela AlexisMichaela is an Ottawa-based content marketing specialist, turned Linkedin influencer. Her first viral article garnered over 120,000 views, shares, likes and comments to followers in less than a year! Her writing has been published on Yahoo! Finance, PR Daily, The Muse, Job.com, CNBC, and other large publications.  
  8. Ryan Biddulph –  Besides being a social media master, Ryan’s writes and manages his blog ‘Welcome to Blogging From Paradise’, an active community to help people build a full time, professional blogging career. As his blog’s title suggests, he primarily blogs as he travels the world. If travelling is your passion, then his blog is a must-read for you.
  9. Neal Schaffer – Neal is the founder of Maximize Your Social and a three-time award-winning author, most notable for his definitive book “Maximize Your Social”. His success has awarded and recognized him as a leader in social media, being named as CMO.com’s top 10 biggest thought leaders, Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, and Forbes Top 5 Social Sales Influencer. His wealth of knowledge and success is tremendous and definitely worth checking out!
  10. Mike Kawula: Michael is the CEO of Social Quant, a top ranked Twitter Marketing tool by Hubspot, and ranked as one of Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Businesses in 2012. He is the author of “Twitter Marketing That Sells” and has great experience and knowledge when it comes to all things social media.
  11. Sandi Krakowski: Sandi is the founder and president of A Real Change International, Inc., that deals with helping businesses with marketing strategies, as well as working together to help bring faith and cohesion into workplaces. She has been featured on the Forbes Top 20 Online Marketing Influencers, Top 20 Women Social Media Influencer, and Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer lists.
  12. Ian Cleary: Ian is a huge player in the world of influencers. Founder of RazorSocial, he helps businesses understand social media tools and how to leverage them to be more efficient and effective. Ian’s credentials are outstanding, especially with blog content, becoming one of Social Media Examiner’s top 10 social media blogs within 6 months of the start of RazorSocial.
  13. Pam Moore: Pam is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Nutz, a full service, social media and digital marketing agency and has helped businesses develop and integrate digital marketing, social media, and content marketing strategies. Pam’s success hasn’t been unnoticed. She is one of Forbes’ Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and Top 10 Social Media Women Power Influencers for her influence in the marketing world.
  14. Michael Stelzner – Michael Stelzner is a social media champion and founder of Social Media Examiner, the absolute resource for everything social media and online marketing. Besides this, he is also an author and speaker.
  15. Kim Garst – Through Boom!Social — a consulting firm that Kim Garst founded — she trains, educates, inspires and motivates entrepreneurs on how to use social media for personal branding. Kim is also the author of, “The Quick and Easy Guide to Branding Your Business and Creating Massive Sales with Pinterest”.
  16. Chris Brogan – As CEO, of Owner Media Group, Inc. Chris uses his expert background in business strategy to provide actionable skills to businesses to grow their capabilities and connections for businesses of all sizes.

Top Up-and-Coming Experts

Like the name implies, these experts are not widely known yet, but they will be, trust me. Read and follow their stories from now on so you can get inspired and informed.

  1. Nathan Lands – CEO and co-founder of recently emerging Blockai, or else artificial intelligence that protects the copyright of your Instagram photos with only the use of a hashtag. This is such a genuine way to avoid copyright infringement that the general public can’t help but love.
  2. Rob May – Characterized by a fresh way of looking at things, except for being a blogger and publishing his own articles, Rob has founded chatbot startup Talla. He’s expected to be one of the biggest names in the industry in a few years time.
  3. David & Orion Hindawi – This father-son pair have founded Tanium together, a cybersecurity firm that offers a new approach to endpoint security systems.
  4. Marcy Boyle – feature filmmaker and founder of HotBit VR, a virtual Reality startup aiming to bring virtual reality stunt and make it the next thing.
  5. Noah Kraft – Founder of The Doppler Labs, he’s also a business expert to watch out for. He’s behind all this “augmented reality for the ears” thing, that sooner or later will have to bloom in between us common folks. This guy’s such a visionary, that he’s bringing it to us in the “sooner” part of the spectrum.
  6. Melanie Pinola – Melanie is a former Lifehacker writer and current Zapier editorial team manager. She writes on various topics, from technology to investing. You can view her work here.   
  7. Lisa Sicard – Is a social media marketer and blogger. Her blog ‘Inspire To thrive’, contains some great material about social media today, blogging and SEO tips.   
  8. Kimra Luna – Kimra is a personal brand strategist and a must-follow for 2017, according to Forbes. She exploded into the industry just a few years ago and built a multi-million business through her brand ‘ Be True Brand You’  from scratch.
  9. Jason Stone – With over 1.6 million followers on Instagram, Jason is a true social media maven and his motivational posts are great picker-uppers if you’re in need of it. He is also an internationally recognized sales trainer.
  10. Reach Branding – Another branding and personal branding to look out for is Reach Branding. William Arruda, founder of Reach Branding gives tips, tricks and expert advice on how to build your personal brand. Aside from blogging, William delivers workshops on the power of personal branding for some of the world’s most successful companies.

Bonus: Top Content Marketing Platforms

We covered experts in business, now here’s a look at brands and platforms that have put content marketing at the forefront of their marketing strategy and executing it almost flawlessly. Take these learnings and inject into your small business for a 2017 full of success and growth.

  1. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is today’s social media leader as far as content marketing goes. With its long-post feature and promotion for its users, the possibilities are endless, hence it getting first place.
  2. Salesforce – With its myriad of webinars, whitepapers and expert opinions on industry matters, Salesforce is another winner of the content marketing game.
  3. Stanford Graduate School of Business – Stanford publishes Insights, which is very well received among students and professionals alike for its in-depth articles, research and documentation on a range of topics such as finance, social innovation, energy, all with well-known and established authors and researchers.
  4. IBM – This is another example of how tech companies are leading in the content marketing matters. By regularly posting tutorials, research and whitepapers on specific issues, this company has built quite a following.
  5. Adobe – Adobe’s strong point regarding content marketing is their digital magazine CMO.com. It contains slideshows, digital marketing news and insights, interviews and general articles on a variety of categories such as technology, research, strategy, management, etc. The real gem though, is their interview section, with original and straightforward expert opinions.
  6. Cisco – Cisco made waves with their documentary-style video sessions: My Networked Life, consisting of personal stories of young engineers and technology people showing how they used hardware and software to improve their lives. It was both inspiring and helpful for the careers of many young people featured there.  

A quick shoutout to Danny Schreiber (Zapier), Cody Jones (Zapier), Adrian Salamunovic and Sam Hurley for the help!
In case you missed our massively-helpful post on ‘The Ultimate List: 100+ Tools & Resources For Skyrocketing Business Growth in 2017’, you can read it here.

The Insurance Risks of Cyber Attacks

The Insurance Risks of Cyber Attacks

As the use of technology is becoming more prevalent in everyday business, insurance included, there are aspects that are prone to high levels of risk, and require ramping up on security. While it may look like a mundane issue at first, it can have severe consequences for your company. As more insurance companies, in particular, are migrating towards digital channels in order to create tighter relationships with their customers, they also are trusted with sensitive personal information for each client such as Social Security Numbers, credit card data, and so much more. In case —  but, hopefully not — you are a victim of a cyber attack, what does this mean for you? Let’s take a look at some of the insurance risks to consider when looking at cyber attacks!

Lost Sales

Cyber attacks are not always orchestrated by large-scale, highly qualified hackers, but even small DOS (denial of service) attacks can pose a great risk and affect your company severely if they catch you unprepared. Seeing as insurance companies collect data from their customers that range from personal information such as addresses, passport numbers, Social Security Numbers (SSN) or EIN, to financial info including, but not limited to credit card numbers, PINs, anything really, it is understandable for your customers to be wary, in case you have had to deal with a cyber attack previously. Studies say that 60% of SMEs who have been a victim of such attacks go out of business within three months.
Another type of cyber attacks that can cost your company quite a lot is called ‘Social cyber attack’. The most clear-cut example was the group of protesters who collectively attacked PayPal for not allowing payments to WikiLeaks. While it didn’t go down entirely, the lost sales were tremendous.

Protection Costs

According to a recent article published in Forbes magazine, cyber crime costs are projected to reach $2 Trillion by 2019. Which means that businesses need to be extra-vigilant when it comes to protecting their data.
Doing business online comes with a great number of rewards, but also with a risk or two. If you do insurance online, then you have to be aware of the cyber attacks at all times. For this, you have to prepare and protect yourself before hackers even try to get to you, and this preparation has to be thorough.
To avoid the risk of getting hacked and losing critical data, you have to hire qualified and capable people who can take care of the cyber-security section of your digital business. If you want your help to be highly professional, then you will have to spend a good amount of money for supporting it, both in terms of hiring competent IT staff and for other overheads required for smooth operations.

Changing your business model

Financial costs are not the only thing insurance companies have to worry about when dealing with cyber-crime. They have to remodel the way information is collected, stored and handled, so as to ensure that sensitive information is safe and non-vulnerable to these kinds of attacks. Many businesses have elected to altogether stop storing their customers’ financial and personal information, some others have shut down their online presence, at least online stores, if not all. This is all done when they cannot protect themselves properly, as the implications such attack can have on them, can be fatal.
Lately, customers also are being more proactive in educating themselves on online security and request to be informed on how their insurance company of choice handles security issues. You may have noticed that clients are more likely to choose businesses that are upfront and sincere about their methods — we noticed this soon after we launched our post on transparent pricing!
Making these changes to prepare and protect you and your company from these cyber risk are integral and can be daunting, but minor changes in the way you conduct business, the infrastructure, and various technological advancements can all be used to help mitigate much of the risks and improve your company.
Begin looking into cheap and secure methods to improve small processes of your work before ramping up to bigger, more complex security issues. Try looking into things like eSignature solutions, that can provide extra layers of security to already existing workflows and processes! Learn more by checking out our website or feel free to contact us directly with more questions!
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get a 14-day free trial to a Signority eSignature Plan.

Signority Set for Year of Explosive Growth

Signority-year-of-growth-moving-announcement

“Signority, a fast-growing, Ottawa tech startup, is now set to disrupt the eSignature space. Their move into their new office in Hintonburg makes room for new hires and their big plans.”

Ottawa, ON (Feb 1st, 2017) – Signority, Inc. the easiest and most secure electronic signature platform serving the small and medium-sized business (SME) community, announced their move from Invest Ottawa‘s incubator, to their new office at Wellington Street West on February 1st, of 2017. The move allows the company to expand their team this year to add another 30+ employees to realize their big plans.
The new office is located in the heart of Hintonburg — a vibrant, urban neighbourhood, situated West of Downtown Ottawa — known for its eclectic mix architecture, modern restaurants and fashionable boutique stores.
Signority aspires to be a leader in the electronic signature space and recently announced their secure digital signature solution to the Chinese market, to allow businesses to easily sign contracts using a Digital Chop — in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
The new Hintonburg office space will bring improved client service, better facilities and more room for the growing team. In addition, it will serve as a space to engage with the local community, where Signority is looking forward to hosting meet-ups and networking events.
“The eSignature space is highly competitive and yet non-differentiated, we are in this space to disrupt it.  We have big changes planned this year that will help us stand out and provide SMEs with a truly innovative solution built for enterprise but priced affordably for them. With this move, we also want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our values and aspirations. Hintonburg – Mechanicsville, is an up and coming neighbourhood that is home to fashionable boutique stores, innovative restaurants and interesting architecture. We are excited to move to this creative and dynamic neighbourhood,” said Signority’s CEO Samer Forzley.
Signority will now occupy the third floor of a multi-tenant office building located at 981 Wellington St W, Suite 301, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2Y1.
The full move is set to be completed on the 1st of February, 2017.  All of Signority’s phone numbers will remain the same.

Signority is a fast-growing, secure electronic signature and digital signatures provider, with unique pricing transparency. Signority’s platform was designed to automate the document signing process & reduce management costs — so business owners can focus on growing their business.
Visit Signority.com for more information.

About Signority Inc.
Signority Inc. is an Ottawa-based SaaS company that is dedicated to making it easy and secure for growing businesses to legally sign electronic documents. Their platform allows for the management of legal document workflows by offering a digital signature solution to easily access, verify, sign and certify documents from anywhere in the world, on any device.
For media inquiries, contact:
Dan Lawrence
(C/O Signority)
981 Wellington Street West,
Suite # 301
Ottawa, ON
K1Y 2Y1
Email: press@signority.com
Website: www.signority.com