Meet Content Specialist and Card Creator Laura Kraay 0

Creating beautiful designs both inside and outside the office

Our Content Team at Main Street Hub specializes in representing our small business customers’ voice and brand authentically online. Our Content Specialists, who are an essential part of our Content Team, have an incredible knack for creating eye-catching, on-brand designs and an unwavering drive to produce quality content for our customers.

Laura Kraay, Content Specialist, Email and Customer Requests, has a skill for creating high-quality designs both inside and outside the office — in her free time, she creates beautiful illustrations and cards that tell a story and make people smile. Right now, her literary valentines are big sellers ahead of Valentine’s Day. We sat down with Laura to chat about her Etsy shop and what she hopes her cards will bring to Valentine’s shoppers for this upcoming holiday.

What’s your shop called and what do you sell?

“My shop is called Laura Kraay Designs and although these cards have been around for years, I just began to sell on Etsy. It’s been so much fun to bring this project to life!”

https://medium.com/media/9ffe2ed0e05b4b8cbbc68908b084c748/href

What’s your favorite thing about being a virtual local business owner?

“I love creating cards that can tell a personal story or capture something about a relationship. In some purchase orders, people will tell me the reason they picked the specific card for a specific friend. It’s such a gift to receive a piece of their story.”

Where do you get inspiration from?

“A designer that inspired me is Emily McDowell. Her empathy cards answer the conundrum of ‘what to say when you don’t know what to say.’ Of course, I’m also a sucker for any sort of literary pun.”

Do you have a favorite illustrator?

“I’m constantly wowed by how Liana Finck can capture complex emotions in seemingly simple drawings.”

What’s a favorite illustration of yours?

“My favorite is a Gwendolyn Brooks valentine I made. ‘We Real Cool’ is one of the first poems I fell in love with, so it felt fitting for it to become a valentine.”

What do you hope your cards will do for buyers this Valentine’s Day?

“I hope they’ll bring a smile! I love extending the boundaries of giving Valentine’s cards beyond significant others. I think all the loved ones, from grandmothers to college roommates, should know that they’re appreciated.”

Find Laura’s shop on Etsy and Instagram for valentines for all your loved ones!

Want to be a part of the Main Street Hub Team? Apply here!

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Meet Content Specialist and Card Creator Laura Kraay was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub

How to Face 3 Fundamental Challenges Standing Between SEOs and Clients/Bosses 0

Posted by sergeystefoglo

Every other year, the good people at Moz conduct a survey with one goal in mind: understand what we (SEOs) want to read more of. If you haven’t seen the results from 2017, you can view them here.

The results contain many great questions, challenges, and roadblocks that SEOs face today. As I was reading the 2017 Moz Blog readership survey, a common thread stood out to me: there are disconnects on fundamental topics between SEOs and clients and/or bosses. Since I work at an agency, I’ll use “client” through the rest of this article; if you work in-house, replace that with “boss.”

Check out this list:

I can definitely relate to these challenges. I’ve been at Distilled for a few years now, and worked in other firms before — these challenges are real, and they’re tough. Through sharing my experience dealing with these challenges, I hope to help other consultants and SEOs to overcome them.

In particular, I want to discuss three points of disconnect that happen between SEOs and clients.

  1. My client doesn’t understand the value of SEO and it’s difficult to prove ROI.
  2. My client doesn’t understand how SEO works and I always have to justify my actions.
  3. My client and I disagree about whether link building is the right answer.

Keep in mind, these are purely my own experiences. This doesn’t mean these answers are the end-all-be-all. In fact, I would enjoy starting a conversation around these challenges with any of you so please grab me at SearchLove (plug: our San Diego conference is selling out quickly and is my favorite) or MozCon to bounce off more ideas!

1. My client doesn’t understand the value of SEO and it’s difficult to prove ROI

The value of SEO is its influence on organic search, which is extremely valuable. In fact, SEO is more prominent in 2018 than it has ever been. To illustrate this, I borrowed some figures from Rand’s write up on the state of organic search at the end of 2017.

  • Year over year, the period of January–October 2017 has 13% more search volume than the same months in 2016.
  • That 13% represents 54 billion more queries, which is just about the total number of searches Google did, worldwide, in 2003.

Organic search brings in the most qualified visitors (at a more consistent rate) than any other digital marketing channel. In other words, more people are searching for things than ever before, which results in more potential to grow organic traffic. How do we grow organic traffic? By making sure our sites are discoverable by Google and clearly answer user queries with good content.

Source: Search Engine Land

When I first started out in SEO, I used to think I was making all my clients all the moneys. “Yes, Bill, if you hire me and we do this SEO thing I will increase rankings and sessions, and you will make an extra x dollars!” I used to send estimates on ROI with every single project I pitched (even if it wasn’t asked of me).

After a few years in the industry I began questioning the value of providing estimates on ROI. Specifically, I was having trouble determining ift I was doing the right thing by providing a number that was at best an educated guess. It would stress me out and I would feel like I was tied to that number. It also turns out, not worrying about things that are out of our control helps control stress levels.

I’m at a point now where I’ve realized the purpose of providing an estimated ROI. Our job as consultants is to effect change. We need to get people to take action. If what it takes to get sign-off is to predict an uplift, that’s totally fine. In fact, it’s expected. Here’s how that conversation might look.

In terms of a formula for forecasting uplifts in SEO, Mike King said it best:

“Forecast modeling is questionable at best. It doesn’t get much better than this:”

  • Traffic = Search Volume x CTR
  • Number of Conversions = Conversion Rate x Traffic
  • Dollar Value = Traffic x # Conversions x Avg Conversion Value

TL;DR:

  • Don’t overthink this too much — if you do, you’ll get stuck in the weeds.
  • When requested, provide the prediction to get sign-off and quickly move on to action.
  • For more in-depth thoughts on this, read Will Critchlow’s recent post on forecast modeling.
  • Remember to think about seasonality, overall trends, and the fact that few brands exist in a vacuum. What are your competitors doing and how will that affect you?

2. My client doesn’t understand how SEO works and I always have to justify my actions

Does your client actually not understand how SEO works? Or, could it be that you don’t understand what they need from you? Perhaps you haven’t considered what they are struggling with at the moment?

I’ve been there — constantly needing to justify why you’re working on a project or why SEO should be a focus. It isn’t easy to be in this position. But, more often than not I’ve realized what helps the most is to take a step back and ask some fundamental questions.

A great place to start would be asking:

  • What are the things my client is concerned about?
  • What is my client being graded on by their boss?
  • Is my client under pressure for some reason?

The answers to these questions should shine some clarity on the situation (the why or the motivation behind the constant questioning). Some of the reasons why could be:

  • You might know more about SEO than your client, but they know more about their company. This means they may see the bigger picture between investments, returns, activities, and the interplay between them all.
  • SEO might be 20% of what your client needs to think about — imagine a VP of marketing who needs to account for 5–10 different channels.
  • If you didn’t get sign off/budget for a project, it doesn’t mean your request was without merit. This just means someone else made a better pitch more aligned to their larger goals.

When you have some answers, ask yourself, “How can I make what I’m doing align to what they’re focused on?” This will ensure you are hitting the nail on the head and providing useful insight instead of more confusion.

That conversation might look like this:

TL;DR

  • This is a good problem to have — it means you have a chance to effect change.
  • Also, it means that your client is interested in your work!
  • It’s important to clarify the why before getting to in the weeds. Rarely will the why be “to learn SEO.”

3. My client and I disagree about whether link building is the right answer

The topic of whether links (and by extension, link building) are important is perhaps the most talked about topic in SEO. To put it simply, there are many different opinions and not one “go-to” answer. In 2017 alone there have been many conflicting posts/talks on the state of links.

The quick answer to the challenge we face as SEOs when it comes to links is, unless authority is holding you back do something else.

That answer is a bit brief and if your client is constantly bringing up links, it doesn’t help. In this case, I think there are a few points to consider.

  1. If you’re a small business, getting links is a legitimate challenge and can significantly impact your rankings. The problem is that it’s difficult to get links for a small business. Luckily, we have some experts in our field giving out ideas for this. Check out this, this, and this.
  2. If you’re an established brand (with authority), links should not be a priority. Often, links will get prioritized because they are easier to attain, measurable (kind of), and comfortable. Don’t fall into this trap! Go with the recommendation above: do other impactful work that you have control over first.
    1. Reasoning: Links tie success to a metric we have no control over — this gives us an excuse to not be accountable for success, which is bad.
    2. Reasoning: Links reduce an extremely complicated situation into a single variable — this gives us an excuse not to try and understand everything (which is also bad).
  3. It’s good to think about the topic of links and how it’s related to brand. Big brands get talked about (and linked to) more than small brands. Perhaps the focus should be “build your brand” instead of “gain some links”.
  4. If your client persists on the topic of links, it might be easier to paint a realistic picture for them. This conversation might look like this:

TL;DR

  • There are many opinions on the state of links in 2018: don’t get distracted by all the noise.
  • If you’re a small business, there are some great tactics for building links that don’t take a ton of time and are probably worth it.
  • If you’re an established brand with more authority, do other impactful work that’s in your control first.
  • If you are constantly getting asked about links from your client, paint a realistic picture.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, I’m really interested in hearing how you deal with these issues within your company. Are there specific challenges you face within the topics of ROI, educating on SEO, getting sign-off, or link building? How can we start tackling these problems more as an industry?

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Source: Moz

UX/UI Designer 0

UX/UI Designer

Vendasta Technologies, Saskatoon SK

Career Description

As a UX/UI Designer, you will play an active role in one of our products, doing tactical and strategic work. You should have strong UX skills and a passion for brainstorming, developing, and testing a wide range of design solutions. The ideal candidate should love nothing more than testing solutions with real users and iterating based on feedback.

Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with the Product Manager to implement and evolve the vision for the product
  • Represent the design work and passionately advocate for user-centered needs
  • Develop low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes that translate the product vision into clean and intuitive experiences
  • Support/perform user research, story mapping sessions, and usability testing to understand behaviour and explore opportunities
  • Design experiences that can effectively combine product and service offerings into a cohesive concept for our target personas
  • Ensure consistency with the platform standards and cross-product dependencies
  • Collaborates with team members and stakeholders to deliver a compelling and cohesive end-to-end user experience across all applications
  • Manages relationships with internal and external stakeholders to ensure relevant information is shared, effectively communicated and issues are followed up and addressed
  • Perform competitive analysis and keep up with usability standards

Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience with the process of building and testing UI prototypes
  • Experience with user testing design solutions and gathering quantitative and qualitative feedback
  • Experience with graphic design and common graphic design tools
  • Knowledge of user research and usability testing techniques and methods, and applying user findings to UX design solutions
  • Excellent feel for beautiful aesthetics of software user interfaces
  • Strong conceptualization ability, strong visual communication ability, drawing skills and sketchbook technique
  • Strong working knowledge and experience with user interface design patterns and methodologies
  • Ability to work with product managers and teams to understand detailed requirements and design UX solutions that meet needs and vision
  • Understanding of Agile; experience working directly in one or more Agile frameworks would be a plus (e.g., Scrum)
  • Ability to work efficiently and meet/exceed deadlines under pressure

Why Vendasta

Vendasta is a software company that is driving local economies. Headquartered in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, we build a platform that helps B2B companies sell digital solutions to local businesses. Through our partners around the world, we’re helping more than 650,000 local businesses thrive and succeed—and we love what we do.

Learn more about Vendasta

The post UX/UI Designer appeared first on Vendasta.


Source: Vendasta

Bring New Customers to Your Jewelry Store on Valentine’s Day 0

Make a connection with potential consumers

As love fills the air with the fragrance of dark chocolates, crisp perfumes, and fresh bouquets, it’s hard not to notice that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Many will be on the hunt for the perfect gift for their loved ones, and with the right strategy, your business can be top-of-mind when their search begins.

Jewelry is the most popular Valentine’s Day gift, according to the National Retail Federation. In 2017, U.S. consumers spent a total of $18.2 billion on their sweethearts on Valentine’s Day — and 20 percent of those consumers were expected to buy jewelry, spending a total of $4.3 billion.

With so much revenue going toward jewelry this time of year, we’re here to help your business use social media as a tool to increase awareness and bring in new customers.

Use these three tips to charm shoppers into checking out your business this Valentine’s Day.

1. Run a contest on Instagram

Contests are incredibly useful when it comes to increasing engagement and awareness on Instagram. Many are designed to incentivize users to comment on the post, tag friends, or follow the page for a chance to win the prize. This instantly boosts interaction and gives many new consumers the chance to fall in love with your business.

This post from a jewelry boutique is a great example of how you might go about setting up your contest.

https://medium.com/media/77675c3d3f9b2234c363938d46fb468a/href

2. Share customer testimonials

Getting positive feedback on review sites like Facebook, Google, and Yelp is not only flattering as a business owner, but it’s extremely valuable to other consumers. In fact, 88% of consumers claim to trust review recommendations as personal recommendations. For that reason, if someone leaves a positive review for your business this season, share it on your page! You’ll be thanking that friendly customer for their feedback while potentially matchmaking your business with a new customer.

You could post your testimonial in the form of a graphic like this jeweler did:


“We really do care about our customers, and that means making sure they always leave happy.”

3. Make connections on Twitter

Twitter is a great platform for conducting casual conversations with potential customers. If you notice someone in your area talking about your field of expertise (like diamonds, birthstone necklaces, or tennis bracelets), reach out and start a conversation with them! Whether it’s a short chat or a longer series of engagement, you’re putting your name on their radar just in time for Valentine’s Day.

You’ll see below how a custom jeweler was able to bring in a new customer through a simple conversation.

With these three tips at the ready, you’ll be better at making connections than Cupid himself.

Want to partner with Main Street Hub? Click here to get started with us today.

Don’t miss a thing — follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!



Bring New Customers to Your Jewelry Store on Valentine’s Day was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub

Franchise Networks and Owning Micro-Moments 0

How Marketers Can Win New Customers for Each Franchisee

By Sarah Milbrath, Product Marketing Manager

Marketers know that mobile marketing is an indispensable part of doing business in today’s world as more and more consumers turn to their smartphones to check their social networks, check out brands and businesses, and, most importantly, buy.

When a consumer turns to their mobile phone to take action on whatever they need or want in that moment, that’s called a micro-moment — a term coined by the Think With Google team. Micro-moments are changing how consumers make purchasing decisions, which is why it’s more important than ever for marketers to own each and every one.

This shift in behavior has compressed the consumer decision journey from days, to hours, to just seconds — which means at any given moment, marketers could be winning or losing customers for their brand networks. As a marketer, you may have a clear vision and strategy for your brand network, but executing it across each franchisee’s multiple channels and social platforms, with the right blend of consistency and local authenticity, is incredibly challenging.

As a marketer for a brand network with multiple franchisees, micro-moments are happening across your network, and you may be missing out on the opportunity to capture them at the local level.

Just think about this stat: 88% of consumers who search for local businesses on mobile either call or visit that business within 24 hours, according to Nectafy.

Marketers can win these micro-moments by ensuring that each franchisee has a presence on social media, (separate from the corporate page), that they are posting compelling and useful information on those pages, and that they are swiftly answering requests, comments, and concerns across those social platforms.

Follow these 3 steps to win micro-moments:

  1. Be there: This is simple — marketers should ensure that brand networks are where their customers are so they don’t miss a micro-moment. It’s essential that each franchisee has an established presence on the social platforms consumers are spending their time on like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and review sites like Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor.

Regular customers think of the franchisee they visit most frequently as their location. They want to interact with the business they visit every day, not just the corporate Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page — so be there to engage with them.

2. Be useful: Marketers need to make sure that each franchisee is posting compelling content across its pages and sharing information its customers want to know. Through relevant and interesting content, franchisees can make it easy for their customers to stay up-to-date on all of the news, events, specials, and promotions for their locations and choose their business at every micro-moment.

According to MarketingSherpa, 95% of millennials (ages 18–34) are likely follow a brand on social media for incentives like a gift cards and discounts, and so they can contact the business quickly and directly if a problem, concern, or question arises.

3. Be quick: Every interaction is a micro-moment in the making, so when a customer reaches out to a franchisee with an issue via social media, marketers need to make certain that the franchisees are there for them in that moment. The longer the delay, the more likely the franchisee is to lose that customer.

Using social media for customer service requests is on the rise. In fact, 67% of consumers now utilize Twitter and Facebook for questions, comments, and concerns, and, 71% of consumers who have had a positive customer service experience on social media with a brand are likely to recommend that brand to others.

Customer service requests provide marketers with an opportunity to master micro-moments like responding to a question or comment, and that action in turn can help spread the word about the franchisee to bring customers in the door.

It’s clear that marketers can master these micro-moments by ensuring that franchisees are present on the platforms that matter, are engaging with the community, and are responding quickly to deepen relationships with loyal fans and win new customers — and these micro-moments all add up to make a big impact for their brand network clients.

Want to learn more about how to master micro-moments?

Come see us at IFA 2018 (The International Franchise Association Conference) at Booth 556.

We’re looking forward to discussing the changing behaviors of consumers in today’s mobile-first world and what franchises can do to win every micro-moment.

Read the full press release on the launch of Main Street Hub’s new solution for franchise networks and learn more on our blog here.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!



Franchise Networks and Owning Micro-Moments was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub