Mar 24

Why Your Business Needs to Make Use of Digital Marketing

Ellen Re Saquiba, is a busy working woman with 2 kids, a health specialist, contributing journalist, and Founder and CEO at Reckon Solutions. Ellen has a passion for professional writing and has been a contributing journalist across Asia in many national publications. She has a special interest in writing content with the purpose of providing unique, impactful and interesting content for readers.

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/why-your-business-needs-to-make-use-of-digital-marketing/

Mar 23

The Hands-Off Method of Online Marketing That’s Both Fast and Easy


The following excerpt is from Nightingale-Conant’s book The Power of Passive Income: Make Money Work For You. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

Affiliate marketing is one of the fastest and easiest online passive income businesses to get started in. Depending on the path you choose, the investment to get up and running can be minimal. It all depends on your preferred marketing model and how much you need to outsource as opposed to doing it yourself. And the best part is, you can do this with any kind of site you set up, whether it’s a blog, general interest site, or ecommerce store. Once you get your foundation in place, your main ongoing costs are associated with advertising and promoting the products you sell, and you get to choose how much or how little you’d like to put into the process.

Affiliate marketing is essentially a way for you to earn cash for promoting and selling items or services without ever having to be responsible for the product, shipping, or fulfillment of the order. You strike a deal with a business, company, or individual to promote their products, and in return, when an item is sold through your affiliate account, you get a commission—a certain percentage or dollar amount for that sale. It’s a win-win situation for you and the business: They get free advertising and customers they might not have otherwise reached, and you’re compensated for the work you’ve put in. The commission they pay you is essentially part of their marketing budget. For some companies, it’s their exclusive form of marketing.

Let’s explore how this works.

Personalized affiliate links and cookies

There are two ways an affiliate program will track the prospects you send them:

1. Personalized affiliate links. If your affiliate program uses links to track sales, you’ll be given a login and a link associated with your account, which you’ll send to customers so the purchase can be traced back to you.

2. Cookies. Some programs use cookies instead of personalized links. Cookies are tiny pieces of data the internet uses to track someone’s online habits. It’s a way to see where a customer came from and what they bought.

Different programs have different duration policies. Some companies will pay you for life any time a prospect you have sent them buys something; others pay only on the initial sale. Some programs have specified time ranges — 30, 60 or 90 days — during which they’ll pay you on purchases made by the prospect you sent them.

As with anything, there are a few drawbacks. You have to be willing to invest your time, energy, and patience into making it work for you. Small sales here and there are great, but if you want to make this your main source of online passive income, you have to be able to land a lot of sales to make a significant amount of money. You need to think about your efforts as building a business. Two considerations in that vein are creating systems that are set up to get consistent new lead acquisition and choosing higher-margin offers (same amount of work, more money).

For this to be sustainable as a long-term income stream, you need to create promotions that lead to consistent sales. This will take commitment, time, and dedication but will be easier for those of you who have some experience with search engine optimization (SEO) or paid traffic generation.

Finally, you really need to choose your affiliates wisely. If the merchant’s site isn’t up to par, slow, buggy, full of errors, and not geared toward making the sale, you’ll lose out as well. Take a look around the site and ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable buying from here?” If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider becoming an affiliate for that business.

Types of affiliate offers

Most offers you’ll be exposed to can be lumped into three categories: products, services, and stores.  

Products

There are two types of online products you can be an affiliate for: physical and digital. The marketing strategies you will employ won’t really change either way, but they do each come with their own sets of pros and cons.

Physical products

Pros: Not all consumers buy digital products, but pretty much all consumers buy physical products. If you choose a product that’s in demand, made by a trusted brand, and sold through a credible online store, the selling is really already done for you.

Cons: The biggest cons to physical products are the shipping cost and the fact that it takes some time for the product to arrive. Also, there are certain products that consumers want to be able to touch and experience before they buy. That can sometimes hamper an online purchase.

Digital products

Pros: One of the biggest advantages of a digital product is instant gratification. The consumer can immediately dig in and enjoy the product they purchased while they’re excited about it. If you’re in tune with your prospects’ problems and have a digital product that gives them the solution to that problem, conversions can be really high. No shipping costs are another plus.

Cons: Digital products are often swimming among a lot of competition that you need to stand out from. Also, you’re at the mercy of the retailer when it comes to making sure the product downloads properly. Sometimes digital products are so complicated they overwhelm the consumer, which can hinder additional sales from that prospect.

Services

There are many services people pay for online that have affiliate programs. Some examples are:

  • Financial services like tax preparation
  • Social media and digital marketing services
  • Professional services (hosting, payment processing, etc.)
  • Travel-related services like Hotels.com and Travelocity

Storewide programs

There are tons of stores that will give you commissions on the entire purchase made by a consumer you send to their site. This is great because it gives you the flexibility to market just one product they sell and still get credit for anything else your prospect adds to their cart, or you can just promote the entire store in general.

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Mar 22

Why SEO Marketing Agencies Will be Crucial for Building Small Business Brands in 2019

As the Internet continues to become a foundation for B2B and B2C commerce, the rapid growth of e-commerce and new technologies has become pertinent to understanding the structure of robust SEO strategies. And strong SEO approaches are necessary to excel in a competitive digital market.

The 2018 updates to Google’s search rankings demonstrate that their crawlers and data parsing algorithms are becoming much smarter — focusing on quality, speed, and security. For small businesses, staying up to date with the evolution of SEO practices and trends is often not feasible while simultaneously running other business operations.

Professional experience and expertise are crucial and, fortunately, options for marketing agencies are now abundant to help small businesses grow organically in a digital era.

SEO Marketing Agencies Understand and Are on Top Of All the New Trends

SEO marketing evolves in step with a changing e-commerce, social media, and web infrastructure landscape regularly. The mobile e-commerce market is poised to continue its meteoric trajectory, and cross-device SEO strategies will become more relevant as Generation Z, who spends ridiculous amounts of time on consuming mobile content, positions itself as the largest American consumer age group.

Although significant emphasis is placed on Google’s search engine, legitimate competition is emerging with the likes of Apple’s search engine and their optimization for driving web traffic   on mobile devices in the U.S. Expanding past Google is often beyond in-house company initiatives, and is where professional SEO marketing agencies can provide a boon for your business.

SEO strategies rely heavily on Google’s ranking system, something SEO marketing agencies fully understand, but that could also be subject to change in 2019.

Search and social marketing agencies like TopHatRank can do the deep analysis and refinement of content, web traffic, conversion rate optimization, and research that small businesses simply don’t have time for. Offering services for small and large-scale enterprises, including SEO audits and a virtual “in-house” team, TopHatRank can help business owners focus on their native products and other important aspects of their operations.

Additionally, the convergence of e-commerce and social media is likely to accelerate in 2019. Concepts like Instagram Shop and Snapchat’s direct product advertising have a unique potential to redefine social media platforms as both platforms for sharing content and accessing products directly.

Roughly 93 percent of marketers already use major social media platforms, and 40 percent of e-commerce merchants use social media to generate sales. It seems inevitable that the two would eventually collide, and the companies that can extract the early advantages of their integration will stand to benefit the most.

Focusing on AI Trends

Another trend to look out for, which can provide enormous benefits for small operations, is the rise of AI tools. In many instances, small brands and e-commerce stores are run by a single individual or a select few. AI tools can help them automate many portions of content management and analysis that were previously time-consuming. According to a recent report on AI in e-commerce by Absolunet:

“AI will help retailers and merchants create more and better product content, improve SEO and merchandising.”

AI-based solutions can make the process of aggregating and filtering product content for optimizing SEO content much more manageable, with drastically reduced effort on the part of merchants. Products like Amazon AI can provide myriad benefits to merchants using AWS as their back-end, including machine learning algorithms that recommend products and consumer preferences — in real-time.

A Prime Example of a Winning Combination of a Small Business and SEO Marketing Agency From 2018

The recent 2019 Interactive Marketing Awards (IMAs) provide some compelling examples of sound SEO strategies that resulted from partnerships between marketing agencies and small businesses. In particular, TopHatRank and Mealthy — an electronic pressure cooker brand — won both the Best SEO Campaign and Best Low Budget Campaign among a slew of competitors, sponsors, and an expert panel of judges.

The kitchen product market is one of the most competitive e-commerce sectors that is flooded with major retail brands and smaller competitors. Mealthy, led by Tiana Dragos, was looking to gain an edge on their competition and tapped TopHatRank — a proven and successful SEO marketing agency — to improve its brand exposure. The results were profound, as the winning combination came away as one of the most decorated pairs in the entire registry of shortlist competitors.

TopHatRank’s SEO strategy helped propel Mealthy to a leading brand in the electric pressure cooking market, even with a restrictive budget allocated to its marketing campaign. They deploy comprehensive SEO strategies from e-commerce brand building to SEO auditing, allowing Mealthy to go from small competitor to established industry name.  

For small businesses, Mealthy and TopHatRank’s success should serve as inspiration for just how influential an SEO marketing campaign can be in building small business brands.

SEO trends are continually evolving, and tapping professional agencies can help small business owners make meaningful strides in expanding their online brand amid a changing landscape.  

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/why-seo-marketing-agencies-will-be-crucial-for-building-small-business-brands-in-2019/

Mar 21

Internet Marketing Agency, fishbat, Offers 4 Tips for Pharmaceutical Companies to Build and Maintain Their Customer Service Through Social Media

PATCHOGUE, N.Y., March 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — As part of their ongoing efforts to teach companies how to self-promote across social channels, fishbat, an internet marketing agency, shares four tips for pharmaceutical companies to build and maintain their customer service through social media.

Strategically leveraging social media channels can do more than just create positive customer service experiences for existing customers – it can also expand your pharmaceutical company’s reach to include prospective and potential customers in addition to media outlets dedicated to covering brand engagement on social platforms.

Read on for tips on elevating your pharmaceutical company’s social media strategy.

Be Present

There are more than 200 different social networking sites on the Internet, but most people are only familiar with about five of them. Make sure that your pharmaceutical company has a significant presence on only the most relevant of social media sites. Picture-heavy platforms like Instagram and Pinterest make less sense for a pharmaceutical company’s social media customer service strategy than Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook is an excellent social platform to create individualized pages for specific company products and initiatives. Twitter works well for mass announcements and supporting campaigns and initiatives as well as individual, one-on-one (albeit potentially in a very public forum) interactions. A strong social media strategy will make good use of both platforms to achieve company goals.

Take Care

Sometimes a change in perspective is in order. When your objective shifts from customer service to customer care, customers will not only sense a change for the better but feel a difference as well. Rather than seeing your customers as issues to be serviced, treat them as real people in need of real care.

By cultivating a culture of care within your pharmaceutical company’s customer service and social marketing departments, you will increase positive and meaningful interactions between your social media agents and your target customers. Showcasing those interactions in such public forums expands their reach far beyond those individual interactions to include current and prospective customers, media outlets and more. That said, conversations that necessarily involve the divulging of sensitive personal information should be moved to more private, direct message avenues.

Promote Healing Without Being Too Promotional

Savvy social media users tend to find excessive brand promotion to be off-putting. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, your official social media channels should promote your pharmaceutical company without being too burdensome with advertising.

How does this look in practice? Utilize your social media channels to deliver custom content that is most relevant to your current (and prospective) customers. Consider creating and sharing content that promotes healthy lifestyle choices (such as diet, exercise, and supportive networks) that work in tandem with your pharmaceutical company’s products and initiatives.

Be Supportive

A tremendously useful function of Facebook for business is the ability to create specialized pages. By creating and cultivating a Facebook page that functions as a support group for people living with the specific conditions that your pharmaceutical company’s products aim to ameliorate, you can create an invaluable channel to reach current and prospective customers. One major caveat: Be sure to allocate resources for a dedicated moderator to keep the support group’s dialogues on-track and on-brand.

About fishbat

fishbat is a full-service digital marketing firm that takes a holistic business approach to their clients’ digital marketing programs. The fishbat team understands the importance of business principles just as well as the nuances of the latest digital technologies. Online marketing firm fishbat offers every digital marketing service available from digital marketing research and planning to brand development to website and asset creation through social media management and search engine optimization programs – all custom calibrated for both B2B and B2C businesses.

Press Contact: Scott Darrohn, fishbat Media, 855-347-4228, press@fishbat.com

SOURCE fishbat

Related Links

http://www.fishbat.com

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Mar 20

CounterPath Receives 2019 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award from TMC

Bria Teams Recognized for Industry Innovation

VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / March 20, 2019 / CounterPath Corporation (NASDAQ: CPAH) (TSX: PATH), a global provider of award-winning Unified Communications (UC) solutions for enterprises and service providers, announced that TMC, a global, integrated media company has named Bria Teams as a recipient of a 2019 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award.

Bria Teams is the latest Software-as-a Service (SaaS) offering from the company which combines all of CounterPath’s core technologies with newly introduced services such as team voice and video calling; in addition to secure corporate instant messaging, presence, message synchronization and screen sharing, all hosted by CounterPath from the cloud. Targeted towards new users within the small and medium-sized business (SMB) enterprise market, this subscription-based offering is easy to deploy and helps deliver significant benefits to SMBs by enhancing team efficiency and improving business processes. Recently, the company also announced a major update to Bria Teams with the launch of Bria Teams Pro, a new addition to the Bria Teams family, which adds a dedicated high-definition (HD) virtual meeting room for each user to facilitate voice and video conferencing for multiple participants.

″We are extremely honored and proud that TMC has recognized our next-gen team collaborations service – Bria Teams – as the Product of the Year. In today’s increasingly mobile and distributed workforce, Bria Teams makes it easy to connect, communicate and collaborate within business workflows. This achievement celebrates our commitment to innovation in the integrated UC workspace,″ said Todd Carothers, EVP of Sales, Marketing and Product CounterPath.

″I am honored to recognize CounterPath with a 2019 Product of the Year Award for its commitment to excellence and innovation,″ said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. ″In the opinion of our judges and editorial team, its team collaboration solution – Bria Teams has proven to be among the best communications and technology solutions available on the market. I look forward to continued leadership from CounterPath.″

The winners of the 2019 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year will be featured in INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine online and on TMCnet.

About INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine

INTERNET TELEPHONY has been the IP Communications Authority since 1998™. Beginning with the first issue, INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine has been providing unbiased views of the complicated converged communications space. For more information, please visit www.itmag.com. Follow INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine on Twitter or join our Linked In group.

About TMC

Through education, industry news, live events and social influence, global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. As a result, leading technology vendors turn to TMC for unparalleled branding, thought leadership and lead generation opportunities. Our in-person and online events deliver unmatched visibility and sales prospects for all participants. Through our custom lead generation programs, we provide clients with an ongoing stream of leads that turn into sales opportunities and build databases. Additionally, we bolster brand reputations with the millions of impressions from display advertising on our news sites and newsletters. Making TMC a 360-degree marketing solution, we offer comprehensive event and road show management services and custom content creation with expertly ghost-crafted blogs, press releases, articles and marketing collateral to help with SEO, branding, and overall marketing efforts. For more information about TMC and to learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals, please visit www.tmcnet.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, @tmcnet.

For more information about TMC, visit www.tmcnet.com.

About CounterPath

CounterPath Unified Communications solutions are changing the face of telecommunications. An industry and user favorite, Bria softphones for desktop, tablet and mobile devices, together with Stretto Platform™ server solutions, enable service providers, OEMs and enterprises large and small around the globe to offer a seamless and unified communications experience across any network. The Bria and Stretto combination enables an improved user experience as an overlay to the most popular UC and IMS telephony and applications servers on the market today. Standards-based, cost-effective and reliable, CounterPath’s award-winning solutions deliver high-quality voice and video calling, messaging, and presence offerings to our customers such as ATT, Avaya, Bell Canada, BT, Liberty Global, Ribbon Communications, Uber and Vonex. Visit www.counterpath.com and follow @counterpath.

###

Contacts:

CounterPath

Mabel Louie

Vice President, Marketing

e-mail:

TMC Contact

Stephanie Thompson

Manager

SOURCE: CounterPath Corporation

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Mar 19

United States Pet Food Market and International Perspectives Report 2019 – ResearchAndMarkets.com

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar 19, 2019–The “Pet Food: U.S. Market and International Perspectives” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

“Pet Food: U.S. Market and International Perspectives” provides summary perspectives on retail market opportunities – particularly those stemming from pet humanization trends and the associated premium/functional products – for commercial dog food and cat food in the following key global markets: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy. Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom.

Pet food (dog/cat food) marketers are headed towards an uphill battle, facing plateauing sales growth due to the leveling off of superpremium-fueled price increases and growing pricing pressure from the advance of the Internet and mass premiumization. Bright spots very much remain in this saturated market, however. Although the Internet is poaching sales from brick-and-mortar retailers, online sales are for the time driving incremental growth in the market as a whole by promoting in-demand brands and auto replenishment. Also positively impacting the market are Millennial pet owners, who are willing to pay more for quality products, especially those featuring sustainably and ethically sourced ingredients. Other opportunities reside in specialized diets targeting the aging pet population and in high-quality, freshly made pet food prepared in-store or ordered online for home delivery.

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in analyzing the pet food industry as well as broad cross-category expertise from the analysts, this report pinpoints strategic directions for current and prospective pet food marketers, with a forward-looking focus on high-growth product segments and market drivers. Covering foods for dogs and cats, the report examines trends by form (dry, wet, semi-moist, and frozen/refrigerated), ingredients, and product claims across the full retail spectrum including mass-market outlets, the pet specialty channel, online retailers, and other channels. It provides a comprehensive overview of historical market size and projections (2014-2023), cross-market trends, consumer expenditures, market opportunities, mergers and acquisitions, channel trends including e-commerce and omnichannel, the Millennial and Gen Z impact, and new product and marketing trends.

Through proprietary surveys of U.S. pet owners, the study highlights consumer purchase patterns and product and brand preferences for dog and cat food as well as the market as a whole. Including dozens of product illustrations, it focuses particularly on trends in marketing and new product development, while also identifying key players in dog and cat food overall. Additional data sources include Simmons profiling trends in pet ownership, purchasing attitudes, and product preferences, including demographic trends down to the brand level, and SPINS data on the natural and gourmet channel.

While the United States remains by far the largest pet food market, the second tier of national markets (with combined dog/cat food sales of US$1 billion or more) is being reshaped, with Brazil now heading the list. Also morphing is the set of national markets showing higher longer-term promise for future growth, which along with Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina includes China, India, Russia, and South Korea, indicating the increasing multinationalism of the pet food industry and the prime market opportunities.

Key Topics Covered:

Executive Summary

  • Market Overview
    • Introduction
    • Market Size and Growth
    • Market Drivers
    • Looking Ahead
    • Competitive Overview
    • Retail Channel Trends
  • Product and Marketing Trends
    • Natural Pet Food
    • Condition-Specific Foods: Veterinarians to the Fore
    • Product Safety and Made in the USA
    • Healthy Gourmet/Indulgent Foods
    • Customized Pet Food and Meal Kits for Home Delivery
  • Dog Food
    • Market Size and Growth
    • Marketer and Brands
    • Dog Food Purchasing Patterns
  • Cat Food
    • Market Size and Growth
    • Marketers and Brands
    • Cat Food Purchasing Patterns
  • Opportunities
    • Opportunity 1 – Personalized Pet Food
    • Opportunity 2 – Spotlight on Sourcing, Sustainability, and Animal Welfare
    • Opportunity 3 – Premiumized (Further) Cat Food
    • Opportunity 4 – The Internet
    • Opportunity 5 – Pet Overweight and Obesity
  • Market Overview
    • Chapter Highlights
    • Introduction
      • Two Animal Categories: Dog and Cat
      • Other Marketing Classifications
    • Market Size and Growth
      • Pet Food Will Top $27 Billion
      • Dog Food Dominates Pet Food Sales
      • Dry Pet Food Dominates Sales
      • Dry Dog Food at Over 50% of Market
      • Sales by Channel
    • Market Drivers
      • Pet Food Market Facing Major Headwinds
      • Innovation Drives Pet Food Marketers in New Directions
      • Internet Steals Brick-and-Mortar Share Yet Buoys Overall Market
      • Mass Premium Brands No Recipe for Long-Term Market Growth
      • Natural Pet Food Sales Still Healthy But Likely Headed for Moderation
      • FDA Warning About CDM Casts a Shadow Over Grain-Free Pet Food
      • Pet Food Safety: Issue and Opportunity
      • Scaling Up Superpremium
      • Consumers Willing to Pay More for Healthier Pet Edibles
      • Is Premiumization Disenfranchising Non-Affluent Households?
      • Pet Food Production Costs Rising
      • Pet Ownership Trends
      • MA, Retail, and Marketing Initiatives Going Strong
      • Pets-as-Family Trend Getting a Millennial Boost
      • Growth in Wet Pet Foods
    • Looking Ahead
      • Sales Growth Slow But Steady Through 2023
      • Tariffs and Trade War with China Could Hamper U.S. Market
    • Competitive Overview
      • Human Food Companies Expand Into Pet Market
      • Lawsuits and Recalls
      • Mass Premiumization Is Changing the Channel Dynamic
      • Pet Specialty-Specific Brands Persist
      • Veterinary Diet Marketers
      • Inspiring Trust
    • Retail Channel Trends
      • Walmart Is Preferred Retailer for Pet Food Purchases
      • Private-Label and Exclusive Brands Taking on New Importance
      • Mass Premiumization Good for Mass Retailers
      • Customer Service, Natural Brands Help Independents Shine
      • Pet Specialty Chains Rethink Pet Food

Companies Mentioned

  • AKVAZOO
  • Plaek Group
  • Mars
  • Nestle Purina
  • Tianjin Ranova Petfood Co., Ltd

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/gsptvm/united_states_pet?w=4

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190319005664/en/

CONTACT: ResearchAndMarkets.com

Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager

press@researchandmarkets.com

For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470

For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630

For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900

Related Topics:Pet
Food

KEYWORD:

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: CONSUMER PETS

SOURCE: Research and Markets

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 03/19/2019 11:44 AM/DISC: 03/19/2019 11:44 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190319005664/en

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Mar 18

Study: high speed rural internet would boost Georgia economy

A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Amazon, based on statistics and a survey of more than 5,000 small rural businesses, says that increasing digital access could add billions of dollars to the economy.

Georgia would need to Increase connectivity in rural areas, where 66 percent of rural small businesses say poor internet or cell phone connectivity negatively impacts their business, according to the report.

To take full advantage of unlocking the potential, the state would have to increase the number of people trained in digital skills and get businesses to adopt training and tools to take advantage of the growth in digital marketing, sales and business.

The state Legislature is considering House Bill 23, which would permit Georgia’s 41 electric membership corporations to offer high-speed internet service. EMCs often serve sparsely populated areas where major providers such as ATT and Comcast haven’t necessarily built internet lines.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has been following the bill and will report on its progress.

According to the national report, one-in-five rural businesses are already digital. And nearly 20 percent of America’s rural small businesses generate at least 80 percent of their revenue by selling online products and services.

Almost 40 percent of small business owners say digital technology has allowed them to sell across state lines, and 16 percent say they are selling internationally due to their access to digital tools.

In Georgia, nearly 14  percent of surveyed businesses said they are selling internationally.

The report estimates that full high-speed internet access, with trained people and adaption, could add $3.9 billion to the state’s economy. 

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Mar 17

Top 36 Web Accessibility Resources for Digital Marketing Companies

Top 36 Web Accessibility Resources for Digital Marketing Companies ‘ );

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Many experienced search marketers added usability testing to their site audits. Still, they may be unprepared when they learn of clients facing ADA website accessibility lawsuits.

Where do they find accessibility resources and testing tools?

Why should marketers care about website accessibility?

Who is responsible for the accessibility of websites and apps?

“When we say we want to build for everyone – we mean it. Accessibility is written into our mission statement and core to our values as a company. We don’t think a problem is solved until we’ve solved it for everyone. Technology’s great promise is to give everyone the same power to achieve their goals. As long as there are barriers for some, there’s still work to be done.” — Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google

The Search Marketer’s Competitive Edge

An expert technical SEO audit provides data used to diagnose the status of webpages. This helps with:

  • Indexing, ranking, and content issues.
  • All the bits and pieces of what is essentially an online product that people are expected to want to use.

Search engines are expected to provide the most accurate responses to search queries from people using a variety of devices, in an even wider, unpredictable environment.

We have all experienced what it is like to follow a link in the search results, only to land on a webpage that prevents us from using it in the way we want to.

Imagine what this is like for someone with no mouse, poor eyesight or using a screen reader?

Accessibility improvements increase brand loyalty, which is valued by search engines. More importantly, it removes barriers for users. This is referred to as inclusive design.

Who is responsible for making sure marketing clients’ websites meet WCAG2.1 or Section 508 guidelines?

That depends. Accessibility compliance is a search engine marketers’ competitive edge. However, learning how to build accessible websites and applications requires more skills.

In fact, accessibility engineers may be expected to be certified and have programming experience.

While not all digital marketing agencies and SEO consultants provide website design services, but a vast number do.

Having in-house usability trained designers offers more opportunities for various types of optimization and marketing strategies. Most usability designers have a basic understanding of WCAG guidelines.

Many companies provide website design, mobile application development or software products used in the educational, government, healthcare and financial verticals but do not:

  • Plan for accessibility testing during development cycles.
  • Have designers and developers trained in accessibility.

Such companies may feel threatened not only by fears of ADA lawsuits but also the frenetic pace of technologies specifically targeting voice activation and mobile apps.

Since I wrote Website Accessibility the Law: Why Your Website Must Be Compliant, several new U.S.A. ADA accessibility lawsuits regarding websites appeared in the news.

For example, 75 art galleries in New York were sued for failing to make their websites accessible to blind or visually impaired people. Images and sliders lacked the additional code that would enable screen-reading software to describe images via audio translation.

A Florida case, Gomez v. General Nutrition Corp, illustrates the importance of hiring expert accessibility testing:

“According to his report, Dolegowski tested the GNC website with two automated accessibility checkers, both of which are available free online. When the test results returned no errors on the website, Dolegowski concluded there were no known accessibility issues.

Gomez, on the other hand, retained a third-party digital accessibility consulting firm, which concluded after an audit of the GNC website that it contained accessibility issues that would prevent individuals using a screen reader from adding products to their shopping cart and completing a purchase.”

Countries around the world are embracing accessibility by clarifying the meaning of public facing businesses by extending the definition to include the internet.

Access to web-based stores, banks, healthcare, travel, and education is considered a civil right, but enforcement varies, if it even exists at all.

What’s Behind the Sudden Emphasis on Website Accessibility?

Generally speaking, we are becoming more aware of how people use websites and computers. We have a better understanding of what it means to build intuitive user interfaces.

Years of research into search engine queries, neuroscience, online social communication habits, as well as constant advances in computer hardware, software, communication infrastructure, and voice activation enable greater access by removing barriers.

The fear of ADA lawsuits is not a good reason to care about accessibility.

The guidelines have always been available for free.

Even so, as someone who has included accessibility testing in website usability site audits since 2001, I know that it can be complicated to:

  • Learn how to implement the code.
  • Know how and when to do what and where.

Most experienced SEO professionals know when a poorly built website needs design help to improve conversions, site performance and help for mobile. Less obvious are accessibility issues that require additional testing.

Meeting accessibility WCAG2.1 or Section 508 Refresh standards requires knowing how, where, why, when and what to apply during the development phase, which marketers may not be part of.

There is often a knowledge gap between running pages through an accessibility testing tool such as AXE or WAVE and knowing how to fix the issues. The best chances for repairs are caught during the development phase, not afterward.

Inclusive design recognizes the diversity of people and how this impacts design decisions.

Should you design for every possible user?

This is unrealistic.

Following WCAG guidelines does ensure that more people are assured of being able to use a shopping cart, understand videos, and listen to content.

However, it is my personal experience that as well planned or built a website or application may be, there is always a user experience that was never considered.

We do our best, knowing that improvements are natural and accessibility education ongoing.

For example, WCAG2.0 is now WCAG2.1. There are 17 new success criteria added in all three levels, A, AA, and AAA, applied to mobile small screen and touch screens, plus voice input, users with vestibular disabilities and screen readers. Section 508 was updated and is called Section 508 Refresh.

WordPress themes, plug-ins, and third-party apps may not be kept up to date. WordPress Core meets accessibility standards, but the new Gutenberg editor is still in the process of meeting requirements.

PDFs must be accessible. Twitter provides a way to add alt attributes to images.

Screenshot of example for how to edit alt attributes in Twitter.Screenshot of example for how to edit alt attributes in Twitter.

One word of caution is worth mentioning. When shopping for an accessibility testing company, be aware that some of them are using fear-bait to attract new clients.

It is not a “criminal” offense to have a website that is not Section 508 compliant, as one company claims for example.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with:

  • The best tools for accessibility testing.
  • Recommendations for trusted accessibility testing companies.
  • A list of reputable people and resources in the accessibility industry.

Screenshot showing browser testing extensions.Screenshot showing browser testing extensions.This is my Chrome browser with accessibility testing extensions.

Accessibility Testing

There are automated accessibility testing tools for use with agile environments and in software development and QA testing.

It is strongly recommended to incorporate manual testing with assistive devices, Android and Apple mobile devices, touch screens, various computers, browsers, and user testing.

Browser extensions serve as first alerts.

Accessibility Testing Tools

I also have several text-to-speech Chrome extensions like Natural Reader Text to Speech and Read Aloud Text to Speech Voice Reader

Other Accessibility Tools Testing

Manual Testing

Accessibility Guides

Accessibility Companies

Accessibility Advocates

Accessibility Courses Certification

Resources

In addition to the above, I’ve found additional companies, newsletters and accessibility bloggers in Twitter and LinkedIn.

There are also several law firms specializing in accessibility complaints. Major corporations have resources and accessibility guides, such as IBM, Adobe and Microsoft.

Developers seeking other developers experienced with accessibility will find courses on JavaScript, JQuery, ARIA, React, and more anywhere where online courses are available. Searching Twitter with the hashtag #aiiy introduces accessibility how-to bloggers and accessibility advocates.

I also create Google Alerts, subscribe to podcasts and YouTube videos and track updates to ADA laws at Congress.gov and various other resources that cover accessibility standards and legal requirements in other countries such as EN301 549 in Europe.

The most daunting part of accessibility work is remediation. Some accessibility tools link to the exact WCAG principle to help guide in fixing the issue. But instructions can be complicated or difficult to understand.

Implementation is another hurdle since you need access to the source code. You will read different opinions on VPATs and accessibility statements.

Learn to be careful when discussing or writing about accessibility. I repeated a term I had heard someone use and was corrected for being insensitive.

Inclusive design practices are thoughtful additional bits of code that go a long way toward removing barriers.

They also create desirable, enjoyable user experiences for your digital marketing clients whose web-based properties are under your care.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, March 2019

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