Opportunities Planet http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com Thu, 09 Jun 2016 06:53:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How To Be A Productive Freelance Writer http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/freelancing/productive-freelance-writer/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/freelancing/productive-freelance-writer/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2016 06:46:52 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21241 With the new technological developments, more and more people make the transition from a regular 9 to 5 schedule to freelancing. For instance, only in the US, in 2014, 53 million Americans were freelancers. Of course, the numbers went higher since then. And why shouldn’t they? As a freelancer, you […]

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With the new technological developments, more and more people make the transition from a regular 9 to 5 schedule to freelancing. For instance, only in the US, in 2014, 53 million Americans were freelancers. Of course, the numbers went higher since then. And why shouldn’t they? As a freelancer, you have more control over your professional and personal life. You actually get to be your own boss.

However, besides the obvious perks, you also have to fight a drop in productivity. This happens mostly because of procrastination and bad time management, but there are other factors involved.

So, if you are interested in learning the most efficient methods to improve your productivity and become a better freelance writer, continue reading.

productive freelance writer

Finding a steady source of income

As a content writer, you probably know already that there are a plethora of online platforms that promise to bring great clients and contracts. Still, many are just a hoax, trying to make you work for nothing. On the other side, a reliable platform doesn’t offer you the certainty of a steady workflow. This leads to alternating periods that throw you off course and mess with your productivity level.

This is why it’s recommended to try and connect with sites like customwritings.com, where there is a steady workflow for each writer they hire. This way, you will manage to keep yourself active all the time which leads, in time, to a better level of productivity.

Do not procrastinate!

productive freelance writer do not procrastinate

The biggest enemy of a freelancer is procrastination. When there is no manager to check your progress and where there is no deadline pressure, work seems extremely easy to postpone. But this is the biggest trap there is!

You actually do have deadlines (even though they are more relaxed). This means that most of the work will be done in the very last minute. This leads to low-quality and unsatisfied customers, which leads to less work and less productivity. It’s actually a vicious circle and it’s quite difficult to leave it.

The best way to put things in order is to start with the small things and, most importantly, to do them now! Small things tend to pile up and soon you’ll get yourself a ton of small things that must be done in a very short period of time.

Don’t avoid difficult tasks

Freelancing is not all sweets and roses. There are and will always be difficult tasks that you dread, but if you want the payment, you must do them. So, the easiest way is to take the bull by the horns and actually start your day with these tasks.

Write your most difficult tasks for the next day on a piece of paper and put it beside your computer. In the morning, before you answer emails, do that task. The day will be less grim once you manage to complete it.

The 90-20 rule

Do you know those days when you don’t even want to open the computer? Well, being a freelancer doesn’t mean you don’t have to work, on the contrary. And when you can’t focus, the job becomes a lot more difficult. Actually, studies show that we are not meant to be focused and active all day long. That’s why specialists came up with the 90-20 rule.

The rule is simple: you work for 90 minutes and rest for 20. This way, even though you’re not in the mood, you can still keep your focus for 90 minutes because you know you’ll get to rest for 20. Cool right?

Remove distractions

If you know social media is a distraction, try as much as possible to stay away while you’re working. You can catch up during break time. Also, things like TVs, game consoles, books, and anything that calls you for some leisure time must be hidden away.

As a freelancer, being able to follow a work routine and sticking to the schedule is one of the greatest challenges you’ll ever meet. Once you manage to create a schedule and bring yourself to follow it, things will become a lot simpler.

Also, it helps to establish working hours. Yes, it may seem like you’re at your job, but you’ll manage to follow a schedule and not work at ungodly hours.

The to-do list

productive freelance writer to do list

https://static.pexels.com/photos/3243/pen-calendar-to-do-checklist.jpg

You may laugh or you may dread the list, but it is extremely useful. The important thing is to take a pen and a piece of paper and write your tasks for the day. When one task is complete, you cut it off the list and, you can actually see your progress.

Break up large tasks

This is a very important step and must be applied while you are doing the To-Do list. For instance, if you have to write a 5 pages article, this project can be quite scary. It involves a lot of research work and creativity and it will seem huge.

However, if you break the project into pieces, it will seem simpler. You can reserve 2 hours in the morning to create the structure and gather the research materials. Next, you should break the article into manageable pieces that can be written separately. This way, if you tackle this huge task piece by piece, it won’t seem so scary.

Get yourself the right apps

Sometimes the simple will of a man is not enough to fight procrastination, distractions, and plain old laziness. This is where technology steps in. If you feel you’ve been dragging things lately, install a time tracking app. This will let you know exactly what you did all day and how much of your day was actually used for work.

Of course, there are other apps that could be of use, like task managers or project organizers. Just make sure to use only the ones that keep you productive.

As you can see, in order to succeed as a freelance writer, you must understand how to manage your time effectively. Once you do this, you will succeed in being your own boss.

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The PR Toolkit – 10 tools You Should Be Using For Your PR http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/internet-marketing/the-pr-toolkit-10-tools-you-should-be-using-for-your-pr/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/internet-marketing/the-pr-toolkit-10-tools-you-should-be-using-for-your-pr/#respond Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:56:45 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21160 Social media has redefined the way we interact. As a result, public relations has had to evolve considerably to keep up with the pace of modern interaction. These days there are hundreds of tools and dedicated software aimed at improving the PR process, making it particularly challenging to choose the […]

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pr toolkit

Social media has redefined the way we interact. As a result, public relations has had to evolve considerably to keep up with the pace of modern interaction. These days there are hundreds of tools and dedicated software aimed at improving the PR process, making it particularly challenging to choose the right tool for your business.

So, without further delay, here are 10 of most popular paid and free tools designed to streamline and scale up your PR:

Paid:

1) Buzzstream

Buzzstream

Unquestionably one of the most effective tools for PR and online marketing; Buzzstream collects all the separate aspects of digital marketing (emails, searching for prospects, building relationships etc.) and packages them up into one, easy to use product.

Buzzstream comes in 2 products: Buzzstream for link building and Buzzstream for social media. For all intents and purposes, the former is geared more to the SEO side of marketing and the latter for digital PR, therefore it is important to distinguish the differences between them.

Buzzstream is relatively inexpensive for the small business and has a range of price options to easily fit into your budget.

2) Cision

Cision

Cision are big players in the game when it comes to developing public relations software. Over the years, their innovations have changed the way PR professionals network and communicate with their influencers.

Cision offers a KPI dashboard style program, allowing businesses to strategize, effectuate and analyse their PR campaigns using a range of tools contained within the program.

Being aware of where you spend your time, effort and money in your PR process can really help in developing new strategies and concentrating resources where they are needed. Cision may be one of the priciest tools to make the list but if your PR efforts are going unheeded, it may be of help, and with Cision offering a free trial of their software, there’s no harm in trying!

3) Pitch Engine

Pitch Engine

Pitch engine is more a tool for content marketing than PR, but with lines blurring in the industry, it’s not uncommon for the modern PR manager to adopt other aspects of digital marketing into their campaign.

Pitch engine is more than just a tool for companies to dispense their press packs. Simply put, Pitch Engine allows your business to create and publish professional, interactive content and distribute it via social media, straight into the laps of your influencers and target audience.

Until now, it has not been this easy for companies to reach the majority of their intended audience. This tool may not be affordable for the small budget business but it is no doubt a potently effective PR tool.

4) Bluenod

Bluenod

Does your business require that a lot of time be dedicated to twitter? If so, look no further than Bluenod. This handy app offers out a boatload of cool features to vastly improve your twitter marketing campaigns and provide deeper insight into the impact your tweets have on your network.

The piece de resistance however is Bluenod’s social graphs feature. Social graphs allow you to visualize the social dynamics of a particular hashtag or twitter account in the form of a complex graph, giving you access to a visual aid on how best to structure your new twitter campaign or hashtag trend.

5) Five Second Test

five second test

Ok, so it’s not totally a PR tool, but the power of 5 second test is big enough that it’s worth mentioning anyway.

To be successful, your website / marketing / branding all need to convey the right message. You might think your new logo is awesome, but what do the general public think?

5 Second Test allows you to put your marketing efforts in front of completely unbiased, brutally honest members of the public. They get 5 seconds to look at your logo or your web page (or whatever) and then either pick their favourite, or answer a couple of quick questions.

Remember, your opinion doesn’t matter, all that matters is what your potential customers might think. Be prepared though; you may need a thick skin!

Free:

1) HARO

HARO

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a tool that might actually help you to get press in some of the big sites in your niche and even national press! Basically the idea is that when a journalist is working on a story and needs sources for the article, they will put a request on HARO.

As a business owner you can sign up for a daily email alert which lists all of the requests for that day. If you see a story that is relevant to you, you can pitch a response and if the journalist likes your response they might just use it in their piece.

There’s no guarantee of course, but the potential upside is big, so it’s worth taking the time to write an awesome pitch.

2) Alltop

Alltop

Alltop lets you know exactly what is happening in your niche. Imagine it as an online magazine rack about all your favourite things! Easily discover trends and stories that your brand demands you cover, all in one place.

Before long, you’ll be finding those priceless stories and little nuggets of information about the latest things in your niche, providing you with plenty of ideas for fresh content and inspiring new, innovative ways of reaching out to your influencers

3) Marketing Grader

Marketing Grader

Previously known as Gobbledygook Grader; the Marketing Grader (now owned by Hubspot) is a rather useful tool and very easy to use! This tool analyses your website or blog and grades you out of 100 on your marketing efforts and offers tips and advice on how to best improve your brand’s marketability.

4) Google Alerts

Google Alerts

Google’s alert tool is a fantastic way of monitoring the web things related to your brand. Monitoring things like keywords (i.e. your brand’s name), links, local news, specific websites, plagiarized content, you name it! This can provide a wealth of insight into your brand’s online reputation as well as staying on top of stories in your niche and even what your competitors are up to. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? Neat!

5) Backtweets

Backtweets

Essentially an SEO tool repurposed for marketing; Backtweets simply displays every archived instance of a backlink in twitter. This can be a fantastic way of discovering influencers that you might not have already come across and connecting with them.

Written by Mark Johnson for Phipps PR. Phipps are a PR and marketing company who specialise in working with foods and drinks brands. Mark loves working with a variety of exciting clients and exploring the world of food!

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Email Segmentation – How to Segment Your Email Marketing List http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/email-marketing-2/how-to-segment-your-email-marketing-list/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/email-marketing-2/how-to-segment-your-email-marketing-list/#comments Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:08:52 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21141 Image source: freepik Probably every marketer out there understands the importance of integrating email campaigns into their company’s overall marketing strategy. In the digital world we live in, a strong email list has been proven a number of times as an extremely beneficial way for businesses to increase sales leads […]

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how to segment an email list

Image source: freepik

Probably every marketer out there understands the importance of integrating email campaigns into their company’s overall marketing strategy. In the digital world we live in, a strong email list has been proven a number of times as an extremely beneficial way for businesses to increase sales leads and drive a better return on investment by connecting with their customers.

But how come some marketers are seeing dramatically better results from their email campaigns than the others? In order to answer this question, we would undoubtedly need to analyze how each business puts their email strategy into practice. However, there is a common trait that most businesses that are successful in email marketing share: they segment their email list.

According to eMarketer, 39% of marketers who choose to do email segmentation see better open rates, 28% experience lower opt-out or unsubscription rates, and 24% have better email deliverability, increased sales leads and greater revenue.

In this article we’re going to take you through the email segmentation basics so that you too can begin segmenting your email list.

What is email segmentation?

what is email segmentation

One of the main goals of every email marketer is to create as large a subscription list as possible. But that list will only be useful if the recipients who are on the list receive emails that appeal to them. Each person is different so, naturally, not each individual is going to identify with every single email you send out.

Because sending the same email to every individual on your list will only get you so far, you should consider sending more targeted content to smaller groups of recipients. The creation of these smaller, more specific groups is known as email segmentation.

Email segmentation leads to a more personalized experience for the customer, it builds trust and allows for more favorable responses and interactions. Simply put, it maximizes the chances of your email being read and acted on.

Email segmentation essentialssegmentation

Before you can begin with the segmentation process, you will need an email-sending tool to hold all your user data and to streamline your email marketing processes. (Otherwise, things might get quite messy and time-consuming.)

The tool will allow you to create segmented lists based on desired criteria, keep track of all your individual email lists, create email templates and campaigns, as well as send campaigns according to the scheduled date and time or action.

Some of the most popular options include GetResponse, iContact, MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, and Hubspot. All of them serve the same purpose, but when it comes to features and user interface, there are some noticeable differences. It would definitely be wise to test out several options before making the final decision.

A great thing is that most of them do offer 30-day trials and free subscription plans, which is a great chance to see whether you feel at home with the interface and the email creator tool.

For example, MailChimp’s interface is so clean and straightforward that it requires very little or no training for first-time users. Also, their designer tool makes the email creation process a simple and fun experience. All you need to do is pick one of the free templates (you can as well build your own template) and then drag, drop and reorder content blocks and customize fonts, colors and images through a menu that will appear on the right once you click on the desired email element:

mailchimp user experience

Another important thing to consider is which metrics the tool allows you to track. A general rule of thumb would be – the more, the better. (We’ll discuss each metric in details a little later.)

Here are the metrics that MailChimp can track for you:

mailchimp metrics

Choosing segmentation criteria

list segmentation criteriaOnce you’ve picked out the tool you’re going to use, you’re ready for the next step: you need to decide how you’re going to segment your list. In other words, you need to choose your segmentation criteria.

There are really no hard and fast rules on this. You can segment your list in many different ways, according to customers’ age, gender, location, job, education level etc.

The decision is usually guided by the types of products or services a business sells. For example, if you’re an online clothes retailer, your primary segmentation criterion will probably be gender – as is the case, for example, with the online fashion store ASOS.

If you take a look at their newsletter subscription form, you will notice that they’ve substituted the usual “Submit”/“Subscribe” button with “Women” and “Men” buttons. This allows them to segment users upon subscription according to gender-based criterion:

email list subscription form

One thing is for sure – whatever segmentation criteria you choose, you will need to have information about your customers in order to know which category they belong to. You probably already have some kind of data at your disposal, basic stuff like gender, age and location. This should be enough to get you started with the email segmentation process.

However, if you’re hoping to get the most out of your list, at some point you will also want to include advanced segmentation criteria that is based on more complex user data.

Collecting user data

email user data

Image source: freepik

Collecting user data is one of the most important steps in the email segmentation process. The more specific information you can obtain from your customers, the more targeted emails you can send.

Here are several kinds of user data that is useful to collect:

  • Preferences: customers’ personal interests, likes and dislikes;

  • Demographics: anything from their age groups to education levels, job positions, income levels and marital status;

  • Psychographics: customers’ attitudes and lifestyles, their opinions, beliefs and motivations;

  • Behavioral characteristics: the sorts of products or services they purchase from you, what they do with them, how often they purchase, how often they open your marketing emails etc.

As we previously mentioned, at the point when they decide to start with email segmentation, most businesses already have some demographic information about their customers and prospects at disposal. But if that’s not the case, you can use Google Search Console to get a general idea about the types of people who interact with your business online. It will tell you their age, gender and preferences. It can even collect some psychographic and behavioral data about their lifestyle and product-purchase interests.

However, since this information is not tied to individual email addresses, it won’t be of much help during the email segmentation process. So what should you do? The answer to your problem is: surveys. Send them as a part of your newsletter email, as a separate email, or you can even consider including them on your website.

When you design surveys, make sure that your questions are thoughtful and definitely offer an incentive to motivate customers to give out their personal information. And yes, one more thing: try not to be too intrusive as that might scare people away.

email surveyAs a matter of fact, it would actually be best not to use the word ‘survey’ but simply call it a ‘quiz’. As opposed to surveys, people LOVE taking quizzes.

There’s a fantastic example from a vintage clothing retailer ModCloth. They created a survey called “Style Whiz Quiz” which helped them to learn more about their customers’ preferences. Because it was designed in a clever and fun way, users were more than ready to take the survey and ModCloth was able to obtain tons of information that helped them to better segment their email database.

Customization and trackingtracking and customization of your email list

Once you’ve chosen segmentation criteria and collected user data, you’re all set to begin creating customized messages and sending them to your defined email segments.

In order to know how your emails are performing, you will need to track the results using the tracking features available in your email marketing software. These are some of the metrics to focus on:

  • Delivery Rate: the number of emails sent that were successfully delivered to the desired email address;

  • View Rate:  the number of emails viewed compared to the number of emails sent;

  • Open Rate: the number of campaign emails that were opened in the recipients’ inbox (It can sometimes be misleading since an open rate does not equal a viewed email. In other words, a person might open your email, but never read it.);

  • Click-Through Rate:  the number of individuals who clicked a link in the email and followed through to your website;

  • Sales Conversion: the number of individuals who received your email, followed through to the website and made the desired purchase. 

You can also use A/B testing to experiment with the textual and visual content of your emails as well as with different sending times. Then, use all this knowledge gathered through trial and error to refine your emails and enhance future campaigns.

Wrapping up

The secret of effective email marketing lies in sending highly relevant content to the right audience. Remember, laser-targeted emails have a greater chance of being opened, read and followed through to the point of conversion.

Check the following video by Pat Flynn to see how exactly he uses email segmentation:

Now that you understand how email segmentation works, you’re ready to join successful marketers who are already reaping its benefits. Good luck with creating your first segment!

Taylor Moore is a freelance copywriter with a passion for small business and retail marketing. For more talk on content marketing, conversion optimization, branding and customer service, follow her @taylormtweets.

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Making Sure Your Emails Grab Your Reader’s Attention http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/email-marketing-2/making-sure-your-emails-grab-your-readers-attention/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/email-marketing-2/making-sure-your-emails-grab-your-readers-attention/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:49:44 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21131 Oh Emails. So old, yet so good! Just a few decades ago postal services dominated the world and we could only wish for emails, but today, they are on equal footage with chat or a cellphone! Email is the oldest way of online interaction we use. Although there are a […]

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grab your reader’s attention via email

Oh Emails. So old, yet so good!

Just a few decades ago postal services dominated the world and we could only wish for emails, but today, they are on equal footage with chat or a cellphone!

Email is the oldest way of online interaction we use. Although there are a lot of other ways to communicate with your audience (different social media channels, live chat, instant messaging, etc.), over 2.8 billion people use emails as of 2015, which basically makes email the most used communication channel ever (for comparison, Facebook has around 1.5 billion active users).

Given this fact though, there are two sides to the story: email may be the most used communication method in the world, but this also means that people get a ton of different emails every day.

After putting in time and effort creating a killer email, the very last thing you want is have it sit unread in consumer’s inboxes. Here are a few tips to help you deal with that just fine.

All of those tips are also true for your newsletters by the way, although there is a bit more to it.

Think about the reason

Before creating the email, take the time to think about why you are writing that email in the first place, what do you want to accomplish with it? For example if you are introducing a new product and you want consumers to get familiar with it, then the email should exactly reflect that purpose.

Remember all those times that you opened an email and thought “Why on earth am I even receiving this?” That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Make sure consumers know why they receive your emails.

Make it personalized

Every person, especially a consumer, wants to be unique, not a part of an automated system. This is why making your emails personalized is essential. If the email doesn’t contain at least the name of the recipient (nowadays even the name is not enough, try adding some more stuff, like company name, position, occupation, etc.), it’s definitely not going to be noticed, let alone read.

Also keep your email content casual and respectful. Don’t try to impress consumers by referring to them by their surname and complicated, official wording. That won’t work. Keep it conversational, but know your limits, too much personalization can be dreadful, and make sure you sound professional.

“Hi Mr. Jonson,

We are excited to tell you about a poker tournament that will take place in our hotel today at 7:30 PM. As a true poker fan, we invite you to join in the fun with your wife somewhere around 7:15 if you have no plans for today!

Best of luck,

Hotel administration”

This email sounds pretty neat. Nothing out of place and the personal part will definitely be appreciated. Now watch this.

“Hi Mr. Jonson, 42, born in South Carolina May 6, 1978,

We are excited to tell you about a poker tournament that will take place in our hotel at 7:30 PM, just about the time you return from your business meetings generally. As a true poker fan, who knows how to win or lose thousands of dollars in a single night like you did 2 years ago in New York last year, we invite you to join in the fun with your wife somewhere around 7:15 as you have no specific plans for today!

Best of luck,

Hotel administration”

Well, to me this much personalization doesn’t sound fun, which will definitely make Mr. Jonson uncomfortable. This is what you should NOT do.

Keep it short and to the point

This refers to everything in your email, including subject line, preview text and actual email. Medium sized subject lines (40-50 characters) result in higher open rates, which is what you should be aiming for. Emails are meant for quick communication and information transfer, not exactly great for reading 2500 word articles.

Don’t forget about the preview text. It might only be around 50-70 characters long, but it ultimately reflects the whole content of your email in one or two sentences. Also 84 % of users use a preview pane, which makes kind of a huge deal. Invest time into making a succinct preview text and you will notice an instant improvement in your open rates.

Finally, keep the content and formatting of your email nice and clear. Avoid using all capital letter words and exclamation marks, even when you are offering discounts. Shouting about it very loudly isn’t going to convince consumers to buy your product, instead it will probably irritate them.

Test the email by sending it to yourself or a friend a day or two after putting it together. Look at the subject line, preview text, actual content – everything. Does the email look interesting to you? Do you or your friend want to open it? If yes, then you are getting there. If you don’t feel like it, why would consumers even bother then?

If you promise something, make sure you deliver it

This is a very important step to take. If your preview text or subject line promises a 50% discount on the next purchase, you better make sure you deliver the promise to your consumers. Don’t make an email around another subject and shift smoothly to the discount part, start straight with the discount part. If you have anything more to add, better send two different emails.

Lastly, do not trick your consumers. Ever. It will earn you nothing than a bad reputation, unsubscribes or being marked as spam, and there is a good chance that you will lose the trust of that person forever.

Don’t be discouraged if your emails don’t get high open rates right of the bat. If a person didn’t open a few emails, but still didn’t unsubscribe, it means that he or she doesn’t mind getting emails from your company, you just need to find the right content and offer to make him or her curious enough to open them.

By Charles Dearing

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How to Write a Professional Bio for Twitter http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/social-networking/how-to-write-a-professional-bio-for-twitter/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/social-networking/how-to-write-a-professional-bio-for-twitter/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2016 16:53:30 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21121 Twitter leads the list of essential marketing and customer service platforms for businesses and entrepreneurs looking for ways to expand brand, attract customers and open doors to new networking opportunities. But crafting a killer Twitter bio that communicates your expertise and piques curiosity in just 140 characters can be a […]

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bio on twitter

Twitter leads the list of essential marketing and customer service platforms for businesses and entrepreneurs looking for ways to expand brand, attract customers and open doors to new networking opportunities. But crafting a killer Twitter bio that communicates your expertise and piques curiosity in just 140 characters can be a challenge. Here are a few tips for creating a great bio, along with some examples to inspire you.

Use Niche Related Keywords

Your bio is your introduction to potential followers, and it should position you as an expert in your field or niche. Since you’re targeting a specific audience, make sure your bio is rich in niche related keywords that will help that audience find you. Specific keywords that describe what you do, such as “food blogger,” “blues musician,” “documentary photographer” can help attract others in your field, as well as users looking for your particular skills.

To find effective keywords for your bio, think about what your target audience is searching for. Make a list of the skills you want to be known for and rank them from most to least important. Then rephrase the most important ones as searchable keywords and build your bio around them.

Include a “Value Proposition”

Your bio should clearly tell visitors why they should be following you. Add a clear “value proposition” to answer that question, and make sure that it relates to the keywords you’ve been using. Don’t use your bio for a hard sell of a product or service. Instead, keep it focused on your skills and expertise that can benefit your followers.

Twitter can give you or your company the much-needed publicity, so make sure to give followers something to follow you for.

List Your Achievements

Your professional achievements are a way to clearly demonstrate your value. Share them briefly (remember, you only have 140 characters) but don’t brag or overhype what you’ve done. Include at least one professional description that clearly communicates what you’ve done in a keyword or two.

Focus on actions – what you do, not who you are. As always, the more specific, the better. For example, instead of saying you’re an entrepreneur, say you’ve launched five businesses. When listing your achievements, keep your value proposition in mind. How can your achievements help your followers?

Add Personal Info

Although your Twitter bio is aimed at presenting you in the best professional light, adding a bit of interesting personal information can make you seem human and relatable. Twitter is filled with business-related generic bios, so a word or two about your personal life, likes, dislikes and interests can help you stand out and attract like minded followers.

Personal information should be reserved for the end of the bio, after you’ve wowed visitors with your professional achievements and value. If you’d rather not get too specific about your personal life, you might instead add a brief statement about your philosophy or beliefs. Make sure that the personal information you share supports, and doesn’t undermine, the professional identity you’re creating.

Be Amusing and Humorous

Since one purpose of your bio is to intrigue visitors and turn them into followers, add a dash of humor or wit. Appearing professional, authentic and cool in just 140 characters may seem like a tall order, but all you might need is one word or phrase that is unexpected or unusual (or at least not boring). That word/phrase should fit well with the other parts of your bio and the persona you’re trying to present.

Avoid Buzzwords and Clichés

Your bio should reflect your unique identity, so steer clear of clichés and empty buzzwords such as guru, ninja or aficionado. Avoid filling space with quotations from famous people, song lyrics, sayings or proverbs. Use the first person “I” to talk about yourself – it makes you sound like a real person speaking to other real people. Though press kits and other kinds of official bios use the third person “he/she”, such phrasing will make you sound distant and even pompous.

Pay Attention to the Form

Like any other piece of writing, your bio represents you. Make sure spelling, grammar and punctuation are perfect, and be consistent with whatever style you choose. Capitalize consistently and proofread carefully. Mistakes stand out clearly in such a small space.

Use Hashtags, @s, and Links

You’re crafting your bio for Twitter, so make use of its tools. Include links to other accounts that relate to your professional identity. Name your company or employer, too. You’ll appear in search results when users search for the company name. Hashtags are also a good way to target specific searches, but too many can be distracting, so use them sparingly.

If you are a business owner, you may want to include a link that your existent or would-be customers will benefit from – for example, you can provide a link to your content-rich website. Everyone knows how important it is to keep customers engaged at all times, and it can all start with a purposefully positioned link in your Twitter bio.

Update and Revisit Your Bio Often

Your bio isn’t static. As you add new achievements and skills to your resume, edit your Twitter bio accordingly. Revisit your goals, too, and make changes that reflect what you want to accomplish on Twitter and why people should follow you.

Get Inspired

The best way to build a great bio is to learn from others. Visit the profiles of people with lots of followers and see what strategies you can adopt. Think about people you follow, too. What features of their bios intrigued you and made you want to follow them?

Here’s a quick look at some great Twitter bios.

tom hanks twitter profile

American actor Tom Hanks’ bio reads just as he speaks – dryly witty and brief.

Mike Davidson twitter profile

Mike Davidson, who’s Twitter’s very own Vice President of Design, follows his title with an unusual and memorable observation.

Julie Rosien twitter profile

Blogger Julie Rosien packs her bio with short, punchy keywords in an upbeat tone.

Alexandra Skey twitter profile

Entrepreneur Alexandra Skey covers all the essentials: keywords, organization she works for, a list of achievements, and a look at her personal interests.

Your online reputation is defined by your social media profiles. Your Twitter bio serves as your “elevator speech” to attract followers, showcase your expertise and reveal your authentic self. Your bio doesn’t have to include every element we’ve discussed. However, building your bio with these points in mind can help you stand out in your niche and grow your following, all in just 140 characters.

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Mobile Marketing: Why You Can No Longer Do Without It http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/business/mobile-marketing-why-you-can-no-longer-do-without-it/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/business/mobile-marketing-why-you-can-no-longer-do-without-it/#comments Wed, 02 Dec 2015 18:30:35 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21099 If you haven't considered yet mobile marketing as a part of your marketing then you certainly need to reconsider. See what you can do to get the most of mobiles

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Do you know why companies, which invested most of their marketing funds yet again this year in traditional media advertising and little or nothing on mobile, have missed a great opportunity? It’s simple: while they are still focused on traditional ways, consumers are heading in the opposite direction and mobile marketing might be where you should turn your attention.

Mobile Marketing - consumers opposite direction

According to data released by Flurry, the world population that uses mobile devices increased by 38% this year with 280 million Mobile Addicts, that is to say people who use apps more than 60 times a day, with an increase of 59% compared to the previous year. Super Users, who use apps from 16 to 60 times a day, are 590 million, with an increase of 34%, while Regular Users, those who access the app from one to 16 times a day, increased by 25%, for a total of 985 million people.

mobile apps use

What do people look at when they are on mobile? Basically everything. 75% of emails, 60% of Facebook posts and 90% of tweets are displayed via smartphone or tablet (source: Business Insider). Disregarding these data and the presence of mobile in the daily lives of people means giving up being with them every time they connect.

Up until a few years ago, when there were still so many technological variables to take into account and fewer mobile users, the absence of some companies on mobile was justified. But in 2015 saying “Our customers don’t use smartphones anyway!” cannot be an excuse anymore: by 2020, 70% of the world population will have a mobile device (source: Ericsson Mobility Report). Certainly, among them are consumers of all brands, whether big or small, global or local.

mobile users on 2020

Mobile marketing is not only important due to the number of users!

People’s behaviors and expectations towards mobile have taken on special features which are unprecedented compared to traditional channels of communication. In order to understand why mobile marketing is beneficial and strategic, you have to find out what new consumers want, applying the “what-when-where-how” mobile mix.

#1 What – a personalized experience

Smartphones and tablets are one-to-one devices, so people expect personalized communications that reflect their habits: some are social, some prefer websites, others download apps and some surf using browsers, some people love receiving offers and then there are those who perceive them as an intrusion. Segmenting the target until reaching the desires of the individual is not an easy task but you must try: companies who knock at their client’s door (through an email optimized for mobile, push notification or other) to offer them their favorite chocolates during tea time have already found the way into their hearts.

mobile marketing - be in the heart of the customers

#2 When – the importance of instant value

People appreciate it when the brand is in sync with their daily lives and they willingly respond to promotions that have contextualized benefits for them. Coupons sent to customers’ mobile phones while they are in the store or an offer of free tickets in exchange for a film review that they have just seen are simple but effective ways to seize the moment and turn it into a business. A particular case? A yogurt chain in New York, 16Handles, have implemented a very original campaign of time coupons: customers inside the yogurt shop could send a picture to the official Snapchat account of the brand to receive a discount coupon that was only valid if scanned at the cashier’s desk within 10 seconds.

# 3 Where – proximity strategy

Search engines are the most visited sites on mobile. People often seek information about local activities and this is a great opportunity for smaller companies as well; an interesting data shows how in 70% of the cases, research is turned into action, from direct contact with the company to visiting the site or pages on social networks.

Some brands have already known for some time the effectiveness of proximity: let’s take for example the marketing campaign carried out in the UK by L’Oreal to promote INOA, the new line of hair color. Clients could find the nearest salon through apps and GPS and once they were there, they could capture colorful bubbles with an augmented reality game and win a special pack that could be picked up in the salon. The redemption of this operation was 20% against 8% of the previous campaigns, made with traditional media.

mobile marketing - the effectiveness of proximity

# 4 How – the integrated path

Shopping experience is increasingly mobile and integrated between online and in-store. People use smartphones not only to make purchases on various e-commerce, but also in the store to look for more information about products, compare prices with the competitors, and visit websites and social pages of the brand. But it is also a multi-platform experience, where both PCs and mobile devices are used in the purchase path in 57% of the cases (source: ComScore).

People expect to find the brand on all channels, that’s why you must be present, visible and recognizable: from web page to social networks, contents must be optimized for each device and consistent with each other. To give a concrete example, promotional e-mails should also be re-proposed at the same time and in the same manner in the store, on Facebook and on the website. Multi-thinking is positive thinking.

What is the first step in a mobile marketing strategy?

Once you understand the importance of mobile marketing, the first step must be taken from the starting base: a perfectly functioning mobile site is a decisive element for the success of future mobile marketing activities. Building one is now within everyone’s reach, even non-programmers or those with limited budget because there are platforms on the web that enable the creation of mobile sites and apps without special technical skills. Having a mobile site is not just a technical matter, but also a strategic one: clients or potential clients with little time could turn to the competitor if a site does not load properly within a few seconds. So it is crucial to have a mobile site that is fast, easily navigable and immediate in providing information.

And always dare and as much as possible, without fearing change or anything new: small and medium-sized companies are still waiting for the big ones to test these novelties, to ride the wave of innovation, thinking they would risk too much time and budget on them. But what they have not realized is the fact that the world has changed: trying new ideas and tools on mobile can be done with low investment and less design time, and in return customers are offered their presence in this platform as well. There are more opportunities than risks when it comes to mobile marketing and this time the starting line is the same for everyone: who will get there first?

mobile marketing - who will get there first

By Silvio Porcellana, CEO and Founder of mob.is.it

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The Best Social Media Tools For 2015 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/social-networking/the-best-social-media-tools-for-2015/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/social-networking/the-best-social-media-tools-for-2015/#comments Thu, 29 Oct 2015 20:05:19 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21073 Choosing which social media tools to use can often be as hard a decision as deciding what to post on social media sometimes. There is an abundance of tools out there with often at first glance similar functions and abilities so deciding which one is best for your needs can […]

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Post image for The Best Social Media Tools For 2015

Choosing which social media tools to use can often be as hard a decision as deciding what to post on social media sometimes. There is an abundance of tools out there with often at first glance similar functions and abilities so deciding which one is best for your needs can be a challenge to say the least.

The infographic below created by Ian Anderson Gray and G2 Crowd details the four best social media management tools in their opinion based on; user satisfaction, product direction, how easy it is to learn, user experience, and the level of support amongst other things.

When it comes to choosing tools to manage your social media you need to decide which factors are most important to you when it comes to managing your social media marketing. Whatever your influences are the infographic makes for interesting reading and may cause you to rethink which tool is best for your social media management marketing.

We’d love to know which is your favourite tool so please do leave a comment and let us know why!

 

Best social media management tools
37d197e44f14eb62e6bdc08e90dbde1b37951c5fe048751241

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5 Ways Ecommerce is Getting Easier http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/internet-marketing/5-ways-ecommerce-is-getting-easier/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/internet-marketing/5-ways-ecommerce-is-getting-easier/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 16:20:41 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21068 Ecommerce has simplified the world for many of us, easing the consumer shopping experience by leaps and bounds. Thanks to ecommerce, a vast variety of goods and services are readily available with the touch of a button. For consumers, it’s easier to research competitors and hunt for the best prices. […]

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ecommerceEcommerce has simplified the world for many of us, easing the consumer shopping experience by leaps and bounds. Thanks to ecommerce, a vast variety of goods and services are readily available with the touch of a button. For consumers, it’s easier to research competitors and hunt for the best prices. But the pendulum swings the other way as well and advances in ecommerce are also helping store owners. Recent web and tech developments mean that ecommerce is getting easier from both sides of the shopping cart.

Want to make your own online store? You can do it in an afternoon with a website builder like Wix. Let’s take a look at some of the other tools making the world of ecommerce easier and more accessible to small businesses around the globe.

Smartphone Camera Tools

The smartphone camera revolutionized the ease with which merchants can get product images online. Unfortunately, until recently, the quality of smartphone pics just wasn’t good enough to look professional, even though the advent of small online shops created a large demand for an easy (and cheap) way to publish high quality photos online.

Everyone knows that better product images improves sales. The proliferation of high quality phone cameras, coupled with great smartphone gadgets, has changed the game forever. Gone are the days when business owners would need to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of their products. With the right smartphone lenses, even your iPhone can take good enough photos to compete with DSLRs.

For those new to the scene, it’s easy to find good tutorials online about how to take stunning professional-looking images of your products using your phone or a basic point and shoot camera. It’s great to realize that, other than the cost of your phone, excellent product photos can be created for free.

Mass Email Clients

MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, Simply Cast… all of these mass email clients have made a significant impact on ecommerce. Suddenly, even small shops can mass-email their client base to advertise deals, sales, new products and other developments. And since return clients are the bread and butter of most ecommerce stores, this will move the needle. Luckily great website builders like Wix and Squarespace are jumping on this bandwagon and offering tremendclient contact and mass email solutions; so much so, in fact, that even larger retailers are taking note.

Never before has it been so easy to advertise directly to past clients; this fact alone can send sales figures soaring, particularly during peak seasons.

Social Tools

Social tools have made dozens of aspects of ecommerce easier. Want to ask your clients their opinion on your goods? Use social commenting (like Loopit)! Want to broaden a product exposure with the click of a button? Add social sharing tools! Great products often get lots of shares, which can go a long way in attracting more business.

Payment Systems

Setting up and managing payment systems used to be one of the hardest parts of running or patronizing an ecommerce website. But these days, webmasters can add credit card processing with a few clicks. There are many services to choose from, including Leap Payments, PayPal, PaySimple and Flint…Some major banks now have their own plugins to allow for easy online payments. Though all charge a small fee, those fees have been reduced as the payment systems become easier to use.

Web-Based Graphic Programs

Web-based programs like Canva and Imgur, are good replacements for the cost of paying a full time graphic designer. With enough options to make them easy to use and comprehensive, they serve as replacements for professional programs like Photoshop. In fact, you can make pretty much anything for free these days using a web-based graphic programs, including images for ecommerce and social media platforms, modifications of product images, coupons, book covers, presentations, and many elements of web design. You name it, you can make it fast and you can make it free.

For tips to leverage such programs in the best possible way without any added expense, work with high resolution public domain images such as those found in wikipedia’s image database as the base for your graphics.

The Bottom Line

These are only five of the ways that ecommerce is getting easier… even for small businesses. No doubt you can come up with more! And given how fast the landscape is changing, clearly there will be plenty more improvements and developments throughout 2015.

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Determining The Right Advertising Budget http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/internet-marketing/the-right-advertising-budget/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/internet-marketing/the-right-advertising-budget/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 17:37:50 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21061 Newcomers to online marketing are almost spoiled for choice. A dizzying number of potential advertising channels open up the moment you decide to start building a web presence. The good news: all those options grant flexibility and allow you to test multiple platforms. The bad news: it’s also possible to […]

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advertising budgetNewcomers to online marketing are almost spoiled for choice. A dizzying number of potential advertising channels open up the moment you decide to start building a web presence. The good news: all those options grant flexibility and allow you to test multiple platforms. The bad news: it’s also possible to wind up hemorrhaging money with little to show for it if you invest too much in ill-fitting media.

Determining your ad budget is a crucial first step to any successful campaign. Many businesses allot funds early on, then try to distribute them later. I’m not going to call this a poor first step, but it’s a risky one to take without some idea of cost. Different channels come with different price tags, and it’s vital to have some understanding of what they are.

Social Media

  • What it is: Utilizing social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.) to build a brand presence and attract customers.
  • What it costs: A social media campaign can cost as little or as much as you’d like it to. It’s certainly possible to set up free accounts with a few different services, then act as manager yourself, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To actually figure out how much you’ll be paying, carefully lay out what platforms you’ll be utilizing, if you’ll be paying someone to post content, and if you’ll need to budget for any related expenses, e.g. setting aside stock as a prize for a Twitter contest.
  • Who can benefit: Anyone. Given how relatively budget-friendly social media is, it’s basically assumed that even the smallest startup will have at least a few active feeds. Choosing which channels to use is up to you. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are all givens, but more visual brands might want to head for Instagram and Pinterest. Google+ hangouts and up-and-comers like Meerkat or Periscope are awesome if you’d like to speak directly to viewers.
  • Case Study: A major Twitter offensive helped San Francisco’s Creme Brulee Cart pile up an impressive 12,000 followers in just one year. Tweeting location and special flavors allowed the food cart owners to quickly engage with followers, both encouraging them to have crème brulee on the brain, and telling them where to find it. The kicker? Not a cent was spent on advertising.

PPC Advertising

  • What it is: The go-to option for budget online marketing. The reason? Click-through rates have plunged for many ad styles; Pay-per-click addresses that problem by requiring companies to pay for only, well, actual clicks. Largely synonymous with big players like Facebook and Google advertising for most.
  • What it costs: Again, it’s variable, but keep this in mind: an expensive PPC campaign is, by definition, a successful one. Budgets can run from as little as $10/month to six-digit figures.
  • Who can benefit: Companies with a highly searchable product might want to consider using buying a particular keyword. For example, let’s say you exist in a niche market, and don’t have too many large competitors, but your content still has trouble ranking on Google. A well-chosen bid could provide solid ROI. Just about any company can take advantage of on-site PPC advertising, which can quickly scale in terms of time and capital investment. Thankfully, pricing them beforehand is possible. PPC engines generally allow you to set stringent price limits before launching your ad.
  • Case Study: Continental Van Lines, a Washington-based moving company, carefully targeted local search keywords for Washington and Alaskan markets. Integrating with Google Places allowed the use of location extensions (very useful, if you’re dealing with a geographically limited market). The result? A three-to-one return on ad budget.

Placed Advertising

  • What it is: Placed ads are generally run through networks responsible for placing advertising on several different sites. Their actual appearance ranges from simple banner ads to full-background takeovers and video or rich media options.
  • What it costs: You can generally expect to pay several hundred per month for a static banner ad. Start looking at more exotic options, and cost scales accordingly. Each site or network’s costs will vary, so take quotes from potential partners before you set your budget.
  • Who can benefit: Companies serving established, well-defined audiences stand to gain the most from placed ads. Products or services that target a very specific demographic can, if placed on the right site, directly reach likely customers. More ambitious campaigns – like, say, Honda’s “Hondastage” concert tour – also do their best when run prominently with specific partners.

Bottom Line

As you may have noticed while reading through, the most common characteristic of online marketing channels is that they have incredibly variable pricing, even within a given medium. The only way to truly set a reliable advertising budget is to get straight to the source.

Don’t get me wrong, there are basic rules to follow. The above sources are ranked in rough order of ascending cost – by and large, that holds true. But the flexibility within each category means that you’ll actually need to set definite costs for social contests, request quotes from advertising networks, and go through a dry run before you ever send content out over a PPC distributor.

I mentioned this earlier: many advertisers start with a set amount of money, then carve up their campaigns to fit. It’s a functional approach, but Procrustean. Instead, if possible, start with the channels. Lay out several potential campaigns, fully explore their costs, and then – only then – should you start to shape your final budget. You’ll wind up with a more accurate estimate, and a more complete plan of attack.

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Create Compelling and Fun Animation and Infographics With GoAnimate http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/internet-marketing/goanimate-review/ http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/internet-marketing/goanimate-review/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:49:08 +0000 http://www.opportunitiesplanet.com/?p=21013 Remember when you were a kid and you tried to draw your favorite superhero or cartoon character? You took out a pad and turned to a fresh, blank page and began doodling. After a while, you had a drawing of a strange superhero with a head way too big for […]

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Remember when you were a kid and you tried to draw your favorite superhero or cartoon character? You took out a pad and turned to a fresh, blank page and began doodling. After a while, you had a drawing of a strange superhero with a head way too big for his body and one arm twice the size of the other one.

I thought about those days when I learned about GoAnimate, a web-based service that lets users make animated videos without being able to draw. I still can’t draw after all these years, so I reached out to the company and they gave me a free account to give it a test drive.

goanimate review

A little skeptical, I logged on the site. I thought it would be more “cartoony.” Instead, they have a very professional-looking site with modern javascript-based scrolling content.

The first question on my mind was, “How is it possible to make animated cartoons without drawing them.” The way it works is you drag and drop stock, pre-drawn characters on different scenes like an office or a home. The characters “speak” with audio files you’ve recorded and uploaded, recorded directly in the program with a mic, or with the built-in Text-to-Speech technology.

I decided to make a real short video to see how the Text-to-Speech sounded. I dragged a nerdy-looking guy on to an office scene, typed in the phrase, “Hello, everyone! Is it Friday yet?” and selected one of the male voices. You can choose from different accents from around the world.

The first voice I chose didn’t sound so good. It sounded a little like those audio menus you hear when you call your bank. But the second character voice I selected, named “Brian,” actually sounded fairly natural.

Here is one of their promo videos to see how it works:

Scenes and characters are grouped into different themes. There is a wide variety of themes, from anime to business. Here are some examples of scenes and characters you find in the “Comedy World” theme. Other themes include “Lil’ Peepz,” Chibi Ninjas,” and “Space Citizens.”

Scene Examples in the
“Comedy World” Theme

Character Examples in the
“Comedy World” Theme

 goanimate review 2  goanimate review 3

One interesting feature is if you don’t have time to choose scenes and characters, you can go with pre-produced templates that have scenes, music, sound effects and various characters ready to go.

For example, one template takes place in the kitchen of an office complex. One character walks in, chats with another one, and walks out. I tried it by choosing the template, called “Chilling Out in the Office.”

goanimate review 4

Next I chose these two characters.

goanimate review 5

I typed in the “speech text” directly.

goanimate review 6

Finally, I previewed the video to make sure everything looked good. I saved it and it appeared in my video list on my account.

goanimate review 7

As easy as it was to make this short little video, I think it will take some practice to learn how to create a really good one, even with the speedy templates.

So, what can I do with my video? The usage rights depend on the plan you choose. Here is a look at the plans available:

Free Plan

The Free plan limits you to 10 lines of dialog. That’s about one minute of video or less, depending on the text. You are allowed to view the video on GoAnimate and link to it from your social media sites, but you cannot upload it to YouTube nor download it to your hard drive.

Personal Plans

Go Plus. For $18 per quarter, or yearly at $58 you can download videos at 360p, export directly to YouTube, produce unlimited videos, and import your own audio and images. Each video is watermarked with the GoAnimate logo.

Go Publish. This plans costs $99 per quarter, or $299 for one year. Now you can download videos at 720p, which is a fast becoming a minimum standard for web video. You export directly to YouTube and several other sites, produce unlimited videos and import your own audio and images. In addition, you can access all themes on the site, and organize your videos to be more efficient. This plan is also watermarked with the GoAnimate logo.

Business Plans

GoPublish. This plan costs $39/ month or $299/year. There can only be one person on the account. You can download in 360p or 720p, gain access to the complete Features and Libraries available and download unlimited videos. This plan does not allow you to remove the GoAnimate watermark.

GoPremium. Prices for this plan are $79/month or $599/year. This is for real power users that want the best resolution- you can download at Full HD of 1080p, giving you maximum production quality. Even better, there is no GoAnimate watermark on your videos, providing a more professional look.

GoTeam. Geared toward departments or agencies that need collaboration capability, the investment for GoTeam is $250/month or $2000/year for 3 users. More users can be added for additional fees. This plan offers group management features and full project collaboration functions. It is really geared toward animation agencies, visual content producers and other “high end” users.

When GoAnimate started in 2007, the core user group was animation fans and kids. As the site evolved, it added business themes, settings and characters to appeal to people wanting to promote products and services. They recently added two more features geared to the business crowd: Video Infographics and Whiteboard Animation.

Infographics

The Web is rapidly becoming an image and graphic-based medium. GoAnimate now allows you to create videos that include motion infographics, Here is an example:

Whiteboard Animation

Whiteboard animation has been all over the Internet in the last two years, although I think it was overdone. These are videos that rapidly draw cartoons, characters, graphs, text and more on a whiteboard background. Here is an idea of what it looks like:

In the end, I liked what you can do with GoAnimate. Real hand-drawn, custom animation is super expensive. Here we can make decent-looking videos at a much lower price. Plus, we don’t have to have any artistic talent. So it really worth a shot, try it and write your experiences in the comments below!

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