How to Get Quick Publicity for your Small Business on Social Media

Small business work on small budgets. They don’t enjoy outside support that large businesses take for granted, be it investor funding, experts opinions, substantial marketing budgets, among many others.

Marketing profession trends in Canada

They have to cut their coat according to the cloth. Simply put, they have to work within their means. So, most of the time, they tend to ignore social media thinking that customers know where to find them. So, why invest time on social media?

But the fact is: Social media is no more an option for businesses these days. Be it big or small businesses, you need to have your presence on social media.…

The post How to Get Quick Publicity for your Small Business on Social Media appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.



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60% of Customers Prefer to Call Small Businesses on the Phone

Customer Contact Statistics

The relationship consumers have with local small business owners is much more personal. And this relationship extends to the way they communicate. According to the latest report from BrightLocal, 60% of customers prefer to call small businesses on the phone.

The report, titled, “Local Business Websites and Google My Business Comparison Report” was part of a national consumer survey. The goal of the survey was to find out how Google My Business (GMB) listings, local business websites, and business directories are used to find information about local businesses.

Additionally, BrightLocal was looking to determine which sources of information consumers trust most.

For small business owners, these are insightful revelations. Knowing how customers like communicating and which source they trust most can provide the best experience for their customers.

The author of the report, Rosie Murphy pointed out the different sources consumers use to find information. Murphy added, “With many consumers now looking beyond websites, it’s critical that local businesses have their contact details correct and consistent across the web.”

Without the correct contact details, your customers can’t call you or find further information about your business.

Customer Contact Statistics

BrightLocal asked 500 U.S. consumers in this survey. One of the questions was, how do you prefer to contact the business?

More than half or 60% said they call the business over the phone followed by email with 16%, and 15% of people who visit the actual location of the business.

Customer Contact Statistics

When the respondents were asked about their best single option, the phone was the preferred choice. With that in mind, making sure all of your phone lines are in working order is important.

According to Murphy, you have to make sure numbers are the same across all your touch points. This includes a website, social media, directories, and any local sources (digital or physical).

Having the right number is the first step. Next, you have to ensure the phones are staffed, so anytime a customer calls during business hours there is someone there to answer. If you can afford an answering service after hours, this is a good way to improve your customer service.

Murphy also recommends installing digital solutions to introduce more efficiency. Using tracking tools to know where your calls are coming from and Google’s CallJoy are two of many options.

More Survey Results

Just as important as the contact information is having accurate information across the board. Fifty-six percent of the respondents said they expect the business website to have the most accurate and up-to-date contact information. Google My Business was next at 32%, followed by an online business directory with 12%.

Consumers are less likely to use a business if contact information is out of date (50%), the information is poorly written (39%), and pricing information is also wrong.

Not having prices, images, reviews, map, or if the website is not optimized for mobile will discourage consumers to do business.

Customer Contact Statistics

When it comes to finding a business, GMB was the preferred source. Close to two thirds or 62% said they use GMB to find a local business phone number and address. The business website (49%), an online business directory (23%) and others (13%) also served the same purpose.

Two Key Takeaways

The first takeaway is to make sure all of your contact information is as accurate as possible, at all times. Get into the habit of checking the information on a regular basis. After all, there are a large number of consumers (up to 50% in some cases) who will go elsewhere.

The second takeaway from the BrightLocal report is to be on as many touch points as possible. Granted the business website and Google My Business work well, but people use other sources. In this survey, 36% said online business directory and other sources.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "60% of Customers Prefer to Call Small Businesses on the Phone" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

60% of Customers Prefer to Call Small Businesses on the Phone

Customer Contact Statistics

The relationship consumers have with local small business owners is much more personal. And this relationship extends to the way they communicate. According to the latest report from BrightLocal, 60% of customers prefer to call small businesses on the phone.

The report, titled, “Local Business Websites and Google My Business Comparison Report” was part of a national consumer survey. The goal of the survey was to find out how Google My Business (GMB) listings, local business websites, and business directories are used to find information about local businesses.

Additionally, BrightLocal was looking to determine which sources of information consumers trust most.

For small business owners, these are insightful revelations. Knowing how customers like communicating and which source they trust most can provide the best experience for their customers.

The author of the report, Rosie Murphy pointed out the different sources consumers use to find information. Murphy added, “With many consumers now looking beyond websites, it’s critical that local businesses have their contact details correct and consistent across the web.”

Without the correct contact details, your customers can’t call you or find further information about your business.

Customer Contact Statistics

BrightLocal asked 500 U.S. consumers in this survey. One of the questions was, how do you prefer to contact the business?

More than half or 60% said they call the business over the phone followed by email with 16%, and 15% of people who visit the actual location of the business.

Customer Contact Statistics

When the respondents were asked about their best single option, the phone was the preferred choice. With that in mind, making sure all of your phone lines are in working order is important.

According to Murphy, you have to make sure numbers are the same across all your touch points. This includes a website, social media, directories, and any local sources (digital or physical).

Having the right number is the first step. Next, you have to ensure the phones are staffed, so anytime a customer calls during business hours there is someone there to answer. If you can afford an answering service after hours, this is a good way to improve your customer service.

Murphy also recommends installing digital solutions to introduce more efficiency. Using tracking tools to know where your calls are coming from and Google’s CallJoy are two of many options.

More Survey Results

Just as important as the contact information is having accurate information across the board. Fifty-six percent of the respondents said they expect the business website to have the most accurate and up-to-date contact information. Google My Business was next at 32%, followed by an online business directory with 12%.

Consumers are less likely to use a business if contact information is out of date (50%), the information is poorly written (39%), and pricing information is also wrong.

Not having prices, images, reviews, map, or if the website is not optimized for mobile will discourage consumers to do business.

Customer Contact Statistics

When it comes to finding a business, GMB was the preferred source. Close to two thirds or 62% said they use GMB to find a local business phone number and address. The business website (49%), an online business directory (23%) and others (13%) also served the same purpose.

Two Key Takeaways

The first takeaway is to make sure all of your contact information is as accurate as possible, at all times. Get into the habit of checking the information on a regular basis. After all, there are a large number of consumers (up to 50% in some cases) who will go elsewhere.

The second takeaway from the BrightLocal report is to be on as many touch points as possible. Granted the business website and Google My Business work well, but people use other sources. In this survey, 36% said online business directory and other sources.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "60% of Customers Prefer to Call Small Businesses on the Phone" was first published on Small Business Trends



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The Bar has Definitely Been Lowered for Rewarding Employee Initiative

This article, "The Bar has Definitely Been Lowered for Rewarding Employee Initiative" was first published on Small Business Trends



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The Bar has Definitely Been Lowered for Rewarding Employee Initiative

This article, "The Bar has Definitely Been Lowered for Rewarding Employee Initiative" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How to Upload Documents and Presentations on LinkedIn

Does this content marketing formula sound (very) familiar?

  • Create content
  • Publish content on my company's website or blog
  • Post the link on all my social channels
  • Cross fingers and hope my audience bites

This is a foundational play in most marketing playbooks -- and sometimes, it works. But waiting and hoping to see if your audience can be convinced to click a link back to your website isn't the only option marketers have anymore.

In April 2019, LinkedIn announced that users can now upload documents and presentations to the platform. Instead of having to convince users to take an extra step back to your website, you can now meet them where they're already spending a lot time -- their LinkedIn feeds.

Have a deck from a recent talk you gave? Or maybe an ebook your company wants to distribute to a relevant audience? This new feature enables you to post content assets directly to your feed for your followers to view without needing to download a file or visit a new location.

To give you a better idea of how this feature looks in action, here's a recent presentation the HubSpot team shared on LinkedIn: 

 

Uploading documents and presentations is a smart way to connect with your followers on a deeper level and encourage more meaningful engagement. In fact, investing in more visual and multimedia content on LinkedIn just might help you reach a broader audience outside of your direct network.

To get started using the new feature, you can follow the steps below.

1. First, navigate to your LinkedIn feed, or the LinkedIn group where you want to share your document or presentation. At the top of the feed, you will see the "Start a Post" box with three content type options. Click on the document icon, highlighted here:

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 1.46.29 PM

2. Once you click on the document icon, you'll be prompted to select a file from your computer to upload. LinkedIn accepts .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .doc, and .docx file types.

3. You'll be able to add a title, caption, and include relevant hashtags and user mentions in the description box before finalizing your file upload. You can also control who sees your file if you want to limit access to your connections only.

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 1.53.37 PM4. When you're ready to go, click "Post" and the file will be shared on your feed with the audience you specified, or with members of the LinkedIn group you selected in the first step.

And that's it! You can start sharing decks, presentations, ebooks, case studies, and more multimedia content assets directly on LinkedIn.



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How To Leverage The Rise of "Near Me" Searches

Nowadays, voice-enabled devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home are becoming increasingly commonplace. Additionally, mobile searches for local services continue to rise, and by 2021, mobile devices are expected to influence $1.4 trillion in local sales.

All of which is to say -- people searching online for local services is now more prevalent than ever before.

If you haven't optimized your business for "near me" and voice-activated local searches, it's time you consider doing so. Here, we'll explore the importance of local SEO, how you can rank both on desktop and mobile for "near me" related searches, and how to optimize for voice search, as well.

The Rise of "Near Me" Searches

In the past two years, "Near me" searches have witnessed exponential growth, as highlighted in the stats below:

  • There has been 150% growth for phrases like "near me now". For example "Pizza near me now".
  • There has been a 900% growth for phrases like "near me tonight/today". For example "clubs near me tonight".
  • There has been 200% growth for phrases like "now" + "near me". For example "stores open near me now".

Image Source

Additionally, from 2013 to 2017 there was a 900% increase in "near me" searches:

Image Source

Most users now have location or GPS enabled on their mobile devices -- and since most apps require this to be enabled, even users who previously had this turned off for privacy reasons now leave them on. This allows Google to automatically detect their current location and present the most relevant and localized search results to the user.

"Near me" searches are critical for marketers, since it allows you to reach your intended customers during micro-moments when they most desire your service or product.

Image Source

As pointed out by Lisa Gevelber, Global VP Marketing, Google, "'Near me' searches are used to find a specific thing, in a specific area and in a specified period of time."

The rise of "near me" search queries with purchase intent are rising considerably. In fact, there has been a 500% growth in "near me" mobile searches that contain a variant of "can I buy" or "to buy" over the last two years.

Adding "near me" searches at the end of a search query demonstrates the user's eagerness to take immediate action on the search results. More than likely, the user intends on visiting a place to purchase a product immediately, or within the foreseeable future.

Now that we've explored the popularity of local search, let's dive into the top categories that correspond the most with "near me" searches.

Top 'Near Me' Query Categories

A survey conducted by Uberall tracked the responses of 1,000 smartphone owners and found around 82% of smartphone users had conducted a "near me" search between July 23 and July 27, 2018.

The hierarchy of the categories are given below:

  • Food: 84%
  • Entertainment: 56%
  • Banking: 50%
  • Apparel: 41%
  • Persona care: 38%

From the survey, it's clear the maximum "near me" searches are conducted for food businesses, followed by entertainment and banking. However, apparel and banking businesses aren't too far behind. The results clearly show the intent of the searcher. If you're a business owner, then optimizing for "near me" searches is absolutely essential for the success of your business.

How Do You Optimize For "Near Me" Searches?

Optimizing your business for "Near me" searches is extremely crucial to increase your business presence in local search.

Here are some ways through which you can optimize your business for “near me” searches:

1. List your business on Google My Business and optimize it.

In order to get your business to the top of "near me" searches, you need to rank your business on local business results' pages, as shown in the screenshot below:

Image Source

Maggiano's Little Italy is ranking on top of the local search results when searched with the query "Italian restaurants near me" -- but how?

In order to list your business in the local search results, you need to open a business account on Google My Business. Simply click "Start now" and follow the instructions provided to add your business on Google local.

It's equally important to follow the instructions below to properly optimize your business listing in the Google local search results:

  • Enter your complete business name and business address.
  • Add the complete direction to reach your business address using Google Maps. Follow this guide to edit your business details in Google.
  • Add your business hours and contact details like phone number and website.
  • Include your business in the correct category and be as specific as possible.
  • Add photos of your favorite services.
  • Ask people to leave reviews on your business page. More than 145 million people visit Yelp each month just to read the reviews left by other users. Reviews are a great way to filter the best businesses from the average ones, and Google always prefers to list the best businesses on top. Hence, if you wish to move your business to the top of the local search results then you need to acquire a ton of positive reviews for your business.
  • Make sure the NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) remains consistent on each of your business profiles scattered around the web, including social media sites like Facebook.
  • Ensure your business information remains accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date.

Lastly, you'll want to add attributes like amenities your business offers, such as WiFi. For instance, have a look at the below screenshot that highlights the different amenities offered by the Marriott's Grande Ocean Hotel to its guests:

2. Use proper schema markup.

Schema markup is a great way to help your business stand out from competitors in the local search results. Schema data helps search engines acquire more information related to your business and present them in the form of rich snippets, which are immensely helpful for the user.

Have a look at the below screenshot, where proper holiday hours have been added in the business listing to avoid any confusion to the visitor. This information is added with the help of a schema markup:

Image Source

Add schema markup to every location page that your business serves. The schema data should have the business address, hours of operation, and contact information.

Additionally, add the homepage schema markup to allow your business to show up in the Knowledge Graph and help ensure business information accuracy. An example of an organizational schema markup can be seen in the screenshot below:

Image Source

Use this sheet to add local schema markup on your website. Remember to include only the information in the schema markup that you have displayed in the webpage.

3. Acquire backlinks having geographic anchor text.

Backlinks work well to improve your business rankings on Google local. In order to increase your business rankings for "near me" searches, you need to acquire high authority/relevant backlinks with geographically-rich anchor text.

For example, if you want to rank for "near me" searches for the location "Los Angeles" and for the category "bakery", then you need to use location rich variants of anchor text like "best bakery in Los Angeles", "bakery in Los Angeles", "Los Angeles bakery 3rd street", "LA bakery 3rd street", "cakes in 3rd street LA", "fresh cakes LA", etc.

4. Create pages targeting every location of your business, and optimize them.

If your business serves several locations then you need to create different pages for different locations. For example, if your bakery business serves five different U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Boston, and Austin, then you need to create five different web pages serving each of these different cities.

Additionally, you need to optimize those web pages for "near me" searches by using the following tactics:

  • Keep user-friendly URL structure for easier readability. For example, if you're advertising a bakery in Los Angeles, then name your page "www.mysite.com/LA-bakery''.
  • Optimize the title and meta tags for your target keyword.
  • Add proper alt tags and title tags to the images used in the web page. It's better if you provide an image of your bakery and use your location keywords in the alt and title tags of the image.
  • Add a suitable description to your bakery and include store hours, your menu, store directions, and other amenities offered.
  • Include a video of your store and add a video transcription to it. This way, you'll be able to increase the relevancy of your web page with respect to the specific location your business is serving.

Lastly, use internal linking wisely. You can link to different location-specific pages in the footer of your site with the anchor text "near me" in them.

For instance, have a look at the below footer from TripAdvisor, which links to location-specific pages and also uses the words "near me" in the anchor:

Image Source

5. Make your site mobile-friendly.

Google prefers to return those sites in the search results that offer the best experience to the user. Making your site mobile-friendly and improving your overall site speed are some of the best ways to improve your site experience for users and rank higher for "near me" searches. Here are some of the best ways to make your site mobile-friendly:

  • Make your site responsive so that the same content and experience is delivered to all the visitors regardless of the device they're using to visit your website.
  • Improve your site speed and create AMP pages.
  • Enable compression on your site by using Gzip.
  • Use the search bar on your site to make it easier for people to look for information.
  • Minify CSS, JavaScript and HTML.
  • Reduce the number of redirects and remove render blocking JavaScript.
  • Avoid using Flash as it degrades the user experience.
  • Turn on auto-correct for forms and the search bar.
  • Keep the button sizes large so that it becomes easier for the user to click on it.
  • Leverage browser caching to improve your website loading time.
  • Use the power of a CDN to distribute load so that your site loads even faster.

6. Create a blog and acquire local links.

Creating and maintaining a blog is one of the best ways to acquire local links. A blog lets you share articles on a regular basis, which allows users to remain updated about your business services when they subscribe to it.

A blog is a good way to earn local links -- and, additionally, it can persuade users to buy your products when they are in the "I want to know" phase of the customer journey.

You can conduct interviews with local influencers related to your niche and publish them on your blog. The influencers might link to your blog in return, which will help you acquire relevant links.

Additionally, you can conduct local surveys and publish the report regularly on your blog. This is an excellent way to earn authority back link.

If you have an informative list of queries where people are looking to find answers to their questions, then you can create blog posts that specifically answer the exact query of the users.

"Near me" Searches in the Era of Smart Devices like Alexa and Google Home

The sale of smart devices are rising considerably -- according to the National Public Media, there are around 43 million smart speaker users in the U.S. alone.

It's no surprise that people love to ask questions to smart devices, and a ton of those questions contain the "near me" phrase. Some example queries are:

  • "Alexa, what movies are playing near me?"
  • "Alexa, what bourbon events are near me?"
  • "What’s a good sushi place near me?"
  • "Alexa, what restaurants are near me?"
  • "Okay Google, find a tire store near me"
  • "Okay Google, find a hiking trail near me"
  • "Okay Google, is Pizza hut near me open now?"
  • "Where are ATMs near me?"

You need to prepare a list of queries that people might ask smart devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. After that, you need to optimize your Google My Business profile by using the above six strategies so that it starts to rank on the top search results for your selected voice-related queries.

Business owners who get in early to the game of optimizing their website for "near me" searches, and for voice search, will be able to defeat their competitors in the near future. Both Amazon Echo and Google Home have begun showing users the convenience of using voice commands, so business owners need to find a way to get their business recommended by these smart devices.

If you haven't started optimizing your business for voice search and "near me" searches, then the time is just ripe to start doing so. Remember, the businesses who think ahead of their competitors and take efforts to keep their customers happy are able to generate maximum profits. Make use of the strategies discussed in this article to optimize your business for "near me" searches and satisfy your customers, both now and into the future.



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How to be Happy with Invoicing Mistakes – Not! Here’s How to Avoid Them Instead

How Much Are You Losing Through Invoicing Mistakes?

Our goal as business owners is to do work and get paid for our time. Invoicing for the work we do is how we get paid. If we don’t invoice properly, money can come late or not in the form of payment that we want which can be a huge hassle. There are a few invoicing mistakes you can avoid to improve the likelihood that you get paid on time and in the right way.

Invoicing Mistakes to Avoid

Not Having Payment Terms

Payment terms are the conditions of payment that you set for your business. Payment terms tell the client or customer when you expect to get paid. Terms are often written out as Net 7, 10, 30 days. This means that clients have 7, 10, or 30 days to make payment.

Small business owners should consider shortening the payment term to manage cash flow better. If you have a payment term that’s 30 to 45 days, you may find yourself strapped for cash because clients have such a long window to pay you. Making payments due upon receipt or within 7 to 10 days can make it easier for you to pay yourself and manage business expenses.

Not Specifying Payment Methods

If you want to get paid in a specific way, you need to make that clear to your customers. Do you not accept paper checks? Do you prefer online payments? Be clear with your expectations. Explain to your customers how you want the payment to be made.

If it’s online, Due offers a low-cost and secure way to process your payments. You can run through the payment process with clients to make sure they understand how it works. The benefit of online payments is you don’t have to organize many paper checks which can be a nuisance.

Not Sending Invoices in a Timely Manner

To get paid on time, you need to send invoices on time. If managing the books and your business is difficult, consider hiring a bookkeeper or ask your assistant to send out invoices. Mark a day in your calendar, possibly once a week, where you look at your invoices and make sure that you’ve sent out all of the right ones.

Not Following Up on your Invoices

Sometimes clients simply forget to pay an invoice. Maybe they rely on reminders from you a few days before the invoice is due. Send out reminders when necessary and follow up. You’re not bothering people when you’re asking for money that’s due to you.

Be friendly when you ask for payment. There could be a misunderstanding or reason they haven’t paid yet. Let them know you haven’t forgotten by following up to find a resolution to whatever the issue may be.

Not following up with your invoices means less money is going into your pocket. You don’t want to find yourself at a point where your cash flow is hurting because you have a stack of unpaid invoices from clients who are accustomed to paying whenever they feel like it.

Final Word

Invoicing and receiving payment is a key part of a business that you need to have under control even if you’re busy. Set up payment terms, be clear with how you accept payment and follow up on all invoices to make sure you get the money you deserve.

Image: Due.com

This article, "How to be Happy with Invoicing Mistakes – Not! Here’s How to Avoid Them Instead" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

How to be Happy with Invoicing Mistakes – Not! Here’s How to Avoid Them Instead

How Much Are You Losing Through Invoicing Mistakes?

Our goal as business owners is to do work and get paid for our time. Invoicing for the work we do is how we get paid. If we don’t invoice properly, money can come late or not in the form of payment that we want which can be a huge hassle. There are a few invoicing mistakes you can avoid to improve the likelihood that you get paid on time and in the right way.

Invoicing Mistakes to Avoid

Not Having Payment Terms

Payment terms are the conditions of payment that you set for your business. Payment terms tell the client or customer when you expect to get paid. Terms are often written out as Net 7, 10, 30 days. This means that clients have 7, 10, or 30 days to make payment.

Small business owners should consider shortening the payment term to manage cash flow better. If you have a payment term that’s 30 to 45 days, you may find yourself strapped for cash because clients have such a long window to pay you. Making payments due upon receipt or within 7 to 10 days can make it easier for you to pay yourself and manage business expenses.

Not Specifying Payment Methods

If you want to get paid in a specific way, you need to make that clear to your customers. Do you not accept paper checks? Do you prefer online payments? Be clear with your expectations. Explain to your customers how you want the payment to be made.

If it’s online, Due offers a low-cost and secure way to process your payments. You can run through the payment process with clients to make sure they understand how it works. The benefit of online payments is you don’t have to organize many paper checks which can be a nuisance.

Not Sending Invoices in a Timely Manner

To get paid on time, you need to send invoices on time. If managing the books and your business is difficult, consider hiring a bookkeeper or ask your assistant to send out invoices. Mark a day in your calendar, possibly once a week, where you look at your invoices and make sure that you’ve sent out all of the right ones.

Not Following Up on your Invoices

Sometimes clients simply forget to pay an invoice. Maybe they rely on reminders from you a few days before the invoice is due. Send out reminders when necessary and follow up. You’re not bothering people when you’re asking for money that’s due to you.

Be friendly when you ask for payment. There could be a misunderstanding or reason they haven’t paid yet. Let them know you haven’t forgotten by following up to find a resolution to whatever the issue may be.

Not following up with your invoices means less money is going into your pocket. You don’t want to find yourself at a point where your cash flow is hurting because you have a stack of unpaid invoices from clients who are accustomed to paying whenever they feel like it.

Final Word

Invoicing and receiving payment is a key part of a business that you need to have under control even if you’re busy. Set up payment terms, be clear with how you accept payment and follow up on all invoices to make sure you get the money you deserve.

Image: Due.com

This article, "How to be Happy with Invoicing Mistakes – Not! Here’s How to Avoid Them Instead" was first published on Small Business Trends



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What Your Google Tag Manager Container Should Contain - Whiteboard Friday

The joys and pains of investing in a mature business cycle

IN 14TH-CENTURY Germany a heretical cult grew up around the figure of Frederick II, a dead emperor. Its adherents believed that the apocalypse was close at hand. “In all countries a hard time sets in,” is how a prophecy from the period begins. “Rapine and arson go hand in hand,” it continues. “Everyone is at everyone else’s throat. Everyone harms everyone else in his person and his belongings. There is nobody but has cause to lament.”

This is not the sort of language used in investment-bank research notes and hedge-fund letters, or by pundits on CNBC and Bloomberg News, however troubled the outlook might seem for financial markets. Yet there is a parallel between today’s market chatter and the prophecies of medieval cults. The millenarians believed they were living in the end times or “last days”; and so, in a way, do today’s investors. Much of the talk is of “late-cycle” market conditions—the kind that prevail after a long expansion, when economic slack is largely used up and assets are richly priced.

The late-cycle mindset is a battleground for two impulses. On the one hand, it recognises that these are the good times. The economy is strong, jobs are plentiful, and factories and offices are humming with activity. Animal spirits are higher than they were in the earlier stages of the business cycle. So there is money to...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

How to tax sugary drinks

SUGAR TAXES are on a high. Around 40 countries and seven American cities have started to tax sugary drinks, mostly in the past few years. Supporters say such levies compensate for the costs imposed on health services by higher rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. They might also help short-termist buyers avoid the long-term consequences of sugary indulgences. Opponents counter that such levies are a fun-killer, souring people’s pleasure, and regressive, because poorer people spend a bigger share of their incomes on soft drinks.

Two working papers published on May 20th seek to help policymakers find the sweet spot. Hunt Allcott of New York University, Benjamin Lockwood of the University of Pennsylvania and Dmitry Taubinsky of the University of California, Berkeley, compute the “optimal” tax rate that maximises social well-being, taking into account differences in consumers’ income and behavioural biases.

Consumer data show that a soda tax does indeed have regressive effects. American households earning less than $10,000 a year buy twice as much sugary drink as those earning $100,000. Weighed against that, the gap between desired and actual consumption is wider for poorer people than it is for richer ones. The authors surveyed households to gauge their knowledge of sweet drinks’ nutritional content and how much...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

TransferWise becomes Europe’s most valuable fintech

THE TEA BUILDING, in London’s hip Shoreditch district, used to hold factories making biscuits and bacon. Now it is home to tech startups and media firms. Yet their ideas require space, too. In the outsized lifts, still operated by push buttons as big as traffic lights, a pair of movers have just finished a job. TransferWise, which rents Floor 6, is taking over another level, barely three years after moving in.

On May 22nd the cross-border payments firm, which was founded in 2011, said it had collected $292m in fresh capital. The fundraising round, led by Lead Edge Capital, Lone Pine Capital and Vitruvian Partners, venture-capital firms known for backing tech stars such as Uber, Snap and Spotify, valued it at $3.5bn—a doubling in 18 months. Now Europe’s most valuable private fintech firm, it plans to add 750 staff in the next 12 months to its existing 1,600.

TransferWise allows users to send money along 1,600 currency routes at 15% or less of the fee banks typically charge. Unburdened by old IT systems and focused on moving money, it has automated many of the steps required. It also aggregates transfers and nets them out against payments going the other way, which means it need borrow less currency offshore to meet customers’ requests. And it seeks to build direct relationships with multiple banks, even as those lenders...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

Zimbabwe struggles to keep its fledgling currency alive

MOST CURRENCIES have snappy names, like yen, won, kip or lek. Some have unfortunate ones: dong or colón. Few have names as cumbersome as Zimbabwe’s Real-Time Gross-Settlement Dollars, also known as RTGS-dollars or “zollars”. Hard to say, the new currency is also hard to price. Last week it lost about 20% of its value against the American dollar, according to Market Watch, which tracks the currency’s movements on the black market. This week it zagged, then zigged again (see chart). “You have to follow Zimbabwe hour by hour,” says an economist in Harare.

Zimbabwe’s previous homegrown currency was destroyed by the hyperinflation of 2007-08, forcing the country to adopt the American dollar (and other foreign currencies) instead. That worked well until 2015. But in the final years under Robert Mugabe, the longstanding dictator ousted in November 2017, the government could not muster enough genuine dollars to meet its spending ambitions. Instead it paid people with money of its own creation, transferred electronically into their dollar bank accounts. These “zollars”, it claimed, were identical to a dollar. But if depositors withdrew them from the bank they received not greenbacks, but “bond notes”: paper currency issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the country’s central bank.

Last October the new government, led by...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

Goldman wants to manage the assets of the middling rich

IF THE BEST way to get rich is by managing other people’s money, it helps if your clients control a lot of it. For private-equity firms and hedge funds, that means courting pension-fund managers, investment bankers and the like. For the top wealth managers, the money in question belongs to the super-rich, whom they advise on asset allocation, tax planning and even which artists should adorn their walls.

Now some are starting to tout for the custom of the merely well-heeled. On May 16th Goldman Sachs paid $750m in cash for United Capital Financial Advisors, a wealth-management firm based in California that manages $25bn-worth of assets for 22,000 clients. It was Goldman’s biggest acquisition in two decades.

It accelerates the firm’s shift of emphasis under David Solomon, who became its boss last year, away from volatile businesses such as trading towards more stable fee-based ones. It also broadens Goldman’s target market for wealth-management services. Until now, the bank’s individual customers were drawn almost entirely from the ranks of those with at least $25m in investable assets. United Capital serves those who have $1m-5m.

The non-filthy rich used to find it surprisingly hard to get customised help with managing their money. The fees they generated were not fat enough to satisfy full-service wealth advisers...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

Economies and stockmarkets do not always match up well

EVERYBODY KNOWS Monty Python’s “cheese shop” sketch—everybody who is over 50 and a comedy nerd, that is. The shopkeeper, played by Michael Palin, asks a customer, played by John Cleese, what cheese he would like. Do you have Red Leicester? Sold out. Caerphilly? On order. Cheddar? Not much call for it. Each increasingly testy request for a different cheese (43 of them) is cheerfully met with a “no”, “sorry” or feeble excuse. Pressed to back up his claim to the best cheese shop around, the shopkeeper replies: “Well, it’s so clean, sir!”

This leads us, as smoothly as a Python segue, to a frequent complaint about the main stock index for investors in emerging markets. The opportunity is as clear as a sign saying “Cheese Shop”. Most of the growth in the world’s GDP over the next five years will be in developing countries, says the IMF. You might like to buy a basket of stocks from a broad range of countries that taps into this growth. But the benchmark MSCI emerging-market index does not really offer that.

It is light on exposure to the fastest-growing bits of the world economy, notably in Africa. Instead it has a heavy tilt towards economies in the Asian supply chain to rich-world consumers. In short, it looks to some investors like a cheese shop that is so clean because it is uncontaminated by cheese. Yet the trouble lies...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

American importers of metals from Canada and Mexico gain relief from tariffs

TIMES HAVE been tough for Riverdale Mills Corporation, a company based in Northbridge, Massachusetts. In June last year the Trump administration imposed tariffs of 25% on steel imported from Canada, which accounted for half the firm’s supply. As its business involves transforming steel rods to supply 85% of North America’s lobster traps, and 31 miles (50km) of security fencing along America’s border, its costs soared. “We were very, very disappointed,” said James Knott, its chief executive.

Disappointment has given way to delight. On May 19th President Donald Trump declared that steel and aluminium from Mexico and Canada no longer posed a threat to America’s national security, and the next day the tariffs were no more. “This is just pure good news for Canadians,” said Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister.

It was also excellent news for American consumers of steel. Faced with a lack of steel of similar quality from American suppliers nearby, and the expense of shipping from those farther away, Mr Knott had stuck with his Canadian suppliers, which hit profits and forced him to trim his workforce. Although he kept prices steady for his core products, some customers decamped anyway, worried that price rises were coming.

The tariff cuts will relieve strain for metal importers immediately. But the effect on the...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

Should Germany borrow to invest?

OUTSIDE THE headquarters of the German Taxpayers’ Federation in Berlin, a display tracks the public debt in real time. Now displaying a total of just under €2trn ($2.2trn), it has been ticking down since early 2018. Germany’s public-debt ratio, expected to be 58% of GDP in 2019, is as much the envy of other rich countries as its engineering prowess. Thanks to rising labour-market participation, says Michael Hüther of the German Economic Institute, a think-tank, tax revenues per head reached their highest level ever, in real terms, in 2018.

Even so, Germany’s fiscal policy is becoming a subject of debate. Olaf Scholz, the finance minister, has warned that the “fat years” are over. Economic growth is projected to slow this year, reducing the tax take. If he is to meet Germany’s stringent fiscal rule, he must rein in public spending.

The Schuldenbremse (debt brake) was enshrined in the constitution in 2009, when the financial crisis was expected to swell public debt beyond 80% of GDP. It restricts the federal-government deficit to no more than 0.35% of GDP a year unless a downturn hits; any overshoot beyond that must be made up in better times. (The debt brake also affects states’ finances: from 2020, they will be forbidden to run structural deficits.) Some economists, though...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

As the trade war heats up, China looks to Japan’s past for lessons

HISTORY IS NEVER far from China’s mind in its trade dispute with America. A few months ago, when negotiations looked on track, staunch nationalists warned of echoes with the “unequal treaties” that foreign powers had forced upon China in the 19th century. In recent weeks the breakdown in talks has led state propagandists to draw comparisons with the Korean war of the 1950s, a bloody struggle between China and America. But the analogy that haunts Chinese economists does not involve China itself. They fear a replay of the Plaza accord of 1985, when Japan, under American pressure, tried to resolve trade tensions by pushing the yen higher. That calmed the tensions but, most Chinese economists think, at an intolerable price: stagnant Japanese growth for two-plus decades.

The parallels are imperfect. Dependent on America for security, Japan was constrained in its pushback. The Plaza accord also involved Britain, France and West Germany. Jeffrey Frankel of Harvard University has called it “a high-water mark of international policy co-ordination”, which is not President Donald Trump’s trademark. The substance was different, too. The five countries announced that they wanted the dollar to depreciate and intervened in currency markets to make it happen. Within a year the yen soared by nearly 50% against the dollar. By contrast, currencies...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

A Shakespearean guide to how firms tackle climate change

“ALL THE world’s a stage,” wrote William Shakespeare in his monologue, “The Seven Ages of Man”. Centuries later, that stage is on fire, to paraphrase Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate-change activist who delivered a raw message to titans of industry in Davos this year that their companies were helping stoke the blaze.

It is not just Ms Thunberg who is wagging the finger of blame. Central bankers, shareholders, customers and employees are urging firms to take bolder action to tackle climate change. In some boardrooms, the message is sinking in; to date 210 firms collectively worth more than $6trn, ranging from carmakers (like Renault) to confectioners (such as Mars), have committed to “science-based targets” to cut their carbon footprint in line with the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 2ºC or less relative to pre-industrial levels. Using data from CDP, which tracks firms’ climate disclosures, Schumpeter has developed (with stacks of poetic licence) a Shakespearean guide to climate action, from denial to reluctant engagement to bold ambition.

Start with the infant “mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms”. That, broadly speaking, is the fossil-fuel industry. For the past three decades it has kicked and screamed against efforts to halt global warming even as its products have added...



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Huawei has been cut off from American technology

AMERICA IS NO fan of Huawei. Its officials have spent months warning that the Chinese giant’s smartphones and networking gear could be Trojan horses for Chinese spies (something Huawei has repeatedly denied). They have threatened to withhold intelligence from any ally that allows the firm in. On May 15th they raised the stakes. President Donald Trump barred American firms from using telecoms equipment made by firms posing a “risk to national security”. His order named no names. But its target was plain.

For all the drama, the import ban hardly matters. Huawei has long been barred from America, in practice if not on paper. More significant was the announcement by the Commerce Department, on the same day, that it was adding Huawei to a list of firms with which American companies cannot do business without official permission. That amounts to a prohibition on exports of American technology to Huawei.

It is a seismic decision, for no technology firm is an island. Supply chains are highly specialised and globally connected. Cutting them off—“weaponising interdependence”, in the jargon—can cause serious disruption. When ZTE, another Chinese technology company, received the same treatment in 2018 for violating American sanctions on Iran, it was brought to the brink of ruin. It survived only because Mr Trump intervened,...



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Big agribusiness wants to make quinoa more mainstream

AMID GROWING appetite in the West for healthy food, the UN declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. Exports boomed out of Bolivia and Peru, the two largest producers. Prices tripled to $4,800 per tonne; organically grown stuff fetched $6,800. Poor Andean farmers who are the grain’s traditional custodians benefited. Protein-rich profits also lured Big Agribusiness. Intensive farms sprang up in South America’s fertile coastal plains. By 2015 supply topped 228,000 tonnes—and outstripped demand. Prices collapsed. Sales to America, the largest importer, have been flat. Traders’ margins have fallen by almost half, to 6% or so. Four out of Peru’s five leading exporters have gone bust.

This has led some to talk of “peak quinoa”. Not everyone, though. Distributors in America and Europe think the slowdown is temporary. To help this come true, they are promoting production at home.

To be more adventurous in their use of quinoa foodmakers need a more dependable supply, says Shrene White, general manager of Ardent Mills, America’s biggest flour-maker. Its adoption as an ingredient in higher-margin processed food has been hampered by volatile prices and inconsistent produce. A truckload imported by Andean Naturals, which is based in California and buys from thousands of Bolivian farms, can contain half a dozen different quinoa...



via Business Feeds

Airlines would like to see Boeing’s 737 MAX back in the air

A YEAR AGO at Farnborough Air Show, Dennis Muilenburg, boss of Boeing, beamed as orders for its new 737 max jetliner rolled in. At next month’s Paris Air Show he will be less upbeat. In March regulators around the world grounded the plane, after two of them crashed within five months, killing 346 people. On May 23rd aviation regulators were due to convene in Dallas to review Boeing’s application to unground the max, now that it says it has fixed the software thought to have contributed to the accidents. Mr Muilenburg says he is “confident” that the updated plane will be “one of the safest aeroplanes ever to fly”. On May 22nd America’s Federal Aviation Administration suggested it could be a while before it is back in the air. All told, airlines have ordered around 5,000 maxes. This week Ryanair, which awaits 135 of them, said it will have to cut 1m seats from this year’s schedules.



via Business Feeds

Western firms increasingly admire—and want—Chinese technology

IT IS A charge that American hawks love to level at China: that its companies, through fair means and foul, are after the crown jewels of American technology. Despite years of efforts to manufacture its own computer chips, the Asian giant still spends more on importing them than it does on crude oil. Politicians and companies in the West constantly grumble about Chinese rivals pilfering their intellectual property. So the idea that Chinese firms have some technology gems of their own to offer may seem fanciful.

In fact, Western technology firms increasingly fancy Chinese tech. In some cases, they are buying Chinese rivals outright—with the acquiescence of authorities in Beijing. Those working on such acquisitions date the phenomenon back to 2016. Most deals are small and involve niche industries: makers of the powertrains and sensors for electric vehicles, or agencies managing social-media influencers. But the trend has taken root, even as animosity between the United States and China has escalated (see article). American officials have been treating technology bosses to classified briefings on the dangers of doing business in China.

Those who operate there see things differently. For the first time last year, in an annual poll by the EU Chamber of...



via Business Feeds

Switzerland will remain a low-tax centre for big firms

SWITZERLAND IS KNOWN for its delicious chocolate, its luxury watches—and its lightly taxed multinationals. Some 24,000 international companies are domiciled there to benefit from low-tax deals offered by its 26 cantons, which set their own rates on top of the federal corporate income-tax rate of around 8%. Zug, a canton near Zurich, alone is home to some 1,800 of them, including global commodity traders, pharmaceutical giants and a cluster of blockchain and cryptocurrency firms.

When federal and cantonal taxes are combined, Switzerland has an average effective corporate-tax rate of just under 20%, not far below Italy’s and higher than Britain’s (see chart). But sweetheart deals with cantons reduce it to as little as 9% for some big firms. That is set to change—a bit—after Swiss voters approved reforms on May 19th.

These were crafted under pressure from the European Union, which had accused the Swiss of “harmful” tax practices and threatened retaliation. From...



via Business Feeds

How to make social media safe for children

IN MARCH AND April Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a children’s advocacy group, badgered members of America’s Congress to regulate the apps children are using online. Their response on Capitol Hill shocked him. “We already regulated Nickelodeon, Disney channel and PBS Kids,” they replied, referring to rules for television enacted in the 1990s and 2000s (with his help). They had apparently missed a series of recent scandals: children exposed to violence and pornography, their data being collected, paedophiles lurking in comments sections of videos depicting youngsters. “We’re changing at warp speed,” Mr Steyer says, “and we’re still talking about ‘Sesame Street’.”

Not for much longer. Members of Congress are drafting multiple bills to regulate how internet platforms treat children. Britain has proposed child-safety rules, including prohibitions on features designed to keep users hooked. From July it is expected to require porn sites to bar users under 18; MindGeek, which owns many salacious sites, wants to use an age-verification registry in order to comply (and, in doing so, make it easier to charge adult visitors for content). In Delhi politicians are considering rules that could stop the data of anyone under 18 from being collected. The EU bars tech giants from garnering data and targeting ads at children. Last year...



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India’s stealth privatisation

IN 2007 INDIA combined two troubled state-run champions, Indian Airlines for domestic flights and Air India for international ones, in the hope that consolidation would produce higher profits and happier flyers. Instead, the merger created unhappy unions, shabbier service and mounting losses. Last year a plan to privatise the airline collapsed for lack of bidders with pockets deep enough to afford it.

Such shambles invariably garner attention. What has passed largely unnoticed is the steady decline in the market share of state-run firms. Despite the nationalist mood that has coloured India’s marathon general election, which concluded on May 23rd, it is likely to continue.

Among more than 50,000 companies analysed by consultants at McKinsey, the share of income generated by state-run firms declined from 45% to 37% between 2005 and 2017. The shift has been more pronounced among the biggest companies. Public-sector companies account for 11% of the profits in the benchmark BSE 500 stockmarket index, down...



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The management wisdom of Bill Campbell

AS YOGI BERRA, a legendary Yankees baseball player, coach and master of malapropisms, once said, “baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” Managers might need a better grasp of maths than Berra. But they require a similar focus on instilling the right mentality, not just in themselves but in their team.

That view is held particularly strongly by three Google executives—Eric Schmidt (a former director of The Economist), Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle—who have written a book in praise of their mentor, Bill Campbell. His influence on Silicon Valley was so profound that they have called the book “Trillion Dollar Coach”.

Most outsiders will not have heard of Campbell, who began his career as a college coach of American football. Later, he worked at Apple, heading the marketing campaign for the original Macintosh, and then became chief executive at Intuit, a financial-software company. But his most effective role, until his death in 2016, was in the background, as a board member at Apple (and close friend of Steve Jobs) and as a coach to companies backed by Kleiner Perkins, a venture-capital firm.

Google was one of Kleiner’s investments and when Mr Schmidt was appointed chief executive of the company in 2001, Kleiner’s John Doerr suggested that he...



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9 Pillar Page Examples to Get You Started With Your Own

Earlier this year, a handful of my extremely bright and capable colleagues compiled a report on topic clusters. Now first, what the heck is a topic cluster?

A topic cluster is a method that uses a single "pillar page" as the main hub of content for a given topic. All of your content assets related to that topic link back to the pillar page -- and the pillar links out to each asset.

Here's why it's critical to your content strategy.

Topic clusters aren't just a nice, clean way of organizing content that brings glee to the most Type A of marketers (me, for instance). It also keeps Google happy. As it turns out, the search engine giant has changed its algorithm to favor topic-based content, making pillar pages a requirement for content marketers who want to maintain a high SERP ranking.

Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

Here's a handy video explaining how topic clusters work:

Now, let's dive into what these pillar pages mean for your business.

What is a pillar page?

My colleague, Sophia Bernazzani, does an excellent job of summarizing pillar pages (and comparing them to HubSpot Marketing Blog's own previous method of topic organization) in her post on the subject here. As the previous paragraphs suggest, she says:

"A pillar page is the basis on which a topic cluster is built. A pillar page covers all aspects of the topic on a single page, with room for more in-depth reporting in more detailed cluster blog posts that hyperlink back to the pillar page. Pillar pages broadly cover a particular topic, and cluster content should address a specific keyword related to that topic in-depth."

What's more, however, is that the idea of a pillar page is to cover broad content in a way that is highly linkable itself -- that is, external sites would link to it as a canonical resource for the topic. So, to put it into visual terms, here's what our blog architecture used to look like using this old playbook:

Disorganized website structure before HubSpot used pillar pages to create topic clusters

This is where the topic cluster model comes into play. Using topics you want to rank for, you can organize the mess of content above by optimizing it for specific keywords related to its respective topic. Then, hyperlink all of those topics back to a pillar page.

Think of this pillar page as a topic's mother ship, and your blog posts are all smaller soldier ships that give and receive support from this mother ship. This organization offers greater search engine authority because it tells Google you've dedicated a certain amount of digital real estate to this topic, and are to be considered a reliable answer to users' questions on that topic when they conduct a search.

Now, as we've established multiple topic clusters, here's what our blog infrastructure now looks like:

Content structure using the topic cluster model by HubSpot

See how the site architecture is more deliberate in this model? The visual above shows how it organizes content assets together to help searchers more easily find information within your domain.

It has three main components:

  1. Pillar content (your pillar page)
  2. Cluster content
  3. Hyperlinks

Icon legend for HubSpot's topic cluster model

Okay, you get it -- pillar pages are both nice and important for SEO. After all, on average, a page that ranks #1 in Google will also rank well for around 1,000 other related keywords. But what are they supposed to look like? Are aesthetics important? How do you organize all of your content assets on a pillar page?

Actions speak louder than words -- says the writer -- which is why we sought answers to those questions by way of pillar page examples that do an excellent job of organizing and linking to content assets.

9 Great Pillar Page Examples

1. Typeform: Brand Awareness

Pillar page on brand awareness by Typeform

At first glance, it's hard to ignore the positively inbound-y nature Typeform's Brand Awareness pillar page. It was built to inform, and lives up to its tagline: "Nearly everything you need to know."

Not only is it aesthetically pleasing -- the color palette is, somehow, at once both soothing and bold -- but it's quite easy to navigate. The table of contents appears immediately, and once you begin to consume the content, it's clear, comprehensive, and quotable.

Typeform's Internal Linking Strategy

Notice how the information is interjected with CTAs to tweet various stand-out quotes:

CTA to tweet quote from Typeform's pillar pageAnd while there are several links throughout the pillar page, the vast majority of them don't link to other Typeform content assets. In fact, it's not until toward the end of the pillar page that those links to other Typeform pages begin to appear, and even them, they're used sparingly, and typically used to support points and direct readers to solutions.

2. Cloud Elements: The Definitive Guide to API Integration

cloud-elements-pillar-page-exampleCloud Elements is an API integration platform that helps companies connect with third-party software. Also a HubSpot customer, the company has created some impressive pillar content that (necessarily) delves deep into the concept of software integration for its readers.

Cloud Elements' API integrations pillar page, shown above, breaks a complex topic down into seven digestible steps -- the first of which is shown below. Notice how the pillar uses a "floating" table of contents along the lefthand side to keep reader's attention and remind them what stage of the process they're learning about. This is a useful way to maximize the reader experience and the time they spend on the page.

cloud-elements-pillar-page-table-of-contentsCloud Elements' Internal Linking Strategy

Cloud Element's internal linking strategy does at least three helpful things for readers:

  1. It links out to blog posts on its website that expand on the processes introduced in the full, definitive guide;
  2. It links back into the pillar page from each of these blog posts; and
  3. It captures readers' contact information by offering a packaged, ebook-style version of the pillar for readers to download, share with colleagues, and take with them for long-term reading.

As a result, Cloud Elements saw a 53% increase in organic search traffic to its website, and nearly all of the blog posts linked to the pillar page saw their own individual organic traffic growth as well.

3. Matthew Howells-Barby: Customer Acquisition Strategies

Pillar page on customer acquisition strategies by Matthew Barby

HubSpot's Director of Acquisition, Matthew Howells-Barby, is no stranger to the HubSpot Marketing Blog, or the people who comprise its team. We regularly quote him here, and frequently pester him with our own questions. Naturally, his website is a go-to resource for marketers who want to learn about SEO -- and it includes an exemplary pillar page on customer acquisition strategies.

Matthew's Internal Linking Strategy

Similar to the Typeform example, there's a noticeable shortage of promotional hyperlinks within the first section of the page. In fact, as you scroll down the page, you'll also see that links to Howells-Barby's other content assets are both tastefully and seamlessly inserted between large pieces of tactical information.

CTA on Matthew Barby's pillar page

But these links are supplemental and relevant, and there aren't tons of them -- all of them direct the user to Barby's tools on the topic at hand, which is customer acquisition. Instead of bombarding the user with numerous in-text links, well-designed CTAs are used to allow readers to click to learn about these tools.

4. HubSpot: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity Apps

HubSpot pillar page on the ultimate guide to productivity apps

Sometimes, pillar pages can look like and belong to the same blog property for which it's building SEO authority. Recently, we adopted this concept in our very own topic cluster model. Above is our pillar page for productivity apps, a topic we know many of our readers care about and have questions on.

The pillar page above has a blog-like title, feature image, and byline just like the specific blog articles that belong to this cluster. It's also on the same domain as our blog content -- blog.hubspot.com. These attributes show Google there's a visible connection between the pillar, which is much longer than each blog post to encompass each topic, and the blog articles it links out to.

HubSpot's Internal Linking Strategy

Related Articles internal linking strategy on HubSpot's pillar page

In addition to the blue anchor text CTA to download related content -- as shown in the first screenshot of our Productivity Apps pillar page, above -- these pillars also link out to each page in the topic cluster using an RSS feed at the bottom of the pillar page.

In the screenshot directly above, you'll see each article belonging to the Productivity Apps cluster linked in a "Related Articles" carousel. This carousel allows us to link out to each article in this cluster as they're created, further strengthening the entire cluster as a result.

5. The Atlantic: Population Healthier

Pillar page on healthcare by The Atlantic

Pillar pages are also an excellent way to organize and create sponsored content with a co-marketing partner. Case in point: The Atlantic partnered with athenahealth to compile a report (and pillar page) on healthcare in the U.S.

The content is absolutely bananas -- in the absolutely best way possible. It begins with a story about a historical building in the Massachusetts town of Lowell, which forays into a full-blown interactive, animated, and highly information report about the state of healthcare coverage in cities like this one as the user scrolls down. But the entire time, there's a helpful plus-sign along the left side of the page that, when clicked on, presents a table of contents.

The Atlantic's Internal Linking Strategy

On The Atlantic's pillar page, links to additional content found on theatlantic.com are a bit more prevalent than the previous example. But remember, this pillar page was created to support sponsored content. Therefore, it presents an organized, non-intrusive way of linking to this sponsored (but still informative) content that relates back to the central topic of healthcare in the U.S.

CTA on The Atlantic's pillar page

The Atlantic achieves that by placing well-designed, but noticeable links at the end of each section. These lighter-colored boxes match the visual theme that precede them -- such as with the link to "The Culture Wars" content in the example above.

6. 3PL Central: State of the Third-Party Logistics Report

3PL-central-pillar-page-example3PL Central is a warehouse management platform that uses the cloud to make tasks like inventory, billing, and shipping easier to track for businesses. A HubSpot user, the company consistently produces fresh new pillar content that, last year, increased the company's website traffic by nearly 900% and conversions by nearly 200%.

3PL's pillar page example, shown above, contains a series of use cases for 3PL's product in solving the various logistical challenges businesses today will face. In this way, the pillar works in a couple of interesting ways: First, it positions the pillar as a data resource that other publishers are more inclined to link to -- building the backlinks that are critical to 3PL's organic search ranking. And second, it keeps their potential customers abreast of the latest challenges in logistics and warehouse management -- driving value into the product from a number of angles.

3PL Central's Internal Linking Strategy

Across 3PL's pillar page, the company links out to a number of different pages on their website where readers can get more information on a particular subject the pillar touches on. Some of these links direct to landing pages and contact forms, where readers can dig deeper into certain subjects, and 3PL can give itself more opportunities to generate leads from readers of the original pillar.

7. ProfitWell: SaaS DNA Project

Pillar page on the anatomy of a SaaS Marketing Site by ProfitWell

We love content that makes good use of examples to point out best practices -- just have a look at what we're doing in this post. But in a move similar to Typeform's in its Brand Awareness pillar page, ProfitWell's pillar page on "The Anatomy of a SaaS Marketing Site" incorporates plenty of "in-the-while" instances of both what to do when it comes to SaaS marketing content -- and what not to do.

Building that sort of information into a pillar page -- or any content, for that matter -- preemptively answers the question of, "I know what I'm supposed to do. But what should I avoid at all costs?"

ProfitWell's Internal Linking Strategy

CTA on ProfitWell's pillar page

Once again, there's a noticeable lack of link inundation here. Within each chapter, a visual CTA lingers along the right-hand side of the page that allows users to download the full Anatomy of a Saas Marketing Site guide, as well as a single click-to-tweet option for one line of quotable text from the section. It's a no muss, no fuss approach that fits in well with a text-heavy site, which doesn't distract from the main content.

8. GoodUI: Evidence

Pillar page on lead conversion evidence by GoodUI

We're absolutely delighted by the concept of "Easter eggs" -- those little hidden, puzzle-like treasures on the internet that turn up cool tricks or nuggets of information. And to us, GoodUI's "Evidence" pillar page is one big Easter egg.

GoodUI's Internal Linking Strategy

The page consists of data -- or "evidence" -- from multiple A/B tests that have uncovered patterns for higher conversions. Clicking on any data point throughout the page will direct the viewer to an expanded, detailed view of the test leading to that information. It's a treasure trove of eye-catching, compelling experiment results.

Internal linking strategy on GoodUI's pillar page

Within that sub-content, there's a CTA at the bottom of each dedicated test section to share your own test, providing the reader with an opportunity to contribute her own content and findings to an already impressive plethora of information.

9. GatherContent: UX Design and Content Strategy

Pillar page on UX design and content strategy by GatherContent

I love this pillar page, because you can download it.

Pillar pages are designed to be the mother ships for the topics on which you plan to create lots of content, but they don't have to just be SEO builders. According to GatherContent's pillar page, shown above, they can also be lead generators.

This pillar page is a long, open document of subtopics about user experience (UX) design that doubles as a PDF you can download to your computer.

gathercontent-content-strategy-download

Take a look at the table of contents that comes after the title page, above. As you can see, you can download this guide to your computer (after entering your name and email address).

GatherContent's Internal Linking Strategy

CTA to download content strategy guide on GatherContent's pillar page

GatherContent's pillar page doesn't focus much on linking out to related content on UX design. Instead, it links to another guide on a related topic. There, readers will see a preview of a PDF they can then download using their name and email address.

This is an example of a content strategy that uses pillar pages to rank its lead-generating content directly on Google.

What'd you think? Which pillar page style interested you the most? No matter how you organize your content, a thorough pillar page is the support beam that helps you rank well in search across numerous topics across your industry.

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