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The Real Goal of Competitive Intelligence (99% of People Get This Wrong!)

There’s a super common misconception when it comes to competitive intelligence. We're not really sure that 99% of people actually get this wrong, but we can confirm, based on our 7 years of experience in the competitive intelligence space, that the percentage is really, really high. You see, most people make the mistake of thinking that the goal of competitive intelligence is to copy their competitors, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
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15 Default AdWords Settings That Are Draining Your Bank Account & What to Do about It

AdWords has a few dirty little secrets they don't want you to know about. The first is that their "Quality Score" is weighted to provide more clicks for ads with the highest click through rate (CTR). Why? Because they make money every time someone clicks your ad. The second is that the advice AdWords and its reps give isn't always in your best interest. In fact, more often than not, it mostly helps Google to make more money by getting you to bid on more keywords or by increasing your budget (although you can get some really good advice from AdWords reps from time to time).
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6 Must Use AdWords Extensions for Local Businesses

Ad extensions are one of the most underutilized Google AdWords features. For some, it's an extremely useful tool to drive more traffic to your website, but for many others, it's underutilized or simply ignored. For local businesses competing in the paid search space, this should never be the case. AdWords Extensions, when used correctly, allow you to take up more real estate in the SERPs. This is done with the addition of extra information pertaining to your business such as contact info, product info, reviews, and more.
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What Are Your Marketing Goals for 2016?

We're curious to know what your marketing goals are for 2016. Our goal is for 2016 to be our best year yet, so we've been carefully outlining our plan for the upcoming year. We've also updated our product by releasing an entirely new UI and User Journey Reports, a completely unique feature that no other competitive intelligence tool offers. As you can see in the screenshot below, the User Journey Report shows keywords, ads, and landing pages side by side so you can see exactly how your competitors are converting their traffic.
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Transactional Email Best Practices: How to Get More Out of Your Emails in 2016

Transactional emails are messages sent automatically in response to defined subscriber actions, such as order confirmation emails sent right after an online purchase. Most companies use transactional emails only to send basic information, but there are ways to get more out of these types of emails, which is a good idea since the open rates hover around 100%. Here are examples of the types of emails sent automatically to subscribers and customers, i.e. the types of emails you can optimize to get better results:
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Local SEO Checklist: The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Better Organic Search Rankings

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be an overwhelming topic for any business owner. After all, you’re busy running your business—something you know best—and don't have much time to learn an entirely new marketing technique. However, even though it sounds scary, basic SEO strategies are a MUST if you’re going to have any chance of showing up on local search engine results pages (SERPs) when potential customers search for your business, and it's especially important if your business is in a larger, more competitive city. The good news? The tips I’m about to share are totally things you can do and can learn by reading this post and taking the time to implement these local SEO strategies.
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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: PPC Lessons Learned from Black Friday/Cyber Monday

  Google Adwords sits on the middle to the bottom of the funnel for most marketing campaigns. Normally, prospects go to the Google search bar and type in a search term because they have a problem they want to solve. Therefore, if your product solves that problem, you’ll have a good chance of converting the traffic. It also means that the most converting keywords usually connect to a finite set of terms since there are only so many people searching for your product or service each month. But there are a few occasions where people are willing to hand their credit card over to you even though their search terms are not directly related to your product. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of those times.
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True Colors: What Your Brand Colors Say about Your Business [Infographic]

Not everyone realizes it, but the colors you choose have a big impact on your brand and how it's perceived by potential customers. Some colors help your brand to come off as more aggressive, others make your brand feel more safe, and still other colors make your brand appear more creative or more luxurious. There's no hard and fast rule, but it's well known that different colors evoke different emotions which is one reason why businesses end up choosing one color over another.
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The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post [Infographic]

We get contacted a lot by people wanting to write guest posts for the iSpionage blog. And when they do, it's important to share with them what types of posts and writing style we expect from our guest contributors. To solve that problem, we've created this infographic titled The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post. It shares what we expect from guest posts written for the iSpionage blog, in addition to some other tips we've learned along the way for writing and publishing successful blog posts. We hope you learn something from the infographic and appreciate your sharing it if you do.
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