Month: June 2018

Development

A Road To The Future: The Who, What And Why Of Smart Roads

In a time where it seems that everything is linked to technology: our homes, our cities and of course, ourselves, it is no surprise that there is a view to introducing such practices to something that many of us travel along every day: roads.

Smart roads, much like smart homes and smart cities, have been devised to aid commuters in making their journeys a much more interactive experience.

The plan is to revamp the way we see our highways and streets to provide live feedback on traffic, weather, and road conditions and find solutions towards harnessing and generating solar energy to help usher in the age of autonomous vehicles.

Benefits of Smart Roads

Everybody, at one point or another, has experienced the loathsome drag of sitting in traffic that stretches as far as the eye can see. We have all found ourselves coming across an unexpected delay that disrupts the journey and leads to apologetic phone calls explaining that arrival may be a little bit later than expected.

Smart roads look to eliminate such issues. There are those digital road signs which inform you of slow traffic in the next ten miles, there are those that warn to slow down due to motor accidents, but this technology is painfully outdated and there is no guarantee that everyone will pay attention when passing them.

So, what if you could receive this information directly to your vehicle way ahead of time and suggesting alternate routes without the grating whine of Google Maps telling you over and over again to turn around? Having traffic information sent directly to your dashboard will warn you ahead of time if you need to make adjustments to your route.

Another positive is the ability to generate solar energy to help light the way, as well as aid the charging of autonomous cars to reduce battery loss.

The emphasis on green, renewable energy has encouraged people to look towards alternative methods of transport such as carpooling, public transport, or cycling. This is not always possible for long commutes, though, and so there are still many cars on the road that produce carbon emissions every day, to and from destinations.

Using solar energy will allow for a reduction in such emissions. As more people adopt electric or autonomous cars, the added bonus of charging-while-driving offered by smart roads will demonstrate a reduction in harmful gases polluting the air every day.

Challenges in Transition

There are however challenges associated with making the transition from traditional roads to smart roads. Currently, the primary reason is that not enough people own cars that would benefit such adaptations.

While there has been a surge in purchases in the last four years, there are just 150,000 owners of electric cars registered in the UK. It is not yet viable for governments to implement smart roads across the country because the market share does not suggest such actions would be a sound investment.

As autonomous are not yet commercialized, the cost to undertake these changes would not be beneficial. As attractive as a self-driving car might seem to some, there are still doubts regarding their safety. The recent Uber accident has brought many people back down to earth and made them realize that even though we have the technology, a driverless future is still far from reality.

Prominent Smart Road Nations

Wanting to stay ahead of the curve and demonstrate a willingness to start thinking about the planet, there are a number of nations that are committed to working on, developing and eventually introducing smart roads across their land.

Thoughts immediately go to the likes of the USA, the home of prominent electric vehicles like Tesla, but it is not just Elon Musk and his merry band of geniuses, as well as Smart America, who are focusing on such developments. Just recently, Sweden introduced their first smart road that charges electric vehicles while driving.

The road itself is merely a pilot scheme covering a two-kilometer stretch just outside Stockholm, but should it prove successful, it shows that this technology can be effective and might even prompt more people to invest in electric cars.

Smart Roads in the United Kingdom, http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5251763
(Copyright Bill Boaden and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.)

Countries such as the UK have also been planning for smart roads for some time and have recently begun to implement these in 2017/2018 as seen above. In 2015 testing for charging-while driving began to solve the long commute issue. Another country that appears to be leading the way is China, which has been working on their first-generation smart road products that include solar panels generating energy.

New Road, New Technology

Solutions to adapting our roads from the old ways to the new may not entirely remove the potential for road damage, but they can help in other ways. Solar energy is now cheaper to develop than ever before, and using this to help power streetlights and road markings will reduce the amount of electricity needed to be produced.

Norway is working on fiber-optic technology to install under the surface that records information about passing traffic to provide real-time updates to drivers and help them understand what to expect during their journey.

Sweden’s aforementioned smart road utilizes charging strips along the roads, assisted by a robotic arm that connects to such strips while driving. It is not that the driver can sit back and relax – they are still responsible for steering – but the charging strip will help them avoid needing to stop and charge during long journeys and keep the car powered throughout.

Linking the roads themselves to vehicles through the Internet of Things will make the typical travel experience much more interactive. Traffic updates, roads that honk, renewable energy are all aspects that can be considered for inclusion.

A Road To The Future

Technology is always looking for solutions to make our lives easier. Smart roads have the potential to be just what weary commuters are looking for. Autonomous vehicles working in tandem with smart roads would allow for some extra sleep on the way to work, help towards fixing the environment and perhaps even solve congestion issues on busy highways.

While there is certain to be delays and issues with the installation of smart roads, finding the right systems that benefit both the driver and the planet will help other nations adapt and develop similar technologies for their own use. Countries such as the USA, UK, Sweden, Norway and China have already begun, should their methods prove successful, the rest of the journey could be easy riding.

Insights

6 Ways Micro-Influencers Will Increase Your Sales In 2018

Everyone is talking about it, most brands have tried it, and others remain skeptical. What is it? Influencer Marketing. The current buzzword and latest social media marketing trend is a popular way to grow brand reach, social media following and most – importantly, sales.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a word-of-mouth marketing strategy that involves identifying and engaging with influencers and their followers by sharing content, thoughts, and opinions online about a brand’s products, services, and experiences. As mentioned, many big brands rely on the use of influencers and have taken full advantage of its provided success. Daniel Wellington, Frank Body, Triangl Swimwear, Coachella, … just to name a few who have reaped the benefits.

 

Depending on your brand, your campaign objectives, as well as your budget, that will define what type of influencer you decide to partner with. There are three types of influencers: micro, macro, and celebrity.

How Micro-Influencers Can Increase Sales  

TapInfluence partnered with Nielsen Catalina Solutions in 2016 which revealed that influencer marketing generates 11 times the ROI of traditional digital marketing. So… just exactly how can micro-influencers increase your sales?  Check out our 6 ways that micro-influencers will increase your sales in 2018!

Reach

By selecting the right influencers, you gain access to their niche following base.

Believe it or not, it can be better if your influencer’s audience it relatively small, especially if you have a specialized product offering. You want your influencers to reach audience members who are most likely to participate in the call-to-action and become your customer. By utilizing a micro-influencer campaign, you are able to reach a new set of users who would be interested in your product but might not have otherwise known or shown interest in your brand without being backed by a credible influencer.  

Brand Messaging

Partner with a micro-influencer that resonates with your brand. You will want to find an influencer whose audience isn’t so large that your message will get lost, but also large enough that your message will reach potential qualified leads.

Developing your brand message is crucial for awareness, therefore, you want it to remain consistent even throughout the influencer marketing campaign process. Although you want the brand messaging to remain the same, don’t restrict the influencers access to creative control. They know what their followers best engage and interact via certain language and design, and they too need to remain authentic.  

Trust

Successful influencer marketing depends on trust. Influencers are known to have their followers best interests in mind when posting, which makes them credible and trustworthy. Typically, consumers trust their peers and the recommendations they provide, hence why brand marketers are turning to influencer marketing. This is because micro-influencers remain unbiased as the relationship is based off similar beliefs and values and not-necessarily a paid advertisement, whereas a celebrity-influencer receives compensation for their posts. Trust isn’t only found in the influencers, due to this strategy is also establishes consumer trust for a company.

Loyalty

Influencer marketing allows for brands to build loyalty through influencers themselves. By choosing an influencer who personally reflects the brand’s values, the organization can leverage that influencer to increase customer loyalty.  

Trackable Sales

Tracking sales can be difficult to begin with, and adding in an influencer marketing campaign just makes the process even more complicated. This is because the sales cycle can extend beyond just the campaign, making continual tracking essential for measurement and results purposes. There are a few ways to track influencer marketing-powered sales via UTM parameters such as comment to buy, tracking pixels, x-hour window, retargeting, promo codes.

Engagement

Research conducted by PWC shows that revenue growth is tied to customer engagement. With micro-influencers, you are guaranteed to have higher engagement. Another study by HelloSociety revealed that micro-influencers are able to generate 60% higher engagement than other traditional means. Due to the strong relationship and sense of community established between the influencer and their followers, they are more likely to interact with posts. Engagement is created through consistent communication with their followers. Engagement can be measured by reviewing social analytics such as clicks, likes, reactions, shares, comments, and mentions.

Influencer marketing is truly a growing and effective trend. If you haven’t done so already, definitely explore this marketing strategy for your brand. To recap, working with a micro-influencer to promote your products provides you with access to a larger reach, strengthens your brand messaging, builds trust and loyalty, provides you with trackable sales, as well as increased engagement levels. When you’re successful complete with your micro-influencer marketing campaign, you will have boosted sales.

Want to know more about this topic and how to get started with your own campaign? Reach out to our friends at Socialpeeks, as they promise that the “results of influencer marketing have shown to have one of the highest ROI of any digital marketing activity”.

 

Author:

Brooklynn Boyer is Marketing Director for Socialpeeks, a marketing technology company that runs wildly successful influencer marketing campaigns with the help of its campaign management team. Visit www.socialpeeks.com to learn more.

Insights

Choosing a Domain Name That’s Right for Your Website

Before your new site can take the web by storm, you’ll need to decide on a suitable domain name. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. Whether this is their first site or one of many, a fair number of site owners fail to put in the proper amount of effort when selecting domain names. Tackling the name selection process with a lackadaisical attitude can have a number of far-reaching consequences, most notably low search engine rankings and confusion on the part of visitors. Luckily, choosing a name that perfectly suits your site doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Putting the following tips to good use will ensure that your site receives the domain name it deserves.

Utilize Relevant Keywords

When creating a domain name, it’s important to give prospective visitors a solid idea of what your site’s all about. This will help keep confusion to a minimum and improve your chances of receiving a favorable search engine ranking. For best results, choose words that emphasize the specific field your sites cater to and any services you may offer. For example, if your site is meant to promote a hamburger restaurant in Austin, TX, your domain name should be something along the lines of “BestBurgersAustin.com” or “AustinBurgers.com.” In the search for premium domain names, the importance of clear-cut keywords cannot be overstated.

Keep it Short

In the digital age, people are bombarded by information from all fronts. Whether surfing the web, watching television or checking social media, most people are constantly processing new info at a relentless pace. That being the case, it’s in your best interest to keep things brief when deciding on a domain name for your website. Not only will this make your domain name easy to remember, it will ensure that it can easily be typed as well. For best results, make a point of limiting your domain name to no more than three words. Additionally, if possible, make these words as short as possible. The shorter the name, the more likely it is to make a lasting impression on prospective visitors suffering from information overload.

Limit Your Use of Symbols

In the quest to create a catchy, concise domain name, take care to limit your use of numbers, hyphens and other symbols. The inclusion of any of these items can make domain names very cumbersome to type, thereby increasing the likelihood of typos and misdirected visitors. Regardless of what area of interest your website serves, odds are it has its fair share of competition – and prospective visitors won’t hesitate to hit up one of your competitors if accessing your site becomes a chore. While it’s true that a small number of successful websites have domain names that break this cardinal rule, these represent rare exceptions.

Choosing the right domain name can seem like a daunting prospect, particularly for first-time site owners. However, with the right tips at your disposal, this doesn’t have to be the case. Keyword integration, brevity and the exclusion of unnecessary will all serve you well in your efforts to craft the perfect domain name.