Take a Breath With Joe and Thom Episode 1

For the past 20 years I begin my day having what usually turns into a deep conversation with my business partner Thom Stallings.

Our conversations cover everything from business ideas, trends , concerns , spirituality, meditation , what we do for leisure , motivation techniques, what is going on with our families and how we try to stay in the best physical as well as mental shape possible.

Our first episode of “Take a Breath with Thom and Joe” is centered around how the Covid-19 has affected our lives both at home and professionally.

What are some of the ways you have “taken a breath” during this time?

When the Sun Rises Again

The sun will rise and MergedAnalytics will is ready for you

I understand that this NOT the time to sell anyone on how great a product/service is for your sales and marketing efforts.

If I was selling ventilators and masks…I would be donating them right now however that is not the business I am in. My contribution at the moment is keeping my family and myself home.

I would also argue that even in good times….your sales approach should never comprise of an in your face aggressive proposition. I dislike it when I am referred to as a “sales guy”. I also hate the feeling of being a victim of a “hard sell”no matter what it is…even if I need whatever was being sold to me.

To me when someone is referred to as a “sales guy” I automatically think of someone who I would never want to buy anything from whatever it is they sell.

The best sales people allow their customer to feel like you discovered for yourself that you need whatever it is they are selling. Forgive me for the cliche…but it needs to be a “win/win” for both parties. Everyone should feel they won.

If you are in sales and marketing as I am ….I understand we are in a stressful existential crisis. We are trying to push through this time any way possible and continue to do our jobs which is to still produce albeit from home.

PRE Crisis….if you were NOT yet understanding the Company Names and in some cases Email Addresses of the people who click the links you post to social media and place in your emails as well as the pages they clicked on your website…now really may be the time to think about setting this up.

Additionally…if you are getting that type of intelligence but you are paying thousands of dollars per month for it…now could be the time to explore less expensive but equally effective options.

I was proactively contacted by a resort yesterday who voluntarily shut their doors because of the corona virus. They are already looking into the future for when they reopen.

During this down time….they have begun to market their resort to businesses in hopes companies will become aware of their resort when they start to book conferences once again.

In taking the long term approach…I have provided consulting at no charge as well as an extension for our free trial version so they can use MergedAnalytics at no charge for the time being until they are back on their feet.

It is always darkest before the dawn. Even at the lowest of the low points….there is always hope and the sun will rise once again.

In 1918 the Spanish Flu was a devastating pandemic that also presented an existential crisis.

At some point the sun rose and gave birth to the roaring 20’s.

Use this time to prepare yourself so that when we do return to normalcy…you hit the ground running.

I would be happy to provide multiple free consultations about how you can make the most of your website and the urls you post to social media sites and place in your emails.

So you need to conduct screen share webmeetings

MergedAnalytics

So you need to conduct web meetings using something like Zoom or Gotomeeting.   

I have been relying on using this type of screensharing technology for 20 years to run my business.

We use webmeetings for almost everything from sales presentations, training session to our internal management meetings. Everyone in my company works virtually so webmeeting software is essential to our existance.

I can honestly say I have made every mistake you can possibly make throughout the last 20 years with webmeetings.

Here are some things to consider before conducting a screensharing webmeeting…

Dial in early – There will be always issues with your PC that you cannot plan for that happen often.   Recommend all attendees dial in a minimum of 10 minutes earlier preferably 15 minutes.

Reboot your PC– For optimal performance it is best to reboot your PC before an important webmeeting. If things are slow on your PC….your audience could think it is your software slowing up the PC….do not let this happen.

Prepare your presentation materials ahead ….have your Powerpoint, Word, Excel, files, software tool and/or Website…. whatever it is you will be presenting…have it launched ahead of time.   You do not want to launch a large file while you are in a webmeeting.  The 10 seconds it takes to open may not seem long….but when you have 20 eyeballs staring at your screen…even 10 seconds can feel like an eternity.

Resist moving your mouse all over the screen – when you are nervous we tend to do things subconsciously.   Moving your mouse and/or clicking a lot during a presentation can be distracting for your audience.

Software Demos – If you are demonstrating how software works….test the features ahead of time as well.  Make sure what you want to present works as expected.

Talking over people – Be mindful of talking over people –  Especially when there are many on a speaker phone and depending on what kind of phone is being used….it is very easy to innocently talk over people.   Learn to talk slower, take small pauses to make sure someone is not trying to say something.

Have a plan and stick to it – If someone has a question…if you can not answer immediately without diverting from your plan …table it for later or a subsequent conversation.   

Record you session –  If possible it is a best practice to record your session .  It is nice to be able to send the recorded session to the attendees of your meeting.   You can point out specific times to listen etc. It is also useful in case it was a requirement gathering session.

BONUS – OIL YOUR CHAIR – you do not want everyone to hear your squeaky chair every time you adjust your seat.

Go forth and prosper.

Why We Changed Our Name and What is the Significance of the Three Dots in our Logo

One of my favorite songs is “Man in Black” by Johnny Cash.  In that song…Cash answers the question he was asked most of all….”why do you wear black all the time? “ So he wrote his answer into one of his most iconic songs.

So ….Why did we change our name from Visit Intel….to MergedAnalytics?  And while we are at it….what is the significance of those three dots in our logo!!!

Glad you asked. 

First the name change…

Visit Intel was a great name for what our product was when we started our company.

We were focused solely on reporting the COMPANY NAMES of the people who click on your website pages.  That information is priceless.  We still provide that intelligence via our proprietary IP Address technology but we have also gone through a natural evolution. 

Visit Intel evolved into something more than just website visits.

We added the ability for our users to create Custom Trackable SHORT URLs.  These short urls made our product very powerful and separated us from our peers. 

Many of our customers believe the Short URLs are the key to the entire platform. I would agree!

Now when someone wants to post a link either to social media or in their emails…when those links are clicked….our users know the COMPANY NAMES of the people who CLICKED them and WHERE they clicked that link.  The addition of SHORT URLs was the deciding factor for the name change in terms of making our platform more powerful and more useful to a larger audience.  

A “CLICK” on a link is not always a “VISIT”.  There are times when our users post links that have no relation to their website.  An example could be a posted link of an article or a press release. 

So…we felt that the name “Visit Intel” narrowly implies….”VISITS “to a website but NOT “CLICKS” on a posted URL.

We wrestled with many names before we settled on MERGEDANALYTICS.  Some names were descriptive of what do and some had no meaning at all.

We finally decided on one name.   Say goodbye to “Visit Intel”….Long Live “MergedAnalytics LLC”.

How MergedAnalytics Connects the Dots?

Connecting the DOTS

People ask us all the time…what is the significance of the three DOTS.

Each of the 3 dots represent the three main sources of data that our users use to analyze and gain a clear picture as to how people from Companies interact with their brand online.

Each one of those dots represent intelligence that when merged together allows for analysis to be performed helping you understand how people are interacted with your digital brand .

Dot 1 represents the website visitor intelligence delivered when someone from a company visits your website. 

We tell you…

  • The COMPANY NAME(s) of the person who clicked through your website
  • How they found your site
  • The pages they visited
  • How many times they returned
  • And more

Dot 2 represents the intelligence delivered regarding the people who clicked on Custom Trackable SHORT URLs you posted separated by Campaign to various social media sites.

Let’s imagine you want to drive people to a specific landing page.  Could be anything….an article, Press Release, a page on your website etc.

You would create a SHORT URL for that landing page for each social media site where you think your audience engages with your digital brand.  

You create Short URLs for that landing page for each social media site where you plan to post it.  Ie. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram .   When people click that SHORT URL….the intelligence that is delivered will allow you to analyze not only the COMPANY NAMES of the people who clicked it but ….you will understand which social media sites those clicks came from. 

You will understand if LinkedIn is a better place for your marketing efforts vs. Instagram or Twitter as an example.

Dot 3 is related to Dot 2 except we are focusing on posting SHORT URLs to the emails you send out.  You could place a Short URL in the body of an email and/or in your signature block.  When the people you are emailing click on your SHORT URLs in your emails…you will understand from which email (and/or campaign) that click came from. 

Integration with ESPs( email service providers) and CRMs (Contact Relationship Management )  can be set up as well to get down to the actual CONTACT information of the person who clicked that SHORT URL in your emails.

The value comes from MERGING ALL of those dots (data points) together so ANALYSIS can be performed.   Meaning….a person clicks a link from either an email or a social media post and then from there….click through pages on your website.

Connecting the DOTS

MergedAnalytics captures that entire journey from that initial click.

So those three DOTS are the foundation of our company.

MergedAnalytics connects the DOTs and creates the elusive bridge between your marketing efforts and your sales team!

While we are at it….the YOGA WOMAN on our website represents the Zen feeling our sales and marketing users experience when they use MergedAnalytics!!!

10 Reasons You Do Not Need MergedAnalytics

B2B Businesses large and small are using various Digital Marketing tools to understand the behaviors of the people at companies interacting with their brand online.  The online interaction between a person from a company with your company could originate from various places including…

  • Visiting your website following a live conversation
  • Clicking links posted on Social media
  • Clicking links posted in emails
  • Online keyword searches
  • Clicking on online ads

The interaction does not always end with just one click.  People will often click through multiple pages on your website and of course….return to your website various times after that initial visit.  98 percent of all website visitors click through websites anonymously never letting you know they were ever there.

MergedAnalytics delivers the COMPANY NAMES of the people who click on your posted links to social media and/or in your emails as well as the website pages clicked on your website. We then MERGE this information into one location for analysis so that you can understand the entire journey of the people at companies interested in your company.  You can also understand what their specific interests were while on your site.

For many companies, the information we provide is a game changer….however we recognize this tool may not be useful for all B2B companies.

Below are 10 reasons why a B2B company would NOT want to use MergedAnalytics….

  1.  Your business does not need new leads – If your business produces too many leads and you do not need anymore…Please stop reading now and take the rest of the day off.  The intelligence MergedAnalytics delivers is another resource you may have never had before that helps you not only understand the specific needs and interests of the people interacting with your company….but also the Company Names of those people clicking on your website and posted links. If your business does NOT need new leads….take the rest of the week off and your company does NOT need MergedAnalytics.
  2. Your business does not care if your existing customers are on your website – Do I really have to tell you that your existing customers are your best prospects?   By knowing the behavior of your existing customers who are clicking through your website pages will not only allow for you to provide better support but you will also put yourself in a better position to up-sell them as well. If you do not want to support and up-sell your existing customers… MergedAnalytics is not for you.
  3. Your business does not care to understand if the person you met at a networking event took the time to check out your website after you met them – You are at a networking event and had a great conversation with someone you met there.  You exchange cards and walk away from each other.  You are feeling good because that person seemed very interested in what your company has to offer.  You think you found a new prospect.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see if that person visited your website after that interaction? If not… MergedAnalytics is not for you.
  4. Your business does not have a social media presence – Understanding the entire journey of the people who interact with your brand from initial point of contact on to their final destination is no longer a nice to have.  Is your audience interacting with your company on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter?  By using Visit Intel Short URLs for the links you post to social media that is exactly the intelligence you will have.  You can also shrink and customize links you post to increase the chances of them getting clicked and shared.  If you have no social media presence…MergedAnalytics is not for you. Learn more about MergedAnalytics Short URLshttps://mergedanalytics.com/vzit-co
  5. Your business does not care if the company you are in the process of  closing a deal with is on your website looking at specific information that could help you close that deal – You present to a prospect and send them a proposal.  Then….silence.   Nothing. No communication for days.  You have no idea what their thoughts or concerns are about moving forward.  BUT…since you have MergedAnalytics, you start receiving MergedAnalytics Alerts via email showing you that the company is in fact still interested.  You can tell from the reports that they are focused on a specific service you provide on a specific page on your website.  This information allows you to proactively check in with them via email and send along reinforcing information about the topic they were spending time while on your website.   The intelligence delivered by MergedAnalytics will put you in a better position to win deals and shorten your sales cycle.  If understanding prospects concerns that could ultimately help you close a deal is not important….MergedAnalytics is not for you.
  6. Your business does not want to use tools that the big companies use to win more business – The big companies are ALL using tools that identify the Companies interacting with their brands and spend millions of dollars annually doing so.  MergedAnalytics levels the playing field for the smaller company that does not have the type of budgets like their bigger counterparts.  That is why MergedAnalytics is so compelling….for a small monthly fee of $59 paid annually , you are getting the same intelligence (in some cases better) than the big companies. If using tools that they big companies use is not important…MergedAnalytics is not for you.
  7. Your business does not care about the content being viewed on your website – Are you making sure the content your audience is reading on your website is still relevant?  By understanding where your audience is spending time on your website you will make sure the content they are reading is still relevant and up to date.  There may be pages on your website your audience is clicking on that may not have been updated or should be taken down altogether. If having a tool that will remind you to update or even remove information from you website is not important…MergedAnalytics is not for you.
  8. Your business does not care if your marketing and advertising dollars are being spent wisely – You may think the money spent on specific advertising and marketing campaigns are producing results as you  predicted they would.  MergedAnalytics reports what is actually going on….not what you think or want to happen.  We tell you where your traffic is coming from and how they got there.  You may think your ads on LinkedIn will drive the most social media traffic but Visit Intel may tell you it is Twitter or your Email campaigns producing the best results.  Understanding the effectiveness and success of your ad campaigns is just good money management. If you do not care to really understand where your money is best spent in terms of your ad and marketing strategies then MergedAnalytics is not for you.
  9. You believe Google Analytics (GA) gives you ALL the intelligence you need – GA does NOT give you the COMPANY NAMES of the people who click on your website.  GA also does NOT filter out the bots, crawlers and server clicks which jack up the total numbers of clicks you think you are getting.  What good is only having the number of clicks without knowing which COMPANY NAMES are doing the clicking….MergedAnalytics DOES filter out clicks from bots, crawlers and servers and we provide the COMPANY NAMES of the people doing the clicking.  If not knowing the COMPANY NAMES of the people who clicked through your website and if unfiltered click counts are not important to you…then you do not need MergedAnalytics.
  10. Your business does not want to bid on projects earlier than they normally would – If a company has a need and is doing their due diligence by clicking through your website…MergedAnalytics provides you with the ability to contact that company earlier than you normal would.   This early contact gives you an advantage over your competition.  This early information MergedAnalytics provides will also speed up your sales cycle and the cost of  that sale.  If bidding on projects earlier than normal is not important….MergedAnalytics is not for you.

More on MergedAnalytics Short URLs…vzit.co

 1. Ability to Track Performance

Aside from making URL Links shorter….Most URL shorteners provide analytical data about the people who have clicked those links. The same is true for vzit.co URL links (which is the URL shortening tool that comes with MergedAnalytics) only we take it a few steps further.  By tracking the success of posted URL links, a business can understand how their audience engages with their company.  The data allows your business to adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.  You can measure things like….Are you getting more clicks on your posted URLs in your email blasts vs LinkedIn postings vs Twitter postings?  The data may surprise you!

2.   SHORT URLs are….Shorter

Actually size DOES matter….with URLs.  When it comes to social media posts especially, saving every possible character is critical. Less is always more when it comes to this stuff.  Additionally …your custom short url can contain information about the article or landing page you want them to visit.  Short URLs can also contain information about your brand.  Here is an example of a vzit.co short url that contains  information about what you can expect if you decide to click on the url …. https://vzit.co/What-are-Short-URLs.  The subject of the article is in the URL link….”what are short urls”.

3.  Shorter URLs Promote Sharing

You want as many people to click on your posted url as possible.  If that was not true…why post it in the first place.

Which URL looks easier/safer to share?

https://www.livechatinc.com/url-shortener/8-reasons-why-to-use-url-shorteners/?partner=quora.com&utm_source=quora.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=post352346

Or

https://vzit.co/What-are-Short-URLs

Shorter links make sharing significantly easier, which promotes sharing as a whole. Branded Short URLs increases trust.  Short urls get clicked more than their longer counterparts.

4. Company Names

MergedAnalytics Short URLs provide a layer of analytics that even Google Analytics does not give you.  Aside from being able to tell you where that person clicked that short url link in the first place ie Facebook vs Linkedin….you will also know THE COMPANY NAME of the people clicking your short urls.

5. Higher Click through Rate

Using shortened url links will drastically increase your click through rate. Many of the reasons why were covered above.  In short…they appear more trustworthy.

An unshortened URL sticks out like a sore thumb and some readers might even consider it unprofessional.

Final Thoughts

All URL Links contain valuable data that can and should be leveraged.

Using a “SHORT URL Generator” like the one that comes with Visit Intel will not only increase your click through rate but will provide actionable intelligence that will help your business.

Additionally….If the MergedAnalytics Pixel is placed on your website pages your organization will understand the entire journey from the initial click on a short url to the other pages visited on your website or otherwise known as a sales and marketing person’s nirvana.

Create a vzit.co short url in minutes at no charge and see for yourself…. https://vzit.co/try_it_for_yourself

3 Reasons Marketing Agencies Are Adopting “MergedAnalytics” for their Customers

“MergedAnalytics” is a URL and Website Visitor Intelligence tool that provides businesses with the knowledge of which companies click on their posted URLs and website pages. It’s like Caller ID for your posted URLs and Website pages.

We did not plan for “Visit Intel” to become a favorite for Marketing Agencies to MergedAnalytics…but that is what is happening. As it turns out…companies are more apt to use tools from the companies they trust and already work with…. in this case their Marketing Agency Partners.

Below are 3 reasons why Marketing Agencies are integrating “MergedAnalytics” into their suite of customer offerings.

Synergy – Many marketers offer a wide range of services from lead generation, SEO, creating content and even website development. The URL and Website Visitor Intelligence that “MergedAnalytics” offers fit perfectly within most Marketing Agency offerings. Unless actual leads and/or sales increase… measuring the effectiveness of how your marketing partner is actually helping your business can be arbitrary and tough to quantify at best.

Marketers like the way “MergedAnalytics” can serve as a score card and verification that their efforts are adding value even if there is no measurable impact to their customer’s bottom line.

How? Unless a person from a company identifies themselves to you in some way by opting in, filling out a form or even signing up for demo…they will remain anonymous resulting in lost opportunity. You will never know there was interest in your company. How would you know they were ever on your website or clicked on a URL link they found on LinkedIn in the first place? Why “MergedAnalytics” of course.

Marketers create and distribute content through various channels like social media and email campaigns in effort to make your audience aware of your offerings. There is usually some “call to action” to get you to download a white paper, sign up for a demonstration/consultation or gasp…make a purchase.

Even if someone starts filling out a form on your website and then gets distracted and does not finish…”MergedAnalytics” would still generate an automatic notification that would tell you that someone from a specific company visited your website and visited the page where they had to fill out a form. You will know what other pages they clicked through as well. This is incredible information. Maybe that person will be back and finish filling out the form they started. Or… Maybe you start to see a trend where many people visit that page with the sign up form…. but DO NOT finish filling out that form. This gives you the ability to react to this information…perhaps adjust that form and make it more user friendly and simpler to fill out.

Short URLs: As I mentioned above…marketers are constantly posting URL links on social media and in email campaigns. These URLs could be Press Releases, Landing Pages or any other “Calls to Action”. While Google Analytics will give you the Clicks and Visits information…knowing which specific Companies clicked on your posted URLs and in some cases the actual person… is pure Gold.

By using the “MergedAnalytics” SHORT URL generator for all of your posted URLs…you will understand which specific URLs were clicked and even more importantly WHERE they were clicked and…where those people go after that initial URL click.

If you have a specific landing page URL and post that same URL to Facebook, Twitter , LinkedIn and as part of an email campaign ….by utilizing the “MergedAnalytics” SHORT URL generator…you will know where clicks originally came along with the company names of the people doing the clicking.   This gives you the insight to understand where your audience is interacting with your URL posts the most. Are you getting more clicks from Twitter vs LinkedIn? Visit Intel will tell you this information plus the Company information.

White Labeling – Although I love and am proud of the name “MergedAnalytics”… Many of our Marketing Partners prefer to Brand “MergedAnalytics” with their own logos, coloring etc. They White Label “MergedAnalytics” so there is no mention of the “MergedAnalytics” brand anywhere. A White Labeled version of “MergedAnalytics” will look like it belongs to the Marketing Agency you are working with but with the exact same functionality available with a normal “MergedAnalytics” install.

There is a very logical reason they prefer their branding over ours.

“Top of Mind Presence

Marketers understand that the “MergedAnalytics” notifications represent a rare opportunity to stay in front of their customers every single day. The emailed alerts give them the elusive “top of mind presence”. This means that their customers will see their logo and branding and will be reminded throughout the day that THEY are the people who are delivering valuable information that is helping grow your business.

As I mentioned above…every time someone from a company clicks on one of your posted URLs to social media or in an email campaign and/or clicks on your website…you will receive a “MergedAnalytics” notification via email that looks like the one below…

The Notifications come in with “MergedAnalytics” branding all over it and from a MergedAnalytics.com email address domain.

A marketing agency wants their customers to see THEIR branding, their domain and wants their customers to contact them if there are questions.

To Learn More visit… https://mergedanalytics.com/