Media Coverage

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How to Leverage Reviews and Recommendations in Your Marketing

July 09, 2018

By Jeannine Richard, Director of Digital Services at Wakefly, a Kentico Gold Partner

Happy customers have the potential to be your brand’s biggest cheerleaders. Make sure that you are doing your part to let their voices be heard by leveraging reviews and recommendations as part of your marketing strategy.

The benefits of positive customer or product reviews are pretty obvious. They help you to build brand awareness and reputation. They can also heavily influence buying decisions for new customers who may be on the fence about a purchase. By giving them the ability to read reviews from other customers, it will build trust and give them peace of mind. Whenever possible, make the reviews feel more personal by using a photo of the reviewer (with their permission) or leveraging video testimonials.

We all feel better about making a decision when we know that others who made the same decision had a great experience. For example, whenever I find myself in an unfamiliar city and need to grab lunch, I go online and check out the reviews of local restaurants to determine where would be a good place to go. There are so many options to choose from so being able to learn from others’ experiences makes me feel confident I am going to make a good choice and have a delicious meal.

How Do Reviews Impact Your Search Rankings?

There are also SEO benefits to having reviews and recommendations on your website. Businesses that display Google Organic Star rankings next to them in search results are more likely to get clicks. There are a few different sources where those reviews will populate from but we’ll focus on the one you likely have the most control over—reviews on your website. In order to make sure that the reviews from your website are being included in search results, you need to make sure that you are using proper schema markup on your site.

This can be done manually using the schema markup guidelines provided on Schema.org. For review schema, you can find the correct markup to use here. AggregateRating schema is used for displaying the average rating based on multiple reviews. You can also get more granular and use Local Business schema or Product schema markup to denote the type of review. Including this type of structured data within your pages helps search engines more quickly and accurately understand the type of content on your site so that it’s displayed prominently in search engine results.

Depending on your website’s platform, you may also be able to leverage third-party plugins that insert this markup into your pages for you. WordPress gives you a lot of options like WP customer review and WP SEO Structured Data Schema. These options are great for non-techy types to get the correct structured data in place on their site without having to know how to write code.

One other handy tool to be aware of when it comes to structured data and schema is Google’s structured data testing tool. If you are not sure if you have the correct structure to your schema markup, you can copy and paste it into this tool, and it will verify it for you. It gives you a preview and provides any errors or warnings.

How Should You Handle Negative Reviews?

While we all want positive reviews and recommendations, it’s not always realistic that everyone is going to be a fan. There is even some value in seeing an occasional neutral or negative review because it means the reviews are authentic. Although you cannot stop someone from leaving a negative review, you can control how you respond to the interaction, and you might even have a chance to turn it around.

When someone takes the time to write a review for your business or product, it’s a good practice to acknowledge and reply to them – no matter the tone of the review. This is an important aspect of community building and community management. Replies should be unique, positive and brief.

If you receive a negative review and want to respond, don’t argue with the customer—no matter what. If possible, offer to reach out to them further to discuss the negative experience with them. By demonstrating how you address customer concerns and complaints in a positive manner, it shows other potential customers how much you value customer service.  Also, some review platforms will hold reviews for a week to give you the opportunity to turn the negative review into a positive review.

So…How Do I Get Reviews?

The simplest way to get reviews is to ask. Start with your key customers who you feel confident you have a great relationship and ask if they would be willing to write a recommendation for your business or a review of your product. This will help you get started, and likely you won’t have to worry about any surprises in terms of the type of review you receive. Then going forward, you should be incorporating asking for reviews and feedback into your daily customer service processes. You should always be encouraging customer feedback.

You may also want to try incentivizing customers to leave a review but giving them something in return. As long as you don’t tie the incentive into them leaving a positive review. For example, Wakefly offers free services for referring new clients.

Ultimately, you just need to keep a focus on it and remember to ask for reviews. Your happy customers will become an extension of your sales team and help you attract new business.

Jeannine Richard is the Director of Digital Services at Wakefly

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Businesses Embracing Headless CMS Technology at Faster than Expected Pace

June 22, 2018

Global survey by Kentico anticipates headless CMS adoption to double in the next 12 monhs

BEDFORD, N.H., June 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kentico Software, a fast-growing  provider of Content Management Systems (CMS) with offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, has just finished surveying nearly 1000 developers, marketers, and other CMS practitioners in 85 countries around the globe and collected some surprising results. While the concept of headless CMS has only been around for a few years, it has nevertheless gained a serious amount of momentum.

The survey, which specifically targeted business and technology users, found that 55% of those surveyed are aware of headless CMS; 29% of those who have this awareness  were already using headless CMS technology; and another 38% expected to be doing so within the next 12 months.

The primary reason respondents gave for making the move to headless CMS included centralizing content management in one place (48%), flexibility (47%), and building lightweight websites (44%). The complete survey results can be found at https://kenticocloud.com/state-of-headless-cms-2018.

Headless CMS Set to Disrupt the Market
“Headless CMS represents the biggest disruption to the CMS market in the past 15 years and it’s going to change the way people work with content,” said Petr Palas, Kentico’s Founder and CEO. “As companies need to deliver an omnichannel customer experience across a growing number of channels and devices, they encounter the limits of traditional web-oriented CMS systems and increasingly look for alternatives that will help them future-proof their content. Headless CMS is that alternative.”

Adoption Rate Expected to Double in the next 12 months
“Given what we are seeing in this study,” concluded Palas, “we expect the adoption of headless CMS to double in the next 12 months.”

He continued, “The adoption will continue to be driven primarily by technologists who want to use modern front-end frameworks and microservices architecture, avoiding the limitations of traditional CMS systems. At the same time, we see a growing number of organizations who look to consolidate their content into a single content hub and deliver it across multiple websites and mobile applications, as well as emerging channels such as chatbots, digital assistants, augmented or virtual reality, IoT devices, and others.”

About Kentico
Kentico Software was launched with one vision in mind—to build exceptional digital platforms that allow clients to connect with their customers, surpass their business goals, and achieve digital marketing and e-commerce success.

Kentico’s products include Kentico EMS, the all-in-one CMS, E-commerce, and Online Marketing platform, and Kentico Cloud, the comprehensive cloud-first headless CMS.

Kentico EMS allows you to manage content, contacts and campaigns, track customer journeys, provide global e-commerce functionality, and measure and analyze the results to create and manage customer experiences easily in a dynamic business environment.

Kentico Cloud allows you to manage structured content for omnichannel delivery and use Kentico Cloud’s API to display that content and provide a personalized digital experience on any website or device.

Kentico has 1,000 digital solution partners and powers 25,000 websites across 100 countries. Founded in 2004, Kentico is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner headquartered in the Czech Republic with offices in the US, UK, Netherlands, Australia and Singapore. Customers include Twinings, Ingram Micro, Mazda, Kingspan, Hyundai, Segway, and Allergan.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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Cloud Adoption, on-premise & data protection in the boardroom

June 22, 2018

By Bart Omlo

Over the last five years, cloud computing has matured to a point when it has become a trusted alternative to on-premise systems. Initially, the technology wasn’t developed enough and there were concerns about its stability and security. Today, a growing number of companies adopt a cloud-first strategy and look at cloud solutions as the preferred option. Even financial or government sectors that tend to be rather conservative are now adopting public cloud technologies.

An important point is how the boardroom’s view of cloud computing has changed. For many organizations, the transition to the cloud became part of their digital transformation. While the boardroom executives may not understand all the technical details, they see cloud as a way of increasing their agility which is so important in the new digital age. With cloud, they can simply outsource a big part of the technical complexity and focus on their day-to-day business.

What are the main reasons businesses adopt cloud services and applications today?

When it comes to the cloud, the biggest benefits have always been the cost savings and flexibility. Initially, a lot of companies were quite sceptical of having their content outside their walls but quickly found the scalability, and potentially tremendous reduction in expenses was well worth the move. These days, integrating systems and finding synergies between platforms is easier than ever, empowering even more organizations to adopt commoditized infrastructure. Because the capabilities of the platform are ever expanding, the barriers to entry are constantly being removed as more organizations realize the value of cloud-hosted solutions.

What are the ongoing challenges of cloud adoption?

Companies will always be protective of their data and with good reason. With new security breaches announced daily, it’s imperative that organizations define and adopt strict security guidelines for protecting the information they collect and how it is used. Because of geography and compliance limitations, many of these regulations often present a challenge to companies wishing to move to the cloud. Cloud vendors are constantly looking to remove these roadblocks, however, some government and private sector organizations continue to shy away from cloud-hosted technologies, citing security and accessibility concerns. Additionally, many businesses have previously made significant investments in on-premise infrastructure, prohibiting them from abandoning their current solution for a cloud-based model.

When it comes to security and data privacy, businesses should always pay attention. However, they shouldn’t presume the public cloud would be less secure by design. It’s always important to look at the given situation and ask yourself “What are the risks of putting my data into public cloud?” and “How do I make my data more secure by keeping them on-premise?” Data privacy is obviously a major topic due to the GDPR and it’s important to understand the implications of storing personal data in a cloud service. In particular, you need to know where the data is stored and how it’s managed. Some cloud service providers are ready to answer these vital questions, while others – especially those who do not operate in Europe – are still trying to figure out how to become compliant.

Will there be a time when business-critical information is migrated from on-premise to the public cloud?

Business-critical information is already being migrated to the public cloud. Just have a look at how many companies rely on public cloud services for their emails, documents, CRM, accounting or Content Management Systems for their website. For these systems, cloud will become a standard for most organizations – the rate of adoption is only a matter of time.

There will always be organizations with some very specific requirements and they may keep running certain systems on-premise or in a private cloud. But their number will shrink significantly over time.

What advantages to businesses that are ‘born in the cloud’ have over legacy businesses?

The challenge of legacy businesses is that they aren’t able to move all their systems to the cloud in one step. So they may need to combine on-premise and cloud services at the same time and ensure they’re integrated. As a result, their initial investment is higher and they will see the benefits over a longer period of time. The cloud-native businesses have the freedom to choose their own stack of cloud services that meet their needs best and start using them right away. Modern cloud services enable a much easier integration using standardized APIs (application programming interfaces) and often come with out-of-the-box connectors to other major cloud services.

Are we reaching a saturation point for the industry or is there still further to go in driving adoption and understanding?

Cloud computing will never fully replace on-premise solutions. There will continue to be a market for both, as organizations determine which solution is the best fit for their business. While there has been significant adoption of the cloud in the industry, many other organizations have not yet moved their systems, due to previous investments in on-premise infrastructure. Until those companies feel the pain of updating their hardware to the latest systems, there will continue to be a need for the promotion and advocacy of the cloud within the community. And due to the accelerated evolution and innovation of the platform, the need for education on cloud capabilities and usefulness is always present.

In the future, expect to see businesses continue adopting the cloud due to increasing competitive forces in the market. As the markets evolve ever more quickly, businesses clearly need to become much agiler – from the Boardroom down – and that’s where cloud can definitely help.

Bart Omlo is senior VP Sales EMEA and Latin America at Kentico Software. He has more than 15 years of experience in the web content management and online marketing industry. As former CEO of a Dutch web agency and member of the European JBoye CMS Expert Group, he has a broad vision on the changing world of internet technology and how businesses can benefit from it.

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