Take your music everywhere with BumpOut, the portable speaker designed for versatility. That was Zac Pierce’s initial idea when creating technology. They hit an early milestone by reaching their crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo in 4 days, pre-selling the speaker at a discounted price to backers. What’s neat about the speaker is it’s Motorized Expansion Technology™, where it expands to generate high-quality audio and rich bass. It connects through Bluetooth with a range of 30 feet and runs for 7 hours before the next charge. You can attach the speaker to any smooth surface with the BumpOut coins, including your phone. We connected with Zac Pierce and the BumpOut team to learn more about the innovative technology behind their portable speaker.
How would you describe BumpOut?
BumpOut is a portable Bluetooth speaker that can fit in the palm of your hand and attach to any flat surface, including smartphones, mirrors, refrigerators, etc. The most unique feature is the speaker’s Motorized Expansion System. With one click of a button, the center of the speaker raises, generating high-quality sound & bass that drowns out the most competing products.
What is BumpOut’s mission?
Inspire and innovate for those that boldly do what they love, not just what they are told. BumpOut as a verb. Be inspired and work hard as it inspires others.
How does BumpOut differentiate from competitor portable speakers?
The main differences are portability and innovation. We have engineered a speaker with a sleek design that fits comfortably in your pocket and can attach directly to your phone or case. Truly portable. Our patented Motorized Expansion Technology™ is an audio industry breakthrough. With the push of a button, the casing of the speaker expands, creating an acoustic chamber that results in powerful, high-quality sound, and rich bass response. We then paired this technology with BumpOut Coins that feature a patented repositionable adhesive that allows you to attach the speaker to any smooth surface, even your smartphone.
When you look at the crowded space of Bluetooth speakers there is a lot of “stuff” under $50 that leaves you wanting more: not loud enough, does not connect to your device easily, poor sound quality, etc… OR if you are willing to spend north of $150 you can get something that might meet your needs but is a big investment. We believe, after extensive research, that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get the results you are looking for. There is an opportunity in the market for a quality portable speaker under $100.
Who is the ideal BumpOut customer?
Anyone who listens to music on their smartphone and wants the latest innovation in audio at an affordable price. We are proud that we have been able to incorporate game-changing technology into BumpOut, but the #1 focus is “quality of music”. That is why we partnered with the top audio engineers in the country and hired a high-end audio manufacturer to make BumpOut. It needs to sound great and your listening experience needs to be enjoyable.
Describe the use of the coin mounts.
BumpOut comes with coins that can be placed on any smooth flat surface so you can have your soundtrack at home or on the go. Coins have a repositionable adhesive that can be removed and repositioned. BumpOut speaker connects directly to the coins. Our test markets showed us that most youths will place the coin on the mirror in the bathroom so they can connect the speaker (to the mirror) while showering or getting ready for school or going out. Most parents said they will place a coin in the kitchen on the refrigerator so they can attach the speaker and listen to music while making dinner. Almost everyone we surveyed will place a coin on their smartphone for true portability and improve the “sub-par” audio quality and volume smartphones currently provide. Speaker does not need to be attached to the coin to listen to the music. The coins provide an extra feature to mount your speaker in various locations or, if attached to your smartphone, allows for easy portability.
What are some perks of crowdfunding?
Customer engagement. We have been working on this project for 2 years and have spent our own nest eggs on getting to this point. Crowdfunding has allowed us to engage with our customers and backers and bring validity to all of our efforts. You never really know what you have until you “flip the switch” on sales. To hit our Indiegogo goal in 4 days confirms everything we have been working towards.
What are some challenges you’ve come across along the way?
The biggest challenge with hardware is capital. It is very expensive to manufacture a product, which is why Crowdfunding is such an important process. Also, finding helpful resources for hardware development in Philadelphia is a challenge. We have kept our resources very organized and hope to be able to aid others in the city.
What is your team like?
The core of the team is Founder Zac Pierce and partners Brian Zamrowski and Mat Chacko. We have surrounded ourselves with high-level specialists to ensure that we are delivering the best possible product for an affordable price.
What is BumpOutU?
We believe in today’s youth. By providing guidance and exposure to career paths that foster individual talents, we aim to make a meaningful impact on the Creators of tomorrow. Our first live event held on October 8th brought community leaders, entrepreneurs, and students together for a day of bumping music and breakout sessions developed to inspire creativity and ideas backed by positive action. With our backers’ support, our commitment to BumpOutU, and proactive approach to making a difference will scale along with our company.
How did you advertise?
On a budget! In these earliest stages, we rely heavily on PR and focus on technology and audio outlets.
What are some tips you can give to entrepreneurs looking to crowdfund?
It is a LOT of work but, if you go into it with a plan of what you want to learn from the process, it is extremely helpful. You learn about what features really resonate with your consumers.
Best Social Media Management Software For Marketers
Whether you’re running a small mom-and-pop shop or a mega-corporation, social media has become a crucial part of marketing in this day and age. In fact, statistics tell us that 3.6 billion people worldwide are on social media in 2020. This number is even expected to swell up to 4.41 billion in 2025, so having a solid social media presence now will surely pay off in the coming years.
With those figures in mind, it’s no wonder that social media management software is on-demand among marketers. These systems help ventures maintain a consistent presence on the information superhighway. And more importantly, they power up campaigns, boosting engagement and trust.
Here are some of the best social media management tools 2020 you might want to consider for your business.
Sendible lets users efficiently craft tailored posts for each platform. For instance, your Facebook post doesn’t need to look like it’s just an echo of your post on Instagram. To do that, they offer a platform where you can plan your content and strategy in one place. Aside from that, the system also offers analytics where you can gain dynamic insights from your social data. This can help inform your future campaigns and gear them for success.
Pricing: Sendible’s most affordable package, Starter, comes at $29 per month, designed for solopreneurs. Their most popular option, Growth, costs $199 per month, which comes with seven users and 105 services.
Buffer social media is one of the most popular marketing tools available today. They promise to tell the brand’s story and grow their clients’ audience with a platform that offers publishing, analytics, and engagement capabilities. Aside from publishing content, they also allow users to measure performance, get insights, and create reports in order to grow reach and engagement. As a result, the system can help you generate more sales.
Pricing: Buffer offers two types of packages. The first one is for publishing posts and starts at $15 per month. The second package type is for social media analytics, starting at $35 a month.
Sprout Social is another popular social media management software used by ventures of all sizes. More than helping automate content, they strive to “build and grow stronger relationships on social.” And how do they do that? By helping clients understand and reach their audience and encourage community engagement.
Pricing: Their most popular package, professional comes at $149 per user per month. This comes with capabilities to publish, schedule, draft, and queue posts to ten social profiles. They also offer profiles, keywords, and locations monitoring as well as tasking and social CRM tools. The package provides competitive reports for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so if you’re getting traffic from those channels, Sprout Social is worth a try.
Many marketers swear by Zoho social for shouldering a big chunk of their business operation needs. Its social media management software is only a part of its powerful suite designed to run the business, making the process a lot easier and more convenient. This suite includes an end-to-end CRM with capabilities for everything from project tracking to smart accounting.
Pricing: For its social software, the most affordable package comes at $10 per month, which includes a two-member access to seven channels.
Hootsuite has been around since 2008. And in an industry where trends come and go in a snap, 12 years of experience counts for a lot. Like other players, Hootsuite allows users to manage their social media in one place, helping ventures make the most out of every channel. From finding and scheduling content to present analytics, they make social media management a walk in the park.
Pricing: If the budget is tight, you might find Hootsuite free to be a very useful resource sans the price tag. It allows users to manage up to three social media accounts and schedule up to 30 posts per month. If your marketing needs require a lot more, their most affordable package, Professional, costs $19 per month. It comes with unlimited scheduling for ten social media profiles for one user.
Later prides itself as “the world’s favorite Instagram marketing platform.” This social media management software allows users to plan social posts and publish automatically. Added to that, users can also get tailored insights to improve their campaigns and reach more people. If you find it time-consuming to create posts daily, this platform enables you to schedule them a month in advance. This day, you’ll consistently have fresh content sans the hassle.
Pricing: If you’re looking for social media management tools free of charge, you’ll surely appreciate Later. They offer a free-forever package that includes one social set and 30 posts per social profile for one user. Despite the free offering, many users find their paid options worth it. In fact, their most popular package costs $16.5 per month and comes with more than one social set, 150 posts per social profile, and three to five users.
Review: The Truth About 99Designs
Getting graphic design work done can often be a challenge. Where do you even start? Hiring a full-time graphic designer is expensive and risky. Hiring a freelancer online can take a bit of time. And often times, your designer works in a completely different timezone, making collaboration near impossible.
That’s where 99Designs come in. The company offers a talent-sourcing platform where you can create a design contest and have designers from all over the world submit their entry. You pay 1 flat fee for the contest and guaranteed many drafts. Sounds too good to be true? Let’s find out!
In order to review 99designs accurately, we prepared several projects to submit on the platform. These projects are things that we actually have a need for and may use if the design results returned are good enough.
We’ll go through the entire process that 99designs laid out and follow all rules and instructions given to us. Upon receiving the design work, we’ll pass it around internally to 10 people in our office and simply give a yay or nay. Whatever the results are, will be the numerical grade given. Let’s begin!
What 99designs can do?
In short, just about anything but they’re limited to just graphic design. In our quick 99designs analysis, they offer the following design services:
- Logo & identity
- Web & app design
- Business & advertising
- Books & magazines
- And more…(the remaining categories are a bit obscured or too niche to list)
It’s a fairly extensive list and seems like if you’re a new startup or business, they’ll cover most of your initial design needs.
What 99designs CANNOT do
As the name implied, 99designs only offers graphic design. They can design a website or app for you, but you will need an independent development team to code it. 99designs also currently don’t offer content support, which isn’t that unusual. Whatever you want designed, you’ll need to provide all of the content before hand.
And that also means you need to do all the proofreading as well. Whatever you submit to be designed, will be designed. The designers usually won’t comment or question your grammar mistakes. So be sure to double and triple check all your content before submitting it to be designed.
Another thing to note, 99designs cannot deliver on time. The delivery runs on a rather flexible schedule that can take up to 2 weeks or longer. So if you need something done fast, 99designs may not be the best solution, even with the expedited delivery add-on purchase.
99designs’ ACTUAL pricing
When we audit 99designs’ pricing structure, we found a few of their categories to be confusing. Categories such as Logos, Web & app design, and Business Advertising can be misleading or vague. For example, when choosing a logo design, you might think you have to buy one of their packages that starts at $349. But with a bit of patience and knowing where to navigate, you can actually just buy a single logo design without any add-ons.
To avoid confusion, I’m going to break down a few of the categories below just so you know exactly how things are priced.
4 Different Tiers
After you fill out the first page of the project brief, 99designs will ask you to pick a tier. The lowest tier will give you the fewest number of design submissions and will usually be assigned to junior artists. Meanwhile the more expensive tiers get more design submissions and often given to more experienced designers.
The price breakdown below assumes you’re going with the lower price tiers, since that’s what most people tend to choose.
Logo & identity prices
Logo alone: $299
Packages: 5 packages offered between $349 – $599
Web design, Website Re-design, and WordPress Theme design prices
The $599 promotional price is NOT for an entire website design or re-design. This is just for ONE page. If you want multiple pages to be designed, 99designs will charge you PER PAGE. The more pages you want designed, the most it will cost. However, you’ll get a steeper discount per page if you request multiple pages at once.
As of now, 99designs only offer up to 5 pages designed initially. If you need more than 5 pages designed, you’ll likely need to hire a designer from 99designs afterward to continue working on the project.
1 page = $599.
2 pages = $749.
3 pages = $899.
4 pages = $1049
5 pages = $1199
Landing page design prices
Landing pages are charged at a flat rate of $349 since it’s just 1 page. There are no options for multiple pages. If you want additional pages to be designed afterward, you’ll have to create another $349 landing page contest, and that’s not cost-effective. If you have a landing page with multiple pages, you’ll have to cough $599 for the web design package.
App design prices
For the advertised price of $599, you are NOT getting an entire app designed. You’re paying PER page of the app to be designed. The more pages you want done, the more it’ll cost. But it’s the initial page design that will cost the most. The more pages you need done, the cheaper it is per page to be designed.
1 screen = $599
2 screens = $699
3 screens = $799
4 screens = $899
5 screens = $999
Business & advertising
The prices for Business & advertising are all over the place and might not make any sense. For example, why does it cost $299 for an Album cover design…when it costs only $199 for a Podcast cover? They’re both square dimension graphics with basically the same requirements. If you need an Album cover design, you can just request a “Podcast cover” to save money.
Anyway, here’s a breakdown of what you can get at each different price points.
Starting at $149: Billboard, Tradeshow banner, Banner,
Starting at $199: Postcard, Flyer, Leaflet, Direct Mail, Poster, Podcast cover, Signage, Menu, Website header, Resume, Word Template, Tradeshow Booth, Other business advertising
Starting at $299: Album cover, Brochure, Booklet, Pamphlet, Email, Email newsletter, Powerpoint template,
Starting at $349: Car/truck/van wrap
Starting at $599: Infographic
In addition to the base cost of the project, you can pay for additional add-ons.
Dedicated support: For a price of $129 extra, you can have access to dedicated customer support should you run into any problems.
Guaranteed: This doesn’t cost anything, but it basically negates your 100% money-back guarantee with 99designs. The reason they offer this is because how designers are paid. Often times, they’re paid pennies for participating in your design contest. Out of possible 20 – 30 design submissions, they will only get paid a reasonable fee IF you choose their design.
If you request a refund, no one gets paid. Therefore, if you choose this option, designers have more confidence that there’s a stronger chance you’ll commit.
Here’s what 99designs promises if you choose to negate your guarantee.
- Have more designers participating
- Receive 50% more designs on average
- Get a wider range of creativity
Private contest: This $59 add-on gives you the assurance that your design/intellectual property won’t be leaked onto Google or used by designer. Designer will sign an NDA to ensure they protect your privacy. You can even use your own NDA.
Duration: Typical turnaround for 1st draft is 4 days. Need the design in a hurry? Pay a small fee for expedited delivery.
99designs pricing review
Overall, the prices can fluctuate quite a bit depending on which tier you select and how many add-ons you buy. I wouldn’t say 99designs prices are cheap, because they’re fairly expensive for just 1 design. They are cheaper than hiring an in-house designer or a design agency, but there are definitely much cheaper options. The one benefit of 99designs’ model is that you get a lot of drafts for that price, so you have much more to choose from during each round of revisions.
How long it REALLY takes to get your designs
There’s 5 rounds total that you need to go through before you can get your design files. Each round can take anywhere from 1-2 days up to 14 days to complete. Most of that does depend on you. If you give feedback quickly, you’ll get your design files much faster. Here’s a breakdown of the 5 rounds.
Round 1: Qualifying round (4-5 days)
In this round, 99design sends your project out to all qualified designers in their talent pool. Designers can choose to accept or ignore your contest. Once enough designers have accepted your contest and submitted their design work, you move onto Round 2.
Round 2: Select finalists (4 days)
It’s probably 4-5 days now since you started the contest and your designs are finally in. You’ll have a lot of designs to choose from. Now you have 4 days to review the designs and select up to 6 designs that you like. Any designs you don’t select will be rejected. Designs you select gets to move onto the next round.
During this round, there’s a 99designs review feature that lets you share the submissions with others via a shareable link. You have 4 days to select your finalists! Once chosen, the contest will be moved to the 3rd round.
Round 3: Final round (3 days)
In this round, you’ll need to leave revisions for the selected finalists. Your finalists will work on as much revisions as you give them in this round. If you don’t like something, you can request more revisions and they’ll keep submitting. Keep in mind you only have 3 days for this round.
Round 4: Choose a winner
Contest is now officially over and a winner must be selected. In this round, you can create and send a poll to everyone you want feedback from to see which design is the best. You can only select 1 winner.
Round 5: Handover (5 days?!)
Your designer now has up to 5 days to hand over all of the design files and any copyright materials to you. Yes, you read that right. 5 days.
So…how long does it really take?
Let’s assume that you’re super responsive and you complete YOUR part the same day 99designs notify you…
Round 1: 4 days for all initial designs to come in
Round 2: 1 day to select finalists (because you’re responsive)
Round 3: 3 days for final round of revisions
Round 4: 1 day to pick a winner (because you want the files fast!)
Round 5: 1-5 days to get files
So you’re looking at between 10 – 14 days to complete a single design project. If you’re a new startup or business that doesn’t have strict deadlines to meet, this delivery window is perfectly fine. If you’re more established and looking for someone to help you meet an aggressive marketing schedule, 99designs may not work for you.
How to get QUALITY designs from 99designs?
If you’re coming to 99designs with a limited budget for graphic design, then chances are your results will vary. From my experience, the lower tier designers often just use templated graphics from Freepik or Envato.
If you want high quality designs from 99designs, here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Sign up for higher tier: Choose Gold or Platinum plans. They’re significantly more expensive, but that’s what you need to get experienced designer’s attention.
- Fill EVERYTHING out: When creating your project brief, do not skip any steps. Fill out as much information as you can and spend time creating a solid brief.
- Give additional examples: The last field on most form will ask “Is there anything else you would like to communicate to the designers?”. Use this opportunity to give more information. Also include even more examples of what you like and don’t like. This helps the designer narrow down your preferences.
Pros & Cons of 99designs
We’ll start with the PROS
- Affordable compared to hiring an inhouse designer
- No hiring or managing of designers. They do all of that for you.
- Lots of designs to choose from for each round
- One platform can cover most of your design needs
- Easy to use platform
- Clear indicator of how far along your design is
- Offers a 100% money back guarantee
Now for the CONS
Who is 99designs really for?
99designs is best suited for startups, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and anyone just starting out. The prices are affordable and you get a lot of selections. Having 20+ drafts submitted to you is a great benefit, especially if you’re starting out and have no idea exactly how you want to brand yourself.
For larger businesses, marketing teams, and agencies, 99designs may not be the best fit given how expensive the bill will eventually be if you need 10+ designs per month. The 10 – 14 day delivery window can also be a major setback if you’re trying to meet deadlines.
- Can get expensive if you have consistent design needs
- 10 – 14 day delivery
- Design quality is mediocre unless you’re willing to pay a premium
- No real way to interact with designer except through feedback
- Customer support is a paid add-on
Top SEO Softwares Trusted by The Pros
Online visibility has become a priority for most businesses. They want to reach their target market, increase website traffic, and eventually convert them into customers. As such, many companies go to great lengths to ensure their place in Google’s first page. And by using the best SEO software applications, they can get ahead of the competition and drive more traffic to their site.
In this article, check out the 8 best SEO applications that the Pros trust the most.
No list is complete without mentioning Moz. They offer the leading SEO software that most pros use for all their SEO efforts, the Moz Pro. It’s the all-in-one and well-revered SEO application for pros and beginners alike. Their Moz Pro software includes keyword research, site ranking and audit, and reporting.
By using Moz Pro, some have had successes with organic traffic, automated keyword research and reporting, and link building strategies. Sites like Trivago and Zillow use Moz for their SEO strategies.
Moz does offer a free but limited plan. With this, you can access Mozscape API, MozBar, Link Explorer, and Check My Presence. But, if you want to power up your SEO game, you can choose among the following plans:
- Standard ($99/mo)
- Medium ($149/mo)
- Large ($249/mo)
- Premium ($599/mo)
SEMRush is more than just one of the best SEO software applications out there. They offer social media management, content marketing, and advertising tools. Companies like eBay, Amazon, and Forbes trust SEMRush.
Those who want to try out their platform can do so for only 7 days but still get access to all their available tools. With that said, users will get much more out of a paid plan.
Users can choose among three plans:
- Pro ($99.95/mo)
- Guru ($199.95/mo)
- Business ($399.95/mo)
Many SEO experts believe that you should also be on the lookout for your competitors. After all, you’re after the same target market. And that’s where SpyFu comes in. While other SEO software applications keep track of your competitors, SpyFu has become the go-to for many SEO pros.
Aside from SEO Competitor Research, they can also monitor their competitor’s AdWords, check backlinks, and view their keyword rankings and SERP. Not to mention, they also have “Member Perks.” This means any subscriber can get discounts from select services and tools like TrustPilot and AdAlysis.
Like most SEO software applications on this list, you can subscribe to monthly plans when using SpyFu. You can choose among their three plans here:
- Basic ($39/mo)
- Professional ($79/mo)
- Team ($299/mo)
Many experts hail Ahrefs as one of the best SEO software applications they’ve used. Like Moz, it offers many features like site audit, keyword research, content explorer, and more! Companies like Uber, Netflix, and LinkedIn use Ahrefs as well.
You can avail of a $7 trial for 7 days to explore their software. Other than that, you can also get limited access to free tools. But it’s much better to subscribe to get the most out of their tools and resources.
As pricing goes, you have four options:
- Lite ($99/mo)
- Standard ($179/mo)
- Advanced ($399/mo)
- Agency ($999/mo)
If keywords are the only thing you want to research or analyze, KWFinder is what most SEO experts use. It can help users find the most difficult keywords to rank, learn volume and metrics, and know long-tail keywords. Brands like Airbnb, Adidas, and Alexa love using KWFinder.
If you’re in the process of trying platforms, you can use KWFinder free for 10 days!
KWFinder is under Mangools, where you can also subscribe to other SEO tools like SERPChecker, SERPWatcher, SiteProfiler, and LinkMiner.
In terms of pricing, you have three choices:
- Basic ($29.90/mo)
- Premium ($39.90/mo)
- Agency ($79.90/mo)
If backlinking is a strategy you want to pursue, Majestic has become the partner for most SEO experts. By using Majestic, you can increase the trustworthiness of your site. Plus, you can check how trustworthy a site is before you link to them.
Since its focus is only on backlinking, you’ll have data and resources for all links you want to analyze. Plus, you can even spy on your competitor’s backlinks as well.
You can subscribe to any of their three available plans:
- Lite ($49.99/mo)
- Pro ($99.99/mo)
- API ($399.99/mo)
7. Google Search Console
Any SEO expert will tell you that the Google Search Console (GSC) is one of the best SEO software applications. Why? Well, for one, even SEO beginners will understand the data and tools used in the platform. But if you need more information, you can also search for handy guides. In no time, you’ll master the GSC.
What it does is to monitor the performance of your site and keywords. You can even fetch impressions and click-through rates, which are essential for SEO. Other SEO-related tasks you can do are to optimize images, content, and the site for mobile. Plus, you can guide Google in understanding your content and which pages to crawl.
As for pricing—it’s FREE! All you need is a Google account and your site. Once done, you can finally uncover data that will help improve your SEO strategies in the long run.
8. Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog, a UK-based agency, developed the SEO Spider that some pros swear by. It’s a web crawler that will help users identify any SEO issues on a site. It’s like GSC. For example, it could be a broken link or duplicate content. Plus, by downloading the software, you can also extract data, conduct SEO audits, integrate GSC, and provide a visual site architecture.
Companies like Disney, Google, Apple, and Amazon use this software.
In terms of pricing, it’s £149/yr, but you can download the software free, but it has limited features such as 500 URL crawls and onsite analysis and issues.