When you’re a marketer, you face a few hurdles online when you’re scoping out the competition, testing the not-always-totally-reliable results you get from search and keyword tools, and even just checking how your site appears in different locations.
A VPN can help you with all that and more as VPNadviser.com recommends.
First, let’s briefly, and with a minimum of jargon, clear up one thing: What is a VPN anyhow?
A VPN is a virtual private network. It encrypts your traffic (that’s the Private part) and transfers it securely across the web to another server before releasing it back into the wild (that’s the Virtual Network part).
In other words, it lets you act like you have a cable right to an office in Shanghai, Miami, Dusseldorf or wherever else, without actually having one.
This confers two big advantages: security, and anonymity. Marketers are mostly interested in the second — until they get hacked. Both are vital in the modern marketing space.
So how do the benefits of a VPN help marketers in their day-to-day?
1: Checking your assets internationally
You need to check landing pages for traffic across different locations, but your search engine knows where you are from your IP address and so does the web server so you always see the local version. Not anymore! Fire up a VPN and move your IP address anywhere you like; now an Incognito or Private window will show you each asset as it looks to your target audience.
2: Checking your affiliate network
If your affiliate network uses GEO redirects on their SmartLinks, it’s possible you’re sending traffic to the wrong GEO. But without being able to move IPs, it’s tough to check first-hand. With a VPN, it’s the work of seconds.
3: Competitive analysis
Knowing what’s going on in your vertical is very important. You can get around the filter bubble your search engine and browser tend to build for you somewhat by using private modes and different browsers, but you’re still going to run up against geotargeting.
That means you’re not going to be able to see for yourself who’s positioning themselves at the top of the page on the strength of their PPC budget. A VPN lets you do that easily, checking results country by country and even city by city.
4: Market intelligence
If you do any scraping at all, you’re in danger of getting your IP blacklisted. Move that IP around regularly and you’re safe.
5: Take back Craigslist
Craigslist is a powerful marketing tool, but it’s aggressively local. You can’t put an ad on any list you’re more than 100 miles away from. VPN up before you navigate to Craigslist and advertise everywhere!
6: Link building
Sometimes, you need to build links for several clients from the same site. Unfortunately, you’ll often find that a site allows only a set number of links from each profile page. Try to create multiple profiles and you’ll get IP-blocked. But keep your VPN’s server selector window open and you can hop from IP to IP in seconds, and get as many accounts as you need.
Marketers doing SEO work especially will have sensitive client data in their hands; losing or leaking that could be a serious problem, but with a VPN you’re secure against man-in-the-middle attacks (the kind that make public wifi unsafe), plus you’re less likely to be targeted by phishing attacks because you’re tougher to profile.
Getting and using a solid VPN makes your marketing day easier, safer and more effective. You’re safe from common cyber attacks, and you can easily get around many of the most irritating and persistent day=-o-day challenges marketers face.