How to Get Digital Documents Signed Legally and Securely

Every business deals with contracts. The usual way of dealing with them is to print them off, sign them, scan them, and email them back. But this leaves a lot to be desired from a compliance and legal perspective. It can also present issues if emails get lost, parts of the contract aren’t signed properly, or the contract is challenged legally. A digital document signing and management service like PandaDoc can solve all of these tricky issues.

Digital Signatures are 100% Legal

The general resistance to digital signatures has to do with the fact that their legal acceptability is fuzzy in the mind of the general public. For lawyers, the legal logic behind them is irrefutable. In the US, the Federal E-Sign Act of 2001 made digital signatures legal, and they’ve been legal ever since.

A digital signature comes with a timestamp, and usually other methods of digital identification which show where it was signed, where it was sent from, and much more. In effect, a digital signature has more documentation behind it than a paper signature, as those don’t come with timestamps or provable “where it was signed” information beyond the place written in beside the signature.

PandaDoc: ion8’s preferred digital signature and management solution

There are many players in the digital signature market. Docusign and Adobe Sign (formerly Echosign) are two of the biggest names, but our preference is a newer service called PandaDoc. While it has all of the features of Docusign and Echosign, where PandaDoc really shines is integration. It integrates with all major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions, as well as Google Apps. It was also built with compliance in mind to meet all regulatory and privacy requirements. Contracts can be created within your CRM or Google Apps and uploaded and sent through PandaDoc, or you can create everything through PandaDoc if desired.

PandaDoc also offers secure document management, which means if your usual solution is down for some reason, you can always log into PandaDoc to find contracts, estimates and proposals that you’ve created before. And, as with other services, your clients can always see current and past contracts and estimates. While it is purpose-built for sales teams, any business unit can use it. While it is similarly priced to other options, it offers more features than they do. The integration alone is worth choosing PandaDoc for, since your important contracts get automatically pulled into your CRM.

Features PandaDoc Adobe Sign Docusign
Cost per user
Comparable plans
39/month (USD) Starting at 30/00 month (USD) 51/month (CDN)
Unlimited signatures & contracts Yes Yes Yes
Document Analytics Yes Yes Yes
Company Branding Yes Yes Yes
Manager Approval Workflow Yes No No
Standard Software Integrations Yes No API Access Only
Phone Support Yes No No
Content Library (Testimonials, graphics, etc. that can be dropped into any document) Yes No No

If you’re interested in getting set up with PandaDoc, contact ion8 and we’ll get you started with easy digital document signing and management.

The Best Reporting Tools for Search Engine Optimization

We’ve been through a number of search engine optimization tools and are constantly searching for new ones that bring the most transparency to our clients, while presenting the information clearly and not in techno bafflegab that nobody but the most seasoned SEO experts can understand.

If you have any experience looking through Google Analytics reporting, you know that while the information looks positive and valuable, you may have a hard time interpreting the results to focus on what can help you improve search engine rankings. The best tools that are out there condense information from Google Analytics, Google AdWords and other sources to give you the clearest picture of where your business is doing well and where you need to improve.

Despite the unclear reporting, there is a wealth of information that you can get out of Google Analytics. However, some of it needs to be set up, and isn’t automatically gathered when you set up a Google Analytics account, such as demographic information on website visitors. One of our services is ensuring that Google Analytics is set up properly to get the metrics you want, and that a report is created which gives you transparent, clear results.

What do we look for in a tool?

Search engine optimization isn’t all about Google Analytics. Clients want reports on social media traffic, digital marketing traffic (usually from Google AdWords) and search engine optimization all on one report. Additionally, those reports have to be clear and offer clear action items that need to be pursued to improve rankings. Clients want a total picture of their online presence, and we look for tools that give it to them.

Swydo

Swydo

Swydo’s strength is its customization. Other tools don’t give you the opportunity to customize information in a report, and if they do, it’s usually a clunky process. Swydo makes it easy to create custom client reports done to their exact specifications.

It also offers clear Key Performance Indicator (KPI) tracking to show if specific areas need attention. If, for example, one of your KPIs is spending, you have the option to get an instant alert if it runs too high. KPIs are also indicated clearly on reports, but the ability to get an instant alert if a KPI is running off track is a must-have feature. We find it engaging, insightful and a cut above the other tools that we’ve used in the past.

Raven Tools

Raven Tools

Raven Tools is an old standby in the search engine optimization world, and it continues to improve its offerings. They offer an excellent all-in-one package that gives us full transparency over the things that matter to clients – keyword rankings, social media, and a complete SEO audit that quickly identifies problem areas. Clients love the interactive reports which they can view anywhere on a computer or mobile device, and which are automatically updated when they request changes. While its customization is not as good as Swydo’s, Raven still offers an amazing tool that’s easy to use both for us and our clients.

Agency Analytics

Agency Analytics is another old guard on the SEO reporting block, but it is more of an “all-in-one” tool than being purpose-built for search engine optimization. It gives high-level metrics for SEO, social media (including Instagram) and Google Analytics so you can monitor content performance. If you are looking for a good all around reporting tool rather than a deep dive, Agency Analytics will work for you.

We continue to look for SEO reporting tools that drive the best value for our clients, rather than improving our convenience level. If you’re interested in finding out what we can do to improve your search engine rankings, contact us today.