Marketing Maven Links

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published May 17, 2008 8:44:00 PM, updated October 01 2013 Social Media Here are some great articles from from the past week:How to Get More Twitter Followers: Some Methods That WorkBuilding Your Online Brand With Social Media Tools10 Steps for Digg Success When You’re the VillainAlso, here are some useful reads from the HubSpot Internet Marketing Blog archives, from about a year ago (when many of you were not reading this blog yet).3 Hot Marketing Tips from Heat Map Analysis (images)Now, Any Business Can Tap 53 Million Facebook Users (For Free) Have a great weekend!last_img read more

HubSpot TV – Forget the Numbers with Surprise Guest MC Hammer

first_img B2Bwebsite overall, a 2-4% site conversion rate is about average. UsingHubSpot software and methodology, you should strive for more thanthis.  For landing pages, it varies greatly by the source of traffic. Intro Thank you to HubSpot TV Episode #28 – February 20, 2009 for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Overview coverage of the whole event and PR nightmare – More than 20% of Hulu’s traffic came from newspaper Web sites. Consumerist breaks the news and says the new privacy policy is bad – Display Ad Rates Falling – Permanent or Cyclical?  Marketing Tip of the Week  (Show Legnth: 32 minutes 41 seconds) Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) responds – Marketing Takeaway: Leave a 5 star review!!!! of all site visits, while traditionally younger early adoptersaccounted for only 17% of traffic.” (19 minutes 17 seconds) “Forget the numbers! Just stay interesting.” Permission TV Social Media Hulu’s Not For 20-Somethings Anne from Paul Gillin coming next week! “What is a good bounce rate?”  “What is an average B2B lead conversion rate?” Creating your own content and leveraging inbound marketing is more effective than buying ads next to someone else’s content.  HubSpot 1K Customers Party last night “At YouTube’s launch in late 2005, more than 50% of its site visitors were 18- to 24-year-olds.center_img Originally published Feb 21, 2009 3:23:00 PM, updated October 01 2013 “Indeed, the Web is likely heading for a shakeout on a scale unseen since the bust.” launched its public site last March, the largest age group visiting thesite were those Internet visitors over 55 years old, accounting for 47% Remember to subscribe in iTunes – MC Hammer shows up during HubSpot TV due to the power of Twitter! Facebook changes terms of use, can keep data even if youcancel your account.  (this related to the FTC and their stance onbehavioral ad tracking from last week) for helping us improve our livestream and offering great support! Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? Download the free webinar Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR Bouncerate and conversion rate depend a lot not only on the content of thepage or website but also on the type of traffic going to the website. MC Hammer Makes a Surprise Appearance! What is bounce rate?  What is conversion rate for a landing page? Marketing Takeaway How to interact on Twitter – @karenrubin @mvolpe When : More traditional demographics are online consuming media. PC Magazine reports that there will be a formal complaint filed with the FTC – CPM rates fell 54% in the 4th quarter Closing Forum Fodder   – Partially due to recession and partially due to an explosion in content and therefore inventory of ads Hulu Topics: Facebook Privacy Scandal / PR Disaster asks:last_img read more

9 Awesome Search Engines That Aren’t Named Google

first_imgSearching is one of the core utilities of the internet. Most websites today have a search function, and we all spend a lot of time searching. On Google, for example, 34,000 searches occur each second 5. 9 Awesome Search Engines That Aren’t Named Google . For many internet users, Google has become the default search engine in web browsers and mobile devices; however, Google isn’t always the best search engine for the job. When Google isn’t getting the job done, give one of these other search engines a chance. For the marketers reading this post, though Google has the majority of the search engine market share it isn’t the only option for paid and organic search engine marketing. Hunch- The reason we search is because we don’t know the answer to a question. Hunch is a recommendation search engine that helps users get recommendations about almost anything including books, movies, cars, software, clothing, and many other types of choices. Hunch provides recommendations by asking users a series of questions related to their current search term. Following the list of questions, the user is given a recommendation. Hunch easily may be the most addictive search engine on the web. Think about Hunch as a personalized search engine that is about recommendations instead of only results. It can even tell you if you should buy HubSpot! Search Engines 8. Pipl- Sure, people search for themselves on Google, but the search engine really isn’t designed to provide people-focused results. Enter Pipl, an interesting and sometimes creepy search engine that will let you find out more than you likely wanted to know about someone. Pipl gathers images, social profiles, business information, email, and many other types of information with just one click. Topics: 6. Originally published Sep 9, 2010 12:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Yelp- Remember that thick yellow book that used to magically appear on your door step? The Yellow Pages is dead, and Yelp is one of the services that helped kill it. Yelp is a local search engine and social network that allows searchers to discover and review local businesses. Yelp has become a popular tool for discovering successful restaurants, hotels, service providers, and much more in a local area and will even let searchers filters by their physical distance from each result in their search.center_img WolframAlpha- Ever wanted to get a little nerdy with your searching? If you like numbers and computations, then WolframAlpha is the search engine for you. This search engine allows users to execute formulas, provide statistical data to search, as well as much more. What are your favorite search engines other than Google? Searchtastic- Most Twitter users are likely familiar with Seach.Twitter.comas a method for searching and discovering tweets. The problem is that Twitter Search has some limitations including only search 7 days’ worth of search history and not providing a way to easily export the tweets discovered while searching. Searchtastic solves both of these problems. Users can search tweets from months back instead of just one week and can then export search results to Excel for reporting or data mining. If you are a marketer using Twitter, Searchtastic is worth checking out. 7. Flickr- Google is great at searching many things, but it is still working on making its image search the best in the world. If you are looking for images, your best option is to check out Flickr, owned by Yahoo. Flickr is a thriving social network and search engine based on images. 2. 4. 9. ClipBlast- YouTubeis the king of video as well as video search. The problem is that YouTube search only delivers videos uploaded to YouTube. While the majority of online videos reside on YouTube, there is still a lot of content posted to other services. ClipBlast solves this problem by searching videos across video sharing sites, including YouTube, and then displaying them as thumbnails on the search results page. 1. Collecta- We recently posted about Google’s new real-time search results page, but Collecta is a search engine startup that has been making a lot of noise in the real-time search industry. Collecta pulls in results for a search term in real time and continues to add them to the results page as they are published across the web. Collecta also lets users filter by content type. Simply Hired- Many of the search engines in this post and many more not mentioned are known as vertical search engines. These search engines focus on finding and displaying one specific type of content or subject. A prime example of a great vertical search engine is Simply Hired. This job search engine pulls in job listings from across the web from a variety of different sources, making it simple to find job listings or track competitor job openings. 3.last_img read more

A Marketer’s Guide to Content Curation

first_img Integrating Curation Into the Content MixCuration has many applications. It can be used to help build better blog posts, spice up the content you share in social media, and diversify your email newsletter or most other types of content in between. Curation is a great tool, especially when, as a content marketer, you hit a dry spell and need a way to create content while experiencing writer’s block. The Ultimate List: 300+ Social Media Statistics 2. Add Value- It is often not enough to simply curate content for use on a business blog or for sharing through a social media channel. Be sure to add commentary and insights that help to add more value to the curated content. This added insight will make the content even more interesting and relevant to the reader. There is an elephant in the online marketing “room,” and the elephant’s name is Curation. Curation is the most important part of online marketing that no one is talking about. With the rise of inbound marketing, content has become front and center in the minds of marketers. This focus on content as an important marketing tactic creates two extremely important problems. How do you use curation for your inbound marketing efforts? Originally published Oct 14, 2010 11:00:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 22 Educational Social Media Diagrams 12 Quick Tips To Search Google Like An Expert 3 Rules for Great Curation First, content creation is difficult. Having the time and skill to create relevant and interesting content is difficult for marketers who are already overloaded with daily tasks. The second major problem with the rise of content marketing is noise. Because content marketing has been proven to be a key ingredient in successful online marketing, more and more businesses are creating content. With this increase in the volume of content, it is becoming harder and harder for marketers’ content to reach new prospects.center_img Curation has become a fixture for many successful news blogs on the web today. Sites like The Huffington Post, Mashable, Gizmodo, etc., while breaking news and providing commentary for their given areas of focus, also use curation to provide value to readers and increase new visitors to their site. Stop and look at your email, Facebook, Twitter, or any other source you use for news. You will see that many of the stories that you are reading aren’t sharply written prose. Instead, they are groupings of valuable information, made even more valuable by their assembly as a collection. Applying Curation to Our ProblemsAs marketers, how do we solve these two problems? Curation. Curation is the process of selecting and aggregating information into one place that creates more value for information consumers, because they don’t have to spend time researching and visiting all of the original sources. 3. Attribute- Just like writing a blog post or creating other forms of online content, it is critical that you properly attribute the original source of the curated content. This attribution is typically done by providing clear links to the original content on the creator’s website. Examples of Curation Inbound Marketing Photo Credit: joyosity Topics: 1. Find the Best Content- Curation only works for a business if the person who creates the content also understands the industry extremely well. Industry knowledge enables content marketers to become reliable filters for the best content and information. The more content you discard, the more relevant the final curated content will be. Some of the most popular posts on this blog have been from curated content. Here are a few examples:last_img read more

How to Leverage LinkedIn to Market Your Business with @LewisHowes [@InboundNow #10]

first_img or If a group already exists in your niche, Lewis recommends creating a new group but geographically focus it in your own area.  On Becoming a Trust Agent with Chris Brogan What are people still getting wrong? , and a professional speaker, who covers a number of social media topics but mostly focuses on how individuals and companies can better leverage LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn for Business Best Practices with Lewis Howes Originally published Mar 3, 2011 12:01:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 A two page document that you mail into a company doesn’t cut it anymore. Linkedin Answers Podcasting for Business & Email Marketing Best Practices with Christopher S. Penn Make sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out 100%.  To Join or Create? LinkedWorking This is a great way to grow your network and potentially gain a future referral or a client. How to Rock Your Facebook Fan Page with John Haydon You need something that houses all of your skills and makes it as easy as possible for the company looking to hire you to do their research. Past work experience Where to start with LinkedIn LinkedIn Doesn’t Work Give the best answer overall and DON’t sell in the answer. To grow a Linkedin Group (much like a Facebook Page) you must continually share out useful information and spark conversation with members. The headline of your profile In this episode of Inbound Now, we are joined by Lewis Howes. Lewis is the author of two books Company Pages on Linkedin The company pages are still in their infancy, but Lewis think they might “be as powerful, if not more powerful than the Facebook Page probably in the next 6 to 12 months” with some of the changes LinkedIn has on deck. This will be an interesting turn of events if this happens. Gauging Online Influence with Jason Keath of Social Fresh How to Market Smarter, Faster, and Cheaper with David Siteman Garland How to build these activites into your daily workflow Recommend one person per week. How to leverage Linkedin Groups , founder of First define your goals. What are you doing on linkedin? Are you building an email list, or you trying to drive leads, traffic? Spend 45-60 minutes a week answer questions Add keywords in five main places in your LinkedIn profile: Bottom line: Provide value.  Develop one question per week and send in to at least 50 qualified people for response. Increase the odds that LinkedIn searchers will find your profile :center_img Linkedin Content Strategy for Groups E-mail and ask a compelling question to three people I want to know better LinkedIn is your Resume on Steroids Topics: In the specialties area . Some of Lewis’s daily/weekly LinkedIn activites include: Video in Your ProfileYou can add in video to your LinkedIn profileby following Lewis’s tutorial. For a preview of what this looks like take a look at Lewis’s profile.  LinkedIn SEO The morale of the story, create a company page on LinkedIn and have it up to date and optimized. How Small Companies are Evolving with New Technologies with Phil Simon LinkedIn Marketing This is because these people set up their profile and let it sit for months and didn’t do anything with it or reach out and connect with other like minded people on the network. and For the full transcript and audio from the show head to:  LinkedIn Master Strategies “When you think about it for a second, when other professionals or businesses are asking questions on LinkedIn, they have a specific pain point at that moment. How do I build a website? How do I do this, how do I do that? My IT’s down, and this and that, right? They have a specific pain point that needs to be solved right now. If you can offer them the best resource, the best answer, the best information and be extremely helpful to them, without trying to sell them but just being helpful, that’s the most targeted buyer or anyone who’s going to hire you at anytime is when they’re asking a pain question. ” “If it’s not filled out 100%, if they’re aren’t recommendations of people vouching for you, showing some social proof or creditability about what you’ve done before, you don’t have a picture, if you just don’t have anything, if you have misspellings, things like that, then it’s just going to look pretty poor. So you want to make sure you have it filled out 100%.” Leverage the Answers section of LinkedIn. In the summary This time around we chat about: Share free webinars, free whitepapers, great links, and other content that will resonant with your audience. Don’t blatantly sell, or your group is destined to suck. Follow up with a brief reply privately with the person who asked the question and let them know you would be happy to help them with anything else pertaining to the issue. On your Company Page right now you can add reviews/recommendations to your products page, add in videos, and link back to your site. Past Episodes The age old question still looms, “Should you create a group on LinkedIn or just join them?” People are raising there hands and asking a ton of questions on LinkedIn.  One of the biggest complaints Lewis sees is people exclaiming “LinkedIn Doesn’t work!” Enter to win a signed copy of Lewis’s Book! Lewis recommends joining every group possible in your niche. This is to get a feel of which groups would be worth investing some time in and which are just full of spammers. When you find groups that are bubbling with thoughtful conversation, jump in and start asking and answering questions. on Twitter A Daily Workflow on Linkedin The same principles of real life networking also apply on LinkedIn. If you were to go to a networking event and not talk with anyone, do you think you would built any relationships or potential business leads?  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Reach out and connect with 5 influencial people @LewisHowes Stop Marketing and Start Engaging with Scott Stratten Current work experience Connect with Lewis Online Some common mistakes to avoid last_img read more

How to Deal With Negative Nancy’s Comments in Social Media

first_img Kill ’em with kindness! make the comments from these meanies even more lasting and impressionable. And because some social networks like Yelp and Twitter make it easy for people to set up fake profiles, the anonymity that people can achieve on the internet makes some more comfortable to lose all sense of decency, respect, and good manners. So much for social media If someone is complaining about your products, services, or anything else for that matter, say you’re sorry. It doesn’t matter if their complaint is warranted or not; you’re better off taking the “customer is always right” approach. It doesn’t make sense to get in a public cage match over just one complaint, and others will respect you for apologize up front. Chances are, if the Negative Nancy you’re dealing with is complaining over something silly, others will realize that, too and won’t think anything of it. Topics: 2. participating in social media , but it might not always be worth engaging with them. 4. Share your appreciation for their feedback. 5 Ways to Kill Negative Nancys With Kindness in Social Media Be apologetic. While brand-bashing is nothing new, the tools of the web and 6. Pick your battles. There are some people out there who make noise just for the sake of making noise. They’re attention-seekers, and they just want to stir up some controversy. It’s important to decide what’s worth responding to. Does this person have a following? Are other people responding to what he/she has to say? It’s important to keep these types of people on your radar and React publicly first, then take it privately. Don’t let negative comments linger. The more time you let them go unanswered, the more time others have to see that someone has complained and you haven’t responded. Address negative comments as quickly as you can to prevent them from bubbling up into something potentially more damaging. A negative post on your Facebook wall or a tweet at your company’s Twitter account, for example, is much less of an issue than a nasty blog post, which can have a much longer lasting effect. Responding quickly will show the naysayer you’re listening and you care. It will also alert others of your dedication to your community members. Originally published Jul 12, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Treat complaints as constructive criticism or feedback. Sometimes that’s all they are. People want to be heard, and they want to So what’s the best way to deal with those Negative Nancys who crop up from time to time? The answer isn’t to give up In what other ways do you deal with Negative Nancys in social media? they’ve been heard. After you’ve apologized for their unsatisfactory experience, let them know their feedback is appreciated and that you’ll seriously consider their suggestion for improvement. Then actually follow through. Send their feedback to your product team or the appropriate person within your organization. . People will still say mean things; you just won’t be around to defend yourself! Rather, the best way to react is by using a tactic that every PR professional and customer service representative learns right off the bat. mom’s lesson If the comment you’re dealing is just blatantly offensive and lacks context, tell the commenter you’re sorry they feel the way they do and ask them how you can help make the situation better. One of two things will happen. They’ll either reply with something you can actionably deal with, or they’ll be so taken aback that you replied and have nothing more to say. Either way, you’ll have responded tactfully. Social Media Engagement Photo Credit: 5. Ask them how you can help; then help. 1. Don’t delay. 3. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Byron Villegas If someone is being particularly difficult, take your communication with them to a private channel. First respond publicly, whether its via a tweet or a comment on their Facebook wall post, and then send them a private message so you can chat with them over email or the phone, explaining to them you’d like to discuss the matter in a way that offers them a more personal experience. This way, you give them the attention they’re vying for without making your interaction public for all to see. know monitor what they’re saying , “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” huh?last_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #24: Schedule Social Messages

first_img1. List-Based PostExample: 10 Fresh Ways to Get Better Results From Your Blog PostsList-based posts are sometimes called “listicles,” a mix of the words “list” and “article.” These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses subheaders to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily. According to ClearVoice, listicles are among the most shared types of content on social media across 14 industries.As you can see in the example from our blog, above, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.2. Thought Leadership PostExample: What I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First BookThought leadership blog posts allow you to indulge in your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers. These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post by Joanna Penn, shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.3. Curated Collection PostExample: 8 Examples of Evolution in ActionCurated collections are a special type of listicle blog post (the first blog post example, described above). But rather than sharing tips or methods of doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common, in order to prove a larger point. In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.4. Slideshare PresentationExample: The HubSpot Culture CodeSlideshare is a presentation tool owned by the social network, LinkedIn, that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, Slideshare blog posts help you promote your Slideshare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.Unlike blogs, Slideshare decks don’t often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your Slideshare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.Need some Slideshare ideas? In the example above, we turned our company’s “Culture Code” into a Slideshare presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and promoted it through a blog post.5. Newsjacking PostExample: Ivy Goes Mobile With New App for Designers”Newsjacking” is a nickname for “hijacking” your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers’ attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, also prove your blog to be a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn’t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.6. Infographic PostExample: The Key Benefits of Studying Online [Infographic]The infographic post serves a similar purpose as the Slideshare post — the fourth example, explained above — in that it conveys information for which plain blog copy might not be the best format. For example, when you’re looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even fun-looking infographic can help keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.7. How-to PostExample: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step GuideFor our last example, you need not look any further than the blog post you’re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject. The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.Ready to blog? Don’t forget to download your six free blog post templates right here. Originally published May 6, 2019 7:30:00 PM, updated October 25 2019 You’ve probably heard how paramount blogging is to the success of your marketing. But it’s important that you learn how to start a blog and write blog posts for it so that each article supports your business.Without a blog, your SEO can tank, you’ll have nothing to promote in social media, you’ll have no clout with your leads and customers, and you’ll have fewer pages to put those valuable calls-to-action that generate inbound leads.So why, oh why, does almost every marketer I talk to have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t consistently blog?Maybe because, unless you’re one of the few people who actually like writing, business blogging kind of stinks. You have to find words, string them together into sentences … ugh, where do you even start?Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates NowWell my friend, the time for excuses is over.What Is a Blog?A blog is literally short for “web log.” Blogs began in the early 1990s as an online journal for individuals to publish thoughts and stories on their own website. Bloggers then share their blog posts with other internet users. Blog posts used to be much more personal to the writer or group of writers than they are today.Today, people and organizations of all walks of life manage blogs to share analyses, instruction, criticisms, and other observations of an industry in which they are a rising expert.After you read this post, there will be absolutely no reason you can’t blog every single day — and do it quickly. Not only am I about to provide you with a simple blog post formula to follow, but I’m also going to give you free templates for creating five different types of blog posts:The How-To PostThe List-Based PostThe Curated Collection PostThe SlideShare Presentation PostThe Newsjacking PostWith all this blogging how-to, literally anyone can blog as long as they truly know the subject matter they’re writing about. And since you’re an expert in your industry, there’s no longer any reason you can’t sit down every day and hammer out an excellent blog post.Want to learn how to apply blogging and other forms of content marketing to your business? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free content marketing training resource page. 2. Create your blog domain.Next, you’ll need a place to host this and every other blog post you write. This requires choosing a content management system (CMS) and a website domain hosting service.Sign Up With a Content Management SystemA CMS helps you create a website domain where you’ll actually publish your blog. The CMS platforms available for you to sign up for can manage domains, where you create your own website; and subdomains, where you create a webpage that connects with an existing website.HubSpot customers host their website content through HubSpot’s content management system. Another popular option is a self-hosted WordPress website on WP Engine. Whether they create a domain or a subdomain to start their blog, they’ll need to choose a web domain hosting service after choosing their CMS.This is true for every blogger seeking to start their own blog on their own website.Register a Domain or Subdomain With a Website HostYour own blog domain will look like this: The name between the two periods is up to you, as long as this domain name doesn’t yet exist on the internet.Want to create a subdomain for your blog? If you already own a cooking business at, you might create a blog that looks like this: In other words, your blog’s subdomain will live in its own section of CMSs offer subdomains as a free service, where your blog lives on the CMS, rather than your business’s website. For example, it might look like “” However, in order to create a subdomain that belongs to a company website, you’ll need to register this subdomain with a website host.Most website hosting services charge very little to host an original domain — in fact, website costs can be as inexpensive as $3 per month. Here are five popular web hosting services to choose from:GoDaddyHostGatorDreamHostBluehostiPage3. Customize your blog’s theme.Once you have your blog domain set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating.Are you writing about sustainability and the environment? Green might be a color to keep in mind when designing the look and feel of your blog, as green is often associated with sustainability.If you already manage a website, and are writing your first blog post for that website, it’s important that your blog is consistent with this existing website, both in appearance and subject matter. Two things to include right away are:Logo. This can be your name or your business’s logo, either one helping to remind your readers who or what is publishing this content. How heavily you want to brand this blog, in relation to your main brand, is up to you.”About” page. You might already have an “About” blurb describing yourself or your business. Your blog’s “About” section is an extension of this higher-level statement. Think of it as your blog’s mission statement, which serves to support your company’s goals.4. Identify your first blog post’s topic.Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might start out thinking you want to write about leaky faucets.Then, as you do your research, you can expand the topic to discuss how to fix a leaky faucet based on the various causes of a faucet leak.You might not want to jump right into a “how-to” article for your first blog post, though, and that’s okay. Perhaps you’d like to write about modern types of faucet setups, or tell one particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded someone’s house.If a plumber’s first how-to article is about how to fix a leaky faucet, for example, here are four other types of sample blog post ideas a plumber might start with, based on the five free blog templates we’ve offered to you:List-based Post: 5 ways to fix a leaky faucetCurated Collection Post: 10 faucet and sink brands you should look into todaySlideShare Presentation: 5 types of faucets that should replace your old one (with pictures)News post: New study shows X% of people don’t replace their faucet on timeFind more examples of blog posts at the end of this step-by-step guide.If you’re having trouble coming up with topic ideas, check out this blog post from my colleague Ginny Soskey. In this post, Soskey walks through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” examples above, she suggests that you “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.” This can be done by:Changing the topic scopeAdjusting the time frameChoosing a new audienceTaking a positive/negative approachIntroducing a new format5. Come up with a working title.Then you might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations or different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.Let’s take a real post as an example: “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.” Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably simply “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.6. Write an intro (and make it captivating).We’ve written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post, “How to Write an Introduction,” but let’s review, shall we?First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives. Here’s an example of a post that we think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:7. Organize your content in an outline.Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!Let’s take a look at the post, “How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy.” There is a lot of content in this post, so we broke it into a few different sections using the following headers: How to Setup Your Snapchat Account, Snaps vs. Stories: What’s the Difference?, and How to Use Snapchat for Business. These sections are then separated into sub-sections that to go into more detail and also make the content easier to read.To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. To make things even easier, you can also download and use our free blog post templates, which are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. Just fill in the blanks!8. Write your blog post!The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We couldn’t forget about that, of course.Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. Need help finding accurate and compelling data to use in your post? Check out this roundup of sources — from Pew Research to Google Trends.If you find you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be really challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.ZenPen: If you’re having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” that’s designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post. And if you’re looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing Well [Free Ebook]How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That ConvertsHow to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your MessageThe Kurt Vonnegut Guide to Great Copywriting: 8 Rules That Apply to AnyoneYour Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More InterestingThe Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Successful Blog in 20199. Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging — don’t overlook it. Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy, edit, and proofread your post, and consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist (or try using a free grammar checker, like the one developed by Grammarly). And if you’re looking to brush up on your own self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:Confessions of a HubSpot Editor: 11 Editing Tips From the TrenchesHow to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process10 Simple Edits That’ll Instantly Improve Any Piece of WritingWhen you’re ready to check your formatting, keep the following advice in mind …Featured ImageMake sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media. In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.For help selecting an image for your post, read “How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post” — and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.Visual AppearanceNo one likes an ugly blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently. Here’s an example of what that looks like:Also, screenshots should always have a similar, defined border (see screenshot above for example) so they don’t appear as if they’re floating in space. And that style should stay consistent from post to post.Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional, and makes it easier on the eyes.Topics/TagsTags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a tagging strategy. Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.10. Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next — subscribe to your blog, download an ebook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content — use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.In the blog post, “What to Post on Instagram: 18 Photo & Video Ideas to Spark Inspiration,” for instance, readers are given actionable ideas for creating valuable Instagram content. At the end of the post is a CTA referring readers to download a comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram for business:See how that’s a win-win for everyone? Readers who want to learn more have the opportunity to do so, and the business receives a lead they can nurture … who may even become a customer! Learn more about how to choose the right CTA for every blog post in this article. And check out this collection of clever CTAs to inspire your own efforts.11. Optimize for on-page SEO.After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google’s smarter than that!Here’s a little reminder of what you can and should look for:Meta DescriptionMeta descriptions are the descriptions below the post’s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.” While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they do give searchers a snapshot of what they will get by reading the post and can help improve your clickthrough rate from search.Page Title and HeadersMost blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords/phrases your target audience is interested in. Don’t over-complicate your title by trying to fit keywords where they don’t naturally belong. That said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in search engine results.Anchor TextAnchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site, because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page, and that ain’t small potatoes.Mobile OptimizationWith mobile devices now accounting for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online, having a website that is responsive or designed for mobile has become more and more critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.Back in 2015, Google made a change to its algorithm that now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized. This month (May 2016), Google rolled out their second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm update — creating a sense of urgency for the folks that have yet to update their websites. To make sure your site is getting the maximum SEO benefit possible, check out this free guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-“Mobilegeddon” World.12. Pick a catchy title.Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider:Start with your working title.As you start to edit your title, keep in mind that it’s important to keep the title accurate and clear.Then, work on making your title sexy — whether it’s through strong language, alliteration, or another literary tactic.If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).Finally, see if you can shorten it at all. No one likes a long, overwhelming title — and remember, Google prefers 65 characters or fewer before it truncates it on its search engine results pages.If you’ve mastered the steps above, learn about some way to take your blog posts to the next level in this post. Want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like, below, based on the topic you choose and the audience you’re targeting.Blog Post ExamplesList-Based PostThought Leadership PostCurated Collection PostSlideshare PresentationNewsjacking PostInfographic PostHow-to Post Hi 👋 What’s your name?First NameLast NameHi null, what’s your email address?Email AddressAnd your phone number?Phone NumberWhat is your company’s name and website?CompanyWebsiteHow many employees work there?1Does your company provide any of the following services?Web DesignOnline MarketingSEO/SEMAdvertising Agency ServicesYesNoGet Your Free Templates Topics: How to Write a Blog Post1. Understand your audience.Before you start to write your first blog post, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start their own business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down. You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their approach to social media from a more casual, personal one to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach. That kind of tweak is what separates you from blogging about generic stuff to the stuff your audience really wants (and needs) to hear.Don’t have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]Blog Post: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your [Free Tool]center_img How to Write a Blog Post Free Templates: Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Free Blog Post Templateslast_img read more

9 Awful Ways We Push Customers Away

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jul 15, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Ecommerce Marketing Topics: Picture this.You’re the owner of customer Patty checks her email inbox and finds an email from that tells her about a sale on patterned skinny jeans that she’s had her eye on for the longest time. She quickly clicks on the email and goes to your website.She browses for a while, but after spending about 15 minutes checking out various options, she closes the tab and leaves your site.What made Patty leave? She wanted to buy patterned jeans, didn’t she? What went wrong?This is a story that all marketers — ecommerce marketers, in particular — go through every day. In fact, a checkout usability study by Baymard Institute shows that 67.91% of all shopping carts are abandoned. That’s a ridiculously large chunk of real prospects that you’re losing day in and day out. So, going back to the original question: What’s going wrong? Let’s see.1) Poor Showcasing of MerchandiseLeading brick and mortar retailers like Macy’s and Harrods are known to spend small fortunes on window dressing their stores. After all, first impressions are crucial to draw in a potential customer. Similarly, your website is your window to the world. You might have the best products out there, but if you don’t showcase them well, even the most willing customer will get put off.The Fix:Aesthetics are important. Keep the site easy on the eye and don’t overwhelm the customer with disorganized merchandising.Have a lot of variety in SKUs of each product? Showcase them, but in a sane, easy-to-navigate manner. Customers like to see what they’re buying. Use high quality images and allow customers to zoom in to see details.2) No Trust Building MeasuresA user who visits your site for the first time has no clue whether they can trust you, particularly when it comes to payment systems. With major gaffes like Target’s security breach, shoppers are extremely wary of where they swipe their credit cards and what information they share with businesses.The Fix:A professional-looking website that keeps up with the latest web design trends does wonders for customer confidence. It’s an indication to the customer of the level of commitment business owners have toward the ecommerce venture.Your website probably uses various security services like Verisign, Norton, etc. Online shoppers are subconsciously tuned to recognize these logos on ecommerce sites as a measure of security. Give them what they need, and display logos of your security partners across your site.Image source: Baymard.comAdditionally, if you have a customer protection program, by all means highlight it. eBay reinforces its buyer protection messaging on the homepage (in some countries), on the product listing pages, during checkout, and on emails sent out to customers to reinforce their confidence in the brand.Product reviews by existing customers are also a great way of telling a prospective buyer how good a particular product is. Don’t skip including customer reviews in your product page to ensure conversion.3) Painful NavigationImagine walking into a basement filled with old junk. You’d probably spend hours combing through the mess if you had to try and find something. This is exactly what you put your customer through when you don’t have a clear site navigation structure.The Fix:Keep it simple. Avoid overwhelming the user with unnecessary pop ups and flashing banners. Spend time and resources on perfecting product groupings and creating logical and easily comprehensible categories, sub categories, variants, color choices, and SKUs.(You can also put in a prominent search bar on your homepage so that even if your navigation is not the best in the world, a user can still search and find what they’re looking for.)4) Inventory IssuesLet’s say you have a customer buying an elusive first edition copy of Batman: Shadow of the Bat on your site. Just as they’re about to complete the transaction, they get a message saying, “Sorry, item not in stock.” They get frustrated and leave your site. Probably for good.This is an inventory nightmare for any retailer. It could happen because the item got sold on a different platform (maybe a traditional brick and mortar store?) owned by the retailer, it could be because inventory positions are not linked to the checkout process, or could even be a straightforward error on the part of the retailer.The Fix:Use technology to your advantage. If you have an offline and an online presence, don’t depend on luck. Manage the inventory between the two using smart tools — such as Shopify’s online POS system. You can also use inventory as a tool to create urgency. By showing the number of items left for a particular product, you can encourage a customer to buy right away instead of postponing the purchase.Expedia does a great job of communicating the exact inventory available and motivating the user to buy right away:When you’re running short on a particular item, cross-sell a similar item that has decent stocks. Cross-sells are a powerful tool that can generate tons of revenue if applied correctly. In fact, according to Amazon, 35% of their sales in 2006, came from cross-selling items.5) No Guest CheckoutHow many different websites have you shopped on to date? Five? Ten? More? And how many login IDs and passwords do you remember for these? A very small handful is my guess.Jared Spool from User Interface Engineering talks about a client who lost over $300 million dollars a year in sales due to the absence of a guest checkout option.The Fix:It’s really simple. Allow guest checkouts.In the case of first-time customers, guest checkouts avoid diverting them into a new process. For returning customers who may not remember their passwords, they prevent frustration and drop-offs.In the case study referred to above, Spool and his team found that 40% of returning customers requested password resets. Of these, only 25% actually reset their passwords and of these only 20% completed the purchase. 6) Long Checkout ProcessMost of us dread going to a supermarket or a big box retail store, thanks to the serpentine queues at their checkout counters. So what do we do instead?Go online, right?The trouble is, ecommerce businesses sometimes don’t realize how their frustratingly long checkout processes are actually counterproductive and replicate the same problems that traditional retail suffers from.The Fix:There are verifiable merits in shortening your checkout process. A study of the top 100 ecommerce sites conducted by Baymard Institute, showed that their checkout process was an average of 5.08 steps long. As the checkout process grows longer, user satisfaction with the purchase process starts to drop.Ask only for information that is absolutely essential to complete a purchase. Most organizations never use the tons of information they collect from their customers, and customers find it highly annoying to part with irrelevant personal details.Additionally, autofill entries wherever possible to reduce the overall time taken by the customer to check out. For example, when a customer provides their ZIP code, prefill country and state based on the given information.Do not ask for the same information twice. If you’ve already collected the user’s shipping information, ask if you can replicate the same address for billing, instead of creating a new form for billing address and forcing the customer to refill it all over again.If you do not have a one page checkout process, include a checkout progress indicator prominently in your checkout section to inform the customer exactly how many steps away they are from the purchase.Finally, add a “Save for Later” option. There is only so much pruning that you can do to a checkout process. For customers in a real hurry, this option will allow them to save the items they want to buy and come back to them later. A good way to use this feature and ensure the customer returns would be to send a follow-up email within 48 hours of the customer creating the saved cart.7) Hidden CostsHow do you think a customer reacts when the price of their purchase jumps up by 10-15% by the time they reach the end of the checkout page? Not very kindly at all.Research shows that hidden or unexpected costs are the #1 cause of abandoned shopping carts.Unless mentioned alongside the price of the product, “hidden costs” in a customer’s book includeConvenience feesShipping & handling costsTaxesIn fact, according to a ComScore study, at least 61% of users are likely to cancel their entire purchase if they eventually find that free shipping is not offered.The Fix:Being as upfront as possible about all costs related to a purchase is the safest way to go. Include all additional costs on the product page to avoid any ambiguity. The online travel industry was plagued with bad customer experiences in the past when just base fare used to be displayed at the start, and on entering the checkout process, numerous other fees like fuel surcharge, airline fees, and airport terminal user fees were added on to the original price. This is now changing with bundled fares being displayed at the search stage itself to ensure complete clarity.Shipping is an unavoidable cost in ecommerce, so if free shipping isn’t possible at all times, build in shipping cost calculators so the customer can check the actual cost of shipping before heading to checkout. eBay is a good example, which has been offering a shipping calculator for years on every product page.8) Limited Payment OptionsImagine a shopper who’s found exactly what she wants, at the right price, at the right time, but not being able to complete the purchase just because her preferred payment mode was not offered by your site.After doing everything right in terms of attracting the right customer, guiding them through the entire search and checkout process, only to fail at the final step is truly a criminal waste of the marketing resources spent on getting the customer to your site in the first place.The Fix:Research by WorldPay shows that alternate payments will account for over half of all payments by 2017. They already account for over 22% of all ecommerce transactions worldwide.Given these numbers, the only real alternative that any ecommerce business has is to incorporate as many different payment options into their system as possible.Clear messaging about the various payment types accepted is also equally important to ensure that the customer does not miss the options and move on.9) No Live HelpWho do you turn to when you’re shopping for a shirt in a department store and can’t find the right size? The sales assistant.While ecommerce sites are obviously handicapped in terms of providing in-the-flesh guidance to a confused customer, most do provide a call center number or email contact details. Unfortunately, both of those communication modes are time consuming — it usually takes at least 24 hours to respond to customer queries via email, while call center numbers are notorious for their long wait times, ruining the customer experience.The Fix:Offer Live Chat as an option to customers. According to a study by Forrester Research, 44% of online shoppers considered live chat one of the most important features of ecommerce sites. An eMarketer study shows that most buyers who use live chat — a whopping 63% — were likely to return to the site for a repeat purchase.So these were some of the big ways product marketers and online retailers have been shooing customers off of their sites. Did you recognize anything on this list that you’re guilty of, or any big ones I missed?last_img read more

17 Demand Generation Stats Every CMO Needs to See

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Lead Generation This post originally appeared on Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.Determining the success of your marketing programs and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) can be challenging if you don’t have access to industry data.But how can you improve your KPIs if you don’t understand which ones really matter?To find out how companies are generating demands for their brands and how successful they’ve been in these efforts, HubSpot and Qualtrics conducted a survey of 900 management-level marketers in North America and Europe. The results are included in our new ebook, The Demand Generation Benchmarks Report.Below is a highlight of the main charts and stats from the survey:Nearly 80% of companies not meeting their revenue goals attract 10,000 monthly website visitors or less. For those exceeding their revenue goals, nearly the reverse is true. 70% report attracting more than 10,000 visitors per month.Companies meeting or exceeding their revenue goals attract significantly more website traffic and generate more leads, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), sales opportunities, and customers than those that aren’t.Companies with higher annual revenues tend to pay a higher cost per lead. However, companies with between $250,000 and $10 million in revenue all average a cost per lead of $26-$50.Companies with the highest annual revenue also report more visitors, leads, MQLs, sales opportunities, and customers than other companies.82% of companies generating $250,000 or less in annual revenue report generating less than 100 leads per month whereas only 8% of companies generating $1 billion in annual revenue report the same.74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities. 40% of companies not achieving their revenue goals didn’t know their click-through rate. That’s 90% more than those exceeding their revenue goals.34% of companies not achieving their revenue goals didn’t know their open rate — 52% more than those exceeding their revenue goals.60% of those exceeding their revenue goals had an above-average open rate, while the same was true for only 48% of those achieving their revenue goals and 35% of those not achieving their goals.79% of all marketing leads never convert into sales and a lack of lead nurturing is the common cause. Companies exceeding their revenue goals report branding, website design and optimization, and social media as their top 3 marketing investments. 24% of telecommunications companies aren’t reaching their revenue goals (20% higher than average), and it’s one of the few industries still ranking telemarketing and traditional advertising among their top investments.91% of companies not achieving their revenue goals generate 500 MQLs or less per month , whereas the same is true for only 45% of companies exceeding their revenue goals. The travel and tourism industry lists “online advertising” as a top investment, which is 75% more than other industries.Financial services companies list “marketing automation” as a top investment, which is 73% higher than other industries.Content creation is a top investment for 43% of information technology companies, which is 54% more than other industries.What kind of marketing technology do you use? Take our quick survey here. Originally published Jan 24, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

Want to Become More Emotionally Intelligent? Here Are 9 Things You Can Do

first_img Topics: Originally published Jan 1, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated February 16 2018 We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, different experiences that shape us, and different ways of dealing with things.If a coworker interrupts someone in a meeting to share her exciting idea, one person might respond by shrugging it off, while another person might lash out. Still another might stay silent, but let it ruin their whole day.That’s where emotional intelligence becomes so important.Each emotion a person feels contains valuable information about that person’s preferences, needs, and experiences. But all too often, these emotions are hidden or overlooked — or both.Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder Dharmesh Shah.In a world that frequently favors speaking over listening and thinking about oneself over others, it’s really hard to pay attention to our own emotions, let alone the emotions of others. But if you don’t, you’ll miss out on the valuable information emotions can teach us, and the meaningful relationships you can build as a result.What is Emotional Intelligence?Emotional intelligence is a form of social intelligence. Someone who has high emotional intelligence is able to recognize and monitor their own and others’ feelings and emotions, to engage with and navigate them, and then to use that emotional information to guide their own thinking and action.I like to think of emotionally intelligent people kind of like detectives. Every time they interact with someone, they’re able to uncover the emotional pieces that are missing from what a person actually says out loud. Then, they’re also able to use that emotional information in an effective way, like to become a better manager, a better teammate, or a better friend.A Harvard-trained psychologist named Daniel Goleman expanded the definition of emotional intelligence into a set of 19 competencies that signal whether someone is emotionally intelligent. These signs are broken into four categories:Self-AwarenessSelf-ManagementSocial AwarenessEffective Relationship Management(You can read more about the signs of emotional intelligence here.)There are many, long-lasting benefits to making efforts to increase your emotional intelligence. For one, studies have shown that emotional intelligence can be more important than raw skill in many cases. Perhaps most importantly, having high emotional intelligence can help you create and maintain more meaningful relationships — both at work and in your personal life.The good news is, no matter your personality and emotional tendencies, there are things you can do to increase your emotional intelligence. To help you understand how, check out the tips below.9 Tips for Becoming More Emotionally Intelligent1) Observe your own emotional tendencies.Not only can emotionally intelligent people sense the emotional needs of others, but they also know themselves very well because they’re able to understand, manage, and effectively express their own feelings. You can only learn to manage your own emotions if you learn to recognize them in the first place.This is easier said than done, of course. Start by going about your day and paying attention to how you feel, and what specific situations make you feel that way. What’s your emotional state when you wake up in the morning? How about when that guy cut you off at an intersection on your way to work? Or when your coworker brought you a coffee — and even remembered how you like it? How about when your boss rejected your idea in front of your coworkers?Next, ask yourself how all these feelings connect with your behavior. Throughout the day, did they impact your communication with others, your productivity, or your overall sense of well-being? The better you become at recognizing and understanding your emotions and behavioral impulses, the better you’ll be at managing them.2) Don’t judge yourself.As you become more and more aware of your emotions, you might find you’re judging yourself for them — especially when experiencing a negative emotion, such as anger or sadness. But remember: Every emotion you have, positive and negative, is a useful piece of information that can teach you something about your own needs and preferences.If you’re quick to judge how you’re feeling, you’ll have a lot of trouble being honest with yourself about how you feel, which is totally counterproductive. Allow yourself to feel those emotions in the first place — that way, you’ll be able to better manage them and recognize them in others.3) Learn to control your negative emotions.Managing your emotions effectively is a big part of increasing your emotional intelligence. The hardest part of this tends to be managing your negative emotions. But doing so is important, as it helps you avoid letting negative feelings cloud your judgment. This will make you a better decision-maker because you’ll be able to look at a problem and find a resolution in a calm and rational way. It’ll also help you become more receptive to feedback and able to use criticism to improve your performance. The key is to let yourself feel those negative emotions, but practice deciding how to behave once you feel them. For example, let’s say you’re driving and someone cuts you off at an intersection. Your initial reaction may be surprise, followed by anger. But you have a choice here: You could lay on the horn and yell out the window, “Who do you think you are?,” or you could shrug it off — because, let’s be honest, the ten seconds it added to your commute didn’t really affect your day.Remember: How you react to things is your own responsibility. If someone hurts your feelings and you react by yelling at them, then that’s your own doing. They didn’t “make” you yell at them — it’s you who can choose whether to control your emotions, not them.The next time you feel a negative emotion strongly, take a few moments to experience that feeling and let it wash over you. Then, take a deep breath and make a conscious decision about how you want to behave in response.4) Learn to express difficult emotions when necessary (and appropriate).Part of being emotionally intelligent is knowing when to share your emotions with others. After all, being honest with others about how you feel encourages trust and helps people feel comfortable opening up to you. It’s all about choosing your moments; namely, sharing how you’re feeling without hurting anyone.So, when is it appropriate to set our boundaries and let people know where we stand? According to Preston Ni in Psychology Today, these moments “can include exercising our right to disagree (without being disagreeable), saying ‘no’ without feeling guilty, setting our own priorities, getting what we paid for, and protecting ourselves from duress and harm.”5) Take a genuine interest in what people are saying.As you consciously observe how you’re feeling, begin practicing recognizing and acknowledging how other people are feeling. In other words, practice empathy. Empathizing with others is one of the most powerful parts of being emotionally intelligent, and it’ll help you get closer to others, gain their support when you need it, and have an easier time smoothing over conflicts.The best way to uncover how someone else is feeling is to become an active listener. This means really, truly paying attention to what people are saying. This is really difficult for a lot of people — especially those who’ve been taught that listening and deferring to others is a sign of weakness, and that speaking is better than listening.The first step to take an honest look at your listening skills. Are you a naturally good listener? Or do you tend to spend most of the time someone else is talking thinking about what you’re going to say next? A lot of people don’t even know they aren’t good listeners until they make a conscious effort. Then, make the decision to listen closely and carefully in every conversation.6) Ask relevant questions.Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. While you shouldn’t jump in with questions every time your conversation partner stops talking, you should ask relevant and clarifying questions to demonstrate you’ve been paying attention, to show the person you’re interested in the conversation, and to dig deeper into what they’re telling you.To dig deeper, you might use a questioning technique called funneling. Funneling means asking a series of questions that become more restrictive at each step. Here’s an example:”Tell me about your last week at work.””Which projects have you spent the most time on?””Did you run into any challenges on those projects?””What have you done so far to mitigate that challenge?””How can I help you get closer to overcoming it?”The first questions are open and allow for broad answers, and at each step the questions become narrower and more focused. This is a great technique for gathering a lot of information about a situation so you can put the puzzle pieces together.7) Pay attention to body language.Body language is another clue to uncovering how someone is feeling. Everyone communicates in ways that are nonverbal, like posture, facial expressions, and body movements. When you’re conversing with someone, take note of how they use their body when they speak — and treat it like the useful information it is. You might even acknowledge it by saying, “I get the sense that this makes you unhappy. What’s causing that?”You’d also do well to observe how your own emotions manifest themselves in physical ways. For example, that tightening in stomach might be caused by stress or anxiety. Those high energy levels might be an indication that you’re really excited about something. (Read this blog post to learn more about master body language.)8) Take responsibility for your actions.Humility, like empathy, is a powerful part of being emotionally intelligent — and one key way to be humble is to take responsibility when you screw up or hurt someone’s feelings.Some people might think acknowledging when you did something wrong is a sign of weakness or lack of self-confidence, especially when you didn’t mean to. But taking responsibility for your actions shows people you’re self-aware, honest, and committed to being a team player. Plus, people are a lot more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest go at making things right. In the end, this’ll have a positive impact in all areas of your life.To increase your social intelligence, you’ll need to practice becoming more self-aware, transparent, adaptable, socially aware, empathetic … the list goes on. There are plenty of other ways to improve that aren’t on this list, but it’s a start — and something you’ll want to continue working on for the rest of your life. The more you practice, the more you’ll reap the benefits.9) Practice open-mindedness.In general, being narrow-minded is an indication of lower emotional intelligence. Think about it: Open-minded people are more willing to listen to other people’s points of view and try to understand them by putting themselves in the other’s shoes. As a result, people are more willing to trust them with true thoughts and feelings because they aren’t worried about being judged. Open-minded people also have a strong sense of self because they don’t confine themselves by their own beliefs.One way of practicing open-mindedness is to observe how others react to situations and compare it to how you would react in that same situation. If they react differently than you would, think about why this is — and try to see it from their point of view.As you become better and better at this, you’ll likely find that challenging your beliefs and allowing yourself to explore new ideas will benefit you both professionally and personally.If you’d like to find out how emotionally intelligent you are and get strategies on how to improve, click here to take our Emotional Intelligence Test.What tips do you have for becoming more emotionally intelligent? Share with us in the comments. Emotional Intelligence Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Use Video in Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey [Free Interactive Guide]

first_img Originally published May 2, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Video has quickly become one of the most powerful mediums for sharing your message: 78% of people watch videos online every week. What’s more, 55% of people watch videos online every day.But like any new marketing tactic, video needs to be done right to have an impact on your business. This means creating the right videos to be used at the right time to reach the right audience. How do you do this? Start by focusing on the buyer’s journey.  The buyer’s journey is the active research process a buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. It includes three main stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. There are several opportunities within each stage to use video, and by creating different videos for each stage, you’re more likely to connect with your customers and achieve higher engagement, brand activation, and trust.  In How to Use Video in Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey, you’ll learn how to successfully incorporate video into your marketing to increase SEO and engagement, track where prospects are coming from, and ultimately grow your business as a whole. You’ll also learn:A breakdown of the buyer’s journey and where your business can incorporate videoHow to create specific types of videos to be used in the awareness, consideration, and decision stages How to optimize your videos for each stage How to improve any video content you already haveExamples from great video marketing from brands like BuzzFeed and AirbnbMuch more about growing your business by using video in your marketing! Click here to download the free interactive guide today. Topics: Buyer’s Journey Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

7 User Experience Tests to Do When Redesigning Your Website

first_imgDesigning your website can be a long and expensive process. To ensure the process goes smoothly and that your end product is the best it can be, test early and test often. By revealing flaws in competitors’ websites as well as flaws in your current website, you can save time and money during your redesign.Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignBecause a website design is all about the visitors who will view and interact with it, your redesign should focus on their experience. In order to be sure that you get the most out of your new website, here are seven user experience tests to do during the process of a website redesign.1) Competitive AnalysisMost businesses are aware that they can compare themselves to competitors in order to see what they are expected to do or what they can do better. This should be no different when redesigning your website!I recommend starting with five of your direct competitors and looking at their websites. You’ll want to create a spreadsheet, like the one below, so you can see the results of your analysis clearly.When looking over your competitors’ websites, here are things to note in your spreadsheet:Best practices for your industry: Do all your competitors offer the same content? Is there site functionality similarities in all your competitors websites? Do all your competitors have a blog or resource section?Example: If you’re a business lender and all your competitors offer a loan calculator, it might be a good idea to work that into your website.Usability Heuristics: Create a list of important rules of thumb for website design. You could use Jakob Nielsen’s list of usability heuristics or create your own. Here are some heuristics I would recommend looking at: Efficient Navigation, Consistency, Easily Readable, Organization, User Expectations Match and Support.Example: If your competitors all include chat on their website for support and questions, this might be something you should consider for your new website.Search Engine Metrics: A new website is a great opportunity to revamp your on-site SEO and see how your off-site SEO compares to your competitors. Find keyword and linking opportunities! Look at your competitors’ keyword rankings, backlinks, domain rating, etc. and compare it to your own.Example: If your competitors all have their home page optimized for a specific keyword, it might be difficult to rank #1 for that keyword. Therefore you might want to find another keyword opportunity for your home page.2) Analytics AnalysisNow that you’ve identified strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ websites, it’s time to review your own website. One way to get insight into the user experience of your website and what your users care about is to look at your analytics, specifically noting errors, improvement areas and important pages.For looking at errors or problems that your visitors might run into, check your analytics for high bounce rate, short time on page and navigation issues. In your new website, you want to eliminate slow loading pages, pages that visitors didn’t like and pages that visitors had a hard time getting to.For looking at improvement areas, look at your average conversion rate and see which pages have a conversion rate that is lower-than-average. Try sorting this data by source or by device type to get more detailed information. You may find interesting discoveries such as mobile not converting as well as desktop on your “Request a Quote” page. Therefore, you can mark these observations as areas of improvement because they might be converting, but they can convert so much better.For important pages, look at the most frequently visited pages and the pages that were revisited most often on your website. Because your visitors are looking at these pages regularly, you have to be sure that their user experience is great and that they can easily accomplish the tasks they want to do. For example, your blog might be one of the most re-visited pages so you want to be sure that visitors can find recently posted content easily.3) Task Analysis and Task PrioritizationContinuing the discussion on helping visitors accomplish their goals, think about websites you visit often. Why do you visit them? What do you hope to accomplish while on their website?With hundreds or thousands of people visiting your website, they probably have all sorts of different goals in mind and you should make sure they can accomplish all of these goals with ease. That’s where Task Analysis comes into play; it gets you to the bottom of what the visitor will want to do and the simplest, most effective way of doing that.What Goals Do They Want To Accomplish?First, think about the visitor and think of all the tasks they will be looking to complete on your website. Do they want to purchase an item? Do they want to contact support? Do they want to see delivery details? Do they want to request a quote?Write down every task you can think of and once you can’t think of any more, take your list and start to prioritize the tasks by how critical they are to a successful conversion and how often they are being performed.Now, you might think that frequency is the only important factor here, but if you have a critical step that a visitor must do first before converting, that is equally important. For example, one of my friends owns a business sign company in St Louis where in order to request a quote, you have to fill out a questionnaire with more detail about the sign you want! In order to submit his “Request A Quote” form, you must upload that questionnaire with it. While most people visit his website to see his past projects and to read his business sign advice on his blog, filling out the “Request A Quote” form doesn’t happen as often, but it sure is important! How Do They Accomplish Their Goals?Once you’ve prioritized your tasks, start on the homepage of your website and track the steps that a user will take to complete that goal by counting the number of clicks and by timing how long it takes to complete a task. Once you have this data on task paths, look for the following issues:Too many clicks for critical goals – If it takes 10 clicks to ask your business a question, that’s too many steps.Too much time for critical goals – If it takes 2 clicks to ask your business a question, but those two clicks take 5 minutes to locate, that’s a visibility problem.This thinking will help you see processes that are longer than they should be, content that might be hidden to a visitor and how easy your top goals are to complete. Using your analytics analysis in combination with task analysis may reveal your navigation needs to be reworked or that you need to include easier paths for frequent goals. Use this data to identify problems in your current website so you can improve upon them in your new one!4) Card SortingNow that we’ve identified problems that your current website has, how do we rebuild a better one? Let’s start with the most essential redesign element: your website’s navigation.Having an intuitive navigation allows a visitor to get from point A to point B seamlessly without confusion. When looking to redesign your navigation, I recommend doing a few card sorting experiments where you’ll put your different website pages on notecards and have participants sort them into categories. You can do an open sort or a close sort:Open Sort – When you don’t provide categories for the card sorting and you let the participant decide how to categorize your website pages.Closed Sort – When you provide categories that the participant must sort the cards into (example: services, products, about us, contact us).I recommend starting out with a few open sorts until you start to recognize patterns that appear in the categories. Then switch to a close sort to see if participants still sort your website pages in the same way. If every participant puts the same three web pages into the “Products” category and the same three web pages into the “About Us” category, then your navigation should probably reflect their navigation expectations.Here is a sample card sort for a marketing agency:5) Rapid Prototyping or Wireframe DesignBefore you jump into HTML and CSS, use wireframing and rapid prototyping to layout your website elements. A wireframe is a website in its most basic form without the images, branding or even content. Rapid prototyping refers to creating a basic website and quickly making new versions with improvements while testing. Having a simple website idea, like a wireframe, forces everyone to look objectively at a website’s ease of use, conversion paths, naming of links, navigation placement and feature placement. Wireframes can point out flaws in your site architecture or how a specific feature may work.Here is a simple home page wireframe:Instead of trying to combine the functionality and layout of your website with the creative and branding aspects in one step, wireframes ensure that these elements are taken in one at a time. This allows clients (and other team members) to provide feedback earlier in the process. Skipping wireframes delays this feedback and increases the costs of making changes because full design mock-ups must be reworked, not just simplified wireframes.Try doing some basic user testing, as described in #6, by having participants perform the desired actions you thought of in Task Analysis & Prioritization (#3) on your wireframes. This will show you whether your website is laid out correctly.Wireframe testing also comes in handy once the website is completely designed. You can perform the same tests on your wireframe and designed website. If participants in your designed website testing struggle to perform the same tasks that were flawlessly completed with the wireframe, you’ll know that your website has a design flaw, not a layout flaw.6) User TestingNow that you have a wireframe or a designed website, it’s time to test it out! With a screen capture tool and a microphone, you have everything you need to test your website with real users.First, decide whether you want to test the website in person or remotely. Whether you’re in the room with the participant or not, I suggest watching the test as it happens so you can take notes and ask follow-up questions.Next, get a set of tasks together that you would like to watch a stranger perform. I would suggest using problem tasks and critical tasks that you identified in your Task Analysis & Prioritization (#3). Then have the participant perform these tasks and observe carefully! What are they trying to click on? How quickly are they performing these tasks? Do they look confused?Here are some of my best tips for User Testing:Let the participant know details about your user testing before you start – How long will this take? Will they be compensated in any way? Is there any risk in doing these tasks?Collect demographic information on your participant – This way you’ll have an idea of how closely they fit in with your buyer persona.Encourage the participant to speak out loud while doing the tasks – This will hopefully give you some insight into what they’re thinking and what they’re confused by.Record the session – Even if you’re testing in-person, record the user testing session. You might have questions or want to show examples to developers in order to back up your requested website changes.Ask follow-up questions but stay neutral – You don’t want to lead the participant to confirm your beliefs. Ask them questions like “How easy or difficult was it for you to complete this task?”, not “Do you think that was difficult? Really?”Answer questions with questions and let the participant lead – Naturally we want to ask questions when we’re performing tasks, but giving participants answers doesn’t help us understand what they’re thinking or struggling with. If they ask “should this go here?”, respond “do you think it should go there?” instead of answering yes or no. This way you know they’re confused and how they think the problem should be solved.Once you’re done running through all the tasks, make sure you have no more follow-up questions then thank the participant for doing a great job. User testing can be difficult because the participant might not be sure that what they’re doing is correct and they might find some tasks too difficult to complete. Therefore, make sure you tell them how much they’re helping you!After the participant leaves, de-brief with any other people who are running the user testing with you. Write down all your notes and save their testing session recording in case you need it later! The data and observations you make during user testing can help you make better choices when deciding what to change about your website.7) Beta TestingFinally when you’re ready to roll out your new website, decide if you have special features that need a little extra user testing. If you do, beta testing is a wonderful way to get customer feedback while providing fun features that customers want! It’s a win-win because you will not only receive valuable feedback, but you will also be able to effectively market your new tool before it’s shown to the public.I would recommend using this for new website tools. For example, if you’re a business lender and you’ve developed a loan calculator, it might be a good idea to beta test it before releasing it to everyone.For beta testing, you can either have visitors opt in to beta testing or alert any visitors that this element of your website is in beta testing. Once you decide who you’re going to beta test this feature with, give them an easy way to report errors and give feedback. It can be as simple as three smiley faces with a follow up question or a CTA saying Report an Error.Then simply launch the tool and correct errors as people submit them. You can check Google Analytics to see whether people are using your tool for a long time to judge engagment too!When you feel confident that people are using your tool and you don’t have any errors being submitted, you can fully launch! Website Redesign Topics: Originally published Aug 2, 2016 1:30:00 PM, updated November 27 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! 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Traveling Teddy Bears, Reckless Cats, and Lots of Butter: 10 of the Best Ads from November

first_img10) LexusKids get to ask Santa Claus for presents every year — but where does that leave parents? This ad promoting Lexus’ December sales event finds two mischievous parents cheating the system by forging a note to Santa in their young son’s handwriting. Anxiously scrawling the note out in crayon, they ask Mr. Claus for — what else? — a brand new Lexus.Produced by agency Team One, the piece is part of a light-hearted series depicting parents asking Santa for Lexus. 9) AlibabaTo remind consumers that they sell thousands of popular brands online, retail giant Alibaba worked with FRED & FARID Shanghai to cram 21 famous slogans into a single ad.It would be a stretch to say the end result has any narrative, but their use of so many taglines to construct a form of super-ad is inventive and fun to watch. AgencySpy wrote up a transcript of each slogan if you have trouble catching them all in the ad. Don’t forget to share this post! The days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder, and the airwaves are awash with holiday spirit (and sales!). This month’s ad roundup includes some top picks from the first wave of holiday ads, but there were also plenty of non-holiday gems for those of us that would prefer to keep the pine trees and snowflakes at bay for another few weeks.Subscribe to HubSpot’s Agency newsletter today.Read on to get the scoop on the most sentimental, adorable, and unexpectedly funny ad campaigns from the past month.1) TemptationsIn this clever ad for a brand of cat treats, agency adam&eveDDB created the perfect holiday wonderland — complete with sparkling trees, a Christmas roast, and even an electric train set. Then they invited 22 cats to rip it all to shreds in spectacular fashion.”The internet is full of cats being cute and fluffy, but in reality cats are incredibly mischievous,” client marketing director Denise Truelove said to AdWeek. “That tension led to something quite fun in this Temptations holiday video and campaign.”Unsurprisingly, the cat actors weren’t super easy to work with. It took three weeks for handlers to train the feline hoard for their dramatic entrance and exit, and three days to collect shots of them gleefully destroying the set.  Want to see more great ads? Check out 10 of the best ads from October here. If you’ve seen any great ads lately, let us know in the comments or tweet us at @HubSpotAgencies. 4) Les Sauveteurs en Mer (National Maritime Rescue Organization)Have you ever heard the folktales about beautiful mermaids luring unsuspecting sailors to their death? This animated ad for France’s National Maritime Rescue Organization offers an imaginative spin on the classic legend, inviting us into the mind of a lovesick mermaid. When she spots a drowning sailor, her mind runs wild. As the mermaid imagines the perfect life she’ll share with the sailor, she leaves out one crucial detail: He can’t breathe underwater. Luckily for the sailor, he’s wearing a life jacket.French agency Publicis Conseil worked with a team of graphic designers and 3D animators to create the mermaid’s whimsical underwater world. 5) Ketel OneAgency Barton F. Graf is known for their endearingly unusual campaigns, and their latest spot for Ketel One Vodka is no exception.In their quest for absolute perfection, the Vodka connoisseurs at Ketel One have a complicated, multi-step approval process in place. It starts with a signature from a member of the distillery’s founding family, and ends with an identity theft expert interrogating the company’s real-life chairman, Carl Nolet Sr. 2) Georgetown OpticianIn this bizarre but undeniably charming spot for eyewear retailer Georgetown Optician, a family of oddball opticians (inspired by the company’s real founding family) visit their formidable matriarch, Grandma Ida, at her lavish Gothic residence.When the family’s heirloom pair of glasses suddenly goes missing, a fantastic whodunnit ensues, complete with a pack of evidence-sniffing hounds and plenty of surreptitious sideways glances from the quirky cast.The meticulously designed ad was produced by DC-based agency Design Army, whose nearly obsessive attention to detail pays off. The Wes Anderson-style characters, wacky, well-paced plot, and wonderfully exaggerated narration combine to create one of the most delightfully unique ads we’ve seen in a while. 3) Organic ValleyThis ad from the folks at Tennessee-based agency Humanaut combines two great things: deadpan humor and butter.When a June 2014 cover of TIME Magazine declared “Eat Butter,” the farmers at Organic Valley rejoiced — their time to shine had finally come. This cheeky spot chronicles the end of the “war on butter,” interviewing farmers about how they’ve cultivated better organic butter over the years when consumers shunned the “rich, creamy semi-solid gold.”Organic Valley and Humanaut are no strangers to producing quick-witted campaigns. Back in May 2016, the pair parodied artisanal coffee shops by selling $2 shots of half-and-half coffee creamer. The stunt was number eight on our list of creative branded pop-up shops. 7) John LewisA roundup of November’s best ads wouldn’t be complete without a much-deserved shoutout to John Lewis. The UK department store just dropped their much-anticipated follow-up to the Cannes Lion-winning “Monty’s Christmas,” and it’s already gained over 17 million views on YouTube since its release on November 9th.Produced by adam&eveDDB, the ad begins with a dad setting up a trampoline on Christmas Eve for his daughter. After he retires for the evening, a curious parade of suburban critters discover the trampoline, and proceed to have the time of their lives. The only one left out of the fun is the family dog, but — as you’ll see in the spot — he eventually gets his chance join in on the fun.  8) Poo-PourriIf you don’t appreciate a good poop joke, stop reading now. Toilet deodorizing company Poo-Pourri released an extended ad that chronicles the evolution of bathroom decorum, lamenting the pungent unpleasantries our ancestors must have endured without Poo-Pourri to mask the smell of, ehem, “Zeus’ thunder.”Poo-Pourri’s in-house marketing team created the ad as part of their ongoing campaign featuring Scottish actress Bethany Woodruff. If nothing else, the ad gets major points for coming up with some creative euphemisms for going number two. Our middle school selves are very impressed. Originally published Nov 28, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 6) Heathrow AirportIf you’re in need of some warm and fuzzy feelings this holiday season, look no further than this pair of traveling teddy bears. Havas London produced this Heathrow Airport ad, which follows a couple of elderly teddies as they traverse the terminals of the massive British airport, from landing to baggage claim.When the bears finally meet their family at the arrivals area, they’re magically transformed into real human grandparents. The biggest miracle though is making a journey through the airport look like a whimsical adventure.last_img read more

9 Easy Ways to Get Busy People to Respond to Emails

first_imgYou might think you spend the majority of your time at work sitting in meetings or talking on the phone, but you could be wrong.In fact, a significant portion of your work week could be spent writing, reading, and responding to emails.Download Now: Email Marketing Planning Template A recent study from Adobe revealed that workers are spending 4.1 hours per week checking and interacting with our work emails. Despite the adoption of tools like Slack, workers are using email more than ever — and what’s more, it can take us up to 25 minutes to get back on task once we’ve interrupted by checking and reading email during the workday.So needless to say, when you draft an email — whether it’s to your manager, your direct report, or a contact you want to work with — you want it to be well-crafted and impactful so it doesn’t expend even more time. So we’ve put together these tips for writing emails — that will get opened and replied to, without wasting anyone’s time.How to Write Emails Your Contacts Will Actually Reply To1) Write a descriptive subject line.Your subject line should outline the reason for your email so the recipient is compelled to open and answer it. It should also be clear and succinct — after all, if your subject line is clear, your email will likely be, too. We suggest avoiding full sentences and only putting the meatiest part of your reason for emailing in the subject line.Phrases to Avoid:”Checking in””Touching base””Following up”Example Subject Lines:”Question about your blog post about Snapchat””Meeting information for Monday, 5/1″”New data: 43% of consumers want video content”2) Get to the point, and quickly.In the opening lines of your email, you might be tempted to enumerate on your credentials or your organization, but you can do that later. Instead, the opening line of your email should immediately get to the point so the recipient immediately understands what’s being asked of them.The basic format of a successful email should be:Opening greetingReason for emailingDetailsCall-to-actionClosing greetingThis format is considerate to your reader, who has trouble maintaining attention for long periods of time, and it compels you to write clearly and compellingly to make the recipient keep reading.3) Use basic language.Remember the episode of Friends when Monica and Chandler asked Joey to write them a letter of reference, and he used his thesaurus too enthusiastically?Source: RebloggyIn this case, Joey changed so many words to their more advanced synonyms that his original meaning was completely convoluted. This can happen with your emails, too.Resist the urge to use industry jargon or flowery language and stick to the basics. Make your sentences clear, straightforward, and short — if a sentence requires more than one comma, consider breaking it into two sentences. The easier your email is to understand, the easier it will be for the recipient to quickly respond.4) Use numbers.There are a few ways you can use numbers and statistics in your email that will make it easier to attract and keep the recipient’s attention.Numbers written as numerals (23) instead of words (twenty-three) have been shown to attract reader attention when they quickly scan what they’re reading online — which research shows internet users are more and more likely to do.Numbers as statistical data lend your email more credibility. Numbers represent facts, which your reader might be more compelled to respond to.See what we did there? The numbered list probably drew your eye more than writing that out in paragraph format would have. Formatting helps too — more on that later.5) Keep it as short as possible.Keep it short and sweet.Researchers analyzed over five years of emails, and they found that shorter emails resulted in faster response times. That’s helpful when you consider that reading and responding to emails can eat up so many hours in your week. Shorter emails help you and the recipient spend less time writing and replying to emails, which makes everyone more productive.Our trick for keeping emails short is by typing them in Twitter first. Emails don’t have to be under 140 characters, but it’s a good guardrail for having maximum impact in fewer words. You can keep your emails shorter by using numbers, omitting unnecessary words like adjectives and adverbs, and thinking carefully about formatting. The ideal email length varies depending on your industry, but we suggest keeping your emails under 200 words in length. The average screen reading speed is 200 words per minute, so aiming to keep messages below that target is a good rule of thumb.6) Use bullet points.Whenever possible, use bullet points or a numbered list to organize your email structure. Here’s why:Bullets don’t require full sentences, so you can use fewer words to get the same message across.Bullets help break up the formatting of an email to maintain the reader’s attention.Bulleted or numbered lists help clearly outline steps in a process that need to be taken, which is useful for email documenting meetings or initiatives.We suggest using only three bullets. Studies have shown that our brains like to be presented with three options to consider. Use three bullets or numbered items in your emails for maximum impact.7) Answer the question “so what?”Just because the subject of your email is important to you doesn’t mean the recipient necessarily agrees. You need to ensure that your reader comes away from your email with the answer to the question “so what?”Psychologist Ellen Langler found that the use of the word “because” made people more likely to comply with the request. By providing the reason behind asking someone to help you or do something for you in an email, you make it easier for the recipient to say “yes.”When asking for someone else’s time and effort, make sure to include a “because … ” so they can understand the impact their compliance will have.8) Make your ask clear.Some emails have clear asks, and some emails do not. Either way, make sure to clearly state what exactly you need from the recipient of your email to make it easier for them to reply.Remember the email structure we mentioned above?Opening greetingReason for emailingDetailsCall-to-actionClosing greetingStart your email with the reason you’re emailing, provide the recipient with details and the “so what?” of your message, and close your email with a clear ask for next steps. Whether you need them to edit a blog post, attend a meeting, or you don’t need any specific action from them at that time, make sure that is the last line of your email.The final line of your email will likely be most memorable, so if the recipient doesn’t reply right away, they’ll be able to easily remember what they need to do next.9) Know when to take it offline.Sometimes, the best email isn’t an email at all. Instead, it’s a phone call, a Slack direct message, a virtual conference, or an in-person meeting.We’ve told you to keep your email as clear and succinct as possible. So if you’re drafting your message and finding that it requires any of the following, that could be an indication that it’s time to sit down and talk about what you’re working on:If your email is highly time-sensitive, explore if there is a faster way to reach that person in the office or using a messaging app.If it takes you multiple paragraphs to get your point across, consider if you want to produce a slide deck to present in a meeting.If you need answers to multiple complicated questions (that don’t involve a yes or no answer), send a meeting invitation instead — but include the questions in the event description so the recipient can prepare.A good indicator to determine if you should take your message offline is how long it takes you to write out your email. If you have to keep editing and rewriting to make your points clear, they might not be clear to your recipient, either. Luckily, meeting invites are short and sweet, and they involve a simple yes or no answer. Make sure to provide context in the event description, or a pre-meeting email, so attendees can prepare for the conversation early.Email Is an ArtIf you’re emailing your colleagues and contacts, they’ll understand a run-on sentence or a typo here and there (although we advise self-editing before pressing “send,” of course). But when it comes time to start emailing subscribers and leads on behalf of your brand, check out our free beginner’s email marketing guide for more suggestions and ideas.What are your strategies for writing actionable emails? Share with us in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this post! Email Marketing Topics: Originally published May 8, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019last_img read more

Details on the 2017 Oklahoma State Spring Game

first_imgOklahoma State will play its 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at 1 p.m. in Stillwater. The format will be 10-minute quarters on Saturday without a running clock. Everyone will get plenty of playing time, but if you want to catch Mason Rudolph, get there early as he’s only expected to play a couple of series.The Spring Game day in Stillwater is always a fun, familial atmosphere with the Remember the 10 Run that morning at 9 a.m. and the fact that you can go on the field afterwards to visit and take photos with players.There will also be inflatables and face painting on the south side of the stadium for the kids (or adults, I suppose) from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Just wrapped up our last practice before Saturday’s Spring Game at 1 p.m. Gates open at noon with free parking and free admission! #okstate— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) April 13, 2017The game will not be televised but PFB will have a reporter and a photographer in attendance so we will have full coverage of the festivities on Saturday afternoon.It should be a fun one — Vegas has set the over/under for layers of bubble wrap covering QB1 is 97.5. I’ll take the over.It’s coming to BPS! Let’s get it!! #GoPokes #okstate #CowboyUp18— Cowboy FB Recruiting (@CowboyFB_Elite) April 11, 2017 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Cy-Ridge Offensive Lineman Tyrese Williams Commits to Oklahoma State

first_img“First of all I would like to thank God for blessing me with the opportunities that I have and the talent I have been given to be able to play football at the next level,” Williams posted on Twitter. “I would like to thank my wonderful family for their tremendous support throughout my recruiting process, my coaches and my trainer for mentoring me and shaping me into the player I am today, and all the recruiters, coaches and universities for giving me opportunities to play football for their programs. After talking with my parents, coaches and family members, I am truly blessed to say that I will be committing to Oklahoma State University!”Williams is the fourth verbal commitment for OSU’s offensive line class, and likely the last. More importantly, he’s the fourth high school product to join the mix — one of the biggest focuses for OSU in this cycle after striking out under Greg Adkins with high school recruits.Houston, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, California, New Mexico and Tulsa were all involved in his recruitment. He held 13 Division I offers. It’s taken less than three months for Josh Henson to fill an entire offensive line recruiting class for Oklahoma State as the line coach.He’s landed two stud offensive tackles in Hunter Anthony and Hunter Woodard, he’s grabbed a commitment from a top-10 offensive guard in Oklahoma in Bryce Bray, and now he’s got a center. Tyrese Williams, a product of Cy Ridge in Houston, committed on Tuesday morning. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Detroit Lions Hire Hall of Fame Running Back Barry Sanders as Team Ambassador

first_imgBarry Sanders is making a return to the NFL.According to team president Rod Wood, the club is rehiring its Hall of Fame running back to serve as a fan liaison in a formal agreement, putting the legendary tailback back on the payroll nearly 18 years to the date after his retirement from the NFL.“We’ve thankfully, the last couple years, had an unofficial relationship with him,” Wood told the Detroit News. “This year, we formalized it. You described it well, it’s kind of a brand ambassador. He’ll be going on road trips, showing up for suite visits, he’ll be at the Taste of the Lions event, and just interacting with our fans on behalf of the team.”AdChoices广告“It’s a formal agreement. I worked with Barry and his agent to put something together that works for both of us. It’s not a football role. It’s more of a marketing, business role.”Sanders, now 49-years-old, was a world-class talent who spent 10 seasons with the Lions. Despite ending his career early, he is still the No. 3 rusher in NFL history with 15,269 yards, recording 1,000 yards per season in each of his 10 seasons in the league.Before taking his talents to the NFL, Sanders set the college football world on fire at OSU by setting 34 NCAA records in 1988. He went on to win the Heisman Trophy as a Cowboy that season after rushing for 2,628 yards and 37 touchdowns in what many — even his old head coach — call the greatest season by a college football player ever.“It’s obviously the greatest season any individual has had,” Pat Jones said in 2014. “Hell, maybe in any sport.” While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

12 days agoGuivarc’h hails France matchwinner Giroud

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Guivarc’h hails France matchwinner Giroudby Paul Vegas12 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFrench World Cup winner Stéphane Guivarc’h praised matchwinner Olivier Giroud yesterday.The Chelsea striker hit the only goal of their Euros qualifying win over Iceland.And ex-Newcastle forward said: “He plays little in England. 17 minutes last month and yet he gives (France coach Didier) Deschamps the confidence that he gives him. “He was great in fighting spirit and had the talent to turn the penalty. “Congratulations to him.” last_img read more

Bissonnette judges unusual sentencing decision likely to be appealed experts

first_imgMONTREAL — A Quebec judge’s “unusual” decision to modify the Criminal Code as he sentenced six-time murderer Alexandre Bissonnette to a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 40 years highlights the ongoing legal debate over consecutive life sentences in Canada, according to legal experts.On Friday, Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot rejected the Crown’s call to sentence Bissonnette to 150 years with no chance of parole, arguing a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Sentences that exceed an offender’s life expectancy and offer no reasonable hope of release are “grossly disproportionate and totally incompatible with human dignity,” he wrote in his 246-page decision.But instead of sentencing Bissonnette to serve his six sentences concurrently, Huot rewrote the 2011 consecutive sentencing law, section 745.51 of the Criminal Code, to give himself the discretion to deliver consecutive life sentences that are not in blocks of 25 years, as had been the case. (First-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole before 25 years.)In the end, Huot decided Bissonnette will serve at least 40 years in prison.Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder after he walked into the mosque at the Islamic Cultural Centre during evening prayers on Jan. 29, 2017 and opened fire.Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto, described Huot’s decision as “innovative.”“Charter challenges to the 2011 provisions had previously been denied on the basis that the judge was not forced to increase parole ineligibility for multiple murders,” he wrote in an email.“It may very well be appealed by both the Crown (who wanted far more than 40 years) and the defence, which may argue that if the judge thought the provision violated the Charter he should have imposed only 25 years of parole ineligibility.”But Renald Beaudry, a criminal lawyer who was at Bissonnette’s sentencing, doesn’t think the sentence would be easy to overturn.He noted that Huot’s lengthy decision included a comprehensive overview of worldwide jurisprudence on the issue of consecutive sentences, the philosophy behind the fundamental principles of Canadian law, and a summary of House of Commons debate on the issue.“He really backed himself up, to use the expression,” he said.On Friday, lawyers for both the Crown and defence said they would study the decision before deciding whether to appeal the sentence. A spokesman for the Quebec Justice department also indicated its lawyers were studying the possibility of appeal.Lisa Silver, a law professor at the University of Calgary, said the decision reflects the ongoing conversation in Canada surrounding the law that allows judges to “stack” life sentences for multiple murders instead of serving them concurrently.“(The decision) does seem unusual, but it’s also very consistent with what some judges are saying, not just about this section, but about sentencing and the larger discussion about these sections in the Criminal Code,” she said.Recent high-profile sentencing decisions across Canada have reflected different judicial approaches to the idea of multiple life sentences.The longest prison sentence in Canada to date is 75 years without parole, which has been given to at least five triple killers including Justin Bourque, who murdered three RCMP officers in a shooting spree in New Brunswick in 2014.But other judges have rejected calls for consecutive sentences, including the Toronto judge who on Friday sentenced Bruce McArthur to life in prison with no parole for 25 years for murdering eight men with ties to Toronto’s gay village.Silver said the difference in sentences can be problematic because it leads to comparisons, such as the perception that a gay or Muslim person’s murder isn’t “worth” as much as that of an RCMP officer.But she said people should understand that a sentence isn’t about putting a numerical value on a person’s life.“We need to remember that sentencing is individual, it takes in a number of factors, and those include the circumstances of the crime, the severity, the impact on the community, but it also has to reference the circumstances and background of the offender,” she said.Silver agreed  that the Bissonnette sentencing is also likely to be appealed, and she believes that’s a good thing.She said she believes the consecutive sentencing law needs to be reviewed in order to provide more guidance for judges and avoid the harm caused by the perception of inconsistent sentencing.“The difficulty in the street level is, these are communities that need to have some closure,” she said. “And when you have appeals and decisions that, in a public view don’t seem consistent, it’s difficult for people to move on with their lives.”Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Roger Waters To Perform With Military Veterans

first_imgThe Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) and the New York Comedy Festival are proud to announce that John Mayer and Roger Waters will perform at the 6th annual Stand Up for Heroes event on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Beacon Theatre, in addition to previously announced performers Mike Birbiglia, Ricky Gervais, Patton Oswalt, Jon Stewart, Bruce Springsteen and Robin Williams.Roger Waters will be performing with a band comprised of military veterans.Musical performances will be streamed live on YouTube and available worldwide on, the website of the Bob Woodruff Foundation as the 6th annual Stand Up for Heroes gala kicks off at the same time as the event, 8 p.m. EST. Viewers of the live stream will be able to make donations to the BWF to help support injured service men and women.“We look forward to this event all year, because we are always honored when we get to meet the inspirational men and women who have served our country so heroically,” said Bob Woodruff, co-founder, the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “In addition, we are amazed at the caliber of talent we are able to pull in for the benefit. These performers simply want to help give back to the men and women who have sacrificed so much. We hope that the social media component, new this year, will enable more people to enjoy the show—and will raise even more awareness for the cause that lies behind it.”“We’re always profoundly appreciative of these incredible artists who donate their time and considerable talents to this cause every year,” says Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of Carolines on Broadway and the New York Comedy Festival. “To add John Mayer and Roger Waters to a line-up already bursting with star power and talent is a testament to the amazing work that the Bob Woodruff Foundation is doing on behalf of those injured soldiers who have so bravely served our country.”This is the sixth year of the nationally recognized Stand Up for Heroes benefit; the five previous events have raised more than $10 million in all to support wounded warriors and their families.The Bob Woodruff Foundation has invested more than $12 million to help wounded service members, veterans and family members.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more