Did Dinosaurs See the Grand Canyon?

first_img(Visited 520 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Evolutionists and creationists agree that dinosaurs did not look over the rim of Grand Canyon – but for different reasons.To understand how a feature was made, it’s helpful to know how old it is. Unfortunately, for one of Earth’s most striking features—the Grand Canyon of Arizona—age estimates vary widely. The Geological Society of America admits that a consensus age has been hard to come by:The age of the Grand Canyon (USA) has been studied for years, with recent technological advances facilitating new attempts to determine when erosion of this iconic canyon began. The result is sometimes conflicting ages based on different types of data; most data support the notion that the canyon began to erode to its current form about six million years ago. Then even newer, “high-tech,” data became available and questions were again raised about whether the western end of the canyon could be older.Two numbers are used as general time markers for these alternate hypotheses. The first suggests that the canyon may have started incising 17 million years ago. The second suggests that the canyon may have looked largely as it does today 70 million years ago. The time contrast between these hypotheses is striking, and any accurate concept of the canyon would have to be consistent with all observations.The press release ends by citing a new study that claims the western end of the canyon, at the Grand Wash Cliffs, must be “younger than the fault slip that occurred 18 to 12 million years ago.” Then it concludes, “Comparing their data to other datasets suggests that the notion that the canyon starting eroding around six million years ago is still the best scientific idea for the age of the Grand Canyon.” Notice that they call it a “notion” and an “idea.” It’s interesting that the spread of age estimates for the fault slip (6 million years) is equivalent to their estimate for the entire erosion of the canyon itself. If so much erosion occurred in that time farther to the east, why was there so much less erosion at Grand Wash Cliffs? Why did all the canyon’s erosion wait to commence till another 6 to 12 million years had passed after the fault slip? The theory seems incoherent, but is based on “general time markers” secular geologists rely on for reference.Dinosaur ViewpointSetting aside that question for now, their “notion” precludes dinosaurs having seen the Grand Canyon. The older age (70 million years) might have permitted some dinosaurs to see the western part at least. But the beasts should have been long gone if the fault slip was 18 million years ago. So the answer to PhysOrg‘s question, “Did dinosaurs enjoy Grand Canyon views?” is “Definitely not.”“We are confident the western canyon is younger than 6 million years and is certainly younger than 18 million years,” said Andrew Darling, a graduate student in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. The research is published online June 10 in the journal Geosphere.The problem with the assertion is that studying the age of the Grand Canyon isn’t easy.Measuring time can be tricky when everything you’re studying is eroding away. And the whole region has been eroding for a long time, so not much is left of the landscape that was there when the Grand Canyon started forming. Yet, most people think the Grand Canyon is young – around 6 million years old based on what is preserved.Creationists would agree that the canyon “is certainly younger than 18 million years”—a lot younger! And they would agree that dinosaurs never saw the Grand Canyon. Their reason would be that the canyon formed after the great Flood of Noah’s day. The dinosaurs had all drowned during the Flood year, the last holdouts leaving footprints in Navajo sandstone at levels thousands of feet higher than the canyon sediments. The canyon sediments preserve only marine creatures buried in the early stages of the Flood. Possibly centuries after the Flood, a dam breach from a remnant inland sea carved the canyon when the sediments were still soft, according to a leading creation model.Eastern Grand Canyon shows rapid downcutting after sheet erosionThe only possible way a dinosaur could have seen the Grand Canyon, in this view, would have been for descendents of surviving species taken on the Ark to have migrated to North America after the Flood. Migration and repopulation of the continents was expected to be rapid across land bridges when sea levels were low. Petroglyphs of dinosaur-shaped animals provide some tantalizing hints that early human migrants to the Colorado plateau saw dinosaurs. Conditions after the Flood were either no longer suitable for them, or else humans hunted them to extinction. Still, a few dinosaurs might have looked over the rim and said, “What a magnificent view! This should be a national park!”The creation model has long been a target for scoffers. This month’s announcements about soft tissue in dinosaur bones (6/09/15) and carbon-14 in dinosaur bones (6/18/15), however, have effectively falsified millions of years and confirmed creationist predictions (6/10/15), leaving the young-earth view the only one standing to explain those results. It’s time to turn the tables and laugh at the way secular moyboys use “millions of years” like a magic wand to explain everything they never saw, having denied the only eyewitness account.last_img read more

A journey around Africa with ten great songs

first_img25 May 2016West AfricaTinariwen – Cler Achel (Mali)Like the vastness of the Sahara desert on its northern border, Malian folk music is sparse and hypnotic, featuring loopy rhythms and melodies.Music band Tinariwen is the most established and renowned of the region’s artists, having been together in various forms over the last 30 years, performing around the world with some of the West’s biggest names including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock.Guided by the entrancing electric guitar melodies of bandleader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Tinariwen combines the traditional folk music of the region’s nomadic Tuareg tribe with both North African/Middle Eastern and Western blues rock influences. Lyrics have a strong poetic and political bent sung in French and the Tuareg/Berber indigenous languages.In 2012, the band won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album for their album Tassili.Fela Kuti – Sorrow, Tears and Blood (Nigeria)Kuti is not only considered Nigerian music royalty, but also one of Africa’s greatest musical sons, combining soul and jazz with harmonic, upbeat West African rhythms to create some of the most original music ever recorded.As the main proponent of this hugely popular Afro-beat sound during the 1970s, Kuti brought the sounds of African funk to the world, enjoying success in America and Europe, and influencing generations of musicians. Against the backdrop of pulsating rhythms and stabbing, noisy brass arrangements, Kuti’s potent political lyricism – sung in Lagosian Pidgin English – commented unashamedly on both Africa’s challenges and the effects of colonialism.Kuti’s musical influence had a wide-reaching social and political impact on the continent. He died in 1997, leaving behind a vast discography of albums and unique live recordings.Kuti’s sons Femi and Seun continue the family’s music legacy to a worldwide audience.North AfricaKhaled – Didi (Algeria)Being at the epicentre of a circle of cultural influence that includes Africa, the Middle East and Asia, it is no surprise that music from North Africa is some of the most unique in the world. Khaled is one of the biggest superstar of the region, thanks to his instantly catchy crossover hit Didi which not only charted around North Africa but also proved popular on the dance floors of Europe and the US.The song became the first Arabic-language song to hit number one in France, starting an era when North African pop-dance left a subtle but indelible mark on Western pop music during the 1990s.Khaled performed at the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa and has also performed with Johnny Clegg, US rapper Pitbull and French electronica pioneer Jean Michel Jarre.Hamza El Din – Water Wheel (Egypt)El Din was an influential world classical music composer and ethnomusicologist from the lower Nile Nubian region.Specialising in the traditional stringed oud instruments, his meandering minimalist string and vocal recordings during the 1960s are recognised as some of the first world music recordings to influence Western classical music, including Steve Reich and the Kronos Quartet.Fans included Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead with whom he performed extensively during the 1970s. He later taught African ethnomusicology at universities in the US and Japan. El Din died in 2006.Central AfricaCorneille – Toi (Rwanda/Canada)Singer-songwriter Cornelius Nyungura, performing under the name Corneille, was a genocide survivor who lives and performs in Canada. He released his first album, a French-language soul album in 2002, charting in Belgium and France where it reached number 4. His song Toi is one of Canada’s biggest selling French-language singles.Corneille has performed with Jimmy Cliff and recorded with UK R&B singer Craig David. He returned to Rwanda to perform for the first time in 2005, and is currently the Canadian Red Cross spokesperson for the plight of child war refugees.Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa (Cameroon)Like Kuti’s afro-beat funk, Dibango’s African-tinged saxophone disco helped define the sound of Africa in the 1970s.Recorded in 1972, Soul Makossa remains an influential song, inspiring US producer Quincy Jones in emulating the bass-rich sound for Michael Jackson’s early solo albums and then later as a go-to source of samples for a number of modern hip hop and R&B hits. The song can be heard on Rihanna’s Don’t Stop The Music and Gettin’ Jiggy With It by Will Smith.His extensive 40-year discography features collaborations with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, reggae greats Sly and Robbie and funk rock keyboardist Bernie Worrell.While more commercially appealing than Kuti’s extended improvised jams, Dibango never shied away from using his music to deliver a message, particularly highlighting poverty and promoting social harmony in his home country. He is a fierce campaigner against music piracy and for artists’ rights, as well as a Unesco Artist for Peace since 2004. Despite being an octogenarian, Dibango still records and performs across Africa and around the world.East AfricaGigi – Abyssinia Infinite (Ethiopia)Ejigayehu Shibabaw, also known as Gigi, injects her Ethiopian musical heritage into a variety of genres, including jazz rock, reggae dub and soundtrack work. Working closely with husband, jazz producer Bill Laswell, Gigi’s ethereal and uninhibited vocal style has graced recordings with Herbie Hancock, Indian composer Karsh Kale and avant-garde rock guitarist Buckethead.Standout solo work includes a collection of acoustic Ethiopian music titled Abyssinia Infinite and the electronica-infused Mesgana Ethiopia.Lady Jaydee – Ndi Ndi Ndi (Tanzania)Judith Mbibo, known as Lady Jaydee, is one of Tanzania’s most popular singers, akin to the kind of status of Brenda Fassie has in South Africa. Her upbeat kwaito-infused pop songs are gaining her new fans across the rest of the continent.Lady Jaydee has been singing professionally since 2000, winning a number of national singing competitions and awards, including a Kora and a Channel O Music award.She has collaborated with the likes of Salif Keita, South Africa’s Mina Nawe and the cream of Tanzanian hip hop producers.Southern AfricaBanjo Mosele – Botsa Mmutla (Botswana)Botswana has a rich and diverse musical culture which covers traditional and pop music, jazz, dance music and outsider genres like heavy metal.The country boasts some of the best jazz and traditional instrumentalists in the world, including Banjo Mosele, founding member of the Kalahari Band, Hugh Masekela’s touring band during his exile in the 1980s. Mosele also played guitar in sessions with a number of music’s biggest names during including Peter Gabriel, Jonas Gwangwa and Bheki Mseleku.Mosele released his first solo album in 2003, selling strongly in Africa, Norway and the UK. He has won numerous music awards in Botswana and continues to tour the world as a solo act and with the world’s top jazz groups.Freshlyground – Doo Be Doo (South Africa)In a country as diverse as South Africa, it is difficult to pinpoint a single genre, traditional or contemporary, that could do justice to defining the South African sound or even its listeners. Rock, pop, kwaito, hip hop, jazz, classical, anything goes in Mzansi and each fan base is as fierce and loyal as the next.However, in recent years, there has been one band with one song that has gone a long way to encompassing the South African multicultural experience with the help of an inescapable feel-good earworm chorus. Doo Be Doo by Freshlyground was released in 2008 and the song was everywhere: on every radio, on every channel, on every South African’s lips.The song became a bona-fide cultural phenomenon. It topped every chart in the country, from YouTube views to radio and television rotation. It turned the band’s Nomvula album into an instant South African classic.South Africa.info reporterlast_img read more

6 Tips for Building Great Product Pages

first_img On-page SEO If you run an online business, chances are you understand search engine optimization, traffic reports, and meta data as general concepts. However, what you may not realize is that you need to optimize every single page on your website — especially your product pages.Here are 6 great tips for building effective product pages for your ecommerce website.1. Turn Product Pages Into Great ContentIn the product pages of your website, always use original images and videos with creative descriptions that are both entertaining and informative. Make your pages unique in order to separate you from your competitors. And always avoid duplicate content at all costs. 2. Design Your Pages So They Focus on ConversionsLayouts should be three columns with the most important content on the left and center, as close to the top as possible. Make it very easy for the user to add the product to a cart with just one click. Keep the checkout button near the images or videos and away from user-generated content, like comments, that you can’t always control. 3. Create Unique Content and DescriptionsDescriptions should always be your own, but you can add to them with charts, graphs, fun facts, or anything else entertaining that gives the user information and adds to the user experience on your site.4. Optimize Your URL StructureIncluding the product name with the category in your page’s URL is the easiest way to attract targeted traffic because search engines take URL structure into account, and your product page will look more relevant to them it includes keywords for the product name.Think: http://www.mysite.com/product-category/product-nameAs Opposed To: http://www.mysite.com/Item/90024971115. Add Rich Media, Like VideosImages, videos, charts, etc. are great for reaching a wider number of users. High-quality, original media has several benefits. Here are a few tips for using multimedia elements:License original mediaUse original content exclusively, not stock photos or generic videosBe innovativeRich media is a specialized subset of search queries and, as such, if you have a video or photo that becomes popular, make sure it links back to your product page to bring you more traffic. 6. Take a Look at Zappos as an ExampleWhen you conduct a Google search for ‘Zappos,’ the first thing you see is “Free Shipping.” By putting the word, “free” into their meta description, they have already captured the attention of many users. Then they use their product pages to complete the sale.For example, click the Nike shoe product on the Zappos homepage, and you will arrive here. From top to bottom, you’ll notice these features:The URL includes the product name.The navigation bar has the name again.The SKU number is also at the top because users searching for a specific product often know the SKU number and search by it.The photo is original, unique and able to be enlarged.The layout is organized into three columns with supplementary content on the right.Controllable customer feedback is much higher on the page than comments from customers.Main content is perfectly crafted for keyword optimization**.Bullet points and tags are displayed openly and cleanly.The keyword (product name) is written again in the bottom of the main content but above the supplementary content.The site map is at the bottom of the page.** There is a bullet with the product name, but this time the name is written with a trademark sign between the words, “Nike” and “Free.” They have broken the words up in this way to keep the full product name from looking like spam to a search engine. Notice, they did the same in the next bullet by leaving the “2” off the name and adding the SKU number.Yes, it will take some effort to optimize your product pages, but it will also pay off. You’ll see a decrease in bounce rates and a rise in conversion rates as you attract your target audience and convert them into reliable customers. Topics: Originally published Oct 13, 2011 8:00:00 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 SlackSlacklast_img read more

What a Top-Notch Lead Management Program Looks Like

first_img Originally published Jan 27, 2012 3:45:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Lead Nurturing Walk into any active sales room, and it’s easy to tell how time-intensive most sales operations are. To make the hours spent worthwhile, it’s important to ensure that your sales team is only talking to the most qualified leads. Lead management is a strategy and set of corresponding tools that help companies filter out unqualified leads and better understand the buying cycle of their good leads. When executed well, lead management makes your marketing team more effective, your sales team more precise, and your leads happier. Lead management programs vary from company to company, but here are several important components to consider.  Prospect Intelligence For B2B companies, lead management should actually begin before a lead ever fills out a form. Individual website visitors who are still in the browsing stage can actually tell you a great deal about what content is attracting them to your company. By using prospect tracking software , which reports on the IP address associated with site visitors, you can understand which types of companies are visiting your site. Connecting company activity on your site with a certain type of content or topic can help you better prepare your sales team for when a lead from that company later converts on your site.    Lead Intelligence When someone converts on your website by completing a form or downloading a piece of content, the relationship with that lead begins. By using analytics  to keep tabs of the content leads view and the interactions they have with your company, you can build a more relevant, personalized experience for each lead. Lead intelligence begins by developing a profile for your lead with the information provided and creating a place to store all future interactions and data on that lead. After you have that profile created, you can begin to segment your leads based on their interests and send emails and other communications that are targeted and relevant to them. Lead Scoring The good news about inbound marketing is that it can attract high volumes of leads. The challenge then becomes, how do you separate the good, quality leads from the people who are just looking around? That’s where lead scoring comes in. With lead scoring , you can attach values to each of your leads based on their professional information and the behavior they’ve displayed on your website.  Get started by meeting with your sales team and coming to an agreement about what makes a quality lead. What types of pages viewed or content downloaded indicate that the lead is getting close to a decision point?  What lead activities do you want to prioritize? After you’ve come to an agreement on quality indicators, you can use a lead scoring app like HubSpot’s Lead Grader to assign custom scores to each activity so your most qualified leads float to the top. Customer Relationship Management Another key component of successful lead management is the integration of your marketing software and your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Too often, there is a divide between marketing efforts and the revenue that those efforts drive. Connecting your marketing software to your CRM system enables you to bridge that gap and get a complete view of your marketing funnel, from the campaigns and channels that first brought customers into to your company to their most recent point of sale. Marketers call this kind of end-to-end view “closed-loop reporting.” Closed-loop reporting can help you understand which marketing efforts resulted in actual purchases so you know how to invest your marketing budget more strategically. To get started, make sure you have a marketing platform and a CRM system that have the ability to integrate through APIs.   Lead Nurturing Lead nurturing is all about understanding the nuances of your leads’ timing and needs. Basic lead nurturing involves a tightly connected series of emails with a coherent purpose and an abundance of useful, relevant content. Lead nurturing campaigns are typically kicked off in a scheduled cadence after someone takes a specific action on your site, like requesting a trial or signing up for a webinar, and they reflect the action taken. Alternately,  behavior-based lead nurturing , often called marketing automation , enables a company to trigger communications based on real-time customer behavior. Warming leads up over time through helpful, educational emails will help them get to a decision point more quickly. To set up your first lead nurturing campaign, think about the typical buying cycle of your leads. Design related emails that address the goals of each of these stages (for example: education, comparison shopping, cost-assessment). Remember, lead nurturing emails should be designed to help your leads, not push an immediate sale. Use a lead nurturing program to time these communications appropriately throughout the buying cycle.  The Complete Picture Customer relationships take time. Research from Gleanster suggests that even when it comes to qualified leads, more than 50% aren’t ready to buy on the day they first convert on your site . You’ve put a lot of work into attracting leads, and often, it’s how you manage them after the conversion that will determine if your time was well spent.  The power of lead management comes in adapting your communications to reflect a comprehensive understanding of your leads’ needs and timeline so that when you hand them over to your sales team, all parties are informed and ready to move forward. To learn more about how to get started with lead management, download our free ebook, Lead Management Made Simple . 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:last_img read more

The Metrics You Need to Measure Marketing Automation Effectiveness

first_imgThere are a lot of ways to fail at marketing automation — an incomplete content arsenal, poor sales and marketing alignment (also known as SMarketing), clunky marketing automation software, and the list goes on. But the companies that don’t get burned by using marketing automation software incorrectly or prematurely all have one thing in common: they are using metrics to determine whether their marketing automation is effective. After all, how can you definitively determine success (or failure) without concrete metrics to back up your claims?Do you know which inbound marketing metrics you should be tracking? Click here for a free guide.Turns out marketers are feeling the pain of this crucial step, though. A Gleansight research report said that, when asked what is the most challenging aspect of marketing automation, 54% cited agreeing on the right metrics to monitor. And it’s a difficult challenge — depending on how and why you’re using marketing automation, some individual metrics will be more important for you than others. But there are four basic types with which any company interested in implementing marketing automation should be concerned. Let’s dive into those four types of metrics, and examine what specifically you could choose to measure to determine the effectiveness of your marketing automation . Activity Metrics Before you get started evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing automation strategy, you need to make sure your team is actually using your marketing automation software. After all, making a metrics-based determination of success doesn’t mean much with a paltry sample size.Keeping track of some basic activity metrics when you first implement your marketing automation solution will give you an indication of whether your investment is actually getting used. This is important because marketing automation can be a significant investment in time and money (or both), but if you aren’t using the software — because it’s too time-intensive, it’s complicated, ramp-up takes too long, etc. — you can’t expect to see any meaningful ROI. Here are two metrics you can look at to determine whether your team is using the marketing automation software you’ve invested in, or whether there’s some barrier preventing them from making the most of your investment. Number of Emails Sent – There’s much more to effective marketing automation than just sending email, but if you’re trying to determine whether your team is making use of your new software investment, there’s no simpler metric to look at. If they aren’t, at the very least, sending emails through the software, it’s a good indication there’s a solution- or vendor-specific barrier. Setup of Quality Behavioral Triggers – If your team is sending emails actively with the software, you’re still not home-free in establishing sufficient activity; they should also have quality behavioral triggers set up in the software. Often, marketers will use their marketing automation software to make simple email sending faster and easier, but it’s not based on any customer or lead behaviors. And if that’s all you’re using the software for, you’re making a gross over-investment. Look for triggers that send campaigns based on lead or customer activity, like this abandoned shopping cart email from retailer ModCloth. Reconversions – The more times your leads convert, the more opportunities you have to confirm the lead intelligence you already have, and add more robust information to it. Your marketing automation should be a major driver in this effort. If leads aren’t driven to reconvert from the offers in your automated emails, consider re-evaluating both the triggers you’ve set up, and how you’ve mapped your content . Unsubscribe Rate – Your list can (and should, if you’re practicing good email list hygiene) depreciate for reasons unrelated to marketing automation. But your unsubscribe rate is a good indication of whether your recipients are responding well to your marketing automation. Your rate should stay under 1% at all times. If your unsubscribe rate is higher than 1%, or higher now than it was before implementing a marketing automation solution, it’s a good indication that the content you’re sending is not relevant, and you may need to do better list segmentation . Efficiency Metrics Efficiency metrics will give you an indication of whether all of this marketing automation is making a dent in some of your most important SMarketing metrics. If you’re using marketing automation effectively, you should see the following metrics positively impacted. Cost Per Customer – Without a good marketing automation system , Sales and Marketing may find they have a funnel that’s very top heavy with leads, but most are never nurtured to the point that they can convert into a customer. But if you’re using marketing automation effectively — by nurturing your leads based on their on- and off-site behaviors — you should start to see a lower cost per customer as more of those top of the funnel leads don’t get wasted, and instead get utilized by the sales team that converts them into customers. Originally published Mar 5, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: This is an example of a company using marketing automation effectively — their campaigns are triggered based on personalized insight into customer behaviors on their site (though it can also be based on off-site behaviors!). If you can verify both email sending volume and quality email triggers coming from your marketing automation solution, move on to analyze the next three metrics. Response Metrics Now that you know your team is actively using marketing automation, how do your leads and customers feel about being on the receiving end of it? Response metrics will help give you an indication of whether your automation is resonating with your audience. There are more qualitative and time intensive ways to determine this, too — I encourage you to continually ask for feedback from your leads and customers on your emails, offers, and content.  But if you’re trying to look at a glance whether your marketing automation is well-received, start by checking these metrics. Open and Click-Through Rate – These metrics are important because they indicate that your emails are well crafted — from subject line, to copy, to offer. If you’re suffering lower open rates or click-through rates, consider some email A/B testing to improve these metrics. Site Traffic – If your emails are driving conversions, you should see an uptick in web traffic, too. Check your traffic sources, and see how much more traffic is being driven by email than before you implemented your marketing automation solution.center_img MQLs Generated Through Lead Nurturing – MQLs are ” marketing qualified leads ,” or leads that are more likely to become a customer based on their pre-close activity. If you’ve effectively nurtured leads through marketing automation, your number of MQLs should increase. Sales-Accepted Leads – With more reconversions comes better lead intel that helps inform sales about the leads in their funnel. It also creates more educated leads that are nurtured further down the funnel, making them more likely to close from Sales’ perspective. If your number of sales-accepted leads is increasing , it’s a good indication your marketing automation is helping you be more efficient. If this — or your MQL — number is low, however, you might have a lead scoring problem or a SMarketing alignment problem. Value Metrics Here’s the money shot — pun intended. Value metrics will give you an indication of whether your marketing automation implementation is actually affecting your bottom line. You know, making you money. Here are some metrics you can use to know how much value you’re getting out of your marketing automation. Revenue Generated – What’s a better indication of the value of a system than how much revenue is attributed to it? When looking at your revenue growth, monitor not only whether you’re closing more deals, but also whether the average sale price is increasing along with it. Cost of Investment Versus Revenue Generated – Now that you know how much revenue you can attribute to customers nurtured with marketing automation, how does that compare with the total cost of ownership? You may be generating more revenue with marketing automation — but at what expense? The cost of the software and the staff running it shouldn’t exceed the monetary gains you receive from it. Close Rate on Marketing-Sourced Leads – Marketers are consistently looking to prove their value to sales. Yes, one way to do that is showing them the revenue — money talks, right? But Gleansight research reported that 71% of top performers also use the close rate on marketing-sourced leads as a metric to glean the value of their marketing automation. If you can show sales that the leads you’re providing them since you’ve implemented marketing automation are closing at a higher rate — well, that’s pretty great for a harmonious SMarketing relationship! What types of metrics do you use to determine whether your marketing automation is effective? Share your recommendations in the comments! Image credit: adactio Email Marketing Metrics 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

Facebook Now Includes Business Pages in Local Mobile Search Results

first_imgFor local businesses, there’s now all the more reason to create a Facebook Page. Yesterday, Facebook announced updates to the ‘Nearby’ tab within its mobile app, giving local businesses an even better opportunity to get discovered by Facebook mobile users. And considering there are more than 600 million of them, this isn’t really a benefit brick-and-mortar businesses should overlook. In fact, with Facebook’s latest update, it seems like Google might have some new competition when it comes to local search.Let’s take a quick look at what Facebook’s updates actually entail, and how local businesses can win their piece of the Facebook local search pie.What Exactly Did Facebook Do to Its Nearby Tab?Before yesterday’s update, the Nearby tab was dedicated to showing users where their Facebook friends had checked in. With Facebook’s update, now users of the Facebook app (for both iOS and Android) will not only see which friends have checked in at specific places, but they’ll also be able to discover places and businesses that are nearby. These results are ranked primarily by the recommendations of the particular user’s friends, which factor in criteria such as star ratings, check-ins, and Likes. And if there are no recommendations from the user’s network available, result rankings will default to the larger Facebook community’s engagement with that business or place. Finally, users will also have the ability to connect to businesses directly within the Nearby tab on their smartphone by performing actions like Liking, checking in, calling, or getting directions. They’ll also have the opportunity to share their recommendations with either the public (by default) or just to specific Facebook connections, as well as rate places using a five-star rating system (which are always public, but editable over time). That being said, users will only be able to leave ratings if they’ve legitimately checked in.How Should Local Businesses Make the Most of These Updates?Great question! If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, here’s what you should be doing to make sure you show up in the Nearby tab …First and foremost, create a Facebook business page! Follow our simple step-by-step instructions, accompanied by a video tutorial, to get set yours up today.Make sure your page is updated with all your business’ basic information in its ‘About’ section, especially your physical address, store hours, phone number, and other critical company details.Check to ensure your page category is accurate, so people will be able to find you when looking for your specific type of business. To change your page’s category, click ‘Edit Page’ from the top of your page, select ‘Update Info,’ choose the page grouping and the appropriate category for your page, and then click ‘Save Changes.’Encourage engagement! Use your marketing assets to motivate your mobile Facebook users to Like, check into, rate, and recommend your place page in Facebook mobile.For more information about these updates check out Facebook’s FAQ page about Nearby.What do you think of Facebook’s updates? Do you think it will become a local search contender? Image Credit: mootown Topics: 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 Dec 18, 2012 5:49:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Facebook Business Pages Furthermore, Facebook mobile users will now be able to search for places by category — such as restaurants, coffee, nightlife, outdoors, arts, hotels, and shopping.last_img read more

How Inbound Marketing Can Fuel Native Advertising

first_img Native advertising, done right, is not an advertorial. Native advertising, done right, is not product placement. Native advertising, done right, offers marketing software Additionally, the use of content extends to many other marketing methods like of the term, it can best be described as a form of advertising that consists of relevant, valuable content that’s part of a media outlet’s editorial offering. In plain English, that means paid editorial. Is your inbound marketing content strategy up to snuff? Is Native Advertising? Inbound marketing sidesteps buyers’ advertising blinders, because it isn’t car dealer-style advertising that not one wants to see. Instead, inbound marketing offers information that was sought after and found to be valuable to the consumer. If you’re a marketer touting the latest and greatest in, say, inbound marketing, you had best dominate the first few organic search results for it. ). But you’ll be far more effective in doing so when you offer valuable, usable, actionable information on will provide you the process, procedures, and proper workflow you need to create great content worth sharing. valuable, educational, useful information So why would an inbound to your customers and prospects. search engine optimization The role of content creation is integral to inbound marketing success. Developing informative and Topics: Inbound Marketing A recent  product And within inbound marketing, you’re using that content to cultivate and generate leads through (e.g. ebooks, webinars, whitepapers, etc.). Content in marketing also includes the use of email marketing to offer additional information to leads with the aim of moving them down the purchase funnel (which marketing automation Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack educational content , or they can be news stories on media sites. That covers owned and earned media … but what about paid media? content , and proper why How Inbound Marketing Can Fuel Native Advertising  study by Econsultancy and Responsys found that Put simply, native advertising and sponsored stories cast a wider net to amplify your inbound marketing efforts. Sure, straight inbound marketing will go a long way to getting your message in front of your potential customer base in a very cost-efficient manner, and everyone should start with purely organic inbound marketing to get the best possible ROI. But if you have a few extra bucks to help that content proliferate further and are willing to spend more for higher growth even at a lower ROI, then native advertising is worth considering. . For the most part, it all starts with content. Content that is informative, educational, and relevant, but also — and this is most important — content that is ultimately designed to sell something. , Inbound marketing became possible with the advent of the internet, which offers potential buyers the ability to access any kind of information they want, about any topic of interest, at any time of their choosing. Google made the process even easier. SEO and SEM tactics easier still. But it wasn’t until the marriage of buyers’ increasingly anti-advertising mindset and growth of ad blocking technologies (e.g. DVRs, ad blockers, etc.) that inbound marketing really took a foothold. Whatcenter_img Native advertising can, in its most popular format, take the form of a sponsored blog post or article. Or it could be a sponsored story on Facebook, a promoted video on YouTube, or a promoted account on Twitter, among other things. , an integral component of inbound marketing, in 2013. The category ranked the highest of all digital marketing channels — which just makes it all the more important that you ensure your content strategy is in place before your competitors’. The Role of Content in Inbound Marketing a person should consider your products/services rather than just screaming at them that they should just trust you and buy because you told them to. Originally published Feb 18, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Remember though, you must have worthwhile content in the first place. And a robust Basically, it consists of natural content that appears in a medium’s organic content stream — with the caveat that its placement was purchased rather than appearing organically. inbound marketing solution Wait … any longer), as well as the creation of landing pages on which products can be promoted, and the use of social media, which can further disseminate content. , not your Yes, ultimately you want to sell a product or service — and you will (likely with the help of with segmented , Now, many of you may be shaking your head at this point exclaiming, “What’s up with all these people who feel the need to slap a new label on something that’s been around since consumer packaged goods companies created the soap opera?” And to some degree you’d be right in your assumption that native advertising is just an advertorial in shiny new clothing. But you’d also be wrong. . You don’t want to point people to a man standing in a parking lot with a bunch of balloons in one hand and a flag in the other; you want to point people to a thoughtful piece of content that discusses why buying a car at your dealership will save you money in the long run and provide you with years of hassle-free service. dynamic content enables you to advance the cause of your product or service in a way that doesn’t sound like a car dealer screaming at you while holding a bunch of balloons in one hand … and a waving flag in the other. marketing automation Now, those top organic SERP positions can be links to content on your own site (gleaned through effective SEO and social media efforts), they can be links to Certain types of advertising can help boost and supplement inbound content efforts. We do it right here at HubSpot when we use PPC, Promoted Posts, Promoted Tweets, and other forms of paid marketing to attract more people to our content. And that’s the key: to promote your marketing offers 70% of brand marketers will allocate budget to content creation , and It’s also worth noting that there may still be many people who find sponsored stories annoying and disruptive. Keep in mind that the people who see these types of ads did not give you permission to talk to them and were not expecting them in their organic content streams. This makes it even more critical that you fuel your native advertising with inbound marketing. Keeping track of sentiment can also help you determine whether your efforts are worth it. lead management Marketing Budgets 2013 isn’t really a funnel content on other sites to which you have contributed company like HubSpot be telling you about the benefits of native advertising, which, by most accounts, is just advertising? Because without inbound marketing strategies in place, there can be no effective use of native advertising. That’s a fairly strong statement, but follow along as we make our case. many varied definitions lead nurturing If you’re a CMO, you may have heard the term “native advertising” bandied about recently. While there arelast_img read more

How to Make a Visual Call-to-Action for Social Media [Quick Tip]

first_imgOne of the most popular social media tips people give is “Make sure you include an engaging image in your posts” … but what does that actually mean? If you’re trying to generate leads with social media, do you need to include a certain type of image to do so? Or is simply including an image enough to increase engagement?Lots of people take the latter path … but think about it for a second. If you’re slapping up any image on social media, you’re losing out on valuable lead generation real estate. What if, instead, you used that image as a visual call-to-action to help you get even more clicks, leads, and customers? That’d be pretty cool, huh?But generating leads from visuals on social media isn’t as simple as attaching a bright red “Download Your Ebook Here” CTA button. Because of the way social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ display images, users can’t just click on an image to be taken to your landing page. You’ve got to use images to spur clicks on the link in the copy of your post. Basically, there’s a huge opportunity to optimize social media images to help generate leads, but we just have to be very particular about how we use them. We’ll walk you through every part of creating a social media call-to-action image below so you can generate even more leads from your social media accounts. Let’s get on with it. The Resources You’ll NeedFirst things first — you need the right resources to create and optimize a call-to-action for social media. Here’s what you need:Your design program of choice. We’ll be using PowerPoint throughout the rest of the post, but you can use anything.Here’s a template that will help you design images for any of the popular social networks.Want to use your cover photo as a call-to-action? Download this template.Spruce up your image with free stock photos! We even have special business-themed ones. :)Go abstract with free customizable icons.Make your image pop with a special call-to-action button.Your URL Shortener of choice. (HubSpot customers, this is under your Reports tab in the Tracking URL Builder.)Now, let’s get started. How to Make an Effective Visual Call-to-Action for Social Media1) Set your background to fit the social network’s photo dimensions.We’re going to do a Facebook Cover Photo in this example (an 815 x 351 picture). Resize your photos to work best for the social network you’re on (here’s how you can resize backgrounds in PowerPoint).2) Add copy to the photo to communicate what marketing offer you’re promoting.Be clear about what you’re offering here. For instance, if it’s an ebook, call it an ebook. People won’t like feeling duped if they see one thing on the social media image and another on your landing page. 3) Add visual imagery to explain the offer.Whether you decide to use a stock photo, a Creative Commons photo, or an icon, make sure your visual is … well … visual. Since the marketing offer I am promoting is our free icon set, I will go ahead and use the icons.  4) Add a call-to-action to the image.This is probably the most important part of your social media image, as it will instruct users how to get your free download. Notice in the image below that I don’t say “Click Here to Get Your Offer.” This is because, technically, users can’t just click on the photo to get the offer. Be explicit here, and clicks will increase.5) Group your images and then save them as a picture.6) When uploading your image to social media, don’t forget to add a shortened link to the offer in the accompanying text.This will allow you to track your content even more effectively than before. And voila! You’ve got a call-to-action image that’s prepped and ready for any social network you like. :)Image credit: LUH 3417 Originally published Sep 27, 2013 11:27:33 AM, updated February 01 2017 Visual Content Topics: 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

Mobile Search Queries Start to Surpass Desktop: Here’s What You Can Do About It

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 May 8, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 It’s official: In certain parts of the world, there are now more Google search queries on smartphones than on desktop computers and tablets.This week, Google’s Jerry Dischler wrote in a post on the official AdWords blog that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.” Google declined to name the other eight countries. We also know that their definition of “mobile devices” doesn’t include tablets — instead, Google groups tablets with desktops. It’s also worth noting that mobile queries include mobile browser-based searches in addition to those coming from Google’s mobile search apps.How recently did this change take place? Google didn’t say — although we’ve been expecting this for a while now. In March 2014, Matt Cutts said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if mobile search exceeded desktop queries within the year.This major turning point comes just weeks after Google’s major algorithm update, which expanded Google’s use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. The update rewards mobile-friendly websites and penalizes those that aren’t fully optimized for mobile in mobile search results.Now that mobile search queries have surpassed desktop queries, the business implication of the mobile algorithm update has become that much clearer: If you’re still thinking of mobile as a secondary priority, your business’ online presence will start to suffer. As Dischler says, “The future of mobile is now.”To marketers like us, these changes may seem scary. But Dischler reminds us that they present a “tremendous opportunity” to reach our audience through all the new touchpoints of a consumer’s path to purchase. It’s our job to make sure our mobile search strategies are reaching people in these different search contexts.Have some ground to make up? We’re here to help. Below are the main things you need to think about when optimizing your website for mobile visitors.HubSpot Customers: If your website, landing pages, and blog are on the Content Optimization System (COS), then your site is ready from a technical point of view. HubSpot’s COS uses responsive design to adapt to any mobile device and fully passes the sniff test on Google’s new algorithm. But we’d still recommend checking out the last two tips below for some extra optimization tips. 4 Things to Think About When Optimizing Your Website for Mobile1) Implementing responsive design.Google recognizes three different configurations as mobile-friendly: responsive design, dynamic serving, and a separate mobile website. It’s that first one, though — responsive design — that Google recommends as the #1 design pattern. Here are some of the benfits of responsive design:A Single URL. Responsive design lets you serve the same content to users from a single URL regardless of device. This means Google only has to crawl one version of your website, making it easier for them to find and rank your content. You’ll also avoid giving users the disruptive experience of accidentally clicking on the mobile link (possibly shared through social or email) while on a desktop computer.Less maintenance and overhead. Instead of maintaining two websites, you can keep one set of resources.Reduces load time. Load time matters, especially on mobile. Because responsive design uses a single URL for all your pages on any device, you do not have to implement a redirect for any page elements or create a mobile-specific view, which helps speed up the experience for the visitor. (Click here to learn more from Google about speed and load times.)Plus, if you’re using responsive design, you can ignore the next tip — it’s taken care of when your site is already responsive. 2) If you aren’t using responsive design, setting a mobile viewport.Have you ever visited a website on your mobile phone where the content loads wider than the screen, requiring you to scroll back and forth and zoom in and in to read text? It doesn’t make for a very good user experience.That’s exactly how you tell whether the mobile viewport is set on a website. Check your company’s website on your smartphone. If you find yourself needing to double-tap or pinch-to-zoom in order to see and interact with the content, then your mobile viewport is not set. Setting a mobile viewport allows the page to reflect content to match different screen sizes. Learn more about configuring viewports here.Image Credit: Google Developers3) Making sure you don’t block the crawling of any page assets, especially if you have a separate mobile site.In order to get found in search, it’s super important that Google’s spiders can crawl your JavaScript, CSS, and image files. Make sure you’re not accidentally blocking any page assets (CSS, JavaScript, and images) for using robots.txt or any other methods — otherwise Google’s algorithms won’t be able to index your content.To test how Google “sees” your content, enter your site’s URL into Google’s “Fetch as Google” tool. It’ll tell you whether you having any indexing issues on your site. If you use separate URLs for your mobile and desktop pages, don’t forget to test both of those URLs. (Keep in mind, though, that Google’s new mobile algorithm recognizes the benefits of using a single URL for indexing and sharing content across devices.)4) Making your text, images, and overall design work for mobile.As the number of people searching the web on mobile increases, so will the number of people browsing your website on mobile. If the design of your website doesn’t work well on a smartphone or tablet, they might give up and leave your page.Here are a few tips to ensure your designs are legible and easy to interact with on mobile devices, tablets, and desktop:Enlarge your fonts.Small fonts mean some of your website visitors will have to pinch-to-zoom to read and interact with the content on your site. (Chances are, a lot of them won’t bother, and they’ll leave your page.) Larger fonts allow visitors for a much better experience, no matter which device they’re using. Here are the font sizes we recommend:Headlines: 22 px minimumBody copy: 14 px minimum(Note: iOS automatically resizes fonts under 13 px, making them larger on your behalf.)Make calls-to-action touch-friendly.In my experience, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to zoom in and fiddle around to click a call-to-action (CTA) on my smartphone. This includes buttons on your homepage, CTAs on blog posts, social sharing icons, and so on.If you’re using a button, make it a minimum size of 44 px by 44 px so it’s big enough for people to press with their finger. We also recommend putting CTAs front-and-center so they’re easy to see and reach. Finally, consider spacing around your CTA when you design your web pages so that people can easily touch it without accidentally clicking on something they didn’t mean to.Use high-quality images that have a compressed file size.Large file sizes take far longer to load on mobile than desktop because of the phone’s technical parts and internet connection. To optimize images, marketers should use high-quality photos that have a compressed file size. Try to keep images under 1 MB when possible, and if they are larger, try to resize the image so the file size can be as small as possible.How do you reduce the file size of your images? HubSpot customers don’t need to worry about it — images uploaded to HubSpot’s software are automatically compressed. Otherwise, tools like TinyPNG will help you reduce file size. Depending on your connection (3G, LTE, Wifi), websites can load at much different speeds — and this can affect a users experience. It can really pay off to couple small image file size with other speed enhancements like CDN, minimizing the amount of video on mobile-specific pages, and so on.Use alt text on images.Like on tablets and desktops, there are mobile apps out there that block images by default. Google and other search engines also sometimes have trouble “seeing” images. Help your website visitors have a better experience on your website by using alt text (short for “alternative text”), which often renders in place of images when those images are turned off — it gives those readers with blocked images some context.Alt text is just a text field describing an image in a way people and computers can read. For example, for an image of HubSpot’s Facebook Page, you might choose the alt text hubspot facebook page.To add alt text to an image, all you have to do is add an attribute to the image tag, usually by clicking into your CMS’ image editor. (HubSpot customers: To add alt text, click “Edit image…” and enter your description into the “Alt Text (description)” field.)Make videos mobile-friendly.There are license-constrained media out there like Flash that aren’t supported on mobile devices. If you’ve ever been unable to watch a video or piece of content that isn’t playable on your smartphone, you already know how frustrating and poor of an experience it can be.To give a good experience to mobile users, use HTML5 for all of your videos and animations instead of media players like Flash. You might also consider including a summary of the video, notes, or even a whole transcript — it doesn’t hurt for SEO, either.Balance text and imagery.Keep your mobile visitors top-of-mind when designing the overall look of your website by using a proper balance of live text and imagery. Like with the CTAs, consider the spacing around your text boxes and images to make sure your webpage is legible and easy to interact with, regardless of which device your visitors are using to access your page.Want to learn more about optimizing your website for mobile? Read this blog post. Topics: Mobile Optimizationlast_img read more

8 Email Workflow Tips for the College Admissions Process

first_img Education Marketing One of the key elements of inbound marketing is the use of automated workflows because they allow you to better engage leads through a set of targeted emails, while saving time by automating the process. Workflows can be a helpful addition for any industry, but especially for higher education.The college admissions process is a perfect use case for automated workflows, as they can be used to move a potential student along the buyer’s journey to an end goal – in this case, to apply to your institution. Workflows can be used to help nurture potential students through their buyer’s journey with your institution. They might enter the workflow after their first interaction with your institution and end it with full knowledge and a desire to apply.The series of emails can help tell your institution’s story while building a relationship with the students, from the initial introduction about your school and the exciting open house event coming up to downloading checklists or the application.Workflows are also a great way to promote content up front without having to do one-off emails every week. This frees you up to spend more time on strategizing other ways to reach your potential students.In order to have the most success with workflows, you need to tie them into your overall marketing strategy. Begin by brainstorming what it is you want the workflow to achieve. General awareness? Greater number of applicants? Then, consider the messaging that would best speak to your target audience. Once you have that figured out, plan out how you want the workflows to run and what content each one will contain.Take these 8 tips into consideration when thinking about setting up an automated workflow for the college admissions process:1) Use the “Submit a Form” TriggerUse a workflow for the application correspondence. Instead of having admissions counselors follow-up with each student who has started, but hasn’t yet submitted, an application, they could set up a workflow to automate this process. When a student creates an ID or login for the application, they could get enrolled into a workflow that gently reminds them of their application and provides tips and contact information if they need help.Students who do submit an application would get enrolled into a different workflow that provides information on the next steps, like filling out financial aid and putting down a deposit.2) Be TimelyUse fixed date workflows in the college admissions process to help with timeliness! Set up workflows around certain dates for things like FAFSA deadlines and ACT or SAT dates.Make sure to back track and set the trigger date several weeks before the deadline so you can provide helpful tips and reminders beforehand.3) Consider the Graduation YearMany high school students begin the college search and application process their junior year, but some do it their sophomore year, while others wait until senior year. Adding a field for “graduation year” to your forms could be the starting point for a standard workflow.If the student graduates high school in 2016, he or she is most likely a senior and would enter the senior, more specific workflow. If the student graduates in 2018, he or she is probably a sophomore, so they would enter the workflow that has more top of the funnel information.Either way, be strategic and use the buyer’s journey as your guide for email content. Begin with introductory, basic content in the first few emails and segue into more personalized, deeper content for the last few emails.4) Don’t Forget the Parents!The majority of parents help with the college application process, and many of them want to be just as involved as the student. Creating a workflow for the parents, based on self-selection, will provide them with helpful information alongside what their student may or may not be receiving.5) College-Specific CTAsWhen planning your workflow content, make sure to include a call-to-action (CTA) in every email. Common CTA examples include a link pushing them to your site to learn more, a checklist to download and use for their campus visit or an application to fill out.These CTAs should drive them take an action with your institution. The information they fill out to receive a checklist or other pieces of content will help you learn more about them and better understand where they are in the buyer’s journey.6) Consider Additional Email BlastsDon’t overload your potential students with multiple emails per week. That’s the quickest way for them to tune out everything you send. Instead, make a schedule that includes both workflow emails and one-off emails.Set the workflow delays to work alongside the other email blasts, making sure both schedules are coordinated before you hit send.7) Segment Your ListsSet up multiple smart lists for different buyer personas, or potential student groups. An example of this could be students identifying which major or department they are interested in, and subsequently being pulled into the corresponding smart list.Then, you could build workflows around each major or department, and place each list of students into the appropriate workflow.8) Use Multiple Workflows TogetherIn some cases, it can be beneficial to use two workflows in conjunction with each other. Let’s say you have a general workflow that provides top of the funnel information to students about your institution.Once a student takes an action, they can get taken out of that workflow and pushed into an additional workflow that is more middle or bottom of the funnel. This can be done by creating a smart list that would be used as the goal list in the first workflow and the starting list of the second workflow.Utilizing automated email workflows for the college admissions process is a no-brainer. It is a simple way to have consistent contact with potential students while moving them closer to your end goal. Additionally, workflows can work alongside blog posts, social posts and additional inbound marketing activities to achieve the greatest outcome for your institution. Download our white paper to learn more about using inbound marketing for the college admissions process. Originally published Apr 29, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 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:last_img read more