first_imgA number of staff at Letterkenny General Hospital whose clothing was damaged or destroyed during last year’s flooding have NOT yet been compensated.Flashback – the flood at the hospital last year. Donegaldaily.comThe HSE agreed to compensate staff for damaged shoes and other clothing when they rushed to help clean up the hospital during the chaotic scenes of July last year.A total claim of €22,000 was put in by hundreds of staff as part of the overall estimated €40M claim agreed with insurance assessors to repair and rebuild the hospital. The staff were also asked to forward claims for items damaged in their lockers at the hospital.However Donegal Daily has learned that a number of staff have still not received their payments more than a year later.A spokesperson for the HSE has said that a number of the payments have been made but admitted others are still being processed.Sinn Fein Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn said it is unfair that frontline staff, who responded so magnificently on the day of the original flood, should be forced to wait so long to have a claim processed. “I just think it is mean-spirited. Workers responded magnificently on that day and asked for nothing in return.A scene from the flooded hospital last summer“They are rightly entitled to some form of reimbursement for personal items damaged or destroyed as they volunteered with no request for payment.“If there is an issue over the payments then the HSE should meet with staff and let them know what these issues are.“In fairness these same staff showed loyalty when the hospital was partially flooded again last week and volunteered their services once more.“No matter what the issues are over these payments, the HSE should come out an explain  why some staff have not received them,” he said. Donegal Daily is still awaiting a specific response from the HSE with regard to the exact number of staff still awaiting their payments and other issues we put to them.A spokesman said they have forwarded our queries to management at Letterkenny General Hospital and that they are awaiting a full response.HOSPITAL STAFF STILL NOT REIMBURSED FOR SHOES AND CLOTHING A YEAR AFTER FLOOD was last modified: August 11th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:claimsclothingcompensationDeputy Padraig MacLochlainndonegalhospital staffLetterkenny General Hospitallast_img read more

Wildcat strikes hurt the poor: Zuma

first_img23 May 2013Trade union leaders should engage with their members to avert unnecessary labour action, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday, adding that illegal or “wildcat” strikes were no way to advance the interests of marginalised South Africans.Addressing the National House of Traditional Leaders in Cape Town, Zuma, himself once a trade unionist, said workers were free to ask for higher salaries, but were not free in the process of asking for better wages to undermine the economy.“If we say we need more jobs … and in the process those that are working are engaged in strikes that cause some of either the mines or factories to close, it’s a contradiction,” he said, adding that the role of trade unions was to protect workers, not to contribute to job losses.“We could impoverish our country without realising, when we think we are trying to correct the situation.”He said such was the tension in the market at present that recently when traders at the JSE heard about police shooting at strikers, they immediately began selling off the rand, when in the end it materialised that the police were in fact using rubber bullets.Turning to the National Development Plan (NDP), Zuma said the vision encapsulated in the plan called on all South Africans to help fulfill the vision.Traditional leaders had a vital role to play by working with the government to create strong institutions and to help tackle the various challenges that faced South Africa, particularly in developing rural areas.Zuma also called for closer co-operation between traditional leaders and local councillors, pointing out that this could help unlock the potential of rural development.“You are put there to help the people, whether by birth or by election. There is not a single one is better or more important than the other,” he said.Before his speech, Zuma took copious notes as traditional leaders related several problems that those living in traditional areas continue to face, including poverty and unemployment, deaths during initiation ceremonies, and a decline in moral values.Zuma said the government had an initiation programme that community members could use, adding that the government would continue to root out rogue initiation schools.Senior traditional leaders should be present all the time during initiation ceremonies, he said, adding that if the initiation ceremony was not conducted properly, the risk was that it would draw further criticism of the custom itself.Source: read more

How To Hide Your Email: What Petraeus Did & What He Should Have Done

first_imgTags:#email#hacking A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… adam popescu You’d think that being the head of the CIA would give you all the ins-and-outs and James Bond tools to conceal your email. Think again.Less than two weeks ago, David Petraeus was a decorated four-star army general (ret.), Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a husband of 38 years. Today, his reputation has been hit with a massive dose of shock and awe. Petraeus cheated and got caught, largely due to a lot of eyebrow-raising email activity from a man many would assume to know more about how to  cover his tracks. Here’s how the Petraeus email fiasco unfolded, and some hints on better ways to conceal private email conversations, no matter what their purpose. Wrong MovesThe general created a fake Gmail account with a pseudonym to communicate with his lover and biographer Paula Broadwell. In order to communicate, Petraeus and Broadwell wrote messages to each other that they each dropped in a draft folder, to eliminate an email chain. This is called a “dead drop,” and has been used by terrorists, including the guys behind the Madrid train bombing in 2004.They both had access to the account, and would write and save draft messages for each other to read. While we don’t know if the drafts were deleted after reading, or if the same draft was used over and over with old text deleted, we do know the basic pattern of this kind of interaction. Basically one person writes a note and logs off, then the other party logs on and reads the draft. This way no email is actually ever sent, and no email chain is created. In Gmail, draft messages are called conversations. Once these messages are “discarded,” they are notoriously hard to recover. So, one of two things is likely in this scenario: Either they kept the draft conversations at the time that the FBI intercepted their communications, or the FBI worked with Google to retrieve the deleted drafts. Further mucking things up was the fact that Broadwell used a different Gmail account to send her threatening messages to Kelley. And both she and the General used the same Gmail account to share and write messages. So with all that, it would have been pretty easy for the FBI to lean on Google to reveal the IP addresses of the account in question, alerting the bureau of the location and numeric label of both the computers and networks behind the messages. (Note to all you cyber-lovers out there, the very outdated Electronic and Communications and Privacy Act states any content older than six months and stored in the cloud can be obtained by the government without a warrant.) Game. Set. Match.What They Should Have DoneRemember, when trying to hide things from the FBI, no method is perfect, especially when they’re already on your trail. The following tools are not 100% foolproof, but if employed early would have made for a much more convoluted game of cat and mouse, and might even have concealed the amorous activity long enough for the general and his fatal attraction to have escaped unscathed.  1. PGP Encryption: PGP stands for “pretty good privacy,” and that’s exactly what it is. The service encrypts data, like emails, which would have been another hurdle for the FBI to jump through. If this method would have been used, it would have forced Uncle Sam to deploy Trojan-style spyware onto Broadwell’s computer to uncover the emails. With Google snitching the General out, PGP might not have worked. For regular folks though, this tool is a good start. 2. Hide Your IP: Tools like Tor, an open source method to conceal real IP addresses and Web browsing, would have masked their IP address identification. Another is Hamachi, an app that creates free, encrypted Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) between computers. Just use the VPN every time you log in, and don’t log in from your home IP, and you should be safer. Well, unless you’re LulzSec that is. 3. Disposable Email: This message will self destruct after reading. Really. If the General really was 007, or even 007-ish, he would have used this method. Disposable email functions much like it sounds, with messages that are deleted after reading. Disposable email services include Spamex and Mailinator, which were originally designed to keep out spam, not the Feds. 4. Don’t Send Messages Online Period! Keep it offline! If this was 1972, short of the U.S. Postal Service intercepting their mail, this would have been the ideal method, and some inquisitive papparazzi snapping a photo would have been all they would have had to worry about. While the two did spend a good deal of time together in-person (Broadwell apparently traveled overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit Petraeus), they might have been safer to keep the relationship in person only. The only truly private way to use email? Don’t!Besides, what’s the best way to keep passion in a relationship? Charles M. Schulz said it best: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”Photo by hectorir. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

Presidential Internet Marketing: Data Comparing Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Romney, Giuliani, McCain

first_imgHere are links to the Alexaholic graphs I have images of in the article. These links will always update to current data so you can see if anything has changed- Republican Candidates Graph- Democratic Candidates Graph- Barack vs. Mitt Graph So, I took the 3 leading democratic and republican candidates and visited their websites and did some other simple research to see what they were doing and what was happening on the Internet for each. All of the source data I gathered is listed at the bottom of this article. 3) All of the candidates scored reasonably well (80 or above) on the Website Grader Reports. Clearly the success of Howard Dean in using the Internet to mobilize grassroots support got the attention of everyone in politics and all of the candidates have spent some time (and I bet money) on making their websites effective marketing tools. But, the scores did show that a couple of the republicans could use some work. Copies of the individual reports are available at the bottom of this article.4) Only 2 candidates are making use of Google AdWords. Barack Obama and John McCain are advertising under terms like “presidential candidate” and “presidential election”. No one is advertising under the term “president”. That would be a gutsy move, I know… but I think once the mainstream media picked it up you could get a ton of buzz for it. Maybe someone will try it later when they are behind and the end of the race is approaching. Plus you could get a top rank with a low bid since you have no competition! I do give Barack Obama major points for being the only one to advertise under the search term “next president”.5) Interesting organic search results for “next president”. What I also find interesting is that in the organic search results on Google for “next president”, a Christopher Walken (loved him in Pulp Fiction) website gets the #1 organic ranking, the Dilbert Blog (who doesn’t love Dilbert) gets #4 and John Kerry (less loveable I think, but I still like him for being a Boston guy) gets #5. Clearly there is an opportunity for some of the major candidates to optimize around that term.Overall, I think Barack Obama gets my “vote” for being the candidate who is using the Internet for marketing his website best. He has the strongest traffic, has the most inbound links, he is doing the most with AdWords, and has the best Technorati ranking.Below are the data and reports I used as well as some links if you want to explore yourself:One of the tools I used to compile this data was the Website Grader on Small Business Hub. Below are links to PDF reports from the candidate’s Website Grader reports:- Barack Obama Website Internet Marketing Report- Hillary Clinton Website Internet Marketing Report- John Edwards Website Internet Marketing Report- Mitt Romney Website Internet Marketing Report- Rudy Giuliani Website Internet Marketing Report- John McCain Website Internet Marketing ReportSome of the other tools I used were:- Google – search engine- Alexa – Traffic Rankings- Alexaholic – Comparative graphs of Alexa data Topics: 1) The Internet marketing race within each party is pretty close. For each party, the sites for each candidate are seeing similar amounts of traffic, as well as similar stats on other key Internet marketing metrics. John Edwards was lagging behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but recently has been doing well and currently has more traffic than they do. For the republicans, the Internet race looks like a dead heat at this point. Of course individual candidates see some spikes on days where there is key news, especially when they announced their candidacy. But the general trend seems to be that they all have similar levels of traffic. Below are graphs of traffic for the major candidates, shown by each party. 2) The democrats are dominating the battle of the Internet. All of the major democratic candidates were well above all the republicans in website traffic by a big margin. It made me wonder if Alexa (or the Internet itself) is perhaps skewed with democrats. Or perhaps there is a large republican voting population that does not go online much? Or perhaps republican voters in general are less politically engaged and less likely to visit a candidates’ website, but will still vote? A graph showing the relative traffic for each party’s top candidate (in terms of website traffic) is below. The Republicans:- Mitt Romney: Rudy Giuliani: John McCain: SEOcenter_img I am not an overly political person. I actually enjoy reading about marketing, technology and Internet topics a lot more than politics. But all this election talk made me think that perhaps I should become more politically informed. After all, there is an election coming up. Then I thought, well what if I combined the topics I love with the presidential race? Maybe that would make me interested in learning more in depth info about the candidates? The Democrats:- Barack Obama: Hillary Clinton: John Edwards: Originally published Mar 13, 2007 11:11:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 Here is copy of the summary data I gathered in a spreadsheet.- Presidential Candidate Internet Marketing Data Here are some interesting highlights from my research: 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

A Marketer’s Guide to the 6 Phases of a Website Redesign

first_imgKeith Moehring is business development manager and consultant at PR 20/20, an inbound marketing agency and HubSpot Partner. You can follow him on Twitter at @keithmoehring . He also actively contributes to . A website is the cornerstone of any marketing campaign. It is the place where customers, prospects, media, competitors, investors, peers and job candidates turn to first when learning more about your organization and its products or services. Because of this, it’s essential that marketers take a leadership role in any company website redesign project .Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignTo help you avoid any common missteps, we’ve developed a free ebook — “ A Marketer’s Guide to Website Redesign .” The ebook details the six main steps involved in the website redesign process , from the perspective of a marketer who doesn’t have a technology background. 1. The Prep To avoid delays, take the time to gather all necessary information upfront, before it is needed. Items to gather include:Analytics tracking codes.Logo file in a vector format (i.e. .EPS, .AI, or .CDR).Main contact information for current website host.Google Webmaster Central, Bing Webmaster Center and Yahoo SiteExplorer verification codes.Branding guidelines and all relevant collateral documents. 2. Discovery Collaborate with all website stakeholders (i.e. C-level executives, marketing department, sales department, and IT) to define the most important aspects of your new site, including:Buyer personas.Site objectives. Calls to action .Color scheme.Page layout and design preferences.Site features and functionality. 3. Design & Structure To help communicate your vision of the new website, develop a comprehensive creative brief, detailing everything you defined in phase two. Your web team will use this as a guide when designing and building out your new site.At minimum your creative brief should include:Graphic sitemap outlining all pages on your site, including main navigation options.Page layout and design preferences, with screen shots or URLs of examples.Color scheme, including primary, secondary and accent colors.Navigation options you want available on the site. 4. Content & Optimization Visitors don’t come to your site for the cool design or fancy navigation; they come for the content. Develop content that is concise, scannable and engaging. It needs to deliver key messaging quickly and clearly, and then drive visitors to take a desired call to action. To help this content get found, it also needs to be optimized avoid priority keywords.When developing content, consider the following suggestions:Create a keyword map that assigns each page on your site a priority keyword (or two) for which it will be optimized.Define the tone and style of your content.Assign the development of website copywriting to your team’s strongest writer (avoid using multiple authors). Optimize each page after the content has been created. 5. Build Out & Quality Assurance This is the phase where all your hard work comes to fruition. It includes populating the site with all content, setting up 301 redirects, and completing a thorough review of the site to ensure that everything displays and works properly. To streamline the upload process:Create an upload cheatsheet that will serve as a how-to guide for adding content into your content management system (CMS).Before loading content, create all the pages first, and organize them according to your sitemap.Upload all images and graphics into a designated folder in the CMS so they are easy to locate when it comes time to add them to a page.Put together a team internally to upload all content and formatting into the web pages.Perform a quality assurance by checking to make sure all formatting is correct, all links and features work, and that everything displays properly across all browsers. 6. The Launch Finally, launch the new website and ensure it is being indexed accurately by Google and other search engines. To do this, take the time to:Check that all 301 redirects are working.Log into each search engine’s webmaster center to confirm all verfication code is installed properly, and then submit your XML sitemap.Verify that all analytics tracking code is installed.Review Google Webmaster Tools every few days to ensure there are no pages Google had indexed on your old site that it can no longer find. Website Redesign Kit Website Redesign Originally published Jul 14, 2010 6:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 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

The Small Online Merchants Guide To Cyber Monday Success

first_img Compelling offers are offers that visitors are willing to give up their email address for the right to participate. Need ideas? Consider: th Over the next few critical weeks until December 24 . Think of Cyber Monday as a potential shot-in-the-arm for your holiday marketing, not a winner-take-all-24-hour-e-tailing-thunderdome. th th create a marketing strategy to retain the one-day-only traffic increase on November 29th, 2010. Next, you need a landing page that will convert interested traffic. Generally consumers will understand that offers like contests and sweepstakes will require an email address, but not all will – your landing page should have a short form and “sell” the offer so that consumers not expecting a form are still enticed to complete the offer post-click on the call to action. After all, most purchases take place between December 5 and December 15 Cyber Monday is an important kickoff to the shopping year – how will your store compete? Ecommerce Unique and in-depth buyers’ guides or shopping assistance not available elsewhere (“ask an expert for gift tips”) , you should be remarketing to your new email addresses. Follow up with consumers to redeem their coupons; follow up to encourage them to share the contest with their friends; follow up to ask how the buyer’s guide helped, and how you can help further. It’s most important to pick an offer that your market segment would find appealing. Consider what has worked for you or your competitors in the past, and move quickly to define the details of the offer. Contests (“test your knowledge, win free gear”) Redefine Success for Cyber Monday 2010 Instead of trying to compete on price with the Amazon.coms and Home Depots of the world on Cyber Monday, , consider how many of the top 500 retailers are already using these tactics, and consider if you’re ready to start with more sophisticated marketing techniques to produce remarkable sales figures. 3. Link your Call-to-Action to a Dedicated Landing Page Photo Credit: 2. Create a Call-to-Action Button and Place it Prominently on your Home Page for Monday This shouldn’t be hard after you’ve envisioned the offer itself. Make sure to create a large, attractive button that will prominently attract user attention. Remember, this does not need to canabilize transactions, but can lead visitors back to the main store after they accept the offer. Place the button in a higihly visible location on your home page.center_img If you run an ecommerce site and your store is not one of the 1. Brainstorm a Compelling Offer for New Visitors After consumers fill out the form, present them with a thank you message and their offer (in the case of a buyer’s guide or coupon) on a dedicated thank-you page. Additionally, link your visitors back to relevant products and categories or even embed relevant products on the thank-you page if your software allows. If you’re offering a coupon, this is particularly relevant – but even in the case of sweepstakes and contests, you want to get your products in front of as many consumers as possible as frequently as possible. Your thank-you page is another opportunity to do so. Originally published Nov 17, 2010 1:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 5. Remarket to Differentiate Yourself and Increase Product Visibility Below, we outline how to execute a marketing strategy for your Cyber Monday traffic that will align your marketing in December with real consumer buying cycles in the holiday season. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack th greengymdog ”) Topics: You should be putting your products, promotions, and offers in front of these consumers as often as reasonably possible to encourage a sale. This probably means one email per week, where the content of the email is not connected to the original offer above. Implement additional promotions and offers that will differentiate your products and services from bigger online retailers that can undercut your prices. Sweepstakes (“enter to win free gear”) Using Inbound Marketing to Capitalize on Cyber Monday , you likely are up at night obsessing about how to get on that list. After all, those 500 claimed nearly 70% of all online purchases last year. eCommerce has become a winner-take-most model and it’s remarkably difficult for small and medium-sized online stores to catch up without truly changing their customer acquisition model. Inbound Marketing The inbound marketing tactic of creating free visitor value in return for re-marketable email addresses can dramatically help SMB ecommerce sites improve their one-day-only traffic influx on Cyber Monday. Good marketers understand these inbound tactics and make frequent use of them – as you examine the competition on November 29 top 500 online retailers 4. Configure a Thank-You Page to Curate User Experience Post-Submission Short-term holiday coupons (“register to save $50 before December 20last_img read more

Dance Steps for Marketers: How to Improve Customer Interactions

first_img Dell: Runkeeper checked in with me (thankfully in a non-judgmental way) after I signed up for their service but it failed to track any fitness activities. Who does it well? Knewton* Behavior doesn’t change on a whim. If a customer has been using your service in a reliable pattern and then drops off, it’s safe to assume that something’s up. Reach out to them to offer help, or ask for feedback in order to prevent customer churn. For Their Usage Drops Off Foodler: Originally published Jul 18, 2011 5:05:00 PM, updated October 01 2013 , an online learning platform, this kind of adaptability is central. Its course material automatically adapts to each student’s strengths and weakenesses as he or she moves through the program. The result is an individualized electronic textbook and personalized experience for each student. listen to the community A number of companies have become really good at thanking Topics: Not all customer communications need to be explicitly stated. Marketing is at its most powerful when it adapts to the choices customers make. Whenever possible, This is just a starter list. There are a number of opportunities for you to understand your customers’ motivations and needs better. What other examples have you seen of marketers allowing their customers to take the lead? They Demonstrate Interest in a Certain Page or Category leverage analytics are both known for the advanced user recommendations they provide to customers. It’s hard to mention adaptable content without bringing them up, but there are plenty of other examples to be found. and One of my first surprising experiences on Twitter was receiving a genuine thank you and small gift certificate after raving about the joy of ordering food through Foodler. Dell takes this to another level. According to Manish Mehta, Dell’s vice president of social media and community, Dell has 40 staff members dedicated to Twitter customer response. They actively Here are few indicators to watch for in your customers’ lifecycles as well as some examples of companies that have made good dance partners.center_img customers who have helped spread the word via social media Hunch Social Media marketing is customer-driven Amazon . Consumers decide how and when they want to interact with companies; not the other way around. If you are a marketer, chances are you have a strategy for how this month will go. You have a set of collateral to develop, some e-communications to send, and maybe even an event to run. Undoubtedly, each of these steps are carefully planned out. But how adept are you at reacting when your customer takes the lead? Inbound Marketing A Twitter application that reminds users when their queue is empty. to understand the content customers download from your site or the items they purchase, and segment those users based on their interests. . Step one is thanking advocates as their posts go up. A more advanced play? Keeping track of those advocates and rewarding them over time with exclusive first looks or other benefits. Who does it well? Runkeeper*: A couple of years ago, my father taught me to dance. It was several months before my wedding, and my usual method of jumping around wildly just wasn’t going to cut it. Anyone will tell you that the hardest part about learning the waltz is noticing when your partner is leading you somewhere. The challenge is in paying attention to slight nuances amid a flurry of other steps. Today’s [Disclosure: a couple of the examples below are Performable or HubSpot customers. They’re marked with an asterisk.] and empower them to make decisions that help shape future products or marketing. They Advocate for You in Social Media Who does it well? 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

The 10 Commandments of DIY Marketing Design

first_img Website Design Originally published Mar 27, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 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: When we first posted a photo of our do-it-yourself design ebook cover on Facebook, one of our fans challenged us a bit on whether we really designed the cover ourselves by commenting, “I bet 1 million $ they hired someone to design that image.” Since I’m the guy who leads the creative services part of our Brand & Buzz team at HubSpot, I figured I would step out from behind the curtain and share the truth about how we go about designing our content.Yes, we do have a great little creative department at HubSpot, and one of our designers did create the ebook cover image. Recently my team has gotten a lot more involved in the design of our content, but it hasn’t always been that way. The truth is that the vast majority of our ebooks and other resources are created by non-designers on our marketing team. In fact, it would actually be pretty impossible for our small design team to touch every single piece of content we create.That’s why do-it-yourself design is so important, and why I recently compiled 10 Commandments of Do-It-Yourself Design — to help teach and empower our marketers to create content that was up to a design standard that our actual designers could feel comfortable with. Since the Commandments went over so well internally, I figured I’d share them here. They were written with marketers in mind, but any non-designer can benefit from these 10 pointers.The 10 Commandments of DIY DesignWant examples? Find them in the SlideShare presentation below — created by one of our very own non-designer marketers. The 10 Commandments of Do-It-Yourself Design for Marketers [and Other Non-Designers] from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Software1) Thou Shalt Understand Thy Content’s PurposeIt’s impossible to know how to design your content without first knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. The first thing any content creator – from novice copywriter to advanced designer – needs to do in order to ensure the s/he creates a successful piece of content is determine what needs to be achieved by creating said content.By taking the time to carefully consider the need, ask the relevant questions, compile the requirements, and determine the success metrics, you can significantly improve your chances of creating content that blows viewers and readers away. Just remember: it never hurts to know more information, and you’ll thank yourself later for having taken the time earlier. In fact, don’t be surprised if in the end you replace your original solution with one that is more successful in satisfying your goals.2) Thou Shalt Establish a HierarchyOnce you understand what you’re trying to achieve and have brainstormed some solutions, you can begin considering exactly how you’re going to go about putting it all together. Begin this process by looking at your content from a macro level; consider all of the required copy, calls-to-action, links, and any other written or visual elements that need to be included in the final deliverable. Evaluate how they each compare in terms of their importance and ability to help you accomplish your goal. By determining the relative importance of all your written and visual elements and prioritizing them accordingly, you will begin to build an information hierarchy that will act as your guide to simple, elegant, and more effective design.Without first creating a thoughtful information hierarchy in your mind, it will be impossible for you to design a meaningful visual hierarchy, the result of which would be a finished piece of content that is little more than a bunch of disconnected visual pieces, each competing for attention. In other words, visual noise. Understanding the relative importance of your written and visual elements will not only build the framework from which you can begin to make design decisions, but will also ensure that you present your information in an easily digestible manner — which is exactly what good design is all about..3) Thou Shalt Respect SimplicityMore often than not, less is more. Unfortunately, there is a terrible misconception that good design is flashy, ornate, loud, or otherwise “eye-catching.” Don’t believe it for a second. Design is not art. Rather than focusing primarily on form or expression (as is often the case with art), the primary function of design is the exact opposite — to support function.Don’t try to do too much, and avoid actively trying to make your design unnecessarily ornamental. The content should always be the focus, not the design. The most successful designs satisfy laying out and highlighting the written and visual information without calling attention to the highlight itself. Good design shouldn’t be loud. In fact, it’s often completely invisible.4) Thou Shalt Keep It LegibleOne thing that is commonly overlooked when thinking about design is the fact that your text itself can create its own visual noise. If it can’t or won’t be read, then why bother including it at all?To avoid confusion among readers or viewers, there are common sense (and commonly ignored) solutions to increasing legibility, such as avoiding placing light text on a light background or dark text on a dark background. However, the real pitfalls of using text incorrectly don’t deal with the placement at all, but rather the amount of it.Marketers and content creators love their words, and for good reason; they’re the tools they most use to communicate. However, they often have a tendency to write far more than necessary. When it comes to creating well-designed content, this is a bad thing. Writing concisely reduces the visual noise of your content and ensures that only the critical, most important content remains. Take a moment to consider if there are unnecessary words you can delete. Just remember Steve Krug’s Third Law of Usability: Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.5) Thou Shalt Provide Adequate SpacingAllow the visual and written elements in your design to have a little personal space. Negative space (space not occupied by any visual or written elements) is okay. In fact, it can be great. By allowing yourself a bit more breathing room, you increase the impact of your most important bits of information, such as headlines or CTAs. Again, this is exactly what good design should do.Follow these steps to ensure you have enough space: first, arrange your content according to the information hierarchy you established earlier. Then, consider how the spacing should complement that hierarchy. Most importantly, make sure your spacing is consistent. Margins should be the same width and height, and leading (the amount of space between two lines of text) should be the same for all similar types of text. Finally, if the amount of information you have requires you to reduce your spacing to the point that everything feels cramped, either move some of the information, or remove it altogether.6) Thou Shalt Align Thy ElementsWhen laying out your visual and written information, make sure that all of the elements are positioned in a balanced relation to one another. Always position your design elements to sit on the same line. Although there are exceptions, it’s better to err on the side of caution with alignment as a non-designer. Alignment will ensure your design is clean, without creating any unnecessary tension or focal points. Non-designers who focus on aligning their written and visual elements in a very simple, linear way will vastly improve the quality of their designs.7) Thou Shalt Coordinate Thy ColorsThe tendency of non-designers is to try to do too much with color in hopes of making a design more eye-catching. More often than not, the result is actually just a clash of competing visual noise. To avoid this, it is usually helpful for non-designers to make color choices based on the feeling or connotation of the color. The first thing you should consider is the kind of feeling you want your content to elicit. If you’re aiming to present a more humanist or energetic tone, you should choose a warm color, such as orange, yellow, or red. If you want your content to give off a calmer, more professional feel, choose a cool color, such as purple, blue, or green.Additionally, be mindful of the connotation associated with certain colors. For example, red typically has a negative connotation, signifying cancellation or error. Aligning the purpose of your content with a color that has a similar connotation can be a great way to choose which colors to include in your design.8) Thou Shalt Not Overuse Drop ShadowsThe purpose of a drop shadow is to add distinction to visual or written information by creating depth and bringing the affected information to the forefront. This is a great result, and often exactly what you want or need to do to certain elements from time to time. However, overusing the effect leads to the exact opposite result. If you’re adding an effect such as the drop shadow to every written or visual element, then you’re not giving distinction to any particular bit of information. Instead, you are just creating unnecessary visual noise which complicates your design and makes it difficult for a consumer to receive the information you’re trying to present. The takeaway, then, is this: effects are great when used with purpose, but don’t use them just for the sake of using them.9) Thou Shalt Strive for ConsistencySimply put, if two or more design elements serve the same function, make sure they look and act the same. On a very high level, the same aesthetic, tone, and messaging should permeate all facets of the brand. On a more granular level, all visual or written elements within, say, an ebook, that are serving the same function should have the same look and feel.When it comes to designing specific content, consistency involves using the same fonts and font sizes for text of the same kind. Make sure that actionable items, such as links or calls-to-action, all share a similar color and appearance, have aligned margins so that they’re all the same width and height, etc.10) Thou Shalt Harmonize Visual and VerbalFor most non-designers, content creation typically revolves almost entirely around writing copy. Naturally, then, added visual elements are more of an afterthought, seeking simply to break up the monotony of text or page layout. The best content, though, is created when both text and visuals are combined to tell the story and present the information in a more powerful, more engaging, and ultimately more successful way than either visual or verbal could do alone.Avoid this silo between visual and verbal by planning ahead. Whether writing ebooks, checklists, tweets, or emails, copywriters should already be considering how they can express that information visually. This doesn’t mean identifying the concepts worthy of bold or enlarged lettering; it means identifying where visual elements could completely replace large selections of copy to tell the same story in a significantly more memorable, less time consuming way.Now that you have some design basics down, what will you go create? last_img read more

Are You a Good Boss? [Flowchart]

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Oct 20, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Management Advice Earlier this year, I wrote about a little thing called “imposter syndrome.” It refers to the feeling we get when, no matter how much we’ve achieved, we feel like we don’t belong or don’t deserve to be in a position of leadership.About 70% of us will experience it at some point, especially the bosses among us. No wonder why so many of us constantly ask if we stack up. And how do you measure that, anyway?It turns out, we’re probably overthinking it. Sometimes, a simple question-and-answer flowchart can help us with that introspection, and answer the question, “Am I a good boss?”You’re in luck. The folks over at Headway Capital have created such a flowchart, chock full of important questions to ask about your leadership style, priorities, and more. Check out the infographic below to see how you measure up as a boss — and where there might be room for improvement. (P.S. Love infographics but struggle with design? Download our free infographic templates here).30Save30Savelast_img read more

How to Identify Which Experiments to Run

first_img Productivity Originally published Sep 1, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated September 01 2017 Note: These percentages total >100% — each given user often has multiple reasons for deciding not to purchase.If you find that you’re struggling to put together a list of reasons as to why people don’t convert, you’ll need to gather qualitative feedback from your customers.Once you’ve put together a thorough list, take a step back and look for areas of opportunity. For example, on the list above, hone in on, “They don’t see how the product fits into their lives,” and ask, “Why?” Assuming we have product market fit, there must be something we don’t understand here. Otherwise, how can 40% of non-purchasing users be unable to see themselves using the product? It could become a fundamental question that we aim to answer through quantitative experimentation.To boil it down: Experiments answer questions. To identify experiments, you need to identify gaps in your knowledge, and to do that, list what you do know — that will help you more easily identify what you don’t.Next StepsWe hope that this post has provided you with the tools to identify when you should run experiments. In my next post, we’ll get into ways you can discover the unanswered questions about your funnel, and prioritize those questions to maximize your investment in a given experiment. Plus, we’ll provide a helpful framework for doing so.How do you identify which experiments to run? Let us know your approach — and hey, we might even feature your experiment on our blog. The last time I made an appearance here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog, I wasn’t shy about my love of experiments.At the same time, I wasn’t shy in my sense that, all too often, they’re conducted for the wrong reasons. We talked about how the purpose of online experiments is to answer questions about how people use your website.But how do you know which questions to ask? And how do you know whether experiments are even a viable option to answer your questions in the first place? Before you jump in, you need to make sure you know these things.Free Download: A/B Testing Guide and KitNot sure where and when you should start? Fear not — we’re here to help. Let’s get to it.How to Tell If You Can Run ExperimentsBefore you come up with experiments to run, you need to make sure you can accurately run them. Experiments should be completely off the table until you have an established online presence and means to track behavior. To do that, you’ll need five things.1) TrafficIn order to trust that the results of an experiment are unlikely to be influenced by randomness, you need to have a high volume of traffic. Some experiments require larger sample sizes than others — even hundreds of thousands, in some cases — but typically, you’ll need a minimum of 100 unique page views per day to reach statistical significance within a reasonable amount of time.2) GoalsIn an experiment, your hypothesis is the statement you’re working to prove. But what is it that you’re trying to improve as a result of this test? Those are your key performance indicators (KPIs) — the quantifiable measures of the experiment’s success. Without those, you have no North Star to guide the purpose of your experiment, or the objectives behind it.3) TrackingIn order to measure and observe the performance and results of your experiment groups, you’ll need to establish which data you’ll be tracking and monitoring. In the digital realm, that might include factors like:Which pages are people visiting?Where did they come from?What are they doing once they arrive at those pages? Are they converting, bouncing, or taking another action?4) Baseline MetricsEven if you’re hoping to make improvements to your funnel, before you start an experiment, you should have an established, recorded funnel conversion rate (CVR). In other words, before you begin, you should be able to track:Funnel visit -> retained customerIf you try to start an experiment without that information, you’ll have no benchmark to compare where you were prior to running it — and therefore, you won’t know if you’re any better or worse off as a result.5) You’ve picked all of the low-hanging fruit.Make sure you’ve fully built out and iterated on all of the basic requirements for your funnel to work or even operate correctly. For example, in the ecommerce sector, you might want to do something like optimize your online product catalogue. But you can’t do so until you’ve made sure every product is listed there, you have a complete online checkout system, and have a way for visitors to contact you for customer service.We have a phrase for this step: “Don’t start hanging up pictures before you paint the walls.”How Do I Know If I Have These Five Things?If you find yourself asking that question, we recommend running an A/A test — an experiment where you go through all the motions of running and tracking an experiment, without actually changing anything. We do this in three steps:Run the dummy test for five business days.Take the test down.Analyze the results.Do you have 500+ unique users enrolled in the experiment?Can you track both experiment groups full funnel?Is funnel CVR about equal for both experiment groups? Don’t forget to share this post! So, do you have those five things? Nice job — you’re already ahead of the curve. But experimentation still only makes sense when you can identify questions worth answering through quantitative research.Identifying experimentsFirst things first, you need to pick a funnel that you want to optimize through experimentation. Once you have your funnel, identify the unanswered questions you have about how your audience moves between its stages. To identify unanswered questions, we need to take stock of what we already know.Identifying who moves through your funnel, and whyDo you know exactly who’s entering the funnel and from where, with quantitative and qualitative data to back it up? How about why they’re entering the funnel, with the same supporting data? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, this is where you should start.Next, if you look at your funnel, can you figure out why people aren’t converting between steps?Source: Apolline AdijuIdentifying knowledge gaps for how people move through your funnelLet’s look at the following conversion:Basic visit > purchaseOur goal is to identify why people do not convert between steps in our funnel. To find out, we need to list reasons why we think people are not converting, and seek out data to back up our claims. We will know that we have listed the right reasons when we can account for more than 100% of unconverted users, with supporting data.Are people not purchasing because:They have unanswered questions about the product? (Let’s say this reason accounts for 5% of non-purchasing users.)They aren’t ready to make a purchase yet? 10% of non-purchasing usersThey don’t see how the product fits into their lives? 40% of non-purchasing usersThe product doesn’t align with what they are looking for? 5% of non-purchasing usersThere are better-priced alternatives? 10% of non-purchasing usersThere are alternatives with more or better features? 10% of non-purchasing usersThey lack confidence in the product or the company that sells it? 30% of non-purchasing users Topics:last_img read more