A Shortcut To Sustainable Living: Downsize!

first_imgAccentuate the positiveWas there anything good about the place? Yes! It was luxuriously spacious. Truly splendid, however, were the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors framing a wall of sky beyond twin over-sized balconies. This! This was worth the work. And work there was.Even with so much wrong, the renovation relied more on the scalpel than the wrecking ball. As shown in the detail below (see Image #5), partitions and doorways were reshaped and finessed.The redesign would focus on defining functional spaces for work, hobbies, and overnight guests. It would bring order and reason to bear upon unreasonably bad feng shui. Making sense of space: interior realignmentTransitions were clarified. Storage was optimized. What had been a dark and creepy passageway to the second bedroom was illuminated by interior windows and divided-light bedroom doors.The kitchen was fully integrated into the adjacent living areas (see Image #8, below). RELATED ARTICLES Pensive About ProcessReady, Set, Go!The First … Charrette?How Deep Is Your Footprint?Design for DisassemblyGreen Design and PlanningIntegrated Design One plus one makes one big oneWhen the Parkside Plaza building converted to condominiums around 1988, several pairs of one-bedroom apartments on the top floors were combined to create spacious luxury units.Except …The apartments had been stuck simply (and oddly) together, the possibilities of the combined spaces left unexplored. As a result, the space lacked definition or any unifying themes. Closets and storage spaces were haphazard. Nothing related to anything else.And …The original single-glazed windows and doors leaked, rattled, and whistled in the wind. The heating/cooling units were choked with crud and they leaked, ruining the floors.And, finally …The kitchen. It was one of those kitchens made so long before we learned how to “do” kitchens that it doesn’t seem fair to criticize. Boxed off from the main living area, it cried out to be set free of confining partitions. It is enough to say it was intolerable to our empty-nesters. Living sustainably is living wellSustainable design elements included in this green remodeling project feature the usual cast of characters: LED lighting, Water Sense fixtures, Energy Star appliances, and energy-saving doors and windows insulated with low-e, argon-filled double glazing.But the most sustainable aspect of this green living project is downsizing. It proves that it is possible to do much more with much less than we think we may need. Repurposing found materialsMaterials were selected with sustainability in mind. These included wood counters and shelves crafted from urban harvest walnut and cherry (see Image #9).Patrick Sells of Salvaging Creativity, York, Pennsylvania, fabricated the range hood with stainless steel from a local scrapyard (see Image #10). It was a thrill to be able to work with these artists to incorporate reused and recycled materials in the project.To ensure healthful indoor air quality, cabinets were made with zero-formaldehyde materials and finished with no-VOC coatings.One of the huge successes in this green living project is the use of color (see Image #12, below, showing the master bedroom). The owner, an artist in her own right, created the palette. A lazy man’s way to living greenDepending on the year it was built, a condominium building may be burdened by outdated or inefficient systems. And yet, these buildings start out with two big gold stars on the list of sustainable design features: energy efficiency and sustainable land use.Energy efficiency. A free-standing house is exposed to the elements on all sides plus the roof. The typical apartment shares three of its walls (plus floor and ceiling) with other units or common areas. So, right there without lifting a finger you’ve just become 80% more energy efficient because only one wall has to face the elements.Sustainable land use. The other big painless step toward sustainability has to do with land conservation. A single-family house occupies at least 5,000 or 6,000 square feet of land. In a multifamily building like Parkside Plaza, 250 families occupy about four acres. That’s an average of less than 700 square feet per family.So, if you were a complete deadbeat and did nothing else to ease your footprint on our tender Earth, you’d be ahead of the game with this one simple move. And why stop when you’ve started out so far ahead?That brings us to our green remodeling story. Our clients found a bleak, worn-out wreck of a place and loved it into a work of lifestyle art.To see what they walked into, check out Image #2, below. Where others may have flinched and fled, they saw potential. Image #3 shows the same view after renovation: partition walls have moved and been shaped to allow light from the floor-to-ceiling glass doors to reach the back wall of the condo unit. Alan Abrams is a Certified Passive House Consultant, a Certified Passive House Builder, aCertified Green Professional (NAHB), and a Certified Professional Building Designer (American Institute of Building Designers). He is also the owner of Abrams Design Build in Takoma Park, Maryland. The purpose of sustainable design and green building is to achieve sustainable living. To do this, we attempt to make best possible use of the assets at hand. That could mean designing and building from scratch. It could also mean taking an existing dwelling and nudging it in the direction of sustainability.It’s an imperfect process and takes time. It’s only natural that we look for shortcuts to living green. Here’s one: downsize and move into a condo.Do what our clients did. When the time was right, they sold their single-family detached house. They kissed their lovable, drafty old Victorian goodbye. With the kids fledged and their careers on cruise control, they didn’t need it anymore. So they bought a dowdy condo on the upper floors of Parkside Plaza in Silver Spring, Maryland, and transformed it into their own cool, colorful, light-filled living space.What’s sustainable or green about living in a high-rise, you say? Read on.last_img read more

All Hail The (New) Twitter Elite List

first_img The Twitter Grader algorithm has withstood a fair degree of scrutiny — exacerbated by the fact that the rankings generated don’t always agree with some other “top user” lists that rank purely on the number of followers.  But, one factor in the algorithm that has generated some debate is the reduction in grade that occurs when a given twitter user has a low follower:following ratio.  This is when (on a relative basis) a user has a lower (or equal) number of followers than the number of people they are following.  Stated different, on average, users who are following a bunch of people get a lower grade (all other things being equal).  The common complaint about this is “why would you penalize users that are following other users — doesn’t that go against the spirit of social media sites like twitter?”.  This is a fair question.  And, I have a reasonably fair answer:  One of the surest signals of a low-authority twitter account is that it has a very low follower/following ratio.  Using the follower:following ratio in the algorithm works great — except when it doesn’t.  Like when power users  like Guy Kawasaki ( .  (Oh, and for the record, my Twitter Grade dropped .  Guy’s a highly connected, highly engaged, highly authoritative twitter user (and I’d say that even if I wasn’t a raving fan, which I am). Twitter Grader Originally published Jan 12, 2009 2:32:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? Download the free webinar The problem is, it can be a bit difficult to tell the difference between a spammy twitter account that is using automated follows and a high quality, authoritative account.  It took some near-sleepless nights, but, I think I’ve finally figured it out.  Finally, the Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR Twitter Marketing ). State of the Twittersphere after this algorithm update — which is also as it should be).  Twitter Grader algorithm has been improved  is a tool that measures the authority and reach of a twitter user.  It has really taken off since it’s introduction a few months ago.  The software has now graded over 900,000 individual twitter accounts and gets used over 20,000 times a day.  The Twitter Grade is a score from 0–100 based on the power and authority of a twitter user.  It is used to build the list — a compilation of the top twitter users.  (We also generate a list of the top  — and a few new surprises.  @guykawasaki .  Significantly.  In addition to the existing factors, Twitter Grader now looks at the degree of Topics: a given twitter user has.  It looks at how well a given user is fostering conversations in the twitter community.  Clearly, Guy is really, really good at fostering conversations.  So, Guy is back on the Twitter Grader elite list of top 100 twitter users, where he belongs.  So are a bunch of other powerful twitter users geographic location Twitter Elite @onstartups ) don’t make it into the Top 100 list.  Twitter is all the rage as illustrated in this report on the Clearly, there was something wrong with the algorithm Happy twittering. report.  The information in this report is based on data from Twitter Grader. a lot Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack twitter users by keyword and by engagement for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. If you’re a power user on twitter and think your grade and ranking was too low before, please try it again.  And, if you’ve got ideas for how we might improve the software and make it more useful, please leave a comment. And, if you’re looking for me , you can find melast_img read more

Happy Holidays From HubSpot! [Video Card]

first_img Topics: Originally published Dec 24, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Naturally, the best way to do this is by showing the different faces behind HubSpot. Watch our video card to see those faces and read our message. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it! Thank you for your ongoing support and passion for inbound marketing. We are lucky to have you as a part of our community! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 2010 has been a great year for HubSpot The HubSpot Team Happy Holidays, Holiday Marketing — all thanks to you! Our community has inspired each one of our teams to work hard, experiment, and embrace constant learning. With the holiday season in full swing, we at HubSpot wanted to say thank you and send warm wishes your way!last_img read more

The Online Anatomy of a Spreading Story

first_imgLast night, U.S. forces killed “the most wanted face of terrorism,” Osama bin Laden. However, this is not a political blog post or a commentary on the event. Instead, it is an examination of how technology has drastically changed the word-of-mouth spread of information. Traditional media, TV and print newspapers, couldn’t keep up with the story as fast as new, social media could draw the evolving picture. This dynamic teaches important marketing lessons about the power of self-publishing, diffusion of news and the future of information gathering. Twitter: Where the News First Leaked As you might have already learned, the news about Bin Laden’s death first leaked on Twitter. The White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, announced on Twitter that the President of the United States will address the nation at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, May 1. This act demonstrates the power of self-publishing tools and the subduing power of media as the messenger. The marketing takeaway is that today, you don’t need to knock on the door of journalists if you want to get the word out about something. If you build a large following, you can publish a story yourself and expect the press to come to you. Facebook: How the News Spread Don’t know about you, but I first learned about the story from Facebook. The status updates of all my friends had started to reflect the evolving story. They were leaving comments and heatedly discussing the news. In fact, Adam Ostrow wrote that within hours of the reported death, ‘a Facebook Page titled “Osama Bin Laden is DEAD” had already accumulated more than 150,000 ‘likes.’’Who you learn from hasn’t changed, it is still friends and family. But today, they won’t make a phone call to spread the news–they might post it on Facebook and expect to see a discussion take place. The marketing takeaway here is to realize the increasing potential of the Facebook news feed in delivering information and prompting action. Online Video: Where the Announcement Took Place Lots of people watched Obama’s speech on their televisions. But if you happened to learn about it online, you could have as well gone to www.whitehouse.gov and watched the live streaming of the announcement there. CitizenTube, YouTube’s channel on news and politics, was also broadcasting the President’s live address. In other words, the video was one click away from your current view.From start to finish, the story progressed on the Web. One could learn everything there was about it without turning the TV on. The virtual ecosystem carried the news from it’s leak on Twitter, to its spreading on other social media channels, to the actual video announcement and to the post-analysis on news sites and blogs. What has this event taught you about the spread of information online? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Newsjacking Topics: Originally published May 2, 2011 12:01:00 PM, updated October 20 2016last_img read more

12 Awesome LinkedIn Infographics in 2011

first_img Originally published Sep 1, 2011 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 LinkedIn Marketing Topics: As a marketer executing a social media marketing strategy, LinkedIn should be one of your top priorities. And with the social network attracting over 100 million business professionals to its user base, you can’t be wrong.Last week, we published “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn,” which serves as a helpful guide to some of the most hidden, under-utilized tricks for taking advantage of all LinkedIn has to offer. But if you still need convincing that LinkedIn is a social network where you should be spending some of your social media marketing time, the awesome statistics and data in the following 2011 infographics could serve as a wake-up call.1. 100 Million Professionals by LinkedIn2. The Value of Being Linkedin by OnlineMBA.com3. The LinkedIn Profile by Lab424. LinkedIn’s Road to IPO by The Credit Score Blog5. How to Be the Man (or Woman) on LinkedIn by SocialMediaSonar.com6. The State of LinkedIn by Vincenzo Cosenza7. LinkedIn Identity by Gigya8. Battle of the Sexes: Who Are the Savviest Networkers? by LinkedIn9. LinkedIn for B2B Marketers by LeadFormix10. A Snapshot of LinkedIn on its 8th Birthday by paidContent.org 11. LinkedIn at a Glance by leftygbalogh.com12. Sequencing the Startup DNA by LinkedInHow do you use LinkedIn for marketing? If you don’t already, has any of the data in these infographics convinced you to start including LinkedIn in your social media marketing strategy?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