Warriors 122, Nuggets 105: How Warriors flipped the switch

first_imgOAKLAND — Things appeared dark with both the Warriors’ mood and uncertainty. So after spending the past two days offering honest self reflection and direct criticism toward each other, the Warriors have seen the light.During a regular season filled with inconsistent performances, mood swings and lineup combinations, the Warriors have finally flipped the switch. The result: the Warriors coasted to a 122-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday at Oracle Arena.“It would’ve shocked me if …last_img read more

SA on growth, investment path: Zuma

first_img24 January 2013 No one can say they are uncertain about the direction that South Africa is taking, President Jacob Zuma said in Switzerland on Wednesday.“Together as business, government, labour and the community sector, we must tackle our three fierce enemies – poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) annual meeting in Davos.He said the ruling African National Congress’s (ANC’s) 53rd national conference had adopted the National Development Plan, which would play a key role in determining the country’s policy direction.“The conference has thus set the tone and provided the line of march, not only for the next five years, but until 2030.”South Africa was a country of many opportunities, and was a destination of choice for investors, Zuma said, adding that the country had “achieved a comprehensive political freedom and stability and consolidated our constitutional democracy.”Speaking on one of the findings of the Census 2011 report, Zuma said income distribution and growth was still racially skewed in favour of “white compatriots”.“This is a cause for concern for all of us. It compels us to work together with all our social partners to attack head-on the triple challenges,” he said.“All these challenges will be easier to tackle now under a climate of policy certainty. They are easier to tackle if there is unity in action.”Zuma said infrastructure development was a flagship project, given its capacity to create jobs.“Domestically there are roads, dams, power stations, schools, hospitals and more that are being built or refurbished. All these provide enormous opportunities for the business sector.”He told delegates that South Africa was stable, friendly, resilient and able to solve its problems.“That is the type of country and society that we are presenting to the world,” he said.“We are presenting a South Africa that is open for business and which is open to provide entry into the African continent, a fast-growing region which is proving many Afro-pessimists wrong.”Sapalast_img read more

5 Free Magazines Every Small Business Should Receive

first_img Originally published May 23, 2007 2:32:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Entrepreneurship I know this seems terribly old fashioned in this Web 2.0 era of blogging, but there’s still something nice about reading a great magazine.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m an avid reader of a number of blogs, and have been blogging myself for close to two years.  And I enjoy the conversations that blogs can create as well as the realtime stream of information the blogosphere provides.  But there’s something about thumbing through a colorful, glossy magazine with great content.. written by folks with professional editors at their disposal…ready, willing and able to fix bad grammar and other mistakes we tend to overlook… making it a little more challenging than it should be to read even the best blogs.  And as GoDaddy.com founder Bob Parsons once said,  people don’t curl up in front of a fire and read a nice blog.  And when you’re flying do you really print off a list of blog entries, or do you pick up an interesting magazine or two?  Before I hit the road I grab a handful of mags I enjoy so much I might even pay for them if I had to…..but I don’t.  Direct Direct is a magazine that bills itself as the information resource for direct marketers.  I’d have to say I agree, as it each month it comes packed with great stats, stories and best practices all around building, keeping and using customer lists.  It combines all this information into a slim 70 pages or so which makes it easy to carry around, and the articles are written in a way that entertains as well as informs.  And Ken Magill does a great job with his e-mail best practices articles.  Plus they have a nice companion website with tons of up to date info.Small Business Impact & Deliver magazinesI lumped these two together because they both are US Postal Service publications,  they are monthly mags that arrive at the same time, and together they amount to only 48 pages or thereabouts.  Small Business Impact covers a variety of subjects, challenges and other issues facing small businesses.  The articles are short, sweet and to the point cover everything from online marketing basics, to health care, to time management.  Just from an aesthetics standpoint, Deliver is really eye catching.  I find myself actually checking out the ads because they’re so good looking.  But going beyond its slick publishing, there are some great articles for those charged with marketing and brand building.  Articles include how today’s printing technology can impact customer relationships, and an interesting interview with Chris Anderson on how new media is forcing marketers to “keep it real”.    Streaming MediaI don’t even know how I started getting this but I’m glad I did.  This might not seem all that important to small businesses, but this magazine will prepare you for how people will be able to take in all kinds of content, and how you can use technology to put your company right in their faces, whether it be on a computer, TV, PDA, or whatever.  It comes monthly and weighs in at over 100 pages, but it’s an easy read.  This month’s issue had a good article on monetizing podcasts and video blogs, and another one on the television paradigm shift that had me thinking a bit.  Computer ShopperI used to get this about ten years ago but couldn’t take it anymore.  It was just too big and heavy to even attempt to read.  It must have gone on a diet or something because now it’s under a 100 pages.  And now I can’t wait to get it every month.  It gives me great reviews and coverage of products and services of which I need to at least be aware.  In many cases it helps me decide which way to go in terms of buying something.Now there are a ton of magazines out there you can get for free by giving up some contact information.  I probably get over 20 a month, but there’s no way I’m reading all of that stuff.  But the above mentioned and a few others (like 1to1, eWeek and BrandWeek) are easy to read, easy to carry and still packed with good information…and did I mention they are free?  You may want to check them out.  What freebies do you recommend? last_img read more

3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Inbound Press Releases

first_img boost your company’s SEO Originally published Oct 14, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 How else can you Press releases 1. Create fresh content frequently. Topics: and perhaps gain some bonus media coverage as well. to measure the number of views, comments, and inbound links for that specific news release. You can also monitor your website’s referral traffic to see if any websites or blogs that have syndicated your release are sending traffic your way. Additionally, monitor how your search engine rankings improve for the particular keywords you optimized for in your release. These are all great ways to help you analyze which topics, types, and distribution methods work best for your news releases as well as whether the time, money, and effort you’re putting into your news releases is worth it. in your marketing? , press releases have a totally different purpose. take full advantage of your press releases Public Relations 2. Determine the most appropriate channels for your news releases. Think about the message you are trying to send and the audience you want to reach. The obvious channel to leverage is your own website and blog. Coverage in other industry blogs that have high traffic and authority is also a great way to improve SEO and reach a new audience. Consider pinging a few industry bloggers about your news for a better chance of coverage. Also, don’t forget to inbound marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack leverage inbound press releases As a marketer, you should think about your press releases as a way to distribute content frequently to boost the credibility and findability of your company. Follow these 3 tips to make sure you get the most out of your future press releases.  blog analytics tool Press releases were originally designed as a tool to generate media coverage and attention. Now, in the days of 3. Measure and iterate to optimize future press releases.  This is a staple for both press release and inbound marketing success. Ultimately, you want to use every news release to keep your audience interested and wanting more. Don’t stick to boring company announcements like new hires or promotions. Write about interesting topics such as new product features, industry trends, survey data, or case studies demonstrating how your customers have benefited from your product. You’ll also want to include important keywords for which your business is trying to rank. Be sure to use these keywords in your press release title, text, and alt tags. This will help as the release gets syndicated on news sites throughout the web. in various channels. Furthermore, consider distributing your release using a distribution service like PRWeb. By doing these things, you’ll expand your reach and touch a potentially new audience while building SEO rankings for specific topics. use your company’s social media presence to promote your news release Once you publish your press release, you’ll want to know if it’s actually working. If you published your release to your blog, use your should be viewed as news updates directed at your potential and current customers instead of just the broad media. These types of news releases can keep your prospects engaged while also working as a powerful SEO tool for your business. With these two goals in mind, you canlast_img read more

20 Clues Your Marketing Stinks, Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

first_img6) Spammy Auto-Follows: Speaking of social media automation, don’t be the company that incessantly follows and unfollows. It’s an indication of spammy behavior that will get you blacklisted from Twitter’s search results, and really annoy your followers. I’m not sure which is worse. 13) The Purchased List: It doesn’t matter how fantastic your email content is if it never lands in an inbox. To ensure you have excellent email deliverability, we developed a 5-question sniff test for you to take. Hint: if you buy your email lists, you’re not going to pass the test. 12) Nonsensical QR Codes: There’s a time and a place for everything. QR codes, for example, are excellent for connecting offline and online marketing. When someone visits your profile on Twitter, however, they are already online. If you’re going to use QR codes — or any marketing tactic, for that matter — use them where they can get the most leverage! 2) Mystery Links: Joy’s hashtag really captures it all with this indication of subpar marketing — if you’re sharing links in social media without any context, your engagement will plummet. A link does not engaging content make; put a little #effort into the content you’re sharing if you want people to follow you, RT you, and talk to you! @HubSpot “You may view the page/video you are seeking after we play you a short ad about something of which you have no interest in.”— Alex Brinsmead (@alexbrinsmead) May 14, 2012 @hubspot Huge pet peeve: signing up for a niche e-newsletter only to be bombarded by non-targeted print catalogs.. to my employer’s address— Autumn McReynolds (@AutumnMcRey) May 14, 2012 4) Twitter Customer Service Fail: Marketing and customer service should work together … or at the very least, they should get an office romance going. But when you’re implementing a social customer service program, make sure those running the accounts know the ins and outs of the social media network being used so you can actually help your customers! 18) Self-Proclaimed, Unwarranted ‘Experts’: If you’re hiring an agency or new employee to do your social media for you, beware of ninjas and gurus who claim to know these so called “secrets.” Like this tweet states, the “secrets” to social media are posting engaging content, having conversations, monitoring your accounts, and analyzing the ROI you get from each channel. 7) Gut Decision-Making: This is my own contribution. A marketer should never insist their marketing is effective or ineffective without backing it up with data! Be sure to always measure your marketing campaigns, and analyze the data so you can make improvements. @HubSpot Broadcast emails starting with “Re:”. Tricksy— John Mackenzie (@johnmac71) May 14, 2012 20) The Ungrateful Taker: Marketing is getting more and more social, which means maintaining good relationships with your network is critical. Thank those who write about you, share your content, and give you feedback. And to ensure we’re not guilty of this marketing faux pas Amber suggests, thank you all for reading, and for your submissions to this post! @HubSpot following, unfollowing, following, unfollowing— roberto rivera (@robertoerivera) May 14, 2012 @jeannehopkins Biggest pet peeve – bad mail merges!i.e. “Dear Mrs. Polmateer”.I’m a dude.Instant delete! cc:// @Hubspot— Garry Polmateer, CAE (@DarthGarry) May 14, 2012 @HubSpot 2 things: 1. Being shouted at. 2. Misleading info. Everything else can be chalked up to agency “creativity”.— Mike Beauchamp (@myz06vette) May 14, 2012 @HubSpot people who claim to know ‘secrets’ of success, such as in social media. There are no secrets, it’s just communication— Creative Huddle (@Creative_Huddle) May 14, 2012 Inbound Marketing 9) Tricksy Email Subject Lines: Your email subject line is the gatekeeper of your email. You’d think, then, that email marketers would be more conscious of the copy they choose for their subject lines. Oh right, people who use “Re:” in their subject lines aren’t email marketers. They’re spammers. Topics: @HubSpot Marketing Pet Peeve;when a link is tweeted with no description, esp. when the link is sent from an auto service!#effort— Joy(@JoyonCapeCod) May 14, 2012 @HubSpot Pet peeve: Ad agencies that set out to create a “viral” video. The term “viral” implies no control over the organic spread of video— Japheth Campbell (@yefeth) May 14, 2012 16) Customer Feedback Ignorance: If your marketing doesn’t have an end-to-end view, what we like to call closed-loop reporting, how do you know that your campaigns and messaging actually work? Use closed-loop analytics to get data on which campaigns and channels perform best, and combine that with feedback from leads and customers to improve your marketing. 19) Intrusive Tactics: I think we’re all familiar with the commercial that’s louder than the TV show, but this problem symbolizes a larger problem with marketing people view as bad — being intrusive. If you’re providing valuable content, people will invite you into their lives; you don’t have to shove your way in. 17) No Sense of Boundaries: Marketers must be respectful of a prospect’s preferred method of communication. If they sign up for an email newsletter, communicate via email, and don’t send them anything that’s NOT an email newsletter. If they follow you on Twitter, speak to them on Twitter. If you’d like to speak to them through another medium, get their permission to do so first! @HubSpot Using QR Code as Twitter profile icon. It just makes no sense.— ideavist (@ideavist) May 14, 2012 @HubSpot Pet Peeve: People who stereotype marketers as people who plan parties and send out press releases.— Lori Philo-Cook (@PhiloCook) May 14, 2012 Originally published May 16, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 14) Interruptive Advertising: There’s a place for advertising in inbound marketing, but the key to doing it successfully is relevancy. So while the age of interruptive marketing is over, it’s not interruptive if your audience finds it relevant! 3) Mucked Up Mail Merges: While we applaud attempts at email personalization, it only works if you can execute correctly. If you’re importing lists with bad lead information, you can’t expect to deliver relevant, personal email content. 15) Incomparable Comparisons: Sean is spot on to say that TV and internet advertising are two different beasts. Not only do they require different measurement mechanisms, but they work best when they are integrated. Don’t miss easy opportunities to incorporate, say, your social media marketing into an advertising spot. If there’s one thing that makes our toes tingle (other than inbound marketing, of course), it’s seeing examples of marketing done right. Great marketing makes us excited to be working in a trailblazing industry where other marketers are doing seriously innovative things to make marketing people actually like.But to get so excited about awesome marketing means there’s another end of the spectrum. A dark side where email spammers, poor segmenters, and keyword stuffers live trying to pass off their activities as marketing. Those guys give legitimate marketers a bad name, and the worst part of it is, sometimes they don’t even know what they’re doing is an indication of seriously stinky marketing. Enter this blog post.We know what in marketing annoys us, but we were curious what our audience — made up of business owners, marketers, content creators, and consumers — had to say about the matter. “What annoys you about marketing?” we tweeted, and the answers poured in, straight from the horses’ mouths (our target customers!). We sorted out the top 20 that really grind our gears, too, and have compiled them below for your reading pleasure. And while you’re reading, ask yourself whether you’re guilty of any of these warning signs of a cringeworthy marketing presence.20 Hints That Your Marketing Stinks1) The ‘Party Planner’ Stereotype: Real marketers know that marketing isn’t about planning parties and sending out press releases; they see event marketing and PR as two parts of a larger inbound marketing strategy. Without a comprehensive, integrated approach to your marketing, your business will never reach its full potential, so if you’re a marketer operating under the assumption that ‘marketing’ is just an excuse to plan parties, you’ve been sorely mislead, and your marketing results will suffer from it. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 10) Pushing, Not Pulling: What Mike points out in this tweet is the basis of inbound marketing. Stop shouting at people. Give them interesting content, and let them come to you. 11) Viral Goals: Virality is a product of amazing content, your reach, and how well you can optimize that video to spread organically. You know what it isn’t? Magic. @HubSpot Companies using purchased mail/email lists. #SPAM is spam whether electronic or printed. There should be an easy #OptOut for both.— Sarah J. Hough (@sjhough) May 14, 2012 @HubSpot If I “unsubscribe” do not email the very next morning! Makes my blood boil.— Jonna Robertson (@mktgoddess) May 14, 2012 @HubSpot When marketers say “this works” and “that doesn’t” based on feelings instead of data.— Corey Eridon (@Corey_bos) May 15, 2012 @HubSpot Auto DM replies. Especially ones directing me to a Facebook or product page. Like proposing on a first date.— Dan Moyle (@danmoyle) May 14, 2012 8) CAN-SPAM Non-Compliance: And while I didn’t contribute this particular tweet, it’s as if Jonna read my mind (and probably that of anyone who has been on the receiving end of email SPAM). Not only is it illegal not to include the option to unsubscribe in your emails, it’s illegal not to honor the request. If there’s one area of your marketing about which you are vigilant, please, let it be this. Your Sender Score will thank you. @hubspot Pet peeve: When companies tell you to DM them & have no clue they must follow you first. More cust serv than mkg but irksome.— Cari Sultanik (@CariSultanik) May 14, 2012 Marketing pet peeve: Not acknowledging/thanking someone who promotes you! @HubSpot— Amber Schiavi (@amsch03) May 14, 2012 @HubSpot A mega peeve: when marketing neglects to check in w prospects/current customers to validate effectiveness of programs, messaging.— Julie Rogier (@JRogier) May 15, 2012 @HubSpot when people compare TV to internet advertising.They should be used to complement not compete with each other to do the same job.— Sean Singleton (@paulpingles) May 14, 2012 5) Slimy Social Automation: Okay, I know many people who would dispute the effectiveness of the auto DM. Some say it’s impersonal, while others agree but still see increased follower rates. Whichever side you fall on, Dan is right that directing someone to a product page after following you on Twitter is akin to proposing on the first date. If you insist on using an auto DM, keep it congenial, not sales-oriented! @HubSpot another #marketing pet peeve. The noisier your TV ad is the less likely I am to watch it.— Samantha Brackley (@SamBrackley) May 14, 2012 What do you think is an indication that a brand’s marketing is no good? Share your pet peeves and warning signs in the comments!Image credit: Robert S. Donovanlast_img read more

The 2013 Design Guide to Email Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

first_img Email Templates 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 13, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Any experienced email marketer knows that crafting the perfect marketing email is somewhat of an art form. Not only do you have to nail copywriting, messaging, personalization, and proper segmentation and targeting — but you also have to worry about how that email actually looks. On both desktops and mobile devices. And if your background isn’t in design, let’s just say it’s not exactly a piece of cake to craft an email that achieves both form and function.But with HubSpot’s 2012 Science of Email Marketing research revealing that 65% of people prefer emails with mostly images rather than text — and a whopping 88% opting for HTML emails over plain text — email design isn’t exactly something a marketer can afford to overlook.To give you a better sense of why expertly designed email marketing is so important these days, check out the infographic below and start 2013 off with an email marketing bang!(Click infographic to enlarge.)center_img Topics: Are you leveraging techniques like personalization and dynamic content in your email marketing? Are your emails mobile-optimized and triggered by your leads’ behavior? There’s no better time to start than the new year.last_img read more

How to Make Sure Your Website Passes the Dreaded Blink Test

first_img6) Provide Content That’s Easy to ConsumeVisitors aren’t willing to read a novel to understand what you’re trying to say. People are always in a hurry on the web, so make sure your writing is extremely clear and focused. Optimize content so it’s easy to scan, and convey the maximum amount of information in as few words as possible, to hold people’s attention. Some ways you can achieve this are:Write copy devoid of jargon. People don’t like what they don’t understand.Use viewer-focused language, like “You” and “Your” instead of “We” and “Us.”Speak in the voice and tone to which your target persona is most accustomed.7) Create a Congruous ExperienceThis means you’ve ensured the path to your site is logical, and bump-free. If someone clicks on a result in a search engine, a banner ad, or a pay per click ad, they’re expecting to find what the description stated. For example, if someone clicks on a banner ad advertising black flats, they need to see black flats instantly featured on the ad’s landing page. If there is a disconnect between the ad and the matching landing page, you could lose a visitor’s trust, leading them to leave your page without further action. Here, take a look at an example from Zappos. If a searcher inputs the term “back flats,” here’s what will appear: And if you click either of those listing, you’ll land here, the flats section of their website:8) Prove Your Site Is Credible Today, 94% of Americans are worried “bad things” can happen when using the internet. A study conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Mancx found that whether it’s the fear of getting a computer virus, losing money, or risking fraud, people are very concerned about the safety features of websites they visit.  If a reader thinks your information or your intentions are less than noble, he will immediately leave your site in search of something more credible.If you want to keep visitors on your site, present professional, trustworthy material by including testimonials, privacy trust seals, and a detailed privacy policy. This furniture company, Olejo, does a great job showing their site is credible.As you can see, they include an eye-catching customer review button right at the top of the page. This gives customers the option to click and see honest feedback from people who have used the site before. Also, two privacy trust seals are included in the bottom corners of the page to show visitors the business is legally registered and follows good security practices. Olejo also includes a privacy policy tab at the bottom of their page that describes what they do with customer information, credit card transactions, and other security concerns.9) Put Important Information on the Top of Your PageWeb users spend 80% of their time looking at the information above the page fold according to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group. This means people spend most of their time on the part of the page that is visible, and then maybe they’ll scroll down for a brief period of time to see what’s below the fold. You stand a much better chance of keeping people on your site if they immediately see what they’re looking for after the page loads. Visitors have short attention spans, and consider reading and scrolling to be extra work. Anything truly important should be in the real-estate above the fold. Below is a great example of HootSuite’s expert use of their space above the fold.  Visitors judge the value of your website in a matter of seconds. Hours and hours of hard work are distilled into one glance, when they decide whether or not your website is worth their time. This, of course, is what we marketers call “The Blink Test,” and it refers to the commonly accepted 3-5 seconds during which a visitor lands on your website, judges it, and decides if they want to stay there and do something, or abandon ship.You need to grab attention, get your message across, and spark interest in your viewers … all within just a few seconds. Seems pretty difficult, but there are some best practices you can refer to for your web pages to ensure you’re not losing visitors to silly, easily remedied mistakes. After all, the repercussions of an F on your blink test means lost conversion opportunities, as in lost opportunities for new leads and customers. Yikes. That’s one test you don’t want to fail.12 Ways to Ensure Your Website Passes the Blink Test1) Build Pages That Load QuicklyThe more you add to your site, the longer it takes to load. In this age of instant gratification, if your site doesn’t load immediately, it will be abandoned. In fact, according to a study done by Gomez, the average online shopper expects a page to load in two seconds or less, down from four seconds in 2006; and after three seconds, up to 40% will abandon your website. Because load time is increased with images, scripts, and multimedia, it’s important to use them judiciously, and test loading times — you can use free tools like Page Speed or YSlow for this. And to ensure your images load quickly enough, change the file format to the following:Use a GIF if the image has only a few colors, like a logo.Use a JPEG if the image has a lot of colors and details, like photos.Use a PNG for high quality, transparent images.You can also take a high quality resolution picture, and downsize it to an appropriately viewable size for your website. For example, if you start off with an image at 3000px resolution, scale it down before you upload it to your website, and it won’t compromise your quality or slow down your load time. 2) Use Attractive Visual DesignYour website should be attractive and easy to consume. Captivate people — without confusing them — using high quality images that align with your site’s message. That last part’s critical — the most beautiful image in the world doesn’t mean anything if a site visitor doesn’t immediately understand how it relates to what your company does. Apple does a great job of quickly explaining their brand with images; here, take a look:With a giant, high quality picture of an iPad mini, Apple’s message is obvious and impressive.Don’t be afraid to be bold when designing your website, though. If you create a website with a design that stands out from competitors, that’s good, too. It’s different. It’s memorable. It makes people want to stay and check your website out. Just make sure your structure is simple and organized so people can easily find what they’re looking for without getting overwhelmed. It’s wise to limit your page to a one- or two-column layout, and avoid jamming too many things onto your homepage. If you think you’re suffering from some visual clutter, find opportunities to eliminate unnecessary elements, and embrace white space to make your page more clean-cut.3) Start With an Informative Headline That Conveys Your Value PropositionYour audience won’t take the time to search your page for the most important material, because they expect to see it right when they arrive. According to Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, eight out of ten people read a page’s headline, and only two of ten read the first paragraph. Start with a headline that states what you feature, and the benefit to the audience. This part of your website should be concise and informational. If you start off with “Welcome to our website,” for instance, you’re going to be losing visitors pretty quickly.In addition to a clear message, it’s important to write a simple, pertinent, one sentence value proposition to explain to your reader why you’re better than your competition. For example, if you’re marketing a sandwich shop, your company value proposition could be something like “We use garden-fresh, local ingredients to craft made-to-order, high quality sandwiches and wraps in the Back Bay area.” This statement will help customers see the unique benefits of coming to your shop, and why it’s better than other sandwich shops in the area.4) Provide Easy NavigationYour website’s navigation should be intuitive and easy to use. Provide people with the options they might expect upon visiting your site, and make sure the top-level categories of your navigation reveal the most important, easy to understand content. Going along with the sandwich shop example, a good list of top navigation tabs could be: Menu, Nutritional Info, Special Event Catering, Our Locations, Contact, and Home. These tabs organize every important aspect of the website, are clear in their wording, and can bring customers to where they want to go with the click of button.5) Use Images That Explain What You Do, and Support Your CopyA picture’s worth a thousand words. Are yours communicating what you want them to? Everyone has seen the corny hero shots of people shaking hands, and groups of people in suits jumping in the air. These mean nothing. It’s imperative that your pictures help explain what your company is really about. Use unique, quality photos that actually represent who you are and what you do. So, not like this:Instead, choose something like this, where you choose photos of your actual customers and/or employees: 10) Avoid Excessive Calls-to-ActionWhen a visitor arrives on your page and is immediately greeted by a pop-up asking to subscribe to your blog, a blinking CTA offering a free trial of your product, and another asking to download your latest ebook, that visitor will most likely become paralyzed with too many choices and leave your site. To stop people from quickly clicking the “Back” button, be sure to pick the most important and relevant calls-to-action to build your design around.11) Make it Easy to Take the Next StepGive your visitors a clear path to follow; you don’t want to require people to think too much when they arrive on your site, nor should they have to dig around to figure out what to do next. Keep your call-to-action above the fold and near the top of the screen so no scrolling or eye-darting is necessary to find it. Additionally, your CTA should look clickable, preferably resembling an actual button so visitors know what to do. To make it stand out more, you can provide a little extra white space around it. Finally, make sure you use obvious language so your visitor knows what to expect when clicking on your CTA. For a little inspiration, take a look at a CTA that makes it easy as pie to figure out what to do next. Topics: 12) Optimize for Mobile and TabletToday, people often surf the web on devices other than desktop computers. According to Pew Research Center, 45% of American adults own a smartphone, and 25% have a tablet. Making your website easy to read and fully functional on a mobile device is critical. To do this, be sure to:Scale your page to size using responsive web design.Make your images viewable on mobile devices — use HTML5, jQuery, or JPGs so content can be rendered.Make text concise and easily readable.Make links easily clickable — the area should be large enough for thumbs.Present your content in a single column.Keep the CTA above the fold.Use simple forms.Don’t miss out on conversions. Be sure to optimize your site to pass the blink test for mobile devices, as well as desktop.So, does your website pass the test? What other tips can you share to help marketers design websites that will keep visitors’ attention?Image credit: mcclanahoochie Website Design Originally published Jan 18, 2013 12:30:00 PM, 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 SlackSlacklast_img read more

Foolproof Formulas to Turn a Cluttered Twitter Stream Into Real Business

first_imgIn one second on the internet, there are more than 6,000 tweets.Take a breath.There are now 12,000 tweets. Blink again. 18,000 tweets. Amid all of these tweets are a flurry of opportunities missed by the average marketer.But then … who said anything about being average? Odds are you recognize the potential that each of these social interactions have to advance your business and solve customer problems. The challenge is finding them and converting them into real business relationships. How you handle a given tweet will depend a lot on the person on the other end of it — who they are and where they are in their decision process. Here are a few tried and true examples to help you make the most of your interactions on Twitter.Turn a Follower Into a LeadOne of our customers, Yale Appliance and Lighting (@MyYale), is a good example of a company that just “gets it.” They use social media in a way that’s helpful, not disruptive — but they also understand how being useful can guide someone to the next stage in their decision process.In the example below, Yale Appliances is helping a Twitter user decide between GE and Electrolux ranges. They found this prospective customer by setting up a Twitter search for broken ovens. They were then alerted to a tweet from someone in need for some oven advice. Yale replied by directing the ovenless tweeter to an article on the subject which weighed the differences between the two brands. She downloaded it and instantly moved from a casual social media follower to a lead. Because they were using HubSpot’s Social Inbox, that lead information was infused directly into their view of the conversation — which you can see below under “Lifecycle Stage.”Recipe for This Conversion Opportunity:Set up a Twitter search for a relevant keyword. Setting up a keyword search is straightforward, but it takes some thought and nuance to choose the right keywords. Think of the phrases people use when they’re looking for advice: “Comparison,” “versus,” “help,” “advice,” “recommendations,” and so forth. As you find relevant tweets, use those to narrow down your search terms.Set up an alert to email or notify you when someone uses your combination of keywords. You’ll probably need a social media app like HubSpot or Hootsuite to do this. Setting up alerts will help you monitor twitter without having to be tied to your Twitter streams. You can choose to get an email or push notification whenever someone new meets your search criteria. Direct the help-seeker to a piece of useful content behind a conversion form. Don’t try to sell them. Just get them to that next iterative step along their research phase. Direct them to a blog article or, ideally, a piece of educational content behind a lead conversion form. This is what translates a stranger into a website visitor or lead.     Turn a Lead Into a CustomerOnce someone begins to consider a purchase, they enter into a new stage on social media, as well. According to Nielsen, approximately 46% of online users count on social media when making a purchase decision. At this stage, questions shift from general inquiries about an industry or topic to more specific requests about companies. In the example below, HubSpot used Social Inbox to catch a tweet asking for a comparison between us and another marketing software provider. Because the person seeking advice was already a lead, Rosalia, a HubSpot marketer, notified the sales team member who had already been in talks with this prospective customer and then replied with some information that could be useful in seeing why people choose HubSpot.By taking the time to notify the sales representative, Rosalia gave him the context he needed to make his next call with the lead more relevant. Recipe for This Conversion Opportunity:Set up a search for your company name and the names of similar companies. This is not really about competitors as much at it is about catching leads in the moment that they’re weighing a purchase decision. At this stage they’re thinking more directly about products than they are, say, at the top of the funnel.  Bring the sales rep into the conversation. Take a look at your CRM or contact database to see if the person on the other end of that tweet is currently talking with one of your sales representatives. If so, forward the tweet to him so he can either reply himself and further strengthen the relationship, or have that extra context for his next interaction with the lead.Reply with more than “Pick us! Pick us!” The lead is asking a legitimate question. They’re looking for insights, not a hard sell. Reply with information that will help them navigate that decision. In the above example, we went with case studies from customers who had switched to HubSpot.   Turn a Customer Into an EvangelistHappy customers are like new born babies. They’re like rays of sunshine. They’re like getting to work to find that all your meetings have been canceled and there’s a fresh pot of coffee on. You get the gist — they’re pretty great.A good company will find these happy customers on Twitter and thank them. A great company will find a way to turn the moment of happiness into a lifetime of advocacy.Sound ambitious? It’s not as hard to scale as you think. First, let’s look at a company doing this well — brought straight to you from my own personal Twitter account. Wistia is a video hosting company that HubSpot uses. They first captured our attention because they create a lot of remarkable (and humorous) content around video marketing. While content was the start of the relationship, it’s product innovation and personal attention that has kept us as customers.Over the years, I’ve become a true fan, but look for a moment about how Wistia took this impromptu tweet of happiness and turned it into an opportunity. I shared a positive experience with their product and they responded with both gratitude and a way to push the conversation forward. By inquiring about the problems we were solving, Wistia’s Chris Savage opened up the door for a customer case study, testimonial, or more feedback that could contribute to future product development. A top-notch social response.Now, according to research from Oracle, 80% of Twitter users expect a response to a customer support inquiry in 24 hours or less. So responding to customers should obviously be a priority — but where companies really excel is knowing their customers well enough to celebrate them even when they don’t expect it. Wistia did a nice job of this in the example below. They noticed that one of their customers had gotten some positive media attention for a launch of their own. Seeing the article and valuing the customer, they immediately took to Twitter to congratulate them on their success.  Doing this can create a memorable moment for the customer and turn them into a long-time fan and advocate. In 2012, Wildfire conducted a study on brand advocates. They found that over the course of a year, brands with high advocate populations get 264% more earned media impressions than average brands. And brand advocates bring in an average of 1.3 new people each to the company.  Recipe for This Conversion Opportunity:Set up a simple search for people mentioning your brand. If you’re using HubSpot you can create a stream that separates out your customers from the rest of your company so you can focus on them. Otherwise, look for anyone who is positively mentioning your brand. Go beyond a thank you. For each interaction, follow up your thank you up with something to push the relationship further. Ask a question or send them a creative message. This extra step will go a long way to turning your brief supporters into long-time advocates.Create an internal feedback loop to surface customer stories. It may be hard for your social media or marketing staff to keep track of everything your customers are up to, but if you have a customer service team or account managers, they can help to surface good stories. Set up an internal email list-serve or a wiki page to share positive customer stories, then have your social media staff monitor it for posting ideas. Twitter may seem like a fire-hose of content, but small changes to the way you approach it can lead to a more productive time investment. In looking at our own customer base, we found that companies with more than 1,000 Twitter followers generate more than 800 new website visitors a month. Not only that, 36% of all marketers have acquired a customer via Twitter, with B2B companies leading the pack (Source: HubSpot). For each interaction you have, consider which of the above categories it could fit into. Think about the person at the other end of the tweet and what they need most at that moment.Have you ever acquired a lead or customer through Twitter? I’d love to hear your own stories in the comments below.   Image credit: garrettheath Topics: Twitter Marketing Originally published Aug 12, 2013 2:00:00 PM, 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 SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Break the Communication Barrier Between Marketers and Designers [Q&A]

first_img Topics: Sometimes, it seems like marketers and designers speak different languages. You have marketers focusing on the timeline, designers focusing on the creation process, and neither of them understanding where the other is coming from.That’s a worst case scenario, and perhaps a common one for you — but it doesn’t have to be that way.I sat with two members who head up HubSpot’s creative & design team (which sits on HubSpot’s marketing team) — Keith Frankel and Jon Smith. I wanted to get their opinions on the best ways people like me can work with designers, and how we can get past some common communication barriers.Here’s what Keith and Jon had to say, including some helpful resources and a list of terms marketers should know about design.What is the most common misunderstanding between designers and marketers? And how can we address it?Keith: If there was just one common misunderstanding I could clear up, it’s this: Designers are not artists, and to view them as such can hurt both your working relationship, and the quality of the work you receive.While it’s absolutely true that designers are uniquely skilled at taking something from rough concept to beautiful completion, that final deliverable must — at its most fundamental level — solve a problem. In a way, design is all about making someone’s life easier. So rather than focusing primarily on form or expression (as is often the case with art), the primary purpose of design is the exact opposite — to support function. Acknowledging the distinction is vital in ensuring that marketers are able to get the most out of designers.Jon: I think it’s also important to have clearly defined goals and get on the same page as early as possible. The first interaction between a marketer and a designer is important to set the stage, figure out what the goal of the project is, and set a plan to execute on that project. If marketers know a bit more about design and the design process, that can also help. It’ll come in handy when there’s a conflict in which marketers and designers are trying to decide whether a part of the design is the problem, or something else entirely. It usually makes it easier for designers to synthesize the information they’re given from the onset, too, instead of making changes along the way. There’s a lot of time and energy that goes into synthesizing the marketer’s ideas and figuring out what will be the most beneficial for them, so understanding that process can help make it go more smoothly. Designers should also fully lay out and document what the whole project entails and explain why certain parts of the process take a lot of time and cost a lot of money. They also need to work on being more specific and explain the full process in detail to marketers to help them understand it all. Being clear and expressing exactly what the project entails will help both parties get on the same page from the get-go.On that note, can you talk about how a designer and marketer should kick off a project together? When a project is requested, what information do marketers and designers need to share?Keith: There is usually a lot of talk from designers around the importance of requiring marketers to fill out a creative brief. I’ve found this to almost always be unnecessary. If a designer takes the time to sit down and actually speak with a marketer, they will usually be more than able to capture all the information necessary to establish a project plan and start working in the right direction.For the designer, then, the initial meeting is all about gathering the necessary information — such as the intended audience, problems that need to be addressed, and general tonal direction — so they can then determine the concept, project scope, deliverables, and deadlines.For marketers, it’s more important what they don’t come to the kick-off meeting with — namely, a closed mind, a set-in-stone concept, and a commitment to any one kind of physical deliverable. Designers should have a substantial amount of influence on the shape and form of the final deliverable, both in terms of concept and execution. Nothing is worse than a marketer coming to a kick-off meeting and telling a designer exactly what they’re going to create.Jon: Designers need to have information on why a marketer is starting a project, their goals and aspirations, their target audience, etc. Think about giving concrete answers, such as, “We’re trying to grow advertising revenue,” or, “We’re trying to take a social approach on our site.” It can also be helpful for marketers to bring in examples of things they like and don’t like about other competing brands. That could include things like typography, color, or texture.Additionally, it’s vital to set the stage for who is responsible for what parts of the project. These questions are common ones designers should be asking their marketing counterparts:Who is going to write the content?What keywords are important for SEO?Who is responsible for that research?Is there an established brand identity that designers should stick with?What are you prepared to invest in after the site launches?Okay, so you’ve had your kickoff meeting, designers are working, and the first “draft” is in. If a marketer has feedback on that, how should he/she present it? Keith: Unfortunately, feedback sessions between marketers and designers are often tense, uncomfortable, and unwelcome events. However, this doesn’t have to be the case — so long as both parties enter the sessions with a few things in mind.First off, for companies with internal creative teams that are large or sophisticated enough to necessitate a Creative Director or Creative Lead, feedback should almost always occur between this individual and the marketer. It’s typically not ideal for a marketer to bypass the lead and go directly to the assigned designer, unless that designer is pretty seasoned.Many companies don’t employ this position, though, so it’s important for marketers to understand what designers are looking for in feedback. It’s not the case that designers are completely averse to input — in fact, if your company is employing a designer who feels above feedback, they should be let go sooner rather than later. Instead, designers are looking for a specific type of feedback.For marketers, the best advice is to remember that it’s not your job to give pixel-level feedback on aesthetic elements such as typefaces or colors — that’s the Creative Lead’s job. In other words, feedback along the lines of, “move it over three pixels” is something marketers don’t need to focus on.It’s also generally a bad idea to give ambiguous or presumptive feedback such as “make it pop” or “I’ll know it when I see it.” These aren’t informative. Rather, marketers can focus on higher-level feedback that calls into question the design’s success at solving for factors such as proper brand alignment, general tone in light of the intended audience, visual presentation of the content in the correct order of importance, etc. It’s the designer’s job to sift through this higher-level feedback and come up with a pixel-level solution.Finally, if you’re unsure about certain elements but aren’t positive how to approach them, just start by asking questions. Good designers understand that they need to make justifiable and defensible decisions. Chatting with a designer about their intent in handling a design in a particular way can often shed light on what seems like a tension point.By talking through the reasoning behind the design, chances are the designer and marketer will come up with revisions together.How many versions should be presented?Keith: “Could you send me a few different versions?” is one of the most frustrating requests a designer can receive. Remember, a designer’s first job is to solve problems. Any designer worth their weight, when being tasked with responding to some need, will have invested their most thoughtful work into the first idea. It’s like responding to a doctor who has just recommended diet and exercise as your best chance for losing weight with: “What else ya got?”Now, this isn’t to say that designers will “nail it” the first time every time or that a designer’s work can’t be improved with thoughtful review and feedback. Feedback is absolutely necessary, and no good designer thinks they’re above it.However, in order to ensure that you get the most successful design out of your designers, don’t start by asking them to create multiple versions of the same deliverable. Instead, work more closely with them upfront by providing them with all of the necessary information they will need to knock the first version out of the park.When it comes time to review later, you’ll thank yourself.How do you think a designer’s success should be measured?Keith: Unfortunately, there is a terrible misconception that good design is flashy or “eye-catching.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.The most successful designs satisfy presenting and highlighting the intended information without calling attention to the highlight itself. Good design isn’t necessarily loud or ornate. In fact, it’s often completely invisible.Having said that, it’s important to keep in mind that the goal of design is, first and foremost, to support function by providing thoughtful solutions to a marketer’s problems. In the same way, designers are also responsible for improving the overall quality of a consumer’s experience with the created deliverable. To that end, designers should be graded based on their success or failure in addressing both the users’ and marketers’ problems, as provided by the marketer and laid out in the initial planning meeting.Designers are ultimately here to help marketers create the most successful — not necessarily the prettiest — solutions to their needs.What are some industry terms that designers use that would be helpful for marketers to know?Jon: If I had to come up with a core list of terms marketers should know, I’d say these are the core ones that will help to start:Sitemap — A document that lists the pages of a website in hierarchical orderWireframe — A visual guide that shows the layout of a websiteInformation architecture — Organizing content on a website in a user-friendly mannerLow-fidelity mock-ups — A rough sketch or mock-up that doesn’t have too much detailHigh-fidelity mock-ups — A design that is pretty close to the completed productFully developed site front-end and back-end — A completely developed websiteIt’s also important for marketers to understand that the process of website redesign is broken up into these different parts. Some huge sites may require designers to spend months on just one of the stages listed above.(Note: You can find a more comprehensive list of major design terms in this blog post.)How can marketers stay up-to-date on design trends so they’re more current when talking with designers?Jon: There are tons of websites that provide detailed information about different design trends. Some of the best ones, in my opinion, include:Smashing MagazineDribbbleTheBestDesigns.comDesigner NewsThe Best WebMarketers who follow these blogs can get a great idea of what’s going on in the world of design and help build some rapport with the designers they’re working with. Originally published Feb 5, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Growth-Driven Design 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