Ask why before acting from habit

first_imgBonny Wolf told a great story on NPR that goes something like this:In Chicago, a friend cuts off the end of roast beef before she cooks it. She does it because her mother does it. Her mother does it because her grandmother did it. So one day, the friend asks her grandmother why for years she has cut the end off the roast beef. The reason? Her grandmother says, “because my pan is too small.”I love this story because it tells us so much of how humans think. We so often do as we have always done out of tradition or habit or imitation without questioning why. We move within our personal frames of reference, over and over, back and forth, until our ways are ingrained and unquestioned.I do this so much myself. And deep within the comfort of habit, I find myself irritated at the end of the day when my eight-year-old asks, “why?” to so many things. Yet she is so wise for asking. We should all ask why the end comes off the roast beef more often. I know I should. When I do is when I make a breakthrough on a problem, idea or project. Reject the frame you’re given, just a little, and see where it leads you.last_img read more

Get $10,000 for your nonprofit – and a t-shirt

first_imgToday at Network for Good, we’re relaunching Six Degrees with sponsorship from Hanes. We hope the site (which we’re putting the final touches on this morning) is easier to use – and there are some good reasons to use it. Hanes is supporting people including you) who create badges by awarding up to $10,000 to the causes of the six people most successful at connecting with friends and family to raise funds for their favorite charities. In addition, anyone who gets six people to donate to their badge will receive an official Six Degrees t-shirt from Hanes.Get your supporters to create a badge – or build your own. It’s a great way to experiment with web 2.0, widgets and friend-to-friend fundraising. In our first six months, we’ve seen $700,000 donated through the badges, which suggests there are a group of people very willing to donate in this way. I’ll be talking more about Six Degrees this morning here in New York, where I’m speaking at the Money for Mission conference.ALL THE DETAILS:Six Degrees, a site created by Kevin Bacon in partnership with Network for Good, is a way to engage your supporters in fundraising for you with their own friends and family online with charity badges, which are fundraising widgets. This approach of person-to-person fundraising is often called “viral fundraising,” and it’s a new way your most loyal donors can help you. Because Six Degrees gives you a tool to fundraise anywhere online, it’s a great approach to getting bloggers involved in your cause and for tappinginto your supporters to integrate into social networks like MySpace. Consider it a creative, easy, and low-cost supplement to the fundraising you already do via your website and email.Your charity can create a badge for your supporters – or you can ask your supporters to create their own. Here’s how it works:-You go to and click on “create a badge”-Create a badge for your charity by uploading photo and text and generating a Donate button for your organization – this takes about 5-10 minutes-We give you the code to display the badge on your website and share it with your supporters-The badge tracks in real time the number and amount of donations-You can create as many badges as you want, and you can invite your supporters to create their own badges if they’d rather design their own, instead of using yours-Any badge created at Six Degrees during our matching grants campaign is eligible for the matching grants-There’s no charge for creating badges. The only fees invovled with the program are the Network for Good transaction processing fees, which are 4.75% of transactions. We give donors the choice of covering that fee for the charity or deducting it from the donation-You can log in to your Network for Good Donation Tracking Report at any time to obtain information on the donors that have supported you through the badgeslast_img read more

Maternal Health Care in Urban Settings

first_imgPosted on April 20, 2011November 13, 2014Click 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Yesterday, a group of health experts met at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington as part of the Maternal Health Policy Dialogue. The topic was “Accessing Maternal Health Care in Urban Slums,” but some presenters questioned whether the word slum is an accurate term. When we hear the word, we often imagine the sprawling, corrugated tin roofs of the Kibera slum outside of Nairobi. However, the urban poor often occupy small pockets of unused land throughout cities and are not highly concentrated in certain areas.In general, the urban poor are unable to access the necessary health services because there are no facilities in close proximity, high costs, poor transport, insecurity or some combination of factors. Given the rates of urbanization in Africa and South Asia, 50% of populations may live in urban settings by 2030. However, the trajectories of urbanization have been different in the developing world both within and between regions. Therefore, needs assessments and extensive planning will be required to ensure access to (maternal) health care for the urban poor in developing countries. One such organization undertaking this challenge is Jacaranda Health, an MHTF grantee, that is working “to create a fully self-sustaining and scalable chain of clinics that provide reproductive health services to poor urban women.”Presentations from Anthony Kolb and Catherine Kyobutungi are available through the WWC website and the full video and event summary will be posted soon.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Priority Countries for Maternal Health Research

first_imgRead the rest of the entry (free registration may be required).Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on February 28, 2012November 13, 2014Click 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)We have a new post up on our Medscape blog, Global Mama, by Dr. Ana Langer that discusses the three priority countries for the MHTF: Ethiopia, India, and Nigeria:The three countries were chosen for a variety of reasons: potential for strong on-the-ground partnerships, consistent and persuasive political will, clear and compelling data, and most of all…the need. These three countries combined represented over one-third of the total global maternal deaths in 2011 according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). If real progress is to be made in eradicating preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, we must scale up efforts in Ethiopia, India and Nigeria as the briefs below indicate.last_img read more

Reducing Newborn Deaths by Targeting Adolescent Mothers

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 3, 2014November 14, 2016Click 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Last week, Save the Children published a report entitled, “Ending Newborn Deaths.” The report highlights the need to concentrate on the reduction of newborn deaths as it lags behind the efforts of those tackling <5 deaths.  The report calls on governments, world leaders, the private sector and philanthropists to commit to a five-point Newborn Promise to end these preventable deaths by increasing access and availability to skilled health workers, increasing funds for healthcare improvements, and decreasing user costs and fees for services, medicines and interventions.While the report lists numerous factors that must to be addressed to reduce preventable deaths, a recent editorial by The Lancet also points out the need to specifically target young mothers (who make up 10% of all births) and adolescents who are known to have some of the most risky pregnancies and deliveries.The Save the Children report says this about young mothers:In low- and middle-income countries overall almost 10% of girls become mothers by the age of 16. They are at greater risk of losing their babies than women who become mothers later – mothers under 20 are 50% more likely to have a stillbirth or to lose their baby within the first week after birth than mothers aged 20–29 years.By targeting adolescents, the Lancet argues, not only will there be a reduction in neonatal mortality, but by reducing child marriages, unwanted births, delaying their first child, and creating more options for education (including secondary, reproductive, and contraceptive education) these young women will be given the tools to start to take charge of their own health, work options and economic destinies.  With the commitments of governments and local health agencies these women will not only better care for their own pregnancies and  newborns, but also will have the education to know that they can advocate for their family’s health rights.  Adolescent programming must include the input of the adolescents themselves, while ensuring that the programs give them the oversight, support, and education they need.Lasting interventions are needed for newborn death reduction and who better to target than the adolescents who will eventually become the mothers who want their children to survive.How do we make these adolescents a priority? Lend your voice to the discussion.  Find us on Twitter or contacts us.Share this:last_img read more

What shapes our world more, art or design?

first_imgThat’s the question we’re asking as one of the sponsors of the Art vs. Design competition. We know there are plenty of you painters, performers, photographers, fashion designers, graphic designers, and typographers out there who could use more exposure for your work, so be sure to make your submissions by May 31. You’ll have the chance to win not only great publicity (including a gala reception at a top modern art museum in NYC) but also cold hard cash ($2009) and your choice of a vintage Vespa, a trip to London, or a MacBook Pro.last_img

Live your values: The freedom in freelancing

first_imgThis is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.Many people choose freelancing as a form of income because it matches their lifestyle, particularly regarding desired working conditions. The ability to make your own choices about what clients you work with and projects you work on is an important value-based decision for many freelancers. But there are other areas where working for yourself can allow you the freedom to live by and promote values you find important. Below are some examples.Work-Life BalanceWork-life balance is one of the most important aspects of many freelancers’ lives, but it’s also an area where many people fall short. You start out thinking about how great it will be to set your own hours, and then you spend all your time with friends answering work emails. But by actively managing your work-life balance, you can:• Outline specific business hours in your marketing materials and only communicate within those hours• Have separate devices and/or accounts for business and personal use. This is also useful for tax purposes and liability with privacy concerns• Make it clear to clients that family time is off-limits and to family that work time is “Do not disturb except in emergencies”Environmental ConcernsOne of the biggest benefits of being an independent freelancer is that you have complete control (within legal limits) of absolutely everything you use in your business. You can easily choose environmentally-minded materials and practices without worrying about office politics, company partnerships, or other bureaucratic nightmares. This can include:• Using paperless invoicing• If you do print, using environmentally friendly inks and paper• Setting up a recycling system that works best for you• Fundraising in ways that focus on the environment• Choosing eco-friendly promotional materials that align with your environmental valuesPersonal AutonomyAs a freelancer, you can get to call all the shots as to:• What hours you work• What clients you accept• What type of work you want to represent youOf course, that doesn’t mean these decisions are always easy. Sometimes, you’ll have more work than you can accomplish during work hours, and you might feel the need to make up for it. Sometimes you’ll want to take a client for the money even if you don’t love everything about their products and business.But you get to make those decisions for yourself. If you want to make a strong statement about your views on autonomy, you can do that by creating strong vision and mission statements about how you work with clients and how you feel personal interactions should be.Cultural DiversityMany freelancers want the freedom to travel and work with people of varied backgrounds. In order to show that this is a value of yours, you can take steps to make your business accessible and relatable to people regardless of their culture and location. This can look like:• Making sure your website is easily translatable and has proper captioning options for people with impaired vision• Portraying people diversely in your marketing materials• Specifying what country and time zone you are in so people can plan accordingly• Not assuming default lifestyles, genders, or races in any of your promotional materials or service descriptionsThere are lots of ways freelancers can live by their values and showcase them to the world. What business choices do you make that are value-based?Jeriann Ireland is a writer, crafter, and entrepreneur near Boise, Idaho. For more of her writing, check out her blog, dairyairhead.comlast_img read more

How to create a memorable freelance brand, from colors to business cards

first_imgIf you want to grow your client base, you need to develop your brand. With a great brand, clients come to you because they can easily understand what value you offer and are more likely to remember who you are and what you do.What’s more, a successful brand shows that you’re relevant, authentic, and credible in the minds of your target consumers. The key is ensuring that people who interact with your website, social networks, and promotional materials can easily associate them with your business and the services you offer. This is why your brand needs to do more than say your name. It needs to be cohesive and consistent, from visuals to font choice, to be successful.For example, you probably always recognize Starbucks, whether you see their logo or their green awnings outside the coffee shop. They’re consistent in everything they do, so whether you see them on social media or in the local mall, you know it’s them.Your job is to replicate that so you can build a recognizable and professional brand that drives clients to you. If you’re new to branding, use these tips to create your own Starbucks-level brand.Get the basics figured outBuilding a brand starts with your name, logo and bio. If you’re constantly changing your name, or use a different name from one social platform to the next, for example, it will be hard for people to recognize you as they come across you at different times.If you haven’t chosen a business name yet, this is your first chance to brand yourself as someone who offers something unique and specific. When brainstorming what your name should be, keep a few tips in mind from UpWork:Figure out what impression you want to give when first meeting someone and use that to “set the tone.” I.E. playful and fun or serious and academic.Remember that descriptive names often lend themselves well to a strong brand. It also allows you to specify your unique value and niche.Simple is always better — easy to spell, pronounce, and remember.Avoid using questionable language. UpWork uses the example of the name “Get Nailed” for a carpenter. This likely sets the wrong tone.Make sure your name is available by searching with CorpNet.After your name comes the logo, which doesn’t need to be complicated or extensively designed. You can even use a simple wordmark, which is simply the name of your business written in a specific font. This can be saved as a PNG and used as a logo. If imagery or colors lend themselves to your brand, incorporate them tastefully and in a way that speaks to you as a freelancer. A professional designer may be a good resource for getting your logo right.Finally, you need to write a bio, which will be on your website and all social media channels. Start with a long bio, a few paragraphs long, and then create different versions that are shorter and more specific to various industries, if applicable. Tailor your bio on each platform to the specific audience you’re targeting. For example, you can see that my Twitter and Instagram bios are a bit different because I’m targeting two different areas of my business and audience, however my name and profile image remain the same, ensuring that I’m still recognizable.Curate a consistent visual experienceBeyond consistency with your basic business information, you need to curate a cohesive visual experience on platforms like Pinterst, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. When someone sees your post, you want to make sure that they recognize it as yours and therefore interact with it. The best way to do this is to create visual brand guidelines.In How to Master Your Visual Social Media Branding, Dustin Hodgson, Lead Designer and Co-Founder of MyCreateiveShop, suggests including the following information in your brand guidelines:Colors: Choose one neutral primary color and 2 to 3 contrasting colors that will make your visuals stand out.Fonts: Choose one primary font that can be formatted as regular, italic, or bold to create different looks. You can also choose one decorative font, like a script, that compliments your primary font.Formatting/Layout: Choose a standard format and layout for the posts you’ll share regularly. Think: quote images, testimonial graphics, or tips and tricks posts.Logo: You may need more than one version of your logo, so include all of these in your brand guidelines along with how they should each be used.Put all of this information into a Google Doc that can be updated as your brand grows and evolves. Share it with anyone who is designing or marketing for you to ensure a consistent brand experience, no matter who’s doing the work.Design business cards that match your online presencePotential clients need to be able to recognize you online and offline, and your greatest offline asset is your business card. As OCreative explains, “A business card is an instant way to communicate brand and style, creating the opportunity to share your brand’s message immediately. Using unique design elements and cutting-edge print techniques draw attention and drive recipients to take note of the message  –  it creates a card worth keeping.”When designing an on-brand business card, keep a few important details in mind:Simple is best. There isn’t a lot of space to use, so make white space your friend and include only what’s necessary and adds value to your brand.Don’t be afraid to play with color. If bright colors are part of your brand, let that element shine. Check out these colorful business card examples for inspiration.Play with the shape. A circular or vertical business card will stand out in a pile or horizontal or rectangular business cards.Include your tagline or unique value proposition if you have one.Include all of the important information: name, email, phone, website, and social media handles.Use the same font for your business card as you do for your website.Don’t forget to update them regularly. Show that your brand is relevant and up to date by always handing out fresh business cards that have all the right information — no handwritten substitutions when something like your phone number changes. That speaks poorly of your brand.Create a cohesive freelancer brandA great brand makes you memorable and allows you to show your value. Leverage this opportunity by having clear brand guidelines and adhering to them as you share and interact from one platform to the next. With a few key elements in place, you’ll be ready to impress, online and offline, driving more clients and growing your business.last_img read more

Real Estate Q&A: Purchasing Overseas Property & Bank-Owned Property Transfers

first_imgHow much do you pay for heating? Depending on where you live, it’s a good chunk of money during the wintertime. Even though we live in the South (in lovely Raleigh!), we’re not immune to getting some cold weather.   With winter coming… Full Story,Tips to help turn those homebuying dreams into reality. From outstanding credit card debt to massive student loans, financial difficulties are barring more and more millennials from becoming homeowners. While the vision of buying a first home may seem hopelessly… Full Story,When most people imagine buying a house, they think about how many bedrooms they need or what kind of porch they want. When they think about homebuying costs, they decide how much to put down and what their maximum home… Full Story,One of my favorite shows is Sex and the City. Those women lived glamorous lives I could only dream about. And, Carrie, a writer, was living my dream life as a famous writer in Manhattan. One of the storylines that… Full Story,Last year, my husband and I were packing up our Denver apartment to prepare for our move back to his home state of Indiana. We’d put an offer in on a house and had only given ourselves a couple of… Full Story,A few years ago Dave Munson and his family decided to move from their 5,600-square-feet, 8-bedroom house in the city of San Antonio, Texas, to a smaller, unique living situation: tents. Well, fancy, upscale tents that total 2,000 square feet… Full Story,It’s a well-known fact that your personal environment affects your mental health. If you live in a beautifully decorated home with plenty of plants and green space nearby, your risk for anxiety and depression is lower. If you spend your… Full Story,My husband and I were so excited to buy our house. We’d been renting since college and were eager to have our own place. Finally, no one could tell us how many dogs we could have or how many posters… Full Story,Last summer, I was forced to relocate out of my cozy, bungalow-style apartment in West L.A. Living in one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the U.S., I was resigned to the fact that, to enjoy my ideal setup… Full Story,When you buy a home, you’re making an investment in yourself and your future. You’re building  financial stability, equity, and experience. You have a place to call your own and you can customize the space just how you want. As… Full Storylast_img read more

You Might Not Want to Use a Hand Dryer After Seeing This Viral Facebook Post

first_imgEveryone is on high alert about protecting themselves this flu season. But one viral Facebook post makes the case that even cleaning your hands comes with disease risks.On January 30, Nichole Ward sharing a message about an experiment she conducted in a public restroom. “Okay guys…ready to have your mind blown?!” she wrote next to an image of a bacteria-filled Petri dish.“I stuck the open plate in an enclosed hand dryer of a public bathroom for a total of 3 minutes. Yes 3 only,” she continued, explaining that this is how long it took for the scary-looking blobs in the Petri dish to grow. “DO NOT EVER dry your hands in those things again.” Ward ended with the hashtags #nomorehanddryers and #outlaw. And while she made sure to say that her post was “simply for awareness, not to instill fear,” that didn’t stop nearly 150,000 Facebook users from reacting and over 500,000 from sharing Ward’s message that public-restroom dryers are germ vectors spewing potentially harmful microbes on your hands.Yet some officials expressed doubt about the validity of the results. In a statement to ABC Action News, a spokesperson from hand-dryer company Dyson defended the dryers.“We’re very surprised to see these results, and unclear on the methodology employed,” a spokesperson stated. “All Dyson Airblade hand dryers have HEPA filters that capture particles as small as bacteria from the washroom air before it leaves the machine. Dyson Airblade hand dryers are proven hygienic by university research and are trusted by hospitals, food manufacturers and businesses worldwide.”The hand dryer-hygiene debate has been the subject of studies. In 2016, a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology compared how paper towels, standards dryers, and jet dryers disperse viral particles. The study determined that jet dryers (similar to the kind in Ward’s post) were the “worst culprits,” according to Fortune. In a test, the jet dryer spread up to 190 times viral particles than the other two methods.While science keeps looking into it, keep washing your hands to cut down on flu transmission odds, and make sure they’re totally dry, since bugs tend to thrive in moisture.Sourcelast_img read more

10 Signs You Need To Break Up With Your Overly Negative Friend, Stat

first_imgThere are many different kinds of toxic friends: the narcissistic friend, the friend you have to make all the plans with, the flaky friend, the friend who takes advantage of you, and the friend you have nothing in common with. Some you hang on, and others you need to get out of your life. But firing a friend isn’t an easy decision, especially if you’ve been friends for a long time. There are also times when you try to convince yourself that the friendship isn’t damaging you. Some toxic friends may not seem that bad on the surface but if you really think about it, you know that their presence in your life is harmful and destructive. One of the worst kinds of a bad friend is the negative friend, because they will actually get in the way of your happiness and every moment you spend with them will chip away at your self-esteem. Negative people bring you down with their constant pessimism, bad moods, bitterness, and their gift at being able to dissolve your joy within seconds.An overly negative person doesn’t even have to direct their negativity at you for it to affect you. So how do you know if someone is too negative to be in your life?1. They tell you that you need to toughen up. Your negative friend can’t take it when someone gives them some constructive criticism; yet, they have no problem criticizing you. When you tell them that they’ve hurt you with something they’ve said, they accuse you of having thin skin.2. They constantly judge you. A good friend is someone who accepts you unconditionally and doesn’t give you unsolicited advice. If your friend is hypercritical and always pointing out your flaws, you need to fire them as soon as possible. They aren’t good for you mentally or emotionally.3. They put a lot of pressure on you. An overly negative friend will keep at you to succeed as if you’re their stand-in for life. The overly negative are often insecure about their own abilities and find it easier to latch on to someone else. Life is stressful enough without someone continually pushing and prodding you.4. They put a negative spin on everything. Your overly negative friend has an amazing gift for turning your wins into failures.5. They want you to share everything. A true friend gives as much as they take. An overly negative friend wants you to share all your secrets (ammunition to be used against you later) but won’t tell you any of theirs.6. They’re extremely controlling. Your bad friend has no problem shaming you for any misstep you make, and will say things like, “You’re not going to eat that, are you?”7. They give back-handed compliments. It’s kind of artistic how they can say something hurtful or insulting in such a way that it takes you a minute to realize the negative intent behind it. “Look at you wearing that dress. I would never be that brave. Go you.”8. They talk sh*t about you behind your back. Your overly negative friend isn’t just gossiping about you; they take badmouthing to the next level and are reveling in your mistakes and failures.9. They thrive in drama. Those with negative attitudes can never just chill. They have to create drama and stress.10. They’re jealous. Because they thrive on gloom and doom, your overly negative friend can’t stand it when you’re feeling happy and doing well. They don’t support you, and they certainly aren’t happy for you when you get your dream job or when your significant other proposes.Some friendships are so negative that they’re unhealthy for you. It doesn’t make you a bad person to want these friends gone from your life; it’s actually better to deal with the fact that the relationship isn’t working and that you both need to move on.Once you break up with a friend, there’s no going back, so think about it long and hard before you do it. It can be liberating to get that negativity out of your life.Sourcelast_img read more

The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Clean Beauty

first_imgEverything you’ve ever wanted to know about clean beauty.For most of our lives, we’ve bought our shampoos and body washes without batting an eyelash at the long list of ingredients on the bottle. And while we still swear by a slew of those same products, we’re also thankful for the long-delayed emergence of the clean beauty industry. We don’t need to wax poetic for long about why this moment is important. The answer is simple: We want a better understanding of the stuff we’re putting on and inside our bodies.It seems we need a lesson on how to navigate it all. Is there really a difference among clean, green and organic? And if there is, is one better than the other? Ahead, Freedom Deodorant founder Ira Green helps us understand all the confusing language as well as where to start if we want to clean up our act in the beauty aisle.Natural versus all-naturalThe only difference between these two terms is the addition of all. They mean the same thing and as of now, there are no FDA mandates on using the word natural. Unfortunately, this means the word is free for anyone to use, including brands whose products may not be so safe.“You can have one natural ingredient and still call it clean or natural. Education comes into play with knowing and understanding the ingredients in your product,” says Green.At the same time, just because a product can’t be called organic because of certification requirements (more on this in a sec) doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad for you. If you’re unsure of whether something is safe to use, the general rule of thumb is that the label shouldn’t look like gibberish.“When looking at ingredients, you should be able to recognize the ingredients or be able to do a quick Google search, i.e., ‘cocoa butter’ or ‘beeswax.’”OrganicNow, if a product is labeled “certified organic,” that means that the USDA has confirmed it is actually made with 95 percent organic ingredients. But beware: There should be a certification label on the product. If it says it’s made with organic ingredients but does not have the USDA certification, it’s not the real deal.The irony of this process is that a lot of legitimately natural/organic products don’t have that USDA stamp because their ingredients — despite their benefits — do not have a long enough shelf life for USDA requirements. For instance, shea butter on its own is only stable up to six months.“We at Freedom deodorants run into this issue, as baking soda, water or magnesium is not organic [they can’t be certified], even though all our products are so clean. You can actually eat them!” says Green.Another important tidbit to remember is that the FDA is actually pretty lax when it comes to approving products for use. In fact, the FDA doesn’t do the testing itself; all it requires is that cosmetics in particular not be altered or misbranded.For this reason alone, you may want to consider adding at least one clean product into your routine.Cruelty-freeIf a product is labeled cruelty-free (including Green’s Freedom line), this means its ingredients, formulations and end products have been developed without methods that require testing on animals. Organizations such as PETA and Leaping Bunny keep searchable running lists of companies that make this claim, and those that do may display a bunny symbol on their packaging.Clean & greenThere are so many words associated with the world of safer beauty products it’s become difficult to distinguish which ones fall under which category. According to Green, terms such as clean and green are simply marketing tools. Again, think of them the same way you would natural or all-natural.These words can be used to describe something that includes just one true-blue natural ingredient or something that doesn’t have an ounce of the harmful stuff. But ultimately, there are no regulations that can technically keep any brand from using the terms. The only label that requires testing and a label to back its claim is “certified organic.”The no-no ingredientsWith all that being said, there’s a laundry list of ingredients that are potentially harmful, regardless of whether the product is labeled “green,” “organic” or anything in between. Some of the bigger ones are:Parabens: Preservatives that extend the shelf life of your products but can still enter the body through your skin and hair, causing a host of issues with your reproductive system. They come in a number of different forms and are usually a small part of product formulations.Synthetic fragrance: The chemical compounds that determine how your product smells. Depending on the person and their body’s chemistry, any of these combinations can lead to irritation and allergic reactions.Formaldehyde: In its purest form, this is a colorless gas that’s also used in paper and plywood. When used in cosmetics such as nail polish, it’s often converted to a gentler water solution, and with the help of preservatives (like parabens) is released in small amounts to protect against contamination. Unfortunately, it also comes with a host of potentially dangerous side effects, such as skin irritation and even hair loss.Aluminum: An ingredient most often found in antiperspirants to decrease sweat. In short, what it does is shrink or plug up the underarm pores and inhibit bacteria so they don’t secrete as much. Decades of research says the ingredient is potentially linked to breast cancer since antiperspirants are applied so closely to lymph nodes near the breast and can also prevent the body’s immune system from freeing itself of cancerous bacteria.Sulfates: This can refer to any of the following: sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate. Sulfates are surfactants, or molecules that attract both water and oil. So when you scrub on your body wash or shampoo, sulfates help pull away the dirt or oil. And when you rinse it off, they also aid the water in washing it away. It basically helps boost the effectiveness of whatever product you’re using. Unfortunately, they can sometimes work so well they also strip your hair or skin of all its natural moisture in the process, leaving it dry and damaged.Where to startNow that you’re armed with a better understanding of clean beauty, you may want to experiment with one product (unless you want to make your products at home). Fortunately and unfortunately, this sector of the industry has grown so much it can be challenging to figure out where your transition starts. If you want to shop around, websites such as Safe and Chic and Credo Beauty can be trusted.We’ve also got a handy guide here, but Green says the easiest thing to start with is your soap.“Find a milled soap that doesn’t have synthetic fragrance. I see them everywhere. You use this every day. It’s a big change.”Ahead are three must-try soaps, all of which are considered either “natural” or “organic”: Sourcelast_img read more

My Dinner With Google & Madison Avenue

first_img What do you think:  (a) Is Madison Avenue going to grow over the next few years, (b) is it going to stay flat-ish, (c) is it going to shrink slightly, or (d) is it going to crater?  Vote below in the comments section. The whole business model of their industry is still centered around the “30-second (TV) spot.”  It sounds like they traditionally had made their money as a percentage of their clients spend on advertising, but that most of them had moved to a retainer type model that is closer to how law firms and consulting firms charge. while the Madison Avenue-ish firms were trying to hold onto the traditional marketing models.  transformation of marketing If you are an ad agency, a PR firm or a marketing services firm and think that the “Times Are A Changin,'” I’d encourage you to check out the marketing services transformation webinar. Last night I had a fascinating dinner hosted by the Massachusetts Interactive Technology Exchange that featured Google’s VP of Platforms, a bunch of senior executives from Madison Avenue-ish firms, a senior marketing exec from a Fortune 500 company, a marketing analyst and myself.  The conversation was really rich and enjoyable.  I felt like it ended up being HubSpot and Google arguing for the complete They were all exceptionally charismatic and convincing — Don Draper in the flesh.  I could see how these modern day Mad Men built huge businesses for themselves.  Regardless of what happens to their industry, their ability to sell will serve them well. Originally published Feb 18, 2010 9:33:00 AM, updated July 11 2013 I said that I thought the bright spot for Madison Avenue is that despite what many people say, I think creativity is more important than ever.  Back in 1970, if a 30-second spot came on the air, you basically had to watch it no matter how bad it was because you only had five crappy stations (a couple more with rabbit ear manipulation), no clicker, no cable, no DVR, no Hulu, etc.  In 2010, the content you create needs to be fantastic in order to get watched, get linked to, get shared on social media sites, etc.  I think the creativity bar today is an order of magnitude higher than it was 40 years ago.  Madison Ave has the talent to create remarkable content that will break through the clutter and this will serve them well through what I think will be a very rough decade. – Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack I was a little overshadowed on the charisma meter, but I made a couple of points that I didn’t think were half bad: I don’t know a lot of Madison Avenue bigwigs, so I learned a bunch of things that I’ll share with you below.  I’m hoping to create a dialog around what folks think the future of Madison Avenue looks like. Learn how HubSpot’s software, methodology and special programs for agencies and freelance marketing contractors can help you grow your business. There is a massive amount of consolidation going on in the industry by the big boys, but the valuations they pay are small multiples of EBITDA.  It struck me as odd that the big boys haven’t been more aggressive in buying some recurring revenue companies like Eloqua, Reachlocal, QuinStreet, etc.  One exception seems to be WPP, who has done some small investments in some really early (risky) startups — not sure why Sir Martin doesn’t swing a bit harder on getting recurring software revenue as it could give him a major competitive advantage.  These recurring revenue streams would smooth out the revenue/people lumps and dramatically improve their valuations. on our Company News Blog about our new marketing services transformation programs or download the slides from our I sat next to a great woman from one of the more forward looking Madison Ave-ish firms and part of her job was to manage her firm’s relationship with a major Fortune 100 client.  For this account alone, she had 80 people on her staff working on it.  From this conversation, I now understand why it is such a big deal when they lose a big account! It would be hard as hell to backfill those 80 people on a new account as it is really unlikely they are going to bag an elephant of that size around the same time as losing one, and it’s also going to be hard to spread 80 billable people around to other accounts in the meantime.  I suspect this type of situation must create major anxiety for managers and workers alike. @bhalligan Download the slides and audio from our webinar Download the audio and slides from our webinar where we relaunched the HubSpot partner program with significantly more benefits for marketing agencies. Webinar: Learn about the Benefits of Partnering with HubSpot I said that I thought Madison Avenue firms were going to have to dramatically change their business model.  In order to do so, they are going to have to dramatically shrink and then grow again.  My perspective is that they ought to do it willingly and proactively — rather than die by a thousand cuts like the newspaper executives are doing. Joey Parson For the most part, they all seemed to be in different states of denial about the demise of the 30-second spot.  They used clever lines like the only way the car companies are going to “move steel tonnage in volume” is by mass TV ad purchases.  Some convincing stats were spouted that sounded counter to everything I’d been reading, but they were relatively convincing.  To me, the denial feels like the newspaper industry denial 3 or 4 years ago, but I may be dead wrong about that. announcement I made today Photo Credit:last_img read more

We are all flawed, no one is perfect: Ashwini Iyer Tiwari

first_imgBy Ravi Bansal Bangkok, Jun 25 (PTI) Her films have imperfect characters which the audiences are able to relate to, and director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari says it is all because human behaviour is itself “flawed”.The 38-year-old director is raking in all the laurels for her film “Bareilly Ki Barfi” — a romantic comedy which was appreciated not only by the masses, but also the critics.”I think human behavior is such that it is all flawed. We are all flawed and no one is perfect. So that’s what gives me the high. To see the flawed characters because then you have an audience who can relate to that. So yes the characters in my films are all going to be flawed,” Iyer told PTI at the green carpet of IIFA Awards in Bagkok.Iyer believes that it is important that the audiences find a connect with the story and can associate with the film.”The kind of audience we have, it is important that they relate to it. When they see that it is about their brother, sister, friend or girlfriend, they kind of associate to that and take back something. That’s what our insights are all about. That is how realism is coming to the films,” she said.Iyer also said that tries to push her boundaries whenever she takes up a new project.”I challenge myself everytime I do a film. From ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ to ‘Bareilly ki Barfi’ they were both different kind of films. Now, I am doing something on Kabbadi and after that something with Alia (Bhatt). Kabbaddi is sports, so that is another challenge for me,” she said.advertisement”But one that won’t change is my DNA, my soul will not change,” she added.The director also said that she wants to make a suspense thriller someday, albeit without the bloodshed and violence.When asked why she switched professions, from advertising to filmmaking, Iyer said, “You tell stories in 30 seconds and you tell stories in two hours. The latter has a larger audience to it and it is archival. You will remember it for the rest of your life, if you have made a good film. So I think whatever I wanted to say can reach to a wider audience and that is the reason why I got into filmmaking.” PTI RB BK KIS KISlast_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #19: Break Through Late-Onset Writer’s Block

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack From January 2-31, we are challenging everyone to blog more to see firsthand the results that blogging can generate. Participating companies should submit their blog URLs on this page to enter the challenge. Winner(s) will receive a complimentary ticket to INBOUND 2014 and be featured on the HubSpot Inbound Marketing blog.Today’s blogging tip is brought to you by Ginny Soskey, Staff Writer at HubSpot. “You’ve been rocking this blogging challenge for a whole month, so don’t get bogged down in end-of-the-month writer’s block! If you feel like you’ve already blogged about everything you possibly can, think again. There are always going to be new ideas you can blog about — you just have to get inspired. To help, you can use the HubSpot Blog Topic Generator to come up with a week’s worth of brand new topics for your blog in a matter of seconds. Try it out for yourself!”Did you blog today? If yes, submit to the challenge! Originally published Jan 20, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Blogging Advicelast_img read more

6 Incredibly Insightful Marketing Reports You Should Be Running

first_img Topics: Marketing Reporting Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Now what do I do?Pulling this report on a monthly basis can give you insight into how your campaigns affected new contacts by persona — and might even shed light into an imbalance in resources dedicated to certain personas.Did you run a marketing campaign around a particular topic? Or did you focus on promoting your content through specific channels? What did you do that led to an increase or decrease in persona acquisition? Digging into this report can help you allocate resources more wisely to grow different segments of your business.Contacts by Lifecycle StageWhat is it?Another way to segment your database is to look at how they appear by lifecycle stage. This will give you a sense of how many leads, subscribers, customers, opportunities, etc. you have in your database in a certain time period. This data will help you understand if you need to generate more leads or if you should be more focused on closing your current leads. It will also give you a general understanding of the quality of your database.Simply choose if you want daily, weekly, or monthly data, plot your contacts by their “Create Date,” and break the report down by their lifecycle stage so you can see a report like the one below.Now what do I do?This report will give you an overview of how many leads you’re generating by each lifecycle stage. It will also give you a visual overview so you can see how these leads are moving through your funnel.Use this report to see what areas of your funnel you need to address for greater funnel efficiency — no one likes a clogged funnel, least of all Sales. If you see there are not a lot of marketing qualified leads in your system, for instance, you may want to create a report that digs into the reasons why. Pulling reports of the first conversion date, days to close, and content offers can help you uncover why the contacts in different lifecycle stages may be high or low.Leads Broken Down by OfferWhat is it?If your company does inbound marketing, chances are you’re going to have a lot of content on your website. Figuring out what content performs the best is important as you plan out your content strategy. Maybe certain types of offers like whitepapers are more popular than webinars, for instance. Or certain topics could resonate better with your audience than others. Understanding your audience’s content preferences is very valuable information to have so you cater to their interests.Using HubSpot, you can pull data to show which offers generate the most leads. Let’s take ebooks as an example. Create a custom property for ebook source. Then go to your ebook landing page forms, and put a hidden field with the customer property you created for ebook source. Under default value, write the name of your ebook so your contact’s record indicates that they downloaded that particular offer.Now what do I do?After your ebook has been live for a couple of weeks, take a look at its performance in comparison to some of your other ebooks. See if you can see trends between the different ebooks. Does a certain topic consistently perform well? Did an ebook perform better on social media than via email marketing? Try to find those trends based on the data to figure out which ones you can promote more and which ones should take the back burner.Alright marketers, what other reports do you think are important to run? Share with us in the comments. Now what do I do?Take a look to see how people are finding your blog content. Did you run an email campaign that put the content in their hands? Are you doing a lot of promotion on social media? Or are people organically finding your content?Based on what you uncover from this initial assessment, you can figure out your best channels for promoting your content. In the example above, it’s clear that my strongest channel is organic search while email marketing is one of my weaker channels. That tells a resource-strapped marketer to invest more in optimizing my content for search than spending time creating emails.Take it a step further and look at how many leads you’re generating from your blog over a set period of time. If you see spikes in leads generated, you know to dig into your content to see if you’re more successful generating leads with certain topics over others. The more you can dig into these reports to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, the better off your marketing will be.This type of data should be pulled on a weekly basis to help you adjust your content strategy for the coming weeks.All New Contacts by PersonaWhat is it?Every marketer needs a good hang of their buyer personas — but you need to do more than just understand them. It’s important to track how many new contacts you’re actually adding to your database based on that persona.To report on this in HubSpot, plot your contacts by create date, which will show the date on which you added a new contact to your database. Then break down your report by persona. Originally published Apr 24, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 There are hundreds of reports that you can run to dig into your marketing. But the question is often where to start — what are those basic reports you can run to help get you comfortable digging into the copious amounts of data at your fingertips?Some important metrics that you should track are traffic, leads, and customers — all of these are important to get the full picture of your marketing funnel. But you probably already look at that stuff. Having the ability to dig in even further to see where your traffic and leads are coming from, what content they interacted with, when they converted, and how long it took to close are important to really uncover meaningful, actionable data. This post will help you get at that — it compiles some of the reports that can get you started on some of the basics in marketing reporting. Note that you will need some type of marketing software to do this. You should also be able to export the data from your software and manipulate it in Excel using pivot tables and other functions. (If you need help using Excel, download this offer to teach you some of the basics.)Since we use HubSpot for our reporting needs, I’ll show you how to compile these reports using HubSpot. (Bear in mind that the data below is sample data only, and does not represent actual HubSpot marketing data).Revenue ReportingWhat is it?It may be helpful for marketers to be able to tie their marketing efforts back to the amount of revenue their marketing generates from that particular channel. That way marketers can look at the success of certain channels over others and make smarter investments based on what channels generated the most revenue. Note that if you’re a B2B business, it may be more important for you to create your reports based on company data instead of individual contact data., so you may use a companies report instead of a contacts report.HubSpot customers can pull revenue data based on any contact properties they have in HubSpot using the new Companies Report. So if you wanted to pull it based on source, you’d simply select the date range that you want to analyze, choose “Original Source Type” to make up your bar graph, and select “Salesforce Total Revenue” as the last field.Note: Enterprise HubSpot customers can do this in their software if they have their Salesforce integration set up with Account Sync turned on. Now what do I do?Look at the revenue results of different channels, and see where you had the most success. You can use this information to decide what marketing efforts to invest in going forward. For instance, in the example above, offline sources are clearly generating a lot more revenue than direct traffic — we can make actionable marketing and budget decisions with that knowledge going forward. If you’re looking at revenue by source, it’s also important to keep in mind other factors that may have contributed to the success or failure of a channel. The source is a person’s first conversion on your site. But if someone converted on offline sources, and then eventually buys your product as a result of direct traffic or other channels, those other channels or the combination of channels may be the reason for your customer acquisition. This is all to say that revenue reporting is important, but you should dig into some of your other metrics, as well, for a more complete picture.Channel-Specific TrafficWhat is it?Understanding where your traffic is coming from will help you make strategic decisions as you choose to invest in different channels. In some cases, if you see strong performance from one particular source, you may want to invest more resources in it. On the other hand, you may actually want to invest in some of the weaker channels to get them on pace with some of your other channels. Whatever you decide, the sources data will help you figure that out.HubSpot customers are probably familiar with the Sources graph to get at this information, but you can actually customize it more. For instance, you could pull a report based on the number of visits coming to the site, you could pull number of visits from a particular list instead of your entire database with the Contacts or Companies Report, and you can (of course) customize those views by date ranges that matter for your reporting.Now what do I do?After you pull the data, take a look at what channels are performing well. Based on your goals, that could mean looking at the visitor data, or focusing on the visit-to-lead and lead-to-customer conversion rates. Here are a couple different ways to think about your data:If you get a lot of traffic to your site from a certain channel, but the channel is not necessarily helping your visitors move down the funnel, it may mean that you should invest more in other channels or dig into ways to improve your conversion rates.Think about ways you can invest resources in your strongest channels. Did you run a campaign that helped the channel perform well? Was there a piece of content you created that set it off? Consider how you can replicate your past success.If you haven’t worked on a particular channel, this could be a good time to test it out. Think about how you can incorporate multiple channels into the same campaign.Pulling this data weekly will allow you to stay up-to-date on how the channels are performing. If a channel took a turn for the worse, you’ll have enough time to remedy the situation before it gets out of control. Pulling the report daily may be a bit overboard since some channels take multiple days to be effective, but pulling it monthly will not help you respond with agility.Blog Leads ReportWhat is it?Blogs have become a marketer’s best friend. There is a direct correlation between the number of times a company blogs and not just the amount of traffic they drive, but the number of leads they generate. So it’s critical you keep an eye on how well your blog is helping you grow that critical metric.A blog leads report is a quick way to see how many leads you’re generating on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis — and by what channel. This report is a great way to dig into what channels are strongest for your blog, where you should spend more promotion time, and how well your content is performing over time.If you’re using HubSpot, create a list to gather all of the leads for your blog. The list should have the “Contact Property of First Referring Site,” “First Page Seen,” and “Original Source” equal to your blog URL, and then use the list to create your contact report. Break down your report by the “Became a Lead Date,” and break down the contact properties by “Original Source” if you would like to see the channel they’re coming from, not just the leads number. last_img read more

How To Start Your Ecommerce Retention Strategy

first_img Originally published Apr 12, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Customer Success 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: We’ve already covered what retention marketing is, and why today’s elite ecommerce stores have already started on a retention-focused strategy. But where should you begin with your own retention strategy? Read on to learn what to do before you get started, how to allocate your marketing budget, and when you can expect to see results. Let’s get started!Where Do You Start?Every tall building started with a solid framework, and every tall tree started with the roots. Retention marketing is the same. You can create something amazing, but you need to lay down a strong framework.“If you don’t know where you are now, you will never know how far you have gone.”The framework you need is an understanding of your current metrics. Measuring your current ecommerce stats will show you where you are, so you can measure the effectiveness of your retention marketing strategy. You should have a benchmark of all the standard ecommerce metrics like conversion rate, average order value, abandoned cart rate, etc… But besides those metrics, you should also benchmark KRMs (key retention metrics) before starting your retention marketing plan. For consistency, you should use data from a one year period for the following calculations.Repeat Customer Rate (RCR)Your store’s repeat customer rate is the percentage of your customer base that is coming back to purchase again. Remember, it is more expensive to acquire a new customer (seven times more expensive!) than retain an existing one.To measure your current RCR, take the number of repeat customers and divide it by the total number of unique customers. Be sure you are dividing by unique customers and NOT orders.Customers With More Than One Purchase / Unique Customers = Repeat Customer RateAs you focus more on retention marketing, you will notice that your revenue from repeat customers will start to climb.Purchase FrequencyWhen you make getting return business a focus, your customers will start to shop with you more often. This metric is known as your store’s purchase frequency. It is the average number of times a customer will shop with you in a given time period.Total Orders / Unique Customers = Purchase FrequencyTotal number of orders divided by the number of unique customers you have, will give you purchase frequency. Even a slight increase in purchase frequency can lead to a huge increase in revenue.Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)This is the holy grail metric of customer retention. It tells you what each customer is worth to your store over their entire shopping life. Average Order Value x Purchase Frequency x Average Lifespan = Lifetime ValueThe above equation is your average order value multiplied by your purchase frequency (see above) multiplied by your average customer lifespan. If you don’t know your average lifespan, you can use three years as a rough estimate.Set BenchmarksNow that you have calculated these KRM benchmarks, make sure you note them somewhere. If you use an analytics or CRM tool, you can store it there. Whatever you decide to do you will want to look back on these numbers to see how your strategy is performing.How Much Retention Marketing Do You Need?Now that we have laid a solid framework to build our retention strategy on, we need to decide how much of a focus to put on retention. You would not expect acquisition to just happen, so you should not expect retention to just happen.You invest marketing dollars into a content strategy, email marketing, social media, search engine optimization, and retargeting (to name a few places) for your acquisition strategy. If you want your retention marketing efforts to be a success you need to do the same.Let’s look at the breakdown of a typical ecommerce store’s traffic:As you can see 92% have not purchased before, or have made a single purchase. This traffic would be attributed to acquisition efforts. The remaining 8% are customers who have purchased from you 2 or more times. This traffic can be attributed to your retention efforts.When you look at the traffic numbers you may ask why you should allocate more than 8% of your marketing budget to retention, when it only represents a small portion of your traffic. On the surface it may seem counterintuitive, but you need to dig deeper.Let’s look at the average revenue breakdown from each of those segments:That small percentage of your traffic is actually generating a substantial portion of your revenue. The average ecommerce store sees over 40% of their revenue come from that small but mighty 8%. This is because a repeat customer is more profitable than a first time buyer.If this is the case, why do the majority of stores allocate almost all their budget to customer acquisition? The average store allocates 81% of marketing dollars to acquisition, which represents 59% of revenue, and 19% of marketing dollars to retention, which represents 41% of revenue. This budget allocation doesn’t seem to make sense! What Should Your Store Do?Every store is different, but some stores will benefit more from retention marketing than others. The effectiveness of retention marketing is determined by two main factors. The first is the life-stage of your store, and the second is the nature of the products you sell.Your Store’s Life-StageIf you have a brand new ecommerce site, you will have very small customer base. Obviously it does not make much sense to be spending marketing on retaining customer you don’t have yet! As you grow, you’ll want to shift more marketing dollars to to retention marketing.Once your store has an established customer base, it becomes more beneficial to focus on retention over acquisition. Growing revenue via acquisition can eventually slow, but retention can help you continue to grow.What You SellA returning customer is worth more to your business, so every store should be striving to boost retention. If you have a product that has high likelihood of repeat purchases, you will benefit immensely from retention marketing. Examples of these types of products would be cosmetics, coffee, supplements, and even clothing.If you do sell high ticket items, retention strategies can still work for you. Imagine if you could sell three fridges to a customer over their lifetime rather than just one. That would be a huge boost! Alternatively, you can cross-sell complementary products to your customers. When Can You Expect to See Results?Retention marketing doesn’t provide overnight results or instant gratification. But, if you stick to it you will start to see some phenomenal results. How long do you need to wait? That depends. Six months to a year is a common timeframe. Retention marketing is like rolling a snowball, once your get it started it becomes easy. last_img read more

Why Infographics Should Be Part of Your SEO Strategy [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Oct 3, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Infographics How the heck can you use an image for search optimization?It might be simpler than you think. You see, there’s something about the way an infographic conveys content — from its customization to its digestible format — that both grabs and holds people’s attention, and makes them highly sharable. But how does it work? And how can you use infographics for your own SEO strategy?As it turns out, the good folks over at SerpLogic know a thing or two about both search optimization and infographics. They’ve hunted down the things that make these informative images so valuable for SEO, and created a six-step approach to creating the infographics that are most likely to show success in this area.Download our free planner to learn how to step up your SEO traffic in just 30 days.So, want to reach more viewers? Paint them a picture — and check out the infographic below to learn how to make it optimally educational. 169Save169Save 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

23 Simple Email Marketing Tips to Improve Your Open and Clickthrough Rates

first_imgPracticing good inbound marketing means sending emails to people who actually want to hear from you.But oftentimes, your emails still end up getting lost in your customers’ inbox clutter — or worse, their spam folder. And then, when someone actually opens your email, they don’t actually click through.Click here to download our free lookbook that’s packed with our favorite email newsletters.You might think to yourself, “Ugh, I just can’t win.”Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Here are 23 tips that are perfect for small and growing businesses, but anyone can embrace right now to improve their emails’ open rates, clickthrough rates, and lead generation potential.Email Marketing Tips for Small BusinessesDo not buy email addresses.Abide by CAN-SPAM rules.Ensure your opt-in process complies with GDPR.Email new contacts within 24 hours.Send your emails from a real person, not your company.Pre-set the preview text.Write clear and clickable subject lines.Keep your emails concise.Include one call-to-action button per email.Add alt text to your CTA image.Hyperlink your emails’ images.Include noticeable text links.Place at least one clickable item above the fold.Add alt text to all of your images.Avoid background images.Add social sharing buttons.Simplify sharing with ready-made tweets.Add an email forwarding option.Clean up the plain text version of your emails.Optimize your emails for mobile users.Preview and test your emails before sending them.Don’t be afraid to ‘clean up’ your contact list.Monitor each email’s performance. Email Marketing 1. Do not buy email addresses.I know what you’re thinking: In the early stages of an email marketing newsletter, you want to do whatever it takes to kickstart the campaign and get eyeballs on your business. I get it. Whatever options you see online, however, you should resist the urge to purchase an email list.There are lots of ways to buy an email list, but none of them will actually benefit your campaign. Why? Since the owners of these email addresses didn’t explicitly agree to receive content from you, there’s no telling how interested they are — or if they’re even a fit for what you have to offer. A bought email list is also in violation of GDPR (we’ll talk more about this in just a minute).Purchasing email lists is always a bad idea. Get more reasons why in this blog post.2. Abide by CAN-SPAM rules.CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing) is an act that was passed in 2003. Essentially, it’s a law that establishes the rules for commercial email and commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them, and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law.In order to be CAN-SPAM compliant, it’s important that your email messages follow these rules, which are available on the FTC’s website.A few highlights:Include your valid physical postal address in every email you send out.Give recipients a clear and obvious way to opt out (i.e., unsubscribe) of every email you send. (HubSpot customers: Don’t worry — you can’t save an email template unless it includes this element.)Use clear “From,” “To,” and “Reply to” language that accurately reflects who you are.Avoid “no-reply” or similar sender names, which prevent recipients from opting out of an email newsletter if they’d like to.Avoid selling or transferring any email addresses to another list.Note: Because I am not a lawyer, please do not construe the contents of this article as official legal advice. Check out the FTC’s website for extensive advice on this subject, and read this blog post for more tips on improving email deliverability.3. Ensure your opt-in process complies with GDPR.You’ve probably heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new law enacted across Europe in May 2018 to better protect internet users’ personal data.We don’t expect you to have this long piece of legislation memorized. However, if some of your email recipients live in Europe, there is one key guideline by which you should develop your email marketing campaigns:When your website users land on a page that solicits their personal information, tradition might tell you to include a pre-checked box that opts the user into an email campaign so they can receive updates and special offers related to your business. Today, having this box pre-checked is in violation of GDPR. So, to comply with GDPR, make sure your European users and customers are given the clear option to opt into your email newsletter themselves — don’t make the decision for them.This rule might sound like bad news for your email marketing campaign, but it can actually improve your open and clickthrough rates. Limiting your subscriber list to just those who specifically asked to join you will ensure only the most interested people are receiving your messages. This maximizes the chances that you’ll convert readers to qualified leads as a result of an email send.4. Email new contacts within 24 hours.It’s important to take advantage of the window of opportunity when your company or brand is at the top of your prospects’ minds. You can really get a pulse of what future engagement will look like by what people do when you email then within 24 hours of their subscribing to your newsletter, signing up for an offer, and so on. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for branding and setting expectations.If you don’t have any automated email workflows set up, you’re likely missing out on some major opportunities to nurture and engage your existing contacts.(HubSpot customers: Use HubSpot’s Workflows App to create personalized, automated email workflows that can get triggered in a number of different ways: when a contact gets added to a list, submits a form on your website, clicks a link in an email, views a page on your blog, clicks on one of your AdWords ads, or becomes a marketing qualified lead.)5. Send your emails from a real person, not your company.When you send email from a real person, your email open rate increases. Plain and simple. This is because — based on past tests we’ve conducted — recipients are typically more likely to trust a personalized sender name and email address than a generic one. People are so inundated with spam nowadays, they often hesitate to open email from unfamiliar senders — and they’re more likely to trust a personalized sender name and email address than a generic one.At HubSpot, we found that that emails sent from “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot” perform better in terms of open and clickthrough rate than emails sent from just “HubSpot.” So, it may be best to do this …Sender name: Paul SmithSender email address:… instead of this:Sender name: Marketing TeamSender email address: customers: Click here to learn how to personalize the “From” name and email address.)Note: Our tests showed personalization works, but we’ve also found that a combination of a person’s name and a company name together in the sender name works well, too. You’ve just got to A/B test what works best for your particular company, brand, and industry as well as what’s ideal based on to whom you’re sending emails.6. Pre-set the preview text.Email clients like the iPhone Mail app, Gmail, and Outlook will display the first few lines of text from the body of your email alongside the subject line. In other words, it’s a text preview of the content inside the email. The exact amount of text shown depends on the email client and user settings.Use it to provide a short, to-the-point synopsis of what you’re offering — and keep it to 50 characters or less.When you don’t set the preview text, the client will automatically pull from the body of your email, which not only looks messy, but is also a wasted opportunity to engage your audience. (HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to set the preview text of your emails.)7. Write clear and clickable subject lines.Speaking of the subject line … your marketing emails have a lot to compete with in recipients’ inboxes. The best way to stand out is to write compelling, “can’t-help-but-click-on-this” subject lines.To entice readers to click, be sure your subject lines:Are super clear and understandable.Are fewer than 50 characters so they don’t get cut off, particularly by mobile devices.Use language and messaging that your target buyer persona is familiar with and excited about.Include verbs and action-oriented language to create a sense of urgency and excitement.Include an exclusive value proposition (like 20% off an item or a free ebook) so people know what they’re getting.Avoid spam triggers like “Cash,” “Quote,” and “Save.”Are timely, if applicable. (One of my favorite subject lines came from Warby Parker and read: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring”.)Include their first names sometimes (it could increase clickthrough rates), or even add something about their specific location. (You’ll want to do this sparingly, like for your most important offers, rather than over-doing it and being repetitive or intrusive.)Read this blog post for more tips on writing clickable, delightful subject lines.8. Keep your emails concise.Everyone’s busy and their inbox is already full. Why add to the problem with a longwinded email? People generally like short, concise emails better than long ones because concise emails have an obvious focus. Plus, when your users are scanning through all their emails in a short amount of time, they’re more likely to find the overall message before deciding to take any action.Another reason to keep your emails short? Too much copy is actually a red flag for spam filters, too.To keep your emails short and compelling, write your email like you were talking to someone in real life. If your email has to be on the long side, break it up into multiple paragraphs to provide visual breaks. This’ll make skimming it much easier on your reader. (Read this blog post on how to write compelling emails for more tips.)Here’s a great example of a concise email:9. Include one call-to-action button per email.Remember when I said a lot of your email recipients will scan your email without reading all the copy? That’s why you want to have a clear call-to-action (CTA) button that’s easy to spot for even the quickest of email scanners. Without a CTA button, you won’t be calling on your recipients to take any action that actually benefits them — and the growth of your business.You’ll want to place your CTA in a location where it’s easily visible and where it makes sense for someone to click on it. For example, you might put a CTA to download a free ebook in an email that describes new strategies for using your product.Once you’ve determined where you want to put your CTA, it’s time to create the button itself. Click here to download 50 free CTA button templates to get you started. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to add CTA buttons to emails in HubSpot here.)10. Add alt text to your CTA image.Many email clients block images — including your CTA buttons — by default. That means a good chunk of your audience may not see your beautiful, optimized CTA. Instead, they see this:When you set an image’s alt text, though, you let recipients who can’t view images in their email know exactly where to click to complete the action:You can either edit the alt text in your email tool’s rich text editor (just right-click the image and edit away), or you can manually enter it in the HTML editor of your email tool like this:11. Hyperlink your emails’ images.Your ultimate goal in email marketing is to get people to click through to a web page. One way to increase the clickthrough rate without littering the copy with links is to hyperlink the images in your email to the webpage that corresponds with the content of the image.If you’re inviting readers to download an ebook, for example, and you have a picture of the ebook included in the email, don’t just hyperlink the text next to the image telling people to “download it here.” Hyperlink the ebook’s picture, too. People are drawn to images much more commonly than text, and you want to give your email subscribers as many options to get your ebook as you can.You can simply click on the image and then use your email tool’s “Insert/Edit Link” option, or you can link an image in the HTML editor using the following code:12. Include noticeable text links.In general, it’s a good idea to link to your featured offer in multiple places in addition to the clear and focused call-to-action button. In addition to your main CTAs and images, consider including a noticeable text link (or two) when applicable, as having more links increases the opportunity for engagement.13. Place at least one clickable item above the fold.One way to make your emails more clickable? Place one or more of your clickable elements — whether it’s a CTA button, a text link, or a clickable image — near the beginning of your email.This is especially useful for mobile users. Mobile tends to require a lot of scrolling, and sometimes squinting, pinching, and zooming. Giving a recipient something actionable that is seen upon opening can lead to more clicks in this environment.14. Add alt text to all of your images.Again, a lot of email clients out there block images by default. (Here’s the full list from Campaign Monitor.) In those cases, images won’t load unless the recipient clicks a button to show them or change their default settings.Adding alt text to your email images helps recipients understand your message — even if they can’t see the images right away. (HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to add alt text to your email images in HubSpot.)You might consider making the language in your alt text actionable, such as “Click here to download the ultimate content creation kit.” Actionable alt text will essentially turn every linked image into another CTA. So, even if someone doesn’t see the snazzy GIF of my latest offer (or if they hover their mouse over an image that does show up), the alt text will beckon them to click.15. Avoid background images.This is especially important if your target buyers tend to use Outlook as an email client.Microsoft Outlook doesn’t recognize background images, period. Given that Outlook is the fifth most-used email client with 7% of the market share — and that’s in total; your industry might have a lot more — it’s best to avoid using background images altogether.Instead, use a background color and use images in other ways in your email, like Harry’s did in their email below:Image Credit: Beautiful Email Newsletters16. Add social sharing buttons.Increasing the number of people who see your link will increase the number of people who click on it. So, be sure to extend the life of your email by adding social sharing buttons.Many email tools will come with templates that have built-in social sharing buttons that make it easy — just fill in the destination URL and you’re good to go. If you don’t have built-in capabilities, here is a cheat sheet for easily creating your own social sharing buttons.Important Note: If you want to increase clicks, you want to add sharing buttons, not follow buttons. The former will allow your email recipients to pass along the offer URL in your email to their followers. The latter will prompt them to Like, follow, or add your company social media channels.17. Simplify sharing with ready-made tweets.People are far more likely to take an action if you make it really, really easy for them. For recipients out there who are too lazy to tweet the wonderful content you sent them via email, you can make it easy for them by creating what we call a “lazy tweet.”One simple way to do this? Using ClickToTweet, a free custom tweet link generator. First, go to ClickToTweet’s basic tweet generator. Then, type in your tweet, desired (trackable) destination URL, and hashtags:Click “Generate New Link,” and then grab that link. Then you can link it to your Twitter sharing button. Or, if you’re segmenting your list by attributes such as “has Twitter” or “topic of recent conversion: social media” (you’ll need marketing intelligence software like HubSpot for this), you can even include it in your main email copy, like this:18. Add an email forwarding option.Another way to extend the clicks on your email beyond its shelf life is to prompt your audience to forward the offer. The folks at Litmus found that the most forwarded emails were 13X more likely than the typical email to include “Share With Your Network” calls-to-action. By including forward-to-a-friend (or social sharing links, as we discussed above), you put it in recipients’ minds to share.You can add a little post-script to the end of your email copy, such as “Not responsible for your company’s social media? Feel free to forward this ebook to a friend or colleague using social media marketing.” Link the call-to-action to a pre-made email, complete with subject and body text. That way, all someone has to do is enter their associates’ email addresses and hit “Send.”You can highlight text or an image and add the URL via your email tool’s rich text editor and then enter a mailto:? link. Here’s what this looks like:mailto:?subject=Your%20subject%20here%20&body=Your%20email%20body%20text%20here.You can also create this in your HTML editor. Here’s how to attach a mailto:? link to text:forward this ebook.And here’s how to attach your mailto:? link to an image, such as a sleek call-to-action button that says “Email This Offer”:Just make sure you use the “%20″ tag to separate words! Otherwise, your message willreadlikethis (not too appealing, right?).19. Clean up the plain-text version of your emails.Not every recipient is going to see the beautiful, HTML, rich-text version of your email. Some clients don’t support HTML-rich emails, while other times, a person may simply choose to only view messages in plain text.When you don’t optimize the plain-text version of your email, this is what happens when someone views it:Scary, isn’t it? I don’t think many people are going to bother to read through this garbled mess.So, cut out the extra text, replace long tracking URLs with shortened ones, and keep the body simple. Taking the five extra minutes to optimize your email’s plain-text version could help you reach more of your target segment and keep you out of the spam folder.Note: When you’re cleaning up your plain-text emails, don’t change the actual copy much at all or you’ll risk it getting marked as spam.20. Optimize your emails for mobile users.In Litmus’ analysis of over a billion email opens, they reported that 56% of opened emails were opened on mobile devices in April 2016. This figure represents an 8% increase in mobile opens in the past year.”This represents a peak for mobile market share,” they wrote, “and the longest sustained growth we’ve seen after the holiday season.” Isn’t the second image a much better user experience?Here are a few ways to optimize your emails for mobile devices:Reduce your images’ file sizes to make up for mobile devices’ generally slower download speeds. (HubSpot customers don’t need to worry about it — images uploaded to HubSpot’s software are automatically compressed. Otherwise, tools like TinyPNG will help you reduce file size.)Ensure the CTA buttons and links are larger than 45-57 pixels for the best user experience. Why? According to an MIT study, the average size of an adult index finger is 1.6-2 cm, which translates to 45-57 pixels on a mobile device.Invest in responsive email templates. Creating your own responsive template may be beyond your particular skill set or bandwidth. Sometimes, the most economical solution is to just license or buy email templates from the people who do it best.HubSpot customers: HubSpot’s default email templates are all optimized for mobile using responsive design. To access these templates, create a new email and look for the responsive option in the “folders” drop-down in the top left.21. Preview and test your emails before sending them.When you’re finally ready to hit “Send” on your email, make a habit of double-checking one last time whether your emails look as good as you think they do. If your email marketing tool lets you, go ahead and preview what your email looks like in different email clients and devices that are popular with your audience.(HubSpot customers: You can preview what your emails look like in 30+ email clients right in the HubSpot Email App, as well as preview what your emails will look like on any device — including desktop, tablet, or mobile devices. Click here to learn how.)You should also send out a test version of your email before you send out the real deal to ensure it’s working properly for everyone on your email list. Start incorporating these as final steps in your email review process. (HubSpot customers: Learn how to test your emails here.)22. Don’t be afraid to ‘clean up’ your contact list.It’s tempting to keep every subscriber you win on an email campaign until they personally choose to opt out. But just because they haven’t opted out of an email newsletter doesn’t mean they’re still interested, and subscribers who have become inactive can kill your emails’ open and clickthrough rates.To make sure you’re only sending emails to the people who want to read them, clean up your email list so that it excludes recipients who haven’t opened a certain amount of emails in the campaign’s recent history. This makes sure your emails’ open and clickthrough rates reflect only your most interested readers, allowing you to collect more effective data on what is and isn’t working in each email you send.(HubSpot customers: Lists that add and remove members based on their email behavior are called smart or “active” lists. Learn how to create them in HubSpot Academy.)23. Monitor each email’s performance.What’s working in your email campaign this month might not work quite as well next month, and it’s imperative that you check in on your emails’ open and clickthrough rates for opportunities to improve your copy (to do this, of course, you’ll need a tool to track your email analytics).If after a month of email sends, for instance, you find 10 messages are getting double the engagement as the other 20, analyze them. What did you do differently in the higher performers? Was it the imagery? The subject line? Maybe you have more than one audience segment and one of them just isn’t as interested in your current email content.Use your email performance data to run A/B tests that are designed to show you what your email recipients really want out of your newsletters, and steer into the trends that you see to make your email campaigns more desirable.Email marketing can be tough at times — I’m right there with you. But by sending compelling offers to the right target segments and paying attention to the little details that go into an email, you can increase the opens clicks in your emails and generate more leads. (And learn more about which email marketing metrics to track — and how — here.) Image Credit: LitmusAs more and more people use their mobile devices to read email and surf the web, it’s more important than ever that marketers design their emails with mobile users in mind. Otherwise, their user base will be significantly affected.How? Here’s a visual example of what happens when images aren’t optimized for mobile (first) versus when images are optimized for mobile (second):center_img Originally published Aug 27, 2018 10:39:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

I Don’t Mind Paying, But I Do Mind Being Played [The Customer Code Series]

first_img Originally published Jan 23, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated July 23 2019 This post is part 9 of 11 in a series on HubSpot’s Customer Code. Here’s a secret — I wanted to launch the first version of The Customer Code at INBOUND 2017. I was excited about the idea, and wanted to start talking about it.But our leadership team pushed back on me. They said there was no way we could ask other companies to step up and embrace their customer-first ideals when we still had so far to go ourselves. Of particular concern was the communication around our pricing and how customers got billed.We had to be the change.Start solving for the customer today with these 17 templates. The way our pricing works varies quite a bit throughout our product lines, for customers at the Starter level, it tends to be extremely simple, but as our customers’ businesses gets more sophisticated, pricing tends to get more sophisticated as well. And feedback made it clear that, when it came to pricing, our most unhappy customer segment were customers at the Marketing Hub Professional and Enterprise levels — so that’s where we dug in.Like many SaaS companies, we lock-in pricing for customers during their billing period so what they’re paying won’t increase even if their number of contacts does increase. It’s a way to show value before we extract value. But of course:Customers often wouldn’t remember pricing was locked in for the billing period (they’re busy)During the year, usage would increase(If you want to get into the weeds, you can read our Terms of Service here, but that’s the high-level gist.)So year two renewal would roll around, and a lot can change in a year — a customer’s business may have grown, people forget about the details of a contract they signed 12 months ago, or perhaps the person who originally signed the contract is no longer with the company and a new person is now managing the account — and suddenly customers were getting a bill that was noticeably higher than the prior billing period with little context on why. Yes, many were very (and rightfully!) unhappy about this.The change needed on our end was actually quite simple–we simply changed the communication approach in our renewal process. First, we adjusted the timing of our communication about the new bill and made a change to our Terms of Service which reduced the number of days notice we needed to honor a non-renewal request – dropping it from 45 days to 10 days. Second, we now go out of our way to inform customers about growth in their contact database before the notice of non-renewal window closes. These changes give our customers far more time to evaluate the product, the value delivered over the past year, and decide if HubSpot still made sense for them. But most importantly, we can feel confident that we’re not surprising customers with an unexpectedly large bill.And with those simple changes in place…no more upset customers.Because our customers don’t mind paying, but they do mind feeling played.The same is true for your customers.No one should be surprised by an unexpected bill.No one should need a math degree to figure out what they’ll pay you.No one should need to jump through hoops to figure out what it might cost to do business with you.If we had gone live with The Customer Code in 2017, I would have given HubSpot a 5 on Tenet #8: I don’t mind paying, but I do mind being played. Today, I give us a 6. We’ve been doing some things right for awhile – our pricing is transparent and available on our website – and we’ve made substantial improvements on improving communication around renewals, but we’re not done yet.We recently asked our customer-facing teams how we’re doing when it comes to pricing transparency. Our support and success teams care deeply about the customer, but also understand the needs of the business, and we wanted to know how they think we’re doing when it comes to pricing.The vast majority of our customer-facing team members feel that our pricing, discounting, and cancellation process are all fair. But when we asked them what one thing they would change for our customers today if they had a magic wand the #1 request was simplifying pricing, packaging, and renewals.Fair isn’t enough to create a great customer experience.Transparent doesn’t always equate to simple.We’re being honest, transparent, and fair; but our customers don’t always feel that way.We can do better, and we’re going to. We have two plays kicking off that pair VP-level executives with our Voice of the Customer team to improve the billing and contract experience.Confusing pricing is a negative force on the flywheel of every business. Sixty-nine percent of people said that confusing pricing keeps them from making a purchase.After seeing this data at INBOUND one HubSpot customers, WashCard, went back to work and decided it was time to give transparent pricing a try. While the industry standard is to require a conversation with a salesperson before giving pricing, WashCard saw this as creating friction in their flywheel so they pulled back the curtain–boldly displaying pricing on their website for all to see.Amy Olson, the Director of Marketing at WashCard said, “A month into this, we’re getting more leads out of our pricing page than any other page on the website, they make up two thirds of our online conversions. Our sales staff can see that a prospect has looked at the pricing page, and it totally changes the conversation when contacting new potential customers. Game. Changer.”Customers don’t mind paying, but they do mind being played, they mind unexpectedly big bills, and they mind jumping through hoops to figure out how to budget for your product or services.If you want to grow, you have to charge for your services. But companies that are open and honest about their pricing, while making it simple to understand – grow better.This post is part 9 of 11 in a series on HubSpot’s Customer Code. You can find more info on The Customer Code and how we score ourselves here, and watch my INBOUND talk on this topic here: Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more