Rishabh Pant emerges as rightful successor to MS Dhoni

first_imgMS Dhoni is one of world cricket’s greatest ever match-winners. There can be no argument there. He burst on to the scene as an exciting wicketkeeper-batsman but it was one of those two skills that helped him grab headlines.As a wicketkeeper, young Dhoni was still a work in progress but his batting flair was just too hard to ignore. Towering sixes, fearless strokeplay and breathtaking consistency and the long hair. What was not to like about him?Soon enough, with the ‘Fab Five’ entering the last leg of their glorious careers, MS Dhoni was fast-tracked to the Indian captaincy. The boy from Jharkhand had arrived.READ – MS Dhoni faces the biggest test of his career as World Cup looms closerAnd success followed. A tri-nation series win in Australia, the World T20, the No.1 Test ranking, the 2011 World Cup, the 2013 Champions Trophy. India, under Dhoni, were unstoppable. MS Dhoni was a force to reckon with. His wicketkeeping was now dazzling. He was a legend.But India’s poor fortunes in Test cricket overseas put pressure on MS Dhoni. Indian cricket’s blue-eyed boy was under pressure to step up and do more. By the end of 2014, he had had enough. He decided to retire from Test cricket. In early 2017 plagued by a poor run with the bat, MS Dhoni stepped down as India’s captain in the shoter formats. Virat Kohli, his predecessor, believed that could be the catalyst for a last blast from MSD. And for a while, it did look like India had found the MS Dhoni of old. A hundred against England, a maiden T20I fifty and a sensational time with the bat in the 2018 IPL gave India hope. But all that did not translate into runs for India. In 20 ODIs this year, Dhoni scored only 275 runs at an average a shade over 25. Zero fifties.advertisementWorse was to follow. MS Dhoni was dropped from the T20I team. The selectors and the captain tried to word it nicely but it was clear the management wanted to try out an option.All this while Rishabh Pant, a young wicketkeeper from Delhi, staked his claim. His audacious strokeplay was the talking point since his under-19 days. By the time he stormed into the Indian domestic circuit and the IPL, Pant was earmarked for even bigger things. He stormed into the Test arena with a blistering hundred in England before identical scores of 92 in the Tests against the West Indies.READ – Rishabh Pant becomes the second youngest to score T20I fifty for IndiaOn Sunday, Pant became the second youngest Indian batsman to hit a T20I half-century as India chased down a tricky score against the Windies when the chips were down.For years, there was no one to challenge Dhoni. His contemporaries – Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel were nowhere near as consistent. Besides, they did not possess the hitting power and cricketing acumen of MSD. In a brief span of time, Rishabh Pant changed it all. It is yet to be seen how sharp his cricketing brain is but the Delhi boy is fearless. His shot-making sometimes makes you wonder if he thinks at all – the audacity comes so naturally to him. Given his style, he will get out looking rather silly at times but when he does come off, it would be a sight to behold.Rishabh Pant, in so many ways, reminds you of a younger Dhoni – daring, dashing and unflappable. He is yet to be tested under real pressure but the signs are good. He has not, in all fairness, got a long run in the one-day format, having played just three games.But he is a strong contender to be named as the back-up wicketkeeper in the World Cup. And if Pant continues to play those dazzling knocks and sharpens his wicketkeeping skills, it could become increasingly difficult to keep him out at the expense of a non-performing star.MS Dhoni is a contracted India cricketer and all emotions aside, he is expected to score runs. His achievements have been celebrated and lauded but with the World Cup a few months away, this is no time to rest on past laurels. Pant is banging the door down for a place in the ODI team and he has to be tried sooner than later.India will hope Dhoni finds his touch in Australia and New Zealand in the New Year.Time is running out and Pant is storming in.last_img read more

My pictures on magazine covers might inspire kids to take up sports: Hima Das

first_imgShe has made it to the top as fast as her gold-winning sprint in Finland earlier this year!Hima Das has been creating ripples ever since she became the first Indian athlete to win gold at the IAAF U20 World Championships. It has been a graph that has only gone up with her face popping up on boards all over the country.Magazine covers, brand endorsements and all the big market madness has just fallen into the sprinting feet of Hima Das.She is well aware of the brand she carries with herself now but it was not something she thought of until her phone began buzzing as she created history in Tampere.”I didn’t think of it [that many people will know me] before but after the [U20 World Championships] medal, when people started calling and messaging then I understood,” Hima Das told indiatoday.in during an interaction at National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala.Her reception at the airport in Assam after she returned from the Asian Games was nothing short of magnificent. A track was laid out for her in celebration of her brilliant performances in Jakarta.Hima has made a journey from running bare feet to having branded shoes with her name on it. She is a rare athlete to feature on the cover of magazine but more than a source of just making her name, she feels these covers might inspire more kids to take up sports and athletics.Also read – Hima Das: Tracing star sprinter’s journey from Assam’s rice fields to global stardomadvertisement”Yes, it feels good. It’s like people can get inspired by looking at that as well and more kids will want to enter sports. You know because then parents are like ‘see this player, he/she played and made a name. You can also do that’. So this is good for inspiration,” Hima said. Hima Das won three medals at the Asian Games 2018. (@HimaDas8 Photo)Hima made her debut appearance at the Asian Games earlier this year and even under the kind of expectations she was carrying for such young shoulders, she emerged triumphant with three medals — gold in women’s 4×400 relay, silver in 400m and silver in mixed 4×400 relay.Things didn’t come easy for her. Even after winning the gold in U20 World Championships, she went through intense training to turn up in the best shape possible in Jakarta.”I prepared a lot for that [Asian Games]. After Finland, we directly went to Czech Republic and there was some really hard and good training there. It is because of it that I did well.”READ – Hima Das assured of government support till 2020 Olympics in TokyoHima said a few changes have come in her training regime but she leaves these things to her coach.”You have to work hard. There has been a bit of change in training, a bit of split training. But in the end, the coach decides whatever needs to be done.”It’s upto the coach, he hasn’t started training yet. So whatever he decides, I’ll do it,” Hima told.Hima’s focus is unwaivered. Even as she has been gathering medal after medal, all she wants to do is get better. She wants to beat herself everytime.”I just want to better my time. I don’t go for medals but to break my own time,” Hima concluded.With all the training facilities of NIS Patiala in her access, Hima has her eyes set on better timing and more glory.With her blazing feet and focussed personality, she harbours the hopes and expectations of a nation of billions with utmost calmness and grace. Perhaps, that is an inspiration worth taking.Also watch –last_img read more

Vinod Rai-Diana Edulji e-mail war threatens to reignite controversial Kumble exit

first_imgThe e-mail war between the two members of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) – Chairman Vinod Rai and former India skipper Diana Edulji – has escalated to a new level over the selection of new coach for the Indian women’s cricket team and is also threatening to reignite the controversy over acrimonious exit of former men’s team coach Anil Kumble.While Edulji wants to immediately scrap the selection process of the new Indian coach for the women’s team and wants Ramesh Powar to continue till the end of the New Zealand tour, Rai is no mood to step back as BCCI on Tuesday announced the ad-hoc committee comprising Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shanta Rangaswamy to interview the candidates.In a series of e-mails exchanged back and forth between the CoA members and the BCCI top brass, in possession of India Today, Edulji wrote to Rai saying that “in a democratic setup of COA only views of one person are considered and the views expressed by the other member (who was also appointed by the hon’ble SC along with you) don’t matter.”Edulji, in an email on Monday, cited that “there is no clarity on the previous procedure carried out. The Capt and vice Capt have requested their choice so why can’t we respect their choice for this tour till we get clarity on the committee. We can go ahead and continue with the same coach. The views of the 2 senior players must not be ignored.”She then went on to explain how men’s team skipper Virat Kohli had his say after falling out with then India coach Anil Kumble and why the same was being denied to Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana who have backed Powar.advertisement”Virat did not accede to Kumble continuing in spite of CAC saying so then why not these 2 players get what they feel is best for the team.”In his reply, Rai, while advocating how he wants to avoid a similar controversy, accepted that there were differences between Virat and Kumble.Rai wrote: “Yes — there were differences between Virat and Kumble. As a consequence of that Kumble stepped back. More importantly– the team did not send e-mails. The team must realise that that coaches are not decided on team votes. If it is a question of respecting opinions of senior players— why not respect the opinion of the senior most player– in fact the ODI captain of the team?”There was more to come on the matter as Edulji shot back her reply to Rai on Tuesday. In her mail, Edulji wrote: “I see nothing wrong in Women Cricketers writing emails reg the Coach. They were truthful in expressing their views unlike Virat who frequently sent sms’s to the CEO on which you acted and there was a change in the Coach. There also I had objected and my dissent is recorded when the timelines were extended for some one to apply as he didn’t apply in time. Mr. Kumble a legend in his own right was subjected to loss of face and made to look like a villain, he was gracious enough to move on for which I respect him. There also rules were broken and I had raised objections back then”Rai, meanwhile, hoped that the differences would be put aside and the women’s team will also start a new chapter after the current fiasco.”We can’t extend uncertainty. Our men’s team is doing so well with all the confusion far behind them. We have to support the women’s team with the best. They deserve it. We must have a vision 2020 for the world cup in place and have the team work towards it,” wrote the COA chief while requesting Edulji to “go along with this long term planning.”last_img read more

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez may need surgery on broken leg: Jurgen Klopp

first_imgLiverpool centre back Joe Gomez may need surgery on his broken leg and the club are not sure when he will return, manager Juergen Klopp has said.The 21-year-old, who began the season as Klopp’s first choice to partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the Liverpool defence, fractured his left leg against Burnley on December 5 and was initially expected to be out for six weeks.Liverpool, who face West Ham United in the Premier League on Monday, will also be without centre back Dejan Lovren, who has a hamstring injury.Asked at his weekly news conference if Gomez would need surgery, Klopp said: “It is possible, probably.”It is not exactly going how we want – that’s how it is. He needs more time. We cannot say more.”In the absence of Lovren and Gomez, Joel Matip will partner Van Dijk against West Ham, with midfielder James Milner expected to slot in at right back.Milner served a one-match suspension against Leicester City in midweek, with captain Jordan Henderson playing at right back in the 1-1 draw at Anfield.With regular right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold out injured, Klopp was questioned about his decision to allow Nathaniel Clyne to join Bournemouth on loan at the start of the January transfer window but the German said he had no regrets.”You make the decision in the moment you have to and then people judge it later,” he said. “Hendo’ did well there. We all know how good Clyney is, but would he have had more offensive influence in the game?advertisement”I don’t know. Defensively, I did not see a mistake from Hendo.”Liverpool have a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City ahead of the trip to 12th-placed West Ham.Also Read | My fault that players weren’t able to express themselves: Japan coach after Asian Cup lossAlso Read | FC Goa end Mumbai City FC’s unbeaten streak in Indian Super LeagueAlso Read | Chelsea will not tweak style despite poor run, says Maurizio SarriÀlso See:last_img read more

People did not know where Vidarbha was but it won’t be so after Ranji triumph: Umesh Yadav

first_imgVidarbha lifted their second successive Ranji Trophy title with a comfortable 78-run win over Saurashtra in the final, proving that their maiden triumph last year was no “fluke”.Vidarbha needed five wickets to defend their title while Saurashtra, in a chase of 206, were left a mountain to climb after a top-order collapse on Wednesday. They required 148 runs for their maiden title on the fifth and final day at the VCA stadium.”Everyone thought it was a fluke when we won last year and we were under pressure to retain the title. But our focus was process, we never bothered about reputation,” Vidarbha’s talismanic coach Chandrakant Pandit said.The fiercely fought final swung early on but Vidarbha went into the final day with a tight hold on the proceedings and bundled out the visitors for 127 with more than two sessions to spare.Overnight batsmen Vishvaraj Jadeja (52) and Kamlesh Makvana (14) batted resolutely for the first hour but once the partnership was broken, the end was inevitable for Saurashtra.Man of the match left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate claimed three of the five wickets that fell on Thursday, to end with career-best match figures of 11/57. He took six for 59 in the second innings.It was his maiden haul of 10 or more wickets in a first-class match. He had scalped five batsmen in the first innings.Sarwate, without doubt, was the star of the match for Vidarbha as he not only took 11 of the 20 Saurashtra wickets with his left-arm spin, his 49-run knock in the second innings played a key role in his side setting the stiff 206-run target.advertisementVidarbha is only the sixth team in the tournament’s long history to have defended the title.Mumbai, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Delhi are the other teams who have managed to win consecutive titles.Saurashtra had ended runners-up to Mumbai in 2012-13 and 2015-16 and again it was a case of so close yet so far for them.The batting failure of star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara hurt Saurashtra badly. But Vidarbha managed to stay unaffected by Wasim Jaffer’s poor contribution.”People did not know where Vidarbha was but it will not be the case now. It is huge for Vidarbha. The team is doing a great job,” said India pacer Umesh Uadav.”I never thought I will win two titles with Vidarbha after playing 10 finals (eight with Mumbai),” gushed veteran Jaffer.Earlier, for Saurashtra Makvana and Vishvaraj were not afraid to go for their shots as they swept Sarwate with confidence to send a few to the boundary ropes.With Umesh Yadav and Sarwate not getting the desired results, Vidarbha brought Akshay Wakhare into the attack.Both Jadeja and Makvana though kept rotating the strike.Sarwate soon started extracting sharp turn from the wicket and tested Makvana’s defense. After a close appeal for leg-before, Makvana swept the bowler for a four in the deep mid-wicket region.However, two balls later, Sarwate bowled Makvana who left the ball, thinking it will turn away, but it remained straight and hit the top of the off-stump.They batted for one hour together and added 33 runs for the sixth wicket.Only three runs were added to the total when Wakhare trapped new man in Prerak Mankad (2) to push Saurashtra to 91 for seven.Vishvaraj completed his half-century but Sarwate trapped both him and rival captain Jaydev Unadkat.Wakhare brought the curtains down on the match when Dharmendrasinh Jadeja lofted one straight to Sarwate.Also Read | Unreal feeling: Faiz Fazal after Vidarbha defend Ranji Trophy titleAlso Read | Vidarbha beat Saurashtra by 78 runs to defend Ranji Trophy titlelast_img read more

India grouped with Taiwan and Singapore at Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships

first_imgIndia have been drawn alongside Taiwan and Singapore for the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships, which will be held in Hong Kong from March 19-24. There are 11 teams participating in the biennial continental event and they are Japan, Hong Kong (hosts), Taiwan, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia and Macau.The teams are divided in groups on the basis of their seedings according to the latest BWF rankings. The seeding of a team is calculated by the total world ranking points accumulated by their top shuttler or the top team in men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.While India have been grouped in Group B with Taiwan and Singapore, hosts Hong Kong are in Group A with Japan. Group A is the only group which has just two teams.Group C consists of Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka while China, Malaysia and Macau form Group D.Here is the final result of Badminton Asia Tong Yun Kai Cup 2019 group stage draw, stay tune for the video of the draw!All the best teams! pic.twitter.com/ephmeO1BwTBadminton Asia (@Badminton_Asia) February 28, 2019On the cut-off date, India were the sixth seeded team, behind Japan, China, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei and Thailand. Here are the rankings of the top Indian shuttlers/teams:Men’s singles: Kidambi Srikanth, world No.8Women’s singles: PV Sindhu, world No.6Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty, world No.20Women’s doubles: Ashwini Ponnappa-Sikki Reddy, world No.25Mixed doubles: Ashwini-Satwik, world No.24Even though India have been seeded according to the rankings of the above-mentioned shuttlers, Badminton Association of India (BAI) have announced a second-string team for the tournament, just like the other nations.advertisementMen: HS Prannoy, Sourabh Verma (both singles); MR Arjun, Shlok Ramchandran, Arun George, Sanyam Shukla (all doubles).Women: Ashmita Chaliha, Vaishnavi Bhale (both singles); Ashwini Bhat, Shikha Gautam, Rutaparna Panda, Arathi Sara Sunil, Mithula UK (all doubles).From each group, the top two teams will qualify for the knockout stages. There will be another draw for the knockout stage and teams from the same group will not be drawn to meet in the first round of knockouts.Also Read | Transitional struggle from junior to senior: Indian badminton’s not so smashing success storyAlso Read | National badminton champion Sourabh Verma rues lack of financial supportlast_img read more

How Did Codecademy Get 25 Million People Coding? Inside the Growth of a Movement [Podcast]

first_img Originally published Jul 2, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack “Everyone should learn how to code.”This has been the narrative in the technology industry over the last few years, and for good reason. Code is behind nearly everything we touch today. Even those who don’t have a desire to become a developer are learning to code in order to gain a fundamental understanding of how technology operates.At the forefront of this movement is Codeacademy. This online interactive platform offers free coding classes, and is quickly becoming a pillar in the New York City startup community. And it all started back in 2011, when co-founder Zach Sims dropped out of Columbia to start the company with Ryan Bubinski. Since then, they’ve helped nearly 25 million people learn how to code.Zach joins Mike on this episode of The Growth Show to talk about:How Codecademy was a viral phenomenonThe decision to drop out of an Ivy league school with only one year left until graduationThe choice to make Codecademy free for everyoneThe future of learning and how they’re re-thinking education from the bottom upClick the play button below to listen to this episode, or subscribe directly on iTunes and you’ll never miss a new episode: And if you’d like to see more recaps of the latest episodes of The Growth Show, click here.last_img read more

Password Statistics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [Infographic]

first_img Business Tools Topics: 369Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlackcenter_img When was the last time you changed your email password? Your Facebook password? How about your bank account password?If it’s been a while, you may want to take a few minutes and change ’em up. According to a survey of 2,000 people in the U.S. and the U.K., almost three-quarters of consumers use the same exact password for multiple accounts. What’s more, a large number of people haven’t changed that duplicate password in over five years.So it should come to no surprise that about 40% of people have had an online account hacked, a password stolen, or were notified their personal information had been compromised. But, although 8 in 10 people say they’re concerned about the security of their online accounts, they’re still using weak, old, or repeated passwords that can be easily stolen or hacked.How can you make sure your online accounts are safe? Check out the infographic below from TeleSign to learn more compelling statistics about password safety, common password mistakes to avoid, and how to protect your online accounts with more than just a password.369Save Originally published Aug 31, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated September 15 2015last_img read more

The 13 Best College Facebook Pages (And What Sets Them Apart)

first_img2) University of California BerkeleyUC Berkeley has cross-promotion across all their social media accounts down pat. During move-in week at the beginning of the academic year, the university called for students to post their moving day pictures and thoughts to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #BerkeleyBound as a top-of-the-funnel traffic driver. Originally published Sep 14, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated November 13 2019 The first thing you see when you visit a college or university’s Facebook Page is their cover photo. So you might visit a college’s Facebook Page that features a beautiful, colorful, high-definition cover photo and say, “Wow, they did a great job with their Facebook Page.”But, while the cover photo is certainly important, the very best college Facebook Pages go above and beyond simply looking good. The best ones engage their visitors with fun photos, videos, and campaigns. They cross-promote with other social networks. They include clear calls-to-action, and they guide visitors to specific initiatives the school is running.What does a great college Facebook Page look like? We’ve searched far and wide for some of the best Facebook Pages from colleges and universities. Check out the following 13 examples to inspire the design and strategy you employ for your own Page. Download our complete guide to using Facebook for business and marketing for free here. 13 of the Best College Facebook Pages1) Boston CollegeWhat makes Boston College’s undergraduate Facebook Page so special is how well the folks running it engage with fans, followers, and other departments and schools within the college. They use tagging and hashtags to coordinate with, for example, the BC Police Department: 5) University of Texas AustinNot many colleges and universities have taken advantage of Facebook’s call-to-action button feature, which lets Page admins choose a CTA button from a group of seven pre-made options — “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” “Book Now,” “Use App,” “Watch Video,” and “Play Game” — and link it to any other webpage that aligns with their goals. It’s too bad more brands haven’t adopted it, considering how prominent it is on the cover photo of a Facebook Page.UT Austin took advantage of the option, though, by placing a “Sign Up” CTA button that links to its newsletter subscription page. This is a great way to capture email addresses from not only prospective students, but also anyone interested in hearing from the university — from students to college counselors to prospective students’ parents.Plus, we love how UT Austin’s cover photo is edited with an orange hue, in keeping with their classic orange logo.6) Susquehanna UniversityHere’s an example of a Facebook Page that’s really focused on us, the visitors. Not only do the folks at Susquehanna post updates with cool photos and videos to their timeline, but they also have a message feature we haven’t seen featured front-and-center on many other Pages. Located on the top left-hand side of their Page right under the “Timeline” tab, you’ll find a link that reads “Very responsive to messages.”Click it, and you have the option to send a Facebook message directly to the university with the reassurance they’ll respond fairly quickly. That makes for an awesome user experience.7) University of New South WalesWhile most schools only have a few tabs on their Facebook Page to choose from, the University of New South Wales has 12 to choose from in addition to the four displayed at the top of its main Page. Among them is an events page that links to its full events calendar, a jobs page, and a preview of its awesome — and very active — Pinterest page. We also love its trivia page, where it asks students to answer four questions about things like when they start their day and how often they really attend lectures. These are fun, unique, and interactive ways to engage visitors and keep them on the Page for a long period of time.8) Boston UniversityFacebook has been pushing the use of video over the past year or so, most recently by extending autoplay video to its advertisers. The folks over at Boston University have taken full advantage of using video on their website by letting their “Videos” tab take a front seat on their Facebook Page. The videos on their Page are all beautifully and professionally shot and edited. The content is everything from seniors giving advice to new students to in-depth student stories — like this video about powerlifting, featuring senior Molly Kelly’s goal to break the American record for squats.9) Marquette UniversityMarquette doesn’t just cross promote on the classic social networks like Twitter and Instagram (which they do, a lot). They also use Facebook to promote the content from the university’s Medium page, “We Are Marquette,” which has stories by and about Marquette faculty, students, and alumni.Also, we love how refreshingly human some of their posts are. Exhibit A: Education Marketing 10) Princeton UniversityThe folks at Princeton know that it isn’t just current students who are checking out their Facebook Page. A lot of their visitors are prospective students. That’s why they’ve chosen to make a tab of their admission and financial aid information front-and-center on their Page.Click into the tab, and you’ll find a well-designed and well-curated collection of the most important information from their admissions website, including an embedded video on “the Princeton experience” and links to frequently asked questions for financial aid, applying, and international students.11) McGill UniversityMcGill is another example of a university taking advantage of Facebook’s call-to-action feature: Their “Contact Us” buttons links to a webpage listing the most frequently requested contacts at the school, which is quite relevant to people looking for contact information. But what we really love about their Facebook Page is that they cater to the Facebook audience by posting that fun, lighthearted content people actually like reading and sharing on Facebook.For example, they shared a news story about how their chef set a world record for largest smoothie. That’s definitely the type of post a college student would share with their friends on Facebook. Another great example? The post below sharing BuzzFeed article about Montreal. Topics:center_img And their alum Page: The cross promotion culminated in a compilation album on their Facebook Page (pictured below) and a compilation on their website of social engagements across all the social platforms.3) Michigan State UniversityFacebook Pages are meant to engage your fans and followers. Running contests, asking questions, and crowdsourcing content are all great ways to get people Liking, commenting on, and sharing your Facebook posts. Michigan State University knows this: They’re all about engaging people on Facebook.For example, check out their recent “Spartan Virtual Choir” campaign they launched to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the school’s fight song. Not only do they do a great job of promoting the campaign with interesting Facebook posts (like the video below), but they also updated the cover photo to include a “Share your voice” call-to-action to draw our attention to the campaign from the get-go. No doubt the finished product will be really cool video that’ll get a ton of love across all their social channels. 4) George Washington UniversityGeorge Washington University also does some creative stuff to engage their fans and followers on all different social networks. Check out how they featured a student’s tweet in their Facebook cover photo, even finding the perfect photo to pair with the tweet’s content. This is a great way to promote their #OnlyAtGW hashtag campaign not only on Facebook, but on other social networks like Twitter and Instagram, too. (Plus, it encourages people to check out their Twitter account.)GW runs a lot of hashtag campaigns that encourage students to post photos showing off their school pride, like with their weekly #PictureGW contest. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 12) University of GeorgiaWhile most colleges and universities stick an address and a phone number in the “About” section of their Facebook Pages and call it a day, the folks at the University of Georgia take it a step further. They know prospective students are looking at that “About” section for information about the school, so they stuck a fantastic and well-made video in there about the upcoming admissions season. Very timely and relevant.13) Kenyon CollegeKenyon College also uses the tabs on their Facebook Page to direct students to specific initiatives. In their case, it’s their Instagram account and a series of quirky admissions videos produced by Kenyon with the help of student interns. They’ve also taken advantage of the “Milestones” feature of the “About” section, filling in critical events in the college’s history dating back to its founding in 1824.last_img read more

Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Calendar [Free Download]

first_imgBetween the changing leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and football season, fall is here. This also means that the holidays will be here before you know it! As ecommerce marketers head into the busiest time of the year, there are a lot of dates to plan campaigns around, from shipping deadlines to the holidays themselves.Instead of spending time and effort keeping track of dates, you should be focused on driving revenue this season, whether you’re planning your 360 degree holiday campaigns well in advance or throwing together a last minute email strategy during the height of the holiday season to boost sales. To make it easier for you to focus on driving revenue, we created the Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Calendar to keep track of holidays and shipping deadlines for Holiday 2015. The Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Calendar is one-page printable calendar, that can also be installed on Gmail and Outlook, that compiles the upcoming holidays and shipping deadlines for USPS, FedEx and UPS, as well as resources to help you make the most of the season. You’ll be glad you have the information at your fingertips!Want to keep track of the important holidays and shipping deadlines? Download our Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Calendar to keep you organized this holiday season. Originally published Oct 23, 2015 10:36:16 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Holiday Marketing 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

10 Time Wasters That Limit Your Blogging Productivity (And How to Avoid Them)

first_img Topics: Productivity When it comes to blogging, there are tons of excuses we give ourselves (or sometimes our bosses) explaining why we just can’t get to writing them right now. While many of these excuses (not enough time, too busy with client work, no writers on staff to create content or edit it, etc.) may in fact be valid and perfectly understandable, it doesn’t change the fact that in order to have successful content marketing, you must also have frequent, relevant content to actually post, too.So instead of continuously finding reasons to put blogging on the back burner, why not define what the time wasters at work are that are preventing you from getting it done, and change them? Here are a few common ones to start off with that may help at your place of business:1) Ineffective Multi-taskingFor many of us, our day-to-day routine at work requires wearing a lot of hats and being an effective multi-tasker. But the truth is, we’re not as great at it as we think. In a recent study, Earl Miller—a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT—claimed that it is actually very difficult for people to fully focus on more than one thing at a time, but are much better at switching focus between tasks very quickly, giving the illusion of effective multi-tasking.An example might be someone thinking that they are effectively writing an email and talking on the phone at the same time. Because both involve communicating (whether verbal or written) and thus are competing to use the same part of the brain to complete them, we are not really multi-tasking—we’re simply switching our focus very rapidly back and forth between tasks.Tips for better blogging productivity:The goal is to be as effective as possible when it comes to productivity so you actually can have time for things like blogging. Try to stay focused on one task at a time. If your schedule allows for it, you can also try to prioritize your tasks into groups (i.e. lumping together tasks that are more communication-based, analytical-based, and so on and so forth.).2) Sitting in on Every MeetingWhen it comes to meetings, there are often many that are unnecessary for everyone to attend, or at least not for the whole duration of them. In some cases, meetings are planned with a clear topic and objective in mind, but often spiral off in tangents once the meetings have begun. Maybe that type of discussion is necessary for some roles, but it’s likely that the bulk of the staff are not needed in those.Tips for better blogging productivityFor those roles in a company that are designed to see things from a broader view (more managerial and directorial positions), these meetings might be necessary to attend. But other more task-oriented positions may benefit from just getting the highlights from one person who attended, as these individuals often have pressing deadlines that can get interrupted with too many meetings.Each meeting should also be directed with a clear topic of discussion that leads to each person’s/department’s specific action items, a realistic timeline and a follow-up meeting to go over the progress.3) Getting Sucked into the Black Hole that is Social MediaAlmost every one of us who have social media accounts are guilty of over-frequenting our news feeds at some point or another. Even if interacting on multiple social media platforms is a big part of your job, it’s important to set aside time for personal use, rather than during work hours. Overusing or stopping sporadically to check your accounts (even if for business purposes) can make it much more challenging to get back into a strong workflow.Tips for better blogging productivityInstead of reading up on current statuses, try scheduling out a short 30 minutes to read up on some of the top blogging best practices from the pros. There are a ton of great online resources for beginners and regular bloggers alike that discuss best practices for different types of blogs, too, including corporate/professional, personal, hobby/interest, community, etc. 4) Having a Disorganized WorkspaceThis is something that frequently gets overlooked, but can nonetheless be a big time waster. And many aren’t afraid to admit it. In fact, in an OfficeMax survey, it was found that out of 1,000 workers, 90 percent of them believe that clutter does, in fact, create a negative work environment. And 77 percent of them claimed that clutter also negatively affects their productivity. This accounts not only for tangible documents on your desk, but files on your desktop, unopened/unsorted emails and other similar digital materials that require sorting.Tips for better blogging productivityTry making it a habit to file a document away every time you create or acquire one. It will keep you from spending hours trying to search for something and prevent you from dedicating entire days to giving your workspace a thorough cleaning. Similar to the advice given by popular chefs and cooks today, forming the good habit of “cleaning as you go” will clear up a lot of time for you to do other things—in this case, getting crackin’ on that blog.5) ProcrastinatingProcrastination almost never works out for the better in any situation, but especially when it comes to the workplace. Waiting until the last minute to get things done can force you to push back other time-sensitive tasks, looping you into an endless cycle of overdue items.Tips for better blogging productivitySetting daily or hourly goals for getting things done can help you stay on track and avoid procrastinating. Treat it the way you would a bank account: you have X amount of dollars (in this case, hours) to get something done and once that’s gone you will have to get a loan with interest (hours from the next work day) to pay for your expenses.Sticking to this “budget” can help you visualize that procrastinating can actually accumulate a lot of work for you in the future, and hopefully help you find the time to squeeze in some writing time for your blog.6) Losing Focus Due to NoiseMany workplaces are now adapting to more collaborative spaces, ditching the individual offices and setting up cubicles/desks within an open, spacious area. The problem that often comes with this type of setup, however, is distraction due to high levels of noise in any one space.While some may argue that listening to music helps keep them focused, it really depends on the individual—how they work best and what type of work they’re trying to complete. In an inbound marketing agency, for example, someone in more of a designer or producer role might function more efficiently with some background music.A marketing strategist or content writer, on the other hand, may function better in silence. Either way, if the noise (music, internal conversations, conference calls on speaker phone, etc.) is not being controlled by the individual, it’s likely to distract them.Tips for better blogging productivityIf you’re wanting to make time for writing blog articles, you probably fall into the category that does better without noise. So if your office is typically on the noisy side, instead of staring at your computer screen for 10 minutes trying to finish writing the same dang sentence, try using some ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones at the first sign of distraction. You can then get in your own zone and tune your rambunctious coworkers out while you type.7) Socializing for Too LongLet’s face it: many of us like to socialize. Not necessarily because we’re all a bunch of gossips, but because we spend the majority of our days (and our weeks) with the people we work with, so we develop a desire to connect with them on a personal level.The problem comes in when a morning catch-up session or an afternoon instant-message conversation lasts for a couple of hours or half the day—it can certainly impede on productivity.Tips for better blogging productivityOne way to avoid this is by redirecting these chats to happen first thing in the morning, during a group lunch, at an after-work happy hour, or on a break. Set up a meeting in your calendar (even if it’s just with yourself) to block out some time just for blogging. If someone wants to chat during that time, simply ask to continue the conversation after your time block is over or at another time.8) Being a Literary PerfectionistPerhaps one of the biggest time wasters in the office has to do with the actual process we have for writing blogs. There’s a fair chance you may just be overdoing it. Similar to how a designer can sometimes forget the value of white space, many of us wordsmiths sometimes forget the value of conciseness. Just because you’re creating a piece of content doesn’t mean your viewers are going to spend time like they would reading their favorite novel to absorb it all.In fact, in an article by the research company Nielsen Norman Group that discusses how little online materials are actually read by users, results showed that the average viewer only has time to read about 28 percent of the words on any given Web page. That’s why it’s important to stay focused and get to the point.Tips for better blogging productivityStart your process by creating an outline. It should consist of:The blog topic or headline you’d like to write aboutA list of the direct points you want to makeA clear CTA, or direct action you’d like the viewer to takeOutlining these basic components (and actually writing them out) can help serve as a reminder of what’s really important in this piece.9) Not Asking QuestionsSometimes the reason we procrastinate is because we’re unsure of how to get something done or we’re not entirely sure what the objective of the task is. Not asking questions for clarification right off the bat, or even along the way, can become a huge waste of time.Whether it’s not knowing where to research something, who to contact, what message you’re trying to convey in an email, or something similar, being confused about a task and not asking for clarification can lead to procrastination or double the work later on.Tips for better blogging productivityAsk a bunch of questions right off the bat if you’re unsure of how to complete the task at hand, and be sure you have (or can quickly get) the answers before blindly attempting to do it. With all the right tools and information, you’re bound to increase productivity. And increased productivity means more time for blogging.10) Visiting Non-Work Related Websites Throughout the DayAnother big distraction and time waster at work is the Internet. Of course, many of us depend on it to get work done for our employers, but according to a Salary.com survey, approximately 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites every day during work hours. The survey also concluded that these websites also kept most employees off-task and unproductive.Tips for better blogging productivityIf you find yourself needing a quick break from your day-to-day tasks and find yourself wanting to browse the Web a bit, try visiting a few popular blogs from leaders in your industry to get some inspiration for content to use in your own blog. This way, taking a break from the grind of work can be still be productive, as it’s helping you research for your next article. Originally published Nov 20, 2015 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

12 Tips for Writing With Unforgettable Personality

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 Writing Skills Originally published Nov 23, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated July 24 2019 Topics: The best writers aren’t necessarily the smartest, the smoothest, or those with the biggest vocabulary. The best writers are those that possess an unforgettable personality.A writing personality is just as real, unique, and nuanced as your personality in everyday life — except you only release it when you create content. And if you can create content that brims with personality, I guarantee that people will love reading it. They’ll come back to it again and again. They will share it.Your personality becomes your authentic signature, a trademark that appeals to your target audience. Not to mention, it’ll serve as a source of incredible brand power and potential. Want to let yourself shine through in your writing? Check out these 12 methods for writing with unforgettable personality.Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates12 Methods for Writing With Unforgettable Personality1) Embrace your (writing) personality.The problem with a writing personality is that most people don’t realize that they should have one. Instead, they try to follow the rules and regulations handed down to them by a well-meaning 10th-grade composition teacher. Or, if they do realize the importance of a writing personality, they try to mimic someone else’s personality.Neither of these is the right approach. You can’t “follow the rules” and expect to have an unforgettable personality. Nor can you try to force a personality that isn’t yours.You have to discover and shape your own personality in your writing. It takes time and effort, but it’s possible. Each of these tips will help you do just that.2) Pick a focus and stick to it.To have a consistent writing personality, you need to start by having a consistent area of focus. This can be something broad like marketing or more specific like social media. The important thing is that you’re not all over the place. After all, one of the basic tenets of content marketing is dominating a niche. This aids your SEO and your entire digital marketing effort. Food blogger Ree Drummond is a great example of a writer who has a clear topic. She could write about anything and do a darn good job, however, she uses her writing personality to focus on one topic, and one topic only.3) Break grammar rules.Some people are inveterate rule breakers. And that’s okay. While we don’t recommend you throw grammar out the window, breaking a rule every once and a while can serve as a great way to amp up your personality.What kind of grammar rules should you break? It depends. Here are some common ones:Sentence fragments: “Seriously. I mean, people, really.”Punctuation: “I. Just. Can’t. Even.”Starting sentences with conjunctions: “But I’m okay with that.”Using “like”: “It’s not like you’ve sinned.”Using a preposition at the end of a sentence: “You’ve got to get your traffic up!”Again, be careful with rule-breaking. If you’re frivolous with your grammar, people may start to suspect your intelligence rather than respect your personality.I like what T. S. Eliot, an iconoclastic poet, wrote about rules:Credit: AZ Quotes4) Get to know your audience better.The principal group of people who should shape your personality is your audience.Why? Because they are the ones consuming, accessing, and subscribing to it. Make sure that your personality does not cross their boundaries of proprietary, offend their sensibilities, or rub them the wrong way.Comedian Milton Berle used to tell five one liners at the beginning of each routine. Based on the laughter from each one, he would know how to shape the rest of his routine.His overall personality was, of course, funny guy. But he tailored his funnies to the particular audience.You can do the same thing with your writing. You don’t need to reshape your entire personality, but you should adapt it to your specific audience. And the better you get to know your audience through social media, blog comments, in-person interactions, and research, the better you’ll be able to tailor your personality to them.5) Highlight a personality trait that you have in real life.Your writing personality isn’t exactly the same as your real life personality. Writing and in-person interactions are intrinsically different. However, there is usually some overlap.If you’re known as a smart and serious individual in person, then your writing can convey that. If people know you as “the funny guy,” then let your humor shine through in your writing.It’s your personality. Own it.Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal creates hilarious content and comics.Credit: The OatmealPeople expect Matthew to be a funny guy. And he is.The lesson? If you find a way to infuse your writing with your real life personality, go for it. After all, people like reading content that feels like it has actually been written by a human.6) Talk about yourself.To truly own your personality, you have to talk about yourself. Many successful bloggers and writers aren’t afraid of using “I,” “me,” and “my.” It’s not self-centered. It’s just a natural way of communicating.Michael Hyatt runs a successful blog that reaches tens of thousands of people. His writing is personal, and he refers to himself.Take this recent post as an example. He refers to himself seven times in the first few sentences.While this is a great way to show off your personality, it’s important that you also remain focused on your readers. And their wants. And their needs. Inserting yourself into your work makes it easier for people to connect with you, but at the end of the day, you’re creating content for them, not you. 7) Write like you talk.Writing like you talk is generally a good idea. Obviously, you want to cut out useless filler words. “Um” and “uh” aren’t necessary in writing.At the same time, your style of speech is a mark of your personality. If you’re sarcastic, gentle, incisive, crude, bombastic, or use outrageous expressions, shake a little bit of this into your writing.8) Stay organized.Don’t allow your personality, whatever it is, to throw off your organization.Good writing is inherently organized. If you have a disorganized and scatterbrained personality in real life, don’t try to import this into your writing. People don’t like to read scattered and disorganized content. Create an outline and stick to it.Tim Ferriss is an example of someone who writes brilliant content. Often, his articles are far-ranging, discussing things like chickpeas and angel investing (like this one).However, Ferriss maintains a well-ordered structure in each article. His personality is evident in the way that he can move from subject to subject while keeping his outline intact.9) Find a trademark technique.To create personality, find a trademark technique that you can use every time you produce content. One of my trademarks is asking a question at the end of every article. James Clear’s trademark is starting each article with a true story from history.Here’s one of Clear’s articles, in which he tells the story of Robert Wadlow:Clear’s next article starts with a story, too.And so on…Clear’s readers have come to know and expect this style. It’s his consistent trademark, and an excellent facet of his writing personality.10) Write in a way that you enjoy.When you enjoy the way that you write, you know you’re hitting a personality stride.Blogger Crystal Paine explains in her book, Money Making Mom, that when she wrote about her daily life, challenges, and similar topics, she found fulfillment and joy.Her readers could tell a difference, too, and they responded with strong affirmation.While Crystal still posts about daily deals and giveaways, her best posts are the ones that are filled with her personality.A post about daily stress garnered lots of shares:But a post about a daily deal was less impactful:11) Be authentic.If you’re forcing it, people can tell.A personality can’t be forced, so use your normal personality to infuse your writing.Ramit Sethi is completely authentic in his writing. His personality is everywhere. You read a single post, and you practically feel like you know him.If Ramit wants to swear, he swears. If he wants to be rude, he’s rude. If he wants to tell someone off, he does it.This is his personality, and he’s being authentic. While this might not work for every business or industry, inserting a bit of authenticity into your writing can help to make it more relatable. 12) Commit to your style.Once you get into the groove of your personality, don’t change it. Your audience expects you to be a certain way, write a certain way, and convey information in a certain way.Seth Godin is a brilliant writer. Even though a lot of conventional content marketing wisdom says to create long-form, image-heavy content, Godin doesn’t go for it.Instead, he creates bite-sized articles with no images.Is that okay? Yes. Because it’s his style.(Besides, Seth Godin is basically the king of marketing, so he gets to write some of the rules.)Finding your style and sticking with it will serve you much better than flitting off to create a new personality, even if it does seem better.Ready to let your personality shine?You won’t write like Seth Godin, James Clear, Tim Ferriss, or Crystal Paine. That’s okay.You are you, and your writing needs to have your fingerprints, timbre, voice, and personality all over it. Unleashing that personality in your writing starts with knowing it, owning it, and not being afraid to let it loose.What’s your writing personality? How does this impact your writing?last_img read more

How to Have More Productive Group Brainstorms: 10 Tips to Get Everyone Involved

first_imgThe lesson? Go outside, try a new room, stand in the hallway, go out for lunch … just get out.9) Avoid letting the leader start. Having a brainstorm with a mix of executives, upper management, and their reports? It’s often best to ask management to save their suggestions until others have had a chance to toss around some ideas. “Participants who are easily intimidated will hitch their wagons to the boss’s ideas, probably at the expense of their own creativity. And more rebellious participants won’t come near the boss’s ideas, even though those ideas might indeed have merit,” explains Sam Harrison, author to several books on creative ideas. It’s also important to note that anchoring bias — our tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information offered — also plays a role in this type of scenario. If you allow the leader to speak first, it can become difficult for other group members to look beyond their initial judgment, and ultimately hold them back from offering new ideas. 10) Provide visual tools. Considering approximately 65% of the population are visual learners, it’d be limiting to reserve brainstorms for just verbal communication. Some ideas require a diagram or a doodle. Others require an elaborate map that stretches from one side of the white board to the other. In order for everyone in the group to truly understand one another’s ideas, it’s important that you provide the means to explain things visually. Don’t have access to a room with a white board? Create a kit that can be used whenever someone at your company holds a brainstorm. This can be a box filled with paper, markers, scissors, clay, string, wire, Legos, tape, etc. Sure, it sounds a lot like arts and crafts, but these types of tools allow for hands-on brainstorming — which could be the key to unlocking your team’s creativity. How does your team approach brainstorming? Share your favorite tips and tricks in the comments. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack How many times have you uttered the phrase, “I wish I’d thought of that”?It often seems that certain people have the power to formulate creative, inspired ideas, but the truth is, you and I are just as capable as the next person. Sure, unleashing your creativity isn’t always easy — especially when you’re brainstorming in a group setting. In order to keep your business competitive and have more productive brainstorms, you need to account for different personality types, points of view, and preferred ways of learning.To help you hold more meaningful group brainstorms, embrace the following tips and tricks. From icebreakers to games to free tools, you’re sure to find an approach that gets the wheels turning for your team.How to Have More Productive Group Brainstorms1) Allow people to submit ideas anonymously.It’s a paranoia shared by all human species: What will other people think? When it comes to brainstorming, sometimes our wildest, craziest, most unrealistic ideas happen to be our best ones. Unfortunately, many of them never see the light of day, as we are often plagued by our unproductive obsession with what might happen if we speak up. Best defined by the concept of evaluation apprehension, this all-too-common anxiety can suck the innovation right out of your group brainstorm. To combat it, consider asking members of the group to submit ideas anonymously before the meeting.If you’re looking for a handy tool to help simplify collecting anonymous suggestions, check out Free Suggestion Box. This easy-to-use website lets you set up a suggestion box, share the box’s unique URL with your teammates, and collect their honest feedback without revealing their identities. Check it out:2) Ask people to come prepared.While it may seem obvious, often times people come to brainstorms without having put much thought into the topic at hand. This can lead to a lot of awkward silences and a lot less creative thinking. The solution?”What the most creative companies do is tell the members of the group to come up with lists of ideas before they come to the brainstorming session. What the group is really powerful for is exchanging ideas and then having ideas bump up against one another and merge in surprising new ways that any one person might not have thought of on their own,” notes creativity expert Keith Sawyer.In other words, by asking group members to bring a few ideas to the table, you create a launching point for more ideas to surface. To enforce this, you might want to pass around a spreadsheet for collecting ideas prior to the meeting. 3) Gamify it.Move over brainstorming, there’s a new technique in town: Gamestorming. This new way of looking at brainstorming opens up an opportunity for people to have fun while surfacing results. It’s visual, messy, loud, and innovative … just like brainstorming should be. Interested in trying it out in your next group brainstorm? Here are a few exercises:Squiggle Birds: Want to stretch your visual thinking muscles? This activity will help you do just that. [Learn How to Play]Draw Toast: Need a fun way to get people warmed up and thinking systematically? Ask them how to make toast. [Learn How to Play]Carousel: If you’re looking to come up with a fresh solution to a problem, this quick exercise will help you gather and share insight from all points of view. [Learn How to Play]4) Start with an icebreaker.When you’re jumping from meeting to meeting, getting in the right frame of mind to think creatively can be challenging. You’re thinking about your social media engagement, budgeting issues, and unanswered emails, all while also trying to bring something constructive to the table.Depending on the focus of your brainstorm, there are a ton of interesting icebreakers you can kick off your meeting with. For example, if you’re brainstorming idea for a particular demographic, PR Daily suggests that you ask the group to pretend that they are planning a party for the audience you’re looking to reach. They should determine specific details — venue, playlist, menu, theme, etc. — in order to get in the mindset of the group you’re targeting.Another option? Word association. Help your group start thinking about the bigger picture by creating a word web of terms that relate to your challenge or promotion. From here, you can identify patterns and trends that will prove useful when developing ideas.5) Invite an outsider.There are a ton of cognitive biases that influence the decisions we make, and failing to recognize your own biases is a bias in itself — it’s called blind spot bias.  Considering it’s much easier for people to recognize cognitive and motivational biases in others than it is to identify them in oneself, it’s a good idea to brainstorm and come to decisions with the help of a group. But not just any old group will do …In an effort to take a step back from the situation, try inviting someone from a different team, department, or level of the organization to join your brainstorm. By having an outsider in the room, it’ll be easier to minimize biases, as this person can serve as a devil’s advocate for your ideas. 6) Host the brainstorm online. Whether some of your team members work remotely or you sit side-by-side, choosing to hold an online brainstorm could be the solution you’ve been looking for. A study on electronic brainstorming and group size found that larger groups were able to come up with more unique, high-quality ideas when they used electronic brainstorming versus verbal. Not to mention, members expressed more satisfaction when participating in this format. Why? The research concluded that electronic brainstorming has the ability to reduce production blocking, in which waiting your turn interferes with the cognitive process of generating ideas. 7) Set a fleeting deadline.As many of us know all too well, sometimes all it takes is the looming threat of a deadline to ignite action. Much like leveraging the Pomodoro Technique — in which you work in brief, 25-minute stints with breaks — limiting the time you spend on a group brainstorm could serve as a helpful kick in the pants for all involved. Rather than giving yourself too much time and space to come up with ideas, creative Nicole Steinbok suggests you hold a 22-minute meeting. The way Steinbok sees it, this limited deadline typically provides just enough time to accomplish an intended goal — without having to deal with all the banter. Here’s a look at how the ideal 22-minute meeting should play out:8) Opt for a change of scenery.Are you holding your brainstorms in the same meeting room every time? Switch it up.  According to an article on study habits from The New York Times, our brains make subtle associations between what we’re focusing on and the background sensations at the time. For example, a 1978 experiment found that students who studied 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms performed better than students who studied the words twice in the same room. Productivitycenter_img Topics: Originally published Dec 4, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated December 01 2017 “What we think is happening here is that, when the outside context is varied, the information is enriched, and this slows down forgetting,” psychologist Robert A. Bjork suggests.last_img read more

4 Strategies to Help Maintain Lead Quality in Your Database

first_img Originally published Nov 25, 2015 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Lead Generation Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack When you first implemented inbound marketing for your business, you knew that you were building a system that utilized high quality content to help generate high quality leads from your website. Flashes of the film Field of Dreams probably kept running through your head as you optimized your website for conversions and started pumping out blogs and offers at a regular basis.If you build it, they will come.And boy did they! Inbound marketing has proven time and time again to be an extremely successful philosophy that can help generate leads for businesses through online sources. Sadly, though, few people will tell you that not all of those leads are quality.Alongside your actual business prospects who will fill out forms on your website are vendors looking to sell you something, competitors looking to read your content and foreign marketers just looking to read what you have to offer, among others. None of these people will ever become customers yet they will take up as much, if not more space in your database doing absolutely nothing for you, and that might be more of a problem than you think.The Cost of Bad LeadsDepending on what type of marketing database, sales CRM or email marketing tools you’re using, you could be paying a premium to house and market to these contacts. Database limits and cost-per-send rates aren’t to be taken lightly, as they can lead to a business throwing away thousands of dollars a year.Outside of cost, a database filled with suspect leads can also skew marketing metrics and negatively affect sales follow up to actual qualified leads. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 4 different tricks I continue to use in my campaigns to help maintain a clean database filled with only qualified leads.1) Have Your Forms be the First Line of DefenseThe first and probably best way to ensure a clean database is to establish rules and triggers connected to your forms to help you either keep low quality leads out altogether or sort them after the fact. Email form field rules and additional form fields asking for qualifying information are some great options.Email Form FieldsOften times in B2B campaigns, you can tell if a lead is legitimate or not based on what kind of email address they provide. Competitors may use their personal email addresses to mask their true identity while vendors and others might use blacklisted addresses linked heavily with spam. If you face this regularly, block them from submitting your forms by comparing their email domains against a list of free, spammy email providers alongside your own list of providers. Not only will this help collect relevant email addresses from qualified leads for your sales team but it will also keep out the unqualified people who may be unwilling or unable to provide their real email addresses.Additional Form FieldsNot all forms can be set up to automatically determine if a lead is qualified and has the right intentions on the same page and that’s ok. People are smart and will often times do whatever it takes to submit a form on your website for one reason or another.When it comes to dealing with these people, don’t fight them too hard with multiple safeguards like CAPTCHA fields (not always a bad idea though) and other filtering mechanisms, but instead looks to collect seemingly generic information that only you know to be a qualifier or disqualifier for your business.Items such as geographic information, company size and industry can help you quickly understand if the person submitting the form is qualified as a potential sales prospect quickly based on where and who your company is looking to work with.2) Corral the Ones That Slip ThroughAs I alluded to above, people are smart and are sooner or later going to successfully submit a form on your website to read your content and that’s ok. You haven’t lost just because someone was able to provide a real email and select the right form field.In fact, they have played straight into your hands! Now that you’ve collected their information and have stored it (temporarily) in your database, it will be easy to quickly review if they are or are not meant to take up your precious storage space both using automated and manual techniques.List CreationWhen it comes to keeping a clean database, establishing smart lists to uncover and track unqualified leads in your database is key. Based on who your business is targeting and where you are looking to do business, there are a number of simple rules you can establish to quickly pull in a list of potentially unqualified leads currently in your database.If you are an American business looking to only work within the states, establishing a list that tracks any and all leads with known IP addresses outside the US can quickly show you foreign contacts who you will never do business with.If you collected qualifying information in your forms, you can create lists to track any answers that disqualify a lead as well. Once you’ve established a list or lists that track all of these disqualifying factors, you can easily clean your database with a simple click (after reviewing the list thoroughly, of course).Manual TrimmingWhile smart lists will help you quickly wrangle and delete any contacts with measurable values, there are others still that may require more of a manual process when it comes to keeping a clean database. Form submissions with names (Test Test) and phone numbers (123456789) are solid indicators that a lead in unqualified and not work the space to house their obviously fake information.While you may be able to set up rules to catch some of this, there are too many different ways that people can submit false information to effectively automate the review process so instead, rely on your experience and eye for these submissions as they come into your database. Set yourself up to receive email notifications once a form is submitted and spend time daily or weekly reviewing them to see if any are clearly fake. From there, you can manually delete them from your database without much effort.3) Monitor EngagementWhile it can be very easy to tell the difference between a potential business opportunity and a vendor or competitor, it can be much more difficult to tell whether or not a seemingly qualified lead is actively engaged with your content in a positive manner. Whether through engagement with your emails or through specific, negative actions on your website, there are signs that can be monitored to tell if leads are truly qualified.Email Marketing ReviewWhile marketers always crave engagement with their emails, not all actions are always a good thing. Contacts looking to unsubscribe from your lists still must open and click through the original email, so keeping an eye on what links are being clicked on a regular basis is always a good idea. Identify those that are unsubscribing from your communications, placing your emails in their junk folders, or are having your emails bounce on a regular basis. This information can be used to establish a list of people no longer engaging with your content.After reviewing this list (potentially with your sales team), delete those who you believe are no longer qualified to be in your database before then establishing a plan of attack to legally target those who your sales team still believes to be opportunities.Negative Website ActivitiesWhile normally connected with an unqualified or fake submission, there are some cases where a seemingly qualified lead can perform specific actions on your website that may raise some red flags. Multiple conversions on any and all offers on your website, while not always a bad thing, can often point to a contact trying to collect anything and everything you’ve written for less than noble purposes.Tracking people who convert on multiple forms via a smart list or keeping an eye on any large amounts of conversions at one time via notification emails should allow you to see when someone is going on a “download spree” and give you the opportunity to remove them from your system once they’ve stopped.4) Stay Connected with Your Sales Team’s FunnelEven truly qualified leads will need to leave your marketing database at one point or another. Either they go through the entire sales process and become a customer (and are added to the CRM), speak with your sales team but decide to go elsewhere (and are then sent to the CRM for future contact) or they “go dark.”For those who do go dark, it can be tough to know where to put them within your marketing database and sales CRM. On one hand, your sales team can’t be wasting their time trying to continually contact people who won’t respond, but on the other hand you can’t necessarily market to these people in the same way you would a new prospect.When faced with this dilemma, work with your sales team to create a custom nurturing campaign that can take these “recycled” leads who have gone dark and slowly send them customized content to bring them back into the sales cycle. If successful, you can bring back old prospects who may have just needed more time. If unsuccessful, you have a list of people who have shown to be disengaged and not worth keeping as a contact.Now of course, this strategy can differ depending on your sales team’s philosophy on when to give up on leads, but it still allows you to at least start the conversation around how long is too long for a disengaged lead to stay in a full database.The Bottom LineWhether you’re a mature inbound campaign or just implementing your first blog post and offer, a clean and consistently scrubbed database is paramount to the overall success of a campaign when it comes to providing ROI. The benefits of keeping that database clean go far beyond keeping your superior sane– they can help your campaign save money on software and storage while improving overall lead to customer conversion rates.While not the easiest (or sexiest) job within digital marketing, if you use any or all of the four steps listed above, your “cleaning time” can be significantly shortened and made smarter. That’s a movement that you, your sales team and your company can get behind.last_img read more

The Pocket Guide to Grammar: Important Tips & Rules Everyone Should Follow [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Jan 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM, updated July 17 2018 Topics: 276Save Grammar Failscenter_img Do you compliment your friend on his new haircut, or complement him? Did that movie have an affect on you, or an effect? Did you walk fewer steps or less steps than you did yesterday?The English language is full of confusing spelling and grammar rules. It doesn’t matter if you’re still a student or writing professionally for your job: From time to time, we all need a little reminder for how to spell a difficult word or whether it’s okay to start a sentence with “and.”Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post TemplatesThat’s why the folks over at urbanest created the cheat sheet below. It covers a variety of useful grammar and spelling rules in the English language, including punctuation tips, commonly misspelled words, and even the grammar rules that can and should (gasp!) be broken. This is one you’ll want to bookmark for future reference.(And if you want to study up on grammar even more, read this blog post to learn 25 of the most common grammatical errors we all need to stop making.)276Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Stay Calm Under Pressure [Infographic]

first_img Work Life Balance Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 16, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 In small doses, stress can actually be good for us. It helps motivate us to focus on our work and can seriously fuel our productivity. When it’s over, if we’ve done a good job, it can provide us with an even greater sense of accomplishment than we’d have otherwise.But, as we all know, stress can also make us feel overwhelmed. It can take over our senses and make it really hard to concentrate.When we’re faced with a difficult situation and we feel our stress levels start to increase, the ability to stay calm can make a huge difference in the outcome. Whether you’re a doctor, a barista, or a marketer, using techniques to stay calm when you’re under pressure will do wonders for your career, your health, and your sense of well-being.What exactly goes on inside your mind when you’re stressed? And how can you learn to keep calm, trust yourself, and be a leader in the face of hard situations? Check out the infographic below from Pounds to Pocket to learn the answers to these questions and more. (And read this blog post to learn how 9 high-profile professionals stay calm under pressure.)6K+Save6K+SaveWhat other tips do you have on staying calm in times of stress? Share with us in the comments.last_img read more

11 of the Best Microsite Examples We’ve Ever Seen

first_img Website Design Examples Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 4, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics:center_img They say the best things often come in small packages. Think about it: jewelry, Snapchats, books, the keys to a brand new car … all of these things support this notion. And with our attention spans shrinking below that of a goldfish, it should come as no surprise that we’re beginning to crave more focused content at a smaller scale, too. Enter the rise of microsites. Unlike regular websites, microsites tend to be rather simplistic and easier to navigate. This isn’t to say they won’t make you want to poke around for a while, though. In fact, the really great ones do just that.Click here to download our curated collection of interactive content examples. Ready to see a few use cases? Check out the list below for some great examples of microsites in action. Note: There is profanity in example seven, so scroll on by if that’s not your cup of tea.What Is a Microsite?A microsite is an individual web page or small cluster of web pages that act as a separate entity for a brand. A microsite typically lives on its own domain, but some exist as a subdomain. Microsites can be used to help brands achieve a number of things. For example, some companies have used them to highlight a specific campaign or target specific buyer personas. Others have used them to tell a short story, or to inspire a specific call-to-action.11 Examples of Ingenious Microsites1) YearInMusic.Spotify.com | SpotifyAside from serving as a painful reminder of how many Justin Bieber song I listened to on repeat last year, Spotify’s Year in Music has proven to be one of the most well executed microsites we’ve ever seen.Commonly referred to a “celebration” of the music that carried us through the year prior, Spotify’s interactive site is personalized especially for you, based on your listening habits. What exactly does that mean? Well, the tool makes it easy for you to create a personalized recap that incorporates details such as your first played song, top artists by season, and how much time you spent listening. The experience is unique to the user, making it fun for them to share and compare their synopsis with their friends. And when it comes to sharing, the microsite makes it really easy. Every stat that the site pulls for you can be shared on social media thanks to a handy button at the bottom right of the screen.2) DangersOfFracking.com | Linda DongIn an effort to gain support for the FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act), Interaction and Industrial Designer Linda Dong designed a beautiful microsite that uses parallax design to tell the story about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing.The story starts with a water droplet falling from a cloud, and as you scroll down through the site, you follow the water droplet as it’s taken from truck to fracturing site, turned into tracking fluid, and sent down a gas well into the ground. Along the way, you encounter floating facts and statistics about the dangers of fracking until you encounter two simple calls-to-action at the very end: “Contact your local officials” and “Join or support your local organization.”Microsites like this one are heavily focused on using directional cues (in this case, the parallax movement) to drive users to complete a certain call-to-action — so any other distraction or navigation bar is removed entirely. If your microsite focuses on one or two calls-to-action, make sure they are concise and actionable like this one is, and that you set them apart visually from the rest of the site by making the font color pop or putting the copy in a button.3) UrWhatUPost.com | Bolthouse Farms”Why should junk food get all the glory?”You’re asked this question when you first arrive to BoltHouse Farms’ microsite, UrWhatUPost.com. BoltHouse Farms created the site to show people how many social media conversations were happening about healthy foods versus unhealthy foods. To do this, they collected #UrWhatUPost hashtags and tracked the kinds of foods we share on social media, then pit the healthy stuff, like #grapes, against the unhealthy stuff, like #icecream. The goal of the website is aligned with their overall company mission: To change the way people think (and post) about healthy food.Bolthouse Farms proves microsites don’t have to be minimalist. The pages on the site are colorful and animated, with words and moving numbers turning into dangling carrots and swinging pomegranates. Click on a food item and magic happens — every food item is different. Click on a pomegranate and you can “hit” it with your clicker like a piñata. Click on a melon and you’re taken to a “melon meditation” page, kind of akin to the iTunes Visualizer. 4) Dominosdxp.com | Domino’s PizzaLast year, Domino’s announced their new Chevy Spark pizza delivery cars, known as DXPs. The cars were purposefully re-engineered for pizza delivery, and as a result, they boast a ton of awesome features — like an oven where the left door should be, space for up to 80 pizzas, custom storage for sauces and drinks.To show off this awesomeness, they recently launched a dedicated microsite detailing all things DXP.The site is heavily interactive website enables visitors to zoom in each of the features to gain a better understanding of the purpose and level of thought that went into each addition. The entire site is also skillfully animated, making it really interesting to learn about each feature.If nothing else, this is a great example of how to take a fairly complex product or idea and promote and explain it in a way that’s both fun and easily digestible. But don’t just take our word for it … visit the website to explore for yourself. 5) EmojiTracker.com | Matthew RothenbergThere is no “point” to emojitracker.com — it was created by Matthew Rothenberg, former Head of Product at Flickr and Bitly, as an experiment in real-time tracking of all emojis used on Twitter.The only calls-to-action on the site are the tweet and follow buttons at the very bottom. Otherwise, it’s just for pure interest. With no navigation bar or way to get to another site, it might actually be confusing to some people.Technically, it breaks the rules of good user interface design, but it goes to show that microsites don’t need to have complicated designs. Keep it simple to keep people on the page without taking up too much of their time.6) Fu2016.com | House of CardsStep aside, Donald Trump. There’s a new presidential candidate taking the internet by storm with this impressive, interactive microsite. If you’re not familiar with the Netflix series “House of Cards,” the program follows a man named Francis Underwood, a ruthless politician with a hidden agenda. As the series enters season four, they’re promoted the premiere with a clever microsite that pokes fun at politics. Talk about perfect timing, amirite?The microsite invites visitors to join Underwood’s movement and rally support for “important” issues such as inequality, dishonesty, and entitlement. But jokes aside, what we love most about this microsite is the design. In fact, you could easily argue that the site functions better than those of actual presidential candidates. From Underwoods attention-grabbing, shifty eyes (visit the website to see for yourself) to the high-quality videos, the microsite draws you in and provides good reasons for you to stick around and engage with the content.7) WhatTheF*ckShouldIMakeForDinner.com | Zach GoldenDon’t have a big budget? Take a hint from Zach Golden, author of What The F*ck Should I Make For Dinner?, who created a microsite to promote the book. Earmuffs, kids.The site has a very simple layout: A rotating “purpose of the recipe” line, a rotating recipe from the book, and three links that let you kind of “choose your own journey.” It has a black-and-white, minimalist theme; uses all caps; and places a small call-to-action in the corner that promotes his book. That’s it. Media company Digiday took a cue from Golden and used his microsite template to conduct an experiment of their own. They created the microsite WhatTheF*ckIsMyTwitterBio.com — with zero media budget — to see if the content would go viral and help build their brand.”Thanks to the open-source WTFEngine by Justin Windle, some cheap Web hosting and a $12 domain registration, WhatTheF*ckIsMyTwitterBio.com was up and running in under two hours,” reads Digiday’s press release. “Step two was populating the site with content, which took [two hours].”Their biggest takeaway? That good copy works. “We didn’t spend a dime promoting the site, and it reached nearly 100,000 unique users ‘organically.'”8) ElfYourself.com | OfficeMaxYou didn’t think I could write a blog post about microsites and not include ElfYourself, did you? Of course not. The screenshot below shows what the website looks like right now, but come the holiday season, expect your inbox to be rife with ElfYourself animations again this year because ElfYourself isn’t going away.What made the site so popular? Other than being hilarious, it’s also easily shareable, has a single call-to-action, and makes the users the stars. “It brought the brand to life for consumers,” wrote Kenneth Hein in Forbes, “and for the business-to-business crowd it provided a human face for the big box retailer.”In other words, Office Max used the microsite to be creative and let their freak flag fly, and it worked like a charm. They focused the campaign on the consumers, not the brand — but the sales tie-in came at the end of the ElfYourself videos in the form of coupons and promos. 9) TasteTheFeeling.Coca-Cola.com | Coca-ColaLet’s face it: We all love GIFs. And the folks at Coca-Cola have tapped into this inevitable admiration by creating a immersive online experience in the shape of the “Taste the Feeling” microsite. Here’s how it works: When users land on the page, they’re met with a two-minute music video set to the sounds of a custom campaign anthem from Avicii and Conrad Sewell. The video is made up of looping, three-second GIFs that depict the many emotions felt by Coca-Cola drinkers. As you watch, you can select an emotion by clicking on one of the 32 emotion-based icons, or enter your own emotion to pull up a corresponding GIF. All of the GIFs are easily sharable on social media, which serves as a great way to draw people back to the site to engage with the content. This microsite also serves as a great example for those interested in globalizing their campaign assets, as it’s available in more than 20 different languages. 10) Inside.Chanel.com | ChanelInside Chanel is a microsite that “works to inform consumers about the house’s history and heritage through video and multimedia content,” according to Luxury Daily. The site houses a ton of short, social videos that chronicle the people, places, things, and events that have contributed to continued success of this iconic fashion brand.The purpose? “The strategy behind this microsite is to create some accessibility of Chanel’s history, but more importantly, their success throughout the years,” explains Dalia Strum, president of Dalia Inc.We love their video-centric approach to visual storytelling. Each of the videos aims to pull back the curtain and give visitors an exclusive look at behind the scenes photos and stories, as they pertain to different aspects of the brand — color, couture, and so on.It’s important to note that this site isn’t Chanel’s first stab at microsite creation. In fact, the brand has experimented with multiple microsite formats, including the editorial-style site Chanel News:11) BurgerBff.com | Mellow MushroomThis microsite from the folks at Mellow Mushroom — a pizzeria franchise established in Atlanta, Georgia — was created to support their recent “Burger BFF” campaign. The campaign was launched to create buzz for their new menu items: Herb (a vegetarian burger) and Carnie (a beef burger). The menu items have been adapted into cartoon BFFs for the sake of the campaign … and the result is pretty lovable.Mellow Mushroom uses the microsite as a way to promote a contest for a chance to win a round trip to Denver or Seattle with their bestie. And it does so in a number of really fun and interesting ways. For example, one section of the site invites visitors to use the hashtag #BurgerBFF to enter the contest and show off their best burger shots on Instagram:But that’s not all: The site also offers visitors several other engaging, interactive ways to enter the contest, including quizzes and a Mad Libs-style storytelling generator. Here are 11 pricing page examples you’ll want to check out.last_img read more

8 Time-Saving Excel Shortcuts Worth Memorizing [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Apr 11, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 If I had a nickel for every hour I wasted trying to figure something out in Excel, I’d have quite the coin collection. Don’t get me wrong: Excel is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to collecting and analyzing data. But unless you’re a power user, it can be tricky to get the hang of it. If you’re not well versed in the tool’s functionality, even little things like resizing columns and inserting comments can cause you to have to stop and think. Download our free guide to Excel here to learn the essential skills you should know.Luckily, the folks at Best STL put together the following infographic on time-saving Excel shortcuts. While the shortcuts are pretty basic, they’re guaranteed to simplify the way you navigate the tool. Check ’em out below.  Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Excellast_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