Joseph’s point is that Twitter’s 140-character limit is reducing our ability to do thoughtful long-form thinking. “There has been a marked shift from blogging to “micro”-blogging and I wonder what we’re sacrificing in the process,” he wrote. Blogging Reynolds Golf Academy to learn how to create a thriving blog. ). Twitter’s acceleration is obvious in the Webinar: Advanced Business Blogging Download the free webinar Topics: half of which are inactive and Twitter is not killing blogs, it’s making them better. below (blue is Google searches on “blogs”; red is Google searches on “Twitter.” First, let’s look at the numbers. Technorati’s most recent Bottom line? Yes, Twitter is growing, but it’s not going to kill blogs. Blogs are too important to businesses. , reported that the company has indexed 133 million blog records since 2002. Meanwhile, the . It helps them rank higher in search engines, drive more traffic to their site and, ultimately, generate more leads and sales. Learn how to build your business blog into an inbound marketing machine. Tweets don’t rank well in search engines that have figured out that blogging is a critical piece of Sure, it would be easier for these business to spew 140-character missives on Twitter, but they understand that Modative Originally published Jun 16, 2009 9:12:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 For readers and businesses, this change is a good thing. It means we’re getting fewer of the windy tirades that originally gave blogs a bad name, and more high-quality content that’s produced for a very specific reason — to provide useful information to customers. It also makes it easier for quality businesses to rise above their competition. , and thus don’t generate the leads and sales that blogs posts do. State of the Blogosphere But there’s something else happening. While many of the blogs without business models, published in the middle of the night by bloggers in pajamas, are slowing their pace of publishing, many smart businesses are starting blogs with very clear business goals. These are businesses like So Twitter is seeing explosive growth, maybe even catching up with and cutting into blogging’s dominance. Like Joseph, I see this anecdotally in the pace of posting on many of the blogs I read. People are balancing their blogging with Twitter. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Yesterday Joseph Jaffe, a marketer I look up to, proclaimed that blogging is dying. Twitter is killing it, he said. Joseph is a leader in the social media movement. He’s helped many well-know brands navigate the new landscape. But I think he’s wrong here. Google Trends graph inbound marketing 32 million Twitter accounts ( Cilk Arts Wall Street Journal reports
Doing It Right “ChrisHeuer and his wife Kristy, run the Social Media Club. They wanted tofind a way to save money on hotels in Paris. They found a house forrent, which cost something around 5,000 Euros, and they got severalsponsors, largely PayPal, to pick up most of the costs for the house,which they branded “the Social Media Club House.”” @ Intro in your tweet. mvolpe “CarnivalCruise Line is introducing a new social media policy in 2010 thatprohibits partners from using any Carnival trademark or intellectualproperty on social media websites including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin – without prior written approval.” Download the free kit Special Guest: Marketing Takeaway: with Subscribe in iTunes: , @ “BluDot, a furniture maker based in Minneapolis, found out with its “RealGood Experiment,” which it developed with branding firm Mono. Theexperiment was equal parts marketing campaign for the chairs, whichretail for $129, and research into the recession-friendly phenomenon of”curb mining” — the practice of nabbing household items left on streetcorners.” NOTE FROM THE PRODUCERS:We are doing a special Holiday episode live today Wednesday, December 23rd at 4:00pm ET. Check out the show at www.hubspot.tv. New day and time for HubSpot TV next week: December 23rd, 4PM Closing Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges Big brands turn to small blog houses for big results How to interact on Twitter: @ http://andrewmcafee.org A GPS Experiment Busts Street Thieves “All told, Blu Dot believes the experimentgenerated nearly 60 million Web impressions, including blogs andTwitter posts. Unique visitors to its site tripled in the first fewdays of the experiment.” Leverage Enterprise 2.0 thinking in your business. www.HubSpot.tv (Episode Length: 24 minutes, 41 seconds) Carnival Cruise Lines Releases a Restrictive New Social Media Policy for Travel Agents. amcafee Marketing Tip of the Week: Carnival Titanics Their Marketing “Whatwould happen if a furniture company left 24 designer chairs, manyequipped with GPS tracking technology, on the streets of New York?” 5 Business Benefits of Twitter’s New Feature ‘Contributors’ (Launching Soon!) http://itunes.hubspot.tv/ and @ Episode #71 – December 18, 2009 amcafee Andrew McAfee Marketing Takeaway: Marketing in a Downturn Strategy Kit Big Brands Playing Small Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack “Pepsi’sSuper Bowl streak is over after a 23-year run. Ads for the drinks won’tappear in next year’s Super Bowl on CBS. Instead, the company plans toshift ad dollars to a new marketing effort that’s mostly online.” “There was some concern it wouldn’tmake an impression beyond “design hipsters,” but Blu Dot found it wasgetting attention from the tech community, including Fast Company and asecurity blog.” “Twitterwill be releasing a new feature called “Contributors,” which allowsmultiple users to contribute to a single company Twitter account.(Woohoo!)” Twitter Encourages Contribution “What didPayPal get? Mentions on our blogs and Twitter accounts, but a privatedinner where they got to know us away from the hustle and bustle oftheir show floor exhibit.” karenrubin Small is the new big. Richer relationships with fewer people trumps interruption advertising to millions. You can’t control your brand, and doing so limits your exposure. for tips and tricks to generate more leads efficiently and inexpensively. Pepsi turns ad focus online Headlines Learn how to get the most out of a tight marketing budget. “ShipperFedEx also said Thursday it will not advertise again in the Super Bowldue to costs, the same reason the company gave for sitting it out lasttime around.” Make sure you have both individual and company Twitter accounts! Originally published Dec 23, 2009 3:00:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 Marketing Takeaway:
Originally published Dec 20, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 This post originally appeared on Inbound Ecommerce, a new section of Inbound Hub. Subscribe here to read more content like this from Inbound Ecommerce.With your marketing dollars driving traffic to your ecommerce site this holiday season, you may think you can sit back and watch all the new customers roll in.Early estimates suggest $82 billion will be spent this year for online purchases alone. With so much money funneling toward ecommerce, losing money seems impossible. If, however, you’re determined to experience a loss this season, here’s how to do it.Guaranteed Ways To Lose MoneyForget PersonalizationPour money into a website that doesn’t capture customer information through cookies or registration forms. If your only goal is to get customers to your site for the holiday season, there’s no reason to follow up with them anyway, right? Who cares about personalization when those customers will only see your site once?Everyone who’s going to buy is going to buy on their first visit, so there’s no need to make the experience grow more valuable over time.On With the SpamCreate broad, follow-up email messages to send to any customers who managed to leave their email addresses.Without capturing any information on your site, you won’t know what your customers purchased anyway, so how could you possibly segment the emails and send out targeted messages … right?More Customers, Less SatisfactionPut plenty of money into PPC ads but never mind about retargeted ads. If you’re only worried about getting people to your site the first time (and 73% of ecommerce conversions come from first-time visitors, so you can bet you’re not alone), a retargeted ad won’t be much help. Don’t Dare to Be DifferentFocus more on driving customers to your page than on providing your unique value proposition.There may be plenty of competitors out there selling the same thing you’re selling, but you don’t need to convince buyers that your company is better at service and quality, as long as you’ve got more visitors coming along later.Give It AwayPay no attention to the cost of your offers. By giving free shipping for every customer who makes a purchase, you’ll sell more than any of your competitors.Buyers are more likely to abandon a shopping cart if the price of shipping is too high, so you should simply eliminate shipping costs for customers altogether, regardless of how much you’ll pay in the end.Set Them FreeIf a potential customer abandons their shopping cart, just let them go. If they come back to you, it was meant to be. At least, that’s how over 80% of the top 1,000 companies feel. If this mentality is good enough for them, it’s good enough for you, too.Contact Forms Protect Your PrivacyDon’t worry about providing contact information on your website. If people want to get in touch with you, they can just fill out another contact form. After all, if they’re trying to get in touch with you, it probably means they have a complaint, and complaints often mean returns and refunds.With this plan in place, you’ll be well on your way to logging a 9% loss. Never mind the fact that 99% of first-time visitors don’t plan to buy anything anyway. Those who do make a purchase cost you so much money just getting them there that you have no way to recover the loss.The above was all written with tongue firmly in cheek — but that doesn’t mean it’s untrue. By focusing all your attention on traffic and first-time sales, you could actually lose money.Without customer retention, it’s easy to see how you could lose money this holiday season — even with $82 billion spent for online purchases. So what can you do to see revenue growth?Now Let’s Make MoneyThe key to turning a profit with your ecommerce site is customer retention. Getting that first sale is great, but you want to develop and foster a great customer relationship.As you can see from the chart below, repeat customers average higher orders and cost nothing for acquisition. You do, however, need to focus your attention on a few things to make sure those customers want to return for future purchases.Keep Your PromisesWhen convincing those buyers to make their purchases from your ecommerce site, you likely made plenty of promises. You better deliver a quality product as quickly as you can, without any hidden fees or tricks. Be Available Whether it’s by email, social media, instant chat, or phone, make yourself available to all customers. Your customer service at this time is more important than any of the tactics you used to get those customers to your site in the first place.Give Buyers a VoiceReach out after the sale to ask for reviews. Those reviews can help in more ways than one. You give your buyers a voice when you allow them to share their experiences on your site, which makes them feel important. They will appreciate that chance to tell others about their experience.You’ll also have that social proof that first-time visitors look for when visiting your site. As an added bonus, reviews and testimonials help your SEO by directing buyers to your site for information instead of a third-party site.Go After Abandoned CartsYou don’t have to be like 80% of the companies out there. If you send out those emails, 72% of those who return to make a purchase will do so within the first 12 hours. Within two weeks, 100% of those who return with the intention of making a purchase will do so. That means you still have time to recover those buyers before the big day.Be RelevantYour email campaigns should include only relevant material. Show your first-time customers that you’ll be responsible with the information they shared when making their purchase.Segmentation of your contact lists is the only way to make sure buyers are getting emails that appeal to them instead of broad topics that will be counted as spam.Show ThanksMost of all, thank your buyers for the sale. You may be surprised at how far genuine appreciation can go.Why is all this customer service so important? Because repeat customers are the only way you’ll make money off this holiday season. We all want to see big numbers for holiday spending this season, but if you’re not recovering your investment into customer acquisition, those numbers will mean nothing for your company’s success.What are your thoughts on these tips to capitalize this holiday season? Got any tips of your own? Share ’em in the comments below! Ecommerce Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:
Don’t think you have an audience on Facebook? Facebook has 1.3 billion users of pretty much every age, job title, hobby, and socioeconomic status. Most brands can develop an audience on Facebook — they just need to figure out who their audience is and how to reach them.And with the decline in organic reach, more and more companies are using Facebook advertising to do just that.Free Resource: How to Reach & Engage Your Audience on FacebookTo help marketers make the most of their Facebook ads, SurePayroll and Ghergich & Co. put together the following infographic. It’ll teach you how to:Target Facebook advertising and content to people who have visited your website, used your app, or signed up for an email list.Target similar or “Lookalike” audiences.Set up a campaign aimed at getting Likes on your Facebook Page.So keep on reading to get more information on attracting the Facebook Fans you never knew you had.737Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 737Save Originally published Jul 7, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated August 25 2017 Facebook Advertising Topics:
Originally published Oct 31, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated October 08 2019 Images If you knew something as easy as adding images to your blog posts would increase your readers, subscribers, followers, and leads, wouldn’t you do it every single time? According to Jeff Bullas, articles with images get 94% more total views than articles without images. Ninety-four percent! If I were to tell you that you could expand your reach by 94% by doing something fairly simple, I’m guessing you wouldn’t think twice.Of course, “simple” is relative. I don’t mean you should take five minutes to scope out some stock photos and then insert them randomly into your posts. To get more eyeballs on your blog, you’ll have to be more strategic than that — and this blog post will help you get started with that strategy.Follow the eight tips below to learn data-driven tips that will help you squeeze the most value out of images in your blog posts.Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates Now8 Data-Driven Tips for Using Images in Blog Posts1) Use images of real people.In one of Jakob Nielsen’s usability studies, he discovered that pictures of people are one of the most engaging forms of web content.Nielsen’s data showed that users spent 10% more time looking at pictures of people on a page than they did reading the biographical content associated with the pictures. Even though the text content took up 316% more space, and was thus more quantitatively dominate, users preferred looking at the pictures.But Nielsen offers a critical disclaimer: Some types of pictures are completely ignored — typically the generic images that are purely decorative. To show this, he analyzed the image on the Yale School of Management website and discovered that the stock-style photo on the right side of the page received very few eye fixations:Describing it as “pure filler,” Nielsen advises using images that are relevant to the user experience. Images used in an article just for the sake of using an image can be unhelpful.But if the image has a purpose, like helping to explain a concept, emphasize a point, translate to an external page or email, or show personality, then it can only help you. For example, I use a headshot in my website because it’s a professional courtesy and an engagement marker.2) Combine photos and text to increase viewer retention and engagement.In a study conducted by Socialbakers, researchers discovered that images on Facebook constituted 93% of the most engaging posts, compared with status updates, links, and even video.Although this data is specific to Facebook, the principle holds true for blog content as well.The appeal of pictures is known as the “picture superiority effect.” According to the dual-coding theory, the human memory has two main forms of retention: verbal and imaginal (directly related to the word “image”). Images encode concepts onto our memory in a concrete way, rather than the abstract form of verbal concepts.This video from Digital Splash Media explains the picture superiority effect, making an overwhelming case for the importance of images.3) Optimize your images so they load quickly.Even though the days of dial-up sluggishness are behind us, we still crave quick load times. As you’re probably aware, quick load times are important for SEO — and the source of greatest lag are often clunky plugins and huge images.The optimal load time is still being debated. A study by Akamai says that two seconds is the “new threshold of acceptability for ecommerce web page response times.” According to their data, 47% of viewers want a two-second load time.In another study by the Nielsen Norman Group, users in a test were asked to look at a page with a large header image that took up 23% of the page. The picture below shows a gaze plot of a user looking at a landing page. The slider image (yellow) took eight seconds to load; as a result, the user spent a mere 1% of their time looking at the image.When the image loaded quickly, the user spent 20% of viewing time looking at the image.Surveys indicate that slow load times are one of the most-hated features of a website. Not only will you lose the value that the image could provide, but you’ll also plain old tick off users.A few seconds is all it takes for a user to lose interest and completely ignore the slow-loading image. You can’t control the user’s connection speed, but you can control the speed of your own website. Note: Hubspot recommends that photos should be smaller than 100KB in order to load quickly.4) Present information in visual formats, like infographics.Many studies have found that the human brain processes images much faster than text. This data coheres with the picture superiority effect, and its impact upon marketing is huge. Your readers will absorb your content far easier if you put it in picture form.According to Mike Parkinson, “the human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.” Showing is better than explaining in many cases.Let’s take a look at an example. Which of these is easier to understand?Most of you would say the leftmost depiction. It’s common to say, “I’m a visual learner,” as opposed to someone who learns better by reading or listening to information. The fact is, all of us our visual learners — our brains are wired that way.This data is one of the reasons why I’m a major proponent of using infographics as part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. (Here are five free infographic templates in PowerPoint to get you started.)5) Use high quality images to establish credibility.In case you think that pictures are simply a way to increase engagement or interest, listen to this point: According to the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, overall visual design “was the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the presented material.” There are a lot of factors involved in “visual design,” but good quality images need to be present.6) Use images to support persuasive copy and in calls-to-action.A study from the University of Minnesota School of Management and the 3M Corporation analyzed the effectiveness of presentations that contained visual elements and those that did not. The presentations containing visual elements were 43% more effective at converting users to agree with their point of view.Ecommerce is all about the art of persuasion. We as marketers are trying to compel people to take a viewpoint, click a button, or make a purchase. Let’s not forget that we can become far more persuasive simply by using images.7) Position your lead image to the right or left of the first paragraph in your post.According to Buffer, people are more likely to read an article that have an inline image to the right or left of the leading paragraph.The pattern looks like this:Why is it effective? First of all, people are visually attracted to images. An image positioned in this way will invite eye paths to the image and the nearby text. Secondly, people are more likely to read short lines of text than long ones. When compared with lines of text below the image, the lines beside the image seem short. This means that people will be more inclined to read them. As Buffer stated, “The fewer the characters, the easier the text is to comprehend and the less complex it seems.”8) Use one image per 350 words.How many images should you have in your posts? I would suggest you use as many images as you need to in order to communicate your concepts clearly and accurately. According to a study by Blog Pros, in 100 of the highest ranking blogs on the internet, there was at least one image for every 350 words.We live in the age of the visual. From flat screens to smartphones, images are everywhere. As Lori Kozlowski commented in Forbes, “It’s likely we’ll only see a deeper connection to video and to visuals on the Web in the next few years.” People are connecting with your content not only based on what it says with text, but what it says in images, too.How are you using images in your content? Share with us in the comments below!Image Credit: NNgroup.com, NNgroup.com, Socialbakers, NNgroup.com Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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The Internet is an extraordinarily personal medium. People own or use personal devices; rarely is it a shared experience. Occasionally, something unique will come along to revolutionize the way we do things. I first heard of the Serial Podcast from my wife. On our drive from Denver to Dallas to celebrate Christmas, she asked if I’d like to listen to it. We streamed it through our iPad and listened to it together. We discussed each episode, we were both engaged. It was a radio show that we were enjoying together, that we were participating in, that made us think. Every time I drive through west Texas now and see a landmark or town, I’ll think about where I was in each episode as I drove by listening to it.While Serial is both intriguing and popular, it is not a pioneer, in fact many preceded it long ago. Radio shows such as Amos ‘n’ Andy, Lone Ranger and the Nightly News were broadcast long before many of us were born. Those were the grandparents of podcasts and their popularity will likely never be replicated in the modern world.What podcasts lack in popularity, they make up for in variety. Whether you want to be entertained, enlightened or educated there are multiple options to choose from. Below are 11 can’t-miss podcasts, that cover the realm of marketing and beyond.Marketing isn’t just a job, it’s a passion. We don’t wake up in the morning and think about how we have to go to work; we wake up in the middle of the night and think about how we should be working. In a field with so many driven people it’s no wonder that the tools and trends are ever changing. Keep your competitive edge by listening to any of the following podcasts …1) Duct Tape MarketingThis is the perfect podcast for a small business marketer. Large corporations have budgets and teams and resources that a small business owner or marketer can only imagine. This podcast is geared toward giving advice and tips to the small business marketer. There are hundreds of marketing podcasts available, but if you are like most companies and don’t have the resources you’d like, don’t give up, listen to Duct Tape Marketing.2) Social Pros Podcast: Real People Doing Real Work in Social MediaIf you are a digital marketer who does not use social media you might be in the wrong business. Social media is a broad topic that requires strategy, education and training, don’t pretend you know everything. I did that once and learned the hard way that I barely know anything. Thanks to Social Pros Podcast: Real People Doing Real Work in Social Media I get insights into other companies’ strategies and learn about platforms that I never would have imagined could be beneficial to a marketer. 3) Marketing Over CoffeeMarketing is near and dear to most of our hearts. Rather than listening to the same songs you’ve heard over and over again on your way to or from work, why not keep up with the latest trends of marketing? This informative series comes out every Wednesday. The podcast covers both new and classic marketing. It’s geared toward every kind of marketer. The archives are extensive and well worth your time. Of course it’s healthy to have a few diversions. As fulfilling as marketing is, sometimes we all need to clear our head with something fun. The following three podcasts aren’t for everyone, but at least one of them are for most people. Whether you are looking to laugh, get an in depth and humorous view on sports or learn about music from the city synonymous with the word, the following three podcasts are great fun … 4) The Dan Patrick ShowDan Patrick has a dry sense of humor that’s not for everyone, but his sports knowledge is incredible and is second to none. He’s a big name and has the sway to invite big guests to his show. If want to take your sports listening to a deeper level than last night’s scores, Dan Patrick is the quintessential choice.5) A Prairie Home CompanionThe News from Lake Wobegon is the monologue portion of Garrison Keillor’s weekly show. His humor is as dry as they come and the wit is sensational. Follow along closely though or you’ll miss that what’s being said is a joke. Garrison Keillor is a legend in his genre and certainly a podcast worth keeping up with.6) Music That MattersLong before the Seahawks were attempting to win back to back Super Bowls, or even before they were attempting to win back to back games, Seattle was known for its musical talent. Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Alice and Chains and Pearl Jam all got their start in the Emerald City. KEXP from Seattle produces a podcast that features known and soon to be known artists from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Knowledge is power. There’s no more practical or efficient way of gaining power than sitting in traffic on the way home from work. Whether it’s keeping up with currrent trends for clients or keeping up with current events and new ideas the following three podcasts are must listens …7) The Week AheadThe Economist puts out a weekly podcast that projects the week ahead in the news. Rather than the traditional news programs that highlight what’s already happened, The Week Ahead discusses what might be in the news the next week. It broadcasts on Friday evenings. 8) This Week in GoogleA big part of marketing is keeping up with trends for your clients. Outside of being an expert on the internet and social platforms, as my generation intuitively seems to be, I am clueless when it comes to technology. I correlate engineering with college algebra and can’t imagine devoting my education to that, but I’m impressed with people who can. Since Google is a company that I rely on daily and a technology driven company, I depend on their podcast to give me some insights into the tech world. It also covers things that are relevant to me such as, Google Ads, SEO and other Google related insights and offerings.9) NPR: TED Radio HourNPR is perhaps the most respected radio organization in the United States. Any podcast that they produce, which there are many, is worth listening to. TED Radio Hour spotlights an inspiring TED speaker as he or she explains a new innovation or a new way of thinking.TED Talks have quickly become an industry standard that are watched the world over, now you can listen at your convenience.10) New York Times Book ReviewAs marketers our world is oftentimes reading and writing, and all too often about a day later than we should be. When you do have a little spare-time to actually read something for yourself don’t waste your time with bad literature. The New York Times Book Review Podcast will enlighten you about what’s out there. Authors and critics alike guest star on the program to inform and enlighten you.Last, sometimes you just need some good old fashioned fun. Say goodbye to the real world and find yourself enveloped in a plot so imaginative that Alice herself would find curious …11) The TruthFor nostalgia’s sake, let’s start with a blast from the past. The Truth is a retro version of radio dramas from the 1930s and 1940s but with superb production values and themes that align with today’s mature listener. Listen UpSerial is, for now, the king of podcasts. Thanks to its popularity many will try to displace it. As listeners we’re lucky to live in a time with so much variety. While the romantic days of radio broadcasts might be long gone, the grandchildren are moving the tradition forward.These eleven podcasts represent just a handful of the thousands of podcasts available. Find your niche, find some time and tune in for an experience from the past.Looking for more business-related podcasts to listen to? Check out HubSpot’s new podcast called The Growth Show. Originally published Feb 4, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Podcast Suggestions 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: The way people buy has changed, so the way businesses market themselves has also needed to change. And as an educator prepping students to enter the workforce, this means that your job has changed, too. Truthfully, this change can be tough. There are so many marketing strategies, tools, and tactics out there, and you need to assess them all and then learn them yourself so you can knowledgably educate your students. To help make this transition easier, below are some free resources you can use when you’re teaching your class and even some tools you can pass on to your students.1) Digital Marketing SyllabusThis Inbound Methodology Syllabus template is a guideline for a 15-week class. It’s a fully editable Google Docs file you can download and customize to fit the needs of your class. It includes goals and class objectives, course overview and requirements, and a list of required readings. It’s been created and vetted by other marketing professors, so it’s chock-full of information that professors actually care about.2) An Email Template for Reaching Out to Guest LecturersEspecially when you’re teaching tactical, “real-world” concepts, it can help to bring in outside talent. How should you go about finding (and securing) the right guest speakers?Try to find a connection with the person you are reaching out to. Ask friends of friends, or do a little research on LinkedIn. If you can find a connection, ask for a warm introduction from someone you already know. A request from a friend is always easier to accept.If you need to send a cold email, play up any prestige or connection your school has to the person you are reaching out to. Did they attend your university for undergrad? Will they be speaking to 2,000 students? Are you teaching material the speaker created? This type of information could be just what you need to convince a guest speaker to attend your class.Below is an example of an email you could use as a framework to ask someone to speak in your classroom:Hello Amy,I teach at Boston University and am looking for an expert content marketer to speak to my 1,000 student marketing class at the end of May. We’ve been using HubSpot’s Inbound Certification for our class, and I recently read your article on Inc.com about how content marketing helped you grow your Boston startup 10X. You were one of the first people who came to mind and I wanted to reach out. Would you be interested in guest speaking in my class about content marketing?Best, Lauren3) PowerPoint Deck TemplatesDesign can go a long way to aiding student comprehension and retention — but the truth is, designing PowerPoint decks may not always be a teacher’s strong suit. To help you get to the good stuff (the substance of the lesson), here are a few free, gorgeous PowerPoint templates you can download for your next class.4) Factbrowser.comThis is a basically a search engine for facts and stats. It runs quite the gamut in regards to content topics: social networks, gaming, specific industries, holidays, coupons, marketing, and so many more. For instance, you’ll find stats such as 53% of US digital marketers plan to prioritize mobile ads in 2015 over social media (Forrester Research) and 40% of women like strawberry flavored alcoholic drinks (Nielsen). Sources for their data includes Deloitte, Nielsen, TechCrunch, and Forrester Research (among others). If you’re ever in a pinch for stats for class, Factbrowser.com is just what you need.5) Moz AcademyMoz Academy is a resource created by Moz that’s full of short, comprehensive lessons about inbound marketing. Specifically, Moz Academy focuses on SEO, link earning, social media, and content marketing. Videos on their site as the time of this writing include how to recover link equity, keyword research, and using Moz analytics.Note: You need to be a Moz Pro subscriber to take advantage of this resource.6) LinkedIn GroupsIf you’re looking for a virtual place to gather ideas, brainstorm topics or connect with other educators, join a LinkedIn group. Here are a couple Groups that are private and only available to educators (yes, they you will be manually added to this group should you choose to join, by an actual human!), so they’re full of helpful, relevant content:Marketing, Advertising and Communication ProfessorsQualitative Marketing Researchers and ProfessorsHubSpot Academy Group7) CanvaCanva is a free tool our marketing team uses daily to creating beautiful, simple designs. You can create an account in seconds and start designing something right away. The software features stock photography, custom graphics, fonts, and pre-sized templates for sizing. Users can also upload their own photos or designs. It’s perfect for students who need to design presentations, social media cover photos for a campaigns, blog graphics, business cards, and more.8) CrayonCrayon is a marketing design search engine. This powerhouse of a database has over 11 million real marketing designs that are searchable and organized. For example, you can use filters to search for landing page examples from automotive industry. Other filters include traffic level, device type, and page type (such as jobs pages, team pages, or ‘about us’ pages.) If you are looking for case studies or your students are searching for examples, Crayon is a gold mine.9) UnsplashWhether it’s for a student’s end-of-semester marketing project or for a lecture you’re creating for your students, beautiful visuals can make a big difference in improving a piece of content. Unsplash.com is a completely free stock photography website. Ten new photos are uploaded every ten days, so there are always new photos to download. And, the photos are drop-dead gorgeous. You can even subscribe to their email mailing list and you’ll be the first receive the new photos.10) Marketing GraderWant another hands-on ways to critique real companies’ marketing? Run a free Marketing Grader report for a quick snapshot about how a company’s marketing is doing. The report critiques and suggests ways to improve a company’s blog, social media accounts, SEO tactics, lead generation methods, and mobile optimization. You could use these takeaways for examples in your lecture or even assign your students to run a Marketing Grader report and analyze the results themselves.Want even more free resources for your curriculum? HubSpot is giving away thousands of free marketing and business books all summer long. All you need to enter to win is an email address. You can enter to win here. Inbound Marketing Education Originally published May 13, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated May 23 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
We’ve all been there before. You’re by the water cooler. Or in a quiet hallway. Or at a team outing, perhaps after one too many beverages.“That guy [coworker’s name] is a real A-hole,” someone whispers to you angrily.“A genuine, grade-A, 100% certifiable, pure-bred A-hole,” they continue. “Like, if there were a competition, not only would [coworker’s name] win first prize, but they would subsequently name the competition after him and start using a mold of his body as the trophy.”Alright, so maybe no one has phrased it exactly like that before, but there’s a good chance you know somebody who has applied the “A-hole” label to a fellow acquaintance or coworker. Don’t worry: This is a judgment-free zone. And to be clear, the objective of this post isn’t to convince people to stop using the A-word in the workplace (although I’m sure your HR department would certainly appreciate that). I just want to make sure that if you do decide to use it, you use it correctly. After all, if you go around calling people “A-holes” when you don’t even know what the word means, it could make you seem like … well … an A-hole.Download a Free Guide and Template to Help You Create a Company Culture Code. A-hole: What Does It Really Mean?And of course by “A-hole,” I actually mean “asshole.” But given how many times I need to use the term in this post, I’ve decided to stick with the less offensive, abbreviated form of the word, “A-hole.”For many us, the “A-word” is simply a colorful weapon in our arsenal of insults. We often use it as a synonym for “jerk,” or more generally, to describe anyone who is being mean or acting in a way that annoys or upsets us.According to Merriam-Webster, an A-hole is simply “a stupid, incompetent, or detestable person.” This definition, as it turns out, is woefully insufficient. When we look at the history of the word and what role it’s played culturally, a much more nuanced definition emerges. To gain a better understanding of what it really means, I turned to the work of three professors: Robert I. Sutton, a professor of management science & engineering at Stanford and author of The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’tAaron James, a philosophy professor at UC Irvine and author of Assholes: A TheoryGeoffrey Nunberg, a linguistics professor at UC Berkeley and author of Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years. Based on the insights gleaned from these experts, I created the handy “Is Your Coworker Actually an A-Hole?” flowchart embedded below. But before you start using the flowchart to diagnose chronic cases of A-holism within your organization, let’s explore what the term actually means according to these three professors.Professor Sutton’s DefinitionLet’s start with Professor Sutton’s investigation into the matter. According to Sutton, there are two tests for determining whether or not someone is acting like an A-hole.Test #1: Does the alleged A-hole cause coworkers to feel humiliated, belittled, or oppressed? And specifically, does the alleged A-hole leave coworkers feeling worse about themselves? If you answered “yes” to those questions, you’re likely dealing with a certifiable A-hole.Test #2: When engaging in the above behavior, does the alleged A-hole tend to target only those coworkers who are less powerful/influential within the organization? If yes, you’re definitely in A-hole territory.Based on Sutton’s definition, the relative standings or hierarchical positions of coworkers within an organization play a key role in determining someone’s status as an A-hole. And ultimately, it boils down to this: A-holes are people who prey on those less powerful than themselves.Professor James’ DefinitionNow, let’s move on to Professor James’ definition. According to James, to qualify as an A-hole, someone must meet these three criteria:They help themselves to special advantages in cooperative life (ex: cutting in line at the bank).They do these things out of an entrenched sense of entitlement (ex: cutting in line at the bank because you think you’re more important than the other people in line).They use their sense of entitlement to justify their behavior and deflect any complaints that may arise (ex: someone complains about you cutting in line at the bank; you respond by calling them an “insignificant peasant”).”So the term ‘a**hole’ isn’t simply a term of abuse, or a way of venting disapproval,” James notes in a Huffington Post article. Instead, the term is a moral judgment; an indictment of someone’s character. Professor Nunberg’s DefinitionFinally, let’s turn our attention to Professor Nunberg, who provided some historical context to the term in an email exchange.A-hole, as it turns out, first took on a non-anatomical definition during World War II when U.S. soldiers began using the term to describe their commanding officers. (According to Nunberg, it was George Patton — yes, that Patton, the one your father or grandfather always talked about — who was the first military commander to ever be called an A-hole.)When WWII ended and American soldiers returned home, they brought the A-word with them. The term eventually became the preferred insult for members of the social/political/economic movements of the 1960s and 70s. Feminists, in particular, began using A-hole in place of the commonly used insult “heel” (which had a similar meaning to A-hole at the time).For Nunberg, the A-word has, historically, always been a word that “looks up.” Or, in other words, “It’s a critique from below, from ground level, of somebody who’s gotten above himself,” as he said in an interview with NPR.When we bring together the insights of Sutton, James, and Nunberg, it becomes clear that being an A-hole requires more than simply being mean or unfair: A person’s level of power, or perhaps more accurately, their perceived level of power, is instrumental to A-holish behavior.Is Your Coworker Actually an A-hole?Now that we have a better understanding of what an A-hole is, let’s run through the flowchart and see if that (alleged) A-hole coworker of yours actually qualifies.Share This Image on Your Site
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.
Originally published Oct 3, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Infographics How the heck can you use an image for search optimization?It might be simpler than you think. You see, there’s something about the way an infographic conveys content — from its customization to its digestible format — that both grabs and holds people’s attention, and makes them highly sharable. But how does it work? And how can you use infographics for your own SEO strategy?As it turns out, the good folks over at SerpLogic know a thing or two about both search optimization and infographics. They’ve hunted down the things that make these informative images so valuable for SEO, and created a six-step approach to creating the infographics that are most likely to show success in this area.Download our free planner to learn how to step up your SEO traffic in just 30 days.So, want to reach more viewers? Paint them a picture — and check out the infographic below to learn how to make it optimally educational. 169Save169Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Remorse. While the email opens with some apology text, that accounts for a minute portion of the email. The majority of the copy is asking me to do something on behalf of the company that wronged me. Think about it — if you immediately ask someone to do you a favor after you apologize for a mistake, how genuinely remorseful will you sound? Not very. Originally published Mar 9, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Next steps. When you’ve made a mistake, people want to be sure of two things:That you’re truly sorry for your wrongdoing.That it’s not going to happen again. There are some people who just refuse to sincerely apologize. My favorite example of this phenomenon is taken from a U.S. television franchise called “The Real Housewives,” in which the cast members have become notorious for doling out feigned apologies. Instead of simply apologizing for hurting someone’s feelings, for example, it’s more common for them to say something like, “I’m sorry if your feelings were hurt.”That, my friends, is not how you say, “Sorry.”I get it — it’s difficult to admit when you’re wrong. There’s been so much conflicting data around the word “sorry.” While it’s something that most parents of young children believe should be taught, there have also been claims that apologizing makes a person look weak. In fact, some companies’ stock prices have fallen following an apology, depending on how it was delivered. There are even browser add-ons to prevent the use of apologetic language in emails. Download our essential guide to branding here for even more tips on branding your company. But to little old me, a sincere apology goes a long way. When I sense genuine remorse, it means a lot to me — perhaps because it’s so rare, at least in my experience. Combined with my nerdy affection for all things marketing, that sentiment applies to brand apologies, too. It’s not so much that I think, “Wow, that means a lot to me,” but more like, “Wow, that company really nailed saying, ‘Sorry.'”So, who’s done it best? We rounded up some of our favorite brand apologies to inspire you next time you make a mistake — and need to admit your wrongdoing.But First, Here’s What Not to DoWhen I was in business school and searching for an internship, a friend in a creative industry told me to try out a website that was created, supposedly, for people with my skills and background. But when I used the platform to create a profile and upload my credentials, I was turned away with no explanation. A few days later, I received the following email:Let’s outline what this apology is lacking:Specificity. The message notes that I was turned away — but it doesn’t explain why. When you’ve made a mistake, acknowledge it in full, explaining exactly where you went wrong and why. Don’t forget to share this post! Of course, this series of events presents a much larger issue that isn’t limited to Airbnb and does raise the question, “How much can a corporation really do?” And while that is far from an easy question to answer, Airbnb seems to be continuing to do its part, and acknowledging its role within this landscape.So, Next Time You Mess Up……you know what to do.Granted, admitting when you’re wrong is still anything but a simple task. And figuring out how you’re going to make it right isn’t a process that can take place overnight. But one thing you can do immediately is to admit your mistake. Ask for feedback. Be transparent. And remember — “I’m sorry” can go a long way.How does your brand address mistakes? Let us know in the comments. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015 Not long after this unconventional apology was issued, Swift starred in an Apple commercial, which led some to speculate that the entire incident was an orchestrated publicity campaign. That said, it does illustrate some positive points of how big-name brands can apologize. With two tweets, Apple sent the message, “We hear your grievances, we get it, and here’s what we’re going to do about it.”2) ZocDocIt seems like you can use the internet to procure anything these days. From buying specialty products to scheduling meetings, so much can be accomplished and taken care of online.ZocDoc is one such provider of these services, and provides a platform that connects users with doctors for almost every speciaity in their respective areas. There’s just one problem — sometimes, the doctors don’t accurately update their schedules within ZocDoc, causing users to make appointments for times that aren’t actually available, leading to their subsequent cancellation.But ZocDoc isn’t one to say, “Not our fault, not our problem.” Instead, it’s constantly striving to gain and use customer feedback to enhance the user experience, like it does with this email:Here’s the thing — ZocDoc wasn’t really the one responsible for the cancellation. The doctor’s office was, but despite that, it still negatively impacts the user experience, which ZocDoc acknowledged and offered to make right, by not only asking what went wrong, but offering a gift in exchange for the feedback.3) NetflixWhen Netflix was looking to transition from DVD delivery to a streaming service (yes, we almost forgot about that, too), it had a few missteps along the way.At first, the company built a system in which its streaming and DVD delivery services would become different entities with separate billing agreements. Before, members had the option of subscribing to both for $10 per month. But the split meant a 60% price increase for current members who wanted both — the new system’s fees were $8 each month solely for the DVD service, plus another $8 per month for streaming. What’s worse, the company didn’t really provide a clear explanation.But CEO Reed Hastings wanted to shed light on the situation, and did so in an open letter on the company’s blog. He explained why the changes came to be, and noted that Netflix was “done” with pricing changes. But there was a problem — the company wasn’t doing anything to reverse the issue affecting most customers, which was the separation of subscriptions. People enjoyed having the option of signing up for multiple services with one bill. But Hastings didn’t fix that. Instead, he noted that the DVD service would not only remain separate, but would be renamed Qwikster.Source: NetflixQwikster was short-lived, to say the least. Three weeks later, Hastings issued yet another apology. This time, he kept it short and sweet, and essentially sent the message, “Okay, you’re right. Having two billing systems was a bad idea, and we’re doing away with that.” Netflix did suffer some initial damage, with a loss of 800,000 members and a falling stock price. However, the brand has since recovered and currently enjoys healthy financials.4) Naked WinesI’ve discovered a pattern to my email-unsubscribing behavior. It typically happens when I’m generally stressed out or overwhelmed, and might snap if I get just one more notification on my phone. The easy answer, of course, would be to turn off my notifications. Instead, I angrily unsubscribe from the well-meaning brand’s newsletters, for which I happily signed up, but didn’t really engage with.In my case, at least, it’s not the brand’s fault. So if that company sent me a witty, thoughtful email in response to my cancelled subscription, asking what went wrong and what could be done to fix it, I might happily oblige — after I calmed down, of course. And that’s exactly what Naked Wines did with the apologetic email below:Source: EconsultancyThe company openly leads with “sorry,” and acknowledges that the canceled subscription was likely due to something it did. So it asked, “What was it? Let us know, so we can fix it.”5) Toronto Maple LeafsIf there’s one thing that truly dedicated sports fan would be happy to never hear again, it’s the phrase, “It’s just a game.” And no one, it seems, understood that more than Lawrence M. Tanenbaum — chairman of Maple Leaf Sports — after a devastating loss by the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012.Source: National Hockey LeagueAs a somewhat diehard sports fan myself — go Red Sox — I can understand the desire for accountability from a team’s front office management after a bad season. And with this long, apologetic letter, that’s exactly what Tanenbaum accomplished, with the recognition of not only his team’s poor performance, but also, a public commitment on behalf of ownership to improve things.6) AirbnbIn December 2015, home-sharing platform Airbnb began to come under fire for racial profiling and discrimination taking place on its site. That month, Harvard researchers released a working paper, which indicated that travelers with “distinctively African-American names are 16% less likely to be accepted relative to identical guests with distinctively White names.” That data was only compounded by reports on social media from travelers who experienced that discrimination first-hand, as well as a lawsuit over such actions.In monitoring the social media dialogue, it seems like the issue isn’t quite completely resolved. However, Airbnb isn’t trying to dodge it, and is actually quite proactively addressing this (big) problem. It began with this email from CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky:Chesky addresses the fault of Airbnb early in the message, acknowledging that the brand was far too slow to respond to the issue of discrimination, and apologized for it. Since then, the company has taken several actions to prevent and put an end to it on the platform, which it outlined in a 32-page report authored by Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. The report documented an audit conducted to evaluate where Airbnb was falling short on preventing discrimination, and the resulting measures that would be put in place. Since the report was released, the brand has very publicly campaigned on a platform of inclusion, capped with an ad that aired during the 2017 Super Bowl. Topics: Marketing Case Studies The above email does neither of those things, as per the “remorse point.” It’s also lacking any accountable language to address what it’s going to do to prevent this issue from taking place again, using non-committal language like “I hope.” And if you’re not sure what to do to make it right — ask.We chose the examples below due to their inclusion of all of these factors and, in some cases, even more.6 Brands That Brilliantly Apologized1) AppleBack in 2015, U.S. pop artist Taylor Swift announced a very public boycott of Apple Music. That was due to the service offering a one-month free trial of its streaming feature — but not paying artists for any of their music that was played during the free period.To right the situation, Apple enlisted the help of its SVP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, who went about a slightly unusual way of admitting to the brand’s wrongdoing — via Twitter. #AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period— Eddy Cue (@cue) June 22, 2015
I don’t know about you, but I barely print anything anymore.Seriously, think about it — when’s the last time you had to type Command + P and print out a document? Between e-tickets, virtual payment options, and online signature tools, I think the last thing I printed out was the lease for my apartment.So you can imagine my surprise when HubSpot’s audience started telling us they still like to print out our ebooks — which are often 20 or 30 pages in length — instead of viewing them on a web page.In 2017 — during the era of self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence — our team here at HubSpot is constantly striving to test and implement the most modern techniques for content creation to provide cool, useful resources for our audience. But as it turns out, our perceptions of what our audience actually values when they download out content were a little … off.In this post, I’ll dive into our hypothesis, how we tested it, and what we’re learning about our audience — and how they actually like to consume our content.What We DoI work on HubSpot’s Marketing Acquisition team creating content offers — such as our downloadable ebooks, guides, and templates — that our audience exchanges their contact information for in order to download them.If you’re familiar with the inbound marketing methodology we’ve been teaching here at HubSpot for more than 10 years, I operate in the “Convert” stage of the process of helping new people discover and learn about HubSpot:When a person happens upon HubSpot for the first time online — via a blog post like this one, through social media, or by conducting a Google search — they might see a bold, brightly-colored call-to-action (CTA) encouraging them to learn more about a particular topic or product.And in order to get that information — from an ebook, a guide, a template, a webinar, or an event — the person has to hand over their contact information. This ensures they can receive an emailed version of the content offer or event registration, and it also converts them from a visitor into a lead.My job is to create content that visitors are so interested in learning more about that they exchange their phone number, email address, and professional background information. And to make sure we keep converting visitors into leads for the health of HubSpot’s business, I make sure that ebooks, guides, and events are helpful, fascinating, and ultimately educate our audience on how to do inbound marketing.What We WonderedFor the most part, my team’s job has entailed creating PDFs that visitors can download once they submit a form with their contact information.More specifically, this has meant creating a lot of PDFs.And although people were filling out forms and downloading our content offers, we started wondering if we should offer them something different — something more cutting-edge — than a file format created back in 1993. And we wondered if changing the format of our content offers would change conversion rates, too.We decided to run a survey — and a little test.We wanted to know if our core persona who we marketed these content offers to still liked PDFs and found them useful. So, how else would we find out than by creating an offer?I created two different version of the same content offer — one in PDF format, and one in web page format. Then, once someone downloaded the offer, we sent them a thank-you email, and we asked them which format they preferred, and why.What We LearnedMore than 3,000 individuals submitted their information to access the offer, and roughly 9% responded to our question, which gave us more than 300 responses to learn from.And much to our surprise, 90% of the respondents preferred downloading a PDF to reading our content on a web page.We gleaned a ton of valuable information about our core audience from this survey, and the qualitative feedback was incredibly helpful, too. Our key takeaways about format preferences were:Our core persona likes to print offers.People viewing our content want to be able to download it and come back to it later.People don’t think our web page offers look as good as PDFs.Some people are potentially defaulting to the format they know best.People liked having both print and online versions.It’s incredibly helpful to learn what’s going on behind the decisions and choices our audience makes to inform future strategy when it comes to content creation. But this information leaves us with a challenge, too: How do we get our audience excited about content living on interactive web pages, too?Content living on web pages can be crawled by Google to improve websites’ domain authority (and SEO superpowers) — and PDFs can’t be. So we’re making it our mission to keep offering our audience different options for consuming content the way they want to — while innovating and testing new ways to offer content our core persona is just as excited about in a web-based format.I’ll be back with more details about that next experiment, but in the meantime, download one of our latest content offers, and let us know if you like the format in the comments.What’s your opinion? PDF or web page? Share with us what you learned in the comments below. Originally published Jun 23, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated June 28 2019 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Content Marketing
Last week, Pivotal announced the ‘Pivotal Function Service’ (PFS) in alpha. Until now, Pivotal has focussed on making open-source tools for enterprise developers but has lacked a serverless component to its suite of offerings. This aspect changes with the launch of PFS. PFS is designed to work both on-premise and in the cloud in a cloud-native fashion while being open source. It is a Kubernetes-based, multi-cloud function service offering customers a single platform for all their workloads on any cloud. Developers can deploy and operate databases, batch jobs, web APIs, legacy apps, event-driven functions, and many other workloads the same way everywhere, all because of the Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) platform. This is comprised of Pivotal Application Service (PAS), Pivotal Container Service (PKS), and now, Pivotal Function Service (PFS). Providing the same developer and operator experience on every public or cloud, PFS is event-oriented with built-in components that make it easy to architect loosely coupled, streaming systems. Its buildpacks simplify packaging and are operator-friendly providing a secure, low-touch experience running atop Kubernetes. The fact that Pivotal can work on any cloud as an open product, makes it stand apart from cloud providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, which provide similar services that run exclusively on their clouds. Features of PFS PFS is built on Knative, which is an open-source project led by Google that simplifies how developers deploy functions atop Kubernetes and Istio. PFS runs on Kubernetes and Istio and helps customers take advantage of the benefits of Kubernetes and Istio, abstracting away the complexity of both technologies. PFS allows customers to use familiar, container-based workflows for serverless scenarios. PFS Event Sources helps customers create feeds from external event sources such as GitHub webhooks, blob stores, and database services. PFS can be connected easily with popular message brokers such as Kafka, Google Pub/Sub, and RabbitMQ; that provide a reliable backing services for messaging channels. Pivotal has continued to develop the riff invoker model in PFS, to help developers deliver both streaming and non-streaming function code using simple, language-idiomatic interfaces. The new package includes several key components for developers, including a native eventing ability that provides a way to build rich event triggers to call whatever functionality a developer requires within a Kubernetes-based environment. This is particularly important for companies that deploy a hybrid use case to manage the events across on-premise and cloud in a seamless way. Head over to Pivotal’s official Blog to know more about this announcement. Read Next Google Kubernetes Engine was down last Friday, users left clueless of outage status and RCAIntroducing Alpha Support for Volume Snapshotting in Kubernetes 1.12/‘AWS Service Operator’ for Kubernetes now available allowing the creation of AWS resources using kubectl
Tags: Jamaica Posted by Tuesday, December 6, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Sandals gives STAR agents a sneak peek at what’s ahead Devin Kinasz PROVINDENCIALES — An elite group of top-selling agents hosted at this year’s Sandals STAR Awards heard details about six new properties in the works, including the possibility of a new resort site in Trinidad and Tobago. The annual STAR Awards took place last week at Beaches Turks & Caicos. “Exploration is the discovery of what’s to come and the fear of doing something new. It’s where entrepreneurs come from and it’s where innovation happens,” said Adam Stewart, CEO and Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International. “We don’t want to be anything but the best, and we always want to outperform.”Sandals Resorts has announced it is in discussions with the government of Trinidad and Tobago to bring to life one of the region’s most comprehensive resort developments. An agreement is expected by second quarter 2017.In other Sandals news, Sandals Barbados, currently under construction, will open its second phase with the two hotels set to function as one, more than tripling the size of Sandals’ footprint on the island.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA Sales“There is a fleet of new Sandals innovations that are going to be unveiled with these 222 new rooms – and when I say they are unbelievable, they are unbelievable!” proclaimed Stewart. Sandals is in discussions to develop a fourth resort in Saint Lucia. This will be in addition to the three Sandals properties already in Saint Lucia that currently enjoy the ‘stay at one, play at all’ exchange program. “This will be the absolute best of everything we have ever done,” says Stewart. “This will be our biggest hotel in St. Lucia to date, on the best piece of land left on the island, with white sand beach.”With great access to the international airport, Sandals believes the Beaches concept would be the right complement to the three adult-only Sandals in Montego Bay and is considering options and opportunities.And finally, Sandals has announced it is working with the Jamaican government to help develop the Port Antonio area of Jamaica, outside Kingston. Sandals is excited about the government’s plans to develop the region where Sandals has held assets including Dragon Bay for years. Airlift into this area is an issue here and Sandals is hopeful that as the government’s plans unfold, the company will be able share more information.More news: Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesIn addition to the six new resorts planned, several of the existing resorts – Beaches Negril, Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Bahamian, Sandals Regency La Toc and Sandals Grande St. Lucian – will also undergo renovations and upgrades. The new style will be light, airy and more modern, and will feature some amazing suites including swim-up rooms, Millionaire Suites and two-storey villas.