13 railway employees of Khatauli station terminated for Utkal Express derailment

first_imgThe Railway administration on Wednesday terminated the services of 13 railway employees of the Khatauli station for the derailment of Utkal Express on August 19. More than 24 people were killed and 154 injured during the derailment which happened when Utkal Express was allowed to cross the track even when the track was being repaired. The local track men and railway engineers allowed repair work without taking the prior permission of senior officials. Superintendent of Khatauli railway station Rajendra Singh told The Hindu that the tracks were being repaired without informing senior officials. Those who were removed include 11 trackmen, 1 junior engineer and 1 hammer man. They were found to have committed “serious lapse during duty.” Neeraj Sharma, the chief spokesperson of the Northern Railway told The Hindu, “In connection with Khatauli train accident, 13 Railway employee including 11 trackmen, 1 Junior engineer, 1 hammer man, have been removed from service by Railway administration. They were involved in serious lapse during duty.”The termination of services of employees comes in a series of major reshuffle in the administrative set up of the railways following the derailment.last_img read more

Parrikar to stay as Goa Chief Minister: Amit Shah

first_imgGoa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will continue in his post, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said on September 23, as he announced that a reshuffle of the State’s Ministers would soon take place.The BJP chief said so in a tweet following a discussion with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s core group team from Goa.“It has been decided during a discussion with the Goa BJP core team that Manohar Parrikar will continue to lead the Goa government. There will soon be a reshuffle of Ministers and their portfolios,” he said.Mr. Parrikar’s poor health has sparked speculation over his continuation as the Chief Minister of Goa, and Mr. Shah had recently sent a central party leaders team to the coastal State to speak to allies and take stock of the political situation.The opposition Congress, which is the single-largest party in the State, has also staked a claim to form government. The BJP has asserted that its government continues to have the support of a majority of MLAs.Mr. Parrikar is at present admitted at the AIIMS and undergoing treatment for a pancreas-related ailment.last_img read more

Punjab CM welcomes Centre’s move on CDS

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has welcomed the creation of a Chief of the Defence Staff post as a vital step in strengthening and streamlining the command structure of the country’s defence services.Hailing the Union government’s decision as the fulfilment of a long-pending demand, first mooted by the then UPA government in the wake of the Kargil war, the Chief Minister said the move would go a long way in improving the command and control system of the Indian armed forces.Capt. Amarinder said that a CDS was suggested back in 2009 by the Naresh Chandra committee under the United Progressive Alliance, as the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). The decision, however, then could not be implemented though it was felt that such a post would bring in more effective coordination and cohesiveness in the armed forces.“With the CDS to coordinate them, the three defence services, viz the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, the Indian armed forces would become more integrated, thus enhancing their effectiveness,” the Chief Minister said in a statement.last_img read more

On Basketball: Kyrie gets a new address, but Cavs win trade

first_imgRegardless of all these Celtics-Cavaliers fireworks, it’s still Golden State’s world and probably will be for a long time. This deal didn’t change that.The Warriors will still be the favorites to win the last game of next season.The first game of next season, as luck would have it, just happens to be Boston at Cleveland.And just like that, the NBA has drama again.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ All good things, all edge to Cleveland.Give the Celtics credit for being bold. Danny Ainge knew winning the Eastern Conference’s regular-season crown last season was meaningless, so he completely blew up a team that was a No. 1 seed and got hammered by the Cavaliers in the East finals. Sure, the Celtics played most of that series without Thomas, but that wasn’t going to matter. The Cavs weren’t losing that series.So Ainge goes out and gets an All-Star point guard in Irving, after he hauls in Gordon Hayward during free agency and adds probable rookie of the year front-runner Jayson Tatum to the mix in the draft — plus gets another draft pick in either 2018 or 2019 for his trouble.It’s not a bad deal for the Celtics. They get Irving. It’s his team. A storied franchise is in his hands and he will savor that.It’s just a better deal for Cleveland, at least right now.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim There are many ways to claim victory in the deal made Tuesday night. Kyrie Irving wanted his own team and got it, so he wins. Isaiah Thomas gets to play with LeBron James, so he wins. The Cavaliers got rid of a supposedly disgruntled star, so they won. The Celtics now won’t have to decide if Thomas is worth something like a $180 million deal next summer, so they won. It’s all semantics.But look past all that.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingIn the end, Cleveland won. James won, too.Here’s a few reasons why James will be celebrating this deal: He’ll still have a high-octane point guard; he’s getting an absurdly good defender in Jae Crowder (he could have helped the Cavs’ cause against Golden State in The Finals); he won’t be going into the season dealing with drama about Irving’s Cleveland future; this trade might even reap the Cavaliers the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul FILE – In this June 7, 2017, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) is guarded by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half of Game 3 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Cleveland. Irving gets his new address and Isaiah Thomas gets to play with LeBron. They both can say they won in this Celtics-Cavs blockbuster deal. But the sum of the parts says Cleveland got the better of Boston in this swap of All-Star point guards. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)MIAMI— It’s not the principals that will define the blockbuster trade between Cleveland and Boston. Great point guard leaves one city for another. That seems fair.All the other parts, they will tell the story.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Minnesota never offered Andrew Wiggins. Miami never offered half its roster. Portland wasn’t giving up Damian Lillard. In the end the Cavs still got a star for a star, and since Thomas is only making about $6.3 million next season they got plenty of bonus parts as well to make the trade work.It also solved one big Cleveland problem.James’ only motivation is rings, and this move gives him just that.He will be looking to go to the Finals for the eighth consecutive year. Only three teams in NBA history have been to four straight finals — the Lakers, the Celtics, and the Miami Heat when James was with them. Golden State will be heavy favorites to join that club next June. The Cavaliers won’t surprise many if they join them.James will show up at camp in a couple of months and begin plotting ways to get his team back to the Finals. Had Irving still been there, James surely would have been wondering if they could make it work again. With Thomas, there won’t be a question. James and Thomas already have great respect for one another, and Thomas runs on the same prove-people-wrong gasoline that James uses.Cleveland has been through the free-agency-is-looming dance with James before, of course. If the Cavs want to keep him next summer, they simply have to go all-in to make him as happy as possible. This trade probably wasn’t a bad start on that front.In Boston, the Celtics will look very different this season.Irving and Hayward are in; Thomas, Crowder, Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson are out — meaning five of Boston’s seven top scorers from a No. 1 seed now play elsewhere.The Cavs weren’t overhauled; Irving is gone, Thomas, Derrick Rose and Jeff Green arrived.From a continuity standpoint, obvious edge to Cleveland as well. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side View comments LeBron James heads to Manila again on September 2 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

WSJ Offers Great Marketing Advice, Then Fails to Follow It

first_img the Wikipedia entry go read it now Most blogs put comments right below their articles. That encourages participation because readers see them after they finish, and dive in. That’s not the case on The Journal’s site. After the article all you see are ads. If you want to comment on the piece, you have to go back to a comment tab at the top of the page. The authors encourage marketers to “Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell,” yet by placing ads where most sites put the comments, The Journal is doing just that. (3) Ads Take Up Space Most Sites Devote to Comments — and Here’s what I mean: colleges after dozens of interviews with executives and managers. (whatever you say about Wikipedia, it is certainly a conversation). , written by professors from — “Don’t just talk at consumers — work with them throughout the marketing process.” That’s another one of the article’s excellent morsels of advice. Yet the authors fail to follow it. As of late Monday night, they weren’t participating in the comments, which means they’re talking at their readers. There is just one problem with the article: The authors and The Journal aren’t following their own advice. Bentley (1) Very Few Links What do you think? Does the WSJ practice what it preaches? Does HubSpot? Topics: , or, at the very least, Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack . inbound marketing If you haven’t read today’s piece in The Wall Street Journal about marketing on the social web, you should Inbound Marketing — The authors urge marketers to “Listen to — and join — the conversation outside your site.” Yet their entire article includes only two links, and even then they’re not links to related conversations. For example, since they offer a definition of Web 2.0, they should link to Babson Originally published Dec 15, 2008 9:02:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Tim O’Reilly’s seminal post on the topic (2) The Authors Aren’t Participating in the Comments It’s a great summary of many of the principles oflast_img read more

3 Secrets to Optimizing Landing Page Copy

first_img As with the headline, it’s important not to be too pushy.  Avoid statements that command visitors to “download now”. Instead, focus on the value to the visitor, such as “gain immediate access” or a “free download”.  2. Clearly & Honestly State the Value Proposition Topics: 1. Headlines are Like Pickup Lines. Don’t be arrogant! The idea here is to start a conversation with your website visitors without sounding pretentious or arrogant. You don’t want to be “that guy”. You know the one – the guy who loves to tell girls the joke about the gun show.  When a visitor arrives on your page, you have only a short period of time to convince them not to press the “Back” button on their browser. If your headlines have too much hype (e.g. “An Event You Can’t Afford To Miss!!”), it will turn people off.  Headlines play a critical role in convincing a visitor that it is worthwhile for them to stick around and get to know you better. A good headline clearly and honestly states the value of your offer. cacophonyx download a free chapter I recently attended MECLAB’s Landing Page Optimization Summit where Dr. Flint McGlaughlin presented his research to a sold-out audience.  Through colorful analogies and real-world examples, McGlaughlin explained a series of lessons around 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 Jun 7, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 of your offer will not only guide the reader’s eyes, it will also demonstrate the tangible value of your offer. This is even more effective if you can state them with numbers. Quantified proof gives you credibility.  Many of your visitors are probably already jaded from seeing too many false promises and exaggerated claims online.  If you can provide them with concrete numbers supporting your value proposition, it will be easier for them to trust you. features you’re offering, they won’t care enough to continue reading, much less convert on your landing page. Landing Page Copycenter_img and The more specific you can be about why your offer is valuable, the better.  Bulleted lists of the 3. Be Specific what landing page optimization If the visitor doesn’t know For more advice on optimizating your landing pages, Photo Credit: from MarketingSherpa’s latest report on the key components to a successful landing page optimization strategy. and writing highly effective copy.  Among the laundry list of insights I recorded in my notes, here are the most memorable: benefits Your web page should clearly state 1) where they are on your site so they know they are in the right place, 2) what they can do on that page, and  3) why should they should care about what is on that page.  It sounds simple, but it’s surprising how many landing pages do not clearly communicate these points. last_img read more

9 Must-Haves for the Perfect Landing Page

first_imgThe following article is an excerpt from our newest ebook, 25 Website ‘Must Haves’ for Driving Traffic, Leads & Sales. You can download the complete, free ebook here.Landing pages are one of the most important elements of lead generation, yet most companies don’t use them enough — or at all. It’s common to give more attention to a website’s homepage instead. After all, it is the first room in your virtual storefront when visitors “walk” through the door.Surprisingly, studies show that the average conversion rate for a website is between 1% and 3%, which means it’s only converting a teeny tiny portion of site traffic. With such a poor outcome, why do businesses still rely on the homepage to do the heavy lifting?A landing page (also referred to as a lead-capture page) is a crucial must-have for any website because it provides a targeted platform for converting higher percentages of visitors into leads. In fact, landing pages have a 5-15% conversion rate on average. Yet they are often overshadowed by a homepage or other product pages.This is because, for years, marketers have focused on driving people to a company website without a clear idea of how visitors got there and where to take them next. Today, we now use email marketing, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and other online channels that empower marketers to send traffic to specific locations (landing pages) containing the right messages for each audience.The job of a landing page is to tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do and why they should do it. Homepages, while still an important element of a website, are typically less focused on a particular task because they are serving the masses. Homepages are great for direct traffic, but when you can control how visitors arrive on your site, a landing page is the best place to send them. When done right, landing pages can have a very positive impact on your lead generation.While landing pages perform better than main site pages at a 5-15% conversion rate, they can do much better if using the best practices explained below. In fact, many of HubSpot’s customers who have implemented these tips are experiencing a 30-45% conversion rate! That’s insanely above the average!To put this into perspective, if you drove 10,000 visitors to your homepage, you’d receive an estimated 300 leads. If you instead sent them to a targeted landing page with an average 30% conversion rate, you could generate 3,000 leads. Which one would you rather have?Wondering what it takes to get a stellar landing page conversion rate? Check out the tips below for creating the perfect landing page.1. Never Use Your Homepage as a Landing PageAs mentioned above, homepages typically have too much messaging, making visitors feel lost. We’d also recommend not using a main site product page either. Even if your homepage and sub-pages are awesome, a dedicated landing page (using these tips) will perform better at converting visitors into leads because they are focused on one task.2. Landing Pages Must Contain the Following ElementsA headline and (optional) sub-headlineA brief description of the what is being offeredAt least one supporting image or short video(Optional) supporting proof elements such as testimonials, customer logos, or security badgesMost importantly, a form on the landing page itself to capture information. If for some reason you can’t include a form on the landing page, use a large call-to-action (CTA) button to direct visitors to the next step. 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: Originally published Oct 11, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017center_img Landing Page Design 3. Remove or Limit Extra NavigationA landing page is used for one purpose and one purpose alone – to encourage a visitor to take one specific action. When visitors land on a page, we want to keep them there until they perform that action. Leaving the navigation might induce them to continue wandering. Remove main site navigation from the page so they don’t move off your landing page.4. Keep the Objective Simple and ClearDon’t try to stuff too much information on your landing pages. Make it clear what the page is about and what you want the visitor to do. Limit the amount of copy, images, media, and links to only what’s necessary, and organize your content in a proper structure so objects are in logical order. It’s especially important that the call-to-action (CTA) is as crystal clear as possible for the visitor.Example of a landing page that could improve the CTA:5. Match the Content to a Visitor’s Previous SourceWhether a visitor comes from a PPC ad, email, or call-to-action from another source, ensure the messaging matches throughout the entire conversion path. If your PPC ad says “Download our Marketing Ebook,” your landing page should say the exact same thing — or similar. If there is a disconnect in your messaging, visitors will feel as if they are in the wrong place and will likely hit the ‘Back’ button.6. Reduce FrictionFriction is caused by objects (or missing objects) on a page that inhibit a visitor from taking action. This can include providing too much information (adding complexity), animation that is distracting, lack of customer proof or security, etc. Make your visitors feel confident in their choice to provide their information. To reduce friction, keep the page simple (don’t require visitors to read too much), include proof elements such as customer testimonials, number of downloads/sales (to indicate acceptance from others), security badges (if you’re dealing with sensitive data such as credit card information), and as mentioned above, make sure messaging matches throughout their conversion path.7. Focus on VALUEDon’t create a landing page to download a fact sheet (never put these behind a form). Do create a landing page for a valuable whitepaper. Don’t use a landing page for “Contact Us,” but do use one for a valuable guide, free trial, demonstration, or evaluation. Offering something of value will enable you to generate more leads so you can nurture them over time until they are ‘ready to buy.’Example of a great landing page providing value:8. Only Ask for What You NeedWhen it comes to web forms, there is no magic answer for the number of form fields that should be required. But here is one simple rule of thumb: only ask for what you or your sales team really needs. If you don’t need their hair color, don’t ask for it. Try to stay away from sensitive or confidential information, too. And never, ever use the word “Submit” on the form button. Always use language for what they are getting in return. For example, use “Download Now,” “Get your Free Evaluation,” or “Join our Mailing List.”9. Create a Lot of Landing PagesFor every new campaign or offer, create a new landing page. The more landing pages you have, the more opportunities for converting more traffic into leads.BONUS: Make Your Landing Pages ShareableThis is optional, but it’s another great way to drive more visitors to your landing pages. Include social media sharing links or a social sharing widget on your landing pages so visitors can easily share that content with their own personal networks, and in turn, drive more opportunities for converting leads.Evaluate your landing pages, and use these best practices as a checklist for setting up the perfect page. Effective landing pages are what will turn your website into a lead generating machine. And don’t forget to test your landing pages to see which ones work best for you!What other landing page best practices would you recommend?last_img read more

Smart Business Applications of Google+ Hangouts You’re Missing Out On

first_imgGoogle+ is chock full of hidden gems. The problem is, most marketers regard Google+ as a social platform that isn’t delivering significant social media marketing results. Unfortunately, this perception usually inhibits their ability to see all the cool things Google+ has to offer: the little features, functionalities, and tools it provides to improve the way your business functions. Boy, are you in for a treat!So let’s stop viewing Google+ as just another social network and instead put it to good use as a business tool, particularly through the use of Google+ Hangouts. Hangouts is one of the most versatile Google+ tools available to you, especially when you find it difficult to assemble your entire team for in-person meetings. With Google+, you can give internal communication a boost and increase efficiency … all for free!Google+ Hangouts … With Extras!If you’re not in the know, Google+ Hangouts is a live group video chat feature that enables you to video chat with up to nine other people. But that’s not all! Google+ Hangouts are also available “with extras” — extra features that you can use within your Google+ Hangout sessions. By hosting a virtual meeting through Hangouts with Extras, you can get so much more out of your Hangout sessions. Here are three ways you can use Google+ Hangouts, including the key “extra” features that amplify their impact.Host Virtual MeetingsScreenshareWell-run marketing meetings include a presentation or slide deck of some sort with key metrics, goals, and progress toward those goals to share with the team. But for those members joining in remotely, your marketing manager running the meeting and projecting slides can open up a Google+ Hangout with the remote attendees and do a simple screenshare. This way, everyone in the meeting can easily pay attention while also keeping those teammates who are off-site well informed. Or, if your CEO or colleague is on a business trip, you can still have one-on-one meetings to show them presentations or other projects you’re working on by starting a Hangout and sharing your screen!Google DocsAs we mentioned in our recent post, “How to Run Marketing Team Meetings That Don’t Suck,” an effective marketing meeting needs an agenda. But you know the one flaw about those perfected agendas? People forget about them. Once you’re even 5 or 10 minutes into a meeting, everyone forgets there was a certain schedule to stick to. That’s why the Hangouts sync with Google Docs is so valuable. Google+ Hangouts are automatically connected to your Google Docs, allowing you to open documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc., and showcase them on the screen as you video chat. Having the agenda in sight reminds members that there is a certain schedule of topics to adhere to and review, keeping them on their toes. Users can also see the meeting notes as they are typed, and can also contribute to them if necessary.In addition to making your team more aware of your meeting’s agenda, Hangouts can help you present certain analytics you continuously track using a spreadsheet (such as your finances or month-to-date progress toward your leads goal), and enable you to review those numbers together. Or, if you’re simply working with someone else on a presentation for an upcoming meeting or event, you can build it collaboratively via Google Presentations and then transfer the documents to your preferred presentation software such as PowerPoint or Keynote later. That way, if either of you has an idea to add to or alter the presentation, you can make the change or add a note right then and there rather than taking the risk of forgetting about it later. This eliminates time-wasting back-and-forth and lets group members work together efficiently!Improve CommunicationGroup ChatDon’t you hate when you’re in a meeting, someone needs to leave, so she interrupts the speaker to excuse herself? Me too. Instead, keep your meeting’s Google+ Hangout open whether the meeting is virtual or in-person. That way, attendees can easily excuse themselves by leaving a note in the chat pane, and exiting without interruption. This tool can also come in handy if you want to direct meeting attendees to a specific link, or if the meeting you need them to send you any piece of information, such as a phone number or address.If you’re team is hosting a guest or speaker, either at an event or in-person, you can also use Google+ Hangouts so people not attending in person hear and see what’s going on, and communicate via chat.YouTubeWatching videos of cats running into walls is funny — but it’s even funnier when you do it with others! But on a more serious note, video marketing is still alive and well. If someone on your team has been working on your next case study, product video, or music video, but has the video unlisted to the public for the purpose of continued editing, he/she can share progress with other members of your team by easily connecting to YouTube. (Of course, if the video hasn’t reached this stage, you could always use screenshare to show what you have saved on your computer).Another benefit of the YouTube sync in Google+ Hangouts is, when you’re browsing YouTube, you sometimes stumble upon a video that either inspires you or illustrates a message in a compelling way. Instead of trying to describe this to your colleague later or trying to convince your videographer how awesome it was, you can use the Hangout button under “share” right from within YouTube to easily watch the video with another person virtually.Have FunGoogle EffectsSometimes a meeting can be enhanced by just a bit of FUN! At HubSpot, our marketeering team (marketing + engineering) has members who sit in all different parts of the office, work on different schedules, and some who even work off-site — in other countries! Thus, they host their daily team update using Google+ Hangouts and have a whole lot of fun with the seasonal effects. Sometimes mustaches make an appearance, and sometimes they sport reindeer antlers and noses! While these silly effects hardly serve any “business” value, who doesn’t benefit from a little fun at work now and again? While chatting using these effects, why not take screenshots and share them on your social media platforms? It shows off your brand’s personality, and hey — nothing bad can come from showcasing how happy your company’s employees are. Video Marketing Additional AppsThe “Extras” we mentioned above aren’t the only apps you can add to your Google+ Hangouts. There is also a doodle screen (for design brainstorms?), a SlideShare app (for showing final projects?), and many others. Google+ gives you quite a few options, so be sure to customize your Hangouts for your company’s optimal use.Are you using Google+ Hangouts for your business? If so, how? Image Credit: Womenofhr Originally published Aug 13, 2012 12:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016center_img Topics: 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

6 Incredibly Insightful Marketing Reports You Should Be Running

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

How to Optimize Your Emails for Mobile: A Beginner’s Guide

first_imgOver the past few years, mobile email opens have seen explosive growth. While they are now holding steady around 45% of all email opens, three years ago, they accounted for only 11% of opens — which is a 309% increase since April 2011. Not only are mobile opens growing, but they’re also cannibalizing desktop and webmail opens. Desktop opens have decreased 53% in the past three years and now represent 28% of opens. During the same period webmail opens decreased 10% and now account for 27% of opens. This rise in mobile has left many brands and businesses wondering if they need to hop on the mobile train — and if they decide to do it, what they actually need to do to be “mobile optimized.” Keep on reading to figure out how to tailor your email marketing strategy for mobile audiences. What Does Mobile Mean for Me?When it comes to creating successful email marketing in general, it’s all about your audience. What type of content are they interested in? How often do they want your emails? Which email programs and devices do they use to read your emails? When it comes to reacting to the increase in mobile email opens, the answer to this last question is key. However, MarketingSherpa found that only 31% of marketers know their mobile email open rate.Since every audience is different, look into your analytics to see on which devices people are opening your emails. While some companies may see mobile open rates as high as 70%, others may see just as high Outlook opens. You should focus your testing and optimization efforts on the devices the majority of your subscribers are using to read your emails — and if that happens to be on mobile, so be it. For example, Auto Trader discovered that an increasingly large percentage of their audience was opening on mobile. With that information in hand, they knew it was essential to make their emails mobile friendly. With the help of Chalk and Pixel, they completely revamped their emails to be responsive and have noticed a 391% increase in clickthrough rates since the redesign! By providing their subscribers with a better experience, Auto Trader has seen great results.Designing for Your Subscribers’ NeedsDiscovering where your audience is opening your emails enables you to design for your subscribers’ needs — it’s all about making their email experience as smooth as possible. Once you’ve determined which email clients are most popular with your subscribers, the next step is uncovering the quirks of those clients and what techniques they support. Then, it’s decision time. Which design approaches will resonate best with your audience and their devices?For example, at Litmus, we have a high percentage of Apple Mail opens so using techniques like HTML5 video background is an option — Apple Mail supports video. Of course, we use fallback techniques so that subscribers reading our email in programs that don’t support video still have a great experience.If you’re seeing a high percentage of Outlook opens, it’s best not to use background images or text shadows since these elements will not be supported. Are the majority of your subscribers opening on the iPhone? If so, perhaps you should think about using responsive design. Mobile Email Best PracticesWith over 80% of subscribers reporting that they will delete an email if it doesn’t look good on their mobile device, it’s essential to optimize your emails for mobile subscribers if they’re a big chunk of your audience. Using mobile email design best practices ensure that designs are legible and easy to interact with not only on mobile devices, but also on tablets and desktop environments. Here are some tips for making your emails look great on mobile:1) Enlarged FontsTiny text is hard to read on a desktop computer, never mind on the small mobile screen. To avoid illegible fonts, we recommend 14 px as a minimum size for body copy and 22 px for headlines. Also, note that iOS will automatically resize fonts under 13 px, making them larger on your behalf.You can see how much enlarging fonts can help in the two emails below. Due to Company A’s tiny font (image on left), the text is difficult to read on the small screen of a mobile device. However, Company B (image on right) uses much larger fonts, allowing subscribers to easily read the email without having to zoom in.2) Streamlined ContentEvaluate the content in your email and get rid of the less useful or relevant links, copy, and images. Also be concise, but still approachable. The shorter the copy, the easier it is for people to scroll on mobile.3) Single Column LayoutWhile many newsletters are multi-column, mobile-friendly emails should consider switching to a single-column layout. This approach accommodates smaller screens and can help increase legibility. In addition, ditch detailed navigation bars. When viewed on a mobile device, navigation bars can break, are too small to tap, or simply aren’t relevant to the content of the email.Take a look at the emails below to see what I mean. Company A’s newsletter (image on the left) is four columns wide — on the small screen of a mobile device it appears busy, and images and fonts are extremely small. However, Company B’s one-column design (image on right) allows for imagery to stand out, and accommodates for larger text size and tappable buttons.4) Touch-Friendly ButtonsWhen it comes to reading emails on mobile, your call-to-action (CTA) must be touch-friendly. We recommend putting the CTA front-and-center and, if you’re using a button, make it a minimum size of 44 px x 44 px.In the example below, Company A’s social sharing icons (image on left) are extremely close together (and small), which could cause subscribers to click on the wrong link. Conversely, Company B’s CTAs (image on right) are large and have appropriate space between them, allowing subscribers to easily “touch” the CTA that they are most interested in.5) Image-Blocking TechniquesLike webmail and desktop clients, there are numerous mobile email apps that block images by default. As a result, it’s important to optimize your emails to be viewed without images. Luckily, there are a number of strategies to help combat image blocking.ALT text, which is short for alternative text, is one of the best ways to get around clients that block images by default. When images are turned off, ALT text often renders in place of the images. It’s a fantastic way to provide some context for subscribers when images are disabled. As an added benefit, ALT text makes your emails more accessible to visually impaired subscribers that use screen readers! Luckily, adding ALT attributes is extremely easy — all it takes is adding an attribute to the image tag.You can take your ALT text to the next level by adding a bit of inline CSS to change the font, color, size, style, and weight. This technique, known as styled ALT text, is a great option for maintaining branding and adding some fun to your images-off view.In addition, your touch-friendly buttons should be visible even when images are disabled. While text links are an option, bulletproof buttons allow you to have a bit more fun. Bulletproof buttons consist of live text combined with a background color, styled to look like an image-based button. While there are numerous options for creating this type of button, we prefer to use simple HTML and inline styles, which holds up well across most email clients.We also recommend using a proper balance of live text and imagery. It ensures that your emails are accessible, eliminates the HTML-to-text ratio spam issue, and allows for the email to be legible and easy to interact with regardless of whether images are present or not.6) Optimized Content in the Upper-Left CornerMany mobile email apps, including some Android and BlackBerry apps, will only display the upper left-hand corner of your email. Lack of autoscaling cuts off the right side of emails and forces users to scroll left-and-right in addition to up-and-down to view your entire message. As a result, it’s important to place important information and CTAs in the upper-left corner of your email. What other best practices do you follow to optimize your emails for mobile? 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 Mobile Optimization Originally published Jun 23, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2017last_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

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

7 Ways to Handle Unresponsive Clients

first_img Originally published Sep 15, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Communication with Clients Topics: It’s inevitable: at some point, your client will give you the silent treatment. They probably don’t mean to make you blow steam from your ears — it just happens — and getting over the communication slump starts with walking a mile in their shoes.It’s important to remember that many companies are understaffed and stretched thin. And even though studies show that burnout is bad for business, we see it happen all the time.While it may be frustrating when you can’t get an answer from your client, it’s usually not the result of ill will or without reason. There’s a good chance your client lives in meetings for most of their days, leaving them with only a small window to take calls and answer emails. An empathic approach to your client relationships — rather than an angry one — will be better for both you and your client in the long run.Why Clients Go DarkThere are several explanations for why your clients aren’t answering you. It could be as simple as email clutter. Haven’t we all tried to block off calendar time to clean out our inboxes, only to veer off course into this project or that phone call? We’re only human.Experts say you need an entire minute to recover from reading a single email. And at bare minimum, you’d need three hours a day dedicated only to reading and sending emails if you were to stay completely caught up on your inbox. Your client might not have the bandwidth to sift through their inbox every day.They could also be waiting on another department or team member to weigh in before they get back to you, and they just don’t have anything new to report. They could be putting out other fires they perceive as more important, or they could simply be stalling because they’re suffering from a bit of decision paralysis (again, it happens to the best of us).Worst case scenario, they have bad news to deliver and they’re putting it off. But don’t jump to conclusions. While it’s normal for you to devote roughly 25 percent to 40 percent of your time to a project, clients usually devote only 5 percent to 10 percent of their time. Most likely, their lack of communication stems from the fact that they’re juggling a lot at once and are strapped for time.The question is this: How do you move forward without feeling like you’re constantly nagging them?Strategies for Breaking the SilenceIt’s not easy to keep clients engaged when they’re seemingly tuning you out, but these simple strategies can help you stay in touch without hurting the relationship.1) When setting deadlines, emphasize the most important ones.If you assume your clients are going to miss any deadlines right out of the gate, you’re already planning ahead. Tell them upfront which deadlines are essential, and be firm about which will affect the success or timing of the project. If they’re going to forget something, it might as well be one of the less important somethings.2) Be clear about the consequences of missing specific deadlines.Don’t be afraid to put things in concrete terms: “If we don’t get X, we can’t make Y happen.” This will light a fire in many clients right away because they don’t want to risk failure of their project. If you’re not clear about what you need from your client, you’ll end up taking the blame for missed deadlines yourself.3) Don’t use calendar due dates.Instead, set deadlines in number of days. For example, “Five workdays after we receive X, we can deliver Y.” This creates a more visual timeline of what happens when even one small deadline is missed. It also gives your client a better understanding of the big consequences their lack of responsiveness can have on the project.4) Get a structure in place for clear communication.Agree on turnaround times and communication methods right away with your client. Ask if phone calls are better than emails. Maybe face-to-face meetings are more your clients’ style. Don’t assume that what works for you will work for them. If they have days they know are more hectic or they know they’ll be unavailable, make note of those, too.5) Don’t end a meeting without scheduling a follow-up.It’s kind of like getting a second date with someone you like: If you like someone, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask him or her out again. Go after your clients in a similar way. If you leave the schedule open-ended, you’ve just created another step you have to take to set it up later (and more messages for which you’ll have to wait for responses).6) Create a ‘If we don’t hear from you’ plan.Proactively ask your clients things like “How can we move this forward on our own, just in case we don’t hear from you?” It creates a backup plan right away, making it more likely that your deliverables and timeline can press onward. Plus, the more your clients can trust you to make decisions on their behalf, the stronger your relationships will become.7) Get acquainted with your clients’ schedules.When you want to escalate your communication urgency appropriately and respectfully, that might look very different if your client is having a “normal” week as opposed to being out of the office for a family reunion or vacation.Get a sense of what your clients’ weeks typically look like so you can set reasonable deliverable dates. Making a “tell us about your week” question part of your usual status meetings with clients is a quick, easy way to anticipate issues and also understand what is reasonable and what might not be.The Better You Understand Your Clients, The Easier It BecomesFrom the agency’s perspective, an unresponsive client can squeeze the agency’s time to complete the project. Sometimes, a project has a fixed deadline, so no matter how the client delays the work, the agency still has to scramble to get it done. It can also lead to rush charges or other unnecessary expenses. But think of client silence this way: You should always be seeking to understand your customers better anyway, and unresponsiveness is yet another opportunity to do just that. Getting through this slump could be just the thing to bring you closer together. 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

The Public Apology Letter: 6 Brands That Nailed It

first_imgRemorse. 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, 2015center_img 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, 2015last_img read more