State of Nation address to cost R2m less

first_img12 February 2014This year’s State of the Nation address will cost R2-million less than it did last year, Parliament’s presiding officers announced on Tuesday.The event, during which President Jacob Zuma is expected to outline the progress made by his administration over the past five years and indicated the government’s service delivery plans for the coming year, will take place in Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.Briefing journalists on Tuesday, Parliament’s presiding officers said they were ready to host Zuma and all invited guests on Thursday.Baby Tyawa, the acting secretary of Parliament, said that while this year’s event would be bigger in that the two houses of Parliament had separate programmes for commemorating 20 years of democracy, the budget for all the activities around the State of Nation address including a post-address presidential banquet – stood at R5.7-million.She said this year’s banquet would be held at the Cape Town Convention Centre, meaning millions or rands will be saved compared to last year, when they had erected a marquee tent and bussed all the guests to the venue.Tyawa said they had noted Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s call for the administration to cut expenditure and curb abuse of taxpayer’s funds.20 years of a democratic ParliamentMeanwhile, Mninwa Mahlangu, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), said that Parliament would use Thursday’s State of the Nation address to see how it could enhance its oversight programme and how to best involve members of the public in the coming year.When President Zuma steps up to deliver his last State of the Nation address of the current administration, the two houses of Parliament – the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and the National Assembly (NA) – will also reflect on how they have fared in a democratic South Africa over the past 20 years.Mahlangu said this year’s State of the Nation address would also be a bittersweet event, as it will be the first that former president Nelson Mandela, who passed away in December, is not around to witness.Mahlangu added that since 2014 was also an election year, a second State of the Nation address would take place after the new President has been inaugurated.Thursday’s address will be broadcast live in all official languages on TV and radio stations from 7pm.There will be a Parliamentary debate on the address on 18 and 19 February, followed by Zuma’s reply to the debate on 20 February.The debate will be streamed live on Parliament’s website and its YouTube channel, and broadcast on the Parliamentary DSTV TV channel.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

HubSpot TV – Inbound Marketing Smackdown

first_img “…well known executive at one of the largest sites on the Internet. The author has requested to remain anonymous…” mvolpe The Time Has Come To Regulate Search Engine Marketing And SEO How to interact on Twitter: @ Webinar: How to Use Online Video for Inbound Marketing Best Buy Values 250 Followers Doing It Right! “Imagine,if you will, that the entire Internet is contained within a singlecontinent. That continent is filled with countries, states and cities.Each jurisdiction is autonomous, relying on visitors to cross on totheir turf to engage in commerce. Now, imagine if the only way to getinto this continent involved just two methods: SEO and SEM. Let’sfurther imagine that the borders to this continent were controlled by asingle company….The only real solution is disclosure. Transparency.Those traffic generators that use rule-based algorithms to determineresult sets must publicly disclose their methodologies. That is themeans by which all businesses can compete freely in the organic andpaid search marketplaces.” www.HubSpot.tv Closing Subscribe in iTunes: karenrubin “Usocialleads the web as the premier Twitter for hire market. At Usocial, thegoing price for 1000 followers is $87, meaning a potential Best Buycandidate could turn up for work having only invested $25 to help theirchances.” Forum Fodder Google is not regulated, brush up on your SEO and deal with it*.* HubSpot Announces Blog Grader Free Marketing Tool @ , @ Inbound Marketing.Com Forums: Need Help in Keywords Baby Got Leads: New Music Video Episode Length: 23 minutes, 38 seconds Marketing Tip of the Week Outbound marketing is not totally ineffective.  In 1900 horses werestill the main mode of transportation, but I wouldn’t want to rely onthem for my business for too long. Spend your limited time creating and promoting great content and the links will come! http://itunes.hubspot.tv/ Debunking Social Media Myths Wordtrackr, Google Keyword Tool, SemRush.com, HubSpot Trial, SEOMoz, Microsoft AdCenter in your tweet. Fran: “I’m in desperate need of help to find keywords for my business. I sell attachments to go on to liquor bottles.” Anthony: “You definitely need tofigure out who your buyer and demographic is before proceeding and whattype of valuable content you will need to attract, inform and convertthem.” Marketing Takeaway: The Social Influence Marketing Report Mailbag How do you get started with YouTube, video podcasting, live streaming, or viral videos. Buy a video camera and give it to the craziest employees you have and see what they come up with. Marketing Takeaway:center_img In terms of hiring, influence or authority is a better measure than raw number of followers. Marketing Takeaway: or Pete:”I’d recommend that you step back from trying to find keywords for theproduct you sell, and ask yourself, “What content will attract mybuyer?”If your buyer is a bar manager, than you need to create contentthat will attract that type of person. for example, you might write anarticle, “10 Ways to Save Money Running your Bar” or “Most Common LocalBar Startup Mistakes”.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Is Social Media Easy, Free and Cheap? Encourage everyone at your company to get involved in social media onbehalf of the company and reduce the need to build a social media army. Baby Got Leads on YouTube “six out of 10 consumers don’t bother to seek out opinions of brands via social media” http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/150048,follow-this-twitter-emerges-as-job-qualification-for-major-us-retailer.aspx “Best Buy put out a job advertisement recently for a marketing graduate with at least 250 followers” Should You Spend Your Time on Link Exchanges? Episode #49 – July 17th, 2009 How many Twitter followers does it take to get a job? “Google’s official advice: “The best wayto get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to createunique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in theInternet community.”” “LargeInternet companies spend millions on consultants and technology tryingto get their sites to rank among the highest results on Google.Everyone else has to rely on the poor man’s search-engine optimization:the link exchange.” Intro Should Google Be Regulated “afundamental truth to social media that many organizationsunderestimate–being social means having real live people who activelyparticipate in your initiatives.” : Shut Up! @BostonLogan is on twitter? How cool is that? HeatherMargolis Headlines Marketing Takeaway: Blog Grader Missed last week’s episode on July 10, 2009? View it here: Link exchanges: The poor man’s SEO Download the free webinar Marketing Takeaway: Should Google Be Regulated? “Consumers view TV ads as more trustworthy than ads on social networks.” How many Twitter followers does it take to get a job? to learn how to use online video to grow your business with inbound marketing. Originally published Jul 18, 2009 9:50:00 PM, updated July 04 2013 Make Content Creation Your Super Powerlast_img read more

3 Social Media Marketing Tips From Rapper Lil’ Wayne

first_img I hope that you found these tips useful.  If you did, would you please retweet or “Like” this post 😉  Thanks! Topics: recent overtaking of the Guinness World Record content creation in 24 hours certainly did the job.  Only hours after Figure out what distinguishes you from the competition, and make sure you share this with your audience.  This will not only help you to attract a loyal following, but it will also help you because he wanted his fans to know he loved them.  As a result of his continued effort to share remarkable content with the world, not only was Weezy able to maintain his fan base, but he actually increased it!  that your competitors may not be focused on.   2. Never Stop Creating Content 3 Social Media Marketing Tips From Rapper Lil’ Wayne Don’t make your visitors’ experience more difficult by throwing a barrage of links and choices in front of them.  Provide them with and then offer them one simple next step.  WeezyThanxYou Although there are thousands of rappers in the world, Lil’ Wayne uses his uniqueness to help him stand out in the overpopulated sea of lyricists.  His love of rock music, the Green Bay Packers, and his brief stint in jail are just a few of the things that Wayne uses to distinguish himself from others.  Originally published Feb 17, 2011 12:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013 Social Media start ranking for long tail keywords is the key to any inbound marketing strategy.  Oreo claimed the record 1. Be Unique As an internet marketer having a social media presence isn’t enough.  The social media landscape is always changing, and because of this it’s important to understand the most effective ways to utilize the tools available for your marketing efforts.  Here are a couple things all internet marketers can learn from Lil’ Waynes success. valuable content Lil’ Wayne shares a lot of exclusive content with his fans on Facebook.  He also makes it extremely clear to them how they can show their appreciation by including a simple “Like this post” call to action in many of his posts.  By telling his fans what to do next Lil’ Wayne is making his fan’s lives simpler and helping them with the decision-making process.  This works incredibly well on his Facebook Page as we can see with all of his posts including the most recent Guinness World Record post.  Facebook Growing a following and attracting inbound links is a long gradual process.  Don’t lose hope if you don’t see immediate results.  Quality and consistency of If Lil’ Wayne hadn’t already established himself as one of social media’s elite, his most for themselves with 114,619 “Likes,” Lil’ Wayne and his fans obliterated it with a whopping 588,243.  Now I know some of you are probably thinking, “well he probably just has a lot more fans than Oreo,” but that isn’t the whole story.  Oreo has 16,711,040 fans on Facebook to Lil’ Waynes 20,112,726, and although this is a significant advantage, it does not completely explain why he got more than five times as many “Likes” on his post.  for most “Likes” to a post on You would think that being locked up might put someone’s rap career on hold.  But instead of slowing down, Lil Wayne seemed to work even harder while he was in prison.  As well as continuing to write songs, he also launched a blog called Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 3. Tell Your Fans What to Do!last_img read more

The Time-Crunched Marketer’s Guide to Creating Lead-Gen Offers

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack MarketingSherpa reports that 60% of marketers have fewer than 10 landing pages on their website. But the more landing pages you have, the more opportunities you have to generate leads. So what gives?Well, before you generate leads, before you create a landing page, before you even craft your call-to-action, you need something to offer your leads. You know, something worth redeeming in exchange for their contact information. The problem is, creating content takes time, which might be why so few marketers are utilizing landing pages to their fullest extent.So what’s a time-crunched marketer to do? The time for excuses is over, because there are ways to create valuable marketing offer content quickly; it just takes a little out-of-the box thinking. Use these shortcuts to create new offer content, quickly build a new landing page (following these landing page best practices, of course), and start generating more qualified leads for your business!Blog BundleIf you’re a dedicated inbound marketer, you’re probably blogging on a regular basis and have built up a great arsenal of short-form content. And while each new blog post you publish continues to work for you in search engines, eventually they get buried with all the new content you publish. A blog bundle — a compilation of your best blog posts around a given topic — is a great way to resurface your best blog content and simultaneously create a new lead-gen offer.Select a theme around which to structure the blog bundle, preferably around a topic that aligns with leads that convert at a high rate. HubSpot, for example, might not (depending on our analytics, of course) want to choose “inbound marketing” as a topic for a blog bundle; not only is it far too broad to be helpful, but perhaps leads that download content about inbound marketing as a general concept don’t close at a very high rate. But let’s say leads that find HubSpot via search terms related to SEO and download content about SEO convert at an extremely high rate — that’d be an excellent topic to select for a blog bundle offer!If you use tags on your blog to categorize content, simply search the tags to pull up all of your content related to the topic you select. Alternatively, you can perform a site search by typing site:www.insertblogURL.com “insert search term” into Google to resurface the content. Choose only your best blog content, and try to select a mix of blog posts that cover all angles of your subject.Data CompilationIt sounds sacrilegious, but there are inbound marketers out there that would rather kick a puppy than create a piece of content. That puts them in quite a pickle when tasked with creating offer content. But research and data — especially when it’s original — is a content goldmine that makes for a fantastic offer with very little writing required.Do you perform your own research about your industry that you could share with leads? Do your partners or affiliates? Alternatively, do you stay up-to-date on third-party research that would interest your audience, like analyst reports? Combine all of this interesting research and data into a lead gen offer (just make sure you have the permission to first). For an example of offer content centered around data, check out our 100 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts, and Graphs, or our annual State of Inbound Marketing in 2012 Report.Presentation SlidesSo you just gave an awesome presentation to your boss, colleagues, clients, or even at a speaking gig. Don’t let those slides go to waste. Turn your .ppt into an offer for those who couldn’t attend the live presentation, or who would benefit from consuming the content in your presentation. All you have to do is edit your slides slightly to be applicable to a wider audience!For example, your presentation may have proprietary internal data, or perhaps you customized it with your client’s logo — audit your presentation for these details so the content appeals to a general audience. Then go through each slide and ask yourself whether the content of the slide is self explanatory. If you made heavy use of the “Notes” section or explained many concepts verbally, edit the slides to include that extra information that those who didn’t hear your presentation live would need to get value from the slides.Rework Existing Offers for PersonasInstead of starting from scratch, why not make the offer content you already have more targeted by better aligning it with your buyer personas? This will not only help you generate new leads, but also drive more reconversions in your lead nurturing — in fact, Aberdeen Group found a 10% improvement in conversion rates for more personalized lead nurturing emails.Identify the best offer content you have, ideally one in each stage of the sales cycle — awareness, evaluation, and purchase. You’ll be able to identify which offer content is best by visiting your marketing analytics, and selecting those with the best conversion rates. Content from the awareness stage should have a high visitor-to-lead conversion rate; content from the evaluation stage should have a high rate of reconversion; and content from the purchase stage should have a high lead-to-customer conversion rate.Once you’ve identified the best offers, you can simply update the language and layout to cater to each persona’s interests and needs. For example, you might change an offer targeted at a C-suite executive to be shorter, use a more professional tone, and provide less tactical and more strategic advice. On the other hand, the same offer targeted at a mid-level manager might go into more detail, use less industry jargon, and focus on the nitty gritty tactics of your solution.You can learn more about how to adjust the content of your existing offers in our blog post that breaks down how to tailor lead nurturing content to different buyer personas.Update Out-of-Date OffersJust as you can update existing content to be better targeted, your old offers should be updated and relaunched, positioned as a more current piece of content. Even your most evergreen content will likely need to be polished up as data and statistics become out of date and new advancements are made in your industry that would be useful to add to the content.At HubSpot, for example, we make a regular practice of updating ebooks. Take our ebook, 15 Business Blogging Mistakes & Easy Fixes. There weren’t originally 15 mistakes in that ebook; there were only 13. But over time, it became clear the content could be more comprehensive, so we added in two more problems and solutions. Then, we gave the graphics a much needed facelift (optional), and relaunched the offer by writing new blog posts about blogging (how meta) and using the ebook in our lead nurturing emails.Record an InterviewValuable content comes in forms other than the written word, so here’s another idea for those inbound marketers who don’t fancy writing. Record an interview, either on video or, if you’re camera shy, just audio. HubSpot did this on, ironically, the subject of whether content should live behind a form in HubSpot Debate: Should You Put Your Content Behind Forms? In the video, CMO Mike Volpe and Marketer-in-Residence David Meerman Scott discuss whether it’s better for content to be form-free; the discussion lasted about a half an hour, but yours certainly doesn’t have to. Simply take 10 or 15 minutes to tackle an interesting topic with a co-worker or industry expert, record the discussion, and create a landing page that summarizes the points that will be covered in the recording!FAQ-Driven EbookCan’t find a chunk of time long enough to devote to ebook writing? Or is the prospect of doing a deep dive into one topic too overwhelming? Take the FAQ approach to your next piece of long-form content. The FAQ approach is a common one I take when writing blog posts — after speaking with co-workers in departments like Sales, Support, and Consulting, I aggregate questions that leads and customers commonly ask and note them for future blog topics.You can do this for an ebook, too! Ask employees who are on the front lines with leads and customers every day to jot down common questions they receive and send them your way so you can progressively write your ebook; alternatively, ask them to write down their answers to the questions, leveraging the power of the team to create your next piece of offer content. Soon, you’ll have “[Your Company]’s Answers to [Your Industry]’s Burning Questions.” Okay, maybe I’ll leave the title brainstorming to you.Turn How-To Content Into ChecklistsMany marketers get hung up on length when creating offer content, but length is never an indicator of quality or usefulness. In fact, it’s important to create content in different formats, since not everyone consumes content in the same way. So take your how-to, action-oriented content, and turn it into a downloadable checklist.Let’s take HubSpot’s blog post, “9 Questions you MUST Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Blogger,” for example. The post goes into lots of detail about why it’s important to ask each question and how each interviewee’s answer should be structured. But once a reader understands these concepts, they really just need a reminder of what those 9 questions are. After all, they’re not going to remember all 9 questions every time they go into an interview. Repurposing this content in a checklist format with a call-to-action that says, “Download Your Business Blogger Interview Guide” is a perfect way to repurpose this how-to content in a way that’s quick for you, and helpful, bookmarkable content for your reader.Create TemplatesJust as checklists help your leads perform recurring tasks with more ease, there may be templates you can create for your leads in Excel, Word, Photoshop, etc. that would help them do something easier or better. For example, a tax accountant might prepare a spreadsheet with formulas that helps calculate common deductions. Or maybe an event coordinator could create templates of room layouts for the city’s most popular event spaces. HubSpot’s CMO Mike Volpe created a template for marketers to complete their leads waterfall graph, which can be found in our blog post that explains it in more detail. Ask yourself what problems your leads and customers encounter, and whether there are templates you can quickly create and offer for download to make that job easier.Ask the ExpertsYou may not have all the answers, but perhaps you have trusted colleagues, industry contacts, or even followers and fans on your social media accounts who do. Select a controversial topic or difficult problem many in your industry face, and ask your network for their take on the issue. Then bundle their responses and advice into one piece of content — it can be visual like our 54 Pearls of Marketing Wisdom, or if you’re not comfortable with graphic design, written and nicely formatted like a whitepaper or ebook.Turn a Live Presentation Into a Webinar OfferNext time you host a live presentation or webinar, be sure to record it so you can leverage the offer well after the live audience disperses. This is some seriously low-hanging fruit content that should be turned into a lead generating offer. We record all of our public presentations so they can be used as offers at a later date. Remember, not everyone can attend these sessions live, but it doesn’t mean they’re not interested in the content.And if your webinar didn’t go as well live as it did during rehearsal, no worries. You can always set aside an hour to re-record the presentation that you turn into the offer — you know, without the live audience and technical difficulties.Create Co-Branded ContentIf you’re short on time, why not divide up the responsibility of creating offer content with someone in your industry who is looking to get exposure to your audience? For example, our ebook, How to Generate Leads Using LinkedIn was co-written by HubSpot’s Anum Hussain and Jamie Turner, founder of 60-Second Marketer. This approach works well for other content formats, too, particularly webinars. Partner up to host a webinar with someone in your industry whose audience you’d like exposure to. You can use the recording to generate leads on your own site, and include a call-to-action at the end of the webinar to encourage action from the new audience to whom you’re speaking.There’s Always OutsourcingIf you can’t find the time or inclination to create offer content, you can always outsource content creation. You can build all the calls-to-action and landing pages in the world, but without valuable content to make redemption worthwhile, your lead generation will quickly dry up. Leverage these shortcuts for creating lead generation content, or if time is really your most precious resource, get in touch with a qualified freelance writer to keep your content creation going.What tricks and shortcuts do you use to create valuable offer content in a time crunch?Image credit: Andres Rueda Lead Generation Originally published Mar 21, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics:last_img read more

How to Write a Blog Post Every Single Day

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you’ve ever been in a content creation role, you know that there’s lots you can do to make sure you’re creating great content every single day. You can’t just wait for inspiration. You’ve got to be prepared, motivated, and focused — all at the same time. The trifecta can be hard to get, even for the savviest of writers.So if your job is to create content every day, how do you achieve all that?To get to the bottom of this, I spoke with my teammates here at HubSpot. It’s no secret: we create a lot of content, especially blog posts … so I figured we’d have a few tricks up our sleeve for writing a post every single day. Here’s some of the best advice our team has for getting prepared, motivated and focused to write each day on the job.1) Braindump Your Ideas in TrelloMy best brainstorming doesn’t often happen randomly — I usually need to sit down, realize I need to brainstorm, make inspiration strike once, and then iterate on that idea. I personally love to brainstorm ideas in Trello — a place where my whole team can see them and grab one if they want to write it. Having a central location for ideas keeps the blog post idea mill flowing for the entire team, even in the darkest days of writer’s block.2) Race Your Laptop’s BatteryMy colleague, Corey Eridon, mentioned this tip in a previous post about blogging tips — and it’s something our team will do when under a tight deadline. Just unplug your laptop, go somewhere else, and race to finish your post before your computer shuts off. Constraining your writing to a certain time limit can help you focus on getting the most important points down in a concise way.3) Isolate Yourself (Physically AND Digitally)To get focused, my teammates and I also like to isolate ourselves. Whether it’s holing up in some random conference room to write, popping in some headphones at our desks, or turning off all instant message/email/tweet notifications on our computers, we’re making sure we’re focusing on the one and only task at hand: writing a blog post. Those other distractions can wait until you’ve finished.4) Refresh Your SurroundingsThis tip is one my coworker Karlan Baumann swears by: changing your surroundings any time you need to work. So if you’ve been emailing at your desk all morning, try heading over to a local coffee shop to write (or vice versa). Writing requires a different mindset than the rest of your day-to-day duties, so changing up your surroundings to mirror the change in mindset can be very helpful.5) Listen to Music Popping in your favorite tunes can help you gear up to write something awesome — though it doesn’t have to be a certain type of music. My colleague Shannon Johnson told me that she prefers classical or non-lyrical music when she needs to buckle down and write … but mine is usually the Pandora Beyonce or Mumford and Sons mix. Find whatever music empowers and focuses you to write and go from there.6) Get ComfyI absolutely need to feel physically comfortable before I write. Forget ergonomics — sometimes I need to be hunched over my post for an hour to get it out quickly.Experiment to see which body position works best for you. For me, I need my feet stretched out and laptop on my lap because that’s the position I used when I was on tight deadlines at college. This position can work at my desk or in a conference room or on the couch. You may need much more — or much less — rigidity, but it’s important for you to know how your posture can help or hurt you.  7) Chunk Up Your WritingOften, I’ll get overwhelmed and think, “I need to get 1,500 words done before lunch? I have 10 minutes before my next meeting so I won’t even try to write something.” But that’s not always the best way to think about writing — or any project in general. Lately, I’ve been trying to say to myself, “I have 10 minutes, so what can I write in that time that’ll be substantial?” Usually, that’ll be one or two paragraphs of a post — so I’ll challenge myself to write that before I need to go to my next meeting. Set deadlines for yourself for parts of your writing, and you could find that your productivity skyrockets. 8) Do It at a Set TimeIt’s really easy to make excuses to not write. An impromptu meeting crops up or suddenly your inbox is overflowing or maybe someone’s complaining on Twitter and you need to respond to it. But if you let yourself get caught up in all of those, you’ll never have enough time to bang out a post. So try carving out a chunk of time to sit and write, and don’t let anything else interfere. Maybe you write best in the morning, so you block out 8-10 a.m. on your calendar. Send yourself a calendar invite for that time and disconnect from all notifications. You’ll train yourself and your coworkers to expect you to blog at that time.9) Talk It Out This is a great tip that came from Corey as well: when you’re getting caught up in trying to write something down, just talk it out. Grab a voice recording device or a coworker, and explain what you mean out loud. Naturally you’re going to be more down-to-earth and jargon-free, and hearing your own voice say the concept out loud can jumpstart your creativity. Bonus: if you have Evernote, you can write your blog posts by talking them out. 10) Skip to Easier StuffWriting can make me really angry sometimes. Randomly, I’ll have a blog post idea and have no clue how to begin the post. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been ruminating on the idea for a week or a month or half a year — somehow I get writer’s block. Instead of fighting against those sections that just won’t cooperate, skip to sections you know like the back of your hand. Writing non-linearly seems counterintuitive (don’t you have to build your story first??), but it can help unlock your creativity. You’ll get back into your writing groove and it’ll be easier to tackle those other sections. Just make sure you go through a heavy edit to make sure your story flow actually seems logical. 11) Organize Your Bookmark Bar With Resources You Use Every DayI’m an organized person. I keep track of my blog post ideas in Trello, I color-code my email inbox, and I sure as heck make sure I’m ready to write or edit a blog post at a moment’s notice.One thing that has significantly cut down on my writing and editing time is my collection of bookmarks. I’m not the greatest at dead-recalling facts. Instead, I bookmark resources that’ll help me find the information I need. So things like the link to our blog or design style guide, or the link to our stock photo subscription, or the link to our personas — I bookmark them all. That way, I don’t have to spend time searching for important blog post content to reference or cite.I also like to bookmark resources that’ll help me come up with new blog post ideas. Generally, I like to check out this site, but I also use a bunch of these browser bookmarks.  Do you write every day? What tips do you have for consistently creating content?   Productivity Originally published Feb 27, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics:last_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

12 Tips for Writing With Unforgettable Personality

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

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

first_img Originally published Oct 3, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Infographics How the heck can you use an image for search optimization?It might be simpler than you think. You see, there’s something about the way an infographic conveys content — from its customization to its digestible format — that both grabs and holds people’s attention, and makes them highly sharable. But how does it work? And how can you use infographics for your own SEO strategy?As it turns out, the good folks over at SerpLogic know a thing or two about both search optimization and infographics. They’ve hunted down the things that make these informative images so valuable for SEO, and created a six-step approach to creating the infographics that are most likely to show success in this area.Download our free planner to learn how to step up your SEO traffic in just 30 days.So, want to reach more viewers? Paint them a picture — and check out the infographic below to learn how to make it optimally educational. 169Save169Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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