Kerr’s lengthy practice sets the tone for Warriors’ workload ahead

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — In the first practice since five-straight NBA Finals runs, Warriors coach Steve Kerr opened training camp Tuesday with one of the longest practices under his tenure. Two-and-half hours. Probably an hour longer, to his estimation, than any practice last season.“This is different,” Kerr said. “We’re having to stop and teach, more stops and starts, more instruction, more Why’s and How’s. The first part of camp will especially be, I think, more detailed. And then once we get …last_img read more

The Artwork Behind Building Recommendation Engines with Big Data

first_imgAI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… We live in a “long tail” world. That means that mass-market products are no longer able to satisfy consumers who ask for tailor-made solutions. This trend has emerged from online retail, specifically Jeff Bezos’ idea of having a million different shops for a million different consumers. In essence, it all boils down to building the perfect recommendation engine. There are various methods to create such a tool, which we will discuss shortly, but all of them have a common denominator: big data.“Hey, you can have any color you want — as long as it’s black.” –Henry FordThe days of Henry Ford and “any color you want as long as it is black” are long gone. Other things that are going out of fashion fast are website filters and asking questions to narrow down options. Modern customers hope to get exactly what they dream about presented to them as soon as they open a website. On the home page slider, if possible.This trend is also evident in the home entertainment sector. Just imagine if you would have to sort through thousands of movies before finding the one you like. Not the most successful business model, isn’t, it? Yet, a movie recommendation engine, like the one powering Netflix and other similar streaming services, can take hints from what you have previously selected and suggest what you might want to watch next.How are “they” making a selection for you?There are three ways to build a great recommendation engine, each with a different approach to solve the same problem.Clustering recommendation engines.To understand the way clustering recommendation engines work, you should think about product packages or product layouts on the shelves. Clustering takes into consideration their functionality and recommends items that are complementary. For example, a clustering engine would show you a toothpaste if you have already added a toothbrush to your cart.These engines don’t consider your customers’ particular preferences or what other users have bought, so you could build an engine like this even without the help of big data, just using logic and common sense in addition to simple out-of-the-box tools. The only problem with building a recommendation engine in this manner is that it becomes almost unmanageable if you have hundreds or thousands of products.In these cases of many thousands of products, clustering them would be too effort-intensive, so an algorithm should come in handy. Big data can help by making the necessary associations automatically.Content-based recommendation engines.The next way to get an active recommendation engine is to start with what customers already like. Coming back to the Netflix example, if they have already watched two Lord of The Rings movies, most likely they would be interested in the third as well.Here, big data is more useful, as the algorithm gathers numerous data points and computes the relevance between them. For example, it looks at the movie genre, the actors, the director, the soundtrack and even filming locations. Next, it scans the database to find items which are similar to the information discovered. This type of recommendation engines takes into consideration a customer’s personal history of interacting with the service and makes truly contextual suggestions.Collaborative recommendation engines.What if you have just installed Netflix or are on the Amazon page for the first time? Your recommendation feed is not empty. In fact, you might see some good ideas right from the beginning. These are offered based on the preferences of existing users.Once you start using the platform and the algorithm learns more about you, the recommendations will get better because you are automatically assigned to a cluster with similar customers.The advantage of collaborative engines is that it can be used for predictions based on customers’ real-life preferences. The downside is that it works on the assumption that if similar users liked similar things in the past, they would continue to do the same in the future, which is a bit unrealistic.Steps to build a recommendation engine.Before you can select any of the previously discussed methods, you need data to feed the algorithm. Since any big data endeavor is a problem of ‘garbage in garbage out,’ you also need to make sure that the data you have is high-quality and genuine.The first step is to collect the right data. The challenge here is that the most useful information is implicit, coming from a user’s behavior. Although collecting data in online logs is straightforward, filtering just the right information is almost art. The difficulty here is to assign proper importance to each item. For example, in the case of a movie recommendation engine, is the genre or the main actor more critical? Depending on the viewer, answers might be very different.Next, you need to make sure you store the data in a way that allows you to access it fast and the algorithm to learn from it continuously. A NoSQL database offers the necessary flexibility and scalability for such projects which usually grow exponentially. Such a way of storage is possible by spreading the data over hundreds of distributed servers in the cloud.The advantage of a NoSQL database is that it offers the opportunity to store any data, including unstructured ones like comments, reviews, and opinions. Most of the times, these are far more valuable than ratings by numbers since you get an insight into more subtle preferences.To create a great recommendation engine, the most critical step is to analyze data and identify patterns. Some of the best-performing systems work in real time or almost in real time, refreshing every few seconds. The least performant but still usable solution is a batch analysis, which is mostly used in retail for looking at daily or weekly sales.Future trends.We can expect that recommendation engines will become so high performing that they will eliminate the need for search, entirely. The danger and downside of this approach is that each customer will live in a comfortable bubble, enjoying the same kind of content with little chance of discovering something beyond that. We are already witnessing this phenomenon happening on our social media feeds — much to our personal and collective danger — and we also see our very own bubbles happening in the automatically generated playlists on YouTube. Sophia Brooke Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Sophia Brooke is a Project Manager with over 10 years’ experience and a proven track record in project management and delivery for a variety of industry sectors: Retail, Software, Construction, Education and Financial services. Tags:#Big Data#big data recommendations#build a recommendation engine#content-based recommendations#marketing#Recommendation Engines#sales Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

Technologies Redefining In-Store Customer Experience

first_imgAI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… Related Posts The rate at which customers are shopping online is skyrocketing by the day. The high rate of retail customer defection means that it is now doubly important for brick-and-mortar retailers to enhance the levels of customer experience in-store. A lot of things are being discussed in the global retail arena to achieve this. Ranging from AI to AR and everything in between, there is no denying that the scope and opportunity for in-store enhancement are here. But as you redefining in-store customer experience — are you being cool or being creepy?Although there is a lot that can be done, retailers must keep in mind what it is precisely what their customers want. Wowing customers when they enter the retail store is one thing — making them feel invaded is something completely different. As recent findings suggest, there is a difference between the cool and the creepy.Redefining in-store customer experience — being cool or being creepy.All the premium talks of the modern-day customers’ innate love for technology and automation, there is a certain line that retailers must not cross. Customers don’t mind embracing technology if it makes their shopping journey convenient, or provides them a one of a kind in-store experience. The problem starts when technology gets too invasive.Customer data enables retailers to curate customized offerings for each customer. What customers worry about is data privacy and security. Similarly, there is no denying the marvels that artificial intelligence empowered chatbots are. However, when it comes to customer service, a lot of people can have that connect only with a human being. The whole idea of computer programmed bots emulating humans might seem creepy to them as well. It’s not about how right a specific technology might be — it’s still about what percentage of people can willfully adapt and be comfortable with the technology that matters. What is comfortable is especially the exact point in retail.The following chart clearly identifies what customers treat as cool and creepy when it comes to retail technology. The above chart is a fair indication of what people generally are comfortable with and the impact on the in-store experience for customers.Note: This chart data was provided to eMarketer by RichRelevance.Methodology: Data is from the June 2018 RichRelevance “Creepy or Cool 2018: 4th Annual RichRelevance Study.” 1,037 US internet users ages 18+ were surveyed online in May 2018. RichRelevance is an omnichannel personalization company.Let’s look at a few areas in retail technology that are certainly having an impact on customer in-store experience.1) Robots & Drones.Customer service is one thing that can help brands and retailers score high brownie points in their quest to attain customer loyalty. Robots in retail certainly have the capability to wow customers in the store, at the same time, be un-invasive.Generally robots have been known to optimize business processes along the supply chain by improving productivity in distribution warehouses. But now they have their work cut even inside retail stores.From the essential meeting and greeting customers to keeping track of stock inventory, the use cases of robots are pretty extensive. Robots can now also be used in store to detect hazards like spills and spoilage.Retailers are also looking to install drones in a store that can keep track of misplaced product on shelves and stock inventory. The whole idea is to ensure that the human personnel inside the store are always at the beck and call of customers.Customers don’t appreciate it if they don’t get proper assistance in stores. Human personnel must be available at all times. Coupled with the expert assistance of drones and robots will mean that customers are always engaged. The overall in-store experience of customers can be elevated as a result. 2) AR & VRAugmented and Virtual Reality is making all the right sounds across the globe as digital marketers look to leverage its power to fulfill their branding and marketing ambitions. Most of us are aware of how we can just put on a pair of VR headsets and enjoy a walk at the Great Wall of China, all from the comfort of our living rooms. When it comes to retail, much of the same is possible. People can now wear their headsets to scroll through the online stock and get an idea of how the model or mannequin would look in a particular dress.When it comes to furniture shopping and interiors, VR and AR can genuinely elevate customer experience to a whole new level. Through AR, people can now get an idea of how particular furniture would look at their home, whether it would fit properly in the available space, how different colors would look against the wall, etc. through their mobile phones. Brands like Ikea and Macy’s have already started extensive adoption of the technology.So where does it leave physical retail stores? On the one hand, in-store retailers are planning to flood stores with robots to increase customer engagement. On the other, technologies such as AR and VR are further re-instating the fact that going to a physical store can be done without. It is quite the predicament for sure. Well, physical retailers have no choice but to adopt AR and VR in-store as well.The first thing that comes to mind is smart mirrors. Although they are not entirely new to the equation, the voice assistant upgrades are sure to make it more engaging. Smart mirrors allow customers to virtually try out apparels before deciding the one to purchase. Based on what customers are wearing, these mirrors can also recommend alternatives to customers.Apart from mirrors, retailers can also augment the store ambiance by installing digital shelves that will display digital product description and demo videos. Despite the surge in online shopping technology, as long as retailers keep the store up to the latest digital standards and lay enough emphasis on retail graphics, people will keep hitting the doors.3) Cashier-less check out.One of the biggest reasons people generally get frustrated inside a retail store is when they realize they need to queue up. People don’t have the time for a long wait at the check-out counter, and after online, there is no good reason why they should. Retailers must understand that extended check-outs can convince people not to bother going to the store. They absolutely need to devise faster check-out mechanisms, especially now that everyone’s emulating Amazon Go; at least the check-out bit.Cashier-less checkouts would mean that people would have to make their payment within an app digitally or through a fingerprint device, or even through one of the kiosks. But, who wants to be fingerprinted? Faster check-outs mean faster shopping. Time is at a premium, and customer convenience is the key. Automated, cashier-less checkouts are the future.TakeawayIn-store customer experience is one thing that every brand and retailer is aiming to enhance to remain a force to reckon with against their online counterparts. It’s not just about implementing any technology to boost marketing endeavors, but adequately understanding which the ones that their customers want are. Talking about the road ahead, there is no doubt that technology will continue to make in-roads in every industry, including retail.Retailers must leverage the power of technology to stay at a competitive advantage. However, a proper analysis of their customers and their expectations will only make it easier for them to adopt or implement a particular technology in their marketing strategy. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Aditya, through his company Digital Polo, has reached the zenith of brand-design expertise by delivering true value to brands & marketers. He believes that every brand deserves to unlock its true branding prowess. Through Digital Polo, he aims at comprehensively serving the same. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Aditya KathotiaFounder & CEO of Digital Polo Follow the Pucklast_img read more

Moto M to launch in India today, may cost less than Rs 20,000

first_imgLenovo today is going to add another Moto phone, Moto M in India. The Moto M was launched in China last month and since India has been an important market for Moto it is coming to the country today. The phone was first launched at CNY 1,999 in China, which roughly translates to Rs 20,000. The company teased its launch in India on its Moto India twitter handle.Also Read: Motorola Moto Z review: The most underrated phone of 2016 Interestingly, the phone sports a full metal unibody design and is water resistant like the Moto G4 and G4 plus. The design is also quite similar with a rounded back and a 5.5 inch Full HD display in front; the same Octa core snapdragon 617 chipset and 3000mAh battery. So the major difference then remains with the fingerprint sensor placement.This may have come in response to many Moto fans and critics who pointed out that front button is a useless addition when on-screen home and back keys are the given way of navigation. It is like a home button that you can’t press and that is annoying at times. Then there was the plastic build, both on Moto G4 and G4 Plus that became a fodder for further analysis.Motorola (yeah Lenovo) fixes these things with Moto M. It had to be announced in India. The fingerprint sensor is placed at the back, the build is all metal (and water resistant), the RAM is upgraded to 3GB/4GB and the storage to 32GB/64GB. Then, there is a higher resolution 16megapixel camera in the rear with 1micrometer pixel size. It almost enters the Moto Z league.advertisementIts Metallic. Its Marvelous. And it could be yours very soon. Coming soon on Flipkart! #SomethingMagnificent pic.twitter.com/WccEK8AcLg Flipkart (@Flipkart) December 8, 2016Though, hinting from the China price, the Moto M will also carry a bigger price tag. And that also kind of jeopardizes the pricing of Lenovo smartphones that always manage to carry heftier specs. The Lenovo Z2 having Snapdragon 820 would actually cost the same.That said however, Moto phones grab an edge over its Lenovo counterparts by offering clean stock interface and water resistance with a curvier design. Like you, we are eagerly waiting for the new (read old) Moto design to rise from the ashes, in metal.Also Read: Moto G4 Plus review: Two steps forward, one step backlast_img read more

How Crafters Transformed a Company

first_imgThis guest post is written by Paul Gillin , writer, speaker, and online marketing consultant. Catch Paul speaking at the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston, MA this October. Register with the code HUB200 and get $200 off the ticket price. If you follow social media marketing closely, you’ve probably heard the story of Fiskars , the Finnish maker of fine cutting tools that has used a private social network to dramatically boost specialty store sales. What’s less well-known is how customer communities have transformed the way this 300-year-old company does business.I wrote about Fiskars’ remarkable community of crafting enthusiasts called the Fiskateers in the introduction to my latest book, Secrets of Social Media Marketing. The company has leveraged this group to take its message to the under-utilized channel of small retailers. Reaching these merchants would have been prohibitively expensive if done by a core marketing team. So Fiskars let its customers do the talking. The result: a threefold increase in year-over-year sales.I recently caught up with Suzanne Fanning, Director of Communications at Fiskars Americas, to see how the program was going. In a word, very well. What I hadn’t understood from earlier interviews was the degree to which quality customer feedback comes to pervade everything the company does. The Fiskateers demonstrate why social media should be thought of as much more than just a marketing program.Some basics: Prospective Fiskateers must fill out an application form to gain entry. While the company rarely turns down applicants, this requirement gives members a feeling of belonging. Once you’re a Fiskateer, you’re special to Fiskars.And boy, are you special! When my wife, a hopeless crafting enthusiast, heard about this program, she immediately applied. A few months later, the company invited her to a local member meeting. Some 30 Fiskateers spent an entire day swapping techniques, trying out new tools and generally bonding with each other. Dana came home that day laden down with hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise. It’s safe to say she will be a Fiskars customer for life, and she’s not shy to share her enthusiasm.More Than a WebsiteThe company does plenty of live events at the local and national level to connect members with each other and with Fiskars. Its overarching goal isn’t to sell more scissors as much as to “have that emotional bond with consumers,” Fanning told me. “Customers didn’t have that bond with Fiskars the company, but scrapbooking and crafting is a very personal and intimate thing. We wanted to tap into that and say “We understand. We get you.”The meeting Dana attended was hosted by two Fiskars representatives, one from communications and the other from engineering. In fact, nearly every meeting of the Fiskateers now involves someone on the product development side. The value of the Fiskateers as a driver of product innovation was the great unexpected dividend of the whole program, Fanning said.At first, people on the business side resisted the idea of bringing customers into the product development process. There are competitive concerns, and frankly, engineers aren’t known for inclusiveness.Once the dialogue began, however, that resistance quickly melted. “We started with small projects to make Fiskateers feel like they were giving input and quickly they realized we were getting fabulous insight,” Fanning said. “They really wanted a voice in our company.”Speak, Customer!That voice of the customer now pervades nearly everything Fiskars does. Fiskateers are polled for advice early in the development process and the group has even taken responsibility for naming some new products. Engineers, who initially doubted the value of the community, renamed themselves the “Fiskaneers.”Fiskars now channels most of its first-line market research through the group, saving money and time. It no longer conducts expensive focus groups. Research has shown that the Fiskateers almost perfectly reflect the larger community of crafting enthusiasts.Fanning remembers one product manager who approached her looking for ideas for new shapes to head to the company’s line of cutting templates. Fanning posted the request to the Fiskateers and gathered 70 good ideas within 12 hours.Next LevelWith a hit on its hands, Fiskars is running with it. Some Fiskateers have been qualified as official product demonstrators. A new website now lets members submit and rate ideas for new products. Product managers hold live chat sessions to get feedback. Vendors of sewing machines and magnifying glasses devices have offered to buy advertising on the site.The lesson: social media is about much more than marketing. Anyone who touches or serves customers in any way can benefit from a closer relationship with those people. Recent McKinsey research revealed that a majority of companies that have bought into Web 2.0 marketing are finding benefits in other areas of their organization. Many say social media is changing the way they do business. Just like it has at Fiskars.Not every company can create a community like the Fiskateers, but then again, Fiskars never expected its program to be such a runaway success. Instead of looking for people who were passionate about cutting tools, it focused its energy on people who cared about what you could do with cutting tools. The results were more than a pleasant surprise. The company originally expected to recruit no more than about 200 Fiskateers. It will soon welcome its 6,000th member. Paul Gillin is a writer, speaker and online marketing consultant who specializes in social media. He’s a veteran technology journalist and the author of two books: The New Influencers (2007) and Secrets of Social Media Marketing (2008). Fiskars is an example of the kind of new media success stories the Inbound Marketing Summit will showcase. Discounted Inbound Marketing Summit Pass Marketing thought leaders will converge on Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, October 7-8. Reserve your place at the conference now . Use the code HUB200 to get $200 off the ticket price. Topics: Social Mediacenter_img Originally published Sep 9, 2009 8:15:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 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 Ultimate List: 100+ Twitter Statistics

first_img Twitter Demographics The History of Twitter 14. Topics: Twitter Marketing Data Originally published Jun 2, 2010 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016  1. 7. 13. use Twitter to drive traffic and leads Twitter Facts and Figures Most Retweetable Days and Times 5. Before: 11. Visualizing Twitter Conversations in Real-time Information Creation and Circulation Before and After Twitter 10. The Journey of a Tweet The History of Twitter’s Valuation 2. Twitter Territory 12. After:center_img Twitter Twitter on Paper The Path to 10 Billion Tweets from Mashable 4. 15. 16. More Truth About Twitter – Twitter Stats and engage with customers. Facebook vs. Twitter 9. Twitter’s Most Influential Users The Anatomy of a Tweet , while simple, is often a confusing social media platform for marketers and business owners. This post provides a treasure trove of statistics in the form of infographics related to Twitter. This information can empower businesses to better understand and leverage this simple yet powerful platform.  17. If You Printed Twitter As businesses better understand Twitter and how it operates as a communication platform, they can then understand the best ways to 6. Why We Love Twitter 8. 3. What do these statistics mean to your business? 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

5 Tips to Improve Channel Partner Lead Generation

first_img – Email is an important part of the lead generation mix. Create a great email marketing campaign with an offer that each partner can send to new leads. Maybe it is a free assessment of a website, or an opportunity to attend a free consulting session. This campaign is to help move leads further down the funnel and to help increase a partners lead-to-customer percentages. Often channel managers have the ability to give marketing funds for offers, so why not provide them the email message to use as well. In a recent conversation with a channel marketing manager I was asked, “What can I do now to get my partners and resellers found?” As with many channel marketing managers, their time is very constrained, but the need to do more lead generation for their resellers is ever present. Additionally, they often talk about how their resellers do a great job once someone is introduced to them, but often their own websites are not helping them bring in new leads. After asking me that question, she said, “I wish I could just give them a few tips to get them started in Inbound Marketing and getting website traction” 1. Identify Longtail Keywords Online marketing is unique for each business. For large businesses that rely on channel partners to sell and distribute products, the online marketing process can be a challenge. With many channel partners across multiple locations, how can a business make sure that partners have the leads they need to help grow the business? brackenb your partners or resellers can quickly optimize their pages . 2. Provide Partners with Lead Generation Offers –  Find 10 keywords that are in the longtail for your services or products and provide them to your resellers and partners to use.  Keywords need to be used in a consistent way on each webpage in the page title, the URL, the page headers and text. By doing the background research and providing a starting point, Photo Credit: 5 Tips For Channel Partner Lead Generation 3. Create a Landing Page Templatecenter_img –  Create an offer such as a ebook or webinar that can be downloaded or accessed from each partner’s website. Maybe your company provides security software and you have a tool that does a quick, free sweep of their network to test for vulnerability. Another option would be to offer a free assessment that will help prospect better understand which product offering best fits their needs. By creating these downloads, you are giving your reseller network an offer they can give visitors that come to their websites. 5. Share Partner Successes –   If one of your partners is finding an offer is converting leads well or a free assessment is leading to more business in the door, let the network know! Inbound marketing may be new, but closing a deal is well understood and anything that drives more business to one partner will help the overall brand and network as well. Share the success! What have you done to help improve inbound marketing for your channel partners? – Create a standard landing page that every reseller can put on their main page of their website to both capture lead data, and provide an offer. 70% of visitors to a website are in the “early stage” of buying. They are not ready to purchase, but are starting to investigate. Instead of having them visit your site and then “drive on”, give them an offer in exchange for collecting some of their information, even if it is just an email address. This will allow you to stay in touch with them via email offers or turn over the lead to your sales team for qualification and follow up. 4.  Develop An Email Template and Campaign Originally published Sep 2, 2010 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Lead Generation 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

34 Awesome Twitter Ideas for Engaging Your Prospects

first_img Social Media Engagement Topics: Originally published Sep 20, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 This is an excerpt from our new ebook, 100 Inbound Marketing Content Ideas. For more tips like these for your blog and Facebook page, download the ebook here.Engaging your community of prospects on Twitter is an essential way to show a human face behind your brand and let your customers know you care about them. Answer their questions and provide them with content they find useful, and you’ll build the trust you need for a loyal following. But how can you keep the relationship with your Twitter followers fresh?Here are 34 ideas and tips for you to use for your own Twitter community to keep them engaged and coming back for more.Responding to Followers1. Check your @replies regularly with a Twitter client. Reply to your users’ questions.2. Assign tweets to an appropriate team member who can answer followers’ question if you cannot.3. Offer to email with community members if they have further questions.4. Have a blog post answering FAQ’s that you can refer to. Link to it regularly.5. If you work in a regulated industry, pre-write 140-character responses to common questions that are pre-approved by stakeholders. This will enable you to still engage in real time with those who are asking questions.6. Use “@Reply” in the very beginning of a tweet to someone if you only want your followers who follow them to see the tweet. Add words or a character in front of the @reply if you want all of your followers to see the tweet.7. If a conversation turns into a heated debate, know when to take it off of @reply and use direct messages (DMs).8. Thank people who comment on and share your blog posts.9. Thank people who share your webinars and ebooks.10. Write as you would write in regular conversation. Use emoticons and exclamation points. Write in first person. (Examples: “I’m sorry.” “We’re excited.”) It shows that an actual human is behind the Twitter account.Twitter Tools11. Find and follow your competitors’ followers using FollowerWonk. Learn from them, and tweet the types of content and hashtags they care about.12. Use a separate Twitter app on your phone for your personal account and for your business’ account to avoid posting content meant for your personal account on your business account.13. Add UTM codes to your tweets to track your referring traffic from Twitter in Google Analytics.14. If you’re tweeting as part of a webinar or Twitter chat, kindly alert your followers and recommend that, if they don’t want to see your tweets, to use Proxlet to mute you.15. Use SocialBro to identify demographic information about your Twitter followers. Learn factors like nationality and gender, and participate in relevant holidays. (Example: Happy Boxing Day to our Canadian followers!)16. Measure your click-throughs on the links you share with bitly. Replicate the kind of language you use in those tweets to increase engagement from your followers.17. Don’t wait for Google Alerts. Maintain and monitor a Twitter list (in a Twitter client) of the actual publications and companies that matter most to your industry and community. When news breaks about your industry, you’ll be the first to share it. This builds authority.Sharing Your Content18. Post tweets of your blog posts. Use a variety of headlines, and test what drives the most click-throughs.19. Schedule tweets of blog posts on the weekends, as people read on the weekends, too. Also, post tweets of blog posts at night, as this targets people in other time zones.20. If your blog post is a list of tips, offer one tip with a link to the post as a “teaser.”21. If you feature tools or other companies in your blog posts, Cc them on the tweets to let them know so they retweet your content.22. If you have evergreen content on your blog, don’t be afraid to schedule tweets of those older blog posts. A few months later, they will still be valuable to your audience, and your readers may have missed them the first time.Incorporate Other Platforms23. Let your Twitter followers know about a great contest or discussion happening on your Facebook page or LinkedIn group, and invite them to be a part of it. Don’t beg for Likes and members, though. (It’s annoying.)24. Share your email newsletter on Twitter. Invite people to sign up for your newsletter by sharing a link to the landing page where they can sign up.25. Do a Twtpoll. Ask your followers a question, and use the results for blog content.26. Participate in relevant Twitter chats related to your community.27. Don’t cross-post your content to Facebook and LinkedIn. They are different platforms; treat them individually.28. If you’re working on a blog post, ask your community members for help. Reach out to them, and ask for their tips. It shows there’s a person behind the Twitter account.Create Original Tweets29. Offer a daily tip just for your Twitter followers.30. Tell a joke or a riddle.31. Use pictures. Show what you’re working on. Offer a behind-the-scenes look. Take a picture at a conference or event.32. Ask your followers a question or for their opinion on a relevant topic. Collect the tweets with Storify, and use them for a blog post.Follow Friday33. Use #FollowFriday to shine the light on your most engaged community members.34. Do a “special edition” #FollowFriday and give it a theme. Group special community members together for a specific reason, trait, or contribution to the community.How do you engage your audience with Twitter? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to share this post! 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3 Things Marketers Should Keep in Mind This Columbus Day

first_img Originally published Oct 10, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Around this time 519 years ago, Christopher Columbus discovered America. Our elementary education (or, in my case, the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode where Theodore is failing his history class) taught us about how Columbus wanted to embark on a journey to search for this new world. Regardless of where you first heard the story, your educators had yet to discover the hidden lessons this tale would have in store for the modern marketing world.Here are three things inbound marketers should keep in mind this Columbus Day.1. Don’t be afraid to explore. Be a pioneer.At the time, no one ever thought to consider the possibility that there was additional land on Earth. Nobody questioned, and nobody wondered. Christopher Columbus would have never stumbled into these lands if he hadn’t taken the risk of exploring what could possibly be. And just as Columbus was willing to investigate and travel into the unknown, inbound marketers should be too. The point is, market research is immensely valuable to any business, and it can be a great basis for new, original, and successful content. Furthermore, becoming an early adopter of new marketing trends could help you set the state for your industry. Don’t wait for your competitors to pave the path. Your research and experimentation — and the insights you derive from them — could lead to the potential of something great. You may not discover a country, but there could be a whole new world of technology, coffee mugs, swimming pools, food, travel, anything. The industry is yours to shape through the information you discover.2. Own a category.Celebrations in remembrance of Columbus’ discovery were held in 1972 and 1892 to mark its 300th and 400th anniversary. In 1906, Colorado picked up on the true importance of Columbus’ pioneering and declared it a state holiday, and it took about 30 years for the holiday to be recognized nationally. Colorado was not home to where Columbus first landed. In fact, it’s rarely the first state to come to mind when one thinks of America. Just as Coloradans took the first step toward owning this category, your business can be the first to start a trend that has the potential of eventually being recognized on a greater scale. Realize that the results of your efforts may not roll out right away, and that long-term goals can be just as valuable as short-term ones. Have lofty goals. Even if it takes 30 years or nothing ever takes hold at all, there’s a certain pride and respect that is tied to the one brave enough to make a difference.3. Leverage Contra-seasonal MarketingWhile Columbus Day may be a federal holiday, not every American has today day off. Just as a global company has to re-strategize how to market its brand on a global level, a local business must consider the activities of its target audience on holidays. Just because your company takes the day off and you’re headed to Vegas for the weekend, doesn’t mean your target audience will be, too. If you decide to completely stop updating your blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, etc., you could be missing out on a valuable opportunity.We like to call this “contra-seasonal” marketing. When many businesses have abandoned marketing efforts under the assumption that no one will be listening to their marketing messages, smart companies continue their campaigns and reach potential customers without having to cut through other noise from marketers. And when a prospect’s inbox isn’t littered with emails from other vendors, they may be more likely to open your email. On the other hand, if you are at work on during holiday vacation, don’t forget that others aren’t. Adjust the frequency of your marketing messages so your prospects don’t return to work from a long weekend bombarded with multiple email marketing messages.Can you think of any other marketing takeaways from the history of Columbus Day?   Inbound Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:last_img read more

5 Must-Have Characteristics of an Inbound Marketing Agency

first_img Inbound Marketing Topics: Originally published Nov 1, 2011 4:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Inbound marketing takes time. It also takes a lot of domain knowledge. It can be hard for businesses to find the necessary time or internal resources to learn and/or implement search engine optimization and social media campaigns (to name a couple) for themselves. In these cases, businesses can reach out to a third-party agency to manage their inbound marketing efforts. Consider these 5 must-have characteristics when evaluating an agency partnership.1. The Right ServicesHiring a firm to redesign your website won’t get you more visitors. The two, seemingly connected, are two totally different agency skills sets. One is design-heavy; the other is content-heavy. To attract more traffic and leads, you need to hire a firm with traffic generation services like blogging and content creation, search engine optimization and link building, and social media campaign creation. Looking for more leads and customers? Then make sure you’re vetting the premium content creation, landing page, and marketing automation chops of a prospective agency. Be certain an agency has the capabilities you need to meet your marketing goals.2. A Clear ProcessContent creation capabilities and social media case studies are great, but the real value of an agency’s involvement will be in how they put the inbound pieces together into a comprehensive strategy. Inbound marketing agencies should be able to clearly lay out and explain the inbound methodology for prospective clients. Being able to clearly show you the order in which things need to happen and the amount of time and resources required at each step will indicate that the agency has delivered ROI to clients before. Thus, you will also be able to infer that it has the game plan to do it again for your company.3. An Emphasis on MeasurementWords like “metrics,” “benchmarks,” and “analytics” should be peppered throughout your prospective agency’s pitch. Progress made toward your goals should to be measured at every step of the way, and an inbound marketing agency worth its weight will be able to track all campaigns and report on performance regularly. You have goals. You are trying to meet those goals by hiring the agency. Therefore, it should be as focused as you are on charting success in an undeniable, data-driven way. 4. Strong Project Management SkillsInbound marketing is fueled by the creation of remarkable content aimed at your ideal prospects. In order to be successful, good inbound agencies will need to get inside your head to build that content and learn about that dream lead. Do the agency you’re considering have the process and communication skills to make you think they will make reasonable and realistic requests of other folks on your team? Also, have they set clear expectations around what each inbound component will require in terms of time and resources? Do you get the impression that they can manage campaigns with lots of moving parts? A good agency will make your life easier; not the opposite.5. A Website Optimized for Inbound Does the agency you’re considering blog regularly? What is its own social media presence like? Are there optimized landing pages and premium content offers throughout its site? An effective inbound marketing agency should be its own best case study. Think twice about engaging with an inbound firm that doesn’t make the services it sells a priority for its own business. What other characteristics do you think are must-haves for an inbound marketing agency?last_img read more