NBA players Markieff, left, and Marcus Morris arrive at Superior Court for the second day of their aggravated assault trial, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in Phoenix. The twins, along with Gerald Bowman, are charged with assaulting Erik Hood outside a recreation center in 2015 in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)PHOENIX — The man accusing NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris of aggravated assault was pressed Tuesday by defense lawyers about his financial motives in the case.An Arizona grand jury indicted the Morris brothers on felony aggravated assault charges. They are accused of helping three other people beat Erik Hood outside a Phoenix recreation center on Jan. 24, 2015.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Cops linking 2 drug cases to murder of Tagudin judge – CJ Peralta PLAY LIST 01:07Cops linking 2 drug cases to murder of Tagudin judge – CJ Peralta01:51SC gives QC court one month extension to resolve Maguindanao massacre case01:16CJ Peralta says QC judge followed rules in giving nod to raids on militant offices01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Hood stressed in court that he wasn’t looking at any of the defendants differently from each other.Hood initially identified both Marcus and Markieff Morris as assailants, but testified that he later changed his statement to police to say Markieff did not physically assault him but had been in the vicinity.Defense attorneys pressed Hood on his knowing about the NBA players’ substantial assets and asked if he was intent on having a claim on at least one of the Morris twins for his financial gain. Hood denied that claim.Eckstein reviewed text messages Hood sent to multiple people indicating the Morris twins would have to pay him millions in financial damages for the case.The Morris brothers face the possibility of prison time and discipline from the NBA, including a minimum 10-game suspension, if they are found guilty. Marcus was traded to the Boston Celtics in July, and Markieff is now with the Washington Wizards.The two-week trial also threatens to disrupt the start of their 2017 NBA season, with training camp set to begin for both players on Sept. 26. Read Next The Morris brothers have known Hood since they were promising teenage AAU players, but Hood testified they had a falling out in 2011.Hood testified that his relationship with the brothers became strained because of a misinterpreted text message he sent their mother. He said there was nothing “improper” happening with him and their mother.Defense attorney Timothy Eckstein suggested Hood knew he had no chance of having a professional relationship with the players after the 2011 incident, but Hood insisted their relationship was not based on the twins making it to the NBA.The Morris brothers were drafted back-to-back in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft.The 6-foot-9 twins became teammates in 2013 when Marcus was traded to the Suns.ADVERTISEMENT Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president View comments E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Under Armour’s Bandit 3 running shoes are ready to help you take on the street Two of the other co-defendants pleaded guilty Sept. 13 to the same charges. The Morris brothers and the final defendant, Gerald Bowman, have pleaded not guilty.Hood told Phoenix police he was leaving a high school basketball game when he was approached by a friend of the Morris brothers. Hood said the man was speaking to him when he was punched in the back of the head.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHood tried to run but fell down before five men, including the Morris twins, punched and kicked him repeatedly, authorities said. All five left in a Rolls Royce Phantom, according to police.Hood, 36, testified he wanted justice for the incident that left him with a broken nose and other injuries. MOST READ Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight
LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Go: Search for ‘perfect, honest man’ to lead PNP still on PLAY LIST 01:31Go: Search for ‘perfect, honest man’ to lead PNP still on00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:16Duque: It’s up to Palace to decide on Dengvaxia’s fate01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH “It’s a reason why I committed those miscues, because I’m so excited to play. But when I returned in the third quarter, I followed coach’s words and calmed myself and eventually, I got my confidence back and the shots got falling,” he said.Napa, though, is willing to treat Ambohot with kid gloves as he expects to have him in his peak form soon.“We’re not rushing him. We know that he’s a warrior. Even if he’s injured, he will play. Coming to the next game, maybe he’ll be 100-percent,” he said.For his part, Ambohot has faith in himself that he’ll be better for Letran’s all-important duel against San Beda next Friday.“I’ll do everything I can, I’ll do my best on what I have to do to be 100-percent. Coach told me that I should get my game back and I need to have my confidence again so that’s what I will do this coming week,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Jeo Ambohot. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netJeo Ambohot is just glad to be back on the hardcourt for Letran.Playing for the first time since fracturing his right wrist on August 15 in Letran’s game against San Sebastian, the 6-foot-6 center’s entry was a welcome boost for the Knights as they continue their Final Four hunt. ADVERTISEMENT For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City “I’m so excited to play again,” said Ambohot, who gathered eight points, on a 2-of-3 shooting from three, three rebounds, three blocks, and a steal in his 18 minutes on the floor in his return. However, Letran failed to dent Lyceum’s armor and lost, 81-69, to drop to an even 8-8 card.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCoach Jeff Napa said that it was evident that Ambohot still lacks the timing after a seven-week layoff “because he tires quickly.”That lack of rhythm showed when Ambohot committed three turnovers in the second quarter, something the sophomore big man attributed to his eagerness to get a piece of the action anew. Read Next Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Ginebra nears finals, nips TNT in game 3 Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight LATEST STORIES View comments
Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results. Download our inbound marketing kit . Right before HubSpot’s co-founder Dharmesh Shah took the stage to share wisdom from the book Inbound Marketing , Brandon Eley , the author of Online Marketing Inside Out shared his personal experiences in starting an online business. In different words than we use at HubSpot, he basically told us that the fundamentals of inbound marketing are the best solution to drive a thriving business today. Brandon learn ed some inbound marketing lessons the hard way, but as an early adopter who was growing his business from about 1999 through 2003, it was sort of to be expected. 2BigFeet.com was started as an online business in LaGrange, Georgia in late 1999 by two regular guys who knew how hard it was to find large shoes. In the early days of online retailing, the 2BigFeet team wanted to get found online and turn those eyeballs into dollars. They stumbled along the way, costing the business money and in many cases revenue. Brandon wants others to learn the easy way … by his example. Brandon’s key takeaways from his talk today: 1. Don’t Believe the “SEO Guys”Right after taking their site live, 2BigFeet hired an SEO consultant who ‘guaranteed’ them they’d be on the first page of Google. Sure. Right. At the time, he didn’t know better, but today we all should. There is no such thing as a guarantee to get on the first page! There are a lot of tactics that you can employ to improve your rankings , but hiring someone else to do what it takes, which is creating high quality content with relevant keywords, is not the answer. Brandon and the team were a few thousand dollars shorter and had lost about 3 months of time before they fired the SEO guy and worked on it themselves, improving results along the way. SEO is hard work because it is all about fresh and relevant content, so don’t believe any hype.2. Don’t Succumb to the Lure of the “PR Lady”A few years later, 2BigFeet felt they’d hit a plateau, and someone put them in touch with a PR lady who promised to get them coverage in pubs, local news, magazines and more. After a few more months, several thousand dollars and zero ‘free’ coverage, the team decided to cut the PR cord as well. Inbound marketing espouses the belief that journalists are out there looking for great stories — by reading blogs and following tweets — rather than waiting around to be spammed by a PR pitch. I believe there is a healthy balance that can be reached, but ultimately, great content that is findable delivers better ROI than a pure PR play . I think Brandon might agree.3. Don’t Forget to Do Usability TestingFinally, in a turn that some might think isn’t really about marketing, Brandon talked about usability testing. Turns out, there is a lot of testing in marketing, and in this case some usability feedback spurred the team to do what is effectively an A/B test on a call-to-action . They originally had a promotion code for flat rate shipping, but very few people took advantage of it and were frustrated and confused about how to use it. By moving from a promo code to a more automated flat rate shipping option, they found that conversion improved dramatically. Now, testing is a core part of their culture, and I think it should be for any marketer.By the end of his talk, part of me wished that the concept of inbound marketing had been around in 1999 so Brandon wouldn’t have had to figure it all out himself. The other part of me was thrilled that he shared his story so that small businesses the world over can dive in and be successful with Internet and inbound marketing, the easy way. Looking for more content from SXSW? Check out our HubSpot at SXSW content feed at http://blog.hubspot.com/sxsw ! Today, on the Day Stage at SXSW, there were a slew of speakers on Internet and social media marketing — just check out the schedule. 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 Inbound Marketing Originally published Mar 13, 2010 4:47:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Public Relations Inbound Marketing Kit
When companies spend thousands of dollars developing a specific brand name or logo, they do so for a reason. This simple personification of the company’s image is often the one shot that businesses have to give their potential customers a quick and simple view into their business practices, goals and services. A company brand builds trust and credibility as well as focuses on specific demographics to drive traffic. Date and time: Never forget that the words you use to express your company are your portal to a prospective customer’s world. You must show them how you can make their life easier, more profitable, happier and more productive. If you can convey this message in all aspects of your content-driven marketing campaign, you can be successful in convincing your customers of how valuable you are to them. More than anything, treat your content with great care. The value of your content to your consumers can create a brand that people want. However, if your content is produced poorly, it could spiral your business into mediocrity. ‘t quite as easy with content. You must use your content to express yourself to your chosen demographic in a way that they will understand. Our online order form takes mere seconds to fill out. What are the distinguishing features of your services? What do you offer that your competitors cannot match? Are you a small business that can treat clients with personality or are you a super-business that prides itself on speed? Nail down the unique aspects of your business and your brand can be created with effective and interesting content. Have someone else read your work. It is best to use a professional editor. However, having a few employees or friends read your work can bring some hidden errors to the surface. Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 12:30pm EST Your Credentials Product or Service Selection Consider whether this is a true statement. If you have multiple fields requesting payment information and order confirmation, this statement is probably not true. It may seem like a very small detail; however, honesty and clarity are always better than sales pitches. Tell your potential customers what information they will need before ordering. Take the image that you want to present to the public seriously, no matter what that image may be. When you talk to another person face-to-face, you have a distinct advantage. You can exchange ideas, ask questions, receive feedback and formulate your pitch based on what you know they want. A Originally published Apr 14, 2010 10:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 . You can also follow Corry on Your Resources 1. Avoid Hyperbole In Your Business Content BrandSome hyperbole is fairly obvious when it creeps from casual conversation into web site content. However, hyperbole can also creep into business content without you knowing it. These are broad statements that any company with a solid business plan could use to promote their services. They may not be as obvious as statements like “I could sleep for a century” or “Making this web site will kill me.” However, they can often be just as detrimental. Consider some examples: 3. Make Your Content Match Your Brand Use lists and short paragraphs. Readers will most likely be scanning your content to get the main ideas. Use these ideas as your headers and create content that can be easily summarized. Image:Depending on the strength and focus of your content, you might find that consumers begin to associate specific attributes with your business. By focusing on your image, you can quickly delegate your competition into a category that most people would consider bland. Suppose that you are a business that sells surfboards primarily to an 18-24 college student demographic. Beyond taking social media seriously, your content should be designed to grab their attention and convince them that you are their best choice. Try doing the following in this market: Reserve your spot now We offer quick and easy customer service that is accessible to everyone. 5. Focus on Your Company’s ImageTake into account how you want your visitors to view you as a company as well as how you are currently viewed in the industry. Every piece of content on your web site needs to define who your company is and what you offer that caters to your market’s individual needs. Some key talking points could include: 6. Leverage Your Key Content Branding ApproachesChoose some aspects of your business that you can use to create a specific vision of how your company values certain fundamentals of good business. Try choosing from the following when drafting content: Why should content be any different? In fact, branding your business with content is a way to show your web site visitors that you are the only solution to their problem. If you are in a competitive market saturated with “only solutions,” you need to, at the very least, use content to show your New Media thought leader, Brian Solis, will share how to implement and manage a Social Media Optimization (SMO) program. isn Personality:Try to highlight the aspects of your business that make you human. Many companies use pictures of their employees to reveal personality. However, it might be a good idea to use content in the same way. Try including personal profiles written in the first person. You can also include quotes from your employees to highlight what they enjoy about working with your company. copywriters. For more great information about improving the quality of your web content, visit Corry’s Content Writing Blog potential customer Character:Who are you? Where do you come from? What are your stances? Be honest and authentic. One wrong move in trying to be something that you are not could destroy your company image. Check your content for spelling and duplicates. Don’t simply rely on a spell checker. Read your content several times over a period of a few days to catch every error that you can find. Content Marketing cliff1066™ However, this SEO 2. Discover the Strengths of Your Business and Use ThemAbove all, the content on your web site should have a purpose and it should drive home the reasons why potential customers should buy from you. Perform some research and discover what your business does best. More often than not, such research reveals regional strengths. Without knowing it, you might be the only business in the area that sells a specific product. This could set you up to offer same-day delivery to your region. That is a selling point that sets you apart from your competition. Your content should highlight that aspect of your business. Customer Service Value Outsource your content. Sometimes it’s better to admit that you are not a writer and trust a professional writer to handle your content. If you have the funds in your budget and value the image of your company, it is best to make sure that your content brand is written well the first time. Knowledge that You Bring to the Table Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Use clever and humorous language designed to grab the attention of your audience. Topics: Use simple sales pitches to which college students can relate. Region From Which You Operate can more easily decide whether they trust you or not when they are actually looking you in the eyes. why you are their very best solution. Avoid listing too many facts and statistics. These will often turn your demographic off. Technology that You Use Live Webinar: Social Media Optimization Is The New SEO With Brian Solis Twitter. Photo Credit: 4. Create Flawless ContentNothing turns web readers off faster than content saturated with spelling or grammatical errors. Such mistakes show that you did not feel the need to invest much time or money into the face of your business. This can have a detrimental effect on the image of your company’s reliability and credibility. Check and recheck your content for errors and make sure that it stays focused and centered on your main ideas. Follow these steps for error-free and professional content: Speed of Your Service Do a prewrite. What information will you include in your content? How will you structure your words to be the most effective? What research materials will you use? potential customers Corry Cummings is the owner of Content Customs, which is a professional team of How? This statement is nowhere near specific enough to brand your business with content. Almost every business could make this claim – and many do. Exactly what about your customer service makes you special? Can you post any specific testimonials or statistics about your service? to increase your visibility in social media! Include personal statements about your experiences with a product. Tools Available to You The following is a guest post by Corry Cummings, owner of Content Customs. Your Business Experience
What are my top five referring sites, and are they same as the ones that I had last year? Why or why not? can help you understand this if you’re a HubSpot customer, by showing you your traffic over time by domain and which pages on that site referred that traffic. How much traffic do I get from search engines, and what does it look like over time? HubSpot’s Referrals chart For your referrers, take a look at who has stopped sending you traffic, and where your traffic used to come from on their site. What was the referring URL from them? Find out what happened to that page on their website. Is that page gone, or otherwise not really accessible? That means that it is time to build new links from that source, or from them and new sources so that you can reclaim your missing traffic and value from that relationship. Chances are, it was an innocent mistake or aging of a link or you’d already know about it, so keep up your efforts. At this point, you should have a pretty clear picture of what traffic is arriving at your website via organic search and referring sites, and what words or locations specifically refer that traffic through to you. In my next post, I will examine ways to react and develop a coherent plan to recover and grow your traffic from organic search and referring sites. HubSpot’s Sources application Nicholas_T If a site that used to be a top referrer has dropped off, what happened? Look at the pages or links on their websites that used to be helping keep your site full of vital traffic, and see what they changed there. can make this very easy, and it’s still possible to do in Google Analytics or other tools with a bit of work. Digging Deeper Usually when traffic is dropping off like this, it’s because some keywords are rising and others are falling, and some sites are rising or falling, but the falling numbers outweigh the rising ones. It’s important to take note of which are which though – it will help you focus your efforts on your “trouble spots” more closely. Which particular keywords are rising or falling for me over the last year? Photo Credit: Topics: Measuring SEO For each of your keywords where traffic has dropped off, think about why this happened. Did you remove a page from your website that used to rank well in search? Did you change the optimization of the page? Think about which page of your website is or was optimized for that keyword, and what happened to that page. You shouldn’t necessarily just revert that page back to the old version – But think about what other pages might be a good fit on your website, or if you need to add a brand new page to represent that missed keyword, and re-optimize around it. The first step to understanding why your traffic decreased is to examine the various sources that send traffic to your website. Tools like Originally published Jan 31, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Questions to Ask Yourself Now: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
LinkedIn Company Pages 4. You Have No Products/Services Tab: If you’re a business that offers products/services (and what business doesn’t?), there’s no reason you shouldn’t feature them in your ‘Products’ tab. You can even get creative with this by featuring things other than just your products/services like webinar and ebook offers, as the HubSpot Company Page has done. There’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the box, and doing so can help you generate valuable leads from your LinkedIn company presence! 5. You’re Not Creating Targeted Product Tabs: Did you know that you can create targeted content within your Products tab that targets different audiences and features different products? Smart LinkedIn Company Pages are leveraging this feature to personalize messaging on their Products tab, and you should, too. Just click “Create New Audience” while in edit mode on your Products tab, and follow the wizard to specify and define your audience in terms of things like company size, job function, industry, seniority, and geography. 6. It Features No Recommendations: Displaying testimonials is a great way to show third-party validation and, as a result, credibility for your products/services. On LinkedIn, testimonials translate to ‘Recommendations.’ On your Products tab, page visitors have the opportunity to recommend individual products and services, and a tab rich with recommendations is definitely a good thing. Consider using LinkedIn’s “Request recommendations” option to ask friends, fans, and customers of your company to leave a recommendation of your products/services if they’ve had a positive experience with your brand. 7. You’re Not Leveraging Opportunities for Creativity: While a LinkedIn Company Page may not be as customizable as, say, a Facebook Page , there are a few things you can do to make your page more engaging for your followers. Leverage the opportunity to highlight specific promotions, incorporate videos (it’s as simple as adding a link to a YouTube video), and leverage an interactive ‘product and service spotlight’ such as the one from PepsiCo pictured below. To do so, add 3 banner images/links in step 3 while you’re editing your Products tab. 8. You Haven’t Enabled the Blog RSS Feed: Feature your business’ blog content automatically by adding your business blog’s RSS feed to your company page. This will pull in new posts and feature them on the overview tab of your LinkedIn Company Page. To enable this feature, simply go into edit mode of your page’s ‘Overview’ tab, scroll down, and enter the URL for your blog’s RSS feed. It will display a feed that looks like the following, as seen on Chevron’s LinkedIn Company Page . 9. You Haven’t Enabled the News Module: Easily showcase news mentions of your company from the web on your Company Page. While still in edit mode of your page’s Overview tab, check the bubble, “Share news about my company” under ‘News Module’ at the very bottom of the page. 10. Your Careers Tab is Worthless: One of most valuable uses of LinkedIn is for job search and recruiting. Leverage your ‘Careers’ tab to promote job opportunities at your company and direct them to your website to apply. 11. You’re Ignoring Your Analytics: Make use of your LinkedIn Company Page’s built-in analytics tools to measure and improve the effectiveness and performance of your page. LinkedIn’s analytics tools, visible to page administrators as the fourth tab on your page, allow you to track page views and unique visitors on your overall page as well as each individual tab (although keep in mind it doesn’t currently provide analytics on how individually targeted product tab content performs; it only offers analytics on that tab as a whole). LinkedIn also measures how many clicks your products or services have received as well as the number of members following your company. Additionally, LinkedIn provides percentages for member visits. This tool can be helpful in understanding who your LinkedIn target audience consists of, because the data is split into member visits by industry (marketing, finance, etc.), function (sales, research, etc.), and company (HubSpot, LinkedIn, etc.).Don’t limit the measurement of your page just to LinkedIn’s internal metrics. Be sure to also use your own marketing analytics tool to measure traffic, leads, and customers generated from your LinkedIn presence to understand your overall effectiveness there. How does your LinkedIn Company Page stack up? Where could you make improvements? Follow HubSpot’s own LinkedIn Company Page for inspiration! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Nov 18, 2011 3:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Up until recently, the value of a LinkedIn Company Page was minimal. But ever since LinkedIn enabled company updates for pages , they’ve become monumentally more valuable for marketers. Upon investigation of various LinkedIn Company Pages, though, it turns out that very few companies are actually leveraging this awesome new feature.To be honest, it’s very difficult to find many examples of companies using LinkedIn Company Pages to their fullest potential . This a huge missed opportunity for businesses, especially given that because many businesses aren’t leveraging features likes company updates, the clutter on LinkedIn is significantly less dense than on other social networks like Facebook or Twitter. This means that a business that takes advantage of company updates and other page features can leverage a great opportunity to stand out from its competitors. Below, we’ve identified 11 reasons why your LinkedIn Company Page is probably failling so you can get to work on building a much better and more effective LinkedIn company presence . 11 Reasons Your LinkedIn Company Page Sucks 1. It Has No Followers: As with any social media presence , building up a solid base of followers is key. Before company updates became a LinkedIn feature, followers were practically useless. Now, without followers, your company updates will be useless. Spend some time generating new followers for your LinkedIn Company Page by promoting your presence there: add follow buttons to your website and blog, write a blog post about your presence, and tell followers on your other social networks to follow you on LinkedIn, too. 2. It’s Completely Bare: Good luck attracting new LinkedIn company followers with a blank, boring page. At the very least, your page should include basic information about your company. Be sure to edit your page overview, complete your profile, and fine-tune your company description. 3. You’re Not Using Company Updates to Share Content: As we mentioned earlier, it’s astounding how many company pages aren’t leveraging company updates yet, considering it’s arguably the most critical marketing component of a company page. Enable company updates for your page and start sharing useful information and content; interesting discussion topics; and any other company updates you want to share with your followers. Maintaining a regularly updated and engaging page is the best way to organically attract new followers for your page.
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: Calls to Action Originally published Jan 12, 2012 1:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Last week, we rounded up some of the most impressive landing pages out there and broke down why they rock from both a user’s perspective and a marketer’s perspective. But before visitors even get to your landing page, they’re usually beckoned by a call-to-action. And it better be pretty awesome to get them to click.We’ve discussed the elements of an effective call-to-action before, so now it’s time to find real life examples of awesome calls-to-action (CTA) that can inspire your own designs. Take a look at what some popular B2B, B2C, and ecommerce brands are doing to entice their visitors to click through to landing pages, shopping carts, or just to interact in a more meaningful way with their site.GoDaddyGoDaddy is a web and email hosting company that also sells domain names and other related services.Why it’s effective: The best calls-to-action are easy to find and have a focused objective. The objective of this particular page is to get a user to purchase a domain name they’ve selected, and this GoDaddy CTA uses one of the most fundamental best practices to achieving visibility: using a button color that starkly contrasts the rest of the site’s design scheme. Upon visiting this page, the bright green draws the visitor’s eye right to that registration button.But GoDaddy goes beyond the basics and implements one other trick to hammer home the point of the page to its visitors. The ‘Continue to Registration’ button follows visitors all the way down the page, acting as a constant reminder that your next step is to click that button and register the domain name you’ve selected. This is wise because, if you’ve ever purchased a domain from GoDaddy, the upsell opportunities present on this page exist later on in the checkout process.Because of the design of this call-to-action, visitors to this page experience no confusion: they are here to register their domain name, and they can do so by clicking that green button.JetsetterJetsetter made an appearance on our list of the best landing pages, but hey, when you’re good, you’re good. They continue to be an invitation-only travel community offering access to exclusive travel deals.Why it’s effective: Many calls-to-action suffer poor conversion rates because, despite following design best practices, the writing doesn’t clearly display the value of clicking through to the next page. This ‘Plan a trip like this’ CTA rocks because it so simply displays that oft-sought after value. After someone reads the very brief and artfully written description of enjoying wine and olive oil on the Italian coast, this CTA capitalizes on the positive feelings surrounding taking such a trip, and gives the visitor the opportunity to do just that — plan that trip.Another wonderful but easily overlooked detail in this CTA is the language on the button; the inclusion of the word ‘like’ implies that the trip doesn’t need to be exactly the same as the one described above, but can be customized to fit the visitor’s needs. This spirit of customization continues by offering a button that lets visitors see the bio of the person who planned that particular trip. And if you’re worried the bio would distract visitors from following through with the marketer’s intended action, no worries; the bio page provides another travel-planning CTA!IntuitIntuit is a software company that provides financial software and services for businesses and consumers.Why it’s effective: It looks like orange is a popular CTA button color, eh? Well, Intuit’s intuitions (har har) are good, because that button stands out from the rest of its site’s design and calls the attention of the viewer to the free trial. The effectiveness of this tactic is compounded, as the language on the button aligns with the language in the headline.The headline is also action oriented, making it clear what you can do on the page. The three bullet points then clearly explain the value of the free trial so visitors want to click, and there’s one image aligned with each point of value — another call-to-action best practice.One creative trick Intuit is also employing is the use of extra white space around the call-to-action. This tactic, along with the fact that it’s the biggest CTA on the page, helps draw attention to the free trial and simultaneously attract and instruct visitors on what they should do next.YaptaContinuing the travel theme, Yapta helps people track changes in flight and hotel prices and get refunds on airline tickets.Why it’s effective: When it’s not clear what actions can be performed on a page and there’s no perceived connection between the CTA copy and CTA buttons, site visitors quickly go rogue trying to find what they’re looking for. These calls-to-action solve for that common contextualization problem. Notice how the copy, images, and buttons all work together to guide the visitor:The parenthetical phrases provide a chronology – Am I in the pre-purchase or post-purchase stage?The images give a theme – Am I here for flights, hotels, or a refund?The copy explains – What can I do on this site to track flights, hotels, and refunds?The buttons instruct – Click through to find what you’re looking for.Every call-to-action aligns with the proper stage in the sales process, and makes it very clear what actions can and should be performed on this page. Yapta gets bonus points for keeping these calls-to-action above the fold and using the contrasting colors orange and grey to draw attention to the right places.ZyngaZynga is a developer of browser-based games intended for social networking sites.Why it’s effective: In the game of most prominently positioned call-to-action, Zynga wins by a landslide. And it also get an honorable mention for successfully shirking some call-to-action best practices, namely that this is not the traditionally de-cluttered CTA for which many marketers strive in order to decrease bounce rate. But, they know their audience, and I’d venture a guess that this type of imagery is not distracting to gamers. Either way, Zynga makes up for any distraction by making it crystal clear what action they want visitors to perform. Here’s how:The ‘Join The Fun’ button is the last thing to load on the page, so your eye naturally settles on that area of the page.The white backlight behind ‘Times Square’ is the brightest part of the page, drawing your attention to the CTA button.The Times Square text effect brings the text towards the visitor, again, right by the CTA button.If you’re worried the ‘I Love Play’ button in the top right would be a distraction, don’t worry; it’s not clickable!Like Intuit, Zynga is also making use of lots of white space around this image (not pictured) to emphasize this ‘Join The Fun’ CTA. And finally, notice how small the social media follow buttons are underneath this banner. While Zynga’s call-to-action isn’t what we traditionally encounter, it does effectively display an important CTA best practice: have a defined purpose for your visitor, build your page around that purpose, and make it easy for your visitor to execute that purpose.What call-to-action best practices do you find are most integral for awesome conversion rates?Image credit: torley
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 your organization is engaging Millennials through content that’s based on their likes and dislikes, age, gender, jobs, brands they follow, stores they shop at, and ways they learn about and give to an organization, both online and offline, then you can stop reading and go get a cup of coffee.If you haven’t come up with a donor persona for Millennials and aren’t practicing inbound marketing to engage these tech-savvy Generation Y members, though, then keep reading. The reason? Because these young adults have shown a strong willingness in recent years to back causes they believe in — meaning they’re a prime demographic that could help your organization achieve its goals.To give you a clear idea of what your donor persona for this generation of volunteers and supporters should look like, let’s look at an example persona detailing the background, likes, interests, and past nonprofit work of a Millennial I know pretty well: me.An Example of a Millennial PersonaBelow, you’ll find a comprehensive profile based on myself to give you an idea of who your organization can and should be targeting.Now, this is by no means an absolute definition of the ideal Millennial your organization should be marketing to. What this example can do, though, is give you a glimpse into what a Millennial profile looks like, which can then inform how you develop your marketing strategy to reach these younger folks.Based on answers I’ve provided to questions featured in a previous post on how to create a persona using in-person interviews, here is my persona profile:Persona Name: “Techy Taylor”BackgroundGraduate of Northeastern University; studied communications and businessFour-time online fundraiserCurrent nonprofit marketer at technology company in MassachusettsDemographicsFemaleAge: 25Income between: $40,000- $75,000Location: UrbanIdentifiersEnthusiastic personalityTech-savvy (personally and professionally)On Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and InstagramGets news from New York Times and Huffington PostActive lifestyle (cyclist and rock climber)Shops online (preferred stores: Anthropologie, Zara, Gap, Amazon)Preferred Means to Interact With OrganizationsLikes to give online and/or fundraise; rarely gives via check or cashFollows several organizations on social media (mostly on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram)Will look for organizational information on a charity’s website or through word-of-mouth from a friendWill participate/fundraise in endurance events (i.e. cycling, 5Ks)Previously Supported Organizationscharity: waterCrohn’s and Colitis FoundationKrempels CenterAmerican Lung AssociationFrom this profile, your organization can understand how I like to give or fundraise, where I find my information, what other organizations I’ve supported in the past, and what type of lifestyle I live. Most of this information you can easily find online, but you can also capture this data from current constituents between the ages of 18-32 in focus groups, phone interviews, or even through a simple online survey.How to Connect With MillennialsNow that you know what a rough example of a Millennial persona looks like, you must understand where they are looking for information, how they use social media (including which channels), and — most importantly — what connects them to a cause and why they care so much to take action and support it in order to create a comprehensive persona.Millennials, like myself, are looking for a few important things when supporting or engaging with an organization:They want to get their hands dirty.Hannah Ackerman, a Millennial HubSpotter and Co-Founder of the Stahili Foundation in Kenya, says, “I’ve found that Millennials are more willing than any other generation to be first in line to volunteer their time.” If volunteering is available through your organization, let these young philanthropists go out in the field and see where the impact is actually happening, whether domestic or abroad.They want to gain professional experience.Internships are a dime a dozen, but contributing to the success of an organization by using their current skills — from accounting, to marketing, to writing — can provide Millennials not only a great personal experience, but also an insightful professional one. Plus, this generation knows that philanthropic efforts on their resumes can help them secure jobs down the line, so remember that they’re just as career-oriented as older generations when putting your persona together.They want to be able to share information socially.Data has shown that 50% of Millennials share information about charities they support with their Facebook friends, according to a recent Blackbaud study. Your next prospective advocate/donor is very likely the social friend of a current constituent. So, make it easy for them to share images, videos, and results of the organization’s work via your website or social accounts.They want to be recognized for hard work.Anum Hussain, another Millennial HubSpotter and Director of Marketing at MIST, sums up how her organization tailored its marketing for members of Generation Y.”Millennials want to be recognized, and our marketing efforts [as an organization] need to capitalize on this to help drive activity. So, when formulating our Facebook strategy, we put a strong focus on photographing all our events so students can see high-quality photos of themselves participating and be able to show off the action shots of them on their on walls. Also, when launching promotional videos, we try to incorporate B-roll from our events so students can feel a sense of fame. And when revamping our website (still in progress), we put an emphasis on having a ‘Hall of Fame’ for student recognition.”However you decide to capture this information about your Millennial donor base, just know doing so will help you create an effective marketing strategy that can engage Millennials and turn them into donors, fundraisers, event registrants, members volunteers and organizational advocates.How does your organization engage Millennials? Originally published Feb 4, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Nonprofit Marketing Topics:
Originally published Aug 29, 2014 9:17:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Google Updates 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: First it was Authorship photos. Now, it’s the whole shebang.Yep, that’s right — Google Authorship is over. According to a Google+ post yesterday by Google Webmaster Tools’ John Mueller, Google is removing authorship results from search and won’t be tracking the rel=author tag data anymore (it’ll be treated like any other type of markup on your website, and “won’t cause problems,” according to Mueller). And the changes seem to be immediate. This search used to return results that looked like this (pre-Authorship photo removal):Now results look like a throwback to 2011:But search results won’t be exactly like they were in 2011. Users will see Google+ posts in the main results and in the sidebar from their connections — and the results seem to look very similar to the Authorship design:On the “Death of Google Authorship”, note Google+ posts still get both ‘authorship’ and author photos (brands too): pic.twitter.com/p9yFLSA919— dan barker (@danbarker) August 29, 2014Many of us are wondering what gives, Google. Why would the search giant do away with Authorship? Why Is Authorship Going Away? In Mueller’s post, he says the reason Google Authorship is getting the boot is because of users. Apparently it wasn’t that helpful for users, and even ended up distracting them. And according to their tests, “removing Authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads.”Mueller got more specific about what went wrong with Authorship in a conversation with Search Engine Land. From three years of test data, Google found two main reasons to ax Authorship:1) It had low publisher and webmaster adoption. In the link above, Search Engine Land showcases some original data around Authorship adoption. They found that lots of people still weren’t using Authorship, or if they were using it, it wasn’t set up properly.But if you’ve ever set up Authorship, it makes sense. Though there were some easy-to-use tools to help you set up Authorship, if you didn’t have those tools, it was a hassle and a half to get it set up. As a result, lots of people didn’t set it up properly — or at all. 2) Users didn’t find value in it.Besides being hard to set up without the right tools, Authorship wasn’t getting the results Google hoped. When they announced the removal of Authorship photos, Google said that there was little effect on clickthrough rates with Authorship photos removed. The combination of low adoption and low impact on search made it clear to Google that Authorship as we know it should go … but that doesn’t mean you’re going to stop seeing photos in search anytime soon. Authorship for Google+ Instead?Frankly, the most interesting part of this whole story is that Google+ posts from your connections will now look like Authorship did — so this change might be an aggressive ploy to get more and more people on Google+. With people trying to get any edge in the rankings they can, some people may default to ramping up their Google+ presence in the absence of Authorship.So what should you do? Should you be doubling down on Google+ in the hopes of some more traffic to your site?The biggest thing I’d urge you to do is to not panic. This does not spell the end of SEO. This does not mean your site is suddenly going to tank in the rankings. It just means that you have to tweak your marketing activities.Maybe you’ll ramp up your Google+ promotions and presence, but the core of your marketing will stay the same — creating content people love on your website. Like with any other distribution platform, Google gets to make — and change — the rules of its platform. But if you’re focusing the majority of your time on building your marketing for your audience, and then making smaller changes as social networks, search engines, and distribution platforms change their algorithms, you’ll weather the storm just fine.
Survey Creation Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jul 1, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2017 For marketers, tracking meaningful data is key to understanding how to generate leads. Of this data, pointed feedback from prospects and customers is especially valuable. The best way to collect it?Surveys.Done well, a single survey that follows best practices can yield eye-opening information — the kind that forever changes the direction of an organization for the better. On the other hand, a poorly written survey will return useless data while creating a frustrating experience for the respondent.So, why do these long, agonizing surveys persist?Too often, marketers and researchers fall into the trap of focusing exclusively on their own need for answers, and not enough on the experience they create for the respondents. When that occurs, respondents sometimes take shortcuts through the survey (if they finish it at all), and neither party wins.To right that wrong, we’ve laid out seven helpful tips to nudge your respondents through a whole survey in a way that creates a positive experience, without sacrificing the actionable information you’re seeking.Download Our Free Buyer Persona Guide + Templates 7 Tips for Creating Surveys People Want to Take1) Explain why someone should participate.When requesting input from someone, remember that you’re asking the person to take precious time and energy out of their day to help your organization. In cases when you’re not offering an incentive for participation, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re essentially appealing to the good nature of your contacts. (The hope is that after all those metaphorical back scratches you’ve given, they’ll be willing to scratch yours.)So whether you’re soliciting feedback via a website page, an email, or some other means, you’ll want to emphasize why it’s worthwhile for someone to weigh in. Specifically, what will your organization do with the information your respondents provide? Why should your respondents care about that? How will your respondents benefit from sharing their perspectives? Here’s a little secret: In nearly every case, survey responses help your organization serve your customers and potential customers more effectively, right? Include that in your introduction. If you make it easy for people to see how completing your survey may improve their lives, they often feel more inclined to participate.Here’s a great example of an enticing survey invitation from Contently:As you can see, this approach is actionable, explanative, and incentive-driven. Well done, Contently. 2) Set expectations properly.Have you ever taken a survey that felt like the Energizer bunny of surveys? You know, the kind that keeps going and going and going and … you get the point.By the end of it (assuming you even made it that far), you probably felt like you’d taken the Bar exam. (And any lawyer will tell you that’s definitely not the experience you want to create for your respondents.)Suffice it to say, much has been written about considerations for survey length. Whatever the final question count turns out to be, it’s in your best interest to help your respondents plan accordingly. For starters, tell them approximately how long they should set aside to complete your survey. This will help to ensure that they don’t have to rush or abandon the survey because of a time constraint. In some instances it can also be beneficial to use a survey tool that indicates the respondent’s progress throughout the survey using a progress bar. According to Survey Monkey, “Progress bars can basically act like a coach, encouraging people to keep on trucking and reach that finish line.”Survey Monkey gives you the option to specify what information the progress bar displays, where it’s located, and even — in a separate window — what colors it is.Whether or not that functionality is available in the survey tool you’re using, it doesn’t hurt to add written checkpoints into the survey like, “keep the helpful feedback coming — you’re more than halfway done” and “only two more questions to go.” These minor additions can mean the difference between your respondents quitting the survey or sticking it out for a couple more questions. One more note on setting expectations: Sometimes, your survey asks more of the respondent than simply answering a few simple questions. For example, you may ask your respondent to upload a photo or complete a task offline and rate their experience afterwards. In cases like this, it’s worth giving your respondents a heads-up in your introduction that the survey they’re about to take requires extra effort. (It also wouldn’t hurt to incentivize them for going above and beyond.)3) Speak your persona’s language.When writing a survey, there’s often a temptation among marketers to make the phrasing of questions as dry and bland as possible. For many, this is probably rooted in the fear that inserting superfluous language may influence the results of the survey. That’s a legitimate concern. After all, surveys aren’t supposed to entertain — they’re supposed to elicit meaningful feedback. But surveys don’t have to be boring. In fact, surveys can and should engage the participants enough to inspire creative and constructive input that can be used to empower you to enact real change. Though it sounds obvious, the best way to write a survey like this is to speak like a human being. As you would with your keyword research, use language that your respondents would use and will easily understand. That means minimizing your usage of acronyms, jargon, and phrasing that might confuse them.Here are a handful of writing tips to consider when creating a survey that is engaging and free from bias:When you know you’re asking a particularly tough or demanding question, acknowledge it.Thank respondents in advance for providing thorough, candid answers.Offer words of encouragement if you’re requesting a detailed, open-ended response.Provide help text so that a respondent fully understands how to answer a question (so long as it doesn’t influence how he/she responds).Including this kind of language demonstrates an appreciation for your respondents, and it will further propel them through the survey. 4) End on a high note.Once your respondents have answered all your questions, you should give them the chance to have the last word. Rather than doing the survey equivalent of a “dine and dash,” conclude instead with a question like this:”Thanks again for taking the time to complete this survey. Your input means a lot to us, and it will help us improve our ability to serve customers like you more effectively in the future. Before you go, do you have anything else you’d like to add?No, I’m all setYes, I’d like to add: [open text field]”Whether or not a respondent takes advantage of this opportunity to weigh in, it’s one that they’ll see and appreciate because it’s an invitation to share (even more of) their own ideas and opinions.However, if they do decide to chime in, their responses tend to be incredibly valuable. In fact, having written and reviewed hundreds of surveys, I’ve found that the real gems of insights almost always surface in this final question. Here are some examples of the feedback you could expect participants to touch on at this stage:Pointing out things you may have forgotten to ask.Circling back on topics that may have only occurred to them after the opportunity to share feedback on that given topic.Identifying questions or answer options that may have been unclear in the survey, and therefore are worthy of taking into account as you conduct your analysis.Sharing new product or service ideas.Providing helpful anecdotes that shed further light on who your respondents are, and context for why they responded as they did.Expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to contribute. (It’s helpful to keep those folks in mind, should you need another round of input.)Offering other top-of-mind thoughts about your organization because they simply may not know where else to share it.5) Take your own survey.When you’ve put the finishing touches on the survey you’re writing, take a step back, refill your coffee mug, and then take your own survey with a fresh set of eyes. Review your introduction and each question for clarity and empathy, and ask yourself:Have I built a compelling case for why someone should take this survey?Is this the kind of survey my respondents will realistically start and finish?Are all of the questions I’m asking absolutely critical to my learning objectives?Does the language in this survey take into consideration the language that my respondents use and understand?If your answer to these questions is “yes”, and you’ve adhered to survey-writing best practices, then give yourself a high five. You’re ready to field your survey. 6) Close the loop.What happens when a lead closes into a customer? Do you ignore them and move on to the next sale?Of course not. Once closed, you continue to delight your customers so they become promoters of your organization. And your survey respondants should be treated no differently. After they’ve completed your analysis, the goal is to close the loop by explaining what you did with their input. By following up in this way, you’re creating an opportunity to delight your respondents. Considering they’ve probably grown used to not hearing back from organizations in the past, this gesture will ensure that they feel as though their voices have genuinely been heard. And after such a delightful experience, they’ll often be more likely to participate when you request their assistance in the future. They might even be willing to spread the news of their positive experience: “HOLY SMOKES, I told XYZ Company what to do, and they actually listened!”In the instance that your organization conducts its analysis and determines not to make any decisions or take any action, that’s not an excuse to leave your respondents hanging. You should still politely explain to them why your organization has decided not to make any moves. Often, the justification for no action is as intriguing as immediate action. Not to mention, that refreshing honesty will help to keep your organization in your respondents’ good graces. 7) Share the wealth.Depending on the sensitivity and confidentiality of the information you’re requesting from respondents, consider making the raw, anonymous results from the survey visible to respondents. This way, each person who completes the survey can see how their own responses compare to those of their peers. Again, it’s a surprising and delightful form of instant gratification. More than that, it’s a way to learn from — and bond with — others with whom they have something in common. In Survey Monkey, the option is available under the Collect Responses tab when creating a survey. It looks like this:One very important note: If any of your questions ask for personal identification information, do not display the results to respondents.Before you start creating your next survey, bear these tips in mind, take a walk in your personas’ shoes, and make sure that you’re weighing your own learning objectives against the needs and agenda of those going out of their way to lend a hand.What other methods do you use in order to elicit high-quality and complete survey responses?