Teams rally behind stricken boy

first_imgLA MIRADA – Exactly two weeks ago Monday, 5-year-old Noah Dowell was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Less than 24-hours later, it was removed at CHOC Hospital in Orange. And this weekend, his teammates and the entire La Mirada Baseball Association showed their support for Noah by donning the number one on the left sleeves of their uniforms, the same number Noah wore on his. “My heart is just overflowing,” his mom, Mary Dowell, said Monday. “So many people care about my son.” Dowell, who came to Los Coyote Athletic Field to see her two other sons – 4-year-old Brady and 9-year-old Austyn – play ball Saturday, said she was unaware until that same day that all the teams would be honoring Noah. “I cannot put into words how I felt,” she said. For more on this story, pick up tomorrow’s Whittier Daily News. 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_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

SXSW: Learning Inbound Marketing the Hard Way, and Sharing So You Don’t Have To

first_img 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 last_img read more

SXSW Breaking News: Twitter Announces @Anywhere

first_img Date and time: Twitter @Anywhere , took the stage to a packed room at South By South West Interactive on Monday afternoon to break some major news about Twitter. Digg .  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Twitter’s new feature called @Anywhere  to learn what makes tweets contagious and how to create tweets that will go viral and increase your reach and authority.. should help people discover more interesting information and then help Web sites build more consistent traffic and engagement around their content. He says that the service is designed to make it easier for people to connect. Williams explains that Since starting in late 2006, Twitter has emerged as . Social Media Marketing Book The conversation started with an announcement from Willliams about http://blog.hubspot.com/sxsw A Look Inside Twitter The Huffington Post Conferences Twitter Twitter.com is a consumer interface, but CoTweet and Hootsuite built a business on Twitter creating a customer service interface. He also pointed out theirs is a hardware device that lets bakers automatically tweet when new cookies are coming out of the oven.  , which integrates Twitter into Web sites, allowing people to follow people and get Twitter data without actually visiting Twitter.com. This platform will launch on about 16 Web sites, including Originally published Mar 15, 2010 10:49:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 In discussing his leadership approach to Topics: and Join Dan Zarrella, HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist and author of the , Williams says that he spends half of his time thinking about the product and the other half on focusing on organizational issues.  He also mentions that he tells new employees to remember that there are more smart people outside of the company than inside of it.  a major leader amongst social media platforms for a 30 minute overview of the Science of ReTweets! Reserve your spot now Friday, March 19, 2010 at 1:00pm ET  . Hungry for more content from SXSW? Check out our HubSpot at SXSW content feed at Live Webinar: The Science of ReTweets With Dan Zarrella Evan Williams, CEO of He aknowledged that sharing data with Google and Microsoft was a difficult discussion in the organization. Once people realized that, it helped better distribute the awareness of Twitter. Openness was a constant theme of many answers from Williams. last_img read more

6 Ways To Brand Your Business With Content

first_img 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.center_img 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 Experiencelast_img read more

Top 5 Inbound Marketing Articles to Start the Week: Content Sources

first_img on Mashable Jeremiah Owyang Email Open and Click-Through Rate marketing analytics Align your Facebook page with these best practices to article from this past week focuses on the concept of content sources — places where you can get ideas to help you write quality blog posts — as well as different types of sources and how to use them strategically and continuously to create remarkable content. John Paul Titlow Source Quality Content … Continuously Marketing Takeaway: to help support and enhance your business’ internet marketing efforts.  His suggestions include taking advantage of a descriptive headline, search engine optimizing your website links, answering questions, adding third party apps like Slideshare and incorporating keywords. make your videos more effective Conversion Rate Author: Facebook page best practices Foster advocacy. Marketing Takeaway: Live authenticity. New to the whole Author: Marketing Takeaway: . 5 Critical Web Metrics to Keep a Close Eye On Enable peer-to-peer interactions. 4. leverage LinkedIn Use LinkedIn for more than just personal networking by enhancing your profile for business marketing benefits.  Author: 1. web analytics Pay attention to enhance your Facebook marketing Our top get ideas for blog posts . Experiment with YouTube Annotations to enhance the marketing effectiveness of your for valuable insight into the success of your marketing programs. Referring Sites and Keywords Regularly sourcing content has a number of benefits: it’s a great way to create a constant flow of ideas and inspiration for your blog, it makes life easier, and it can help ensure you’re not omitting important information from your content. thing but know it should be an important part of your marketing programs?  ReadWriteWeb has published a great overview of five web metrics to which you should be paying attention.  Keep an eye on these metrics, and you’ll have a better idea of how many people are interacting with your brand and which of your online marketing efforts are effective: Facebook: Daily Active Users of ReadWriteWeb Jeffrey L. Cohen Marketing Takeaway: Set community expectations. Are you taking advantage of YouTube’s Annotations tool? Annotations are interactive elements that can be added to a video once it’s uploaded to YouTube, and they can offer a great way to add a call to action that prompts viewers to subscribe or take a particular action after watching a video. Incorporate sourcing content into your day-to-day activities to stay inspired and keep blog ideas flowing. Catherine-Gail Reinhard Altimeter Report: The 8 Success Criteria for Facebook Page Marketing HOW TO: Use Annotations to Promote Your Brand on YouTube Twitter: Klout Score Originally published Aug 2, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated July 19 2013 Jeremiah’s article highlights some recent research conducted by Altimeter Group to determine success criteria for While LinkedIn is commonly known as a social network for professionals, many people don’t recognize the B2B benefits an optimized personal profile can have for their company. . Solicit a call to action. Marketing Takeaway: ?  And what do you do when you just aren’t inspired to create anything remarkable? Topics: 2. Catherine’s article discusses the four different types of Annotations (speech bubbles, notes, spotlights and video pauses) as well as their value and various ways and examples of how they can be incorporated to inbound marketing Provide cohesive branding. Author: 3. Georgina’s blog post categorizes content sources in two ways: internal sources, or those that exist within yourself and your audience (e.g. experiences), and external sources, or those outside your own operation, such as other media or other people focused on the same topic. Regularly sourcing content is a challenge, but making it part of your daily routine can help you .  The results?  Eight success criteria for Facebook page marketing that can help brands understand how they should approach their Facebook presence: 5. on Problogger online videos Be up to date. of Social Media B2B Georgina Laidlaw Jeffrey’s article emphasizes 12 ways you can Where do you create a truly compelling blog. 12 Ways to Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile for a B2B Company of Web Strategy Author: Participate in dialog. 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 SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Get Ahead of the Marketing Learning Curve With Mobile PPC

first_img 3. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile Topics: websites using HubSpot are mobile-ready 4. Get ahead of the mobile learning curve. 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 May 27, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Testing various campaigns targeted toward mobile device usage will help you learn how different keywords, ad copy, and landing pages perform on different devices. If you start testing now, there is no doubt you will be way ahead of the curve when the rest of the business world starts getting in on the action. 2. You can target local consumers when they are ready to buy. 1. You can target techies where they’re playing It will be interesting to see how fast businesses adopt different forms of mobile media like PPC. What do you think are the biggest advantages or disadvantages? In AdWords, you can select which devices you want to show your PPC ads by accessing ‘Campaigns Settings’ and scrolling down to ‘Network and Devices.’ Then, you can opt to show your ads on all devices and carriers, or you can manually select which devices and carriers you want to display your ads. The availability of such a deep level of device and carrier segmentation is quite beneficial, because you can set up campaigns for each carrier and device and test the combinations that provide the best results for your business. Not to mention, you can quickly see which devices or carriers are not worth your time.center_img How to Set Up PPC Campaigns to Target Mobile Devices . Although smartphones are quickly becoming the norm, tablets are still only in techies’ hands for the most part. If you have products or services that appeal to the technically advanced, using PPC ads targeted to iPads, for example, will have some serious advantages. What does mobile PPC advertising mean for marketers? Photo Credit: meedanphotos . The ability to segment mobile devices for PPC is new. If you don’t have a website that is designed for mobile use, it’s easy enough to opt out of showing your PPC ads on mobile devices all together. However, this does not protect you from showing up in organic search results. Whether participating in PPC or not, any serious marketer should make sure its business has a website that is mobile ready. (Note: All ) It’s important to note that websites built with Flash are no good on iPhones, because Apple doesn’t recognize Flash at all. PPC The ability to target by geographic location (down to the zip code) has existed forever in AdWords. However, combining this capability with mobile device segmentation gives local businesses an opportunity to target people who are searching on their phones. Consumers who are searching on their phones are most likely on the go, so you can target them with specific offers to get their business!last_img read more

5 Real Life Examples of Fantastic Calls-to-Action

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 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: torleylast_img read more

How to Tackle Your Most Aggravating Social Media Marketing Pet Peeves

first_img Social Media When this happens, just respond kindly. No matter how vexed you are at someone’s clear overscan of your post, thank them for taking the time to share whatever they said, and then sweetly point out that you did actually talk about or include their point. If you didn’t include it, thank them for bringing it up and tell them you’ll check it out and perhaps use it in your next analysis. Even if you don’t, at least they recognize that you care about what they had to say.Social Media Messages About CareersSometimes your fans love you so much they actually want to work for you. So they take to the social media sphere to create a personal connection and show how much they want a job with your company. Thing is, social media (with the exception of LinkedIn, of course) is so not the place for job requests. Perhaps in a very small business you can grab some luck, but by and large whoever manages a business’ social presence is not in charge of recruiting employees, nor do they know about job openings.So when you’re encountered with these messages, you can huff and puff about how it’s not your job to field these questions — or you can err on the side of productivity. If you happen to have the right information, share it. If not, let them know that you don’t and that you’ll forward their message to the right person within your company. And make sure you actually do forward the message to the right people. Yes, it’s annoying to deal with these inquiries, but once you come up with a system it shouldn’t take too much time out of your day.Users Who Call You Out on Every MistakeYes, as content creators we need to know basic grammar and spelling — and we do (I hope). But sometimes a little mistake slips by. It happens. We’re human. When you’re monitoring six social networks and posting messages to each, sometimes you might say “is” instead of “are.” But for some reason, there are those fans and followers who feel the need to point out every little mistake you make, even if clarity isn’t diminished as a result of the mistake. Even more irksome, sometimes you address that you made the mistake, and still more commenters come out and alert you to your faux pas.When this happens, marketers need to do a combination of slow deep breaths, and gracious apologies. Yes, even if the commenters are being the rudest human beings on the planet over a silly typing boo-boo. Why do this? Because often, it turns those negative nancies into brand advocates. You may even see other fans of yours come to your rescue! I recently screwed up big time on Facebook by pasting the wrong link, and spelling “Lego” wrong. But my sincere apology yielded a surprise turn of events: Among their other duties, marketers are the folks who have the pleasure of interacting with fans and followers across every social platform. And as the number of social networks grow, so do the number of places curious customers can type their questions, vexations, and suggestions.Seriously … they’ll come at you from all social media angles. The more your social media reach grows, the more those inquiries and comments flood in. And while some of the communications are nice and helpful, some are, well, decidedly not.Don’t get me wrong; marketers love their fans! And when we’re not monitoring our business’ accounts, we’re tweeting our complaints and recommendations to company handles, too — it’s all part of the social media circle of life. But when you’re on the receiving end of all those comments, some of them can get a little frustrating to deal with. So for all of you marketers in the same boat, let this list of social media manager frustrations serve as your free therapy session. And if you think of things that irk you as a social media manager that aren’t on this list, leave them in the comments — along with recommendations with how best to deal with them!Spammy Auto-follow MessagesYou know the auto-follow message — you follow someone on Twitter, and then get an automated message back from them with a “thank you” and a promotional link of some sort. When you’re monitoring a brand’s large social presence that requires you to check every message you receive, you can bet these spamtastic messages are disruptive and annoying. And if you’re scanning your DM inbox, it’s easy for real DMs that require a response to be buried by spam and auto-follow messages.So how can you alleviate this frustration? First, take a deep breath. Then, just ignore them. If you want to spend time unfollowing spammers to clear your inbox, go for it — depending on the size of your social following, you may be able to keep up with it on a daily basis. But the best thing to do is simply ignore the spam, keep your eyes open for real messages that require a response, and never let thise irksome spammers get in the way of your job.Users Who Commandeer the Comment SpaceYou know who I’m talking about. This person clearly has something to say, and for some reason thinks the only way you’ll notice is by posting to your wall, and commenting on every single update you post. Oh, and often it’s the same comment — or a slightly modified version — every time. It’s not that you don’t want comments (of course you do!); it’s that this type of behavior stifles the conversation for other commenters, and that’s the last thing any social media manager wants. Diversity of comments is what we’re striving for!So what’s the best way to handle this type of behavior? You certainly don’t want to discourage engagement, right? Right. So respond by drafting an official response to their question or comment, and placing it on one spot on your page — wherever seems most logical to you. Then respond to the user in a friendly but informal tone, something like, “Hey Overeager Oliver! I just wanted to let you know that I saw your comment on our wall, and I left a response there.” Except you’d call them by their real name, of course ;-)Now here’s the part that may surprise you — it’s a good idea to post an original response (not copy and pasted, lest you come off sassy) like that on every comment that fan posted. Why? Because if you only respond once, another user may see their comment on another part of your page and assume you just ignored them. And that wouldn’t look too good, eh?Commenters Who Didn’t Actually Read Your ContentWhether in a positive or negative tone, the number of comments I’ve seen on either a blog post or Facebook update without actually reading the content is hair-pulling. Whether it’s someone suggesting you include a particular example (that you did include), or someone pointing out your clear ignorance by disregarding a particular study (also included), it’s frustrating. Originally published Jun 4, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack See? Don’t let the occasional finger-pointer get you down — your fans love you, and sometimes they’re nice enough to let you and the rest of the world know!Users Who Want a Response NOWYou know what happens sometimes? Lunch. Know what else? A meeting. So it’s a little frustrating for marketers who come back to their desk after being gone 30 or 60 minutes, only to find a social massacre taking place on your latest Pinterest pin, Facebook status update, tweet, etc. These people are like ticking time bombs … the longer you don’t respond, the more angry they get, and more updates they post. Patience, please! While social media marketers would love to be able to respond to everyone in a split second, it’s usually just not feasible. So apologize for your delayed response (again, without any sass), and do not make up an excuse for it. Clearly, the theme of being apologetic is running through this post, huh?Uninformed Guest Blog Post SubmissionsI’ve seen this via email, Facebook, and even in blog comments. You want to guest blog for a blog? Wonderful! Do you have any idea what we typically blog about? No? Ugh. Believe it or not, I’ve gotten Facebook messages suggesting a guest blog post about health clinics for our inbound internet marketing blog. The message wasn’t even customized or catered to the HubSpot blog, and was clearly a blanket message sent out to multiple Facebook pages.Whether someone is just proposing topics, or they’ve already written an entire post, it’s frustrating to spend time reviewing and responding to requests that are totally unrelated to what your blog usually writes about. Guest bloggers should do a little research about what has already been posted to make sure they are suggesting content that is both original and relevant.When this does happen, take a moment to politely respond with why you can’t accept their topic ideas or submission. And hey, let them know that if they can create a post that is beneficial to your target audience, you’ll certainly consider publishing it!Do you manage any of your business’ social media accounts? Have you encountered any of these frustrations? Is there any pet peeve we missed? Share your experiences in the comments!Image Credit: Suffusion Social Topics:last_img read more

How 7 Experts Solve Their Most Painful Email Marketing Problems

first_img  Gary DeAsi, Marketing Operations   Manager, SmartBear Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 12, 2013 12:30:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Pain: Improving Your Long-Term Email Marketing Strategy With A Single EmailSolution: A/B Test Every Email You SendThe “problem” with every email you send is that it depends on a variety of factors for success. Did you see dramatically impressive results because of the subject line or the call-to-action copy? Did the email totally flop because of the visual employed or the length of the actual message?Unfortunately, you won’t be able to solve these questions immediately. And you can’t magically create a plan for long-term email success in one day. This makes it difficult to pull out a trick from your back pocket when you’re in the need for a quick email win. That’s where A/B testing comes in. A/B testing can benefit the overall growth of your email marketing channel by providing you with bits of insight every day. Every email you send without an A/B test is a lost opportunity for growth. It’s also a lost opportunity to remedy future email campaigns.Try creating a backlog of A/B testing ideas that you and your colleagues can continuously add to. You can then pull from this list every time you send an email to ensure you’re benefiting your long-term email strategy with some insight from your email audience. For example, in 2011, we conducted a test to see if including a personal name in an email’s “from” field would increase email clickthrough rate. In the test, we saw that the control (From “HubSpot”) had a 0.73% CTR while our treatment (from “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot”) had a 0.96% CTR — the personalized “From” field was a clear winner with 99.9% confidence.That one test has now served us through our email marketing strategy as a whole.”A/B testing is a critical part of improving email results over time, and each email you send is an opportunity to test some element of your campaign. I keep a backlog of these elements to test so I have something in mind every time I’m ready to sit down and create an email.”   Ellie Mirman, Head of Marketing,    Mid-Sized Business, HubSpot   Laurie Cutts, Director of Marketing,   Nanigans Pain: Overseeing a Tiny Mistake in a Huge PromotionSolution: Create an Approval Process or ChecklistOh the joy of clicking “send” on an email. You’ve dedicated time to the message, the layout, the call-to-action, and every detail in between. An hour later, you get your first response. YES!, you exclaim in joy, only to learn that your email didn’t include social share buttons for people to spread the content.Whether it’s forgetting to include social share buttons, specify a suppression list, or a good ol’ typo, tiny mistakes like this can give you a big, unnecessary headache. You can resolve this by either having an approval process in place for your emails, or by simply creating your own email checklist. The checklist option is more tactical, including elements such as sending to the right list, selecting the correct suppression lists, ensuring all hyperlinks work, and proofreading all content in the email.”In many companies, there is an approval process before sending an email. Certain people need to write copy, others design the email, and others need to review and approve before it goes out the door. Because of this, email can get stuck in circles, or, a marketer is rushing at the last minute to send something out. To ensure that the email creation process goes smoothly, set up a brief process document that everyone has visibility to. Also, let other knows that in order to send out email, requests and deliverables need to be given X amount of days in advance.” Email Marketing Jenn Schlick, Product Designer,   POP-Market Planning email marketing campaigns can be, well, a pain. As much as you may love your job, it can still become tedious and difficult to plan email campaign after email campaign. And what happens when you have more emails on your plate than you can manage?I’d guess that a crafty little outbound devil comes and whispers into your ear a slew of easy tactics to get your message out …”Just buy a new email list and send them the same message you sent last week!””Design doesn’t matter — just throw in some words and ship it!””Segmentation takes up too much of your time … just send the same email to everyone!”Click here to download our free beginner’s guide to email marketing.While these aren’t exactly the best tactics … I understand (even as an inbound marketer) how tempting it can be to take the easy way out.So I turned to some of the best email marketing experts I know to get insight into the tips and tricks they’re using to make email marketing awesome and as pain-free as possible. Below you’ll learn about the various problems or pain points they’ve admitted to encountering, proposed solutions for each, and personal insight into why those solutions are valuable for them.Pain: Generating the Necessary Clickthrough and Open Rates to Meet Conversion GoalsSolution: Segment Your Marketing Messages There’s a variety of data around specific trigger words and character counts that help your email open and/or clickthrough rates. According to Experian, including the word exclusive in email promotional campaigns boosts unique open rates by 14%. But if you’re looking for a consistent method for generating the necessary open or clickthrough rates, you can’t simply manipulate your email copy to include a specific word each time. It’s repetitive, uninviting, and frankly not always true for the actual message or offer at hand.Segmenting your emails is a friendly, lovable way to attract the clickthrough and open rates you’re longing for. In fact, data from HubSpot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella shows that marketers who segmented their email database into 2-6 lists saw an 8.3% email clickthrough rate, as opposed to the 7.3% clickthrough rate seen by marketers who used a single list for all their email marketing.”For any evangelical inbound marketer, the benefits of any marketing email should be twofold. The recipient should receive something of value and directly in line with their needs and interests, and I, as the marketer, am looking for a certain percentage of clicks and opens in order to meet traffic and lead conversion goals. By utilizing list segmentation, I can send more targeted emails only to the contacts who have displayed previous interest in a certain topic or offer, therefore greatly increasing the likelihood of an email open or click. Most importantly, I’ve introduced context into the equation, greatly increasing the likelihood of a relationship.”   John Bonini, Director of Marketing,   IMPACT Branding & Designcenter_img Pain: Mobile Friendliness Solution: Keep Your Emails Clean With a One-Column LayoutA Gartner study revealed that 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check their email. Clearly, your emails need to be mobile-ready for the mass population of smartphone users.When it comes to mobile optimization, the immediate thought is to either invest in a mobile application or use software that automatically configures your content for email. While both are beneficial solutions, and the latter is oftentimes critical, having even just a clean email message can help drastically.Mobile users expect information to be delivered in a way that is clear, concise, and to the point. The best way to accomplish this is by sticking to a one-column template, since this format will more easily adapt to multiple screen sizes. Oftentimes marketers use multi-column templates and fancy formatting to capture reader interest. But all this usually does is distract the reader and create an uninviting mobile experience.”Consumers now interact with their email on multiple devices, so it is critical for marketers to deliver a consistent experience across all channels. This will improve the customer experience as well as conversion rates.”   Jessica Meher-Quirk, Head of    Enterprise Marketing, HubSpot   Sarah Goliger, Inbound Marketing    Manager, HubSpot Everything You Need to Send the Perfect EmailIn addition to curating the insights above, I spoke with a handful of email marketing experts at HubSpot to dive deeper into how I, as a content strategist, could create something that would benefit their email marketing lives. I invited these experts to a brainstorm meeting during which I posed questions about what would make their email marketing lives easier. This brainstorm unveiled endless opportunities to support email marketers of the world, ultimately leading to the creation of Marketing Box.Marketing Box is a free, virtual package of all the templates, tunes, and training you need for email awesomeness. You can learn more about it, and the science behind it, in the SlideShare below and download it to use as your own resource here. Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Sending The Perfect EmailWhat other email pain points have you come across? How do you alleviate them? Share in the comments! Pain: Lack of Time to Create Emails From ScratchSolution: Clone Old Emails & Update With Fresh Copy, Subject Lines, Etc.Time seems to be the pain point for, I don’t know, everything? But when it comes to email specifically, according to BTOB Magazine, 49% of B2B marketers spend more time and resources on email than on other channels.One of the easiest ways to save some email creation time is to clone existing emails. I know — you’re probably thinking this is a pretty cheap tactic. We’re not saying you should simply resend the same messages, but rather use the same solid foundation you’ve already built to create future email messages. For example, image placement in many email service providers is incredibly more efficient when you simply drop a new image in place of where an old one was, versus dropping and resizing and/or reformatting a new image.”As marketers, we just don’t have the time to always be starting from scratch. If I need to put together an email quickly, I’ll find one that I’ve already sent that uses the template I want, and update the copy, images, and links. This way I don’t have to deal with tedious formatting, and it’s ready to go much sooner.” Topics: Pain: Running Simultaneous Email CampaignsSolution: Create Static Lists to Keep Track of Every Campaign  Gary DeAsi from SmartBear Software says that email can quickly become a juggling act when you have to keep track of which leads receive which emails, which leads have been touched recently, and which leads have not been touched in a while. Many times leads will belong to multiple segments, so they may qualify for several email campaigns in a given time frame. When you’re running many simultaneous email campaigns and using filters to suppress leads who have already been sent certain emails within certain time frames, this can cause your marketing automation system to take much longer to calculate your inclusion lists and get your emails out, and it’s a real pain to keep track of manually.  This problem can be solved by creating smart and static lists. You can do this in a number of different ways, but two common ways is by asset and by time frame.For example, if you were sending out an ebook to a segment in the first week of a given quarter, you might create two lists. One that “was sent ebook A” and one that “was sent email in week 1.” Now you have to ensure that any leads that get sent that ebook are added to static list number one, and any leads that are sent an email that week are added to static list number. Then when you go to send that ebook out again in a future email campaign, simply add a filter that suppresses any leads that are a member of list number one, and when you send out more emails that week, add a filter that suppresses any leads that are a member of list number two.”Creating static and smart lists will allow you to ensure leads are not sent the same piece of content multiple times, and are not touched multiple times within a given time frame. If you try to accomplish this using filter logic, it will take the system much longer to calculate, whereas with static lists it is a simple true/false statement. This trick will help you be really granular, timely, and precise when managing multiple email campaigns simultaneously, and you will also notice it comes in hand down the line for reporting.” Pain: Designing Emails When You’re Not a DesignerSolution: Use Pre-Built TemplatesAs we’ve already discussed, time is a much-needed resource when it comes to email marketing. And while you may be trained in how to use your diction to properly position and promote your message, you may have never received the opportunity to learn the design component.That’s where pre-built/pre-designed templates can be extremely valuable. By having a set of email templates at your disposal, it allows you to “drop in” your core content and prepare a professionally built email much faster than if you were to outsource design or let design live in a silo outside your immediate team. Consider hiring a designer to build a series of templates that work with your email software, and have those ready in your back pocket for future email sends.”Designing email campaigns can be a source of both pleasure and pain for marketers. The pleasure comes from laying out your message in an appealing format for your readers to enjoy. But time and resources can be a pain. In the end, your team should have a design-driven framework to tell a story. The bones of a campaign come from a template, but the meat still comes from the marketer.” last_img read more