The Needle Is Found in a Haystack

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now This is what makes prospecting so difficult. For most of us, there are more non-prospects than there are prospects. There are also more prospects than dream clients. Even though there are enough dream clients for you to pursue, only some percentage of them will be compelled to change, and many more will actively resist change.Prospecting is, in part, looking for the needle in the haystack.If you don’t call on your prospective clients, then you are not getting any closer to finding a person or company that is compelled to change. If you don’t pursue your dream clients, you will never be far enough in front of an opportunity that you are considered as the likely successor to their existing partner. Instead, when they become dissatisfied, they’ll reach out to someone that has been nurturing them.When you do the work of prospecting, you not only find prospects that are interested in exploring change, you also find your dream clients, some of whom are compelled to change now, recognizing that they need things to be better than they are. If you’re not in the haystack, you get nothing.This is the defining difference between salespeople who create new opportunities and those who don’t. The opportunity creators do the work necessary to find prospects and dream clients they can help. Those who passively wait and hope that they get enough inbound leads that are already opportunities struggle, preferring to do account management work instead of sales work.The needles are in the haystack. But they aren’t going to come and find you. Which means you are going to have to get in there and find them yourself.last_img read more

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San Sebastian repulses EAC to even slate at 5-5

first_imgFor the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. “Praise God that Michael wasn’t thrown out (unlike in our first round game). He was really big for us,” said coach Egay Macaraya, as San Sebastian leveled its record to 5-5.JM Calma missed out on a double-double with 12 markers and nine boards, Ryan Costelo unfurled 11 points, five assists, and four rebounds, while Renzo Navarro went 3-of-5 from beyond the arc to wound up with 11 markers, four dimes, and two boards.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“At least, we followed our game plan, but it was really tough facing them. Maybe, EAC just got tired because they have a short rotation,” said Macaraya.With the Generals fighting back and trimming the lead down to just two, 67-65 with 3:42 left, San Sebastian went on a 12-0 charge, capped off by a Costelo basket to put the game out of reach, 79-65, with 34.6 ticks remaining. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Francis Munsayac led EAC (4-6) with 14 points, five assists, and four rebounds, while Irvin Mendoza got 11 markers and three boards in the defeat.The Scores:SAN SEBASTIAN 81 – Calisaan 19, Calma 12, Costelo 11, Navarro 11, Bulanadi 9, Valdez 8, David 4, Baetiong 3, Mercado 2, Capobres 2, Gayosa 0, Ilagan 0, Are 0.EAC 69 – Munsayac 14, I. Mendoza 11, Bautista 10, Diego 10, Garcia 10, Onwubere 9, Bugarin 3, Pascua 2, Guzman 0, Corilla 0, J. Mendoza 0, Neri 0.Quarters: 21-16, 38-33. 53-52, 81-69.ADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul San Sebastian’s Michael CalisaanSan Sebastian shut down Emilio Aguinaldo College in the clutch to eke out an 81-69 victory Friday in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Michael Calisaan finished the game this time out and unleashed 19 points and five rebounds to lead the Golden Stags, atoning for his ejection in the two team’s first round tiff.ADVERTISEMENT NBA: New Cav Jae Crowder recalls mother’s passing the same day he was traded Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES View commentslast_img read more

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Caught in the slips

first_imgRavindra Jadeja drops Alastair Cook off Pankaj SinghThere are no easy catches in the slips, Rahul Dravidonce said. But do not try con-soling Pankaj Singh so. He’d had a sleepless night before his debut, India’s third Test against England at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl. On the morning of the Test, Sourav,Ravindra Jadeja drops Alastair Cook off Pankaj SinghThere are no easy catches in the slips, Rahul Dravidonce said. But do not try con-soling Pankaj Singh so. He’d had a sleepless night before his debut, India’s third Test against England at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl. On the morning of the Test, Sourav Ganguly calmed his nerves while handing him the India cap. “Keep it simple and enjoy your first day in Test cricket,” Sourav told the 6′ 5″ Rajasthan-based pacer.Pankaj’s 13th was a delivery that had long been Alastair Cook’s nemesis, pitching short of length, seaming away and almost, as if dutifully, kissing the edge of Cook’s bat. It flew to left-handed Ravindra Jadeja at third slip, coming to his natural catching side at a comfortable knee-height. Into his hands it went. And instantly out.Jadeja’s drop may not acquire the dramatic recall of wicketkeeper Kiran More’s off Graham Gooch at Lord’s in 1990. Gooch had been on 36 when dropped; he ended his innings on 333. But it was no less inconsequential. Cook, then on 15, had been going through a bad run with the bat, and the reprieve allowed him to prod his way to 95, perhaps marking a durable change in fortunes. And for England, that drop lifted the pressure India had been trying to sustain for the first hour of the Test. India lost their momentum, the Test and a vital lead in the series too.And Pankaj, India’s 282nd Test cap, his big chance.In the series, by the time the fourth Test began, India had missed eight chances behind the wicket. At the second Test at Lord’s, Gary Ballance was batting on 28 when neither keeper M.S. Dhoni nor first slip Shikhar Dhawan went for the catch. Ballance went on to make a century. India eventually won the Test, but a big frailty in their fielding had been exposed.advertisement”Wrong fielder at the wrong place,” Kapil Dev says about Jadeja in the slips. “Have you ever seen Jonty Rhodes in the slips? He may have been the greatest fielder of our generation but ones like him, Jadeja, Yuvraj Singh and even Virat Kohli are hyper, with a lot of body movement. While fielding in the circle or in the outfield, their instinct is to rush and grab at the ball. This technique fails in the slips as you have to let the ball come softly into your hands. I feel sorry for Pankaj. Maybe, if that catch had been taken, he could have picked more wickets. India would have done better. That one moment cost them.”Fact is, India have not been able to plot their field placements after the retirement of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, exemplary slips fielders both, with 210 Test catches (a record) and 135, respectively. The team have tried as many as five in the first slip, a fort so well guarded by Dravid in the past. Almost 10 have been tried in the slip cordon, but the gap is now showing badly.Recall the Auckland Test earlier this year when New Zealand were shaky at 30 for 3 and Murali Vijay dropped Kane Williamson off Mohammad Shami. He scored 113, added 221 with Brendon McCullum for the fourth wicket, and India had another away defeat.There are conspicuous technical faults in the Indian cordon, putting more strain on the already-weak Indian bowling-not grooming specialists and trying out too many fielders, imbalanced stance and body position, wrong hand positions and lack of slip temperament in some cases. In this series, for example, a few slip fielders have been seen resting their hands on the knees (a posture made famous by Ian Botham, but not successfully emulated by others). Most mystifying is the distance-or the lack of it-between the slips. As Sunil Gavaskar noted, they were standing too close to each other and hindering movement. (The original Mr First Slip, Gavaskar once won the Man of Match award in a low-scoring India-Pakistan ODI in Sharjah, 1985, for the four slip catches he took.)In England’s second innings at Southampton, when Dhawan, at first slip, dropped Joe Butler, another debutant, he was standing too deep as the ball fell short by a few inches, not a lone occurrence in that Test. Mohammad Azharuddin, who used to swoop such catches, diving in front rather than wait to see if the edge would carry or not, says: “You have to anticipate and adjust and go for any half-chance that comes along. Nothing lifts a team more than a fielder converting a half-chance.””Soft hands and cool mind,” is Laxman’s mantra. He says: “When Sourav was captain and John Wright coach, they told Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and me to man the slips. We would practise only in the slips and knew our roles well. Sachin was first, me second and Dravid third slip but when finger injury forced Sachin out of the slips, Rahul went to the first, I stayed at second and Virender Sehwag came into the third slip. We had a plan and we would switch on for less than 3-4 seconds every ball. The rest of the time we would chat about other things. That helped sustain longer periods of concentration.”advertisementThat slip cordon was crucial for India’s newfound success abroad in the noughties, with pacers Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan (followed by R.P. Singh, Munaf Patel, S. Sreesanth) and spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh getting the support they needed. They won Port of Spain (2002) and Jamaica (2006), Headingley (2002) and Nottingham (2007), Adelaide (2003) and Perth (2008), Multan and Rawalpindi (2004), Johannesburg (2006) and Durban (2010) and many more. “Couldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have good hands in the slips. They made our seamers more effective,” says Ganguly, India’s most successful captain away.Put it to muscle memory, but experience is essential. The ball flies at such speed to slips after taking a deflection off the bat that to take the right call on which way to reach the ball, the fielder must rely on a mind map of all the trajectories he has dealt with. Ingrained instinct plus instant judgement. Great bowlers have inevitablyfound their success in part because they found the right man to be at first slip. In fact, bowler-slip fielder is a key hyphenation of Test cricket. Think Anil Kumble-Dravid, Shane WarneMark Waugh, Kapil-Gavaskar, Muralitharan-Mahela Jayawardene.It is strange the Indian slip is showing, especially when the demands of modern day cricket have ensured better fielding standards. “Earlier Indians were average fielders but good catchers,” says Kapil. “It’s the other way now. Too many ODIs and T20s have made them very good fielders, but I have the sense they don’t practise too much slip catching as slips are rarely used in ODIs and T20s. Like Azhar used to in our time, today’s slip fielders should take at least 100 catches a day in practice. How else will you get 20 wickets in a Test?”From what he has seen while commentating on the Indian team, Ganguly feels the only way up is to identify three-four slip fielders and back them for a year: “Let them know they will stand in the slips. They must practise doing different simulations. They must watch the ball from every possible angle. If India continue to drop slip catches, the bowling will suffer more.” That’s something for Dhoni to think about as he tries to regroup his side for the remaining play in India’s first fiveTest series in more than a decade.Followthe writer on Twitter @vikrantgupta73To read more, get your copy of India Today here.last_img read more

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Alia Bhatt can hit LOL mode now post brilliant spoof video

first_imgActor Alia Bhatt has just played out her role of a lifetime in Genius Of The Year (for now, at least).The brilliant YouTube spoof video she has sportingly been a part of is a merry wink at all those online jokes over her dumbness, which followed her Koffee With Karan fiasco.Alia Bhatt has begun shooting for her new film Shaandaar with Shahid KapoorThere is a catch, though. Scroll down to the readers’ comments portion and you realise a whopping many have actually not realised that the video is a spoof.Comments alleging the video is “all scripted…so she knows the answers and (is) otherwise still dumb (sic)” and that it “takes her stupidity to a whole new level” make you feel Brain Enlargement Therapy at the Dumb Belle Gym as the video shows it, could actually be profitable business in this country.Comedy is a tough deal, more so if you are asked to play out a joke cracked on you.Reactions to the video prove appreciating comedy is perhaps tougher. Alia can laugh out loud on that note.last_img read more

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Wasim Akram backs Shahid Afridi as captain, slams critics after Pakistan’s Asia Cup debacle

first_imgFormer Pakistan captain and fast bowling great, Wasim Akram slammed the formation of an inquiry committee by the cricket board to probe into the team’s poor show in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.”I don’t understand the purpose of announcing a probe committee when the national team is due to leave for India for the World T20,” Akram said. (Pakistan have potential to deliver at World Twenty20, says Afridi)Akram, who was Director of the Islamabad United franchise, which recently won the Pakistan Super League in Dubai, said that it was lamentable that instead of supporting the team the players were being put under pressure. “I don’t agree with this thinking. This decision of the Pakistan Cricket Board to evaluate the team’s performance in the Asia Cup at this time,” he added.”It does not make sense as the World T20 is just a few days away.”Akram, who is now a full time media commentator and coach, said the board should not make the mistake of changing the captain before the World T20.”Shahid Afridi has been playing for 20 years. We all know him well and his performances. He is the best man to lead the team even now. He just needs to be given full backing and support by everyone,” he added. (World T20: Pakistan cricket team’s arrival delayed until security clearance) Akram said he was hurt and upset at the scathing criticism directed at the Pakistan team during the Asia Cup.The team has been struggling in T20 cricket for a while now but we need to show more understanding and respect for the players who are already under a lot of pressure,” he added.advertisementTo a question, Akram reiterated that he was always available to work for the betterment of Pakistan cricket.”I am ready to serve Pakistan cricket but I need to be given a proper time table. I can’t be asked at the 11th hour to come in. I work according to a schedule. I am ready to work in any capacity but first someone needs to offer me a proper role,” he said.Akram also said about his former fast bowling colleague and the present head coach of the team, Waqar Younis that he needed to give more time to watching domestic matches.”Waqar should have been in Dubai and Sharjah for the PSL matches. He needs to watch the matches and players we have available to build a good combination,” he added.last_img read more

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Women’s World Cup: South Africa’s Dane van Niekerk scripts history, picks up 4/0 vs West Indies

first_imgSouth African all-rounder Dane van Niekerk picked up four wickets without giving away any runs from 3.2 overs with her leg-spin against West Indies in the Women’s World Cup.Van Niekerk almost single-handedly destroyed the West Indian batting order as South Africa bowled them out for 48.Chedean Nation, Merissa Aguilleira, Shanel Daley and Qiana Joseph were all sent back to the dressing room by the Proteas captain as the South Africans made a complete mockery of the West Indies batters.She made her debut aged just 16 back in the year 2009 against the West Indies in a World Cup game at Newcastle and continued her fairy tale when she became the first South African woman cricketer to take a international hat-trick against them in 2013. She had finished that match with 5 wickets and giving away just 28 runs.The previous best in the world was by a man, a certain Richie Benaud who had picked up three wickets without giving away any runs in a Test match playing for Australia against India in Delhi way back in the year 1959.Marizanne Kapp, who adjudged the player of the match, also picked up four wickets for fourteen runs as West Indies were bowled out for a paltry 48. In reply South Africa reached the target easily in just 6.2 overs without losing any wicket.last_img read more

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Cristiano Ronaldo loses appeal against five-match ban in Spanish sports court

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo will have to serve his five-match ban for pushing a referee after the Spanish sports court (TAD) rejected Real Madrid’s appeal against the length of the suspension, Spanish media reported on Tuesday citing court officials.The Portuguese forward shoved official Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea after being sent off during Real’s 3-1 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on August 13.As a result the Spanish Football Federation issued Ronaldo with a 3,005 euro ($3,543.20) fine and a four match suspension in addition to the automatic one game ban the player was due to serve for the red card.”Another incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustice, they will never overthrow me,” Ronaldo posted on Instagram.The ban ruled Ronaldo out of the Super Cup second leg and Madrid’s first La Liga match of the season against Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday. Real won both matches.The striker will sit out league fixtures against Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad before making his comeback against Real Betis on September 20.TAD could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment.last_img read more

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Former Brazil U-17 captain Gerson impressed by Samba Boys in India

first_imgAgony of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup lingers in Gerson Vieira’s consciousness eight years on.Brazil, three-time winners of the Junior World Cup, failed to progress beyond the group stage despite fielding the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Casemiro – names that are now superstars of the football world.For the Samba Boys, success was synonym to winning, and for Vieira, who led that class of 2009, it was a frustrating tournament.”We left the tournament frustrated because in the Brazil national team you will succeed only if you win, but the satisfaction of wearing the yellow jersey and singing the national anthem inside the pitch, there is no price for this,” Vieira told Mail Today.Roll back to 2017 and Brazilian youngsters are on a splendid run in the U-17 World Cup in India.Carlos Amadeu’s boys outplayed the likes of Spain in their group games and now prepare for their biggest test in the tournament, a fierce German side, in the quarter-finals on Sunday.Vieira, who plays for Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League, took notes of the team playing in Kochi and Goa and was impressed by his nation’s show so far.”I am very excited about how they are playing. They are confident and playing with powerful unison, as a real team,” the 25-year-old defender said.As has been the case for many footballers, the Junior World Cup has proved to be the springboard for their football career. On the flipside, a majority have also failed to live up to their potential, often left to ply their trades in lowly clubs.advertisementWary of the debacle, Vieira, who played in a few South American clubs before arriving India, warns this current lot to focus on their game.”They must keep focused in what really matters, family and their jobs: playing football. They must give no space to distractions that can harm their performances.”I think for these young players, playing a great tournament as the World Cup makes them experience hard situation that pushes them to develop faster, and the pressure to represent their nation makes them better prepared to face difficult moments that will definitely come in the future,” he explained.Vieira also explains country’s exceptional grassroots program that develops players for the national team.He says the club youth academy system has helped a lot in providing chain of talented youngsters.”Our grassroots are very organised and professional in the medium and big clubs, even small clubs has produced big names. The clubs deal with young talents very seriously, they provide good structure to train, psychological and nutrition support. They hire high level professionals to teach and care about the youths,” he summed up.last_img read more

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Magic Erase The Nets, 100-93

first_imgORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando coach Scott Skiles is hoping to build a defense-first mindset that will carry the Magic when they struggle to score.The night of Dec. 30 was one of those nights, and his young team answered the challenge.Nik Vucevic had 20 points and nine rebounds, and the Magic rallied for a 100-93 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.Evan Fournier added 17 points and five assists for Orlando, which has won seven of nine. The Magic held the Nets to just 20 points in the final 12 minutes and overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half.“Our defense was very good on the last several possessions of the game. That was the game right there,” Skiles said. “We needed multiple stops in a row. … We didn’t play very well but still came out with a win.”Orlando’s Elfrid Payton, who has been hampered by a sprained right ankle, started at point guard, but he played just five minutes in the first half. Shabazz Napier started the second half and Payton sat out the remainder of the game.Without their primary ballhandler, the Magic struggled at times to find a rhythm on offense.Orlando tried several different lineups while searching for some cohesion, with 12 of the 13 active players seeing action.The Magic trailed for most of the second half, but used a 9-0 run late in the third quarter to cut into what had been a double-digit deficit. Then they outscored the Nets 32-20 in the final period.“There were a lot of situations tonight when we lacked some ball movement, but luckily we were able to get it back at the end, and get baskets and stops,” said Tobias Harris, who had 12 points and eight rebounds for Orlando. “We were there for each other, we were scrappy defensively.”Brooklyn led by as many as 13 but fell part down the stretch, going 3 for 20 from the 3-point line.Brook Lopez led the Nets with 24 point and 15 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic added 20 points.Trailing 93-90, Orlando scored on back-to-back layups by Vucevic and Harris to take a 94-93 lead with 45 seconds to play.The Nets struggled to find an open shot on their ensuing trip and Jarrett Jack missed a rushed 20-footer off the front of the rim as the shot clock wound down.Victor Oladipo then was fouled and connected on two free throws on the other end.“We just couldn’t get a good shot in the fourth quarter,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. “Their defense was pretty good and it got away from us. … Executing under pressure is important and I don’t think we handled the pressure well.”(KYLE HIGHTOWER) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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The 7 Personalities Every Successful Social Media Manager Has

first_imgThere aren’t many instances in our professional lives where having multiple personalities is seen as a positive trait.After all, it spawns dishonesty, deceit, and fosters a tense environment often filled with animosity.But hold the phone there ya negative Nancy — there are times when conveying multiple personalities is not only encouraged, but also essential to the success of your marketing efforts. We’re talking social media marketing, where executing a strategy that successfully engages and proves value lies in your ability to satisfy a variety of needs and personalities. In fact, our guide on Social Media Marketing details how different platforms require different voices.Download Now: Free Social Media Calendar TemplateWe all have very different agendas when logging in to our social platform of choice; therefore, shouldn’t we as marketers possess the ability to recognize and speak to them?7 Personalities Every Social Media Marketer Should Have Remember Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor? In the film, he portrayed both Professor Klump, the responsible, well-respected gentleman of a scientist, as well as Buddy Love, his genetically created alter ego who was a skinny, loud-mouthed womanizer.Completely different personalities, yet both appealed to Miss Purdy in different ways. Sometimes she wanted to be engaged intellectually. Other times, she wanted to hit the comedy club for a few drinks. The way in which we interact and engage with others in real life is dependent on different factors. After all, you wouldn’t interact with your co-workers in the office the same way you would at happy hour on Friday afternoon.It’s for this reason that your social media marketing strategy should have the ability to speak to a diverse audience in a variety of ways in order to appeal to all of their needs. So let’s dive in to the seven personalities every successful social media manager has.1) The InformantWith so much content and information at our disposal, our first inclination as buyers is to find resources that assist in our decision-making process. It’s why Google — and sometimes even your Twitter feed — is your Yellow Pages. Buyers are looking for information. Marketers are breaking their necks to create and provide it in high volume. And you know what else is crazy? Buyers are taking to social media almost as much as search engines in order to find that information.Takeaway: Spend as much — if not more — time strengthening your social strategy as you do conducting and implementing keyword research. Focus on being an informant. Share your resources as they become available so your followers have easy access. Share other industry related resources as well, even if published by others. If it’s resourceful to you, it’s resourceful for your audience as well. Don’t worry about directing followers elsewhere, as sharing resources builds authority and trust. After all, the outdoor cat always goes back to where they know they’re being fed.2) The Inquirer A successful social strategy is more walkie talkie than it is megaphone. If you’re always promoting something and pushing your message across, you’ll drastically see a decrease in engagement and, ultimately, value. Don’t be that guy who loves to tell you about his day but could give a crap about yours. Nobody likes that guy.That feeling you get when someone asks how your day was, and genuinely cares … well, your followers feel that too. Consider the value of engaging a large following in the form of questions in order to show you care, and also, to learn more about them. The benefit is two-fold: relationships development as well as more defined buyer personas.Takeaway: Not sure what content your audience craves? Or what product update would make their lives easier? Ask! There’s no greater resource for inspiration than by staying plugged in to your target audience. Make it a habit of working questions in on a daily basis. A great social media manager understands the importance of customer feedback and its effect on improving the product/service and/or customer experience. Start by understanding what answers your key team members would find most helpful in improving their job. Craft your questions around this. Rinse. Repeat. 3) The Helper Similar to #2, this is more about answering questions than it is about asking them. Too many companies have a static social presence, which harkens back to my point earlier: Think walkie-talkie, not megaphone.Nothing allows for direct access to a brand quite like social media. Consumers often take to social to find out answers to their questions they can’t get from a website or advertisement. It’s the brands supplying them with these answers that develop relationships that often will result in a purchase.Takeaway: Actively monitor your social accounts for any questions and/or comments regarding your company, and make it a daily habit to respond to them. Focus on being friendly, responsive, prompt, and most of all — helpful! As consumers, we’re often drawn to brands that have gone above and beyond to assist us. It’s why I frequent the same pizza place in my town fairly often. They always tell me to grab a free soda on the way out. You help me once; I come back for years.4) The Thought Provoker Aah, the elusive “thought leader.” Why is it so coveted a title?Well, for starters, it’s extremely rewarding to earn the respect of followers and other industry influencers. More importantly, though, is what spawns from that type of respect: customers. We all want to do business with people who know what the hell they’re talking about. Who are the best at what they do. So … how do we find those people/companies? They’re actually pretty easy to find. Takeaway: All thought leaders share a common trait: They don’t rely on other people or resources in order to be resourceful themselves. They’re simply resourceful by nature. By way of experience. Who are the leaders at your company? Keep an open dialogue — whether it’s with a lead product designer or C-level executives — and let their expertise be the basis for some of your posts. There’s undoubtedly someone at your company who knows the industry like no other. Their type of expertise should be broadcasted, not hidden on their resume some place. Start quoting them in social media updates. Conduct and post interviews. However you can, make sure you’re establishing your company as a thought leader rather than a piggy-backer.5) The Class Clown The cardinal rule of online sharing is this: Nothing goes viral quite like funny. We’re in the midst of a humanized marketing evolution, wherein consumers not only value seeing personality, but they often also prefer brands that display it over those that don’t. Particularly through social media, consumers are often looking to watch or share the next funny tidbit they come across.Takeaway: Consumers have a sense of humor. They’ll buy tacos from a talking Chihuahua. The day after the Super Bowl, we’re not talking about the commercial with the best message, but rather the one that made us laugh. Keep this in mind. Post funny pictures. Share funny videos or articles you may have come across that made you laugh. Nothing will humanize your brand more effectively than a small dose of humor every day. And as we’ve seen from mass media, nothing sticks in the minds of your consumers quite like a good chuckle. Don’t take your brand so seriously all the time. Consumers aren’t looking for a stiff. 6) The Entertainer Much in the same vein as having a chuckle, your followers are also looking to be entertained to some degree. Simply throwing all blog posts on all social platforms accompanied by nothing but a link and title will do one thing … nothing. There’s so much going on in social. It’s information overload. If you’re not considering how you can entertain and inform in order to stand out, then well, you won’t.Takeaway: Sharing content doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Don’t share your content, present it. Can you film a quick one-minute video to accompany it through social media? An amazing infographic that sums up your new ebook? Consider a user’s mind frame when scrolling through social. Strip it down to bare bones. When you’re scrolling through social you’re looking for one thing only — something to click on.Don’t overthink it. Focus on getting people to click on your updates. Once they’ve done this, that’s where the substance comes in. Think visually — it’s the most effective way to entertain.7) The Go-GetterIf you’re not using social media as a prospecting tool, you’re doing it wrong. The best social media marketers recognize that there’s an audience out there that needs their help, but hasn’t found them yet. Specifically on Twitter, it’s extremely easy to monitor hashtags of relevance in order to identify these potential prospects. Takeaway: Monitor Twitter hashtags in order to identify groups of people — AKA chunks of your market — who have similar questions. Answer them. Take part in the conversation (search.twitter.com or a social media monitoring tool like HubSpot’s Social Inbox should be your best friend). People ask questions to get help. By reaching out, you’re not only establishing your brand as a resource, but you’re also positioning yourself as the likely option when it comes time to buy.Split Personalities The key to social media success is recognizing that your audience has varying agendas when it comes to social, and as a result, conveying multiple personalities in order to appeal to them. Being great at one isn’t enough. The social media manager is quickly becoming a crucial role within any business, since it not only functions as real-time PR, but it’s also quickly becoming the manner in which companies are getting found online.The point here is not to hire seven different people. The point is to find one person who can pivot and adapt to these various personalities in order to maintain a powerful presence.This is a guest post by John Bonini (@Bonini84), marketing director at IMPACT Branding & Design. Visit the IMPACT Blog for more content from John and the agency. Image Credit: hitchhicker  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: Social Media Marketers Originally published Aug 26, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

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Pinterest Adds ‘Place Pins’ Just in Time for Black Friday

first_imgPinterest is really doubling down before the holiday season! First it launched its Now-Trending tool, and now I hear it’s rocking a new feature to help add some location-based elements to the network.Yesterday, Pinterest announced the release of Place Pins, allowing Pinterest users to map their pins to certain locations. “Every day people pin about 1.5 million places, and now there are more than 750 million pins of these destinations on Pinterest,” Pinterest shared. The company saw this as a huge opportunity, and though it positioned the release more as a benefit for travel planners (I get it, I have a travel board myself), I see great application for local businesses, too.Just in time for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, Pinterest! Good call, Pinterest. Good call, indeed.The Rundown on Pinterest Place Pins(Say that three times fast.)Place pins can be accessed on both desktop and mobile, and include information about a location like address, phone number, and directions. Users are able to create an entire board full of Place Pins by simple selecting “Add a map” when creating a new board, or editing existing boards to allow maps. Pinterest is even letting multiple users collaborate — great for any local businesses trying to make their shop a destination. (Like, say, at 3AM on Black Friday?)Here’s an example of what one of the new boards utilizing Place Pins looks like:See all those pins (they’re next to the super sexy orange Microsoft Paint arrows)? Those are pin recommendations from people! And if you click one, something cool like this happens:Clicking on those pin locations takes you right to a pin that describes the location and what’s so cool about it.If you’re a local business on Pinterest, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your locations, especially for the upcoming holiday sale days. So, what are you waiting for? Time to get pinning!Fun Fact: Our own Katie Burke is over at Pinterest HQ right now and was kind enough to send the featured image at the beginning of the post from her visit. Looks like a cool office! 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 21, 2013 12:42:40 PM, updated February 01 2017 Pinterest Marketinglast_img read more

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How Google Works [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Dec 30, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Technical SEO 376Save Topics:center_img Ever wonder how Google manages to serve you just the content you’re looking for? You put in a few words, and within a few microseconds, you’ve got pages and pages of results ready to address your query. It’s so fast, so accurate, and so comprehensive, it almost seems like magic.Almost. But we all know there’s more to delivering great search results than waving a magic wand.So how does Google actually work? Neil Patel at Quick Sprout put together the following animated infographic to break down Google’s process for finding and serving up search results. Check it out below:376Save 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

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3 Ways to Use Buyer Personas to Shorten Your Sales Cycle

first_img Inbound Sales (Marketing) The most important and valuable piece of knowledge any business can have is the deep understanding of who their customer is. When speaking with sales and marketing organizations across North America, I share that the most important question a business can answer is, “Who do we want to be a hero to?”It’s not enough to merely talk about it among the senior team and occasionally in sales meetings, nor is it enough to document your buyer personas and then cast them aside with your marketing plan to collect dust.Your buyer personas should be among the most worn out documents in your sales and marketing arsenal. While there has been a meaningful increase in the adoption and use of personas on the marketing side (as a recent report from CMI and MarketingProfs supports), the sales side of most organizations still seem to be lagging in this area.While using personas to map content marketing strategies is useful, it provides only a small percentage of the value that it should. If both sides of the organization aren’t fully committed to using personas to guide their day-to-day actions, the fracture between sales and marketing will multiply and sales momentum will stagnate, causing customer acquisition costs (CAC) to skyrocket.We use personas to guide our actions every day, both in terms of the sales efforts we pursue for Imagine Business Development and to guide the actions we provide for our clients. This not only creates tremendous clarity for everyone, it enables us to materially shorten the sales cycle. Here are the primary means through which mutual clarity and use of buyer personas can help you shorten your sales cycle:1) Seek and You Will FindAs the saying goes, seek and you will find. What people often forget, however, is that if you don’t know what you’re seeking, it’s going to be very hard to find.When I’m working with salespeople (both young and experienced), I see that the greatest amount of time wasted is when they’re spending time with the wrong people, or delivering the wrong message.When personas are used across the entire organization, salespeople know who to target (so they find them faster), they know what to say, and they know how to navigate the connections between role players.2) Alignment Between Sales and MarketingAccording to MarketingProfs, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, despite only 27% of those leads actually being qualified. Not only does that contribute to significant time wasted (see point 1), it also represents a tremendous waste of resources and opportunity.Without clearly agreed upon buyer personas, there can be no effective lead triage or scoring mechanism put in place. This not only means that salespeople have less time to focus on their best opportunities (thus decreasing the probability for success), they are also approaching those opportunities with bad messaging and tactics.I recently got into a debate with the CMO of a SaaS company. He took issue with me in my characterization of the typical conflict between the sales side and marketing side of the business. He claimed that there was no such conflict and that I was overplaying it for my own self-serving purposes.  However, when I asked him (and others in the organization) to describe their best opportunities and the personas within them, there was no clear answer.  Simply put, it is impossible to have alignment with clarity on who you are trying to attract without defining your buyer personas. Service level agreements are wonderful, but buyer personas are at the center of alignment.  The impact of this is quite significant. Research from The Aberdeen Group found that companies that had highly aligned sales and marketing organizations achieved, on average, a 32% year-over-year revenue growth, while their less aligned competitors saw a 7% decrease in revenue.3) Sales Call PlanningMy favorite place to use buyer personas is when I’m planning my sales strategy. Clear personas inform my sales development reps (SDRs) who they should be focused on connecting with.Even more importantly, they guide my actions (and those of my salespeople) when managing specific opportunities. Since buyer personas are a fictional representation of what the best opportunities look like, there’s never a situation where a prospect fits the description completely.What’s tremendously valuable for me and for my sales team when we’re developing our opportunity strategy is to highlight how the specific prospect is like the description, and how they’re different. For example, I’ll come back from a sales call and share something like this with my opportunity strategy team:Mary is our Eric Entrepreneur in this opportunity. She’s a lot like him in that she’s very vision-oriented, she started this business and has been the most successful salesperson in her company. She’s different because, well first she’s a she, but more importantly she has a bit more of a formal business background than our typical Eric.  While my conversations get much deeper than that, they allow all of us to quickly get on the same page and quickly determine the sales tactics we should employ.This cuts down the analysis time by a factor of 10 and allows us to maintain a proactive posture throughout the sales process, further cutting the sales cycle time.I should point out that buyer personas should never be considered complete. They are always a work in progress. By ensuring that personas are clearly communicated and utilized throughout the go-to-market process, you also ensure the ability to keep your personas up-to-date, making your marketing and lead generation efforts more effective and further cutting cycle times and sales costs. 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 Mar 10, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics:last_img read more

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What We Learned From Our First Year on Medium

first_img Topics: Originally published Jan 17, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Off-Site Content Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Context, a publication brought to you by Medium’s Creative Strategy team. Follow the publication to keep abreast of the best ideas in brand storytelling.Two years ago if you asked me to explain the concept of content marketing I would start by talking to you about planets.Imagine you are a marketer standing all alone  —  like The Little Prince  — in the middle of a small planet. That planet is your website. Today it doesn’t get many visitors because it’s too small to notice and the universe is filled with bigger, more interesting planets.But like planets, as you build up the mass of content around you, your website grows, and your gravitational pull becomes stronger. More content, keywords, and inbound links pulls more people your way. Content becomes your magnet.This fundamental principle of content marketing has been a key part of HubSpot’s marketing playbook. Our “planet,” comprised of our website and blog, continues to fuel our company’s growth at a higher rate than any other marketing tactic. You may find it odd then, that about a year ago, we very quietly walked to the edge of our home planet and stepped off. Amazing space cat by William HerringGetting Behind the Idea of Publishing Off-SiteWe started ThinkGrowth.org, an off-site publication on Medium.com. November 2016 marked the one year anniversary of ThinkGrowth.org and I wanted to share a little bit about what we’ve learned: why we did it, where we stumbled, and  — because benchmarks were hard to come by when we were getting started  — what our numbers looked like throughout the year.Grab your space helmets. Here we go.Let me make this very clear: you do not own your audience. Regular monthly visitors, big subscriber lists, well-trodden conversion paths give us the illusion that we own the attention of our audience  — but it is only an illusion. Attention is fleeting, and must constantly be earned.While a lot of content discovery still happens through search, more and more people are consuming articles directly from platforms like Medium, Facebook, and podcasts. Medium has done a remarkable job with editorial curation and a loyal readership has followed, with a lot of this being driven by mobile. According to 2016 research from eMarketer, 86% of time spent on mobile devices is spent in apps rather than internet browsers. Apps like Medium have become new discovery platforms for content.And these new discovery platforms come with notable differences in behavior. On the open web, people are searching, but on Medium, people come to spend time reading. This leads to much higher engagement on Medium and it’s this engagement, not search behavior, that fuels further discovery.As the saying goes, sometimes you have to lose sight of your own shore to explore new lands. We have always tried to build our content strategy by paying attention to our readers over ourselves. Simply put, we decided to publish on Medium because we wanted to be where our readers are.Breaking Through the New Publication PlateauWe’ve long admired the transparency of companies like Buffer who make a practice of openly sharing their own experiences and data. So, here’s our data from the last year. It wasn’t always pretty.We started unassumingly on Medium. We didn’t launch with a bang or promotional push. We decided to just get some content up on the platform and see what it did. Our early posts were mostly cross-published content from the HubSpot blog (Medium makes it very easy to do this without hurting your own SEO). These first cross-posted pieces back in November of 2015 netted a few hundred views each, not too exciting.But we quickly found that certain content just does better on Medium. As I mentioned, people come to Medium to read, not search for information on a specific topic. This makes Medium an inherently social platform where opinion pieces, personal accounts, or reaction posts often have a stronger performance than on our home blog.Then a few months in, we attached the HubSpot handle to the publication. We saw a small jump as our social followers started to be able to find us and our content better, but the volume of views still wasn’t outstanding. We were making progress, but it was slow.Optimizing for People After Years of Optimizing for SearchThe first break-out post we ever had flew to the top of our most-read list mainly because it was highlighted by Ev Williams. And yes, while Ev is the mayor of Medium, this isn’t about Ev in particular, but rather the underlying point that Medium is a network. Anyone who has built up a following on Medium, whether it be the founder or a talented writer can have a major ripple effect on the visibility of an article just by interacting with it.We’ve seen that interactions from highly followed readers carry the heaviest weight, but any interaction can make a big difference. We ran an analysis on the correlation between various values and views for all of our articles so far. For us, the most strongly correlated factor with views is recommends (r=0.77). What I like about this lever is that it really is about the quality of the writing. Green-hearted recommendations aren’t typically fooled by click-bait titles, keyword stuffing, or any other shortcut. Recommends come after considered reading.Another way we started optimizing for people was opening up our publication doors. We’ve seen our best success by finding writers on the rise on Medium and syndicating content they’ve created  — exposing both them and ourselves to a new audience. Guest contributors have fueled the growth of our audience and brought in a diversity of perspectives that have made our entire anthology better. We’ve published a piece from the CEO of Litmus Paul Farnell and one from the CEO of Mattermark Danielle Morrill. We’re seeing that the best content on ThinkGrowth.org isn’t about us, nor is it necessarily by us.Discovering the Power of a Built-In AudiencePeople talk a lot about the power of Medium’s built-in audience. What they don’t tell you is how expansive and varied that audience can be. One of our biggest concerns when getting started with Medium is that we would be preaching to the same choir. But after doing some analysis of our comparative audience across the two sites we discovered that only about 10% of our Medium followers were previously known to us at HubSpot.com.This is incredibly powerful. HubSpot has been writing content for more than ten years. Our onsite blogs get more than 4.5 million visitors a month. Discovering this new audience pocket feels like we’re showing up a friend’s party after 10 years of hosting at our own place, and we find a whole new group of wonderful people, and they’re like, “Hey! It’s cool you finally left your own little planet.”Deciding How to Measure It AllMeasuring success on Medium is tricky. First, the rules for success are so different. Second, Medium stats are detached from the rest of our analytics. Third, Medium’s analytics dashboard just doesn’t allow you to go very deep. You can look at total number of views, follower count, number of interactions, time spent reading and so on — but these are very surface level.Fans of the musical Rent at HubSpot will always remember the day our publication crossed five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes of reading time.The day we discovered Sam Mallikarjunan was a Rent fan.I’ll admit that as VP of Content I’m always a seduced by a good up-and-to-the-right readership chart. But neither of those may be entirely right when you think about what constitutes success on this platform.If Medium really is a hybrid between a social network and a publishing platform, and success is determined by how engaging your content is, it may make sense to look at how active that follower base is. Heading into our second year as a publication we still plan on tracking everything (we’re data people after all) but we’d like to start paying particularly close attention to our number of weekly active readers. This is a much higher bar than views and followers alone, but we think this is the best way to hold ourselves accountable as a publication.A T. Blake Littwin original  — used in Brian Halligan’s reflections on evolving HubSpot from a startup to “scale-up.”Looking AheadWriting on Medium started as an experiment. Something that could help us stay on top of how reading habits are changing (And boy, are they changing). It wasn’t always the easiest year. We spent months studying our readership, reading advice from Medium editors (Elizabeth Tobey in particular), and talking with peers of ours like Kevan Lee who were also exploring the platform. Thanks to that advice and frankly the ruthless, almost superhuman, focus of Sam Mallikarjunan, Erik Devaney, and most recently Janessa Lantz we’re starting to get there.We’ve learned enough in the last year to see the potential that exists when as a brand you take the risk of stepping beyond your home planet to explore new channels, platforms, and audiences. I’m happy to say that on the anniversary of our first exploration onto Medium, we’ve decided to increase our investment in that potential by spinning up a brand new team at HubSpot focused entirely on “offsite” content strategy.We’re going to continue to iterate our publication to make it better. In the words of ThinkGrowth.org writer Sam Mallikarjunan, “We feel good about the growth we’ve achieved with the new blog and just a few writers, but there are even cooler things we haven’t done yet on Medium.”Stay tuned.last_img read more

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9 Link Building Email Outreach Templates That Actually Work

first_imgThanks for joining me here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog today. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all a few things you might not know about me.I’m ambidextrous (I can write with both hands), I’m the adoptive mother of three cats (one of whom is named Kitty), and before coming to HubSpot, I spent a lot of time writing and sending link building outreach emails.Access Now: 22 SEO Myths to Leave Behind This YearInbound links back to your website play an important role in achieving your inbound marketing goals. They also require strategy and diligent work to come by. I would know — I worked very hard to earn inbound links for a long time.Whether you’re just starting out with inbound link building or you’re getting fatigued by nobody replying to your outreach emails, I wanted to help you out. I’ve created nine different templates for killer outreach emails that you can borrow and adapt for your own link building strategy.What Is Link Building?Before we dive into the templates, let’s quickly review the basics of inbound link building. If you’re already caught up to speed, skip ahead to check out the templates.Inbound links, otherwise known as backlinks, are links pointing toward your website from another website. Here’s an example: Check out this publishing volume experiment analysis on the Moz Blog. If you’ll notice, the previous sentence contains a link pointing toward Moz’s website. That’s a backlink. And if you read the article, you’ll notice it contains a link pointing back to our website here at HubSpot. That’s a backlink, too.Now that we all understand what inbound links are, why are they important?Inbound links drive traffic to your website. In the example above, the HubSpot blog earned traffic from any of Moz’s blog readers who followed the link to HubSpot’s website.Inbound links improve your search engine rankings. Inbound links tell search engines that your website knows what it’s talking about — otherwise, why would someone link to it? The more inbound links you earn from high-quality sites, the higher your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERP).To sum up, inbound links are valuable because they help your website rank higher in search, which helps more people find your organization, start clicking around, and eventually become a lead.Link building is the process of obtaining those inbound links. When your website is a high-powered, well-respected content engine, other sites and individuals online will link to your content organically — without you having to ask. But if you’re like a lot of other inbound marketers out there, your website still has a ways to go.A dedicated link building strategy starts with an ask — usually via email — and that’s where these templates come in.Link Building Outreach RulesBut before we get to the templates, some rules.There are right and wrong ways to go about improving your site’s SEO, and inbound link building — when done correctly — is generally regarded as one of the right ways. You’re pitching your content to publications that might be interested in sharing it with different audiences. A backlink is just the cherry on top.However, there are wrong ways to go about asking for inbound backlinks, and I want to make sure you sure understand the rules of the road before you start emailing.1) The best way to generate quality backlinks is to publish exceptional content publishers organically cite.That being said, a dedicated backlink outreach strategy can be helpful for newer websites or if you’re promoting a specific piece of exceptional content. The more content you produce and, in turn, promote with social media content and backlinks, the more search engine authority your site will accumulate.2) Only pitch guest posts or backlinks that add value for the reader.Instead of asking your contacts to randomly link back to your site somewhere on theirs, ask publishers if you can write for their blogs or conribute new ideas and data for content they’re already working on. Offers such as these will result in quality backlinks that provide readers with valuable information.3) Send individualized emails to specific publishers.Never, and I mean never, mass email an enormous contacts list with a pitch template. It’s spammy, impersonal, and likely won’t get you the results you want anyway. Adapt the templates below if you like them, but it’s critically important to individually craft specific emails for particular publishers.The first step of your outreach process should always be researching publications and specific people who might be interested in your content. You shouldn’t start with typing up an email and sending it to everyone in your industry with a website. Read on for new ideas for how to ask for an inbound link — in ways that are polite, clever, and might just get you that backlink.Note: These email templates are based on emails I’ve sent and received. Any references to industries, companies, or individuals are meant to illustrate these fictitious email examples. 9 Link Building Outreach Email Examples to Try1) The previewIf you don’t have any connections with the person you’re pitching, offering a preview might be an effective way to share your content. With this type of email, you’re asking first if the recipient would like to see the piece of content you’d like them to link to. The key to getting a reply is making sure you’ve personalized your email and enticed the reader with enough details to get them to reach back out.Interest in new infographic about social media stats?Hi Sophia,Happy Friday! I’m reaching out because I’m an avid reader of your work on the SocialVille blog — I loved your latest piece about social media news.I just followed you on Twitter, and I saw you’ve been tweeting about Facebook’s F8 conference. What did you think of the event?I work over at SocialWorld, where we conduct market research and collect data for social media analysts and experts. We recently produced an infographic detailing a breakdown of the social media market and what changes you can expect over the next year.Would you be interested in checking it out? I’d love to see what you think.Let me know if you’re interested, and I can send you the infographic to take a look.Best, Jack2) The exclusive offerIf you’ve produced new research or data with surprising or intriguing results, it might be worth pitching your content as an exclusive before pressing publish on your own blog. An exclusive offer to a top-ranking publication in your industry could get you a lot of traffic from a single link, so it might be worth adjusting or reconsidering your own publication schedule.When pitching to top journalists whose inboxes are probably flooded, keep your subject lines detailed and your emails short to communicate as much information in as few words as possible. Exclusive: New data about Snapchat adsHey Sophia,I’ve been reading your coverage of the competition heating up between Snapchat and Instagram, and I wanted to let you know that we’re releasing new data about Snapchat ad usage this week.Among other insights, we found a surprising number of brands and publishers that were regularly advertising and publishing on Snapchat have started transitioning over to Instagram, where they achieve higher ad clickthrough rates.I’d be happy to give you exclusive early access to our full report to be the first to write about it on the blog this week — what do you think?Best, Jack3) The DYKEveryone likes to learn a fun fact. Couch your pitch as a “did you know” moment to pique the recipient’s curiosity to read the rest of your content for more fun and new information. If you were able to teach them something new, they may want to feature your fresh insight for their own readers.DYK bots are more popular than blogs?Hi Sophia,Did you know that there are more than 100,000 active bots on Facebook Messenger?If you aren’t already communicating with your audience via Facebook Messenger, you could be missing out on an opportunity to provide better customer service — and faster.We rounded up more Messenger bot usage stats in a new report that I’ve attached below. Do you think it would be a good fit for an article on the SocialVille blog? Thanks in advance for checking it out, and let me know if you have any questions.Best, Jack4) The personalized pitchThe most critical part of a successful outreach email is personalization. I’m not talking about addressing your email to the correct name and spelling everything correctly — although you should definitely do both of those things. By showing the recipient that you know who they are and what they’re about, your pitch reads as genuine, and you read as a comprehensive possible partner.It’s easy to write, “I loved your last article about [subject],” but it takes some digging and understanding to write, “I love reading your monthly social media news series. Did you catch the latest Facebook update that came out today?” Make sure your email shows that you’ve taken the time to understand what the person is all about and what they regularly cover.Hi from a fellow Snapchat diehardHi Sophia,I know you’ve been closely following the social media smackdown between Snap Inc. and Facebook — and I know who we’re both rooting for. So I wanted to show you this interactive timeline we created that compares the growth trajectories of the two companies.Snap Inc. is similar to Facebook in a lot of ways, but its path to growth into the billions is mired with more competition. But this competition hasn’t limited Snapchat’s engagement — users are spending up to half an hour a day inside the app.I noticed that you publish a social media news roundup every month featuring the latest stories and research, and I wondered if you thought this timeline could be a good inclusion. Let me know if you have any questions about the data!Thanks, Jack5) The offerNobody likes having extra work on their plate, so why not pitch doing the work for them? If you pitch a great idea alongside an offer to write a guest post, the recipient might be more inclined to say “yes.” But remember to do your due diligence before pressing “send.” If the person you’re pitching has already written about a specific angle a few times before, make sure you’re pitching something new and different to avoid getting ignored.Offer to write up new report for SocialVille?Hey Sophia,You’ve written previously about successful Facebook ads and headlines, and I wanted to share some new research my team has put together about effective Facebook ad copy. We found that Facebook ads under 20 words in length performed significantly better than longer ads, along with a ton of other eye-opening stats.Do you think this would be a good fit for the SocialVille blog? I’d be happy to write it up for you to take the legwork out of it. Let me know if you’d like me to get started.Thanks for your consideration, Jack6) The mentionEverybody likes to see their name in print. A clever way to angle for a backlink is to mention a product or an individual in a published piece, then circle back and share it with them. Ask for their feedback to get them reading the post, and they might link to it or share it on social of their own accord.Your data featured in our latest reportHey Sophia,I love reading your stuff on the SocialVille blog! In fact, we featured your recent data about the impact of tools on productivity in our report on the growth of productivity as a business — I’ve attached the PDF below, and we’ve also shared it on Twitter.I wonder if you’d be able to check out the report and let me know what you think or if I missed any important stats.Thanks in advance for checking it out, and thanks for such an interesting write-up.Best, Jack7) The social proofSocial proof is the concept that consumers will be influenced by what others are already doing. For example, if you head to the bottom of this blog post, you’ll notice that we ask you to subscribe, noting that 300,000 marketers have already subscribed. That’s social proof in action: You might be more likely to subscribe now that you know hundreds of thousands of people are already doing it.So, if you’ve published a great piece of content that people are responding positively to, tell people that when you pitch it for backlinks. They might be more inclined to cite you if other people in their field are already doing so.Guide to Instagram ad analyticsHi Sophia,I’m sure you get a lot of content submissions, but I wanted to bring to your attention to a new guide we released about the ins and outs of Instagram ad advertising.This helpful how-to guide tells you everything you need to know about advertising on Instagram and how to drive ROI, in addition to sharing real-world examples of ads that delivered results. Shameless #humblebrag here — the guide has been downloaded more than 5K times and has been retweeted more than 4K times — so I wanted to make sure you had a chance to check it out.Do you think it would be a good fit for the SocialVille blog? I’d love to get your thoughts.Best, Jack8) The jokeTread carefully with humor, but if you’ve perused their social media and they seem like they would appreciate a goofy joke, it could be a smart way to get your recipient’s attention.As in the rules of the workplace or cocktail parties, avoid making jokes about politics, religion, or anything rated PG-13 and up.What do cats, cooking videos, and your latest blog post have in common?… they all went viral on social media!Forgive the silly joke, but I knew cats would get your attention. I loved your recent piece about social media predictions for the coming year, and I wondered if you’d given any thought to predictions for where SEO is headed, too.Here at SearchWorld, we predict that AMP and machine-learning will take center stage in Google’s quest to make search easier and more intuitive for the searcher.We put together a report about how SEO has evolved and other predictions for where we think it’s headed next, and I think it would be a great reference if you decide to write a follow-up piece about the future of SEO. I’ve attached the report below — take a look, and let me know if there are any changes you’d suggest!Thanks in advance, Jack9) The responseThis is another risky outreach strategy, but it could pay off if you do it properly.The ultimate way to demonstrate that you’re an avid reader (instead of just saying so) is to respond to someone’s work with an opinion — even if it’s divergent. Other options besides the counterpoint in the example below could include:A case study of you taking their advice and applying it to your brandA different content format on the same subject — for example, a video explainer instead of a blog postQuick question about your Facebook F8 recapHey Sophia,Thanks for writing such a thorough recap of Facebook’s F8 conference. It was super helpful for those of us who couldn’t attend in person or watch the live stream!I thought you made an interesting point about the competition heating up between Facebook and Snap Inc., but I think you could be missing a bigger idea here. I think it’s not as much a competition for users as it is a competition for features innovation vs. features execution.I wrote up my take on the brands’ competition on our blog today and cited your recap — would you like to take a look? Maybe we could collaborate together on a blog post or video on how social media marketers should best evaluate the two companies’ competing apps.Thanks, JackEmail Link Building Best PracticesSo, you might have noticed that these aren’t the traditional templates you can copy and paste into your own inbox.And that’s because I don’t want you to simply plug in these emails and replace them with your own pitch. Part of the reason successful link building takes time and effort is because you have to craft a personalized email every time. You should use the guidelines I’ve outlined above, but copying and pasting the same exact message is just bad news for all involved. Don’t do it.Below are more of my link building outreach email best practices:1) Edit, then edit again.Nothing makes me less interested in responding to a pitch email than when there is immediately a typo or grammatical error as early as the subject line — or my name. Double-check to ensure that all names are spelled correctly, that capitalization is perfect (Hubspot vs. HubSpot), and that punctuation is perfect.On the other side of editing, cut your email down wherever you can. It’s better for your email to be on the shorter side than too long, so try to delete any extra words and phrases that aren’t completely necessary.2) Keep your subject lines short and sweet.My rule of thumb for subject lines is to avoid making them complete sentences. Stick to the important details to communicate as much enticing information in as few words as possible. If your brand name is recognizable, make sure to name drop yourself, too.3) Don’t fake flattery.If it’s easy to tell when someone’s compliments are inauthentic in person, it’s even easier to tell via email. Don’t flatter people you’re contacting for the sake of it — genuinely compliment their work, their insights, or their achievements, and take the compliment a step further to add value with your own content.4) Do the legwork before you send.Demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about by doing your research before you press “send.” When you think you’ve found the right person to pitch, take some time to research what they’ve written about in the past and what they discuss on social media. Pay attention to timing, too. If an author has just written about social media statistics, they might not want to write about the same angle one week later, so try to bring a new or related pitch to the table.5) Don’t follow up more than once or twice.Let’s face it — we’re all busy. Even if your outreach email is impeccable, it could get lost in someone’s inbox during a busy morning. You should feel free to reach out once to follow up, but don’t go overboard in pestering someone if they’re not getting back to you. After one or two follow-ups, let your pitch go, and reach out to them with another pitch further down the line.For more link building strategies and best practices, the pros over at Moz can point you in the direction of more replies and backlinks and fewer ignores and “no”s. For more must-have SEO strategies to tackle in 2017, check out our free guide here.Do you have an email link building outreach email that got you great results? Share with us in the comments below. Originally published Apr 28, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated April 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Link Buildinglast_img read more

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Your Content Strategy Needs More Consistency

first_img Content Marketing Strategy Originally published Sep 28, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated October 03 2017 Topics: If I told you that content creation is a vital part of every company’s marketing strategy, your response would probably be a sarcastic “Well, duh. Thanks for that cutting-edge insight, John.”That’s because most of us know how important content is to our inbound marketing and our brands — both our respective company brands, as well as our personal brands as a thought leader. We understand that content is important, but it doesn’t seem like we always agree on how much content we need, or how to create it well enough to consistently engage our audience.But how you address that might depend on what your goals are for your content and who your audience is. But there’s one rule that holds true no matter what: Content consistency is key.Why Focus on Consistency?If you’re not consistent, you’re not taking advantage of all the opportunities you have to connect with your audience. Creating a few pieces of content here and there might help someone understand a topic better, but they won’t help you hit all of those touch points between your brand and your audience — and they won’t help you build a meaningful relationship with it. To do that, you need to be a consistent content creator. It’s that simple.What’s not so simple is breaking down the nuances within your audience and your processes to deliver not just any old content consistently, but content that meets its needs in a way that attracts it to your brand.Think of it this way: Picture your favorite actor. This person is probably in a few of your favorite movies, consistently delivering amazing performances, and you might find yourself interested in the projects he or she stars in, simply because you know and love his or her previous work. That’s powerful.With consistent, engaging content, you can hit touch points on your audience members’ online journeys, build connections with them, and position your brand to be top-of-mind when they think of their most trusted and liked resources. (This approach to branding and relationship-building is one I go into in much more depth in my business book, Top of Mind.)But if you want to get started creating effective content consistently now, here are five essential tips.How to Create a Strategy That Works1) Document an actionable content strategy.While 89% of B2B organizations are actually utilizing content marketing, only 37% have put together a documented strategy around that content’s creation and distribution.Creating this kind of strategy is similar to setting goals for yourself: You’re more likely to achieve them if you write them down and break them into actionable steps to hold yourself accountable than if you decide to wing it and hope for the best. The same applies to content — you need to write down what you want to achieve and how you want to get there.That last part — how you want to get there — is particularly important. You can spend all the time in the world documenting your strategy, but if it isn’t set up to make consistent execution feasible, it won’t help you very much. So set goals, like your overall mission, audience personas, content mix, and promotion tactics. Then, make them actionable by laying the foundation for your process that makes consistency simpler right in your document.2) Make use of a knowledge bank.One of the biggest challenges inherent in creating loads of content is keeping track of it all, and organizing all the insights you’ve learned about your customers and your industry — and leveraging them to create more than just one piece of content.Enter the knowledge bank, which allows you to store and organize key information about your company, your content, and your customers. It makes creating multiple pieces and types of content that speak directly to your audience’s wants and needs much easier — not to mention, it helps with consistency, because the more seamless the process of creating, finding, and managing your content, the easier it will be to do so in a quicker and more consistent manner.3) Build the best team you can find.With an actionable strategy in place and a system for leveraging your company’s expertise, it’s time to start actually creating content — and for that, you’ll need a talented team.Sure, you could possibly write and promote all your content yourself — if you really wanted to that — but it’s difficult to scale this way. You’re busy with dozens of other tasks on your plate, so you’ll likely end up sacrificing either quality, or consistency.That’s where a great content marketing team and a network of freelance writers come into play. My team at Influence & Co. has found a lot of success with this process, which starts with a thought leader’s expertise, a freelancer’s skills at turning that insight into a written piece, and our team’s ability to strategize, edit, publish, and promote that content. When every person focuses on his or her strengths, your content will shine, and you’ll find yourself publishing more consistently than if you tried to do it all yourself.4) Get comfortable with your editorial calendar.An editorial calendar can do so much more than set the schedule for your upcoming posts — it can also be a place to brainstorm ideas, plan your social media campaigns, and organize everything you’ve got coming down the pike.That can help streamline the entire content process because everything is in one place, allowing you to see where you have gaps, and where you have excess content. Once you settle into your schedule and process, you can get even more efficient, giving yourself more time to focus on creating content, rather than organizing it.A content calendar can also help track your successes and shortcomings, so you can make more informed decisions in the future. If, for example, you find that content posted at a certain time of day — or a particular day of the week — tends to outperform the rest, you can make changes accordingly. That way, you’re consistently on schedule and maximizing your impact.5) Make distribution a priority, not an afterthought.Each of these steps will help you create content consistently, but you can’t stop there. If you’re not also distributing and amplifying your content consistently and strategically, then all you’ve really accomplished is improving your content production — not your content marketing.Don’t wait until an article is published, for example, before you start thinking about how you’ll use it as a tool to connect with your audience. Your content distribution plan should take as much priority as your content development process — content that you sit on or passively distribute won’t accomplish much.Content creation can be a chore — if you don’t know where to start when it comes to developing or distributing your work. But it’s an essential component of your company’s marketing strategy. Consistent content is key to keeping your audience engaged, your brand top-of-mind, and your content investment worthwhile. With these five simple tactics, your path to consistency will become much clearer. Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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The Inventory Management Guide for Ecommerce

first_img Topics: Originally published May 18, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated April 03 2019 Ecommerce Here’s a basic math question for you: Sammie has 50 sprockets. She sells eight of them. How many sprockets does she have left?Now, here’s another question: Sammie has 50 sprockets. She receives an order for eight sprockets and ships four of them out to customers. How many sprockets are in Sammie’s inventory?These types of questions aren’t just relics of elementary school — they’re also challenges inherent to inventory management. And it’s the reason Sammie has 42 sprockets at the end of the first question but 46 sprockets at end of the second.Inventory management goes beyond simple arithmetic. Sammie has 46 sprockets in her inventory because she only subtracts four of the eight sprocket orders until the other four are delivered to customers. It’s this kind of contingency that makes organization, automation, and technique crucial when you have so much product to keep track of.To help you dive into inventory management, let’s explain what inventory management is in the ecommerce world, the software that supports this ongoing process, and some common techniques for managing inventory successfully.Download Now: Ecommerce Conversion Rate CalculatorInventory Management DefinitionInventory management is the act of overseeing the volume, diversity, pricing, and location of a business’s available products. If a product is in stock, it’s counted as part of the business’s inventory and managed as it moves through the supply chain.The product’s availability is then noted on the item’s purchase page online.This is why, in our example of Sammie’s 50 sprockets, she still has 46 sprockets after selling eight. Knowing what’s currently in her inventory, how many units of her product have been ordered, and how many units her inventory is shipping and receiving is all part of basic inventory management.Inventory management does not include company property, manufacturing equipment, and other forms of business capital. It can, however, include separate parts of a product that has not yet been assembled for a customer. How these parts are counted in relation to the finished product depends on the form in which the product is delivered to the customer.Inventory Management SoftwareAs your business grows, it will inevitably become harder to manage inventory manually — especially if you sell online, where your customers expect to see a product’s availability and status at every point in the buying process.Luckily, there are numerous inventory management tools on the market today that integrate with an ecommerce website and help you monitor your supply chain. To make your software choices easier, we’ve listed eight of the best solutions for ecommerce businesses below.DelivrdPrice: FreeDelivrd is a free cloud-based order-fulfillment solution for businesses of all sizes. The platform tracks your inventory, prints barcodes, analyzes each product’s profitability, and even bundles unfulfilled orders together to consolidate future shipments.Notify MePrice: FreeNotify Me is a free inventory manager for ecommerce businesses who use Shopify as their sales channel. In addition to watching over your store’s available products, Notify Me uniquely allows you to set automated alerts for when items go out of stock. Shopify users can download the web app here.OberloPrice: Free up to 50 orders/monthOberlo is one of the best inventory management services for dropshipping stores — or those ecommerce businesses that deliver products directly to the customer from a manufacturer, without storing any product on-site. You can create rules for when to reprice products, sort products by their delivery times, track shipments, change product suppliers, and more. Oberlo also has a web app for Shopify users.OrdoroPrice: Starts at $25/monthOrdoro is a cloud-based shipping tool for managing inventory at every point in the sales process. The service automates shipping requests, dropshipping, barcode scanning, and supplier management — and can provide revenue data in real time. Ordoro integrates with more than two dozen sales channels and shipping carriers. It also has a web app for Shopify users.inFlowPrice: Starts at $69/monthYou get a lot for what you’re paying when you use inFlow. This cloud-based inventory manager organizes bills, barcodes, work orders, product serial numbers, product destinations, and more — whether the item is in your inventory or in transit. In addition to working offline, inFlow also offers robust Windows and Android apps to manage your inventory from your mobile device.SkubanaPrice: Request a QuoteSkubana connects your ecommerce business with retailers all over the world. The software helps you manage customer orders and your own restocking process, while integrating with the retail brands who might also want to sell your product. Skubana tracks order fulfillment from multiple warehouses and generates demand forecasts that help you grow your product line. It also has a web app for Shopify users.UnleashedPrice: Starts at $85/monthUnleashed is a sleek, flexible inventory management solution that allows ecommerce customers to make big decisions about their product line based on real-time data. The software is perfect for manufacturers, according to Unleashed’s website, and offers the most important inventory information in a convenient sales app for your mobile device.TradeGeckoPrice: Price: Starts at $39/monthTradeGecko is a global, cloud-based inventory management system that enables merchants to take control of their business operations from order through to fulfillment. This software is designed for wholesale and ecommerce businesses that operate with multiple users, sales channels, warehouses, currencies, and tax requirements. TradeGecko has grown to encompass CRM, business intelligence, a mobile app, online payments, customer support, a bespoke B2B ecommerce platform, and an entire ecosystem of integrations. It also has a web app for Shopify users.Inventory Management TechniquesAlthough a business’s available stock on any given day is just a snapshot of its inventory, managing inventory on an ongoing basis — and comparing multiple periods of inventory to one another — can help an ecommerce business make valuable long-term decisions about its supply chain.Ecommerce companies can manage their inventory in several ways, but not every method of management will provide the insight you need to help your business grow. Here are a few different inventory management techniques you can try, and the advantages of using each one.Just-In-TimeThis inventory management technique stocks a product each time a customer orders it, so the volume of your inventory is more or less equal to the number of orders you’re filling.The advantage to the Just-In-Time (JIT) technique is that you’re managing only the products you know you need to ship to customers. Sustaining JIT over the long term, however, requires you to keep a close watch on buying behavior so you can anticipate your inventory needs ahead of time.First In, First OutFirst In, First Out (FIFO) means the first products your inventory receives are the first to be shipped out to their respective customers.This technique ensures products don’t sit in your inventory for too long before they’re delivered to a customer. FIFO is popular in the food industry, where businesses are up against the expiration dates of perishable items and need to ship food while it’s fresh.Par LevelsSetting par levels gives businesses a safety net by ensuring their inventory always carries a minimum amount of each product at all times. So, even if a company uses the JIT method, where it only stocks what customers order, the company will always have the product available.Ultimately, par levels aren’t for emergencies where you’d need a spare product. Rather, they establish a warning line for when it’s time to order more of something. Once your inventory dips below a certain number of a given product, you order more of it.It’s important to set your par levels based on how long it takes to restock. The product that takes the longest time for a business to make, for example, might have a higher inventory par level than the business’s other products since there’s a greater chance of depleting your inventory in the time it takes to develop the new product.ABC AnalysisABC Analysis groups a business’s products into three categories based on a product’s importance. Here’s one common breakdown of these categories:Category A: products that are high in value but low in quantityCategory B: products that are moderate in value and moderate in quantityCategory C: products that are low in value but high in quantityAlso known as “selective inventory control,” this inventory management technique allows businesses with diverse product lines to easily prioritize the contents of their inventory. Similar to the JIT technique, succeeding under ABC analysis requires a close eye on buyers’ interest in each product, and not every product fits perfectly into each category. Snowboards, for example, might always have the high value of Category A, but inherit the high quantity of Category C during the winter.DropshippingIn a way, dropshipping is the anti-inventory. A specialty of Oberlo, an inventory management tool mentioned earlier in this article, dropshipping ships products from the manufacturer directly to the customer without the business ever storing the product itself.Dropshipping can pose an advantage to businesses who don’t (yet) have their own storage space. But because you’re not managing your deliveries yourself, communication with the shipping party is critical to delivering products on time and keeping customers happy.Demand ForecastingYour inventory management software might help you do this, but it’s important to create long-term (or even year-long) forecasts for when sales of each product you sell will fluctuate.One way to conduct a demand prediction? Look at last year’s sales as a whole and use them as a guideline for when to expect your inventory to change over the course of the current year. These changes might be influenced by market conditions or simply seasonality, but you should always factor them into your product strategy — especially if the software you use to automate your inventory operations doesn’t consider these variables.Here’s one final inventory management tip to take with you: Nurture your relationships with everyone who touches your business’s product. Whether it’s the shipping merchant or a new employee, the state of your inventory depends on you to have open communication with your colleagues, and to support them as much as you support your customers when they browse your online store. Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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The Plain English Guide to Machine Learning vs. Deep Learning

first_img Artificial Intelligence Topics: The business world often uses the terms machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence as interchangeable buzzwords. The problem? Each is uniquely different from its siblings. With so much terminology describing different pieces of the same AI puzzle, it’s easy to misunderstand various components.AI has been around for decades in business and government, but it’s still a relatively new addition to many sectors. The lines between data science and machine learning begin to blur for those unfamiliar with the sector, but it’s increasingly important for professionals to understand this technology that’s changing our world.Learn more about bots and AI here.For instance, Facebook uses AI to scan photos (as does Google) to match people and information with advertisers. Netflix uses this technology to recommend programming and drive its content decisions. You’d be hard-pressed to name a major brand that is not at least researching how to leverage and implement AI into its business model.Before shopping around for solutions, it’s helpful to have some knowledge of the mechanics behind this seemingly magical technology.How are Machine Learning and Deep Learning Related?My team has worked with machine learning for the past two years. In fact, we were among the first developers to build an AI chatbot — ours is called ShoutOut — for Google Home. Our bot allows users to utilize verbal cues to dictate birthday cards to family and friends in about 60 seconds.This software relies on powerful machine learning algorithms. We coded our chatbot to recognize names, phone numbers, and natural language messaging — it understands slang and contextual language, among other things. The more real-world data we fed the bot, the more feedback we could collect. Over time, the software learns and improves upon the results it gives.Natural language processing (NLP) is a powerful segment of machine learning, enabling software to detect the nuances of human speech, both verbally and in text. According to a recent study, 40 percent of large businesses use NLP for tasks like data analytics and customer service.Here’s where deep learning comes into play. Deep learning, while still a subset of machine learning, is a new and more complex way of analyzing massive amounts of data, which allows us solve problems that were impossible to solve before.Deep learning algorithms parse data to make informed decisions, serving as the basis of automation. Ever wonder why Netflix seems to predict the shows you’ll enjoy so accurately? Those recommendation engines have become so refined that more than 80 percent of the shows users watch on the service are because of a recommendation.Google’s AlphaGo Zero is another great example of deep learning. AlphaGo Zero recently beat the world champion of the ancient Chinese game of Go. After taking down the best in the world, Zero continued to improve by playing games against itself and learning from those bouts. Not only is it considered the best in the world, but its neural network is also constantly getting smarter.Imagine that technology transforming not only entertainment and competition, but also being leveraged by every industry. The potential is limitless — provided you’re ready to embrace this brave new world.Applications and Advancements of AIStill unsure whether you need to climb aboard the AI train? You don’t need to look far to find numerous examples of companies, both large and small, dipping their toes in the water. Global spending on AI system is expected to reach $46 billion by 2020, according to one study.HubSpot, the very website you’re browsing now, has been investing in machine learning and artificial intelligence. HubSpot recently acquired Kemvi, a machine learning startup that’s developing a platform to help companies build deeper relationships with potential customers through the power of AI. In fact, Gartner estimates that 30 percent of companies will use AI in their sales department by 2020.While Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s PyTorch are the main developer tools being used in the AI arena, both pieces of software are still fairly complex.Remember that your AI efforts do not have to be overly complicated. The best place to start in terms of automation is manual processes that demand a significant administrative effort. Financial processes, data entry, fraud detection, and customer loyalty are only a few areas in which AI can make a tremendous difference.Better Living Through AutomationBy plugging several AI systems into your business, you can cut costs, raise productivity, and become a more efficient enterprise. Once machine learning takes on the bulk of your team’s busywork, people are liberated from mundane tasks and able to focus energy on innovation to drive the business forward.In particular, your marketing team will appreciate the opportunity to spend more time on ideation rather than tedium. There is no shortage of automation in marketing, and there are plenty of tools already available to solve almost any problem.Email marketing algorithms, for example, can determine content most likely to elicit specific responses. Platforms like Phrasee and Persado allow companies to use NLP to create automated subject lines, body copy, and calls to action.These AI-generated headlines outperform humans 95 percent of the time, and the engagement rate of the content outperforms humans 100 percent of the time. That’s impressive improvement for just one marketing platform. Imagine the impact if you were able to roll out multiple tools at once!AI and machine learning are going to unlock a whole new suite of tools to help marketers — and businesses in general — grow and excel. The true beauty of the plug-and-play AI solutions is the way that they complement each other. Due to their shared reliance on data, these platforms become smarter, more accurate, and efficient over time while adding more value to the business cycle. The AI revolution is underway, but the truly exciting advancements are yet to come. There’s never been a better time to explore the wealth of possibilities. Originally published Aug 3, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated August 03 2018 Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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The Ultimate Guide to Creating Compelling Webinars

first_imgHave you ever considered holding a unique and fun business event for your target audience and customers? An event with engaging content, interactive exercises, and networking — all with the potential of improving your brand awareness, converting more leads into paying customers, and boosting revenue?While the idea for and potential results of this event are great, you also may have thought, “… it’s impossible to host this event — our base of customers, colleagues, and members of our professional networks are spread out all over the world.”Download Now: Free Webinar Planning KitWhat if I told you that you can host this event and do so live with all of these people who are critical to your business’s success included?You just need to host your event via webinar. Webinar Best Practices How to Record a Webinar For a webinar to work, you — the host — and your fellow presenters (if any) must set a date and time for the event and invite members of your target audience to register and attend. Then, using webinar software, host the event and encourage attendees to participate in any way you see fit. The webinar should educate, demonstrate, instruct, or explain something to your attendees. Results of the webinar may include: your business being recognized as an industry expert, improving brand awareness, or boosting conversions and sales. Originally published Oct 24, 2019 7:30:00 AM, updated October 24 2019 Whether or not your webinar is live, it should always be recorded. This way, you’ll have the recording for your files, future reference, and your website since webinars are often an excellent source of evergreen content. As you host more events, share your evergreen webinar content via a resource library — similar to HubSpot’s Free Webinars library — on your website. Your site visitors, loyal customers, and team members will be able to easily reference your webinars in a central location.Whether live or pre-recorded, you’re probably wondering how to record your webinar — let’s cover that next. To record a live or pre-recorded webinar, you’ll need a computer with a camera and microphone. You must also have webinar software to manage and record your event, share it with attendees, and measure its success. No matter how you decide to format your event, you’ll simply click Record when your event begins and Stop Recording when your event ends (or similar commands). What is a webinar?A webinar is an online video presentation, seminar, lecture, or workshop delivered via the internet. Typically, webinars are shared live, or in real-time, but they can also be recorded before being shared with audience members. Whether or not a webinar is live, it must include an interactive element that allows viewers to participate, ask questions, make comments, or collaborate with the presenters and/ or hosts.Let’s review the typical anatomy of a webinar.Elements of a WebinarMain eventHost and presenter(s)AttendeesDesktop computer or laptop with a camera and microphonePresentation (usually in the form of slides)Interactive element for attendees to participate in (e.g. survey, poll, or discussion)Webinar software (we’ll review some of these options shortly)What is the purpose of a webinar?Webinars provide businesses with a way to host a digital, interactive event for members of their target audience and customers, no matter their location. Webinars can be used to boost conversions, improve brand awareness, increase revenue, and establish yourself as an expert in your field.Webinar BenefitsWebinars are an effective way of reaching many members of your target audience at once through an engaging event that doesn’t require anyone to be in the same location. You can also include a variety of presentation features in your live or pre-recorded webinar — such as drawing tools, interactive activities, slides, surveys, chat, and more — to enhance the event.Webinars are also budget-friendly. Think about it this way: If you’re hosting an in-person event for your target audience and customers, you’ll likely have to rent out space, order food and drinks, purchase presentation equipment, and more. If you have this event catered, you might need to organize wait staff and pay for clean up, too. Meanwhile, webinars are low cost and can even be hosted for free.Let’s look at some more advantages to webinars: They …… demonstrate features of and updates to your product or service.… educate attendees on how your product or service meets their needs and solves their pain points.… instruct audience members on how to use your product or service (this may include teacher-led training sessions)..… establish your business as an industry authority.… increase conversions and boost revenue.… improve brand awareness among your target audience members and buyer personas.You now have a general understanding of what a webinar is, why they’re useful, and the advantages they bring to the table. Now, let’s review how they work. How does a webinar work? How to Host a Webinar for FreeTo host a webinar — and do so for free — you’ll need to combine all of the elements we’ve reviewed above. You might think about the following five steps to hosting a webinar for free as your webinar strategy.1. Choose free webinar software.The first step in hosting your webinar requires you to choose software that suits your specific needs. We reviewed some popular examples above, but for more options that are easier on your budget, take a look at these free webinar tools.2. Invite your target audience to register for and attend your event.It’s time to invite people to register for and attend your webinar. When you invite these members of your contact list and network to register, likely via email, clearly indicate the date and time of your event. This way they’ll know if they’re available or if they need to make time on their calendars to attend.3. Send a confirmation email to anyone who’s registered to attend.Next, confirm webinar registration is complete for each attendee who has signed up. You might do this by sending registrants to a new landing page with their confirmation details. Another option is to send a follow-up email to attendees shortly after they complete registration.Either way, include details in your confirmation message about the equipment needed to participate in your webinar such as a laptop with stable Wi-Fi, speakers, a microphone, and a camera. You can also provide information about your presenters or the interactive element of the webinar to get attendees excited.4. Provide a link for attendees to “Join” if the webinar is live or “Watch” if it’s pre-recorded.One of the most important things you do pre-webinar is provide clear directions on how your attendees will join or watch the event. For example, you may include a link to Join or Watch your webinar on the confirmation landing page or in the follow-up email we mentioned above.5. Set expectations for webinar participation.Again, webinars must be interactive in some way. Set these expectations early on, and have your presenters reiterate them at the beginning of the event, so everyone is on the same page. If your event is live, facilitate participation and discussion throughout the event or set aside time for discussion and Q&A at the end.If your event is pre-recorded, set a window of time after the webinar has been shared for attendees to send in questions. Then, presenters can either record or type their responses and send them back to the corresponding attendee.6. Host the webinar, and follow up with attendees afterward.It’s time to host your event! Explain the agenda to attendees at the beginning of the webinar so they know what to expect. (This is also a great time to reiterate those expectations for participation we mentioned above.)Don’t forget to review all other details, like follow-up communication, any further inquiries, future webinars you’re hosting, and how attendees can learn more about your business. Feel free to email this information to your attendee contact list post-webinar so they can review it in greater detail later on.Webinar Best PracticesFinally, let’s cover some webinar tips and best practices so your event is sure to be a success.Choose an intriguing, personable, and qualified presenter(s) to get your audience excited about attending and to hold their attention throughout the event.Determine whether the webinar is going to be live or pre-recorded based on factors such as topic, presenters, industry, and audience.Invite members of your target audience and your buyer personas to register (this will ensure your webinar content is shared with people it’ll be relevant and valuable to).Clearly set and share the event’s date, time, and other logistics so attendees can log on, view, and participate without experiencing any roadblocks.Stick to one major topic per webinar to avoid confusion and keep attendees engaged.Establish a format for the webinar (e.g. panel, FAQ, single or multi-presenter, demonstration, interview, or discussion).Complete a dry run (or several) before going live or recording the webinar.Find the right webinar software for your specific business needs.Allow ample time for attendee participation.Record and save your webinar —whether or not it’s shared live — to your webinar library.Reach Your Target Audience With WebinarsWebinars have the power to propel you towards becoming a thought-leader and expert in your industry. They can also help you improve brand awareness, reach your target audience and buyer personas, and boost conversions. Determine which webinar software is right for your business, keep the best practices we reviewed in mind, and begin hosting your online events. Webinar SoftwareWebinar software offers features that streamline all aspects of hosting your event. There are many webinar software options available with a range of features and pricing options. Here are four options to get you started.1. GoToWebinarGoToWebinar simplifies your event planning, promotion, engagement, and reporting. The software provides several webinar templates, custom registration, different presenter webcams, interactive surveys and polls, source tracking, and webinar analytics.Note: GoToWebinar integrates with your HubSpot CRM. Cost: GoToWebinar offers three plans starting at $89 per month.2. ClickMeeting WebinarsClickMeeting makes hosting and sharing your live or pre-recorded events easy no matter your webinar format (e.g. conference, group discussion, Q&A, or product demos). The software includes a feature to live stream your event via Facebook or Youtube to expand your audience.Note: ClickMeeting Webinars integrates with your HubSpot CRM.Cost: ClickMeeting is free for your first 30 days, and then you can choose to upgrade to one of their three paid options, which start at $25 per month.3. ZoomDepending on the Zoom plan you choose, you can share your webinar with over 10,000 people at once. The software offers HD video and audio, live broadcasting features, reporting, and analytics. There are also various participant engagement tools such as chat, attendee-raise-hand, and polling to ensure your webinar is interactive.Note: Zoom integrates with your HubSpot CRM.Cost: Zoom has a freemium option in which you can host a discussion-based webinar event where everyone can see and interact with each other. If you choose one of their paid options, which start at $14.99 per month, you can host your webinar in any format (e.g. lecture-based, single presenter, or multi-presenter).4. EasyWebinarEasyWebinar is a great option for anyone new to the world of webinars because the software has users work through a five-step campaign process to ensure event success. It includes customer tracking tools to learn more about who your attendees are and why your content is relevant to them. EasyWebinar integrates with WordPress and YouTube so you can expand your reach among your target audience and current customers.Cost: There are three tiers of EasyWebinar which start at $78 per month.center_img What is a Webinar? Don’t forget to share this post! How to Host a Webinar for Free Webinar Software Topics: Webinars Speaking of webinar software, let’s look at some of your options. Your software is how you’ll host the event, share it with attendees, analyze its performance, and more. How to Record a Webinar How Does a Webinar Work?last_img read more

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