International Blackberry Outage Goes Into Day 2

first_imgCognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… We posted yesterday about the news. It was difficult to get a read on the extent of the outage but by this morning commenters were reporting a number of problems.On Monday, Simon Benson in the United Kingdom said:Seems to be affecting the UK as well! We’ve been out since around noon GMT on Sunday! Bit difficult remote working without access to email… The Blackberry outage that RIM does not want to talk about continues to affect people on both sides of the Atlantic with outages reported in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Some people have been without service for more than 24 hours.The outage is a peculiar one, Data Outage News reports:“Again, this is affecting devices on all North American carriers, BIS and BES, and it appears to be only devices on WiFi, wherein data works “sometimes” when connected via WiFi; no data when WiFi is disconnected.”RIM has not yet made a statement about the outage and we have to believe that this is not a smart way to handle an issue that has customers wondering if it their phone that is causing the problem.T-Mobile has been keeping its Twitter account updated for customers affected by the outage. Some are considering dropping the Blackberry. Danielle Ricks posted: “I’ve had MAJOR problems with my T-Mobile Blackberry 8900 for the past 12 hours!!! What is most disturbing is the fact that the T-Mobile techs didn’t even know there was a problem. I spent a half hour doing trouble shooting with them… after doing my OWN trouble shooting… just to FINALLY find this post telling me we ONCE AGAIN have a nationwide Blackberry outage.I’m on my way to SXSW and I HAVE to get my emails. I LOVE T-Mobile customer service but if the Smartphone doesn’t work it won’t do me a whole lot of good. I’ve been a loyal Blackberry customer but this is my third RIM outage and I’m done! Thank you ReadWriteWeb for being on top of things *calling AT&T to inquire about an iPhone*”The outage can’t be helping RIM right now. How many outages can users face when there are an increasing number of alternatives to their service?We’ll update the blog when we have an update about the service being restored. 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now alex williamscenter_img Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#enterprise#news Related Posts IT + Project Management: A Love Affairlast_img read more

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Nissan drives in new diesel Micra

first_imgBuoyed by the success of its hatchback Micra, Nissan Motor India Pvt Ltd (NMIPL) on Friday said it will launch a sedan by the end of next year.”We are very excited with the success of Nissan Micra. We are planning to add more models in India from our global stable to get better market share,” Satoshi Matsutomi, vice-president, NMIPL said on the sidelines of the launch of the diesel variant of its small car Micra. The model is priced between Rs 5.59 lakh and Rs 6.05 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Bookings for the diesel variant have already started.”We will be launching a sedan by the end of next year. There will be one more model that we will be adding by 2012,” Matsuomi said.He, however, did not reveal any further details on the name and pricing of the new sedan.The diesel version of Micra is powered by a 1.5 litre diesel engine and is available in two variants with five- speed manual transmission. The firm claims it has a fuel economy of 23.08 km per litre.The company had launched the petrol version of the Micra in July this year and has sold 6,000 units so far.Manoj Kumar, vice- president ( operations), Hover Automotive India Pvt Ltd, said, ” We are still working on what name to give ( to the sedan) but we will be launching both the petrol as well as the diesel variants soon.” ” We have the technology in place now but it is too soon to reveal the configurations of the engines. As far as the price is concerned it is too early to comment on that. But it will be very competitive,” Kumar said.advertisementThe Nissan sedan will compete with the Volkswagen Vento and the Honda City and will be produced in Nissan- Renault’s Chennai plant.He also hinted at another model – a mini sports utility vehicle ( SUV) – that the company has been planning for some time.last_img read more

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6 Ways to Spice Up Bland Email Marketing Campaigns

first_img Email Marketing Campaigns Topics: This is a guest post written by Kimberly Lindquist. Kimberly is a project manager and in-house social marketer at ListEngage, a full service interactive marketing firm. She can be found tweeting about marketing, content, Boston, and other ramblings @lindquik.Do you remember creating your first email marketing campaign? Those emails were going to catapult your business to new levels, blow your content’s ROI through the roof, and make you an instant digital mogul in your industry.How long did that excitement last? Are you still in the honeymoon phase, or do you find yourself staring at your email templates bored, uninspired, and unsure of where to go next?Whichever way you feel about your email marketing, whether you’re on your first campaign or the hundredth, emails can fall flat and lose the appeal they once had for both you and your subscribers. So how do you bring the spark back into a boring email program and inject some va-va-voom into your campaigns? It’s all about approaching your email with a little creativity. Here are 6 ways to spice up your email marketing the next time your creativity (and email marketing ROI) needs a jolt.1. Try On-the-Fly A/B TestingFor a marketer, there are few things more appealing than knowing whether your campaigns are successful while they are still in motion. In this sense, A/B testing is the sexiest email marketing feature there is! Nowadays, many email service providers (ESPs) have a feature built into their platforms that allows marketers to send and compare the performance of variables like subject line and “From” sender names to sample audiences, with the winning email getting deployed to the remainder of the audience.2. Crowdsource Your Next Email CampaignAs hard as you try, it’s sometimes impossible to know exactly what your subscribers want, which is why your next email should flat-out ask them. Survey your customers to see what they want more of, less of, or what would make them visit your site more. Not only do prospects and customers appreciate your consideration of their opinion, but you may also be handed a brand new email campaign that your marketing department never would have thought of.Although many ESPs have basic survey tools included, you can also collect information on your website through a customized landing page or a survey collection tool. Suggestions for what to ask might include their topic preferences for articles you produce, what sorts of deals would entice them to purchase more often, what additional products and services they’d like your company to offer, and what sorts of service updates would be helpful to hear from your company.3. Send “Secret Code” EmailsEverybody enjoys the thrill of a good scratch off ticket now and again, so why not give the same offer to your email recipients? Segment your subscribers, and send each segment a “Secret Code” or “Hidden Discount” email that requires them to click through to see what they’ve won. For example, the owner of a bar or restaurant might send a quarter of recipients 10% off their next dinner purchase, another quarter might receive a free appetizer, some subscribers could receive an entry into a grand-prize vacation drawing, and maybe a small percentage win a free meal. By simply changing the link in the “Secret Offer” image, your recipients won’t know what they’ve won until they’re actually on your site. And who knows, maybe they’ll get a hankering for some potato skins while they’re there.4. Compile Your Products or Services Into Themed EmailsEveryone knows that the best way to get subscribers to read your emails is to provide value, but that’s sometimes harder than it sounds. What do your customers struggle with? If you own a hair salon, do you get lots of questions about the best hair treatments and conditioners? If you help run a home improvement store, do your customers have seasonal questions that you can compile to help answer their questions?One of the best ways to make a surprisingly valuable email for your customers that can also overlap with your blog is to compile “theme” emails. Your home improvement store might send a “Winter Home Care Preparation” in late October that highlights the best tricks-of-the-trade plus some of your best selling products. Your beauty salon could do a series of emails highlighting the best products for straight, curly, and wavy hair. Instead of putting all of the copy in the email, link them to blog posts on the subject to help drive traffic to your website and increase the chance customers can convert with one of your stellar offers.5. Send Real-Time Triggered MessagesNothing shows you care like quick responses in the form of real-time triggered messaging. Whether someone’s downloaded a whitepaper from you or left your site with a shopping cart half full, there’s no better time than the present to seize the moment and shoot them a quick email to let them know you’re thinking of them. Not only are you showing someone you care, but the convenience of receiving additional information in real time will show you’re attentive and “in-the-game.” Most major ESPs have APIs that developers can send data to which can trigger messages based off of online behavior. So, check into the details, and really wow your subscribers with your proven interest in their actions.6. VIP Status and Special TreatmentNo one, absolutely no one, dislikes the royal treatment; your subscribers are no different. Charm your biggest advocates and admirers by making them feel like they’re the only one in the room. Whether you email these “special” subscribers totally different offers or just give them a special status like “VIP” or “Elite Member,” they’ll eat up your email program and spread their love for you everywhere they go.This also provides you with another opportunity to share content. Let your VIP subscribers invite their friends and family to be part of the elite group. Your subscribers will relish the chance to look “in the know” with their inner circle, and you’ll expand your subscriber list, too.What do you do to spice up your email marketing when it’s feeling a little lackluster?Image credit: dark.Reactions Originally published Jan 4, 2012 11:20:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! 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8 Creative Social Media Tactics to Conquer Local Competitors

first_imgLocal businesses can learn a lot from the social media marketing strategies of large, national, or international businesses. But one of the reasons consumers love social media is for the personal experience it provides. Large companies have found ways to try work around the problem this presents for community managers who are clearly located elsewhere, while local businesses have a unique opportunity that doesn’t often present itself in the face of giant corporations. If your local business isn’t all over local social media opportunities like bees on honey, now’s your chance to get started. And here are 8 creative ways to begin that cost you nothing but your time!Creative Ways Local Businesses Can Use Social Media1.) Complete all of your profile/page information. This is the least creative idea I’ll give you, but the easiest to knock out of the park. As search gets more social, it’s more and more likely your social profile could show up in search results. Make sure you’ve filled it out with adequate information about who you are, what you do, where people can find you, and how to get in touch with you. Of all the social media networks to consider when leveraging an organic search presence, Google+ is currently at the top of the pile. With its consistent incorporation of Google+ profile and page information into search results, brand presence on Google+ is quickly becoming a social media must.2.) Monitor social media mentions. Of your brand; of related products and services; of your competitors. When people are talking about these things, you should be the first to respond with a coupon, information about your product or service, or just a helpful answer to their question. People use social media for real-time information, and if you’re the one who provides the answer, you elevate yourself as a local thought leader. This tactic will help you generate new leads, close more deals, or just keep prospects, customers, and your community happy.3.) Keep track of where your prospects and customers check in. Many local businesses leverage mobile check-ins via networks like Foursquare to encourage foot traffic. But you can also use it to identify potential affiliate opportunities. Where else are your customers checking in? If you know where they spend their time, you also know where you should be making your brand visible with things like guest blogging, paid advertising, referrals, and co-marketing opportunities.4.) Do a little stalking. Check out your fans’ and followers’ profile information to see what they like, and edit adjust marketing activities and communications accordingly. This helps you create buyer personas, refine the style, tone, and content of your messaging, and ensure you’re talking about the things your audience likes to prompt more social engagement.5.) Become a resource for local events in your industry. Keeping your ear to the ground on events — whether live or web-based — that your audience would like to attend makes you an indispensable resource. Aggregate everything that’s happening in your industry, and maintain groups on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, or Circles on Google+ that keep interested parties up to date on can’t-miss activities. And be sure to show up to these events, too; your future customers will be there!6.) Maintain your presence on local review sites. Sites like Yelp! often appear among the top results in search engines. How does your reputation look? Consumers hold peer reviews in high esteem, and it’s crucial that their first impression of you is positive. Plus, these sites help answer common questions for customers like addresses, hours of operation, and contact information that people are frequently checking on their mobile devices when on the go. You should be actively involved in maintaining your reputation on these sites by keeping your business information up to date, soliciting positive reviews from happy customers, and working to resolve issues with those who have posted negative reviews of your business.7.) Ask your employees to use their social networks on your behalf. National companies may ask their employees to do this, but they won’t reap as much benefit unless their employees connect with people that are overwhelmingly interested in their industry. Fat chance, right? But you know what people tend to have in common with lots of their connections? Location! If their networks know their friend or family member works for a local company, you can be sure they’ll contact them the next time they need a local dentist, doctor, health food store, pet groomer, t-shirt maker, customized widget designer…well, you get the point.8.) Connect with other local businesses and consumers. Get active in online conversations. Connect with people that live in your city and businesses who are doing cool things in your area (especially if they could act as a referrer of business!). It’s important to stay locally connected and network with people even if they’re not directly related to your industry; you never know when someone has a secret passion for something you offer or a need arises further down the line for your products and services. Local businesses can use social media to remain a fixture in their local online community and at their brick-and-mortal establishment.How do you leverage social media to grow your local business? Share your creative tactics in the comments!Image credit: alexliivet Originally published Jan 25, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Social Media Marketing Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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How Dynamic Content Makes Your Marketing a Helluva Lot More Personal

first_img Smart Content Smart content leverages the valuable insights your visitors, leads, and customers have provided you with: their interests, preferences, and historical behavior. Make sure you put that knowledge to work by guiding and supporting your prospective customers with personalized content. Every potential buyer should be recognized as an individual with unique and evolving questions; smart content is one tool in your arsenal for creating marketing that’s more personalized and tailored to their needs. To learn more about smart content or get additional personalization ideas, take a look at my new ebook, An Introduction to Using Dynamic Content in Your Marketing .Image credit: sucamara The first time Amazon introduced me to the perfect book for me via their recommendation engine, I was completely awed. The idea that a website could not only recognize a return visitor, but also discern their interests and alter their site experience accordingly, felt like nothing short of magic.Since then, data-driven personalization has become more common, though not entirely pervasive in the marketing space — perhaps due to a lack of understanding around how it really works. I mean, just what drives all this highly adaptive content? And how does it affect a lead’s decision-making process? In this post, we’ll break down the concept of “smart” or “dynamic” content — that’s what all this personalization revolved around, after all — and explain what it is, how it works, and even give you some strategies for incorporating it into your marketing.  What is Smart Content? Also referred to as “dynamic” or “adaptive” content, smart content is a term for the aspects of a website, ad, or email body that change based on the interests or past behavior of the viewer. It creates an experience that’s customized specifically for the visitor or reader at that moment. One of the most well-known examples of smart content is Amazon’s recommendation engine, which we talked about in this post’s introduction. Other forms, however, range from personalization fields in emails to entire images or offers on a webpage that shift based on who is looking at them. How Smart Content Works  The key to dynamic content’s effectiveness is its relevancy. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that marketing that is targeted and more relevant to the end-recipient tends to see better results. For instance, relevant emails drive 18X more revenue than broadcast emails ( Jupiter Research ). Eighteen flippin’ times more revenue! And leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities ( Annuitas Group ). That’s nothing to shake a stick at.Relevancy is all born from information. Not just demographic and contact information, but saved insights about the materials that have mattered to a particular lead or customer across their relationship with your company. That data then fuels the technology and set of rules that assigns the right content to the right person at the right time . Some of the technology involved includes: A Centralized Marketing Database:  Your marketing database is the brain behind your dynamic content. It stores your contacts’ download and interaction history with your site. A Smart Content Generator: Informed by the database, a smart content generator will show or hide content (blocks of images or text) based on rules you set.  Malleable Web Pages: A dynamic site has to be one that is easily editable and typically marketing-controlled, rather than run through another department like IT. An Integrated Email System: Extending smart content to the emails you send will require an email system that is tied into your contact database. Smart Content Marketing Strategies Now that you know what smart content is and how it works, you should use it all the time without discrimination.Just kidding. Actually, the bottom line with smart content is to make sure you’re purposeful and intentional about its use. Smart content should create a better experience for your leads and customers. When you’re integrating smart content of any sort into your marketing strategy, start with the question of how it will improve potential customers’ time on your site or with your emails. Here are a few places to start if you’re having trouble envisioning how to integrate smart content into your marketing. Eliminate Repeat Conversions If a website visitor has already downloaded a particular lead generation offer or purchased a particular item, use smart rules to remove that offer from their view. The result is two-fold: you’ll create a website or shopping experience that never gets old for your customers, and create an opportunity for you as a marketer to expose fresh offers and products that boost reconversions.  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 Sep 10, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Tailor to Lead Lifecycle Stage If you’re new to the concept of “lifecycle stage,” it doesn’t mean whether the visitor is a senior citizen or college student. A lead’s lifecycle stage refers to how far along the visitor is in his or her decision-making process. Is this their first visit? Are they ready to buy? Are they still evaluating options? Taking what you know about how much experience a particular lead has can help you avoid over-selling to someone who is in the early stage of their research — or perhaps worse, missing out on an opportunity to sell to someone who is ready to make a purchase.We’ve talked a lot on this blog about mapping content to the stages of a potential customer’s buying cycle . This is typically done through a series of gradually evolving emails in a lead nurturing campaign. Smart content tools, like HubSpot’s smart CTAs , can also extend this adaptability to your website and landing pages.   Help Loyal Customers Skip Excess or Unnecessary Steps Many B2B companies offer content behind a form in order to generate leads. While this is a nice way to get to know new leads, it’s also a huge hassle for customers who may be interested in the content, but have already filled out your forms on a number of occasions. Rather than having a customer fill out yet another form, using smart or dynamic content can enable you to recognize a visitor as a customer, and give them a call-to-action that either minimizes the form fields or lets them bypass the download form entirely. Adapt to Reflect Different Industries or Personas Most companies serve a number of different personas from a variety of industries. While it may be difficult to tailor to every different industry you touch, dynamic content can help you create a highly customized experience for your highest-value industries.Start by talking with your sales team about the different personas or industries with whom they have had the best success. Then pick one or two industries to focus in on at first as a test. Use smart content to set a default, and then another set of images that reflect your top industry segments. In the example below, we’ve selected two images — one to represent the manufacturing industry, and another the healthcare industry. When anyone from those industries lands on a given page, this image will change to reflect that context. Topics:last_img read more

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How 5 Companies Are Using Inbound Marketing to Succeed in Competitive Markets

first_img Inbound Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Apr 17, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated April 18 2013 Rocky Balboa. Susan “I Dreamed a Dream” Boyle. The 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team. What I’m trying to say is … no one can resist an underdog.Small businesses with limited marketing budgets have always been at a disadvantage against big-name competitors. When you’re the shop on the corner, good luck competing with corporations with quarterly marketing budgets larger than your entire annual revenue.At least, that’s how the story used to go. But watch out Goliath — David just got a slingshot. Inbound marketing helps level the playing field for marketers with less budget, and more brains. To show you just how effective inbound can be, we’ve identified some companies that are crushing it against larger competitors. You know, for a little inspiration. So grab your pom-poms and get ready to cheer on some underdog companies dominating giant competitors with inbound marketing.Main Line Family Law Center, LLC Earns National Media Attention With Keyword StrategyHusband-and-wife team Chris and Sharon Pastore of Havertown, PA founded Main Line Family Law Center, LLC in 2011 to provide painless legal assistance for couples going through separation and divorce. For clients, they summarize their goal as “restoring sanity and dignity to the divorce process.” The Pastores were a small business of only two people where the marketing and business management fell on Sharon’s shoulders.Divorce and separation can also be a very private process that clients would rather Google than ask a friend about. Sharon understood her clients’ desire for privacy, and focused her marketing on keyword strategy. She discovered people were searching “legal separation in PA” without seeing a lot of valuable content, so she started targeting that phrase and similar ones with blog content. The results paid off. Main Line Family Law reached a #1 rank for dozens of keywords, saw a 30% quarterly growth in web traffic, and because she used calls-to-action and landing pages to convert all that traffic, she saw a quarterly 30% lead growth, too.The wins didn’t stop there, either. When the Oprah Winfrey Network (Oprah, you guys!) was browsing for divorce and separation clients for a show, guess who came up on the search engine results page? Not a huge legal firm. Not Law.com, The New York Law Journal, or any other legal publications. Main Line Family Law came up.Main Line Family Law shows that no matter how big your business, understanding your customer’s online behavior and nailing down a persona-driven content strategy is incredibly important, and can drive Oprah-level results. (I’m going to try to make that a new form of measurement; I hope it catches on.)The Rodon Group Receives Presidential Recognition for an EbookThe Rodon Groupis a B2B third-generation family business that has manufactured small plastic parts and molds at a high volume since 1956. As one of the largest operation injection molders in the country and manufacturer of over 30 billion parts for K’NEX Brands (the famous toy construction brand), The Rodon Group hardly seems like an underdog. What gives? The Rodon Group now has to compete on a global scale, and U.S. manufacturing isn’t known for offering the best prices for high volume, small plastic parts in comparison to competitors in other countries. Many potential customers turn overseas before fully exploring the cost-effective options available in the U.S.The Rodon Group decided to address this problem head-on with its “Cheaper than China” campaign. The centerpiece of the campaign was an ebook titled “Top 10 Critical Reasons to Brign Your Plastic Injection Molding Back to the U.S.” that explained how The Rodon Group beat overseas pricing. Here’s a quick sample of some of that campaign’s content:This approach not only addressed a concern The Rodon Group’s potential customers were facing, but something the entire country was worried about. Their marketing messaging even earned the attention of President Obama, who personally flew to the plant in Hatfield, PA to deliver a speech.This wasn’t a campaign that The Rodon Group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on. All they did was embrace inbound marketing by creating a content-based campaign that addressed customer concerns. It earned them an in-person endorsement for the President of the United States, not to mention coverage from top tier publications. Talk about powerful.Jackson Coffee Company Consistently Beats Corporate Giants With Email MarketingJackson Coffee Company is a Michigan-based coffee shop that describes their mission as simply “roasting and brewing really great coffee” since September 2006. The business has three locations in Jackson, MI, but no chains outside the city as of now.What makes Jackson Coffee Company so special? They have consistently won “Best Coffee House” awards in all the years from 2007-2012 against giants such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McCafe as well as five other independent coffee houses. Even better? They report never having to explicitly ask their customers to vote.Sure, they focus on great coffee (read more about their coffee quality assurance methods, or the “J” way here), but Jackson Coffee Company emphasized email marketing to help drum up support. And instead of spamming the same list over and over with interruptive messaging, Jackson Coffee followed the make love, not spam email methodology by keeping multiple, separate lists for things like newsletters, or birthday promotions. Robert Ernst, the company’s social media manager, explains that keeping separate lists makes it easy to email customers at the frequency they prefer. While some customers prefer only an annual update for their birthday club cup of coffee, for instance, others want a more frequent update. To learn more about how to do email marketing right — who knows, maybe it’ll be what you need to reign supreme over a big industry competitor of your own — check out our free ebook that teaches you how to optimize your email marketing for conversions.Help Scout Builds Enterprise-Level Authority With Customer-Focused ContentHelp Scout is a B2B customer service software company founded in 2005 with seven full-time employees. While they started off in Nashville, they’re now our neighbors in Boston. Help Scout’s mission is focused on helping businesses deliver scalable, personal customer support. They take this mission so seriously that all of their job titles read “Customer Champion” — even the co-founders.There are some big fish in Help Scout’s pond. Heck, Zendesk has 25,000+ customers, including Disney — the leaders in magical customer experiences. With less manpower and marketing budget dollars comparatively, how does Help Scout get the word out?With fantastic content, of course! Help Scout knows that content is the fuel that feeds the inbound marketing machine, and it shows with their beautiful and comprehensive content, both on their own website and externally through guest blogging. Not only does this content help them build authority with their audience, but it attracts more than enough leads to sustain a steady 10% month-over-month growth rate without breaking the bank on advertising. According to business co-founder Nick Francis, Help Scout experienced a 678% growth in leads from August 2012 to February 2013.Feel free to explore Help Scout’s assets in a little more depth on your own, but I wanted to highlight two here for you — check out their Resources center and their company blog below — before we go into their guest blogging.Help Scout Marketing ResourcesHelp Scout Marketing BlogHelp Scout External ContentAlright, now a quick word on how Help Scout’s guest blogging program has helped them edge out bigger industry competitors. They’re active guest bloggers, reaching out to companies like Buffer (efficiency hack blog) to create content around simple ways to improve customer service. This content strategy exposes Help Scout to new audiences without breaking the bank, and further cements their credibility in a space where they aren’t the biggest provider. This content has helped them build trust with their audience, and as a result, they’ve seen a 265% increase in unique visitors from August 2012 through February 2013. They also saw a 678% growth in leads collected.Takk Takk Puts Icelandic Tourism on the Map With Social MediaClose your eyes and imagine you’re on a dream vacation anywhere in the world you want to be. Where did you go? A café in Paris with fresh croissants? A tropical beach with your toes in the sand?Wherever you chose, I’m willing to bet many didn’t jump right to Iceland. As nice as the country is, Iceland doesn’t naturally pop into people’s heads when they think vacation. Icelandic marketing agency Takk Takk, then, had a challenge — to put a small island in the middle of the ocean on the map for tourists. Enter the “Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend” campaign.Instead of broadcasting Iceland’s virtues on a website with generic pictures, Takk Takk went on a mission to befriend people via social media. Which means they had to have a brand people actually wanted to be friends with on social media. Creating marketing content so interesting and helpful that people actually seek it out for consumption? Interacting directly with people in a conversation instead of interrupting them with broadcasts? Sounds like inbound marketing to me! Takk Takk adopted a fun, silly voice on their social media accounts, landing pages, thank you pages, and emails — even in their calls-to-action. Check out the copy on their subscription CTA, for instance: The agency created a branded personality for the country of Iceland and kept it consistent across social and online platforms, too — even their source code had a bit of personality!Takk Takk carried over the voice of their campaign to social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo, where they featured regular people enjoying their Icelandic vacations and connected tourists on who were visiting around the same time. Luckily, Takk Takk compiled their social media tips and execution from the campaign in a slideshow that is absolutely worth a view; my favorite takeaway was “Treat normal people like celebrities.”The results? The campaign started in 2009, and by 2012, tourist traffic at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport broke records, with 2.4 million passengers, approximately 1/4 of whom were foreign tourists. Keep in mind, this all happened after the 2008 banking crisis and a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Iceland also just received a 2013 ranking from the World Economic Forum as the world’s most welcoming holiday destination, where part of the ranking relies on how welcome the population’s attitude seems toward foreign visitors — something embodied strongly in Takk Takk’s campaign.What’s your favorite underdog marketing story? Are you using any specific inbound marketing techniques you use to get the edge on your competitors? Tell us your stories in the comments section! We’d love to hear them.Image credit: istolethetvlast_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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Are Your Workflows Doing Their Job? How to Measure Performance

first_imgTwo years ago, when we set out to build Workflows, HubSpot’s answer to marketing automation, we challenged ourselves to build not a better spamming engine, but a tool and a methodology that would help our customers create a nurturing experience people would love.This translates to being intentional with every single Workflow step, aligning it with the overarching marketing goal while keeping people at the center of it all. And yet, far too often, marketers lose sight of the purpose of their drip campaigns.In order to architect the buyer’s journey effectively, one needs to clearly understand the job of each Workflow and how well this job is being done.Not surprisingly, this vision is well aligned with how our User Experience team thinks of building software. Each app should behave as a human being who is hired to do a job.As HubSpot’s interaction designer Dan Ritzenthaler says, “We don’t think of our product as just software. We look at it as a fellow employee who is so helpful that you want to assign new projects to her.”This, of course, follows in the footsteps of Harvard professor and author Clayton M. Christensen’s jobs-to-be-done framework — people ‘hire’ products to get some job done.In Christensen’s famous case study, consumers purchased milkshakes in the morning, not because of their own demographics or because of the milkshakes’ characteristics. Rather, they ‘hired’ the milkshake to do a job: to keep them busy in lieu of other snacks during the long work commute.So … what is the job a Workflow is ‘hired’ to do?Defining the Job of a WorkflowEveryone knows that marketing automation is meant to shorten the sales cycle. So the job of a Workflow is clear: to convert leads into customers.Such drastic jumps, however, rarely exist in marketing. Before a prospect turns into a customer, they reach specific milestones. They might request a demo, spend some time on your pricing page, or click to download your case studies. In other words, they go through different stages before becoming a customer.A nurturing experience for someone who is barely engaged with your brand will drastically differ from a nurturing experience for someone who has been downloading your content for a while. The first one will be focused on engaging the prospect, while the second one will try to qualify them further. So the job of each Workflow needs to be aligned with the goals of these distinct nurturing experiences.This framework aligns the content of each Workflow with its goal. It keeps people at its core by reinforcing who you are talking to and why. Understanding this becomes key for creating effective lead nurturing, enabling you to not only create the right content for different segments, but to also engage prospects in the right manner.Measuring the Job of a WorkflowOnce you’re aware of the job each Workflow is ‘hired’ to do, how do you ensure this job is getting done?Nurturing your contacts through the different stages takes a lot of time and effort. You rightfully want to know the extent to which it’s working. To gauge performance, most marketers look at a set of metrics like email clickthrough and open rates.While a good start, these metrics don’t reveal the complete story of the job to be done. The job isn’t to simply engage with email. Ultimately, marketers need to know whether the journeys they’ve built moved prospects closer to becoming customers. Does each workflow achieve its goal? Is there space for improvement? These are questions marketers have to ask themselves when measuring their metrics.We focused on making it easy for customers to see how this overarching goal was being met. How did each Workflow impact the movement of contacts from one stage to the next and from one milestone to the next?This exploration led us to introduce a goal for each Workflow. That way, users can’t lose sight of the purpose behind their efforts and the tool. In the mock-up below, the Workflow starts for a list of people who request a demo and its goal is for these contacts to convert into customers. Equipped with a starting condition and a goal, we can calculate the conversion rate between the two, reporting on the contacts’ movement across lifecycle stages or other important milestones. This conversion rate didn’t belong to the Workflows existing Editing experience. We started working on an Overview screen of each Workflow, a page that would highlight the journey of all contacts and its performance. After a series of user testing sessions with prototypes, we learned valuable lessons on the best way to visualize the information and validated our work on the proposed conversion rate.Once this screen was in development, we continued the user testing, now giving customers an opportunity to see their own work in this format, click through, and explain what they see. The tests were conducted by a few UX team members, the app’s product manager, and developer(s) who have been working on the project.The results? Each test showed we needed to gradually disclose information to keep the primary story clear and not distract the user with secondary content. We found opportunities to be more prescriptive and suggest goal ideas for customers who hadn’t considered this before.As Marc Neuwirth, one of the front-end software engineers who worked on this screen noted, “Sometimes, you finish a user testing session and wonder, ‘Okay, what now?’ In this round of user testing, we definitely had our work cut out for us.”  After each test, the customers’ ideas for action they could take after looking at this screen thrilled us. Some users wanted to optimize the emails used in the Workflow. Others focused on the conversion rate and wondered about their unsubscribe rates. As one of our customers Kevin Jorgensen put it, “Once we get a workflow working, we start thinking on how we can improve this.”We iterated the screen based on the customer feedback and invited the beta group of early adopters to share their thoughts and ideas. Opening up a forums discussion helped us solicit comments from a wider group of customers. We are now happy to announce that this Overview screen is visible to all HubSpot customers who have access to Workflows.Check out the 2-minute video below to explore how it all works: Topics: This addition helps us define the job of each Workflow and how well the job is being done.Greg Devore of Blue Mango Learning Systems, a rock-star HubSpot customer, put it well: “It gets us focused on purpose; it’s not just automation.” Such a frame of mind will undoubtedly contribute to building nurturing experiences people love.What lessons have you learned from setting up workflows? Tell us your story in the comments! Marketing Automationcenter_img Originally published Dec 4, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 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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