A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation said the role of mining ministers in Uttar Pradesh under the tenure of Akhilesh Yadav would be probed in connection with alleged illegal mining, the Samajwadi Party chief on Sunday the “BJP has shown its true colours.”Mr. Yadav suggested the raids by the CBI by opening up old cases were an attempt by the BJP-led Centre to stop the SP-BSP alliance. The two parties along with the RLD are close to formally announcing an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.”The Samajwadi Party is trying to win as many Lok Sabha seats as it can. Possibly the CBI or the government that runs the CBI is trying to…What do we have? We can form an alliance and go to the people. And those who want to stop [us], what do they have? They have the CBI,” Mr. Yadav told reporters here.Mr. Yadav, who served as Chief Minister of UP from 2012 to 2017 and held additional portfolios of mining in 2012 and 2013, also said he was ready to be questioned by the probe agency.”If they question us, we will have to answer. We will give them an answer. But the people of the country are ready to give an answer to the BJP,” said Mr. Yadav.The SP national president also used sarcasm to allege political motive of the CBI raid.”I’m happy the BJP has once against shown its true colours. First the Congress gave us an opportunity to meet the CBI, now the BJP is giving us an opportunity,” said Mr. Yadav.He also warned the BJP that it would also have to face the brunt of the “culture” it was leaving behind.The CBI on Saturday said the role of the mining Ministers in UP between 2012 and 2016, which includes Mr. Yadav, may be probed in connection with a fresh case of alleged illegal mining of minor minerals registered on the direction of the Allahabad High Court.The CBI registered an FIR against 2008-batch IAS official and then Hamirpur District Magistrate B. Chandralekha and 10 other individuals, besides unknown officials and persons. Among those named in the FIR are SP MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra and Sanjay Dixit, who fought the 2017 election on Bahujan Samaj Party ticketSearches were carried out on Saturday on 14 premises of the accused persons in Delhi, Hamirpur, Lucknow, Kanpur and Jalaun. The FIR alleges that public servants allowed illegal mining of minor minerals between 2012 and 2016 by the fraudulent granting of fresh or renewed leases. Officials also allegedly permitted mining by the existing lease-owners during the “obstructed period” when the National Green Tribunal had barred the activity. The leases were also issued in violation of a May 2012 order of the State government for e-tendering.
MOST READ LATEST STORIES Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments Pacquiao responded by saying he would be very delighted to clash with Argentine punching machine Lucas Matthysse, instead of the banged-up Mike Alvarado. Matthysse is reigning WBA welterweight champion.Bob Arum cried no way: Pacquiao-Matthysse could happen, but not anytime soon.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSo what is Pacquiao doing?The other day, he was reported doing the political rounds, bringing help and hope to aggrieved countrymen. He also appeared deeply involved nursing and expanding the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), his newest sports baby. Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony PLAY LIST 00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City If Pacquiao would agree to fight in April, time would be of the essence. March is around the corner, and before we know it, Pacquiao would be left with only a month to work and be fit for a stellar performance.Maybe he could afford to take it easy. In fact, Alvarado, a former world titlist who’s openly considered busted ring material, is being trumpeted as top prospect for Pacquiao’s first knockout victim since 2009.Pacquiao could just cram and instantly declare readiness to do battle and go for a KO?Fact is Bob Arum is himself uncertain about Pacquiao’s exact plan.The best the Top Rank CEO could do was announce Pacquiao could fight a truly big fight by November, either against Vasyl Lomachenko or Crawford.Of course, there are many experts and fans who wonder if Pacquiao has enough left in him to wage great battle.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC AFP official booed out of forum Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving The respected boxing critic and scholar Paul Magno has surmised Pacquiao is now the boxing equivalent of the fat Elvis Presley in Las Vegas.“For all intents and purposes, Manny Pacquiao is now in the fat Elvis Presley period in Las Vegas. The question of whether Pacquiao is still among the elite welterweight in the world is up for debate. Instead, Team Pacquiao, guided by Bob Arum, has focused on Manny as a novelty icon—a draw to longtime loyalists and, if Arum gets his way, a piggyback ride for in-house up-and-coming-fighters,” Magno explains. Elorde stakes WBO crown versus Thai Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Manny Pacquiao. TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.netIf he’s indeed fighting on April 14, as offered by Bob Arum, shouldn’t Manny Pacquiao be back training by now, or hitting the road last week yet?Top Rank announced it has scheduled a Pacquiao bout for April, side-by-side with the WBO welterweight championship between title defender Jeff Horn of Australia and the unbeaten Terence Crawford from Nebraska.ADVERTISEMENT
. How to Generate Leads for Small Business you should eternally be running multiple variations of everything that matters you have nothing to lose and everything to gain Continuous testing is the only way to ensure that your campaigns are always improving. This means that . Make two or more versions of your landing page and split traffic between the two, eventually you’ll see one variation is producing more leads. Turn off the lesser version and iterate on the winner. For both email and PPC campaigns, you should be sending visitors to specific landing pages. Running PPC ads? Each keyword you’re bidding on should have at least two different ad variations going at all times. You have 3 lines to vary (4 if you’re really creative) You should always be testing everything Learn how small businesses can level the playing field and generate leads efficiently by leveraging inbound Internet marketing strategies and tools. If you have a blog or other content pages on your site, you probably have graphic call-to-action elements on your pages (probably in a sidebar). By now you should get the point. Everything you do in your marketing campaigns can and should be tested, and not just once. No matter how well your ads, emails and landing pages are performing, they can always be doing better. That little bit of knowledge should eat away at any marketer or business owner worth her salt, and by not striving for constant improvement you’re leaving money on the table and letting your competition eat your lunch. Download our Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Lead Generation for Small Business Webinar . Try different approaches in your ad title, or different amounts of keyword repetition in the body of the ad. I’ve seen some interesting anecdotal evidence that line length and line length patterns can affect CTR rates on PPC ads, for example if your title is short, line 2 long and then line 3 short again, the shape of the ad creates an arrow and can stand out on a high-competition SERP. Get creative and once you see that one of your variations is getting more clicks, turn off the other one and add a new one that varies on the better performing version. . These are perfect for continuous testing and improvement When you queue up an email to send to your whole list, instead split your list in half and send the same email with two different subject lines, or send emails with two different main offers or calls-to-action. After a few days look at the data and figure out which subject line or CTA produced the best results. In the next email, split your list again and try two different variations of the version that won the last time. Keep doing this every single time you send a message to your list, On a given page there are any number of things you can test, from the number and layout of form elements to the messaging of the copy to your lead funnel. Every email, every PPC ad, and every landing page should always have multiple versions running and you should be in a constant state of analysis and incremental re-factoring. , otherwise you’re not doing as well as you could be. Originally published May 8, 2009 10:54:00 AM, updated June 28 2019 . Run two or more versions of each CTA on your pages and see which produces the most clicks.
Photo courtesy of . Email marketing ROI? What email marketing ROI? wrong. You can put in the time and energy but still sligthly miss one or two essential things that are the difference between ho-hum and amazing results. Diagnosing the problem and correcting it can make a huge difference in your results. You’ve been blogging carefully away. You’re using your long-tail keyword phrases strategically in your blog titles. You’re linking to other pages on your website with keyword phrase anchor text. You have relevant calls to action at the end of each article, and you blog twice a week without fail. Why isn’t anyone subscribing to it? Why don’t you have any followers and only your mom has left a comment? Your blog is stuffed with sales content. You haven’t considered your prospects’ interests or needs, and you’re pretty much just tooting your own horn. just Your blog is a desolate, lonely place. These are only three examples of many. Have you ever seen inbound marketing go from just okay to terrific? How can we learn from your pain? You spend hours on each email marketing campaign you send. You are very carefully reusing old blog content to provide perfect value to your prospects (and you haven’t made the mistake in the last paragraph!). You have engaging subject lines and people actually click on some of the links in the email. But are you actually Do you have a stunning, shiny call to action button? Yes. Do you have a naked landing page with a short form and a sexy picture? Yes. So why aren’t you getting conversions? You don’t have a quick description of what people will get when they fill out the form, so instead of getting leads, you get bounces. getting something from your efforts? How can you justify the time you’re spending? By including calls to action. Give your recipients something to do or to get for free (via a landing page, of course), and you’ll discover that you’re getting a lot of response from leads you thought were ice cold. You’ll even discover that you can measure your ROI. You’re not getting leads. For example… Topics: Unless you’ve been living in a hole for a while (or this is your first visit to our blog), you may have noticed that we’re a bit, uh, enthusiastic about inbound marketing. And we give a ton of tips & advice to you about how to do it. What I’ve noticed, however, is that it’s easier than I expected to get inbound marketing Originally published Jun 10, 2010 3:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier Blogging Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Social Media Advertising Some Quick Facts: “Why Yellow Page Ads Are A Waste of Money”: Sign up today! “Yellow Page usage amongst people in their, say below 50, will drop to near zero over the next five years.” — Bill Gates [ ] Photo credit: Si1very There are businesses in the Service industries that haven’t fully experienced this shift yet. Plumbers and contractors, for instance, still dominate the phonebook. If you are looking to renovate your bathroom, it can difficult to find enough information about it on the Web. There isn’t enough local content online to provide consumers with the same shopping experience as what the travel industry offers. Some Industries Are Further from the Tipping Point Originally published Dec 13, 2010 3:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Some Industries Have Already Tipped As Andrew Quinn, HubSpot’s Sales Training Manager with 16 years of experience in the Yellow Pages industry said, “The market is not going to go backwards and reverse itself.” That means you will need to step up. The shift in consumer behavior has already reached some industries, such as the travel industry and catering. These businesses rarely buy Yellow Pages ads because calls don’t come in that way for them. In the travel business, a number of online tools have emerged to make the buying process more engaging and educational. All of a sudden, sites like Priceline.com and The following is a preview of information from the upcoming HubSpot Webinar: . ] Buying behavior is changing rapidly as people shift their research and shopping habits from traditional marketing channels to the Internet. Consumers can educate themselves more than ever about a product or a service before they make a purchase decision. They compare prices, check customer reviews, read case studies and receive instant responses to their queries. It is just a matter of time for this change in buying behavior to hit your industry. Huge Opportunity Lies with the “Untipped” Industries ] ] source source source source Consumers increasingly consider online services before Yellow Pages as they make purchase decisions [ Topics: Since 2007, many states quit printing residential listings or have pending requests: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. [ But it is a matter of time for this new buying behavior to slowly make its way to all industries. Then, the question you will need to answer is, “Where on that line am I?” Traditional land lines are being disconnected at a rate of nearly 10% each year. [ TripAdvisor If you want to learn how to move away from Yellow Pages ads strategically, offer tons of valuable content for travelers. Couples preparing for their wedding celebrations also gravitate to the Web for catering information and honeymoon destinations. A great marketing opportunity lies with the industries that haven’t tipped yet. If you are ahead of the curve and following closely the shift in consumer behavior, you can own this new space and become a trusted advisor online. You will gain a huge competitive advantage rather than trying to catch up with competitors who have been more aware of the changes in buying processes. Yellow Pages used to represent the final stage of the buying process when people were ready to make a purchase decision. But today the buying process is no longer a linear path ending with the book. Instead, it follows the curves and tools of emerging online technologies. join HubSpot’s free webinar on the topic Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Lead nurturing is a crucial part of your marketing and sales success. Studies show that 50% of leads are qualified but aren’t immediately ready to buy something from you [Source: Gleanster Research]. With lead nurturing, however, you can bring those leads through your sales funnel and garner 4-10 times the response rate compared to a regular email blast while doing it [Source: SilverPop/DemandGen Report]. To nurture those leads correctly, however, you need to somehow adjust your messaging based on their point in the sales cycle. But how do you do that?The best lead nurturing campaigns begin with content mapping, a process in which you decide what content is most appropriate for a person to receive at a given time. And to be honest, sometimes it feels like you have to be psychic to nail it. But while a little bit of psychic ability would certainly help, there’s actually a structure you can follow to map your content very accurately for your lead nurturing campaigns — after which you can simply make tweaks on your messaging, email sending frequency, and calls-to-action based on feedback, open rates, click-through rates, and other email marketing metrics. Here’s how you can map lead nurturing content to every stage in the buying cycle.Understanding the Buying CycleTo understand content mapping for lead nurturing, you need to understand the buying cycle. People have broken it down into many sub-stages to align with their particular business model, but it can universally be boiled down to these three stages:Awareness: Leads have either become aware of your product or service, or they have become aware that they have a need that must be fulfilled.Evaluation: Leads are aware that your product or service could fulfill their need, and they are trying to determine whether you are the best fit.Purchase: Leads are ready to make a purchase.Content mapping becomes important during these stages because prospects’ needs are different depending on which stage in the buying cycle they fall into. David Skok explained the buying cycle well on For Entrepreneurs with a retail scenario. When you’re walking around on the weekend and wander into a store with nothing in particular you’re looking to buy, you don’t want too much attention from a hungry sales person. It’s annoying, because you’re in the awareness stage. But when you make a beeline for the store because you need to buy a black sweater immediately, you want a sales person to approach you right away so you can find the sweater, purchase it, and get out of there. That’s because you’re in the purchase stage of the sales cycle.The same concept applies when someone is interacting with your brand online. If they’re just seeing you for the first time, they have different informational needs — and thus require different content — than someone who is ready to purchase something from you. Mapping the most appropriate content to each stage in the buying cycle will help you speak to the individual needs of each lead so you’re having the right conversation with the right people at the right time.How Content Mapping WorksDoing content mapping is very specific to each individual business — you have a different sales cycle, different buyer personas, and different content assets and topics than other businesses — but the content mapping structure outlined in this section will be transferable to any scenario. Here are the 4 questions you need to ask yourself when content mapping.1.) What are the logical pathways to take a lead from awareness, to evaluation, to purchase?Content mapping can be tricky because you have to work backwards. Start by determining the logical pathway a lead would take when navigating through the sales funnel. To do this, you’ll need to lay out several scenarios in which leads convert into customers, and trace back which actions they took from their first conversion to close. If you’re using HubSpot software, you can take a look at the activity history of leads to see what patterns emerge.What pages did they visit? In what order? What offers did they convert on? What emails did they click through? Here’s an example of what a logical conversion pathway might look like:Visit company blog >> Convert on ebook call-to-action >> Click through to site on ebook nurturing campaign offer >> Navigate to Product/Service pages >> Click through to site on case study nurture email and download data sheet >> Receive free trial email >> Download free trial >> Receive coupon >> Become a customerThere will be more than one logical conversion pathway, but as you examine how your leads have historically converted into customers, a few pathways will emerge as the most common, the shortest, and the most profitable.As you’re determining these conversion pathways, you may notice that there are pieces of content, calls-to-action, or nurturing campaign emails that you aren’t sending out yet, but should be. That’s okay! One of the benefits of doing content mapping — aside from improved content relevancy for your lead nurturing campaigns — is identifying holes in your content strategy that you can now remedy.2.) What specific content assets can be deployed along those pathways to help advance leads to the next stage in the buying cycle?Now that you know the logical pathways a lead might take to convert into a customer, what type of content assets should they receive to nurture them along that path? It seems like the options are endless, but there are actually certain types of content that are more appropriate for certain stages in the sales cycle than others. Reference this table of content asset types that are aligned with their appropriate stage in the sales funnel.The content assets listed in the ‘Awareness’ stage are appropriate for that stage of the buying cycle because they help educate your lead — not on your solution, but on their need. The content assets in the ‘Evaluation’ stage, however, speak directly to how your company can help solve their needs, bridging the gap between the educational assets and product/service information. The assets in the ‘Purchase’ stage require more action from the lead — actions the lead is more likely to take because they’re now more educated about their problem and why your company is a good choice for solving it.You’ll notice some content asset types appear in more than one stage of the buying cycle — webinars, for example. This is due to the content in that content asset type. A webinar from the ‘Awareness’ stage of the buying cycle would be educational about a general subject matter, while a webinar from the ‘Evaluation’ stage would be centered around your specific solution.When assigning content asset types to the touchpoints in your conversion pathway, you should also assign topics to those assets. Those topics will obviously change depending on the nature of your business, but here’s an example of how to execute this step correctly based on the conversion pathway defined above:Visit Unicorn blog >> Convert on Unicorn Hygiene ebook >> Click through to site on ebook nurturing campaign offer “10 Best Tools for Grooming a Unicorn” >> Navigate to Unicorn Accessories product pages >> Click through to site on Glittery Farms Unicorn Grooming Case Study nurture email and download Unicorn Grooming FAQ >> Receive Unicorn Grooming Kit Coupon email >> Redeem coupon and become a customerNotice how the content asset types move along from ‘Awareness’ assets — like an ebook — to ‘Evaluation’ assets — like a case study — to ‘Purchase’ assets — like a coupon. We will examine an example of a real business’ content asset types and how they map to a conversion path later in this post as well.3.) What content assets are you missing?At this point you might be saying, “That’s great, but I don’t have all of those content assets at the ready.” That’s ok. Remember, in addition to knowing when and where to use your content assets, part of content mapping is identifying which content assets you need to create to execute lead nurturing effectively. Once you’ve created your list of content assets and where they belong on the conversion pathway, perform a content audit to see what assets you already have and which ones you need to create. Then get going with content creation!4.) How do you need to adjust the messaging in those content assets to align with the persona to whom you’re speaking?If you haven’t created buyer personas yet, pause at this step in your content mapping exercise, read this guide to creating buyer personas, and create them. Pay particular attention to the question of how to identify the personas — if you can’t identify them based on their information and behaviors, you can’t appropriately target your marketing to them.For example, a company that sells personal tax software may find that they have two buyer personas — one that is identified as a professional accountant, the other identified as an individual looking to prepare his or her own taxes. You wouldn’t speak to these two audiences the same way, right? That’s why it’s important to not only create your buyer personas, but ask them to self identify when they become a lead so you can appropriately segment them in your lead nurturing, create content messaged just for them, and map the content appropriately.If you have created your buyer personas, ask yourself how you need to tweak the messaging in your already existing content assets (and those on your list to create) to speak most appropriately to each persona. Some content assets you may find can exist as they are — an FAQ about your product or service, for example — while others may need to be rewritten — like a case study, perhaps — to be more easily digestible for two personas who don’t quite speak the same language.Applying Content Mapping to a Real-Life ScenarioNow you know how to map content to each stage in the buying cycle, but let’s take it from (unicorn) theory to real life application. HubSpot customer Magic Software successfully moves leads who filled out a form to receive an educational whitepaper — a top of the funnel offer — through the ‘Awareness’ stage of the buying cycle to the ‘Purchase’ stage with these content asset types. Take a look:Step 1: Download an educational whitepaper — this lead is in the ‘Awareness’ stage and is looking to learn about integrating two pieces of software.Step 2: Instead of pushing the lead right to the ‘Evaluation’ stage, this email encourages the lead to review more educational content in their Resource Center about software integration.Step 3: Now that the lead has spent some time reading educational materials, it’s time to move them gently along to the ‘Evaluation’ stage of the buying cycle by offering some software integration webinars. The lead is still being educated, but webinars are a more time intensive content asset to consume, and indicate a lead’s willingness to seriously consider your solution.Step 4: Still in the ‘Evaluation’ stage, this email makes the jump from the webinar — educational but high-commitment content — to content centered around the solution they offer. Now the lead is ready to read about how a Magic Software product can solve their software integration problem through its product documentation.Step 5: Finally, this lead moves to the ‘Purchase’ stage of the buying cycle with high-commitment content. This email asks the lead to sign up for product training — an offer only a lead seriously considering a purchase would redeem. Because this lead wasn’t rushed through the buying cycle, but instead received content appropriate for their level of interest and education, they are in a far better position to turn into a customer.Have you mapped content to each stage in your sales funnel? Share tips from your experience in the comments!Image credit: Sudhamshu Originally published Feb 16, 2012 12:40:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Lead Nurturing Topics:
If you were following @HubSpot on Twitter yesterday, you would’ve noticed that our CEO and Co-Founder Brian Halligan had commandeered the account. And while all you social media and community managers out there are probably cringing as I say this, I bet the CEOs and Twitter users of the world are cheering and applauding Brian’s noble endeavor.Like Brian quoted in a tweet through the @HubSpot account: “‘You need to upset the status quo … it will upset people — get over it’ — Sheryl Sandberg.” Upsetting the status quo isn’t always easy, but it can be extremely rewarding.Although there were certainly both some highs and lows that came out of the experience (more on those in just a second), overall, I’d highly recommend encouraging your CEO to be more involved in social media (and even your blog for that matter!). Here are a few gems from our own experience.The Lows of Letting Your CEO Manage TwitterSocial media/community managers, I challenge you to give the car keys over to your CEO for a day. Yes, it will be terrifying at first to give up control — it could go amazingly well, or there could be some bumps in the road. Just make sure you’re available for backup if needed, but let the events unfold as they will. You’d be surprised how lovable it is for your followers to have direct access to your execs. Of course, letting go also means letting things happen naturally. And those things could certainly be, well, not ideal. Here are some examples of the “lows” …1) Breaking news before your company even knows about it.2) Getting picked on by investors … and Dunkin Donuts.3) Using the company account to get Gwyneth Paltrow’s attention.4) Making some Freudian slips. (Hey, they happen.)Okay, so there were a few hiccups in there, but nothing too horrible. Our followers actually seemed to enjoy the little accidents because it was clear that there was a human behind the brand and not some unlovable Twitter bot. The Highs of Letting Your CEO Manage TwitterI’d say the highs of the day certainly outweighed the lows overall. Our CEO certainly took my advice when I suggested he should keep the entire company’s goals in mind when tweeting as himself. I noticed he was also very vigilant, thought of the bottom line, and kept calm throughout the entire day. Here are some highlights …1) Considering the company’s goals above his own.2) Knowing the product, and using it well.3) Being helpful.4) Asking for feedback to help us improve.Brian, I must admit: The social media team was very pleased with your work yesterday. Perhaps you should consider joining us full time. ;-)Have you ever let your CEO take over your social media accounts? If not, do you think you’ll give it a try after learning about Brian Halligan’s big day? Topics: Originally published May 9, 2013 4:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Twitter 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: 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 Dec 2, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2017 Writing great copy for your business blog is obviously a big priority, given all of the traffic it can drive to your website and the leads it can generate. But what about copy on the other pages of your website? Your homepage? Landing pages? Even your “about” page? These also need to be optimized with top-notch content.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. For those marketers who aren’t quite sure how to produce high-quality content for these pages — and even those who are experts at updating their copy but want to freshen it up — here are the things you ought to know to better the three most important pages on your website: your homepage, your landing pages, and your “about” page.1) Homepage: The Lobby of Your BusinessYour homepage is the virtual lobby of your business. Before I lay a series of copywriting tips on you for improving your homepage, let’s look at the homepage experience from your visitor’s point of view.They are new guests in your virtual home. Nothing’s all that familiar. They will take in every little thing — consciously or subconsciously, subtle or not — and make judgments. To get a vibe. To make a decision. What exactly is this decision?I can’t help but quote a favorite rock band of mine, The Clash: “Should I stay or should I go?” You need to remind yourself of this when making decisions about the composition of your homepage — in particular, the copy presented there.This decision, stay or go, boils down to comfort. When the visitor feels it, they invest their time — just like you do. When something doesn’t feel right, when a tinge of discomfort emerges, they flee — just like you do.So what do you do to address this newcomer situation (which hopefully happens very often) to achieve the desired result: getting visitors to stick around and click around?As a veteran website copywriter, here’s my advice:Provide a big, bold assurance.Your homepage is going to have a big, dominant element — probably a main graphic — which you might refer to as a header. It might even be what website creators now refer to as a slider — a series of headers that rotate. More often than not, your headline will be placed in this space, above or below it. In any case, we’re talking about the first passage the visitor will read.This passage has the all-important job of assuring the visitor they have arrived at the right place. You can do this in a number of ways, one of the best of which is to have clear headlines expressly created to communicate you understand the challenge they face.In other words, it’s a good idea to reiterate the product category and a bad idea to say something dreadfully generic, such as the popular favorite, “Welcome to our website.” One way or another, the copy you present first should quickly suggest “you will be rewarded for coming here.”Set up a clear, concise introduction.An introduction of some sort should follow. It might be a sentence or two or a paragraph or two. This is not the place to boast, recite a boring company mission, or cram in the elevator pitch you labored over for your press release’s boilerplate.In fact, to the extent you can avoid it, this isn’t even the place to talk about your company. Your company is secondary. First, by a long shot, is your prospect — their pains and pleasures. Avoid “we,” your company name, and “us” (read: “The Most Effective Online Marketers Focus on One Thing”).I suggest counting the uses of “you” and “we” (or variations thereof) and making the ratio largely favor “you.” “You” is the subject. “You” is how you greet someone. “You” is how the persuasion process begins.Think search.Don’t think SEO — think search. What I mean here is however much you’ve studied your optimization tactics, your application of them should be invisible to the reader.Yes, you’ll want to do meticulous keyword research and deliberation. And yes, you’ll want to use the keywords in your homepage copy. Still, do not overuse or overemphasize keywords. Doing so makes for clunky copy. Even if you’ve abided by the current day’s best practices for SEO, you are now addressing a human being.Snuff the fluff.Effective homepage copy gets to the point. It does so with flair, but not fluff. Throw-away lines, such as “In today’s highly competitive marketplace blah, blah, blah,” are to be, well, thrown away. Never lose sight of the notion that your visitor has a short attention span. To increase your chances of engaging the reader, edit your copy ruthlessly to make every word count.Talk in a conversational, relatable tone.Your homepage copy needs to be personal and conversational. (Dare I say, casual?) Don’t go techno. Don’t take chances with industry buzzword babble. Don’t show off your vocabulary or insider speak. Imagine you’re out to make a new friend (because you are).Make the page navigation a cinch.Easy navigation is all-important. Never make visitors hunt for what they need or begin to suspect the content’s not available. Make your navigation bar simple and easy to understand.Feature prominent pods, windows, or sections with subheads that showcase the parts of the website you deem to be the most practical next steps for the visitor. Communicate the content you’re offering with dummy-proof directions or calls-to-action.Plan for scanning.Every key point and subsection you mean to showcase should work with or without lengthy explanations. Remind yourself of how quickly you scan a homepage in search of something worth fixing on or looking into. Though it may feel counterintuitive, your prose should be sparse and your white space should be ample.Make your blog easy to find.Your blog is the section of the site where you flex your know-how. It’s also where you engage readers and build relationships. Don’t hide it in the footer. If you’re emphasizing your blog the way you should, you should emphatically invite visitors to read it, share the posts, and subscribe. Featuring recent or popular stories on the homepage is a highly effective tactic.Feature some freebies.Understand most visitors are “just looking” or doing research during this first visit. Lead nurturing is likely to be a critical part of the sales cycle going forward, so your collection of free resources such as your blog, newsletter, ebooks, reports, archived webinars, and other content should be featured.Be specific with these types of offers, making sure to provide compelling reasons for the visitor to submit their email address. For instance, don’t use generic pleas such as “free ebook” or “subscribe to our newsletter.” Provide practical reasons why doing so is a must.Be a crowd-pleaser.This final homepage tip traces to the well-known principle of persuasion called social proof. Your visitors crave evidence your company is legit. Give it to them on your homepage in the form of testimonials, client logos, reviews, accreditations, accolades, and the like.If you’re active on social media or have a large subscriber base for your blog or newsletter, mention this. Something like “Join our 10,000+ subscribers” helps establish the credibility visitors value.2) Landing Pages: The Key to ConversionTo be an effective online marketer, every page of your website needs to be well-written, elegantly designed, purposeful, and part of the big-picture plan. However, after your homepage, nothing is more critical to your success than your landing pages.It’s all about conversion.I want to be clear about what I’m calling a landing page because it’s entirely true a visitor could “land” on just about any page you publish.The landing page I’m offering tips about here are the pages expressly created to solicit an opt-in or a desired action from a prospect. (Pages such as these are sometimes also called “squeeze pages,” though the term isn’t common today.)This page is meant to collect basic information, which usually includes an email address. It acts as a gate in front of an offer of some sort.Landing pages have special requirements.While many of the smart, but general, copywriting tactics will apply, a landing page is a different beast. Unlike many of your website’s pages, a landing page is not about helping readers find what they want — it’s about delivering it.An important thing to keep in mind when writing a landing page is the dynamic at play and, of course, the mindset of the visitor. Your visitor has arrived for a treat — some instant gratification. Visits could come from pay-per-click ads, a search result listing, an internal link on your website, a link from another website, an email, or even a printed piece, ad, or commercial.Make the headline succinct and stand out.The headline needs to make a keyword connection. This is not an SEO lesson, but rather a plea to connect the visitor’s expectation to the first line they read on your landing page. The link the prospect just clicked was about something specific, so your headline should deliberately reiterate those words.Landing pages are not the place to show off your creative writing chops. If your link promised a lesson on cloud computing, your headline needs to say as much. Your first objective is to assure the visitor he landed on the page he needs. Focus solely on the offer.An effective landing page must be singularly focused on one subject: your offer. Do not give in to the temptation to cross-sell, upsell, or wander into related territory of any kind. Deliver information on point with exactly what your visitor came for.Landing pages should not include links to other sections of your websites. This means the navigation bar, sidebars, and footers are stripped away. A logo linking to your homepage is acceptable (but does offer an “out”).Use plenty of action words.The question on the user’s mind is “What do I get and how?” So, hammer on the verbs. Include phrases such as “Learn how to,” “Get insights,” “Save time,” and “Download the” to catch the reader’s attention and make him want to click through.Showcase the landing page’s value.A visit to your landing page is not a victory. Your visitor’s interested. They’ve clicked. But they’re not a lead until they’ve completed your form. Highlight the value of your offer multiple times on your landing page. Use subheads and captions to state the value of your offer in a variety of places on the page so they can’t be missed.Also, consider making big, bold, and even dreamy value statements. You might write, “Imagine how,” “Conquer your,” or “You’ll never have to (blank) again because” to drive home the value.If you can be specific, be specific. Value statements are more credible when you can promise specific benefits — such as the amount of time or money that will be saved.Use clear, second-person narrative.Simply stated, use the word “you.” Don’t refer to your visitor as a job title or generic seeker of a resolution to a problem. Don’t refer to your company by its name if you can help it. Write “our.”Moreover, let nothing confuse the reader. Get to the point. Guide the reader with clear directions. Keep the page brief (unless you have a very strong reason to do otherwise.) Those letter-stuffer type landing pages that drone on turn off most readers.Add some bullet points.Bulleted lists work great on landing pages. You can list the benefits of what you’re delivering. If it’s an information asset, it’s useful to preview the contents in short and sweet passages. You might use icons or small images to steer the eye to the main points, a la a 1-2-3 list of most important points.Show and tell.Plan to show the “prize” and write a caption that summarizes the entire landing page in one sentence. Many readers go straight to the image and caption, so this will certainly catch their attention.Deliver a little proof.You don’t want to veer off into a detailed case study, but a helpful conversion tactic is to include a brief testimonial. If you can quote a notable authority or high profile client, all the better. If your offer has helped a large number of customers or garnered recognition, go with these types of proof statements.Streamline the form.The fewer required fields your form has, the more leads you’ll capture. Unless you have a compelling reason to qualify the leads at this stage, make your form easy to find and fill out. If you’re going to send email (and you should), a singular email address field might suffice.Include a smart button.It may sound odd, but the words you choose for your call-to-action play a huge role. Studies prove generic words such as “submit” and “subscribe” perform poorly compared to short, directive value statements such as “Send me my free tips.” KISSmetrics offers some useful variations in this informative post.Copyblogger gives a good lesson for “sealing the deal” with your landing page here. And I picked up some ideas for my article from this post by Vertster.Landing page leader Unbounce is a great resource for more information about creating effective landing pages and testing tactics to improve conversion. Ion Interactive is another authority in the field. 3) “About” Page: The Awkward First DateYour “about” page is sure to be one of the most visited pages on your website. But commonly, it’s a serious snoozer. If your analytics show your “about” page is a leading exit page, you’re going to want to heed the advice I have for you here.The page poses a challenge.”About” pages scare even veteran website copywriters. The thing that makes this page the trickiest of them all is the confusing — contradictory, actually — subject of the page itself. You’re tempted to write about yourself or your company. And that’s fair. But if that’s all you do, you’ll risk losing your reader.Remember the purpose of the visit. What the reader really cares about is themself. Your “about” page needs to be about how you can help him or her. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger offers these suggestions:Talk about why they should bother reading your site.Talk about the problems you solve.Talk about what they’re interested in.A good first step is to strike the use of “us” or “me.” That is, don’t call your page “about us” or “about me,” or at least don’t think of the page this way. It shouldn’t be a biography, resume, or company backgrounder. Yes, you can include biographical and background information, but your story needs to be presented in the context of how you can serve the customer.Be interesting.Write a tight, well-paced page without droning on with needless detail. While a storytelling style can be very appropriate for your “about” page, you don’t want to test your reader’s patience. Every line on the page should add something significant and heighten the reader’s interest. You want the reader to want to know more about you, not less.Careful with the video.Sure, many will welcome a chance to see and hear you speak, so go ahead and make a short and sweet video to demonstrate your mastery of your field. But don’t rely only a video, and please don’t have it begin playing automatically. That’s not a convenient play. It’s annoying.Write conversationally.The nature of an “about” page invites writers to adapt a stiff and stilted voice, which is poison for any web page. Be you. Be warm and approachable. Go ahead and use your sense of humor. Avoid jargon. Writing in a conversational voice is far more appealing that stilted, generic copy.Proof plays well.While no one wants to find an egomaniac lurking in your “about” page, some of the credentials hanging on your office wall might help enhance the reader’s experience and comfort level.Badges indicating your professional memberships, accolades, publications, speaking experience, and so forth make nice additions to the page. A small dose of testimonials could be useful, too.Lose the BS.”About” pages tend to be home to overblown BS. Be wary of superlatives and hyperbole. Face it: Words like “visionary,” “outstanding,” “world-class,” and “cutting-edge” don’t do anything other than feed your ego.Don’t write fiction.Your aspirations and accomplishments are not the same thing. Nothing but the truth will do. If you’ve accomplished great things, simply tell your readers about them and why they should care. Let the reader be the judge of your awesome sauce.Take some chances.A lot of company “about” pages sound the same as all the rest. Don’t let that happen to yours. Make it your top goal to write a page no one else could write and that sets you apart from the competition.Think different.Apple didn’t just preach it — it embodied it. Of course, the company’s landmark campaign highlighted MLK, John Lennon, Jim Hanson, and Albert Einstein — world-changers.What did these big thinkers who thought so differently have in common? They took risks. So, take risks with your “about” page. Don’t just recite the company mantra. Make the reader feel they have to do business with you because yours is a company of real people who will change its customers’ lives.Bring bios to life.I always discourage biographies of any length to be 100% academic and professional. Why? It’s boring. I expect to learn you’re educated, qualified, and bring relevant experience to the company. Tell me something I don’t expect. You tap dance? Breed dogs? Make beer? You love Springsteen? Me too. Give your reader something conversation-worthy.Suggest social.Think of the “about” page as an opportunity to begin building relationships. The page is a logical place to publish links to social media profiles and encourage online networking.If you’re featuring profiles of the directors and staff, you might showcase social accounts with anyone who’s representing the company on your social networks or active on your blog.Consider publishing email addresses there too (but you’ll probably want to spell out “at” or “dot com” so as to not allow bots to capture, then spam, employees).Make it a quick read.Michelle Slater offered some interesting ideas in her post, “Spice Up Your About Us Page and Intrigue Prospects.” Her suggestions included making your page skimmer-friendly by bulleting company facts, presenting information in an interview format, and using a video Q&A.Update the page when needed.Things change. People may join or leave the company. Don’t allow your “about us” page to present outdated information. Whether it’s personnel, new services, locations, or any item that changes the company story, make sure your page reflects the company you are today.Remember who the page is really about.If you’re stuck for getting started with your “about” page, there’s no harm in tackling the five W’s to get the facts down, but remind yourself — a “who, what, when, where, why” is likely to be a press release-like snore. Pepper it up by really focusing on the “why.” The salesy and overly self-congratulatory page won’t establish the credibility and trust you seek. Put the reader first, use plain language, and communicate what customers really want to know (and what you need them to leave with) — a reason to believe you put them first.Got some copywriting tips for these pages you think marketers would be wise to hear about? Give us your advice in the comments below! Landing Page Copy
Facebook 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 Originally published Mar 13, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 People will go to all sorts of lengths to get attention from a small subset of Facebook’s 1.23 billion monthly active users. Sometimes it’s good — people focus on creating more compelling content or integrating Facebook with the rest of their marketing strategy. Though it takes more time, their Facebook Page grows steadily and actually delivers results. Other times people want to take the “easy” way out. They hear of some hack that got one company thousands of followers/page views/comments in a day and think they should start doing the same. They don’t have the time to build a Facebook following — they need eyeballs on their content now.But there’s little evidence to support that these “tips” work. They’re like ads claiming to lose 20 pounds in a week. Bonus: some of these “hacks” could end up decreasing your Facebook performance.Yikes.So if you’re going to spend time on Facebook to build your business, steer clear of the following “tips” that could do you more harm than good … or could just do nothing at all.1) Including a Link in the First CommentThis was a pretty popular myth going around about a year ago. Folks claimed that including a link to your content in the first comments instead of in the post itself would increase your chance of appearing in the News Feed because a photo-only or text-only post would perform better than those with links. Here’s what that looks like:But this isn’t exactly true. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm has been promoting posts with links in them more recently and in the past, has favored photo updates. Only a few people have seen anecdotal evidence that this works — and some haven’t seen anything affected at all. Maybe trying this “trick” on your page boosts numbers for a while, but it’s actually a pretty terrible user experience. In the long run, you won’t be serving your Fans and Followers — the folks that you need to impress if you want to build your page — because it takes much more effort to find your link than a normal Facebook post. If you have a large fan base, your link could even get buried (which is completely counterproductive). Don’t get sucked into a fad for the sake of engagement — solve for your Followers and all else will follow. 2) Auto-Posting Tweets to FacebookWhen you first start out on Facebook or Twitter, you may hear that it’s best to just sync up your Facebook and Twitter accounts to automatically cross-publish your content. Anytime you post to Twitter, it also gets posted to Facebook and vice versa. After all, this’ll help you save time and still have a successful social media presence, right?Well, this “trick” might help you with the first part, but definitely won’t help with the second for two reasons. First, people who follow you on Facebook aren’t the same as those who follow you on Twitter. Facebook Fans and Followers may prefer different content in different formats delivered to them at different times of the day than people on Twitter. If you want to grow your audience, you need to post content that they care about, when they care about it.Second, when you link up your Facebook and Twitter accounts, your posts end up with really weird, Twitter-specific formats for your Facebook posts (and vice versa). It’s very obvious that you just synced up your accounts — your Facebook Page will have lots posts from the past day and zero engagement.Why? Because they look like they’re tweets, not Facebook posts. They don’t display links and pictures the same way because they’re pulled from Twitter. Facebook had even come out to say that they devalue updates like these.So don’t rely on thoughtless automation to do this for you — instead, create tailored posts for each platform. The extra time you put into to creating custom content will pay off.3) Buying Fans and FollowersThis is probably one of top “tricks” people recommend to “build a following” on Facebook. If by “building a following”, you mean “increasing number of Likes and Followers,” this trick works. You buy followers and see that little number next to your page go up …… But if you’re on Facebook to do anything else besides getting people to Like you, this is definitely a trick to ignore. If you want to grow an engaged audience that might eventually convert, buying Fans and Followers will actually harm your brand. Facebook will see that your percentage of your Fans engaging with your posts is suddenly way lower … and might not include your next update in your Fans’ feed. Before you know it, this “trick” could end up shooting your marketing in its proverbial foot. 4) Tagging Irrelevant People in Your PhotosWhen someone gets tagged in a photo on Facebook, they get a notification … so some people suggest doing this to get random people to notice your brand.Don’t do it. This is a tactic that spammers have used in the past, and people are pretty wise to this trick now. Unless you are tagging someone in your photo that is actually in the photo, stay away. It’s spammy and probably won’t work, anyway.5) Tagging Other Brands Recently, Facebook updated its News Feed algorithm to reward brands tagging other brands in their posts — but that doesn’t mean that you should start tagging brands in every single post. Facebook will surface content to Fans of tagged pages if it’s performing well in general and/or you also like the other page. They’re pretty vague on the mathematics behind it all, but the takeaway is clear: This tactic should only be used when you have strategic and relevant content for both audiences. Here’s an example of a post that strategically tags another brand: 6) Trying Engagementbait I made up the word “engagementbait” but I know you’ve seen posts like these in your News Feed. Usually it’s a picture with a caption like “We’re offering two types of ice cream today: Vanilla and Chocolate. Like if you prefer vanilla, comment if you prefer chocolate, and share if you like them both!!!!!!” Even if that post example were on Friendly’s Facebook page and getting lots of Likes, comments, and shares, what do you think it’s doing for the brand? Not much.If you wanted to be generous, it could help you generate awareness of new products and potentially help you get your next post into the News Feed (because the engagementbait post was highly engaged with). But it’s really not doing much to help your bottom line. And that’s most likely why you’re on Facebook. Instead, try posting content that doesn’t try to game the Facebook system — content people like just … because. This short term play may work for you, but in the long run, you’re not going to be able to grow your following with it. 7) Hashtagging EverythingBack when Facebook first launched hashtags, people were pumped. Everyone started incorporating them into their Facebook content — and heck, we even encouraged it. But since then, Edgerank Checker found that posts with hashtags have less Viral Reach than posts without hashtags. So in the future, use hashtags sparingly on Facebook — a good use case would be if you’re trying to promote a cross-platform campaign that has a hashtag.The moral of this all is that you really shouldn’t be trying to “game” any part of building a presence on Facebook. What may work one day could be detrimental another, and you could end up hurting yourself in the name of “growth hacking” your Facebook page. What other myths have you heard about growing your Facebook Page? Debunk them with us in the comments below. Topics:
Topics: This post originally appeared on The Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to The Agency Post.I recently wrote a piece on bad clients and the bad attitudes of agencies. In writing it, I was reminding myself as much as anyone else that clients who are willing to pay for expertise to solve important business challenges are often in pain.They may be difficult to deal with on any number of levels, but our job is to face such clients with compassion and understanding, and in the end, to help them.Yet, even as we strive to keep a stiff upper lip and let difficult interactions roll off our backs, tension-filled client relationships can take a toll on our well-being and the health of our business. Here are a few things you can do to help manage those not-so-smooth relationships:1) Take care of yourself.In general, we pay little attention to our own well-being, particularly in times of stress. But people who regularly focus on their physical, mental, and emotional health can better handle difficult situations.My top two suggestions for managing yourself are daily exercise and meditation. Even ten minutes of each can make a huge difference in how you experience your day. You’ll recover that 20-minute investment many times over through better focus, the ability to make more balanced choices at tough moments, and over time, better sleep. Don’t be one of those people who put good practices on the back burner in times of stress — that’s when you need them most.2) Invest in the relationship.Create a regular schedule of check-ins, and always be the first to show up. If you can, do these in person (see #4). But if not, invest the 30 to 60 minutes every week to make sure you and your client are addressing key issues and that your priorities are aligned.Don’t worry about doing this long-term — we humans tend to think “I don’t want to do this forever” to avoid doing something for a short while. Consider it a “reset,” and understand that eventually, if the relationship improves, you will naturally begin to schedule meetings further apart. If the client resists such a schedule, use “I” statements (see #3) to make the case: “I want to make sure we stay on track and take responsibility for informing you of our progress and learning about what might have changed on your end. This is critical for us to do our best work for you.”3) Use “I” statements.I once told a friend about a client that regularly yelled at me on the phone and how I had trouble focusing and responding appropriately when she used a tone that brought me right back to being an eight-year-old child being scolded by my mother. His brilliant suggestion: “Why don’t you say, ‘I have trouble focusing and responding when I hear that tone because I end up feeling like an eight-year-old being scolded by my mother.’”If you talk about how you’re experiencing a situation, you’re less likely to put the other person on the defensive. You’re saying that someone else might not react the same way, but because you’re having a certain reaction, it’s difficult to do the work effectively. This may not work every time, but it’s much more effective than saying, “The way you’re talking to me is inappropriate.”4) Meet in person.Difficult situations can quickly get worse when played out over email or the phone. Yet, too many of us avoid travel because it requires time and money. Even leaving the office to visit a client who is only 15 minutes away can seem impossible to fit into our busy schedules. However, we also recognize that travel often offers us uninterrupted time to think and work.So start thinking of travel in a different light — a welcome gift of “me” time where you can do some of your best creative thinking. At a minimum, you can use it to plan that tough in-person meeting, preparing a better interaction than if you just picked up the phone or sent an email. The additional time and thought will help you set the stage for getting through any impasses, and it will improve your likelihood of working better together in the future.5) If necessary, schedule a “fierce conversation.”If you haven’t read Susan Scott’s bestseller Fierce Conversations, you should. Scott’s seven principles of fierce conversations will help you transform your most difficult relationships. Her method helps people overcome barriers to meaningful communication and will put you in a position to better handle strong emotions on both sides of the table.6) Call in senior management.Many early- and mid-career professionals have fantastic skills, but they lack experience. This is not a shortcoming, but rather, an opportunity to learn. If you’re dealing with a tough interaction, a senior member of your team might have great suggestions. Unfortunately, many senior-level professionals think that less experienced team members should just “buck up and handle it.”If you’ve been in the trenches for a while, don’t take your ability to handle tough client interactions for granted. Try to remember what it was like the first time a client unloaded a bad day onto your shoulders and have some compassion for your less experienced teammates. Welcome the opportunity to teach. I find that when I mentor others, I often learn as much as I teach. If you want to keep growing as a professional, you must be willing to ask for help and be willing to give it.7) If all else fails, break up.Ending a professional relationship can be difficult, but we all know that sometimes the cost of a relationship outweighs the benefits. Such costs include the emotional toll on those who handle a difficult situation, the financial costs when clients refuse to pay you appropriately for your time, and the numerous opportunity costs. How much business development are you NOT doing because a client continues to ask you to do more free consulting? How likely are you to lose a star employee who could handle future accounts because a client is constantly berating him? How slowly do people execute other work because they need recovery time after each interaction with a particular client?Breakups are a necessary part of your professional trajectory, though my advice is to take the first words of this paragraph seriously — if all else fails. Because as difficult as breakups can be, winning new business and starting over brings a whole other set of challenges.Want more content like this? Subscribe to The Agency Post. Agency and Client Relationship Originally published Oct 26, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated November 12 2014 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Marketing Trends In Velocity’s latest SlideShare, “Insane Honesty in Content Marketing,” we argue for a little-used but hugely powerful strategy: taking the worst attributes of your company, product or service … and highlighting them for all to see.I really, really, REALLY believe in this approach and I’m amazed more brands don’t practice it. If you haven’t seen the SlideShare yet, check it out below. I’ll wait. Topics: Originally published May 15, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Insane Honesty in Content Marketing from Velocity PartnersOkay, so you’re on board with Insane Honesty. Here are seven ways to get some Insane Honesty into your content and your wider marketing, done as a listicle for maximum share-ability (hint, hint).1) Say Who You’re NOT ForLet’s face it, no product or service is right for everyone on the planet. Not even Coke.So why can’t marketers simply admit that? Why are we so allergic to excluding even the most unlikely-to-buy from our target audience?What if you said something like this:If you like your coffee on the acidic end of the spectrum, the Z-Machine is not for you. We love the soft, mild stuff. But we recognize that some people really like that after-bite in their java, so we don’t want to mislead you guys. There are lots of great machines out there that keep the acids in. Ours? Nope.”See how cool that feels?See how confident it is?Think about how you’d feel if you do actually prefer non-acidic coffee.Now think about how you’d feel if you LOVE acidic coffee. Are you more or less likely to trust this brand when they come out with ‘Z2: The High-Acid Cup-o-matic’?This is one of the most powerful — and least risky — techniques in the Insane Honesty arsenal. Use it!2) Admit to a Weak Product FeatureNo product team can innovate and develop equally effectively on all fronts. You choose your battles and prioritize the things on your roadmap, right?That means Competitor A may have a better user interface than you (while your data management capabilities kick their butt).And Competitor C may have a cheaper on-ramp product (while you have the gold-plated, bullet-proof, enterprise-class option).Traditional marketing says, “Talk about your weakest features in exactly the same way that you talk about your strongest. Tap dance.”What if you broke that phoney old convention and said something like:Okay, we haven’t perfected our data visualization yet. If pretty dashboards are your number one priority, you may find that frustrating. We decided to focus on the data quality through Q2 and Q3 (to us, that’s WAY more important) and to get to the dashboard eye-candy in Q4. Just so you know.”See how you can de-position the feature as less important without pretending you’re great at it?And how you can get the reader to consider that data quality is actually much more important than pretty pictures?And how you come off as an honest vendor who will tell you the truth even if it means losing a sale?Who the hell wouldn’t want to do that?3) Embrace the Elephant in the RoomMy mother is a genius at denial (she had to be good at it — she had an unimaginably tough start in life).We used to tease her about her ability to admire a hostess’ Oriental carpet while ignoring the massive blood stain right in the center.But marketers do this every day — it’s one of the things that make marketing shout, “MARKETING!”So what if you didn’t just admit you could see the elephant — what if you walked up and gave it a big, dusty hug? Like this:You may have heard: Our cloud app had some serious down time last year. We let our customers down and paid the price. It hurt. It hurt so much that we did the following nine things to make sure it never happens again …”All of a sudden, the story changes from “slick marketer trying to gloss over a major problem” to “well-meaning company trips up and learns from its mistakes.”The elephant is already the room, dude. It blocks your view of the mini-bar. It smells. It has ears the size of your torso. You really want to chat about the cool curtains?4) Praise Your CompetitorsThis one physically hurts a lot of marketers. But bear with me.Your competitors may be duplicitous and under-handed and down-right annoying, but you have a lot more in common with them than you’d like to admit.You serve the same people, helping them solve the same problems. You go to the same trade shows and speak at the same conferences about pretty much the same things.So, like it or not, you’re fellow travellers.We’ve all seen unseemly public spats between vendors. It’s embarrassing and both parties come out badly.Insane Honesty turns that dynamic on its head. How about:The smart folks over at BadGuys Inc. just put out a cool interview with Max McGillicuddy of Spinfast Propellers. Check it out. Max is the MAN when it comes to this stuff. Great interview. Wish we’d done it!”Yeah, I know, now you think I’m smoking something in a Colorado coffee shop.But read it again and monitor your feelings as you do so.A statesmanlike passage like this sends a loud, clear message to your prospects: This is a confident company that’s unafraid of a little competition. And these are the kind of people everybody likes: These are nice people.So be nice. Be gracious. Give credit where credit is due. You’ll live.5) Laugh at YourselfMarketers tend to have sense-of-humour failures over little things that don’t really matter. Little embarrassing things that we just know other people are laughing at behind our backs.So what if we take the joke out from behind our backs and join in the laughter? Kinda like this:We know, we know: the name ‘FourSkin’ is a pretty funny name for a drum head company. Our founder was an immigrant from Hungary, and English was his fourth language. But, hey, it’s too late now and it’s a great conversation starter. If you can’t handle it, you can call us FS. Our mothers do.”Teasing yourself completely defuses the situation and deflates the embarrassment. A bit of self-effacing humor goes a long way.6) Replace Lame Excuses With the TruthWhen things go bad, the “crisis management” team spins out all manner of nonsense to try to “contain the situation.”On Monday morning, we experienced a denial of service attack from an unknown server. Our security team responded within seven minutes to address the issue but, unfortunately everyone’s credit card numbers are now for sale on Silk Road.”Just once in a while, a company says something like:You’re not going to believe this. Last night, Jamie, over in accounts, left his laptop in a taxi. It had all our passwords on it. The good news? We got the laptop back an hour later and the passwords were still encrypted. The not-so-good news? We moved Jamie to shipping (passwords can NEVER leave the firewall under ANY circumstances and he knew that). Now here’s what we need you to do, right now if possible …”If you give them a chance, people tend to understand that people are people and — even in the best-run companies — mistakes happen.And people can smell PR spin from a mile away. They prefer the truth, even when it feels insane to speak it.7) Share Disappointments Instead of Hiding ThemDidn’t get into the top-right corner of the latest analyst report?Lose a major client or a key employee?Old-school marketers just straighten the tie, practice the grin, and face the music as if it was “Eye of the Tiger” instead of Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.”Instead, what if you say what normal people say? What if you say, “Ouch!”?When Velocity lost Ryan Skinner, a beloved account director, to Forrester (where he’s now very happy), we could have done the normal thing and issued the standard press release to “wish him well in his future endeavours.”But we didn’t want to.We wanted to call him names.And call Forrester names.So we did. This post, “Analyst Bastards Poach Stinkyhead Skinner from Top Agency” was fun to write, de-fused the bad news, and turned the stale convention upside down. Warning: It’s got lots of juvenile swear words.Conclusion: Not So “Insane” Anymore, Is It?So there you go. Seven ways to turn the theory of Insane Honesty into real practice in your own marketing.It may feel scary and un-natural and anti-marketing — but that’s true of all the best marketing, isn’t it?And here’s the thing: To start out on your insane journey, you don’t have to RUN the insanely honest copy you write. You just have to write it down and show it to a few people. Discuss the upside (earning trust, surprising the audience, coming off as human beings …) and the downside (alienating people who would never buy any way).Then, what the hell, just go for it. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
You know that little show Parks and Recreation? That one that won a Golden Globe last year? Yeah, this guy starred in it.His name’s Aziz Ansari, and the man’s no one-trick pony. In the year since Parks and Recreation’s final season, he’s released a new book, Modern Romance along with his fourth comedy special, Live at Madison Square Garden, which was the final performance in his North American Arena Tour. But there’s one other theme we noticed about Ansari beyond his successful comedy career: His strong business sense was clear to the entire marketing team here at HubSpot. Here are a few reasons why we’re excited to have him at INBOUND this year: He offers a unique spin on popular events. Written in partnership with a sociologist and featuring Ansari’s typical cutting wit, Modern Romance takes a fresh look at the world of online dating. In fact, it debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. He doesn’t shy away from social media — even if it’s not the “Big Three.” He doesn’t just use social media to tweet out funny stuff — he also uses it to create a loyal fan base. For instance, he circumvented scalpers by releasing tickets directly through his social media accounts. He’s also hosted multiple AMAs on reddit — all to better connect with his fans. Conferences Originally published Jul 9, 2015 12:14:00 PM, updated September 15 2015 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack He’s always researching, testing, and iterating. Ansari puts together focus groups to test out new material, and will even tell people on social media where he’s going to be so they can be a part of that process. Not only does this help him better shape his content, but this collaborative effort gives fan a vested interest in the final product.Aziz Ansari continues to astound us after Parks and Recreation — just like he did before. We’re excited to see what he does next in comedy (or beyond), but in the immediate future, we’re most excited to see him at INBOUND 2015. Topics:
Marketing case studies analyze the ways that a customer uses a product or service. They describe a challenge the customer faced, the solutions they considered, and the results they experienced after their purchase. Strong case studies can compel others to buy a product. Choosing a Case Study Format Topics: Benefits of Case Studies Converting Leads with Case Studies Benefits of Marketing Case StudiesThe use of marketing case studies is beneficial to companies of all sizes and customers of all backgrounds. Well-crafted marketing case studies provide potential customers with engaging content that excites them to buy your product.They Tell a Relatable StoryCase studies often involve an interview with a customer that has had success using your product. Before choosing a customer for an interview, consider who you’re targeting. Your case studies should appeal to your buyer persona.When your target customer feels connected to your case studies, they will feel more confident in their purchase.Consider this: You’re buying a new software for your team. You have a few possible options in mind, so you head to their respective websites to do your own research. The first two options sound good on paper (or rather, on screen), but you want a solution you can really trust. Something that is preferably not written by the company itself.The third site you go to has a landing page that includes a few case studies. One of the case studies features an interview with an employee at a company similar to yours. You listen to that person describe challenges that they faced prior to getting the software — challenges that sound a lot like the ones you and your team currently face. The interviewee then talks about the ways that their software purchase resolved their pain points.Wouldn’t the case study you found on the third website make you feel confident that the software could help your team, too? The key to creating relatable case studies is considering your buyer personas. That means considering demographics, company size, industry, etc. and selecting a person that the majority of your potential customers will feel a connection.They Demonstrate SuccessTake a look at HubSpot’s case study landing page. Check out the wide range of case studies listed. Notice how these case studies cover all types of industries, a wide variety of locations, different company sizes, and more.Source: HubSpotIf there are so many companies using HubSpot — to solve a vast array of challenges — then wouldn’t you assume HubSpot has a solid product that you could trust, too?Case studies demonstrate success by showing potential customers that current customers — who once had challenges similar to their own — solved their pain points by making a purchase.They Help Build CredibilityCredibility is what gives the people around you a reason to trust you.For example, let’s say you’re looking at a product on Amazon, and you scroll down to the customer review section. You find that almost everyone has given the product a five-star rating or has written a positive comment about their experience. These comments and ratings build credibility for that product and brand.Marketing case studies help your company build credibility. They also convince prospects to give your product a try when they see how many people already trust you, love your products, and believe in your mission.They Help You Convert LeadsCase studies are a bottom-of-funnel strategy that will help you convert more leads. If a prospect is on the fence about your product, case studies are the marketing technique that will push them closer to that purchase decision.For example, if a potential customer visits your website and they watch (or read) multiple case studies explaining the ways that customers have had success with your product, then they too may feel excited to become a customer. If that same prospect just left your competitor’s website where there were no case studies, your solution then becomes an easy sell … and your competitor becomes obsolete.Marketing case studies retain value over long periods of time — meaning the same study has the potential to convert leads for years. Unless you have a revamp or a complete update of the product being referred to in your case study, it can remain on your website as long as you see fit.Marketing Case Study TemplateNow that we’ve reviewed the reasons why you should have case studies on your site, you might be wondering how to actually create a marketing case study.First, it’s no secret that video content is more effective than written content. So, if you can create a video case study, do it. If not, be sure to include images throughout your written case study to break up the text and provide visual stimulation for readers.Second, remember one size does not fit all when it comes to creating case studies. They vary in length, format, content, and style based on what experience you want to provide for your potential customers.Keep this in mind as we go through the following example … some of the content here might work perfectly in your case study, and some might need to be modified.If you need some guidance, check out HubSpot’s Case Study Creation Kit.1. Choose Your Case Study FormatTo determine which format you want to use for your case study, think about what type of content would be most beneficial for your buyer personas. You should consider what challenges your buyer personas might face, what types of industries they work in, their locations, and their business demographics.Two commonly used marketing case study formats to consider include an exposé and a transcription.ExposéAn exposé is an interview technique that covers specific details about a topic, event, or individual. If you look back at the case studies on the HubSpot landing page, you’ll see the exposé format in action. The director, or author, is conducting the interview, leading conversation, and asking the interview subject questions about their interactions with HubSpot.Tip: When you’re recording a video interview for your case study, make sure the interview subject repeats your question before providing an answer.For example, if you ask them, “What challenge did our product help you overcome?” you don’t want them to simply say “organizational challenges.” The editing process will cut your voice out of the interview, and their response won’t make sense. Instead, make sure they answer all questions as a complete statement such as, “This product helped us overcome several organizational challenges.”TranscriptionThis is a simpler case study format. It’s a transcription of an interview with your customer, meaning there is typically a significant amount of text for potential customers to read through.Be sure to include the interview questions throughout this type of case study so readers know exactly what the interview subject is referring to. Lastly, feel free to pair your transcription with a series of images or even video to break up the text.2. Conduct the InterviewThe interview is the most important part of the case study … and quality matters. Strong interviews and videos take time. It’s not unusual to conduct a one to two-hour interview just to get a solid two minutes of video to use in your case study.During the interview, you should ask your customers about their lives prior to purchasing your product, what it was like to acquire your product, and how their company’s future has changed because of their purchase.If possible, record the interview. If not, be sure to use a transcription or audio recording device to ensure accurate quotes and statements throughout your case study.Here are some sample questions for you to consider:Ask about the customer’s life prior to your product.Who are you? What is your title? What does your company do?What challenges were you experiencing that made you realize you needed a solution?Why was finding a solution to this challenge important?Ask what it was like finding and purchasing your product.Capture general commentary — information that anyone could understand — from your interview subject in this section so potential customers can relate no matter their background or experience.How did you find our product? What was your experience like while purchasing our product?Ask about your customer’s criteria during their search for a solution. What was crucial versus what was nice to have?What were the results that came from using our product? How did our product solve your challenge?Ask for numerical results and hard data. Get proof of these from your interview subject (or even your own company if you have records).What were you able to start doing as a result of our product working for you? What are the intangible results of our product?Ask about the impact that the product has had on your customer’s life.How did our product change your view of your company’s future?What are you excited about moving forward?What would your future be like without our product?After conducting your interview, it’s time to actually put your case study together.Edit your interview down to the most important, relevant information for potential customers to learn about your product. Cut that hour-long video interview down to a minute or two of the best clips.If your interview is going to become a written case study, include the very best quotes. Make it easy to read by separating your information with the help of headers, bulleted lists, images, and bold or italicized text.3. Incorporate Your Case Study in Your Marketing and Sales ProcessesDetermine how to best use the case study in your marketing and sales processes. Here are a few ideas:Create a case study library.By creating a case study library on a landing page — similar to the HubSpot landing page or this page by Fractl — you provide your potential customers with an easy way to learn about your products and company as a whole.Source: FractlA case study library or landing page will prevent potential customers and leads from having to dig around on your website for any product information they’re searching for. If this information is not easily accessible, they could lose interest, become frustrated, leave your website, or even find an alternative solution on a competitor’s site.Case study landing pages and libraries also help build credibility, look official, and typically bring in a lot of traffic — both through people searching for your company’s website and organic search.According to Fractl, their case study landing page is the second most-visited page on their entire website. Additionally, it is their fourth most-visited page through organic search. Lastly, they’ve seen a huge boost in converting visitors to leads since the creation of their case study landing page — half of Fractl’s leads view at least one of their case studies. Surround your case studies with social proof.If so many people are saying it’s true, then it must be true — this is how companies use the theory of social proof to their advantage.Social proof theories say that people let the actions, behaviors, and beliefs of those around them impact their own. For example, some theories say most people would answer “yes” to the question: “If all of your friends jumped off of a bridge, would you?”Social proof — or in this case, your friends all jumping off of the bridge — influences people to make decisions based on the expectations and behaviors of the people around them, even if their decision would be different if they were alone.Companies use social proof in the form of customer reviews, logo walls (that is, the logos of companies that have purchased their products), or long-form videos. Social proof acts as a supplement to the information in a case study.By showing potential customers how your products have changed the lives of other individuals, teams, and companies, prospects are more likely to buy into your claims and believe your product could help them, too.Add product overviews to the case study section on your site.If you’re editing down your case study interview and realize your interviewee said something vague or made a comment that a potential customer may not necessarily understand, you can add a product overview or reference guide next to that case study.For example, imagine HubSpot is conducting a case study interview and an interview subject goes into detail about the specific functions of Workflows. A potential customer may not know much about HubSpot’s Workflows, so a detailed discussion about their features may not be relatable and could even raise some questions.By including an overview or description of Workflows next to the case study where the product was mentioned, HubSpot can provide clarity for the viewer. You will also avoid making potential customers feel confused or uninterested.Keep your sales team in the loop.Once your case study is complete, you should notify your sales team so they can use them when reaching out to potential customers. They will be able to incorporate this information into their sales enablement kits — which include the technologies, processes, and content that allows them to sell efficiently and effectively.By learning about the ways that real customers are using and benefiting from the products they are selling, sales teams can share relatable stories with potential customers and leads. These will help build trust and, most importantly, increase sales.To help your sales team narrow the vast amount of information that typically comes from an in-depth case study, provide them with key takeaways that they can share with potential customers and leads. These key takeaways should include information about the interviewee’s background, title, and experience level and details about their company’s size, industry, and potential annual revenue.This data will allow the sales team to tailor the information they share with potential customers and leads, organize it for future conversations, and make more efficient and impactful sales.4. Determine How Many More Case Studies You NeedAs I mentioned, every company is different and every product they sell is unique. Not every company will need the same number of case studies on their website to have an impact. To determine the right number of case studies for your company, think about the following tips.Cover all of your bases.A good rule of thumb is to have at least one to three case studies for each of your buyer personas.To do this, cover a range of industries and types of companies, and interview people of different backgrounds, titles, demographics, and experience levels. You should make sure there is something for everyone who visits your website.If your company targets customers all over the world and has offices located around the globe, this is especially important to consider. Think about what works for your buyer personas, your company’s location, and your goals when deciding how many case studies you need.Sometimes, less is more.Having an extensive list of case studies sounds like something everyone should have … right?Not always. Think about it this way — if your company is on the smaller side and is relatively new, there’s a chance you haven’t given your customers much time with your products yet. There is also a chance that you don’t yet have a wide range of customers.If your company then takes the time to create dozens of case studies, potential customers may feel you are being inauthentic and even unconvincing. It may also be a waste of resources that you can’t quite afford as a new business.To be effective, try to make every one of your case studies relatable and helpful for your personas. Cover multiple use cases in each of your case studies when possible. You’ll not only simplify your own life, but you also keep your case study library clean and impactful.ConclusionCase studies are powerful marketing tools. They tell your potential customers relatable stories, demonstrate your company’s success, and help you build credibility. Case studies will help you reach your audience in a way that no sales pitch, email, newsletter, or advertisement will.Plus, if your company made such a positive impact on a customer that they want to share their experience with others, why not broadcast that story?Now it’s time to start creating content that matters to your potential customers and converts more leads. Originally published Feb 16, 2016 12:36:00 PM, updated October 10 2018 What Is a Marketing Case Study? Conducting a Case Study Interview Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine you were considering purchasing a new product.Would you be more inclined to:A) Chat with a salesperson — while trying to block out the tiny voice in your head reminding you that they’re working on commission?B) Review a case study about a customer who used that product to solve a problem similar to yours?Probably option B, right? That’s because we put more trust in word-of-mouth marketing than we do salespeople.The way people consume information has changed, and buyers have all the resources they need to make decisions about what to purchase. Companies can either continue marketing the old, less effective way … or they can embrace these changes and let their customers do the work for them through testimonials, reviews, word-of-mouth marketing, and marketing case studies.Customers trust other customers — the companies that recognize this will benefit in the long run and grow better.Plenty of companies have already proven how beneficial marketing case studies can be. They are the most popular form of self-promotional marketing used by marketing agency executives in the U.S. Additionally, 88% of surveyed B2B marketers say that customer case studies are considered to be their most impactful content marketing tactic. While chatting with a salesperson can be helpful, and even preferable for some, it’s clear that having marketing case studies on your website can be beneficial. Case studies answer potential customers’ questions, demonstrate success, build company-wide credibility, increase conversions, and most importantly, eliminate bias so your customer can make a confident decision to buy your product. Marketing Case Studies
“Never let schooling interfere with the tech startup you’re running out of your dorm room.” – Mark TwainAdmittedly I may have taken a few artistic liberties with the Mark Twain quote above, but the underlying sentiment remains: When it comes to learning — to amassing the knowledge you need to be successful in life — formal education isn’t always the best option.In a study of over 39 companies with $1 billion valuations or higher, eight of them boasted co-founders who had dropped out of college. Not to mention, three of the top five companies were run by college dropouts.Of course, there’s no ignoring the evidence to the contrary: The overwhelming majority of billion-dollar companies were founded by people who not only earned college degrees, but who earned them from selective schools. So the point of this post, to be clear, isn’t to convince folks to drop out of school. It’s simply to highlight some of the exceptional cases where taking a less traditional route ended up paying off big.6 Famous Business People Who Dropped Out of School1) Bill Gates(Source: ITPro)Bill Gates applied to just three colleges after graduating from high school: Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. He was accepted to all three.In the end, it was Harvard’s campus that Gates chose to stroll onto in the fall of 1973. But within a couple years, earning a degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the world would take a back seat to another opportunity: Creating a programming language (Altair BASIC) for one of the world’s first personal computers, the Altair 8800.Originally working out of his Harvard dorm room, Gates would formalize his partnership with long-time friend Paul Allen in 1975 under the banner “Micro-soft.” The two then set up shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was where their first customer — Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), maker of the Altair 8800 — was located. And while Gates did initially try to balance academics with business, and would travel back to Harvard to take classes, the business inevitably started taking up more and more of his time. (He was a CEO, after all.) So Gates made the decision to drop out of school for good.Today, Gates has an estimated net worth of $77.6 billion. And you might be surprised to learn that he also has a Harvard degree: Gates received an honorary doctorate from the school in 2007.Are you a startup? See if you qualify for up to 90% off HubSpot software.2) Steve Jobs(Source: 9to5Mac)Unlike Bill Gates, who dropped out of college so he could run a company, Steve Jobs dropped out of college so he could … well … go to college. Allow me to explain.Having found the required classes on his schedule too boring to bear, Jobs dropped out of Reed College just six months into his freshman year so he could drop in on the classes that he was actually interested in — like Shakespeare, dance, and calligraphy. That calligraphy course, as Jobs would later call in a 2005 Stanford commencement speech, helped inspire him to incorporate multiple typefaces into the Macintosh.I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great … None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac.”In that same speech, Jobs mentioned another reason why he dropped out of college: He felt bad for spending his parents’ money on an education that he didn’t really see the value in.I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK.And when you consider that Jobs went on to create what is now (at the time of this writing) the most valuable brand in the world, I think it’s safe to say it all worked out OK.To start scaling your startup, download this free Startup Marketing Blueprint today.3) Oprah Winfrey(Source: K92.7)Three years after Steve Jobs gave Stanford’s commencement speech, another college-dropout-turned-billionaire would take the stage: Oprah Winfrey.In her speech to the graduating class of 2008, the Queen of Talk recalled how she started working in TV at the age of 19 while she was a sophomore at Tennessee State University. “I was the only television anchor person that had an 11 o’clock curfew doing the 10 o’clock news,” she commented, before continuing, “Seriously, my dad was like, ‘Well, that news is over at 10:30. Be home by 11.'”By the time her senior year rolled around, Winfrey’s TV career was looking promising. So promising, in fact, that instead of sticking around to complete the one credit she needed to graduate, Oprah dropped out of college. A year later, at the age of 22, Winfrey was co-anchoring the 6 o’clock news in Baltimore.Needless to stay, Winfrey’s decision to drop out paid off big. Today, her net worth is estimated at $3.1 billion. But there was one person in Winfrey’s life who could never come to terms with her not finishing college: Her father. As Winfrey recalled in the Stanford speech …He’d say, ‘Oprah Gail’ — that’s my middle name — ‘I don’t know what you’re gonna do without that degree.’ And I’d say, ‘But, Dad, I have my own television show.’ And he’d say, ‘Well, I still don’t know what you’re going to do without that degree.’ And I’d say, ‘But, Dad, now I’m a talk show host.’ He’d say, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to get another job without that degree.'”In then end, Winfrey’s dad would prove to be the winner of that argument. In 1987, Winfrey went back to Tennessee State University and completed her degree.4) Mark Zuckerberg(Source: PR News)Mark Zuckerberg holds an interesting spot on this list, as he’s one of the few college dropout success stories who actually planned on going back to school. In a talk he gave back in 2012, the Facebook co-founder and CEO recalled how he had been upfront with investor Peter Thiel about not wanting to drop out of Harvard.Thiel didn’t believe him. In fact, Zuckerberg’s own family didn’t believe him — they all thought he would drop out. As Zuckerberg commented during that same talk back in 2012:My life is a long history of people thinking I would drop out of school long before I did.”For Zuckerberg, at least in the early days, Facebook was just a hobby. Whereas Gates knew he was onto something big (e.g., consumer software) when he started running Microsoft out of his Harvard dorm room, Zuckerberg was a bit more skeptical when he launched the first iteration of Facebook. He even had a back up plan if this “hobby” didn’t work out: He’d go work for Microsoft.Of course, as Facebook began growing like wildfire, becoming one of the top 10 most-trafficked site on the internet within a year and a half of its launch, Zuckerberg inevitably realized that this side project of his had some serious potential. So in the fall of 2005, Zuckerberg left Harvard to focus on Facebook full-time.He’d return to Harvard a year later … to recruit engineers.5) Jay Z(Source: EW)While Jay Z is perhaps best known as a rapper, he’s also an accomplished entrepreneur. From founding his own record label (Roc-A-Fella) and talent agency (Roc Nation), to launching a clothing line (Rocawear), to re-launching a music streaming service (Tidal), Jay Z a.k.a. Shawn Carter has a diverse business portfolio.Something else you might not have known about Jay Z: He never finished high school. The Brooklyn native dropped out to focus on his job at the time … dealing drugs. As Jay Z recalled in a 2013 interview, drug dealing ended up teaching him some valuable business skills, like budgeting. But at the same time, he always knew it wasn’t a viable path forward:At some point, you have to have an exit strategy, because your window is very small. You’re going to get locked up or you’re going to die.”Fortunately for Jay Z, he had an exit strategy: Music. As of 2015, his estimated net worth is $550 million.6) Lady Gaga(Source: The Mirror)I know, know … another music example. But trust me, Lady Gaga is more than just a performer: she’s a business unto herself. (I mean, there’s a Harvard Business School case study on her, for paparazzi’s sake.)Born Stefani Germanotta, Lady Gaga attended New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts after graduating from high school. But during her sophomore year, she decided to drop out to focus more on her fledgling music career — a decision that would end up paying off in a big way.In addition to earning millions through selling and performing her music, Lady Gaga has been able to cash in through numerous brand partnerships and tie-ins. For example, she’s teamed up with Versace, Virgin Mobile, and even Starbucks for promotional campaigns.Today, Lady Gaga’s net worth is estimated at $225 million.Know of any other successful dropouts who should be on this list? Tell us in the comments section below. Topics: Originally published Apr 5, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Entrepreneurship Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Your agency cannot survive on referrals alone.Don’t get me wrong — referrals are great (really great), but your agency’s new business program needs to span a more diverse range of new lead sources in case your referral pipeline ever hits a dry spell.According to The Agency Pricing & Financials Report conducted by HubSpot Research, a whopping 90% of agencies cite referrals as their top source for new leads.Download The Agency Pricing & Financials Report todayData from The Agency Pricing & Financials ReportBut while it’s clear referrals represent a big portion of agency new business, it’s not necessarily a safe bet to rely on referrals as the default new business option.Lee McKnight, vice president of sales at RSW/US, warns that referrals aren’t always as scalable, reliable, or targeted as other new lead sources, and agencies that ignore other inbound and outbound sources do so at their own peril.”There’s a reason insurance exists,” McKnight writes in The Agency Pricing & Financials Report. “If you’re crushing it on the referral front, look at the outbound/inbound component as your insurance policy; it’s not the easiest part, but it’s absolutely necessary to your success.”To help your agency start exploring new lead sources, we’ve examined a few underutilized new business channels and explained how agencies can better use them to their advantage. Read on to learn how your agency can start tapping these new lead sources and building up a more sustainable new business program.6 New Lead Sources Your Agency Should Tap1) Blogging”Oh great — Another article with blogging as a marketing tip.”Look, I hear you. Marketers love to talk about blogging, and it often gets thrown around as a default inbound marketing strategy. But with only 12% of agencies reporting blogging as a top lead source, it seems like agencies still aren’t fully taking advantage of this powerful channel for new business. The reason blogging doesn’t work is usually a bandwidth issue, not a talent gap. And we get it: You’re busy, your client work comes first, and everyone on your team is already juggling roughly 10,000 responsibilities on a daily basis.But many agencies fail to see results from blogging simply because they don’t devote the time and patience to cultivating a meaningful blog presence. They just whip up a few generic posts every now and then, post them to social media, and then decide it isn’t worthwhile. If your agency wants to start seriously using blogging as a new business channel, it can’t be seen as a sometimes project. It needs to be a core part of your marketing strategy.Even if you don’t have a dedicated new business employee, designate a member of your team to manage the blog and produce content that target’s your agency’s desired niche (click here for a free guide on creating an ideal client profile).Blogging doesn’t have to be their core responsibility (and others can and should help out), but there needs to be someone held accountable for your blog’s performance. Otherwise, you can’t reasonably expect buy-in from the rest of your team.2) Guest BloggingAgencies put guest blogging at the very bottom of their priority list, with just 1% of agencies surveyed reporting the tactic as a valuable new business source. But this overlooked marketing strategy can actually be a great way to build authority, get important eyes on your content, and start generating some targeted buzz for your agency.Start by finding industry publications and media outlets that share the kind of content your ideal prospects are interested in. You want to target the websites where your prospects are most likely to come across your content.Next, sit down and develop a list of topics you think would bring value to your prospects. Examine the previously published content on the publications you plan to submit to, and try to locate content gaps: topics that haven’t been covered yet, or new angles on topics that you can offer a fresh perspective on.Once you know what you want to write about, read up on how to pitch your story idea to the editors. Make sure you read up on your desired publication’s guidelines and rules. You can find HubSpot’s agency content submission guidelines here.3) WebinarsWebinars are an opportunity to offer potential prospects a glimpse at your expertise, and help them get an idea of what you can bring to the table. Only 2% of agencies currently say that webinars serve as a valuable new lead source, but when done right, this tactic can be a powerful component of your lead generation program.Many agencies balk at the idea of putting on a webinar at first. And while it can seem like a massive undertaking with an uncertain chance of return, hosting a webinar doesn’t have to be complicated or overly time-consuming. In fact, with the right tools, it can be an easy way to start building an online reputation and cultivating meaningful relationships in your industry.Services like GoToWebinar and WebEx make it simple to plan, broadcast, and record webinars. And if your agency doesn’t currently have the budget for a paid service, consider recording your webinar with Google Hangouts or another free service like Join.me.4) Paid Online MarketingAdding a budget for paid or sponsored media to your new business development plan can give your content a much-needed boost with some targeted amplification. Most agencies ignore paid marketing altogether, with only 7% reporting it as a valuable lead generation channel.But if your agency has gone through the time and effort to produce valuable content offers, introducing paid content can dramatically increase your impressions and ensure your content gets noticed by the right people.Figure out where your potential clients are most likely to spot you on the web, and devote your funds to these channels. To promote your agency on social media, consider LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, Promoted Tweets on Twitter, and Facebook Ads.5) Public Relations and Earned MediaIt’s pretty simple: If you don’t pitch stories, they won’t get covered. Only 7% of agencies report public relations as a top lead source. To make earned media part of your agency’s new business plan, you’ll need to focus on finding the right journalists to cover your story.So how do you craft the perfect pitch? It’s all about targeting the right publications with the right stories, and differentiating yourself. Journalists see 26,000 pitches a year, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. But don’t fret — despite what you might think, journalists actually want to find a great story in their inbox. They don’t enjoy sifting through a mass of irrelevant pitches. Targeting is key. Don’t pitch anything you think is a stretch. Set up news alerts for topics in your industry and use them to find journalists who are already writing the kind of stories you want to share. If you aren’t sure how to write a stellar pitch, click here for a few free email pitch templates tailored to agencies.6) Networking Events and ConferencesOld school face-to-face networking isn’t dead yet. In fact, 37% of agencies reported that networking at events and conferences brings in new leads. But that means the majority of agencies still aren’t fully taking advantage of networking and the new business potential it can bring in.I’ll be the first to tell you that networking in person can be hard, and it doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. But that doesn’t mean your agency can afford to shy away from the conference and event scene altogether.You shouldn’t feel foolish if you need to brush up on some networking skills and ice breakers. With INBOUND 2016 right around the corner, you can bet that all of us here at HubSpot have been practicing our small talk skills. Unsure where to begin? Try browsing this list of 100 conversation starters for virtually any situation.What under-utilized lead sources is your agency planning on trying out? Topics: Originally published Oct 6, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Agency New Business
As inbound marketers, content plays an important role in attracting attention to our company and building trust with our prospects. Our content can come in many different formats, and the format we choose can speak volumes about the research and ideas within.Interactive content has become increasingly more popular as brands try to cut through the noise and keep prospects’ attention long enough to deliver a message.So how exactly do you harness audience’s ever-decreasing attention span? By giving them an active role in their content consumption process by publishing stories with interactive elements. Such tools can increase engagement, on-site dwell time, and social share rates.Free Download: 45 Interactive Content Examples to Inspire Your Next Content ProjectHubSpot and Playbuzz joined forces to scour the web for amazing examples of interactive storytelling. Each industry poses its own obstacles and unique characteristics, but share one common denominator: Interactive content works for all topics and audiences.Let’s take a look at a few examples from the ebook:Interactive Content Examples from Real Brands1) The Wall Street JournalDelivering a large amount of information is a challenge for content creators. This example from the Wall Street Journal does so using searchable, visual stats. The facts are arranged in a number of ways, including a recorded timeline for readers to hit “play” and simply watch.How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Search is an interactive action on its own and can be easily incorporated into your content. Using search provides readers with a task to keep them engaged while presenting a healthy amount of information in a positive manner. Adding search options very much depends on the content you create, but tools like FlippingBook and Viostream make even PDF and video content searchable.2) National GeographicSome of the most inspiring forms of interactive content match the topics they address. This example allows readers to follow the ancient cave paintings as if they are touring a prehistoric cave, with color-coded topics to provide insights.How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Making history come to life can be a hard task. Don’t shy away from numbers and important facts, but don’t skimp on the imagery and engagement, either. Leave the canvas clear for creative imagery and video, while the text wraps the visuals but does not interfere.3) OrbitzWhether or not your travel partner will make or break your trip is one question all backpackers ask themselves before embarking on a new adventure. Orbitz knew what was on their audience’s mind and created an online quiz that addresses this burning question — specifically for business travelers.How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Everyone loves interactive quizzes, but when creating one for your business, always think of what your audience would spend time in investigating. This is particularly true when you wish to exchange results for readers’ contact information.How to Get Started with Interactive StorytellingIf you’re new to creating digital content, start small with a simple quiz or flashcards embedded in a blog post with Playbuzz. These assets perform well at the top of the funnel because they motivate the user to share and see how their peers stack up against their own experience. Experiment with new formats, topics, and which stage in the buyer’s journey your content serves.When it’s time to build something more sophisticated, consider working with a developer to determine how to build the user experience and interactive elements you’re looking for. And remember to experiment. That means release early and often so you’re consistently collecting feedback and iterating on your interactive content.Download the full guide here to learn from over 40 more examples of interactive storytelling, ranging in complexity and industry vertical.What types of interactive content have you encountered around the internet? Share with us in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Apr 26, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated April 26 2017 Topics: Content Types
Perhaps the personal YouTube name you made when you were 14 isn’t cutting it anymore (I’m looking at you, SoccerLuvr4444). Or maybe you’re striving to create a new brand identity, and you’d like a new YouTube name to reflect that.Whatever the reason, changing your name on YouTube is an easy three-step process. Before we jump in, it’s important to note that this guide will show you how to change the name displayed on your YouTube channel, and the one seen when you comment on people’s videos — these steps won’t change your YouTube account’s actual URL.Also important to mention, changing your YouTube name will change your Google account name, as well. If you’re hoping to create a harmonious brand identity across your YouTube account, email, and website, this might be a good thing.Download a Free 30-Day Planner for Your Business YouTube Channel.However, if you only want to change your YouTube name, but don’t want to affect your entire Google account, you’ll need to link your YouTube account to a separate Brand Account — here’s a tutorial for how to do that.Now, let’s dive into the three easy steps you need to take to change your YouTube name.How to Change Your YouTube Name1. When you’re signed into YouTube, click on your user icon in the top right (I put a red rectangle around mine in the screenshot below). Then, click “Settings”. 2. In your Account Settings, click the “Edit on Google” link.3. Here, you can change your First and Last name — for instance, I deleted my last name and replaced it with “Consulting”. It’s important to note this will change your name on all Google accounts. When you’re done, click “OK”. 4. Now, my official YouTube name is “Caroline Consulting”. When I comment on a post, that’s the name that’ll show up, and when someone searches for my channel, they’ll need to search Caroline Consulting. Originally published Jun 15, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 Youtube Marketing Topics: And that’s it — you’ve changed your name. Remember, “first” and “last” refers to your first and last name, but you can certainly take creative liberties with those categories, as I did.The only real challenge with the easiness of changing your YouTube name is the subsequent temptation to change it all the time (at least, that’s how it felt to me). Don’t forget to share this post!
The Day is celebrated annually across the world on March 8. This year’s theme is ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’. Miss Grange was speaking at a church service to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 3 at the Boulevard Baptist Church in Kingston. Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, has called for more training of women and girls, to enable them to achieve the highest possible standard of life. Story Highlights Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, has called for more training of women and girls, to enable them to achieve the highest possible standard of life.Miss Grange was speaking at a church service to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 3 at the Boulevard Baptist Church in Kingston.The Day is celebrated annually across the world on March 8. This year’s theme is ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’.Miss Grange said that women and girls are “the greatest untapped population and are poised to become the next generation of professionals”.“We have a responsibility to provide women and girls with skills to become game-changers in specialised areas that open new opportunities for success and these include what is now called artificial intelligence, conversational technologies, critical transformation and social entrepreneurship,” she said.“This will allow the vibrant and promising young persons to become innovators without any barriers to their participation and ensure that no woman and no girl is left behind,” the Minister added.Meanwhile, Miss Grange said that in November 2007, the Government commenced the implementation of the National Strategic Action Plan to eliminate gender-based violence in Jamaica.As part of the Action Plan, the Minister said that her Ministry is leading an all-island social media campaign in key strategic priority areas to increase the protection of women and girls, “while engaging men and boys as key partners in the ongoing programme to provide empowerment”.“Men are known as the main perpetrators of violence against women, and so we have to include them… we have to bring them in as partners to work with women to eliminate violence,” she said.Additionally, she said the Government has partnered with faith-based organisations, such as the Boulevard Baptist Church, to ensure that the spiritual, social, psychosocial and other basic needs of women are addressed.
Genoa defender Ervin Zukanovic admits Krzysztof Piatek’s suspension couldn’t be less welcome ahead of today’s Serie A match against AC MilanSince arriving from Polish club Cracovia in a reported deal of €4m, Piatek has since scored 13 of Genoa’s 25 Serie A goals this season in his 19 appearances and his absence will undoubtedly be felt today.The 23-year-old, who is being touted as a potential replacement for Gonzalo Higuain at Milan for this month’s transfer window, is suspended for the match at the Marassi as Genoa look to end a barren run of just one win in their last 13 league games.And Zukanovic admits the loss of their star man is a major blow for the struggling hosts.“We know it’s going to be a difficult match, but we want to win just as much as Milan do,” said Zukanovic, according to Football-Italia.“Piatek is a big loss, because he is a player who scored many goals, but we have other strong forwards who can fill the gap today.”Karsdorp reveals he had too much stress at Roma Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The Dutch defender has been with the Gialorrossi since 2017, but he has not enjoyed his time in the Italian Lega Serie A.Latest reports over Piatek’s expected move to the San Siro state that Genoa will receive a fee in the region of £31m and bonuses will be included should Milan manage to finish in the top-four in the Serie A and qualify for the Champions League next season.Once the deal, which will reportedly likely be concluded on Tuesday, is complete then Higuain will be expected to leave Italy and join former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea for the remainder of this season.The Blues can then extend Higuain’s loan deal for another 12 months this summer if things work out at Stamford Bridge.21-year-old Andrea Favilli, who is on loan from Juventus, is expected to take Piatek’s place in the Milan starting line-up for today’s league encounter.The Serie A match between Genoa and Milan will take place at the Marassi with kick-off set for 15:00 (CET) today.