Rodriguez wows his audiences with his 70s songs. His double album – Cold Fact, and Coming from Reality. (Images: Rodriguez website)MEDIA CONTACTS • Stephen Segerman Owner of Mabu Vinyl, Cape Town +27 21 423 7635RELATED ARTICLES • SA songbird wins top opera prize • Lira to usher in Obama term • Homegrown artistic talent honouredUpdate: At the 85th Academy Awards, held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on 24 February, Searching for Sugarman won the award for best documentary. The film has been the favourite to win.Director Malik Bendjelloul and producer Simon Chinn were on hand to accept the golden statuette. The singer himself was absent, because he “doesn’t want to take credit for this film”, according to Chinn, speaking backstage afterwards.Lucille DavieSouth Africa’s most unlikely export must be Rodriguez, a singer-songwriter from Detroit in the US. The Mexican-American cut two albums in the early 1970s which went nowhere in his homeland but were a huge hit in South Africa, culminating in the 2012 hit movie Searching for Sugarman.On stage in Johannesburg during his February 2013 tour he said: “The last time I was this happy was the last time I was in South Africa.” That was in 2008.After his albums, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, flopped in the US, he disappeared for decades into a working class suburb of Detroit where he still lives, continuing his work as a labourer on construction sites, until two South Africans went searching for him.The discovery of the aged hippie, now 70, has the quality of a miracle, with a man who was thought to have died, rising from the dead to become a worldwide sensation.The release of the movie has catapulted Rodriguez into a place very far from his humble beginnings, with tours to Europe, South Africa, Australia, America and New Zealand, coming quick and fast.Sugarman, directed by Sweden’s Malik Bendjelloul, has been nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary and has already won the corresponding award at the 2013 Baftas or British Academy of Film and Television Arts, plus a bagful of other awards. The Academy Awards take place on 24 February.America has fallen for him big time – he has appeared on top-flight talk shows and news channels, and fans just can’t buy tickets for his concerts fast enough.Timeless appealRodriguez’s 2013 South African tour has seen extra concerts scheduled, with tickets sold out within hours. His folk-rock songs have appealed across the generations, a phenomenon seen at the concerts where 20-somethings sat alongside balding 70-somethings.His opening line on stage is typical laid-back Rodriguez: “Thanks for stepping out this evening.”Standing there in leather pants, black vest, black hat pulled down over his forehead, and large shades, he had the audience on their feet after almost every song. The quality of his voice hasn’t diminished over the years – classics like Sugar man, I wonder and I think of you are still able to take the baby boomers back to a dreamy place in the 70s.More than a prince“South Africa made me feel like more than a prince,” said Rodriguez in the movie, talking about his first tour to the country in 1998.Various music producers in the movie described him as better than the Rolling Stones, Elvis and Bob Dylan. And yet outside of South Africa and Australia, he was an unknown entity. All that changed in the late 1990s when two South Africans, record store owner Stephen Segerman and music journalist Craig Bartholomew, set out to find their hero.Rodriguez is an extraordinarily modest, humble man who has lived in the same house for the past 40 years. It was difficult to get hold of him as he didn’t even have a phone in the house, but the two South Africans persisted.They had heard stories that he had died, dramatically committing suicide on stage. Their search began in 1997 – they scoured his songs, looking for clues to his whereabouts. Eventually a clue emerged: in the song Inner City Blues there was mention of a Detroit suburb called Dearborn.In the same year the pair created a website, asking for anyone with details of Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s eldest daughter Eva, who now lives in South Africa, responded by leaving her phone number. Segerman phoned her and told her his story, and she reassured him that her father was alive.Bartholomew describes that revelation as “a euphoric moment”.Segerman left his number with Eva. That night his wife took a late-night call. It was Rodriguez. “Hello, is that Sugar?” he said. “I knew I was talking to Rodriguez, it was one of the greatest moments of my life,” says Segerman in the movie. He had been given the nickname “Sugarman” in the army because he loved listening to the song.Once they’d traced him Segerman and Bartholemew persuaded Rodriguez to tour to South Africa where he still had a huge fan base. That was in June 1998. He had six sold-out concerts in that year and has returned to tour three or four times.But if the Americans were taken aback, the local fans were even more so. It took that first audience of some 5 000 people back in 1998 up to 10 minutes to stop cheering and screaming. Said Bartholomew in the movie: “It’s like seeing someone like Elvis come back from the dead.”And Rodriguez simply said: “Thanks for keeping me alive.” His daughter Eva said: “It was beautiful, a beautiful dream.”An educated manHis three daughters describe him as an educated man with a degree in philosophy, who exposed them to art, music and culture and taught them that they could do anything they wanted. He once ran for mayor of Detroit, wanting to represent the working poor in the city, but wasn’t successful so he continued with his construction work, saying it “keeps the blood circulating, keeps you fit”.His daughter Regan says of him: “He was doing work no one else wanted to do. He was a harder worker than a lot of other fathers were.”Sugarman director Bendjelloul says of Rodriguez in a January 2013 interview: “He was very warm and welcoming and a lovely guy. I really liked him. But he didn’t like to be on camera. It’s very hard when you make a film about someone who doesn’t like getting filmed. So I didn’t get much footage with him. I went there every year for four years, and every time I got maybe 20 minutes of footage.”Of the singer’s sudden fame, Segerman says: “Rodriguez is enjoying room service,” he laughs. “He has his family with him, and it’s one big happy family. He likes meeting his fans.”Segerman has wanted to introduce Rodriguez to his Amercian countrymen since 1997, so is now “just thrilled that the whole world has discovered him and his music. The dream continues”.
that want If you think you should be using Black Hat SEO or you are missing out, I have only three words of advice: DON’T DO IT! There’s a dearth of people out there that even get fundamental SEO, understand how the various search engine algorithms work and how to do more than just guess at the weight of various factors impacting search results. The number of people that actually know enough to employ really advanced black hat techniques is vanishingly small. The number of these people that On with the article. those elite few people that actually do know enough to apply these highly advanced techniques and you could connect to them. How would you know one if you met her? This is a bit like the public stock market. The chances that some fund manager has figured out a consistent way to “beat the system” are pretty low. Your problem is, even if they’re out there, you wouldn’t know how to separate those that make the claims from those that can actually do it. Originally published Dec 3, 2007 9:46:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 First off, for those that are not familiar with the term “Black Hat SEO” it usually refers to highly controversial tactics used to manipulate the search rankings of a given web page and are generally in violation of search engine guidelines. Second off, if the title of this article seems strange to you, you’re probably too young to have been exposed to the “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids” TV commercials. No worries. Your enjoyment of this article will not be affected. you For those that are feeling unsatisfied with the brevity of this advice, and need more words, let me expand a bit more: BLACKHAT SEO IS NOT WORTH IT FOR MOST WEBSITES. Instead of spending a lot of time and money on black hat SEO, you’re probably to find. When you do this, you’re working Let me say that one more time, for emphasis: The best way to optimize your website and get more/better traffic via search engines is to make the content on your site something people actually are probably associated with is close to zero. Even if certain techniques do actually work today (and I’m sure there are some smart folks out there that have figured some out), the search engine algorithms are constantly evolving. Chances are, if somebody has found a “back door” to unduly influence the search results, this door will eventually be closed. worth risking having your site banned completely? 1. Real Black Hat SEOs Might Not Exist In Your World: Reasons You Don’t Want To Use Blackhat SEO So, here’s the build-up of arguments: You probably don’t know someone that really has the talent to do black hat SEO well. Even if you did, you wouldn’t know it. Even if you knew it, you couldn’t hire them or afford them. Even if you could hire them, it probably wouldn’t work for you. Even if it did work for you, it’s probably temporary. Even if wasn’t temporary, it’s just too risky. Any questions? 3. Even if you can pick them, you can’t hire them: 5. Even if it does work, it’s probably temporary: There are many, many factors that go into search engine algorithms. Some are more important than others, but it’s really, really hard to know whether a specific black hat technique will actually work for you. The more advanced the technique, the more likely that there are specific situations within which the technique works. Lets say for a moment that there Assuming you could find some small edge and that will last long enough for it to be worthwhile, you have to balance this benefit against the risks that you’re taking. Is a potential increase in traffic via organic search with much Technical SEO really 2. Even if they exist, you can’t pick them: Topics: 6. Even If It Lasts, It’s Really, Really Risky: Assuming you had some uncanny ability to really pick out the true uber-experts, chances are, you couldn’t hire them because you couldn’t afford them. If they’re good, they’re either working on some super-big project for some mega-company that can spend some real money — or working on their own private projects. 4. Even if you could hire them, their ideas may not work for you: better off simply doing things that makes your site and it’s associated content more rank-worthy. are the search engines — not against them. 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 Apr 20, 2010 11:05:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t include one of those silly calls to action. Granted, images won’t guarantee a trip interrupted by the SPAM filter, but they certainly help. At worst, your leads’ email programs don’t render them, and you end up with ugly images. At best, your leads open your email and roll their eyes at the “artwork”. Either way, you’re well on your way to the Delete key. Make it look exactly like a newsletter. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Write only about your product or service. Lead Nurturing “Cut your IT costs with virtualization!” “Free Seminar!” “Get your V!agra now!” All of these (and probably many others that you can think of) guarantee that your email will be ignored. As a free bonus, many of these might even help your email go straight to the SPAM folder! . Write a canned subject line. If your newsletters already don’t get people’s attention, use this opportunity to try them out again! And the more impersonal the better, so that your leads truly don’t feel like you’ve given any effort to nurturing them. Unsubscribe link, here we come! Lots and lots of images. But seriously, folks, the bottom line is that you need to provide good, useful content with a compelling subject line, a personal message, and a sound late-funnel call to action. It’s going to take more work, and you’ll have to actually provide value, but you’ll end up with better leads and more customers in the end. freezelight Image courtesy of You and your sales team have spent hours and hours developing sales-y content; this is the perfect place to use it! It doesn’t matter at all that your lead has already seen this on your website. It doesn’t matter that it provides zero true value to help your lead solve their problems, it helps you get your message across! Right? Right? Well, okay, so maybe they’ll tune it out immediately, but it’s a great way to pat yourselves on the back while turning off your leads. Topics: For fun, let’s look at the other side of the coin–how to guarantee you’ll be ignored. And certainly don’t link it to a landing page! If your leads make it through your subject line, many images, and sales-y content, you definitely don’t want to make it easy to follow up with you! For that matter, don’t include a real reply-to address either. Hey, if your leads can’t figure out how to connect with you, they don’t deserve to give you money.
Hey, remember that groundbreaking, cool feature Facebook announced back in January? It was called Graph Search. It supposedly was going to change the way people used the platform … but it wasn’t really available to be used quite yet. Then in July, Facebook announced it was going to roll out to all U.S. users — again, it was exciting, but Graph Search didn’t have great data points that I as a marketer would love to use. All in all, pretty meh-worthy announcements. … That is, until today. Facebook will start including status updates, photos, check-ins, and comments in your graph search. Yep, you heard me right — pretty soon, you’ll have access to data that will actually be useful to your life as a marketer. Previously, you only had access to pages, apps, and groups that included search terms. Now, you can search for terms in posts, updates, check-ins, and comments from your friends and people who post publicly. Here’s what the different will look like:What Graph Search Currently Looks Like Featuring Dancing With the StarsWhat Graph Search Will Look Like Featuring Dancing With the StarsIsn’t the second much more useful?This new feature opens up a slew of opportunities for marketers, such as:Monitoring Facebook posts about events they’re running. Researching product usage. Identifying content opportunities based on the interest of their most enthusiastic Facebook Fans.Tracking brand mentions by influencers.And lots and lots of other things!We’re kinda bummed because this new feature won’t be available to everyone with Graph Search. First, it’ll be tested in a small group of people, and then roll out to everyone after that. But, once it’s rolled out, marketers have a huge opportunity to make their content even more relevant to their audience with this data — which is something we all can get pumped about.Once you have this Graph Search feature, how will you use it in your marketing? Share your ideas with us in the comments.Image credit: Ksayer1 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Sep 30, 2013 5:39:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: SEO and Social Media
Topics: Originally published Apr 29, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated November 29 2017 Calls to Action We’ve all heard the regular call-to-action best practices by now. Write compelling copy. Choose appealing images. Have a solid value prop.All important stuff, to be sure.But what about the people who have fixed all the common CTA errors? (You can find the errors in this SlideShare if you want to check yourself.)Download Now: 28 Free CTA TemplatesThere are other, less-talked-about ways you may be hurting the success of your CTAs — and by extension, your lead gen. Let’s talk about those.You’re scared of using too many.CTA confusion is a real thing, which is why it’s common to preach only using one primary CTA per page. It’s the primary “thing” you want your visitor to do, after all.But sometimes there’s more than one right answer. And I’m not talking about just adding in a secondary CTA, either. (Which you should absolutely do — read this post if you want to learn more about secondary CTAs. Or read this one if you want to learn more but only have like 20 seconds.)Instead of worrying about the quantity of primary CTAs on your page, think about the quantity of primary CTAs on your page that help you meet the goal of that CTA. For instance, if the goal of your homepage is to drive more MQLs through RFP requests, go ahead and put more than one RFP CTA on there — even if they’re totally different RFP CTAs that lead to totally different RFP request landing pages. The problem with multiple primary CTAs isn’t that they exist — it’s when multiple CTAs exist that are encouraging actions that are totally counterintuitive to one another, and detract from the effectiveness of the page.You’re not writing custom copy.As your offer library grows, you’ll have less trouble finding CTAs to match your content. But if your offer library is growing, chances are your content strategy is more sophisticated, too — which means you’re writing about more specific, niche subject matters. That’s a good thing, but your CTAs can start to look pretty generic next to those extremely personalized content pieces.Let’s take this blog post we published a while ago as an example: “How to Satisfy Every Stakeholder In Your Next Website Redesign.” We had a CTA ready to go that we’d used for a while that promoted our offer Website Redesign Planning & Progress Kit. This is what the original CTA for the offer looked like:We emphasized the progress tracking a little more than the strategic aspect, because at the time, it’s what we talked about more.But this new blog post really focused more on the strategic parts of managing website redesigns — the part where you have to get a bunch of internal stakeholders on board. So, we customized the CTA copy to reflect the audience to whom the post was targeted. Here’s the customized version:We’ve since customized our offer CTAs when we’re emphasizing something the CTA copy doesn’t reflect, and consistently see improved conversion rates as a result.You’re not updating your design.If you’ve started to see a disappointing leveling off of your CTA clickthrough rates (not submission rates, mind you), it could be due to design overexposure. It doesn’t mean the content behind the CTAs is stale — just that you’ve oversaturate your audience with a design such that it’s fading into the background. It’s commonplace. It’s not “jumping off the page” anymore. Personally, I feel like this blog could use a CTA design refresh. I know it might be a good use of time because when I compare the clickthrough rates on these two CTAs, the latter is almost double the former.It’s probably because it’s a break from the visual norm for our readers. We’ve had this gray design for a bit. If you’ve also had the same design for a bit, consider a refresh to help improve your CTA clickthrough rates.Your CTAs are too smart.Sometimes, a CTA should be kind of stupid. (This is a joke we make here when opting not to create “smart” or “dynamic” CTAs). What I mean by this is that just because you have some cool segmenting functionality doesn’t mean you should always use it.For instance, let’s pretend you’re launching a new product. Or hosting an event. Or releasing a new offer you want everyone to see. These are all instances in which smart CTAs can be counterintuitive to your goals, because you’re segmenting for the sake of segmenting. Consider who you actually want to see your CTAs before you get segmentation-happy.You’re not trying new placements.I don’t know why we all decided CTAs belong at the bottom of blog posts and only the bottom of blog posts. Actually, I do know why. Because once upon a time, we had this idea that people read every word we wrote. If you’re still reading this part of the post — hey, thank you. I appreciate you sticking around.But I also know that statistically, most readers don’t even get 60% of the way through an article. So why not provide an earlier conversion opportunity?For instance, we performed a test to see if slide-in CTAs helped clickthrough and submission rates. It did. (You can read more about that test here, and learn how to create your own slide-in CTAs.) We also performed a test to see if in-post visual callout CTAs helped clickthrough and submission rates. They didn’t. At first. Then we tried adjusting other variables, and found they worked, but only when they were ridiculously contextual. So, if we wrote a section in a post about Evernote, and then served up a visual CTA related to Evernote, that would improve the post’s overall CTA clickthrough and submission rate.The moral of the story is this: We’ve always tested CTA placement on every other part of our site — why not test it on our blog, too?You’re not updating CTAs on old pages.But old pages are … old. Why should I update them?If they’re still up, they might still be getting traffic. Check. If they are still getting traffic, you have two choices: Take the pages down, or update the content. I highly, highly recommend latter.Most people won’t have time to do a serious overhaul of all the page contents, especially because many of the pages that will fall victim to the still-getting-traffic-but-content-is-old issue will be blog posts. And the nature of blog posts is that you write a lot of them and, unless they’re all evergreen, time will take its toll. So instead of rewriting dozens if not hundreds of blog posts that still get traffic, update the CTAs on those posts. This could mean making “stupid” CTAs smart, adding new creative, or replacing the CTAs with new offers entirely.I recommend going through this exercise once a quarter if you’re a frequent blogger (daily or more) and twice a year if you’re a semi-frequent blogger (anywhere from 1-5 times a week). You should also go through the exercise with your non-blog site pages about twice a year to see if the CTAs on pages that still receive a lot of traffic are as relevant as they could be.Audits are never fun, but it’ll help you get more bang from your buck with your CTAs. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
The original purpose of a press page made sense — it housed general company information and timely news in a central location for consumers, clients, potential clients, the media, and other interested parties. The press page was created to answer such questions as:Who are new clients you’re working with or what projects did you just finish?How are you contributing to the community through philanthropic activities?Who was recently hired at the company?This made sense during a time when people were learning and consuming information in a linear fashion. Now enter the digital age of social media, blogs and mobile devices that create unique digital interactive experiences.The traditional press page starts to collect dusty pixels. Why? There are so many other engaging online channels that support the dissemination of information. The type of information being shared hasn’t changed — the way people seek out and consume content has changed. What People Are Doing Differently1) Passively Finding Information on Social MediaThink about how most people interact online today — especially on their mobile devices. It’s more common for someone to open a social media app and read through news than to open a website and seek out that information. Ask yourself: Why would someone spend their screen time searching one organization’s news or press page when they’ll get a broader view of today’s events in social media?A modern approach to disseminating information is to share newsworthy material to your audience via social channels. For example, LinkedIn is a business based tool, so sharing who was recently hired at the company on this channel is likely to net you more views and be seen by those who are most interested in knowing.2) Actively Searching OnlineMany people start their web experience with a search engine. Depending on the nature of their search and the refined keywords they use, they may end up on a news detail page of your website, thus bypassing the press page altogether. If you’ve optimized all of the content on your website, including an often updated press area, it’s more likely a person will land on a detail page and not your homepage.Someone may discover your business because they were searching for information on a recent philanthropic event or philanthropic-related topic for which you have a high-ranking, optimized news article or photo album.3) Expecting Easy Web ExperiencesWe’ve reached a critical mass of people expecting simple, clean experiences on the web. Website navigations have been streamlined and basic information is in an easy-to-find location on the site. It’s not reasonable to expect that a site visitor will dig deep into your press page. If your website visitors expect to easily find clients you work with or projects you’ve completed, have a section dedicated to “Our Work” or “Portfolio.” How to Build a Modern Press PageYes, you can still have a press page on your website and it can still bring value to you. The secret to its success is in how you disseminate the information. Here are a few tips on how to build a press page:1) Cross-promote relevant content on your website.If you’ve reached an important milestone with a client, write a brief article about this experience and tag it to appear in the “Our Work” or “Portfolio” section of your site. People are seeking out relevant information, so having cross-promoted content on your site is important.Also, if the reader found that article relevant and is interested in additional information, they may navigate to your press area. Having a well-organized page will allow the reader to find other pertinent content.2) Give the reader the ability to share.When people read content they think others will find valuable, they share it on their social channels. Let your advocates disseminate your news by adding sharing buttons to the content in press area.Again, if someone in their network finds the information useful, they may also navigate back to your site and seek out additional content in your press area.3) Push out the content to other distribution channels.Use social media to share important news, recent events, and other interesting tidbits. Provide a link that drives the reader back to the detail page on your website.If you haven’t already guessed, just like the first two tactics, if the reader finds the content interesting, they will find more helpful information in the press area.The press page is still a hub of information, but it’s not likely the primary source people will use to find out more about your organization. Modernize your press page to serve your key target audiences and those interested in learning more and willing to seek out the detailed information.Want to learn more on how to optimize your press page? Download our quick tip sheet here. Topics: Content Creation Originally published Mar 9, 2015 2:00:00 PM, 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
Ever heard of the computer language called SQL? You may have heard about it in the context of data analysis, but never really thought it would apply to you as a marketer. Or, you may have thought to yourself, “That’s for the really advanced data users. I could never do that.”Well, you couldn’t be more wrong! The most successful marketers are data-driven, and one of the most important parts of being data-driven is being able to collect data from databases quickly. SQL happens to be one of the best and most popular tools out there for doing just that.Download 9 Free Excel Templates for MarketersSQL stands for Structured Query Language, and it’s used when companies have a ton of data that they want to manipulate in an easy and quick way. If your company already stores data in a database, you may need to learn SQL to access the data. But not to worry — you’re in the right place to get started!Before we begin, make sure that you have a database management application that will allow you to pull data from your database. Some options include MySQL Workbench or Sequel Pro. Start by downloading one of these options, and then talk to your company about how to connect to your database. The option that you choose will depend on your product’s backend, so check with your product team to make sure you select the correct one.Let’s jump right in.Why Use SQL?The beauty of SQL is that anyone working at a company that stores data in a relational database can use it. (And chances are, yours does.)If you work for a software company and want to pull usage data on your customers, you can do that using SQL. If you work for an ecommerce company that has data about customer purchases, you can use SQL to find out which customers are purchasing which products. Of course, these are just a few of many, many examples.Think about it this way: Have you ever opened a very large data set in Excel, only for your computer to freeze or even shut down? SQL allows you to access only certain parts of your data at a time so you don’t have to download the data into a CSV, manipulate it, and possibly overload Excel. In other words, SQL takes care of the data analysis that you may be used to doing in Excel. (If you want to dig into this aspect of SQL a bit more, here is a blog post to get you started.)How to Write Simple SQL QueriesUnderstand the hierarchy of your databaseBefore you get started, it’s important to become accustomed to your database and its hierarchy. If you have multiple databases of data, you’ll need to zero in on the location of the data you want to work with.For example, let’s pretend we’re working with multiple databases about people in the United States. Type in the query “SHOW DATABASES;”. Our results may show that you have a couple of databases for different locations, including one for New England.Within your database, you’ll have different tables containing the data you want to work with. Using the same example above, let’s say we want to find out which information is contained in one of the databases. If we use the query “SHOW TABLES in NewEngland;”, we’ll find that we have tables for each state in New England: people_connecticut, people_maine, people_massachusetts, people_newhampshire, people_rhodeisland, and people_vermont.Finally, you need to find out which fields are in the tables. Fields are the specific pieces of data that you can pull from your database. For example, if you want to pull someone’s address, the field name may not just be “address” — it may be separated into address_city, address_state, address_zip. In order to figure this out, use the query “Describe people_massachusetts;”. That will provide a list of all of the data that you can pull using SQL.Let’s do a quick review of the hierarchy using our New England example:Our database is: NewEngland.Our tables within that database are: people_connecticut, people_maine, people_massachusetts, people_newhampshire, people_rhodeisland, and people_vermont.Our fields within the people_massachusetts table include: address_city, address_state, address_zip, hair_color, first_name, and last_name.Now, to learn how to write a simple SQL query, let’s use the following example:Who are the people who have red hair in Massachusetts and were born in 2003 organized in alphabetical order?SELECTSELECT chooses the fields that you want displayed in your chart. This is the specific piece of information that you want to pull from your database. In the example above, we want to find the people who fit the rest of the criteria.Here is our SQL query:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROMFROM pinpoints the table that you want to pull the data from. In the earlier section, we found that there were six tables for each of the six states in New England: people_connecticut, people_maine, people_massachusetts, people_newhampshire, people_rhodeisland, and people_vermont. Because we’re looking for people in Massachusetts specifically, we’ll pull data from that specific table.Here is our SQL query:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROM people_massachusettsWHEREWHERE allows you to filter your query to be more specific. In our example, we want to filter our query to include only people with red hair who were born in 2003. Let’s start with the red hair filter.Here is our SQL query:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROM people_massachusettsWHERE hair_color = “red”hair_color could have been part of your initial SELECT statement if you’d wanted to look at all of the people in Massachusetts along with their specific hair color. But if you want to filter to see only people with red hair, you can do so in the WHERE statement.ANDAND allows you to add additional criteria to your WHERE statement. Remember, we want to filter by people who had red hair in addition to people who were born in 2003. Since our WHERE statement is taken up by the red hair criteria, how can we filter by a specific year of birth as well?That’s where the AND statement comes in. In this case, the AND statement is a date property — but it doesn’t necessary have to be. (Note: Be to check the format of your dates with your product team to make sure it is in the correct format.)Here is our SQL query:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROM people_massachusettsWHERE hair_color = “red”AND birth_date BETWEEN ‘2003-01-01’ AND ‘2003-12-31’ORDER BYWhen you create SQL queries, you shouldn’t have to export the data to Excel. The calculation and organization should be done within the query. That’s where the “ORDER BY” and “GROUP BY” functions come in. First, we’ll look at our SQL queries with the ORDER BY and then GROUP BY functions, respectively. Then, we’ll take a brief look at the difference between the two.Your ORDER BY clause will allow you to sort by any of the fields that you have specified in the SELECT statement. In this case, let’s order by last name.Here is our SQL query:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROM people_massachusettsWHERE hair_color = “red”AND birth_date BETWEEN ‘2003-01-01’ AND ‘2003-12-31’ORDER BY last_name;GROUP BY”GROUP BY” is similar to “ORDER BY,” but it will aggregate data that has similarities. For example, if you have any duplicates in your data, iyou can use “GROUP BY” to count the number of duplicates in your fields.Here is your SQL query:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROM people_massachusettsWHERE hair_color = “red”AND birth_date BETWEEN ‘2003-01-01’ AND ‘2003-12-31’GROUP BY last_name;ORDER BY VS. GROUP BYTo clearly show you the difference between an “ORDER BY” statement and a “GROUP BY” statement, let’s step outside our Massachusetts example briefly to look at a very simple dataset. Below is a list of four employees’ ID numbers and names.If we were to use an ORDER BY statement on this list, the names of the employees would get sorted in alphabetical order. The results would look like this:If we were to use a GROUP BY statement, the employees would be counted based on the number of times they appeared in the initial table. Note that Peter appeared twice in the initial table. The results would look like this:With me so far? Okay. Let’s return to the SQL query we’ve been creating about red-haired people in Massachusetts who were born in 2003.LIMITDepending on the amount of data you have in your database, it may take a long time to run the queries. It can be frustrating if you find yourself waiting a long time to run a query that you didn’t really want to begin with. If you want to test our query, the LIMIT function is a great one to use because it allows you to limit the number of results you get.For example, if we suspect there are millions of people who have red hair in Massachusetts, we may want to test out our query using LIMIT before we run it in full to make sure we’re getting the information we want. Let’s say, for instance, we only want to see the first 100 people.Here is our SQL query:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROM people_massachusettsWHERE hair_color = “red”AND birth_date BETWEEN ‘2003-01-01’ AND ‘2003-12-31’ORDER BY last_nameLIMIT 100;That’s it for the basics!Feeling good? Here are a few other ways to take your SQL queries up a notch.Bonus: Advanced SQL TipsNow that you have mastered how to create a SQL query, let’s walk through some other tricks that you can use to take it up a notch, starting with the asterisk.*When you add an asterisk to one of your SQL queries, it tells the query that you want to include all the columns of data in your results. In the example we’ve been using, we’ve only had two column names: first_name and last_name. But let’s say we had 15 columns’ worth of data that we want to see in our results — it would be kind of a pain to type out all 15 column names in the SELECT statement. Instead, if you replace the names of those columns with an asterisk, the query will know to pull all of the columns in to the results.Here’s what the SQL query would look like:SELECT *FROM people_massachusettsWHERE hair_color = “red”AND birth_date BETWEEN ‘2003-01-01’ AND ‘2003-12-31’ORDER BY last_nameLIMIT 100;LAST 30 DAYSOnce I started using SQL regularly, I found that one of my go-to queries involved trying to find which people took an action or fulfilled a certain set of criteria within the last 30 days. Since this type of query was so useful for me, I wanted to share that capability with you.Let’s pretend today is December 1, 2014. You could create these parameters by making the birth_date span between November 1, 2014 and November 30, 2014. That SQL query would look like this:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROM people_massachusettsWHERE hair_color = “red”AND birth_date BETWEEN ‘2014-11-01’ AND ‘2014-11-30’ORDER BY last_nameLIMIT 100;But that would require thinking about which dates cover the last 30 days, and it would mean you’d have to constantly update this query. Instead, to make the dates automatically span the last 30 days no matter which day it is, you can type this under AND: birth_date >= (DATE_SUB(CURDATE(),INTERVAL 30.(Note: You’ll want to double-check this syntax with your product team because it may differ based on the software you use to pull your SQL queries.)Your SQL query would therefore look like this:SELECT first_name, last_nameFROM people_massachusettsWHERE hair_color = “red”AND birth_date >= (DATE_SUB(CURDATE(),INTERVAL 30))ORDER BY last_nameLIMIT 100;COUNTIn some cases, you may want to count the number of times that a criterium of a field appears. For example, let’s say you want to count the number of times the different hair colors appear for the people you are tallying up from Massachusetts. In this case, COUNT will come in handy so you don’t have to manually add up the number of people who have different hair colors or export that information to Excel.Here’s what that SQL query would look like:SELECT hair_color, COUNT(hair_color)FROM people_massachusettsAND birth_date BETWEEN ‘2003-01-01’ AND ‘2003-12-31’GROUP BY hair_color; JOINThere may be a time where you need to access information from two different tables in one SQL query. In SQL, you can use a JOIN clause to do this. (For those of you familiar with Excel formulas, this is similar to how you would use the VLOOKUP formula when you need to combine information from two different sheets in Excel.)For example, let’s say we have one table that has data of all Massachusetts residents’ user IDs and their birthdates. Let’s say we also have an entirely separate table that has data of all Masachusetts residents’ user IDs and their hair color. If we want to figure out the hair color of Massachusetts residents born in the year 2003, we’d need to access information from both tables and combine them. This works because both tables share a matching column: the Massachusetts residents’ user IDs.Because we’re calling out fields from two different tables, our SELECT statement is also going to change slightly. Instead of just listing out the fields we want to include in our results, we’ll need to specify which table they’re coming from. (Note: The asterisk function may come in handy here so your query includes both tables in your results.)To specify a field from a specific table, all we’d have to do is combine the name of the table with the name of the field. For example, our SELECT statement would say “table.field” — with the period separating the table name and the field name.Let’s take a look at what this looks like in action.We’re assuming a few things in this case:The Massachusetts birthdate table includes the following fields: first_name, last_name, user_id, birthdateThe Massachusetts hair color table includes the following fields: user_id, hair_colorYour SQL query would therefore look like:SELECT birthdate_massachusetts.first_name, birthdate_massachusetts.last_nameFROM birthdate_massachusetts JOIN haircolor_massachusetts USING (user_id)WHERE hair_color = “red”AND birth_date BETWEEN ‘2003-01-01’ AND ‘2003-12-31’ORDER BY last_name; This query would join the two tables using the field “user_id” which appears in both the birthdate_massachusetts table and the haircolor_massachusetts table. You would then be able to see a table of people born in 2003 who have red hair.Congratulations: You’re ready to get started with your own SQL queries! While there’s a lot more you can do with SQL, I hope you found this overviewof the basics helpful so you can get your handsdirty. With a strong foundation of the basics, you’ll be able to navigate SQL better and work toward some of the more complex examples.What data are you excited to pull using SQL? 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 Data-Driven Marketing Originally published Mar 25, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated July 23 2019 How to Query a SQL Database:Make sure that you have a database management application (ex. MySQL Workbench, Sequel Pro).If not, download a database management application and work with your company to connect your database.Understand your database and its hierarhcy.Find out which fields are in your tables.Begin writing a SQL query to pull your desired data.
Topics: Originally published Mar 17, 2016 10:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Ecommerce Sales Part of running a successful ecommerce business is the ability to keep buyers coming back for more. Excellent customer service has long been a determining factor in a buyer’s loyalty, but you may be surprised to learn it’s not the only thing you can do to make sure your customers buy again. In fact, for a guaranteed return visit, you need a quality product, excellent customer service, and choice closure.Check out this marketing psychology ebook to learn how to better understand your customers.Choice paradox is that pesky psychological hangup that occurs when buyers have too many options available. Maybe those options aren’t all available from just one online store, either. With your products and those of your competitors, buyers can get overwhelmed.In some cases, those buyers just won’t make a choice at all. They’ll experience choice paralysis and never end up making a purchase. You can help a buyer avoid this particular situation, but again, since your company isn’t the only one selling similar products, there is no way to guarantee buyers won’t still struggle with their choice.What Is Choice Closure?If you work hard to eliminate choices for a buyer, leaving them with only the most obvious products, then you’re sure to earn a purchase. That’s the very lesson learned with choice paradox. If you can’t or don’t eliminate all but the obvious choice, a consumer who makes a purchase anyway may suffer remorse later. They’ll agonize over the other options that were available and wonder if they made the wrong decision.The decision they made doesn’t always revolve around the price paid, either. Yes, getting a great deal is important to consumers, but a quality product that will solve their pains is much more important. Consider a buyer on a cosmetics ecommerce site with 400 different shades of blush. Even after you help them narrow down the shades that match their skin tones, eliminate the brands that test on animals, and include only the options that have a blush brush included, the choices may still be overwhelming. After the purchase is made, that buyer might regret spending so much when another brand may have offered the same results. Or, she might regret choosing the cheaper option when the better brands give a more professional appearance. Without some way to reassure the buyer that she made the right decision, you leave that avenue open for regret.How to Offer Choice ClosureIn most cases, choice closure comes with a physical act. It might be testing the product in the store before making a choice. It can even be as easy as placing the purchase in a bag and carrying it to the car. That feeling of making the right choice ends the problem right then and there. For online shoppers, though, the closure isn’t there. Opening a box and removing the new purchase isn’t quite the same as doing the reverse: putting the purchase into a bag and calling the job done. In fact, opening that box and removing the new purchase could start a whole new series of regrets. How can you offer closure to a buyer? What can you do to provide that comfort consumers need? Keep three things in mind while you decide. First, the buyer has to perform the act of closure. It’s not something you can do for them. Next, the buyer has to know the act they perform is one of closure, of completing the purchase. Finally, the closure has to happen after they make the purchase.How you can help buyers attain choice closure:Ask consumers for a review or rating on the purchaseProvide space for buyers to flaunt their purchaseWrap purchases to resemble gifts so that opening takes on new meaningUsing Choice Closure Against CompetitorsIt’s okay to assume that your competitors haven’t attempted to offer closure to their buyers. Just think of all those customers out there struggling with buyers’ remorse because there were just too many choices. What if you presented your products to that buyer again, while he or she is still considering the many other purchases they might have made instead? There’s a good chance you’ll have a new customer next time they need something.Then, of course, you help them avoid choice paralysis and give them choice closure. When you do these things in addition to providing excellent quality and customer service, then you have a customer for life. 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