20 Years flypast wows inauguration crowd

first_img24 May 2014Jacob Zuma’s presidential inauguration in Pretoria on Saturday was followed by a stunning aerial display – including a formation flypast in the shape of “20”, marking South Africa’s 20 years of democracy – that left the massive crowd at the Union Buildings breathless.The salute flypast, followed Zuma’s swearing-in for a second term as President of South Africa, drew cheering, ululation and vuvuzela blasts from the thousands of people gathered on the Southern Lawns of the Union Buildings.The crowd was treated to a series of formation flypasts featuring the Gripen, the front-line fighter aircraft of the South African Air Force; a Hawk fighter jet formation including a lead aircraft painted in the colours of the national flag; and flag-bearing helicopters from squadrons around the country.South Africa’s VIP transport aircraft, comprising the Presidential Jet, a Falcon 50 and a Falcon 900, also flew overhead, escorted by two Gripen fighters, followed by a South African Airways Airbus.But the largest and most spectacular formation of the day was made of 19 aircraft, including the Silver Falcons, the aerobatic display team of the South African Air Force, forming the shape of a “20” to mark the country’s 20 years of democracy.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Five Legitimate Reasons Your Business Doesn’t Need A WebSite

first_img think arelegitimate that didn’t make the list above, please share them in thecomments.  I’ll do a follow-up article and capture the ones Imissed. Legitimate Reasons Your Business Doesn’tNeed An Effective Website One of the primary reasons for having a working, effective website is to increase the number of clients you have and grow your revenues.  If you’re not looking to grow your business significantly, there’s probably little reason to try and find more clients or grow your revenues.   You’re not looking to grow:  .  Most of these reasons are little more than rationalizationsfor existing behavior.  But, there are some reasons that are actually very good Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack As you read through the above, notice some of the reasonsthat did If you have the luxury of running a business for which there is very little (if any) competition and you’ve got an offering that people must have, a website is probably not crucial.  Your clients need what you have and there’s nowhere else to go.  Congratulations!  Though a shiny new website might impress your spouse and colleagues, you probably don’t need one to improve your business.   If you are looking to increase staff, chances are that your prospective recruits (particularly the kinds of people you want to hire) will likely want to learn more about you.  The web is a great place to do that.  This is particularly true for new entrants into the workforce that have grown up with the Internet.  When faced with the decision of joining an organization that has a vibrant and interactive website where they can learn about what the company does and what makes them “tick” vs. an organization that simply has a brochure on the web – most recruits will pick the one with the more expressive website, all other things being equal.  Small businesses are particularly well served as they don’t have the brand and resources that can help attract exceptional people outside of their immediate network.  A website can help with that. I’ll admit that there are many businesses that do a great job of getting referral customers and tapping their existing network for new business.  If this is you, then perhaps a website is not that important.  This assumes of course that your rolodex will Note:  Just because you qualify for one of thesereasons doesn’t necessarily let you off the hook.  But if a few ofthem are true (or one of the big ones like #1 or #2 apply), then you probablycan get away with a flat website that doesn’t do very much. you You don’t expect to sell the company any time soon:  You’re operating in a virtual monopoly: center_img some You’re Not Hiring Any Time Soon: I’d like to share the really good reasons why aworking website may not be relevant for your business.  asset I have conversations with business owners every weekregarding Internet strategy (and why they need one).  Most of these conversationsare with smart people with reasonably successful businesses.  When facedwith the discussion of their website, they often come up with lots of reasonswhy an effective website isn’t all that relevant for them.  Sure,they understand the need to have For more and more types of businesses, the website is an important that factors into valuation discussions.  This is particularly true if you have a startup business, a hi-tech business or one that “scales” well (i.e. adding new customers does not increase costs proportionately).  The reason is quite simple.  If you have an effective website and can demonstrate that it is successful at helping you get new clients, you have a better business than someone who doesn’t.  The Internet is a great way for many businesses to have a low customer acquisition cost.  The other nice thing about the Internet as a vehicle for marketing and sales is that it can be more easily measured.  Imagine if you are selling your business and are able to show the acquirer a chart of your web traffic (and how it’s grown over time) and clear data on how that web traffic translates into revenues.  (You will likely find that the two are highly correlated).  If I were on the buying said, I’d sit up and take notice. make this list.  Exampleswould include “I don’t sell an online product, so I really don’tneed a website.”  Or, “My clients don’t really use theweb, so there’s really no reason for me to invest there.”  If youhave reasons that not to be an effective mechanism for you to get all the new business you need. continue web presence, but they really don’t believe that for their particularbusiness an effective website is going to make that big of a difference.  Theyhave lots of reasons why this is so. Originally published Nov 7, 2006 12:00:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Your rolodex is sufficient for lead generation: last_img read more

How to Ensure Your Leads Ignore Your Nurturing E-mails

first_img 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.last_img read more

8 Tips for Leveraging Platforms for Marketing [@InboundNow #37]

first_imgPhil Simon joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s social media and inbound marketing podcast! Phil is the author of The Age of the Platform, The New Small, Why New Systems Fail, and The Next Wave of Technologies. He focuses on the intersection of people, management, and technology.In this episode, we chat about:The concept of building platforms and planksAdopting community and letting people develop on your platformLearning from the gang of four (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google)How to compete against an entrenched platformTips on building your own platformEmerging platforms to keep an eye onGetting people to build on top of your platformThe future of where the platform is headed 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 Oct 20, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated July 03 2013center_img Check out other episodes of Inbound NowPlatforms and Planks”All platforms are not the same. The planks that I have in my platform, for example, are different than the planks that HubSpot has in its platform.”Your platform is your core business, and your planks are all the other elements and areas that lead back to your main platform. The more planks you have, the more powerful your platform becomes.It’s all about diversifying and not being afraid of failure.Adopting Community and Letting People Develop on Your Platform”You want people to take your product and services in different directions.”An example of this is Twitter and TweetDeck. Several months ago, Twitter bought TweetDeck — a company that took its API in an interesting direction.Learning From the Gang of Four”One of the bones of contention in a few of the interviews I’ve given is this notion that a small or medium sized company can’t learn something from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. I say yes it can.”There are lessons for mid-size companies to learn from the gang of four (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google). Perhaps you can implement Google’s notion that engineers get to play around one day a week, or create your own app in the App Store.You can build your own platform, even if you’re just a company of one.Can You Compete Against an Entrenched Platform?”Look at Facebook. It was by no means the first social network. There was MySpace. There was Friendster. There was Classmates.com. But if you read an excellent book that I referenced in The Age of the Platform, in The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick, he writes about how Mark Zuckerberg, back in 2000, 2001, was obsessed with speed.”Being first to market your product means nothing if you can’t support the volume and you can’t scale.On the flip side, there is something to be said for being first (you can build an online bookstore tomorrow, but it won’t overtake Amazon anytime soon). It’s just not always a given. It’s a competitive edge to be first, but it’s not a given that you’ll always be first (things go viral very quickly).Tips on Building a Platform”By building a platform and embracing this notion of ecosystems, you can increase the probability that when something happens, you can respond really quickly.”You can’t be afraid of experimentation or failure. Look at your platform, and see what planks make sense. For Phil, he runs a publishing company and he does speaking — so having a book and being active on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn make sense.You can’t predict the future, but you can be prepared to act.You want to make your own platform as easy as possible to navigate. Don’t spend the time and money integrating video into your website — be on YouTube and Vimeo. You can take advantage of other platforms by using them as planks of your own.Emerging Platforms”There’s no reason that the Gang of Four has a monopoly on platforms.”Twitter, believe it or not, could be considered an emerging platform. They’re not quite at the level of Facebook, in Phil’s opinion, but they’re getting there through partners in different ecosystems.WordPress is an emerging platform. A fraction of the top thousand websites are running on WordPress, and they have a whole community of developers and companies that take WordPress in different directions.There’s also Salesforce.com and Force.com. They’re trying to let people build bridges to and from data, giving them apps, etc.Getting People to Build on Top of Your Platform”If you look at what the Gang of Four does with marketing, I think it’s very different than traditional marketing. I would argue it’s not marketing to people and not marketing at people. You’re almost letting the users and the consumers market for you.”Some of the companies we’ve mentioned do traditional advertising. But the real value is from people evangelizing their platforms on their behalf.The Future of Platforms”I think that platforms will become more and more important. Technology keeps changing faster and faster. People are looking for convenience and the one-stop shopping.”Phil sees platforms becoming more important. But if companies don’t continue to change and evolve and embrace uncertainty and risk, they won’t be around.Connect With Phil OnlineYou can follow Phil on Twitter @PhilSimon and on his main site. Also, make sure to pick up his new book, The Age of the Platform. Inbound Marketinglast_img read more

5 Easy Fixes for the Most Common Twitter Faux Pas

first_img Originally published Dec 13, 2011 5:30:00 PM, updated August 25 2017 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 Twitter Marketing Whether you’ve been using Twitter for a while or you’re just dipping your toe into those whale infested waters, there are several common Twitter mistakes that tons of people are making. These mistakes are easy to fix, but if you keep doing them, it will keep you from getting the most out of this platform as part of your inbound marketing strategy. And you don’t want that, right? Here are five common Twitter mistakes, and how to fix them.Click here to access a free Twitter for Businesses kit.1. Sending Sketchy Auto-DMsSeriously, people are still doing this! No matter how amazing the message is in your auto-direct message, if it is an auto-DM, especially if it comes right after someone follows you, it’s a huge faux pas. Don’t waste your time setting these impersonal messages up. Not for you, not for your client, not for your brand. It’s not a good look.How to fix it: Go to your account on Twitter.com, click Settings and then Connections. This will show you all the apps to which you are connected. Find out which app through which you are set up to auto-DM, and cancel it.2. Protecting Your TweetsFacebook, Google+, and LinkedIn have privacy settings that allow you to choose which information to share with certain groups of people. On Twitter, you gotta put it all out there. Well, if you want inbound marketing effectiveness you do. Twitter is different than these other social networking experiences that are based on networking with existing connections–people you know from high school, college, work, and the gym. Twitter is based on networking with people you don’t know. Talk to strangers. Put yourself out there. Make the most of Twitter by making new connections with an open account.How to fix it: Go to your account on Twitter.com, click Settings and go to Account. Unclick where is says Protect My Tweets.3. An Unbalanced Follower:Following RatioSome people may not admit it, but most people care about their follower number. And there’s no shame in that! The more followers you have, the more opportunities you have to share your content and increase your web presence. But if you are looking at someone’s profile for the first time and you see an unbalanced follower:following ratio, two thoughts might go through your mind:If someone is following tons of people with very few follow-backs:  “How come no one is following this person back? This person must not be very interesting, or this person is just looking for followers. I won’t follow back either.”If someone isn’t following back anyone: “Ugh, this person is a Twitter snob! Not interested.”How to fix it: If you haven’t followed a lot of people out of concern for a cluttered stream, consider bucketing people into Lists to clean it up. If you are following too many people compared to the number of followers you have, audit your following list and unfollow those who aren’t providing interesting tweets. Going forward, always scan users’ tweets to see if they would be a good addition to your following list before clicking ‘follow.’4. WTF Are You Talking About?Some people treat Twitter like Facebook or an away message. Tweeting things like “At Foggy Goggles for Brit’s 21st! So excited!” or vague ramblings like “I can’t even believe what’s going on right now…” are not helpful. Your followers will get more value out of your tweets if your tweets are clear. The nice thing about Twitter is that you have the opportunity to be interactive with the thoughts you are sharing; this opportunity is lost with these exclusive tweets.How to fix it: All of these tweets are salvageable. If you want to tweet about Brit’s birthday, use a location app to check in to the Foggy Goggle, and use Brit’s and Foggy Goggle’s Twitter handles in the tweet. This tweet is now a communication with the bar, the bar’s patrons, and Brit’s circle of friends.Instead of “I can’t even believe what’s going on right now…” share a picture or a link to an article and be specific about what is actually going on. Tweeting “I can’t believe what’s going on in Walmart’s parking lot for Black Friday” with an accompanying picture gives your tweet context and a reason to click through to the content you’ve shared.5. @ Versus .@Only people that also follow whoever you are @replying can see that @reply. Sometimes, people will start a tweet with @ when it’s not intended to be an @reply, though. For example, if you tweeted ”@CNN’s coverage of unicorns is great!” only your followers that follow @CNN will see that tweet in their timeline.How to fix it: If you want everyone to see your tweet, use the .@ trick. Stick a period in front of the @ sign, and it’ll send the tweet into the main Twitter stream for all to enjoy.What major Twitter mistakes have you come across? Have you made any of the Twitter mistakes above?Image credit: n74jrwlast_img read more

How to Audit Your Website for Improved SEO and Conversions

first_img Originally published Apr 23, 2018 10:41:04 PM, updated October 30 2019 Topics: Conversion Rate Optimization What Is a Website Audit?A website audit is an examination of page performance prior to large-scale search engine optimization (SEO) or a website redesign. Auditing your website can determine whether or not it’s optimized to achieve your traffic goals, and if not, how you can improve it to increase performance.When was the last time you gave your website a checkup?Download Now: Free 8-Week Conversion Rate Optimization PlannerIf you’ve never before audited your website, it’s been a while since you have, or you’re planning a website redesign in the near future, use this post as your go-to website audit checklist to make sure your website is primed for maximum SEO and conversion results.Keep in mind that in most cases, you’ll probably want to pair up with someone with a technical brain for this, whether that be someone in your in-house IT department or an outsourced party.The Benefits of a Website AuditBefore we dive into the things you should be keeping an eye out for as you’re auditing your website, let’s review some of the benefits of doing one. Here are some of the top benefits from a marketing perspective:Website Performance OptimizationWebsite audits usually evaluate a site not only for its content, but also for its technical performance.As a result, an audit will give you a chance to inspect the robustness of your website’s technical framework and infrastructure, assess how friendly your website is to search engines, and determine how easy it is for users to navigate and intuitively find content on your website.Search Engine OptimizationBy conducting a website audit, you’ll be able to identify any missed SEO opportunities and remedy any misguided or poorly executed SEO pitfalls (e.g. keyword stuffing, exact match anchor text links, etc.) throughout the content of your website.It will also allow you to re-focus your SEO efforts on users first and search engines second. This will safeguard you from constantly chasing changes to search ranking algorithms, meaning you won’t be applying misguided practices just to show up in the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).Conversion Rate OptimizationThirdly, website audits enable you re-evaluate the effectiveness of your website in terms of lead generation and conversion. As a result, you’ll be able to spot any previously overlooked opportunities to convert visitors into leads so you can add relevant CTAs, as well as identify deficiencies in your landing pages so you can optimize them to boost conversions.As you can see, assessing both the content and technical aspects of your website will open up opportunities to drastically improve the traffic and conversions your website generates.The 4 Assessments to Make When Auditing Your WebsiteLet’s talk about how to pursue each of the three benefits above, and what you should specifically be checking for in this four-part website audit.But first, enter your website into HubSpot’s Website Grader — this will give you a general overview of your website’s strengths so you can gauge your focus on each of the assessments that follow in this article.How’d you do? Got an idea of which website audit benefits you need the most? Here we go.1. Website Performance AssessmentIn the first part of your website audit, you should be focusing on how users navigate your website — from your homepage, to blog posts, to landing pages, and any related content in between.Make a list of the pages on your website and ask yourself the following questions to evaluate them for optimization opportunities: Is Your Website Optimized for Maximum Usability?The more visitors you can attract to your website, the more opportunities you’ll have to generate leads and, ultimately, customers. But only if your website performs well.As I’m sure you can imagine, just having a website does not guarantee results. As part of determining the overall efficiency of your website, your audit should check to make sure your site is designed with your visitors in mind. The design and overall navigability of your website should correspond with what a person would come to the site to seek out, such as more information on a business-related topic, resources, product/pricing information, testimonials, etc. This will largely depend on your individual business.The main goal here is to make it easy for people to get to the information they’re looking for. As a result, you’ll likely see conversion rates improve on their own.To audit your website for usability, consider the following:Are all the main value propositions of our business easily accessible via our main navigations/menu items?Do we have a simple yet intuitive website design and page layout? Make sure pages aren’t too cluttered; littered with ads, CTAs, or links; or void of internal links altogether.Are your conversion paths and/or shopping cart or checkout processes intuitive? Are there a ton of distractions along the way that could be creating friction for your site visitors?You might also consider doing some user testing with members of your target audience to ensure you’re effectively surfacing the content they’re looking for, and that they find it easy to navigate to the parts of your website they’re interested in.How Is Your Website’s Overall Speed?Are there excessive page sizes and/or long page load and server response times? Does your site go down frequently? Site speed can be impacted when image files are too large or HTML and CSS needs to be cleaned up, all of which can drastically improve your site speed.Ultimately, fast-loading and optimized pages will lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions. To quickly check a web page’s load time, download MozBar, a toolbar by Moz that you can attach to your browser for simple page analysis every time you visit a website.2. SEO AssessmentOptimizing the performance of your website is crucial to holding onto visitors, but the above question isn’t the only one you should be asking. You should also audit the content you’re publishing to ensure it’s actually solving your visitors’ problems.Is Your Website Content High Quality?As you evaluate your content for quality, think about it from your target audience’s perspective. Did this information leave me satisfied? Did it answer all of my questions? Does it give me all the resources relevant to this topic? Do I know what to do next?Keep in mind quality content should appeal to the interests, needs, and problems of your buyer personas; be interesting and well-written, provide valuable, thorough and detailed information about a particular topic; and leave the reader with next steps (such as calls-to-action, links to resources, etc.).If you’re still not sure if your content is high quality, evaluate it with this checklist:” How to Tell if Your Marketing Content Is Actually Valuable.”Is Your Website Search Engine Optimized?Make sure all your web pages are following on-page SEO best practices. To audit your content for on-page SEO, conduct a keyword analysis in which you do the following:Consult your analytics to review keyword performance. Which keywords are giving you the biggest gains in traffic and leads?Assess how well you’re factoring keyword performance into your content strategy. How much relevant content are you adding to your website to target those keywords?Review basic on-page SEO elements like URLs, page titles, meta description, and copy. Make sure keywords are included where relevant.To help you conduct an on-page SEO audit of your content, read the “Step-by-Step Guide to Flawless On-Page SEO,” which also includes a free downloadable on-page SEO template to keep you on track.3. Conversion Rate AssessmentWhile high-quality, search engine optimized content is a great way to boost your traffic numbers, it’s what happens once those visitors are on your website that really counts. Unless of course, you don’t care about conversions (ha!).Is Your Website Optimized for Lead Generation and Conversions?This is where optimized calls-to-action (CTAs), marketing offers, and landing pages play a major role in the performance of your website. Not only do they offer you opportunities to capture visitors’ information so you can follow up with leads, but they also keep your visitors engaged with your content and your brand.To audit your website for maximum conversion potential, ask yourself the following questions:How many marketing offers do I have in my content arsenal to gate behind landing pages?Do I have a variety of marketing offers that appeal to all my different buyer personas?Do I have any landing pages/conversion forms on my website to begin with? How optimized are those landing pages?Do I have conversion opportunities for visitors in varying stages of the funnel?Am I using calls-to-action effectively? Am I missing opportunities to include calls-to-action on various pages of my website?To learn more about CTA selection, check out our post, ” How to Select the Right CTA for Every Page on Your Website.”4. Technical AssessmentOnce you’ve addressed the three primary goals of a website audit, it’s time to loop in a developer or someone from your IT department for a technical evaluation. You could also hire an outside agency — just be sure to do your homework first.Keep in mind that there may be some carry-over from the three assessments above — website performance, SEO, and conversion rate. The technical evaluation, however, addresses all three to maximize the user experience (UX).Here’s what you should be looking for in the technical assessment stage of your website audit …Is Your Website Design Responsive?Does your website have a responsive design? Meaning, is it a mobile-friendly website? The usage of smartphones to access the internet is only growing. As of 2017, mobile devices account for half of all web page views worldwide. As a result, websites must be compatible with that growing demand.For more on mobile compatibility, check out our “Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering Mobile Marketing.”Is Your Website Error Message Free?Are response code errors popping up all over your website where there shouldn’t be any? Calling out 302-, 404-, and 500-level response codes can be useful to tell users that something’s wrong.However, having this happen is also an indication that someone isn’t cleaning up broken links and, as a result, leading users to dead ends. Find those error messages and clean up your broken links. Tools like Google’s Webmaster Tools or Xenu’s Link Sleuth can be very helpful for this.Are Your Website URLs Optimized?Does your site have URLs of excessive length due to keyword stuffing? Do they contain session IDs and/or include tons of dynamic parameters? In some cases, these URLs are difficult for search engines to index and result in lower clickthrough rates from search results.Learn more about SEO-friendly URL syntax practices in this helpful post from Search Engine Land.Does Your Website Have Too Much Flash or JavaScript?Identify areas of your navigation that are entirely Flash or JavaScript. Search engines have challenges reading and accessing these, which could prevent your site from getting indexed.Furthermore, these elements present problems from a usability perspective. Visitors are often looking for a very specific piece of information when visiting your site; if they have to sit through a 10-second visual introduction before they can find your hours of operation, you’re going to have a pretty frustrated visitor on your hands.Is Your Site Structure Optimized for Search Engines?We already talked about site structure as it relates to accessing content and usability for users, but it’s also important to make sure your site structure is optimal for search engines. If pages on your site are not internally linked to from other pages on your site, those pages are less likely to be indexed.Learn more about effective site structure for SEO in this Moz article.Are You Defining How Your Web Pages Are Crawled and Indexed by Search Engines?This can be done through various methods that include everything from robots files and tags, to sitemaps. These measures are a way for you to guide search engines toward your website’s most useful content.Robots Files or TagsThe robots meta tag lets you utilize a granular, page-specific approach to controlling how an individual page should be indexed and served to users in search results. These tags should sit in the section of a given page.The robots.txt file, on the other hand, is a text file that allows you to specify how you would like your site to be crawled. Before crawling a website, search engine crawlers will generally request the robots.txt file from a server. Within the robots.txt file, you can include sections for specific (or all) crawlers with instructions (“directives”) that let them know which parts should or should not be crawled.Public and XML SitemapsYour website should also have public and XML Sitemap files. The public sitemap is one that users can access to review the pages of your site, like the index of a book.The XML Sitemap is for search engines to review pages that get added to your site, all in one place. The usual location of a sitemap.xml file is www.domainname.com/sitemap.xml. The XML Sitemap is something every website should have; it offers an opportunity to tell Google and the other search engines what pages on your site you want to be crawled and indexed.While search engines don’t guarantee they will abide by your sitemap, anecdotal evidence has proven time and time again that XML Sitemaps help provide insurance that your pages are found, and found faster — especially if your sitemap(s) dynamically update your new web pages.Are You Defining Canonicalization of Content?The canonicalization of your website content is the final major technical consideration to make. To gain more control over how your URLs appear in search results, and to minimize issues related to duplicate content, it’s recommended that you pick a canonical (preferred) URL as the preferred version of the page.You can indicate your preference to Google in a number of ways. One such way is to set the Canonical Tag (rel=”canonical”) in an HTTP header of a page. Be sure to have someone check that the Canonical Tag is properly implemented across the site by making sure it points to the correct page, and that every page doesn’t point to the homepage.It’s important to establish an audit framework early on. Ask yourself questions ideally centered around gauging “How am I doing?” These questions may also include things like, “How does this compare to others, especially my competitors?”Website audits aren’t easy, especially if you’re not totally tech-savvy. For additional resources, check out this article by Distilled, which highlights a list of tools to use as you conduct your technical audit; as well as this complete site audit checklist by SEER.I also recommend passing the Google Webmaster’s Guide along to anyone implementing this kind of work. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

15 Stats That Prove You Need Mobile Email Optimization

first_img Topics: Email Marketing Metrics Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 2) Mobile now makes up the majority of email opens at 51%. (Source: Litmus)3) 68% of Gmail and Yahoo opens are coming from mobile devices. (Source: Litmus) 4) By the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion. By this time, 80% of email users are expected to access their email accounts via a mobile device. (Source: Radicati) Takeaway? Prepare mobile-friendly emails.More and more mobile users are accessing emails through their mobile devices. In order to effectively see results from your email marketing campaigns, you’ll need to ensure each of those emails is ready for reading by the 74% of smartphone owners who use their mobile phones to check email. Case #2: Businesses Aren’t Preparing for Mobile5) Only 11.84% of newsletters use responsive design techniques to optimize their layouts for mobile devices. (Source: Equinux)6) 24% of companies aren’t optimizing their email creative for mobile viewers in any way. (Source: Experian) 7) 39% of marketers have no strategy for mobile email. (Source: eConsultancy) 8) Over 95% of emails are only opened on one device. Very few users open emails on mobile first and save for desktop later. (Source: knotice)9) 70% of consumers delete emails immediately that don’t render well on a mobile device. (Source: bluehornet) Takeaway? Beat the competition with mobile optimized emails.Despite rising consumption of email on mobile devices, many businesses refuse to address this shift. The technical and expertise changes needed to become an early adopter prevents marketers from investing in a mobile email strategy. Don’t let that be you! Mobile phone owners aren’t starring emails on their phone to be read later. Once they read it once on their phone, they’re done.You can either be another unoptimized sender, or you can get on the mobile trend before the competition does and start winning deals faster through mobile. Fortunately many tools are available to show you where your email traffic is coming from, including Signals, a free email tracking tool that will show you who is opening your emails and what device they opened it on.Case #3: Mobile Emails Generate Revenue10) 56% of shoppers are likely to make a purchase via a mobile app in the next year. (Source: Adobe) 11) 69% of shoppers are influenced to make a purchase on mobile by company emails. (Source: Adobe) 12) 90% of consumers who have joined mobile loyalty programs feel they have gained value from them. (Source: Zoomerang)13) Special offers (27%), vouchers (21%), and real-time tracking (21%) are most preferred email types to receive on mobile. (Source: Edialog) 14) Nearly two-thirds of consumers subscribed to mobile marketing indicate that they have made a purchase as a result of receiving a highly relevant mobile message. (Source: Responsys)15) Mobile offers are redeemed 10X more frequently than print offers. (Source: eMarketer)Takeaway? Use mobile email content to make money. Whether you’re an ecommerce business directly generating sales from email sends or a B2B company sending a dedicated marketing offer to increase lead flow, mobile-friendly emails can benefit your bottom line. Now I’m not going to lie, optimizing for email can take some time. But investing just a little more time when preparing your mobile campaigns can go a long way in benefiting your business. center_img I don’t know about you, but when I get an email on my phone and have to squint my eyes to try and make out the words, I hit delete. The emails I’m deleting aren’t spammy, unpersonalized messages — they’re just poorly optimized for mobile. And I’m not the only person who does this.In fact, at the time of this post, 49% of poll participants on LifeHacker voted that out of the emails they receive each day, only 25 or fewer of them were spam. That was the smallest bucket that the 3,304 voters (thus far) could choose from.If only a small portion of emails received each day is actually spam, that means you have a chance to actually compete for attention in a user’s inbox. And your mobile readiness may just be what makes or breaks you.The following 13 stats explain why.Case #1: Mobile Email Usage Is Increasing1) 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check their email. (Source: Gartner) Originally published Aug 28, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

In a World Without Voicemail, What Would Happen to Sales?

first_img Inbound Sales (Marketing) Originally published Apr 16, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated September 20 2018 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: This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.Voicemail is an essential tool for salespeople. Reaching a prospect on your first call attempt is never a guarantee, so salespeople spend hours practicing and perfecting a compelling voicemail template that will hook buyers’ attention and get them to call back.Access 16 Free Sales Voicemail Script TemplatesBut what happens when leaving voicemails just … isn’t an option anymore?We’re probably years away from a voicemail-less world, but the trendlines are already starting to point away from voicemail.Coca-Cola got rid of voicemail for 94% of its employees last year.JPMorgan Chase has removed voicemail for a portion of its employees (with Citigroup and Bank of America considering following suit).Two-thirds of Americans no longer check voicemail.HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan doesn’t even have a phone at his desk.These findings suggest that, even if voicemails still exist in a number of years, they might no longer be the best or easiest way to reach buyers. While salespeople probably won’t stop leaving voicemails any time soon, it’s not a bad thing to start investing more time in getting really good at other sales techniques.What do those strategies look like? Here are four skills salespeople should make sure to perfect so that if voicemail does ever become obsolete, they’ll be ready.What to Do in a World Without Voicemail1) Write really good emails.This one’s no surprise. Email is a less interruptive method of reaching a prospect than a voicemail, since they get to decide when and if they respond. But it’s also hard to stand out — prospects get dozens, if not hundreds of emails every day, and there’s no guarantee that yours will get read.Good sales emails include a catchy subject line, compelling value proposition (i.e. a reason your prospect should respond to your email, not buy your product), and something that provides value to your prospect. And even if you think you’re better in person than through a screen, reflect on what exactly makes your voicemails so compelling — then put it in your emails!Still, writing a good email isn’t easy. You have to invest time into really researching prospects so they’re hooked by highly relevant content from the first sentence. Writing also may not come naturally to some salespeople. For more tips, check out these resources:How to Write a Sales Email: The Definitive GuideThe 14 Worst Sales Email Writing Mistakes16 Creative Email Subject Lines That Restart Stalled Conversations26 Sales Email Subject Lines That Get Prospects to Open, Read, and RespondThe LinkedIn Skim Guide: How to Research Any Buyer in 15 Minutes or Less2) Do social selling the right way.Social selling is much-hyped but also oft-criticized. It’s easy to dismiss the tecnique as so much social noise if salespeople are overly promotional and post irrelevant content. But done right, it’s an incredibly powerful way to meet buyers on their own turf and talk about the issues they care about.Research the social platforms and online forums your buyers are most likely to be active in, then join them and start participating. The key to successful social selling is to shed your salesperson identity. Instead, act as an advisor and industry expert. Provide helpful advice and link to relevant content. Only talk about your product if you are explicitly asked about it.If this seems like a foreboding amount of work to you, try starting out by just sourcing your target accounts on social media. Monitor their activity and jump in with advice where you can. Eventually, you’ll be comfortable enough with social selling to make it part of your regular routine.3) Provide value before a sale.You might traditionally think of all pre-sale activity as Marketing’s responsibility. And while marketers certainly have a huge role to play in nurturing and educating leads, salespeople have a great opportunity here as well.Whether it’s social selling (see above), creating original content, speaking at conferences, or running educational webinars, the more valuable you can make yourself to a prospect before they even think about purchasing a product, the more likely they’ll think of you and be willing to take your call when the time comes to make a decision.4) Leverage your existing network.Referrals are powerful. Salespeople who can leverage their existing networks for referrals are at an advantage. After all, you have an objective third party backing up their value proposition who your prospect presumably already knows and trusts.Salespeople leave voicemails and send prospecting emails to get an introduction. But plumbing your networks for referrals completely skips over needing to make that initial connection yourself. For more tips on setting up a referral program, check out Joanne Black’s blog post on the subject.What do you think will happen to sales if voicemail ever becomes obsolete? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

How to ‘Un-Stock’ Your Photography: 8 Examples That’ll Change the Way You Choose Photos

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Aug 22, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2019 With 46% of marketers reporting that photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies, it should come as no surprise that quality photos are in high demand.Trouble is, most commercially available photos on the internet were taken to visualize broad overall concepts rather than concrete messages. That means they can be used in all sorts of campaigns … but also end up looking generic.Think of all the photos of smiling receptionists and perfectly suited business leaders you’ve come across. These images may compete for attention, but often fail to register, simply because your customers can’t identify with them.Download the free stock photos you’ve been searching for here, no attribution required.As a marketer, you can cut through the noise by using images that more closely relate to your audience. It’s what we call “real photography” here at EyeEm: Unique captures, delightful moments, and surprising perspectives. Images that are more concrete will resonate with audiences much more powerfully since they show real life rather than staged situations.To visualize what we mean, we put together a handful of generic images alongside a ‘real’ counterpart sourced from our community of photographers. The proof is in the pictures, but we’ll let you see for yourself …(HubSpot customers — get access to 60,000 totally free Shutterstock photos right within your portal by clicking here.)Free Download: How to Use Photos in Marketing8 Examples of Authentic Imagery For Your Campaigns1) BusinessWhen it comes to business-related photos, there’s no shortage of clichés. Rather than deciding on an overly clean, generic image like the one below of the woman holding an “open” sign, dig deeper for something more authentic — something that tells a story.You’ll notice that our suggestion ties in a more personal side of business by highlighting two people working together on a project. You can see the emotion in the woman’s face, as she uses her hands to explain something to her coworker in a seemingly authentic exchange. Do This:Source: Sebastian Kopp via EyeEmNot This:Source: Pexels2) TechnologyTechnology is notoriously hard to visualize, since a concept like “connectivity” is quite abstract. Old-school stock photography usually puts people next to the tech to achieve that connection, but the results are clumsy and constructed. Or worse, they add in a weird futuristic digital overlay like the image below.Our suggestion is inspired by contemporary social media culture — and it’s more recognizable. It also features soft focus, natural lighting, and it shows a person truly interacting with the technology.Do This:Source: Moritz Otto via EyeEmNot This:Source: 123rf.com3) TravelLet’s be honest: When we the last time you went on vacation hoping to come home with a suitcase full of sand? In many cases, travel photos are just plain corny, and they lack the excitement and sense of wonder that comes with exploring new places.These days, customers’ attention can much more effectively be captured by showing the actual experience of travel, as depicted by our suggestion below. The shot shows the view from a window on an airplane. It captures that thrilling feeling of embarking on a trip — a feeling that many people can easily relate to.Do This:Source: Dina Alfasi via EyeEmNot This:Souce: 123rf.com4) HappinessAccording to one study, pictures with smiling faces can positively impact conversions. Trouble is, while picturing happiness with a simple smile might have worked in the past, it has long become a tired cliché.While the image of the group of people smiling in brightly colored shirts feels forced, our suggestion reads more natural, as it radiates a positive emotion while including an interesting element of movement. The image looks like a snapshot, taken in a genuine moment of fun and togetherness.Do This:Source: Sasha Dudkina via EyeEmNot This:Source: 123rf.com5) OfficeRepresenting an office by the tools one might (or might not) use there looks incredibly staged. It’s better to show context.In this case, the image we suggested shows a creative space of a freelancer, with a pleasing color palette to underline the tranquility and focus of the workplace. Do This:Source: @dersash via EyeEmNot This:Source: Pexels6) PhoneMost images of phones show people awkwardly handling them, presenting their devices in a way nobody in real life would. Exhibit A: The image below of a young girl holding up her phone with a blank screen. Now, notice how our suggestion sets highlights the phone without feeling forced or cheesy. The person in the image is shown using the phone in a really natural way, and it’s easy to identify with — after all, who doesn’t love taking photos of their pets?Do This:Source: Markus Spiering via EyeEmNot This:Source: Pexels7) ProductivityBeing productive isn’t about doing many things at once, as the photo on the left suggests — but about focus and a clear sense of what matters. (Check out this free guide for tips on how to be more productive.)While the stock photo below is just plain creepy, our suggestion shows a woman at work, with her focus being underlined by the headphone she wears. It also uses much softer, natural light to remind the viewer how common this activity is.Do This:Source: @jedrzej via EyeEmNot This:Source: 123rf.com8) LeadershipLeadership is all about building trust and establishing credibility. Unfortunately, leadership-inspired photos often miss the mark.The photo below portrays an artificial and thereby very conventional idea of what leadership looks like. To combat that, we choose an image that while more loosely related to the idea, manages to demonstrate the emotive aspect of leading someone.Do This:Source: Kirk Tang via EyeEmNot This:Source: 123rf.com Topics: Imageslast_img read more

A Brief History of Snapchat

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! “Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion — not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.”Snapchat CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel wrote this in the first post on the Snap Inc. — then Snapchat — blog back in 2012, when users could only send photos, and only on iOS devices. Since Spiegel’s blog post, Snapchat has already had a huge impact on social media and content marketing.Ephemeral, or disappearing, messaging has skyrocketed in popularity since Snapchat was introduced. In fact, since Snapchat’s arrival to the social media scene, Facebook and Instagram have launched their own versions of some of Snapchat’s most popular features. We’ve predicted that competition will continue to grow between Snapchat and other popular social networking apps as all the landscape continues to innovate new products to distinguish from one another.Download our free Snapchat guide to learn how to use it for your business. In this post, we’ll dive into the full history of Snapchat’s journey from photo sharing app to major social player. What Is Snapchat?Snapchat is a one-to-one and group messaging app that lets users send photo, video, and text messages that disappear after several seconds. Roughly 150 million people use Snapchat every day, and they consume around 800 hours of video per second. That’s like watching every episode of “Game of Thrones” 13 times, per second. In addition to its messaging features, Snapchat features Stories (photo or video messages that can be replayed for 24 hours), Memories (saved photos for sharing later), and stickers to embellish messages. The app has been widely adopted, especially among teenagers and Millennials: 26% of people surveyed between the ages of 12 and 24 said they used Snapchat the most, second only to Facebook.Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s dive into some of Snapchat’s major developments and achievements over the last five years — and what we might expect from five more.The History of Snapchat2011: Snapchat, then Picaboo, launchesSpiegel and his co-founder, Bobby Murphy, told Forbes that they met at Stanford University and created Picaboo, the first version of Snapchat, in the spring of 2011. They wanted to create an app that would send photos that would eventually disappear, and the initial Picaboo app was launched in the iOS App Store in July — to little fanfare.This led them to integrate a workaround solution to the screenshot problem: Users could take screenshots on their iPhones, rendering the disappearing effect of Picaboo messages useless. Instead, they built a notification so users would be able to see if someone took a screenshot of their disappearing photo.In September, Spiegel and Murphy rebranded the app as Snapchat, added the ability to caption photos, and relaunched in the iOS App Store. They focused on the app’s technological innovations more than branding and marketing to make the experience more organic and cool than traditional advertising. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s what early snaps looked like back then:Source: Forbes2012: Video arrivesIn May 2012, Spiegel wrote Snapchat’s first blog post and set the tone for what users could expect from the app in the coming years. “We’re building a photo app that doesn’t conform to unrealistic notions of beauty or perfection but rather creates a space to be funny, honest or whatever else you might feel like at the moment you take and share a Snap,” he wrote.In October, Snapchat for Android launched in the Google Play store, which helped increase its user base and contributed to the next big milestone in October. After a full year in operation, Snapchat users were sending 20 millions snaps per day, or roughly 25 snaps per second.By December, Snapchat users were sending 50 million snaps per day, and the app rolled out an update that introduced the ability to record and send 10-second videos. The best part? Instead of having to toggle between two different photo and video recording modes, as with camera phones, users could simply hold down the photo capture button to record a video.2013-2014: Stories and ChatIn October 2013, Snapchat launched Stories — an ephemeral narrative of snaps that users could post for their friends to view for 24 hours. Brands and users started using Stories to share a fuller picture of what they were up to while still maintaining the hallmark disappearing factor.In 2014, Snapchat ramped up innovation and launched a slew of new features and updates. First, it introduced Chat in May, the messenger that still featured disappearing messages via text, in addition to the ability to see when your friend was “here” in the chat window so users could start a live video chat. Next, Our Story was rolled out in June, offering Snapchat users around the world to contribute photos and videos to a public feed of snaps from popular events.Snapchat rolled out Geofilters in July that let users customize their snaps with filters and embellishments according to what city they were snapping from.October marked the beginning of Snapchat advertising, and ads started appearing in users “Recent Updates” section alongside all of their friends’ stories. Users had the option to skip viewing the ads if desired, and like other Stories, they disappeared after 24 hours. Here’s what their first ad, for the movie “Ouija,” looked like:Source: AdweekIn November, Snapchat worked with Square to create Snapcash, which allowed users to easily send and receive money directly from Snapchat into their bank accounts. Snapchat took another step into the world of monetization with Community Geofilters in December 2014. Users could create their own Geofilters or purchase branded filters for their business or sponsored event.2015: Discover and LensesIn January 2015, Snapchat started offering many new ways for advertisers to earn money from its huge audience — then roughly 75 million users. Snapchat introduced Discover, a new page easily accessible from the Snapchat home screen that featured short-form ad content from a variety of different publishers and channels like Vox, BuzzFeed, CNN, and Food Network. Here’s what it looks like in action:Next, Tap to View was introduced. Where before, users had to hold their fingers on their phone screen to view snaps, now they only had to tap once to start watching. In June, Snapchat rolled out sponsored Geofilters to advertisers who wanted to pay for brand exposure in any given location. Here’s what McDonald’s first sponsored filter looked like:Source: Los Angeles TimesIn September, Snapchat launched the next big thing for avid selfie-takers: Lenses. When users turned their cameras to be self-facing, by holding a finger down on their face, users could choose from a wide variety of Lenses to change their look. From puppy ears to barfing rainbows, selfies got a lot more creative. Check it out below:Source: SnapchatFinally, by December 2015, the Financial Times reported that Snapchat users were watching 6 billion videos per day just three years after video recording was launched on the app.2016: Memories and rebrandingThe year 2016 marked a period of tremendous change and explosive growth for Snapchat. In February, Snapchat rolled out on-demand Geofilters for the entire Snapchat community, allowing users to create filters for parties, weddings, and private events. Next, Snapchat started auto-advancing Snapchat Story plays. If a user started watching one Story and it ended, the next one would automatically begin playing.In April, Snapchat hit a huge milestone when Bloomberg reported it was generating 10 billion video views per day — 2 billion more views per day than Facebook had reported in November 2015. And by June, Snapchat had amassed 150 million daily active users — surpassing Twitter. Snapchat also rolled out more video ads in June — ads that started appearing in between friends’ Stories when users starting watching them.Snapchat Memories were introduced in July, which let users save content on their devicefor later editing and sharing. This change made content less spontaneous and more curious, leaving some marketers wondering in what direction Snapchat was headed. They also introduced a collaboration with Bitstrips to create Bitmoji, a personalized avatar Snapchat users could create and incorporate into their snaps and Stories. Here’s my “hump day” Bitmoji as a Snapchat filter:By August 2016, Snapchat’s competitors for attention in the social media space had started laying down the gauntlet. Instagram unveiled its own version of Stories, and Facebook launched filters and stickers on its photo app.In September, Snapchat rebranded, and the company was now called Snap Inc., parent to Snapchat and Spectacles, a new sunglasses product that let wearers record Snaps in circular format for 360-degree viewing. In response to less-than-favorable reactions to Snapchat Stories auto-advancing, the Story Playlist feature was launched in October. Users could now choose a group of users whose Snaps they wanted to auto-play instead of it happening by default.To add to the fanfare, eMarketer predicted that Snap Inc. would earn $1 billion in advertising revenue in the year 2017, and the introduction of its application program interface (API) certainly supported that claim. With this algorithm, Snap Inc. could sell ad space to third parties automatically instead of relying on a sales team, meaning it could now make more ad dollars, and faster.In November, Snap Inc. filed for a $25 billion initial public offering (IPO), signaling to the world that the company was ready for rapid growth and expansion in the coming years. Additionally, Instagram launched its own version of ephemeral messaging to keep competing with the friendly yellow ghost.Snap Inc.’s final Snapchat innovation in 2016 was the introduction of group messaging in December. Where users previously had to individually select the group of users they wanted to send a particular Snap to, users could now save a group of people to send messages that disappear 24 hours later — just like Stories.What’s Next for Snapchat?We think that ephemeral messaging will continue to grow in popularity, and we’re anticipating continued competition between Instagram and Snapchat, too. Advertisers are already spending more money on social media advertising than on TV ads, and we predict that platforms like Snapchat will continue innovating new ways to serve ads that are useful — and not disruptive — for their audiences.P.S. Want a peek inside our own Snapchat strategy? Follow HubSpot using the handle hubspotinc.What’s your favorite Snapchat feature? Share with us in the comments below. History of Social Media Topics: Originally published Feb 10, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated October 29 2019last_img read more