HC admits plea of Ram Rahim challenging conviction

first_imgThe Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday admitted the appeal filed by Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who is serving 20-years jail sentence, challenging his conviction by the special Central Bureau of Investigation in two counts of rape of female followers.A division bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudhir Mittal while admitting the appeal issued issued notice to the CBI.Ram Rahim’s lawyer, S.K. Garg Narvana pleaded before the court that in the wake of all the Dera properties having been attached, his client was not in a position to pay ₹30 lakh – the amount which the CBI court has asked to pay as a fine to the rape survivors. “Also my client – Gurmeet Ram Rahim has renounced the world,” he said.The court, however, directed Ram Rahim to deposit the compensation amount, within two months at a nationalised bank in the CBI Panchkula court’s name. The court said that the amount will be kept in the bank till the case is pending and would be paid only after the court’s direction.last_img read more

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Seniors to blame for India debacle: Vettori

first_imgNew Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori on Monday said senior players, including himself, will have to take the blame for the ODI debacle in India.”It’s about players standing up and performing, Vettori told ‘ONE News’ on the team’s return to the country after a 0-5 drubbing in India.”If we look at the reasons for the losses being because of selection or management structure we are absolving the players and myself included – so the players need to stand up,” said the talismanic leg-spinner, who has been leading the side since 2007.Set to take a break to nurse a sore back, Vettori rejected suggestions that his multiple roles of being a captain, selector and key all-rounder were affecting the team’s power balance.Vettori said his teammates are “comfortable” with his multiple roles but conceded that the fans might be running out of patience considering that his side has now lost 11 one-day international matches on the trot.”Yeah, of course I don’t blame them. This team is hurting itself. It’s a miserable time for New Zealand cricket,” Vettori said.”We did so well in the first couple of Test matches and then to let it all slip in the last Test and the one-day series, it hurts. And the only reason you play the game is to win and the only reason a lot of New Zealanders watch us play is to see us win.”So we have to give that to them as soon as possible or otherwise it’s going to be really upsetting to a lot of people,” he added.advertisementKiwi coach Mark Greatbatch echoed Vettori’s views and said the team is “exceptionally disappointed and embarrassed.”- With PTI inputslast_img read more

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President Pranab Mukherjee confers National Sports Awards on achievers

first_imgThe National Sports Day celebrations were special this time, and not just because there was a new head of state to hand over awards to meritorious sportspersons, coaches and adventurers.Perhaps in a reflection of India’s best medal tally and highest participation figure ever at the Olympics, the number of awardees was also the highest, and the ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan lasted close to 90 minutes as President Pranab Mukherjee honoured the best the country has to offer to the world of sports.Squash player Dipika Pallikal receives the Arjuna award from President Pranab Mukherjee. Olympic silver medallist shooter Vijay Kumar and bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt were awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, which carries a medal, a citation and Rs 7.5 lakh.”It’s the biggest award that I have received in my career. I am really excited and proud,” Vijay said.Yogeshwar added: “It is a great occasion for us and the happiest moment of our lives.”Click here to EnlargeThe Dronacharya Award was conferred upon eight coaches, including Cuban boxing guru BI Fernandez, who became the first foreigner to be honoured in this way.”I have always felt like an Indian and I’m waiting for the next award,” said the man who bowed and did a ‘namaskar’ in front of the President.India’s former national hockey coach Harendra Singh accepted the award and then took a dig at the present coaching set-up, under whose watch the national team finished 12th at the Olympics.”The coaches should be sacked,” was Harendra’s reply to a query about the team’s performance.advertisementBut there was happiness and tears of joy too at the Ashoka Hall as family members watched their kin stand shoulder to shoulder with the country’s first citizen. To some, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of the presidential estate.For others, like para athlete Deepa Malik, it was the culmination of a lifetime of hard work. The 42-year-old has battled a series of tumours in her spine, and has yet excelled in para javelin throw, discus throw, and shot put, in addition to being a keen rallyist and adventurer.”This award isn’t an honour for me, but a recognition for the entire para athletes’ community,” she said after the gathering had offered thunderous applause to receive her and visually challenged athlete Ramkaran Singh.London Olympians such as archers Deepika Kumari and Bombayla Devi, runners Sudha Singh and Kavita Raut, shuttlers Ashwini Ponnappa and Parupalli Kashyap, boxer Vikas Krishan, hockey star Sardar Singh, shooters Annu Raj Singh and Joydeep Karmakar, weightlifer Soniya Chanu and wrestlers Narsingh Pancham Yadav and Geeta Phogat received the Arjuna Award.Incidentally, the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy for the best sports university was not conferred this year. Sources said there were some doubts raised over the way points were awarded for participation in addition to winning merit places, and that the committee would rethink the matter before arriving at a decision.The Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has won this award 21 times since it was instituted in 1956-57.last_img read more

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Ravi Shastri backs Royal Challengers Bangalore to win IPL final

first_imgWith just over a few hours to go for the high-octane Indian Premier League final, all eyes will be on the M Chinnaswamy Stadium which will host the exciting clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad. (Royal Challengers Bangalore favourites against Sunrisers Hyderabad) Former India captain Ravi Shastri, speaking to India Today Television before the humdinger, has put his money on the Virat Kohli-led outfit. (Full IPL Coverage) Led by run-machine Kohli, a red-hot Bangalore will be hoping to get the monkey off their back after failing to win in both their previous attempts – 2009 and 2011 – and also relish the opportunity of bagging their maiden IPL trophy in front of a vociferous home crowd. ‘WANT RCB TO WIN’ “It is tough game, one of the toughest games you can ever get. If you ask me which team I want to win, I would say Royal Challengers Bangalore because they have never won before and they punched regularly, semi-finals, finals but never gone past the final hurdle. I want a new team to win it. Sunrisers Hyderabad haven’t won it either but a Hyderabad team has won it before,” Shastri said. (Also read: Sunrisers Hyderabad ready for Virat Kohli challenge, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar) On the other hand, having managed to reach the play-offs just once in their debut season in 2013, Hyderabad will bank on their bowling prowess and skipper David Warner, who single-handedly pulled off an improbable four-wicket victory against Gujarat Lions in the second qualifier on Friday. Like Bangalore, Hyderabad have also found an inspiring leader in Warner, who is next to Kohli in the highest run-getters’ list with 779 runs from 16 games, including eight fifties so far. (Watch: AB de Villiers, guitar in hand, sweeps his wife off her feet) “Hyderabad are one of the strongest teams in the IPL because unlike a lot of other teams, they have got batting, they have got firepower but they have got probably the best bowling attack in the entire league and that’s why they have been consistent. “They have beaten good teams on the way and when the pressure was at its highest – in the playoffs – they rose to the occasion. They have got one game left. So, never count them out. They have someone like David Warner at the top who I think is probably the most improved played in the world across all formats. I think they have got a lethal weapon,” Shastri added. KOHLI vs WARNER Shastri said both Kohli and Warner are two of the best batsmen in world cricket right now and have a lot of similarities in their game that will make the IPL final a “fantastic match-up”. “Two serious heavyweights in world cricket and across all formats and both are pretty similar. They ages might be similar, the transition they have made from one format to the other over the last two years has been phenomenal. (Also Read: David Warner targets Virat Kohli in IPL final to defuse RCB’s batting)  “One a left hander on top of the order, one No. 3 or in the middle order, both pretty similar. If you look at their personalities as well, their body language on the field; if you look at the depth they have in their batting, they have so many similarities and above all both play to win. “Both are serious competitors, they want to win the highest things, they want to perform at the highest level and which makes for a fantastic matchup. Both have incredible respect for each other, both are match winners, both can take the game away from the opposition. Warner at the top of the order is much like Matthew Hayden and Virender Sehwag were in the last 15 years.advertisement”Someone as explosive at the top in all formats is a lethal weapon and RCB will be fully aware of that, they know what the wicket of Warner can do inside the first six-seven overs, it could make a massive difference,” he said.last_img read more

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Starting the 2030 Agenda Off Right: Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

first_imgWhether preserving a forest, changing the tax code, or approving a new medical treatment, the impacts of government choices spill over into other arenas. Sometimes this is a bonus: improving girls’ education pays economic and environmental dividends, while public transit doesn’t just reduce congestion, it can help cut down on air pollution and encourage healthy physical activity. However, policies can also work at cross-purposes: many countries with ambitious plans for renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions still heavily subsidize the use of fossil fuels. The key question is how to foster sustainable development, within and among different countries, while avoiding policies that cancel each other out.Last year, 193 countries agreed on 17 ambitious, universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This transformative agenda brings together the ingredients for development that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. However, no individual goal can be achieved without help from the others, so countries must holistically embrace the SDGs. An essential tool to assist countries this year as they prepare their plans to implement the agenda is a concept known as policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD).What’s New? SustainabilityThe idea of policy coherence for development is not new: for over a decade, this concept has urged national governments to reflect on how their policies affect poor people outside their borders. For example, a country’s domestic agricultural policies to support local farmers can undermine that same country’s efforts to improve the lives of farmers abroad. So coherent policies for development are essential, but they don’t go far enough to achieve the 2030 Agenda because they do not necessarily consider environmental impacts that can reverse progress.By adding sustainability to the concept of policy coherence, national policymakers must work across the three dimensions of sustainable development – environmental, social and economic – to confront domestic and international inconsistencies head on and change the way they operate. Doing so necessitates collaboration across a greater range of policy areas, ensuring that disparate government ministries are working together. Rather than policy making in isolation, they have to consider synergies, trade-offs as well as the transboundary impact of their policies, and how to engage with civil society, towards global sustainable development.The SDGs are a built-in laboratory for policy coherence for sustainable development, because so many of the goals and targets are intertwined. Let’s say a country aims to halt deforestation by 2020 as specified in Goal 15. Doing so supports the climate change targets under Goal 13, but it requires the strong governance structures called for in Goal 16, a shift to sustainable levels of consumption and production as set out in Goal 12, the implementation of policies to improve food security under Goal 2, and energy access called for in Goal 7. As countries approach the 17 SDGs, they will need to assess where current policies support or impinge on progress towards sustainable development – both at home and abroad – and make some tough choices.Getting on BoardAchieving policy coherence is a complex task, but a wide range of countries are leading the way. Sweden’s Policy for Global Development requires regular reports on progress toward greater coherence, and all ministries have been directed to formulate SDG action plans that take PCSD into account. Colombia has mapped the SDGs to its national policies to identify where institutional and policy changes are needed. Indonesia requires that all ministries demonstrate how their policies will advance the government’s overarching Green Planning and Budgeting Strategy. And when work started on Uganda’s Second National Development Plan, the National Planning Authority (NPA) announced its intention to fully integrate the SDGs once adopted. Still, we will need more to build momentum.Governments must change existing models of decision-making, giving and receiving aid, and governance to transform how our interdependent economies, societies and ecosystems function. Many countries have formed representative bodies composed of multiple ministries to stimulate discussion on how to implement development plans in line with the SDGs. That is an important step, but there is a critical need to go beyond sharing information, and work collectively towards common goals. Aligning national policies with international frameworks is difficult – and some countries will showcase their early progress at the United Nations this July – but without this alignment, we will lose a once-in-a-generation opportunity to integrate sustainability into development. There’s no time like the present to leave no one behind, now or in future generations.WRI will analyze what success looks like, what we can learn from failures, and highlight these early experiences to build a knowledge base of what it takes for governments to coherently, cohesively make the transition to the 2030 Agenda. We are organizing an auditorium panel session on June 16 at this year’s European Development Days in Brussels, and a ministerial side event on July 18 during the High-Level Political Forum in New York, to discuss initial findings.last_img read more

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Meet Objective-Based Ad Buys: Facebook’s New Consultative Ad Dashboard

first_imgPage Post Engagement Originally published Oct 8, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 App Engagement Event Responses Website Conversions App Installs Facebook Advertising Then, based on your objective, Facebook makes recommendations on which types of ads you should create to meet that objective. Facebook gives an example of a Page post link ad that could be recommended to drive clicks to your website, for instance.After you select your objective and ads you want to run, Facebook’s Ads Manager will display the chosen objective, the number of times it was met, and the cost per stated objective. Basically, Facebook’s new tool turns it into a consultative resource for marketers so you can optimize and assess your ads’ business impact from the get-go. Pretty sweet, huh?According to Facebook, this update should be live, but at the time of publishing, we haven’t seen this roll out to our accounts. So keep checking back to see if you have the new layout soon.Why Marketers Should CareCool! So now Facebook is helping you set up goals and track your success — this seems like a no-brainer news story. This means all of us marketers can sit back and let the social network drive our ad campaigns … right? Wrong. While this new feature is exciting and helpful, we can’t take our hands off the wheel just yet. Be careful not to extrapolate the advertising data to the rest of your marketing activities. For example, if you are using multiple data sources, you might find that Facebook’s Ads Manager metrics show that links drive clicks while your Facebook Page organic posts’ links don’t. So be sure that you’re supplementing the objective-based ad data with other information to get a robust picture of your marketing’s success. Besides that one caveat, this update seems like a very helpful feature that will help Facebook Advertisers create ads the inbound way — something that we can’t help but celebrate. What do you think of this update? How would you use this new feature in your marketing? Leave your ideas in the comments below!center_img Topics: When I created my first Facebook ad ever, I had no clue what I was doing. I picked target demos at random (The more people who see my ad, the better!) and barely considered the difference between CPM and CPC. All I knew was that my boss asked me to make a Facebook ad — now — and it was my duty to get it up as fast as possible. No goals, no objectives, no metrics even entered my thought process.And I know I’m not the only person who has been confused by Facebook advertising — heck, we’ve even written a whole ebook trying to quell some of that confusion. I’m not surprised that people are so concerned about getting their Facebook ads right — their budgets and jobs are on the line if those ads don’t drive positive business results. Luckily, now, it’s going to be a lot easier for the average marketer like myself to advertise on Facebook. Today, Facebook announced a brand new way for marketers to create and measure ads. Now, people can create and measure ads all based on one goal, which Facebook deems “objective-based ad buying and reporting.” I know that’s a lot of jargon in one sentence, so let me break down how the new tool works. Objective-Based Ad Buying: DecodedBasically, when you go to create a new ad, you’ll be asked about which objective you want to accomplish with your Facebook ads. You can choose among these: Page Likes In-store Offer claims Clicks to Website Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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Go Beyond Good Enough: How to Delight Your Customers

first_img Topics: Customer Delight The inbound methodology is focused on three principles: attract, engage, delight.At its core, the inbound experience is a customer-focused way of doing business that is centered on helping people and solving their problems in the ways they want them to be solved.  Marketing and Services drive the “attract” stage that draws customers to your business. Marketing and Sales then “engage” the lead and motivate them to convert. Finally, Sales and Service complete the flywheel by delighting the customer with a great purchase and fantastic customer support.Sounds simple, right?Well, not quite. In a truly successful inbound organization, customer “delight” is everyone’s responsibility — not just those people your customers may come into contact with after buying something from you.The concept of delight — providing a remarkable experience to users that focuses on their needs, interests, and wishes that leaves them so satisfied, they can’t help but go out and sing the praises of your brand — isn’t just limited to customers. Great inbound companies focus on delighting potential and existing customers from their very first interactions with the organization — and you should, too.Start solving for the customer today with these 17 templates. Customer Delight DefinitionCustomer delight is exceeding a customer’s expectations to create a positive customer experience with a product or brand. By going above and beyond to create a memorable customer experience with things like discounts, gifts, promotion, or spontaneous outreach to your customers, you can foster an emotional connection and sense of good-will that will make them more likely to be loyal to your brand long-term.Creating an inbound experience whose goal is both pre- and post-sale customer delight can be a competitive advantage for many businesses because happy customers stick around longer than those who have a neutral or negative experience. Simply put, customer delight is to please your customer. Sounds easy, right? But in the context of business, how do you really please someone?In such a competitive modern business world, you can’t afford not to make your customers happy. It’s easier than ever for your customer to switch using products or services if you don’t meet their expectations, and they can publicly share their negative feedback about their experiences on platforms like social media, Yelp, and Google Reviews. Their expectations are tougher than ever, and their recommendations to family and friends are the difference between your business growing or struggling.In fact, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that it costs businesses 6-7x more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. But despite that fact, only 7% of consumers say that their service experiences with a company exceed their expectations The writing is on the wall: Successful inbound organizations don’t just focus on attracting qualified visitors, converting them into leads, and closing them into customers. Instead, they aim to provide an all-encompassing remarkable inbound experience for potential and current customers, too.We advocate for doing four things consistently well during the customer’s experience to delight them and keep them coming back:Answering their questionsSolving their problemsHelping them reach their goalsBeing enthusiasticDo you do all four of these things exceptionally well, across every single interaction a person has with your business? These delight moments can range from someone visiting your blog, to someone checking out your website’s pricing page, to chatting with a salesperson, to figuring out how to use your product for the first time, to asking for help using your product, and everything in between.Customer success is all about helping customers see value in your product to help them achieve their goals. So think of customer delight like this: how can you best, most effectively provide value to someone so that they can extract value?Creating a great customer experience means that you’re building trust with people so that they stay loyal to your brand and products for a long time. You build trust with people by consistently making the people you’re here to serve successful. Let’s discuss the four must-haves to delighting and building trust with your customers.How to Delight Your CustomersSolve customers’ problems.Be timely.Be helpful.Help customers succeed.Listen to customer feedback.Be enthusiastic.Be unexpected.Build a community.  1. Solve customers’ (and potential customers’) problems.The first (and perhaps most important) thing your organization needs to do is solve the problems your potential and current customers bring your way. Offering your customers a solution to the problem they face or a way to achieve the goal they’re working towards is, after all, why they’ve come to you in the first place — so don’t leave them hanging. Offer your customers the solutions that most align with their individual wishes, needs, and preferences.The same goes for prospects. Even though they aren’t paying customers just yet, potential customers require that you solve their problems as well. You can use free tools like chatbots and a knowledge base to address this customer segment without making a major financial investment.The reasoning here is multifold and gets back to the golden rule: help people and they’ll help you. If you can prove to your prospects that you’re trustworthy and effective when they’re not yet even paying, they’ll be much more likely to want to do business with your organization down the road. All that goodwill generated pre-sale goes a long way towards easily transforming customers into positive promoters post-sale.2. Be timely.A critical aspect of solving problems is responding to them ASAP when they crop up, so a big component of customer delight is being available and responsive whenever they reach out. Whether the issue is big or small, show your customers that you’re prioritizing them by responding quickly. Even if you can’t solve the issue right away, letting them know that you’re working on it or escalating it will give your customers confidence that you’re their advocate.Adopting a customer relationship management software, or CRM, is a great way to start managing customer interactions. Using a CRM, you can record and log emails, as well as set up reminders to follow up with clients. Tools that are set up for conversational marketing can sync your customer service cases to your CRM. This allows you to keep pace with all customer communications and provide a more delightful customer experience.3. Solve for the present and the future.Solving your prospects’ and customers’ problems is great in the short term, but what will happen next time they encounter a similar problem or are looking to accomplish a related goal? Going beyond just solving peoples’ problem and handing over information helps them deal with similar challenges down the road.Empowering both potential and existing customers with education, making recommendations, and helping them succeed are essential to building an inbound experience at your organization. For example, HubSpot offers an academy program that provides free inbound and product lessons for its customers. The benefits of enabling people to reach their goals and solve their problems instead of just arming them with facts are far-reaching for both your organization and the individual themselves.If your prospects and customers get a constant, positive reminder of your company each time they use your advice and recommendations, your company will become known as a helpful, remarkable organization that customers want to do business with. You can achieve this by writing blog posts, sharing tips on social media, and creating a self-service knowledge base.4. Help customers succeed.Make sure you understand why people are buying your product or service so that you can figure out how to help them succeed. By understanding what people need from a product or service, your team can exceed customer expectations. Creating buyer personas and mapping customer journeys are two effective ways to build this type of focus on customer success. You need to be constantly innovating your products, your processes and the overall customer experience to truly delight people. Innovation can be large-scale, like a new product or a whole new way to get help with your product. It can also be on a smaller scale, like how you train new employees to handle customer questions or the content formats you’re using to help people see value in your product.The other thing you need to be focused on doing well is providing education to people and communicating with people in a way that gets them answers to questions and solutions to problems. You should also be helpful the way your customers want to achieve their goals — whether that’s through multichannel customer service options or a self-service knowledge base.5. Listen to customer feedback.It can be tough to take critical feedback, especially if it’s coming from a customer you’ve built a relationship with. But sometimes the feedback from a customer you’ve known a long time can be the most valuable.So if a customer comes to you with a complaint, or even if they come to you ripping you and your company apart, take a breath, don’t take it personally, and listen closely to what’s behind the complaints. Remember, your customer has likely paid your company a lot of money over the time you’ve worked together, so when things break or go wrong, they want the inconvenience to be understood and acknowledged with empathy — and maybe with a discount or kind note thanking them for their patience.One way to effectively manage difficult feedback is to provide automated software to collect it. Customer feedback software allows you to create and customize surveys that can be linked to the customer’s record in the CRM. This gives your customer service team time to research the customer’s history with your company, and come up with an effective response before reaching back out.   6. Be enthusiastic.Make sure that in every interaction with potential and current customers, your company’s voice is enthusiastic, fun, and welcoming. Precisely what ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘fun’ mean for your organization depends on your particular business and industry, but the take-home message is this: if you want to create an inbound experience that truly delights, don’t be a dictionary — instead, provide a real, warm, personalized, human interaction that respects your user’s time and leaves them happy, satisfied, and educated.7. Be unexpected.If you want your company to stand out from its competitors, then it needs to make a lasting impression on your customers. While your primary goal is to solve the customer’s problem, you can create a memorable experience by giving the customer more than what they initially anticipated. Customers expect to see their needs fulfilled, but are truly delighted when your team goes above-and-beyond in the customer experience.  You can do this by personalizing each customer interaction, and ingraining a customer-centric culture within the company. For example, personalization software can be used in emails and on web pages to make content feel like it was designed for an individual user. By creating one-of-a-kind customer experiences, your business has a better chance of improving overall customer loyalty.8.  Build a community.People enjoy the feeling of belonging to a community or group. Your company can supplement this positive feeling by creating a user community that benefits your customers. This community can be used as a resource for sharing useful information or act as a medium for users to submit customer reviews. By fostering a space for customers to interact with one another, your business is adding value to the customer experience both before and after the purchase. When considering a purchase, customers primarily trust other customers, so they can use this sponsored community forum to help guide their decisions.Take HubSpot’s community for example, where HubSpotters can post and share questions about different HubSpot products. HubSpotters are great at finding unanticipated uses for certain tools, and often share these discoveries on the forum for other users’ benefit. HubSpot’s engineers love this as well because they use this feedback to guide product development for future add-ons.To learn more, read our ideas for demonstrating customer appreciation.center_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 Feb 13, 2019 6:02:00 PM, updated February 19 2019last_img read more

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5 Surprising Studies on What People Consider “Good” Customer Service

first_img1. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel CompanySource: The Ritz-CarltonThe Ritz-Carlton’s service policies are so legendary, stories of satisfied customers have even made it into books — like this one.In it, customer experience expert and author John DiJulius describes the story of his stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel — when he unknowingly left something behind in his guest room.I left The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota in such a rush for the airport that I forgot my laptop charger in my room. I planned to call when I got back into my office, but before I could, I received a next-day air package from The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. In it was my charger, with a note saying, ‘Mr. DiJulius, I wanted to make sure we got this to you right away. I am sure you need it, and, just in case, I sent you an extra charger for your laptop.” The note was signed by Larry K. Kinney, in Loss Prevention.'”If this customer service story sounds over-the-top good, it’s not. Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to exceptional customer service is so strong that any employee is independently authorized to spend up to $2,000 per day to improve guest experience. That’s right — whether an employee works at the reception desk, in the restaurant, or cleaning hotel rooms, they can independently decide to make a guest’s experience exceptional — as was the case in the example above.In an interview with Forbes, The Ritz-Carlton Group President and COO, Herve Humler, describes the organization’s key to making customer service so stellar: employee engagement. Humler noted,I believe in the power of recognition and empowerment leading to great employee engagement. And employee engagement is critical to guest engagement.”Ritz-Carlton is committed to excellent service, and its mission — “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” — serves to reinforce and promote employee engagement in their day-to-day work to look for moments when they can transform a customer’s experience.Customer Service Takeaway: Employee empowerment is critical to achieving good outcomes for your customers. The first step toward employee empowerment is engagement: Make customer service part of your mission, and make your mission a part of everything your organization does. Then, structure and incentivize your team so employees can work independently to solve customer problems and think creatively.And if you don’t have $2,000 per day in your budget, you can still empower customer service reps with strategies like:Measuring qualitative and quantitative feedback, and not just how many cases or tickets they resolve in a given dayFreeing up employee time off the phones or the queue to conduct research, analyze data, create processes, or work on other projects to have greater impactDevote creative or monetary resources to helping employees create moments to delight your customer with handwritten thank-you notes, small swag gifts, or discount codes2. WistiaVideo Hosting for Business | WistiaOur friends over at Wistia — a video hosting and analytics platform — believe in the power of video to help tell company stories. And that isn’t just restricted to marketing videos and social media content — Wistia uses videos to provide great customer service, too.Wistia team members create personalized how-to videos and individualized thank-you notes to help customers and demonstrate how to use different aspects of the software using a visual medium.It makes sense for a video hosting brand to use videos when helping customers, but it’s also helpful for the customers themselves, too. As Harper, a Customer Happiness team member at Wistia says,When it comes to communicating technical concepts or processes, videos are the best.””Even if I can explain something clearly with words,” he says, “it’s totally different to be able to show someone how few steps it takes to get from point A to point B. Realistically, eyes will gloss over a wall of text.”That’s how Wistia has seen such success in achieving good customer service — by showing, rather than telling, customers how to troubleshoot, they can learn more effectively and remember solutions better than reading an email or hopping on a phone call.Customer Service Takeaway: Don’t feel restricted to phone calls to provide exceptional customer service. Instead, use technology to deliver support in the medium that makes the most sense. Tools like screenshots, GIFs, and videos can go a long way toward explaining a tricky concept, and they don’t need to be fancy to work. Tools like Jing, Awesome Screenshot, LICEcap, QuickTime Player, and even your own smartphone or webcam can be used to create helpful resources customers can refer to again and again.And, of course, if you’re a HubSpot customer, you can integrate with Wistia to create and host video using its neat software.3. Warby ParkerSource: Warby ParkerDisclaimer: I wear Warby Parker glasses.But I’m not the only who favors the brand — Warby Parker has revolutionized the pricey glasses industry and made itself a beloved brand, thanks to its affordable frames and home try-on program.One of Warby Parker’s most famous customer service stories is a very unique case: A customer abandoned a pair of glasses on a train and got home to find his glasses and a replacement pair waiting for him — thanks to his seatmate on the train, former Warby Parker General Counsel, Anjail Kumar.Source: ForbesThis is fantastic customer service — but it’s obviously hard to replicate on an everyday basis. Some of the bigger customer service lessons can be drawn from Warby Parker’s mission and business model.Upon arriving at Warby Parker’s website, visitors can immediately take a quiz — which is a) fun, and b) get customers excited about the variety of glasses types they can choose from. From there, visitors can browse the selection of frames, and they can choose five options to try on, free of charge, at home. From there, customers can completely customize frames and lenses to suit their needs — all the while saving money compared to a traditional eyeglasses retailer.All of these options make customers loyal — and not only do they keep buying, but they recommend Warby Parker to friends: When Warby Parker sends customers glasses to try on, they recommend sharing selfies on Instagram using the hashtag #WarbyParkerHomeTryOn to get opinions (and, of course, to spread the word with friends).Customer Service Takeaway: Everyone likes options — especially when it comes to fashion. Give your customers options — from the first moment they interact with your brand. Whether this means creating interactive quizzes, offering free demos or trials, or sending backup products, give customers a chance to “try on” your products and learn more about you.If policy decisions are outside of your pay grade, give people options when you’re on the customer service front lines.Ask customers how they like to be contacted, and provide service in the mode that works best for them.Decide with customers if they want to be proactively contacted on a regular basis, or if they want to reach out to you when they need help.It’s nice to have options — so use technology and be flexibility to provide them to customers.4. BasecampSource: BasecampI recently heard from Kristin Aardsma, who works in customer support at Basecamp, at Support Driven’s SDX 2017. She spoke about Basecamp’s customer support team — more specifically, how the team readjusted how it measured success to reduce employee stress and turnover and achieve better outcomes for customers.Part of Basecamp’s solution to solving for the customer and making sure it could staff its customer support team to capacity was creating time in the workday for research, innovation, and creativity. To that end, customer support reps spend two hours per day off the phone lines and away from the queue — and they re-dedicate that time toward other projects. Employees have more opportunities for company-wide impact by collecting research, analyzing data, identifying patterns and trends, and working on projects and processes to achieve better results.Two hours per day, or 10 hours per week, might sound like a lot, but it paid off for Basecamp. Employees weren’t burning out due to overload and stress, and Basecamp wasn’t over capacity and unable to solve customer problems because team members were happier.Customer Service Takeaway: Time spent away from the queue isn’t time wasted — so make sure to dedicate time during your week to identifying patterns, analyzing data, and creating processes to work more efficiently. When you’re burning through tickets or on the phones non-stop all day, it can be hard to step away, but front-line customer service insights and feedback can help your organization, so make sure to collect and share them.Dedicate time each week to reviewing what went wrong, what went well, feedback you receive from customers, and common themes you can identify and surface to your team. You’ll be able to do your job better and help others improve, too.5. GlossierSource: GlossierSkincare and makeup brand Glossier is hailed as an industry disruptor for preaching “skincare first, makeup second,” but its customer-centric business model and customer service team are disruptive, too.CEO and co-founder Emily Weiss explains that she built Glossier around the crowdsourced opinions of real women about the beauty and skincare products they loved — and the ones they wanted, too. By reading and engaging with readers on her blog and on social media, she built a brand that was about affordable skincare and beauty products that made women feel good to use.And that social media savvy and crowdsourcing prowess hasn’t faded from view since Glossier has grown bigger and bigger — in fact, it’s still the guiding philosophy when Glossier brings new products to market, like when it launched its first sunscreen last year after calls from customers to create a product that wasn’t sticky and didn’t smell like sunblock. Weiss told Entrepreneur that she received “so many DMs from people on Instagram writing to say, ‘Thank you so much for listening; we’ve been waiting for this moment.'” Most of the products Glossier offers are made vegan and cruelty-free in another example of the brand listening to and immediately implementing customer feedback.Glossier’s customer service department, otherwise known as the gTEAM, are responsible for collecting and responding to customer comments and messages on social media, and creating individualized experiences with each engagement. Perhaps that’s why the team is a team within the marketing department, and why they’re called “editors” — because content creation is a big part of Glossier’s customer service strategy. With likes, retweets, emoji-decorated DMs, and blog posts, Glossier strives to make each piece of content engaging and authentic to the brand.For example, here’s an email I received from the gTEAM after making one of many recent purchases:The emails were clearly written by a real person, and they feature analytics and feedback tools to get quantitative numbers to support the qualitative feedback editors receive, too. This simple act of proactive outreach and help was helpful and memorable for me as a customer, and it ensured that Glossier would solve a problem I was having with the product before I got frustrated and complained.Customer Service Takeaway: It’s not enough to acknowledge and respond to every piece of incoming customer feedback if you’re not listening to what your customers are saying. Make sure you’re responding to customer feedback, but also make sure your team is identifying and communicating any recurring trends to your company’s leadership and product teams so you’re able to consistently meet customer expectations and fulfill their needs.6. LyftSource: LyftRide-hailing app Lyft succeeds in the customer service space by making its customers proud by putting its money where its mouth is toward values and causes customers truly care about.For example, Lyft recently announced its commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of the millions of car rides it provides every day by declaring all of its rides to be carbon neutral, thanks to its voluntary purchase of carbon offsets. According to Pew Research Center, majority populations in 40 countries rate climate change as a serious problem, and a median of 78% of people surveyed globally support the idea of limiting carbon emissions.And in 2017, Lyft donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in response to the introduction of an executive order that restricted immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries to the United States — and act a majority of Americans opposed. Lyft condemned the executive order, writing in an email to customers:”Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”Wherever you stand on these important issues, it’s undeniable that Lyft’s customers care about these topics all over the world. Lyft is doing work that’s important to its customers with initiatives like those described above, and Round Up & Donate, its program that lets customers round up the price of their rides and donate the extra change to the charitable organization of their choosing (the ACLU is one cause).Customer Service Takeaway: An important facet of customer service that can be difficult to measure is standing for the values that are important to your customers. Customers take pride in supporting businesses that represent them — and two-thirds of consumers thought it was important for brands to take a stance on social and political issues — so companies shouldn’t be afraid to serve customers in big-picture ways that make them proud to support them, which will encourage them to share and refer their friends and colleagues. Even if you don’t have the budget for a $1 million donation like Lyft, getting customers involved with and excited about fundraising and charity partnerships can go a long way towards fostering loyalty.7. Whirlaway SportsWhirlaway Sports is a running apparel and equipment store located in northern Massachusetts. It differentiates itself from competitors through its above-and-beyond customer service experience.  And, that’s not just my opinion. Facebook rated the company 4.8 out of five stars while Yelp gives it a five out of five-star rating. Here’s why Whirlaway Sports is different. They guide you through every step of the buyer’s journey. For example, I went there to purchase a pair of running shoes.Another disclaimer: I never purchase running shoes. I’m more of an athlete who begrudgingly chose running. So, when I needed a pair of shoes I went on Yelp and found Whirlaway Sports. The reviews didn’t let me down as I was greeted immediately as I walked into the store. I told them I needed shoes and they paired me with one of their running specialists. This rep knew his stuff. He asked me about my running style, where I ran, how often I would run. Then we talked about price range and brand preferences. They even had a high-tech foot scanner that analyzed my feet to match for potential inserts. It was clear that every step of the experienced was planned and detailed.And, to really go above-and-beyond, the rep knocked the price down because he knew the shoes I chose were going on sale the following week. He didn’t have to mention that, but it was clear he was focused on my goals, not getting me out of the store. Customer Service Takeaway: It doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-billion-dollar company or a local business, your service should be consistent throughout the entire customer experience. Even though Whirlaway is a small business, they’ve made their mark through committing to the customer’s goals. This, in turn, produces loyal customer advocates who willingly refer new leads to the business. 8. LegoThere are many reasons why Lego has been around since the early 1930s, and customer service is definitely one of them. From the friendly staff to the painless self-service experiences, Lego has stood out with its product and service offerings.Ever order a Lego set and found that a tiny, yet instrumental piece was missing? Lego offers a missing-pieces service which delivers bricks that are accidentally left out during packaging. Additionally, when the piece is delivered it’s accompanied by a personalized apology from the company. This proactive customer service feature helps users overcome a common roadblock and prevent potential churn. Even if the piece was lost after packaging, Lego may still replace your order. Like with Luka Apps, who lost his toy during a shopping trip. He wrote this letter below and sent it to Lego’s customer service department. Source: Help ScoutAnd, probably while wiping a tear from their eyes, Lego’s customer service agent played along and sent this message in return. Source: Help ScoutCustomer Service Takeaway: With one free giveaway, Lego obtained two lifetime customers. Luka will obviously be thrilled with his new toys and will recall this experience whenever he thinks of Lego. But, Luka’s father will also remember this positive interaction and will probably spend more money with Lego in the future. By giving away some free products now, the company is investing in a profitable, long-term relationship down the road. This is how historic companies like Lego have been able to stay in business for decades. 9. Santa Cruz BicyclesSanta Cruz Bicycles manufactures and sells high-quality off-road bicycles. Its bikes are known for their high-performance and its customers deeply care about the technology that they’re riding. But, the bike’s performance isn’t the only feature that Santa Cruz customers love. They’re loyal to the company because its service and support teams match the quality of its products. Customers can trust that any problem they have with a bike will be solved swiftly and with excellent service. Kyle Harder, Santa Cruz Rider Support Lead, noted in an interview with HubSpot that, “What sets us apart as a company is that we want to deal with anyone that owns our product, regardless of where you bought it. If you have an issue with a Santa Cruz Bike and come to us with your issue, we’ll help you resolve your issue.”And, Kyle wasn’t just talking about problems with the bike. The company is also focused on removing long-term roadblocks from the customer experience. For example, when the business was first starting out, it experienced a sudden growth. Customers loved the bicycles and the demand for the product rose beyond what Santa Cruz’s service team could support. Agents were working tirelessly and the team’s email inbox nearly reached capacity. Recognizing this flaw in its service experience, Santa Cruz adopted customer service tools to aid its support team. Reps started recording data on customer issues and highlighted problems that were most common with their customer base. They created a shared inbox with an email alias so customers could easily contact the support team. They also created a customer feedback loop so they could collect and share customer reviews to the entire organization. Customer Service Takeaway: When your company experiences growth, it can sometimes create unexpected problems that pop up down the road. If these issues are left unchecked, they can become a detriment to the customer experience and halt your business’s success. Santa Cruz recognized a potential flaw and acted immediately. They adopted customer service tools to ease the pressure on its support team while simultaneously improving the customer experience. That way, reps weren’t being overworked and had the time and energy to provide excellent customer service. Additionally, Santa Cruz used its new tools to conduct reporting as well. This allowed the company to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction while its customer base continued to grow. Even though more customers were interacting with the business, each interaction still felt genuine and personalized because of the customer data Santa Cruz had gathered.To learn more about good customer service, read these customer service quotes next. Good Customer Service Examples The Ritz-Carlton Hotel CompanyWistiaWarby ParkerBasecampGlossierLyftWhirlaway SportsLego One bad customer service experience can swear you off a product forever.But one exceptional experience, on the other hand, can turn you into a lifelong and loyal brand advocate.Download Now: New Research on the State of Customer Service in 2019More than half of U.S. consumers express loyalty by recommending brands to family and friends, and almost half of those consumers stay loyal to those recommended brands. And brand loyalty is important — because almost half of consumers spend more with brands they’re loyal to.So, how can brands actually earn the loyalty of customers? How can customer service professionals consistently delight and empower customers so they not only keep coming back, but they refer family and friends to become customers, too? Customer Code: Creating a Company Customers Love from HubSpotTo answer this question, we’ve curated a list of B2B and B2C brands that are established as industry leaders — and that deliver exceptional customer service. And because no two brands are created equal, we’ve distilled lessons and wisdom from each story that any customer service professional or brand can apply to their own strategies today.But, before we dive into those examples, we need to set a baseline for what “good” customer service is. What is good customer service?Good customer service is different from company to company, but the key characteristics of good customer service include: a rapid response time to service requests, responding to all customer feedback (positive or negative), self-service help documents, and a frictionless process for getting in touch with support. In addition to the ones listed above, let’s break down the six most common characteristics of good customer service teams. 1. Rapid Response TimesCustomers are always looking for fast solutions. In fact, 66% of adults say that the most important thing a company can do is value their time. This means your team needs to focus on efficiency and develop a workflow that streamlines different support functions. Consider adopting a help desk as this tool can manage and automate a variety of service tasks.2. Customer Feedback Collection and AnalysisSince customer needs vary from industry to industry, good customer service looks different depending on the type of business you’re running. The best customer service teams use feedback collection tools to identify the specific needs of their customer base and create personalized solutions for them.Rather than assuming you know what your customers want, reach out to them through surveys and interviews to get their perspective on your business. These tools will help your team uncover new opportunities to enhance your products and improve the customer experience. 3. Customer Self-ServiceWhen your customers want to find their own solutions to service problems, they should use self-service resources provided by your business. For example, one of the most common self-service resources is a knowledge base.Knowledge bases consist of categorized support articles and FAQ pages that supply customers with solutions to common user roadblocks. With over 50% of customers wanting to solve problems on their own, self-service tools like these are an asset to providing high-quality customer service.  4. Omni-Channel SupportIt should be easy for customers to contact your support team, regardless of the medium they’re using. Your team should be equipped to respond to incoming service requests via the phone, email, social media, live chat, and any other communication channel that your customers prefer. Providing this type of omni-channel experience makes your team more accessible and creates less stressful service interactions. 5. Emotional IntelligenceEmotional intelligence refers to your ability to read and react to other people’s emotions. This skill is highly valuable in customer service roles because it helps with diffusing difficult customer interactions. Every business experiences a frustrated or upset customer, but the best service teams are able to de-escalate the situation and prevent potential churn. In fact, 67% of customer churn is avoidable if the customer’s issue is resolved during the first service interaction. 6. Creative Problem SolvingAt the end of the day, the best customer service teams solve their customers’ problems. They’re tenacious and determined to help their customers achieve their goals. In many cases, this requires agents to be creative and come up with unique solutions to customer issues. As you’ll see in the examples below, sometimes excellent customer service means finding a solution that falls outside of normal company protocol. Originally published Aug 6, 2019 12:05:00 AM, updated August 06 2019center_img 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 Customer Servicelast_img read more

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How to Use Medium: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing, Publishing & Promoting on the Platform

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 What do the White House, Sports Illustrated, and my cousin Jimmy all have in common?They all publish content on Medium.For the White House, that content includes State of the Union addresses and policy announcements. Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, manages a sports news publication called The Cauldron. My cousin Jimmy? He publishes an ongoing series on advanced cat grooming techniques.And that, my friends, is Medium in microcosm: It’s a social publishing platform that is open to all and home to a diverse array of stories, ideas, and perspectives. As Medium founder (and Blogger creator/Twitter co-founder) Ev Williams wrote when he first launched the platform in 2012:Medium is not about who you are or whom you know, but about what you have to say.”To help emphasize the importance of what it is you’re saying, the overall design of Medium is minimalistic, featuring lots of white space and limited formatting options. Want to change the header typeface to Comic Sans? You can’t. Medium won’t allow for such atrocities of design.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. But that’s just one of many little nuances that come with the territory for Medium users. In fact, if you’re just getting started on the platform, there’s a fair amount to learn before you hit publish. Let’s get into it …How to Use Medium: The Beginner’s Guide for MarketersAs a marketer, Medium presents an opportunity for you to reach a new audience with your content. But it’s important to understand that this isn’t just another Twitter, or Facebook. According to Williams, you can think of Twitter as “what’s happening,” you can think of traditional news as “what’s happened,” and you can think of Medium as “what really happened.” The platform is geared toward sharing longer-form, more well-thought-out content. (But of course, given the open-to-all nature of Medium, that isn’t the only type of content you find there.)Whether you’re looking into Medium for its publishing capabilities or you simply want to learn more about the platform before you set up an account and start exploring, you’ve come to the right place. Click on a link in the table of contents below to jump ahead to the section you’re looking for, or keep scrolling to read the full guide.1) Getting Started With Medium     a. Creating an Account     b. Following People, Publications & Tags2) How to Interact With Medium Content     a. Recommending, Sharing & Bookmarking     b. Highlighting     c. Writing Responses3) How to Write & Publish on Medium     a. Formatting Text     b. Adding Images & Media     c. Sharing Drafts & Publishing     d. Measuring Results1) Getting Started With Mediuma. Creating an AccountWhile it’s true that anyone can view Medium content (regardless of whether or not they have a Medium account), in order to publish and interact with folks on the platform, you need to have an account and be logged in.Fortunately, you can create an account in less than a minute by going to Medium.com and clicking the “Get started” button in the center of the page (or the “Sign in / Sign up” link at the top of the page). From there you’ll have four different sign-up options to choose from: Twitter, Facebook, Google, and email.My recommendation: Sign up for Medium using Twitter or Facebook. That way all of your existing connections from Twitter/Facebook who are on Medium will automatically be following your account once it’s created. This saves you the trouble of having to build up a new audience entirely from scratch. Also, regardless of the option you go with to start, you can always link your Twitter or Facebook to your Medium account later via the Settings menu.The Settings menu is also where you can update your username/profile page URL. If you sign up with Twitter, your profile page URL, by default, will be medium.com/@YourTwitterHandle. But you’re free to change it. From the Settings menu you can also control what email notifications you receive from Medium. (You’ll learn about what triggers these notifications in the sections to follow.)The other main things to remember when it comes to setup? Adding a profile photo and writing up a short (160-character max) bio for your Medium profile page. (Note: If you sign up using Twitter, your Twitter profile photo and bio will be automatically synced to your Medium account.)b. Following People, Publications, & TagsWith a Twitter feed, the content that’s surfaced comes primarily from the accounts of the people and organizations you follow.With a Medium feed, the content that’s surfaced comes not only from the accounts of the people and organizations you follow, but also from the publications and tags you follow. What’s more, when you search for content on Medium, people, publications, and tags all show up in the results.Medium publications are collections of stories based around a common theme. Anyone can create them — yourself included — and the way they work is fairly straightforward. As the creator of a publication, you’re an editor by default, which means you have the ability to a) add writers to your publication, b) edit and publish the stories that are submitted by your writers, and c) review the metrics for all of the stories that are part of your publication. As the publication’s creator, you’ll also have the ability to appoint new editors (so they can do all of that stuff I just mentioned).To get a better sense of what Medium publications are all about and what types of stories appear in them, check out this earlier post I wrote: “8 Medium Publications You Should Be Following.”Now, on to tags.Tags are sort of like the hashtags of the Medium ecosystem. Or, as the Medium team puts it, tags are “a way of organizing and discovering content” on the platform.When you publish a story on Medium, you get the option to add up to three tags, which appear at the bottom of your story. Clicking a tag brings you to a page where you can see more stories with the same tag, as well as some suggestions for other tags you might be interested in.The main benefit of following tags is that it can help personalize your Medium experience. Instead of surfacing content based solely on your social graph (i.e., the people/publications you follow), Medium uses tags to surface content that’s based on your specific interests as well. For example, if you’re into baseball, you could follow the “baseball” tag. Into “small fluffy dog breeds”? Yep, there’s a tag for that (granted only one story has been published under it).So far in this introduction to Medium, we’ve acted mostly as passive observers. We’ve set up an account, and started following some accounts, publications, and tags. In the next section, we’ll dive into the more interactive aspects of Medium.2) How to Interact With Medium Contenta. Recommending, Sharing & BookmarkingThe “Recommend” is the “Like” of the Medium world. It’s a way to show you that you appreciate the content that someone has shared.When reading a story on Medium, there are two places where you can recommend it: At the bottom of the actual story …Or on the nav bar that appears at the bottom of the screen when you scroll back up in a story …In either case, you’ll need to click on that green heart outline icon you see. Once clicked, the heart will change from an outline to solid green. To see the full list of people who’ve recommended a story, you can click on that little number you see next to the heart.When you recommend a story, the writer, by default, will receive an email notification. (But that’s something you can control in Settings). The more recommends a story receives, the more likely it will be to get shared around the Medium network. Stories that receive the most recommends within a given time period get featured on Medium’s “Top stories” page, which is updated on an hourly basis.In the same two locations where you can recommend a story, you can also share that story to Twitter or Facebook (by clicking that little arrow icon), and you can bookmark the story for later reading by clicking the bookmark icon (which turns solid once clicked).Once you bookmark a story, it will appear on your “Bookmarks” page, which you can access from Medium’s homepage.b. HighlightingIn addition to recommending, sharing, and bookmarking Medium stories, you can unlock a second level of interaction by selecting a section of text with your cursor. Once you’ve highlighted some text, a pop-up menu will appear that gives you four options: Views: The number of people who visited a story’s page.Reads: An estimate of how many visitors read a story all the way through.Read Ratio: The percentage of visitors that ends up reading an entire story (i.e., the difference between reads and views). According to Ev Williams, this ratio is an important factor in determining how a story gets ranked/surfaced on Medium.Recommends: The number of recommends a story receives.  Thanks for following along.Remember, this was just an introductory look at how to use Medium. There are several more features and options we haven’t covered, but we’ll do so in future posts.Anything specific you’d like to learn about Medium? Have any Medium tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below. Off-Site Contentcenter_img Topics: Originally published Apr 14, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Highlight: Clicking the highlighter icon will put a green highlight around the text you’ve selected, which is visible to your Medium followers. By default, a story’s writer will receive a notification when a section of that story is highlighted.Response: Clicking the speech bubble icon will allow you to write a response to the story you’re reading. The section of text you’ve highlighted will appear at the top of your response. (More on responses in a second!)Text Shot: Clicking the Twitter icon will generate a “Text Shot,” which is a tweet that automatically pulls in the text you’ve highlighted as a screenshot.Private Note: Clicking the lock icon will allow you to send the writer of the story a private note. (Note: This functionality can be turned on and off in your account settings.)c. Writing ResponsesUnlike traditional blog comments, Medium responses are treated as individual stories. That means in addition to appearing at the bottoms of the stories you respond to, the responses you write are documented on your profile page, and have the potential to take off and get highly circulated just like traditional stories.As a newcomer to Medium, writing responses can be a great way to engage with people on the platform without having to commit to writing a full-blown story. It can also help you come up with ideas for your first story when you do decide to write it.3) How to Write & Publish on Mediuma. Formatting TextFrom the Medium homepage, there are two places where you can access the Medium editor and start writing or laying out a story: via the “Write here … ” prompt near the center of the page and via the “Write a story” link at the top of the page.As you’ll likely discover, writing in Medium’s editor is highly intuitive and — from a stylistic perspective — nearly impossible to screw up.By highlighting text, you can unveil several basic formatting options, including bold, italics, and hyperlinking. You can also designate text as an H1 … Or as an H2 …And you can choose between two different styles of blockquote. Option A:And Option B:Of course, if you really want to get fancy, you can use Medium’s drop caps function. Know those enlarged, stylized letters you sometimes see at the beginning of sentences? Those are drop caps. According to the Medium team, they’re useful for “pacing, starting a new chapter, or just a little typographical delight.”Another option for creating some separation between different sections of a story in Medium is to use a part, or separator. In order to insert one, you’ll first need to click that little plus icon that appears when you’re on an empty line of your story.Clicking that plus icon will open up a menu with four options. The one on the far right — the icon with the two little lines — is the separator. Here’s what it looks like on the page:b. Adding Images & MediaAdding images, videos, and other media (e.g., tweets) to your Medium story can be as simple as copying and pasting their URLs into Medium’s editor. The editor, in most cases, can automatically recognize the media’s format and render it accordingly.Alternatively, you can click on the plus icon to open the same menu you used to insert the separator in the previous step. From there, you can upload an image from your computer, insert a URL to a video, or insert the embed code to another type of media using the corresponding icons.Depending on the specific size of the image you upload, you’ll have up to four different size options to choose from for displaying that image. These size options, which will appear in a pop-up menu after you insert an image, include left-aligned, center-aligned, wide (where the image width exceeds the width of the text) and full-width.By default, Medium will display the formatting option that best fits the dimensions of the image you insert.c. Sharing Drafts & PublishingWhen you’ve finished your story and are happy with how everything looks, head up to the top nav where you’ll find two links: “Share” and “Publish.”Clicking “Share” will generate a link to the draft of your story, which you can share with anyone — even if they don’t have a Medium account. And (as you can read in the screenshot below) the people you share the draft with will also have the option of leaving you notes.Clicking the “Publish” button, meanwhile, will open a menu where you can select up to three tags for your story. Medium will recommend some tags by default, but you can also search for tags and create new ones by simply entering text.Once you’ve selected tags for your story, you can hit the “Publish” button to share your story with the world.d. Measuring ResultsIn order to see how your stories (and responses) are performing, you can go to the “Stats” page using the URL medium.com/me/stats. You can also navigate to the “Stats” page via the dropdown menu at the top right of the Medium homepage.When you arrive on the “Stats” page, you’ll first see the aggregate number of views, reads, and recommends your stories and responses have received over the past 30 days. There’s also a graph that provides day-by-day granularity. By hovering over a column on the graph, you can view metrics for the specific day that column corresponds to.If you keep scrolling down the page, you’ll be able to view the individual stats for each of your stories. Specifically, Medium provides data on views, reads, read ratio, and recommends.Here’s a quick rundown on what those metrics mean:last_img read more

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Video or Images: Which Performs Better in Facebook Ads?

first_imgText variations: Try a couple different CTAs or change up the text to present your video differently, as we did in the test of a narrative vs. a listicle.Length: See if a short, medium, or long video gets the best results. We tested 0:15, 0:30, and 0:45 versions of the same video in one of our tests and the 0:30 video had a stronger click through rate. But we’ve seen instances where a long video has performed best and those where a super short looping clip has won, which is why testing is important! Originally published May 21, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019 “Video marketing” is one of today’s hottest industry buzzwords — and, of course, we at Animoto agree that video is a priceless tool when it comes to engaging your audience, sharing stories and information, promoting products and services, piquing interest, and more.But we also know that video in and of itself isn’t a magic bullet. You should never go into any marketing initiative assuming what’s going to work. You need to test to find out what works for your company, your audience, and your objectives.Free Lookbook: 50 Facebook Ad Examples That We Actually ClickedTo that end, we set out to take Animoto’s HubSpot-inspired video templates for a spin. We ran thousands of dollars worth of tests with Facebook Ads Manager to see how video stood up to other types of content — when it worked, when it didn’t, and how to optimize its performance.We were interested in answering these questions:Do videos really perform better than images or links?When it comes to videos, which types perform best?Here’s what we found out.Videos or images? Which perform better?The first question we set out to answer was: do videos really perform better than images in Facebook ads?The answer: it really depends on the video or image!Test 1: Video vs. Blog Post Meta-ImageWe started with a test driving traffic to a post on the HubSpot blog, 22 Companies With Really Catchy Slogans & Brand Taglines. We tested a video teaser, with a taste of what the blog post had to offer, against a simple shared-link posting that auto-pulled the meta-image from the blog post.Vs.The ResultsWhat did we find? The video outperformed the image … by a lot. The video got 20 percent more clicks than the image.But wait, we asked ourselves. Was that really the best image to promote this blog post? What did a cityscape really say about catchy slogans and brand taglines? We went back to the drawing board on our next test to see if video would still perform better than image if the image was optimized.Test 2: Video vs. Optimized ImageFor our next test, we decided to promote a different HubSpot blog post, How to Recover From a Bad Sales Call. This time we tested two different video variations — one listicle, featuring three of the tips from the post, and one with more or a narrative appeal that speaks to the viewers. Check out both in the following video:The two videos were run alongside an image test, but this time we pulled a relevant screenshot from the video that made it clear what people would get if they clicked through.The ResultsWith an optimized image, things turned out a little differently. This time, the image actually beat one of the videos — the listicle. The image got more clicks at a lower cost than this video.However, the narrative video won out in the end with the most clicks and a 3 percent lower cost per click. The narrative video had a 34 percent lower cost per click than the listicle.Takeaway: It’s all about testing.In the end, it turned out that videos don’t always perform best, and images don’t always perform best either. It really depends on the content. We saw image perform better than some videos, and videos perform better than some images. But testing different types of marketing collateral allowed us to figure out what type of ad and content would maximize ROI for the particular use case.Optimizing Ad CreativeSo if you’re embarking on a Facebook ad campaign, or really any type of social ad campaign, how do you ensure you’re getting started with optimized creative? We’ll break down some general rules to help you get started, based on the findings of our tests.Optimizing VideosFirst things first, we did learn a few things from our tests about what you can do to optimize the videos you’re creating for advertising:Go square. Square videos take up 78 percent more space in the News Feed and have consistently outperformed landscape videos. In one of our tests, we created a video to promote a HubSpot blog post, 22 Handy Slack Hacks Everyone Should Know. We created square and landscape versions, and the square video performed better across the board, with a 50 percent lower cost per click and 45 percent more engagement.Think about your objective. This is important. Your video needs to address this objective. If you want to tease a blog post, for instance, you’ll want to make sure it’s clear what the blog post is about and you’ll need to include a clear CTA letting them know where they can read more. Topics: Facebook Advertisingcenter_img Optimizing ImagesWe also learned that an optimized image can do wonders for the success of your ad. Here are a few tips to help ensure your image is optimized:Watch the text. Facebook ads may run with reduced impressions, or not at all, if too large a percentage of your image is covered by text. Use Facebook’s Image Text Check to make sure your image doesn’t exceed the limit. This is what we used to create the optimized image for our second test above.Be clear. Make sure that the image makes clear what people will get when they click through to learn or read more. This’ll help ensure that the folks that are coming to your page are actually interested in the content and will help reduce bounce.Be eye-catching. Choose something bright, clear, or unique to stand out in the News Feed.But as we discovered, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s important to test –try a few different things, see what works, what doesn’t, and iterate.Optimizing ROI with A/B testingWhether or not you’ve used A/B testing in the past, thinking about testing in the context of video can be a lot to wrap your head around. There are all sorts of things to test, from CTA copy to colors, fonts, what photos and video clips you use, what story you tell, and everything in between. Test videos against images; test videos against other videos; test everything and improve your results over time.What Variations to TestNot sure which variations to test? Here are some suggestions:Media variations: Try using different photos or video clips in a video to see which performs for you. Or, if you’re testing an image, try to optimize the image to suit your needs, as we did in the second test above. In this example, WV Skydivers tested two video variations—one starting with a photo and one starting with a video clip. The video clip variation reached 10K people, while the photo variation reached only 1.2K. How to Set up A/B TestsYou can set up A/B tests in Facebook. To get started you’ll need a Facebook page, a Facebook Ads Manager account, and some ad variations — two or more videos, two or more images, or a combination of images and videos. Simply run two versions of your ad and be sure to keep everything the same except for the variation you are testing. This includes the ad objective, budget, target audience, and any copy that runs alongside your ad (unless the copy is the variation).As you test, you’ll begin to understand what resonates with your audience and can hone your strategy going forward. By not assuming that one type of content will work best for your advertising you can start creating ads that perform.Animoto and HubSpot recently joined forces to create a collection of video templates for business owners looking to create professional marketing videos to promote blog posts, boost event registration, or collect leads for a product. Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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The #1 Quality Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed & Other Advice from Jules Pieri

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Have you ever heard a cool product idea from a friend, a coworker, an aunt, and thought — Why isn’t that on the market already? Undoubtedly, we’ve all had those experiences. And yet, by and large, it’s typically major corporations like Amazon, or retail giants like Target, that get their products more quickly and easily in front of consumers — even when their ideas aren’t necessarily best.Fortunately, there is an opportunity for your neighbor’s friend’s product to get in front of the masses — and its called The Grommet, an online discovery platform and marketplace. Started by Jules Pieri and Joanne Domeniconi, The Grommet’s purpose is to help entrepreneurs and small businesses get their innovative, exciting ideas in front of millions of people.For the past ten years, The Grommet has evaluated 300 submissions a week, and chosen the top three percent — including incredibly successful products like FitBit, OtterBox, and SodaStream.However, The Grommet isn’t the only thing remarkable about Jules Pieri — she’s also been named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, and in April, she published a #1 Best Seller at Amazon for Business Entrepreneurship called How We Make Stuff Now: Turn Ideas into Products That Build Successful Businesses, which shows entrepreneurs how to successfully create and launch new products.If you’re a small company or an entrepreneur looking to launch an interesting product and successfully compete in the marketplace, you’re in luck — here, we sat down with Jules Pieri to talk about challenges she’s seen product inventors face, which distribution channels are most successful for entrepreneurs, and why you shouldn’t sell on Amazon.Free Download: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Kit for Startups1. Someone comes to you with a brand new product idea. What’s the very first thing you’d tell them to do?I would tell them to read the chapters 3 to 5 of my book, which explains where the best ideas come from, and how to assess the potential market size of an opportunity. That, above all, is the critical first step in deciding whether to throw over your life or career to pursue a startup. I do have a bias for large opportunities.Unless you are just looking for a side hustle, I believe you should go big or go home.My advice is borne not of some generic startup hoo-ha, but rather the observation (formed by launching 3,000 products for emerging companies) that it is just as much work to build a small business as a large one.I also know that having a large target market gives you more chances to build a full product line, which is essential to success at retail. Retailers can’t get behind single product companies — the on-boarding (legal, operational, financial) is not worth the trouble when they imagine a product sitting alone on a shelf without enough physical presence or market awareness to justify the effort. That’s the harsh reality of retail.The good news is that market opportunities are often quite quantifiable. Public data sources are your friend. Good places to start are:Google Trends. See how many people are searching for a solution to a specific problemAmazon. You can see what existing product solutions are on the market, how they are performing, and what are the market gaps. In addition, there is a whole eco-system built around quantifying sales performance on Amazon. The nefarious players use it to figure out what products to copy or counterfeit. Start with Jungle Scout.Your local Small Business Administration Office. There are rich sources of public data around many populations and markets. Their excellent network of counselors can help you mine that gold—which your tax dollars fund.Industry data. You will likely have to pay for this information.Trade shows. Attending one is the most efficient way to figure out all the players in an industry, as well as scope the wholesale buyers, existing products, and potential partners, trade associations, and vendors.2. What would you say is one of the biggest initial challenges for makers/entrepreneurs as they try to enter the market with a new product? How would you recommend overcoming these challenges?By far and away the toughest challenge is getting the word out about a product. Digital and traditional marketing are expensive and sophisticated endeavors. At first, it can seem easy because 25% of our Makers run a successful crowdfunding campaign.But, when the attention and excitement of that intense effort end, it’s usually crickets. Which is terrifying — that’s when the real work begins. That’s why I started The Grommet and we assembled such a massive community. Someone has to help these companies build an actual business beyond the crowdfunding “science project” phase.Our community of three million curious and supportive people can make a market for an emerging, innovative product. I think of us as “Kickstarter without the risk”, for people who want to support small business and gain early access to unique products.The second hardest thing is protecting your intellectual property. That got so much harder since 2015, which is when Amazon removed the requirement for having a domestic representative manage marketplace listings. Now, 25% of what is sold in the US and the EU comes straight from a Chinese factory. The vast majority of these products are cheap copycats and counterfeits.The genie is fully out of the bottle and can’t be stopped. Even Amazon executives can’t tell the difference between these fakers and the original product listing. So a shocking portion of Amazon’s customers are duped when they buy a shoddy product, thinking they got the original.The best way for a Maker to avoid this is to control your distribution and make sure you don’t sell or let anyone else sell your product on Amazon.This keeps your data and sales trajectory out of sight of the nefarious players. If you have deep pockets and decide you can fund the continual legal battles and whack-a-mole game of fighting fakers on Amazon, only sell your product through a middle-man agent who represents other sellers. Never sell directly to Amazon or build your own storefront.I list a couple agents in my book, but talk to their customers to make sure you understand what they can and can’t do for you. Amazon won’t be responsive to a startup or small business, but they will answer the phone for these sales channel aggregators who know how to navigate the Byzantine world of Amazon.The best way for a customer to avoid getting ripped off is to buy from a legitimate retailer, a local store, or from the Maker’s own site.3. Which distribution channel(s) do you think are typically most effective for makers/entrepreneurs?I would pursue two channels:Your own website. This is table-stakes for a small business. At the very least, the site needs to be full of information about your product. HubSpot has invaluable guidance on how to create rich content and win at the SEO game. Whether your site takes orders directly is optional, but be sure to include prominent links to your best retail partners if you don’t sell the product directly (and even if you do). To maximize your chances of retail distribution, always keep your price the same or slightly higher than the sites and stores that sell your product.Specialty retail. Small shops are really the best at taking chances on new products. This is their lifeblood. They have well-trained staff and they will take the time to learn about your product. Don’t be impatient to get to the big guys. Specialty retail is where you will actually get the sales data and market proof to convince the large national chains to pick you up. You can go directly after these sales, or hire a rep organization.4. What quality do you think makes an entrepreneur most likely to succeed?I recently produced a March Madness of Entrepreneurship video, built on my own bracket of 32 entrepreneurial qualities. In the end, tenacity won over every other trait. You need to be good at so many things — including salesmanship, resourcefulness, and having a vision.But being tenacious is the essential quality that gives you the juice to actually act on everything else.5. What sets The Grommet apart from sites like Etsy or Uncommon Goods? Do you really try every product?We really do test every product. We look at 300 products a week and launch six. We test 20-30 a week.What we share with Etsy is our direct connection to the Makers of products. I adore that about Etsy, and I’m a customer there myself. Where we are different is we launch manufactured products from innovative small businesses. Etsy is all about craft.Plus, since Etsy has two million suppliers (versus our 3,000) they are more of a free-for-all marketplace. This means a certain level of “buyer beware” awareness is needed, and the product quality is hugely variable from seller to seller. Etsy is not standing behind any individual products — that is not their brand promise. (But they will back you up if you are disappointed, so it is a trustworthy site when it comes to refunds and exchanges.)I have mad respect for Uncommon Goods. Like Grommet, it works closely with its sellers. Their products tend to be more décor and style-driven. We launched Fitbit, SimpliSafe, Sodastream, and Mrs. Meyers. Those are not products that would make sense on Uncommon Goods.6. What qualities do you typically look for when deciding whether a product will be successful on your platform? What impresses you the most in regards to a pitch?We focus first and foremost on the product itself. We have seen everything in each of our existing categories — ranging from outdoor gear to pet products, toys, and kitchen gadgets. So we are looking for true distinction and innovation in considering whether a product could be a Grommet.Secondly, we are looking to introduce our avid supporters to new discoveries, so we are looking for relatively undiscovered products.In terms of pitches, the more a Maker’s company and product values align with those of our community, the deeper a look we will take. These values could encompass a product that supports a sustainable lifestyle, a product made in the USA, a company founded by a vet or a POC, or an innovative social enterprise business model.7. In your book you mention numerous case studies of successful startups … can you tell us one in particular that surprised you by beating odds stacked against them?We launched Back to the Roots, a home mushroom growing kit created by two fresh graduates out of Berkeley. They had no business succeeding with this idea of using discarded coffee grounds as a base for the kits. But because of their idealistic vision and tremendous tenacity, they did survive, and do continue to thrive.Ultimately, there’s no doubt it can be exceptionally difficult to launch a new product into the marketplace, even when you know there’s demand for it.If you’re feeling unsure of where to begin, try focusing on cultivating relationships with small, local stores that might be willing to put your product on their shelves, or create a compelling website and increase your social media presence so word-of-mouth can do the hard work for you.And, like Pieri said — tenacity is key.This interview was conducted by Caroline Forsey and Allie Decker.  Originally published Jun 27, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated October 02 2019last_img read more

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Malaika Arora touching her toes while nailing crunches is the Monday Motivation we need all day

first_imgMalaika Arora is the reigning queen of Bollywood when it comes to fitness and there is no denying that. The diva proves every day that age is just a number with her evergreen beauty and her inspiring workout schedule.Taking to her official Instagram page today, the 43-year-old posted a picture of nailing an exercise routine at her yoga studio.In the image, Malaika, who is dating Arjun Kapoor, can be seen doing crunches and touching her toes with her hands. She shared the picture with the caption, “I’m so excited to start the new week and it’s the perfect time to start the festivities too.”In the caption, Malaika also explained why she loves doing the particular exercise and what its benefits are. She also said that she was very proud of the fact that she can touch her toes while doing the routine.Well, we are definitely inspired. Monday Motivation done right!She shared the picture saying, “There’s a certain pride in saying, “I can touch my toes while doing crunches!” What I love about crunches are: 1. They work on your core. 2. Along with strengthening the abs, they help in healthy digestion. 3. They strengthen your spinal muscles. 4. They are super effective for belly fat reduction. Let’s crush this day. Hello Universe, Hello New week.”For the routine, Malaika donned a printed sports bra with black gym tights with her hair tied in a messy bun.This picture makes us want to hit the gym right now.ALSO SEE | Yoga Queen Malaika Arora nails difficult headstand in sports bra and pantsALSO READ | Malaika Arora in sports bra and tights reveals her favourite yoga pose. Arjun Kapoor loves itALSO WATCH | Malaika Arora and Arjun Kapoor are the newest lovebirds in B-Townlast_img read more

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Real Madrid miss chance to top table after Barcelona suffer 3-1 defeat

first_imgReal Madrid passed up the chance to go clear at the top of La Liga after slip-ups from title rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, when they could only draw 0-0 at home to struggling Real Betis on a difficult Saturday for Spain’s top three sides.Real were full of confidence after hammering Leganes 5-0 in mid-week for their biggest win of a stop-start season and appeared to get off to a great start when Eden Hazard struck early. But the goal was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.Madrid’s clearest opening came in the second half when French left back Ferland Mendy surged forward towards goal, but despite having plenty of time to shoot he missed the target, prompting howls of frustration from the fans behind the goal.Real are second in the standings on 22 points after 11 games, level with leaders Barcelona, who slid to a shock 3-1 loss at Levante earlier in the day.Atletico Madrid, who have played one game more, are third on 21 points after drawing 1-1 at Sevilla, who are fourth with the same number of points. Betis are 14th with 13.”Today was a great opportunity after the other results in the day and we didn’t take it,” said Real captain Sergio Ramos.”We fought really hard to try and win the game but we were not clinical in front of goal and it has cost us, but our attitude and work in defence was very good.”We should also praise Betis for their performance. We’re left with a bittersweet taste; it’s good to pick up a point but we’ve missed a great chance to make a difference at the top of the table.”advertisementShock defeat despite Messi goal for BarcelonaDefending champions Barcelona’s long winning streak came to an abrupt halt when they suffered a shock 3-1 defeat away to Levante on Saturday after taking the lead but then conceding three times in the space of seven minutes in the second half.Barca had returned to the top of the table by thrashing Real Valladolid 5-1 in mid-week for a seventh straight victory in all competitions and put themselves in a comfortable position when Lionel Messi converted a penalty in the 38th minute.Their problems began when Luis Suarez was taken off injured a few moments later and they collapsed in the second half, with Levante scoring with all of their first three shots on target.Jose Campana levelled in the 61st minute following a quick-fire counter-attack after winning the ball in Barca’s half, then former Real Madrid striker Borja Mayoral put them ahead in the 63rd with a superb curling strike from outside the area.Nemanja Radoja gave the home side extra breathing space with a third goal in the 67th on the volley following a free kick, while Messi put the ball in the net later to briefly give Barca hope but the goal was ruled out for offside by Antoine Griezmann after a VAR review.Also Read | Premier League round-up: Liverpool, Manchester City clinch hard-fought wins, United loselast_img read more

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Four Essential Tips for Planning Year-End Email Campaigns

first_img1. Look for trends in recent response data.As you’re brainstorming your email strategy, spend some quality time digging into data on what’s been the most and least effective for you over the past few months. For example, if you notice that click-through rates are higher in your graphic-rich emails, design extra-visual appeals for year-end. If supporters don’t click on links at the bottom of your emails, make sure you keep all links in the first part of your message (especially your DonateNow button!).2. Consider your sending frequency and target your outreach.Carefully think about your email frequency—every fatigued subscriber who opts out in December is someone who won’t see your emails at all next year. Start ramping up your email frequency now and keep a close eye on the open and unsubscribe rates, then adjust your year-end campaign email frequency accordingly.3. Keep your emails social.People stay busy during the end of the year, but not too busy to keep up with their social networking. Make sure your subscribers have an easy way to share your emails with their friends and followers, and include easy-to-spot links to your organization’s social networking sites, too.4. Welcome new subscribers right away.When someone signs up for your email list, they’re probably interested in hearing from you right then and there. Build a strong relationship with new subscribers right away with an automatic welcome note. If you can set a great foundation now, you’ll have more loyal subscribers during prime giving season. Even though your donors might procrastinate, you can’t! Start planning your year-end email campaign now. Photo Source: The Digital Giving Index Did you know that year-end donations make up 30% of giving for the entire year? Because year-end fundraising goals are often so big, it’s important to start planning your year-end campaign now. When mapping out your email appeals, keep the following four topics in mind:last_img read more

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Michigan Is Missing 2 Key Starters vs. Illinois Today

first_img #Wolverines without a key starter on each side of the ball. https://t.co/UiFz2Jr58k— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 12, 2019The Wolverines got back to their winning ways last weekend, albeit in unconvincing fashion. Michigan took down Iowa in a defensive slug-fest by a final score of 10-3. It wasn’t the most impressive offensive output from the Wolverines, but a win is a win – especially after Michigan got embarrassed by Wisconsin.While Michigan will be without two key players in the game, it’s not alone. Illinois will be without starting quarterback – and former Wolverine – Brandon Peters, who is battling an injury of his own.Michigan and Illinois kick off at 12:00 p.m. ET on ABC. Jim Harbaugh on the sideline at Wisconsin.MADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines watches action prior to a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)When the Michigan Wolverines take the field against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday, they will have to do so without a few key starters.The school confirmed wide receiver Nico Collins and corner Lavert Hill did not travel with the team.Both will miss today’s game with minor injuries.Here’s the news from ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.last_img read more

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Barca’s Dembele dilemma: When will €105m man wise up?

first_imgErnesto Valverde knew the question was coming.Barcelona were hosting Tottenham in the Champions League the following night but the group-stage clash at Camp Nou had been overshadowed by the news that Ousmane Dembele had once again turned up late for training.Asked if he had ever come across such tardiness in a player before, the former winger quipped, “It happened with me!” Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream On that occasion last December, Valverde managed to lighten the mood with his little joke.But Dembele’s incessant ill-discipline is no longer a laughing matter at Barcelona.Not after his latest indiscretion.After Barca’s Liga-opening loss at Athletic Club last Friday week, Dembele told team doctor Xavi Yanguas he was feeling some pain in his left thigh.The game at San Mames represented the injury-prone winger’s first 90-minute outing in a competitive fixture since January but Dembele insisted he was fine.According to his agent, Moussa Sissoko, the attacker felt as if were suffering from nothing more than cramp.Barca’s players were given the remainder of the weekend off but Yanguas told Dembele to call him immediately if the pain worsened in any way, shape or form.The 22-year-old never picked up the phone. It was only when he returned to training on Monday that Dembele informed the club’s medical team of increased discomfort in his hamstring.Subsequent tests revealed a four-centimetre tear, ruling the France international out of action for five weeks.Barca were enraged.Dembele Barcelona PSSissoko was forced to dismiss reports that Dembele had exacerbated the injury by sleeping on an airport bench in Bilbao before flying to Senegal for the weekend, insisting that his client had, in fact, returned to Rennes to visit his mother.However, the perception at Camp Nou remained that Dembele had not been 100 per cent open with the club regarding the severity of the pain he was experiencing after the game in San Mames.Players with pace as explosive as Dembele’s are, of course, more susceptible to hamstring problems – Michael Owen is a famous case in point – but Barca’s problem with the Frenchman is a perceived lack of professionalism, the idea that he is not doing enough to look after his body.This is third hamstring injury since joining Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105 million (£95m/$116m) in the summer of 2017 as a replacement for Neymar.There have been five muscular injuries in total, as well as numerous reports of Dembele and his entourage staying up until all hours of the night playing video games.”It’s a messy life,” the player’s former chef, Michael Naya, told Le Parisien last week. “I’ve never seen alcohol but he doesn’t respect the rest periods at all.”There’s no structure around him.”Barca have done their utmost to provide some. Club captain Lionel Messi even admitted that the players had taken it upon themselves to help Dembele avoid wasting his undoubted talent.”On the pitch [Dembele] is a phenomenon and it depends on him [how good he becomes],” the Argentine told Marca.”He has all the opportunity in the world to do what he wants. He can be one of the best.”On the other hand, he’s a young guy who is adapting to the city and the club.”The less you speak about it, the better. It’s necessary to leave him so he can be calm.”He has already realised his mistakes and has rectified them. We are going to help him focus on football.”Ousmane Dembele Lionel Messi Barcelona PSSergio Busquets spoke optimistically about Dembele’s maturation during pre-season, stating that, “He looks better.”Everyone has a hard time going to a new club, with a different language and a different philosophy.”Hopefully, everything goes better this year because he has a lot to give and we expect a lot from him.”Jose Maria Bartomeu was certainly always quick to give Dembele his backing, even claiming earlier this year that Barca had no interest in re-signing Neymar as he was an inferior player.”Ousmane is a young guy who arrived at a huge club and that’s not easy,” the club president told TVE. “But he has adapted and he is much better than Neymar.”However, things have changed, and rapidly.As recently as a month ago, Barca and Bartomeu still had every faith in Dembele’s ability to become a world-beater.At that stage, it was Philippe Coutinho who was considered expendable, which is why the Brazilian was allowed to join Bayern Munich on loan even though he had only arrived from Liverpool in January 2018 – and for even more money (€160m).Dembele, by contrast, was still considered Barca’s future, a belief founded upon the fact that, at times, when fully fit and focused, the jet-heeled, two-footed winger had been almost unstoppable.Ousmane Dembele Thomas Tuchel Dortmund PSHowever, after the Bilbao incident, Barca are so disillusioned with Dembele that they even considered using him as a makeweight in the deal to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.With a Catalan delegation having arrived in Paris on Tuesday for further talks with PSG, that idea is likely to have been discussed again – but the Ligue 1 side are more interested in right-back Nelson Semedo, while Barca would now favour a cash-only transfer.Of course, a move to the Parc des Princes would have made sense, given Thomas Tuchel would certainly have welcomed a reunion with Dembele, a player he spent one season coaching at Dortmund.”Ousmane is an incredible player, really talented. I could watch his amazing skills in every training session,” the PSG boss stated last year.”He’s also a great human being. He’s a little crazy. He’s a really nice boy but a little crazy.”He loves to laugh, but can also have very serious conversations.”Maybe it’s time Dembele had one with himself, though. He wants to stay at Camp Nou but the only reason he is likely to still be in Catalunya when the transfer window closes is because he is injured again.Barca have gone out of their way to take care of him. But, at this stage, he needs to start taking care of himself.last_img read more

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Solskjaer: Lingard ‘fantastic’ for Man Utd

first_imgOle Gunnar Solskjaer has again come to the defence of attacker Jesse Lingard, declaring his contributions to Manchester United this season as ‘fantastic’.Lingard has come in for criticism in recent weeks after failing to register a goal or assist in three starts this season for United.The 26-year-old has not scored a goal in the Premier League since December of 2018, and following dropped points against Wolves and Crystal Palace in successive weeks, his presence in the United lineup has been questioned. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream But Solskjaer claims to have no concerns over Lingard’s output, noting he’s never been known as a big goal scorer and says the England international contributes other qualities to the team.”Jesse has never been the most prolific centre forward in front of goal,” Solskjaer told reporters.”If you look throughout his career he has other attributes and Jesse’s contribution this season has been fantastic for me, his first day in training he has shown that he is determined to stay in the team, to show me that he wants to because [of] his application in training and in games.”Of course sometimes you want him to be more [clinical] in front of goal but he does so much other stuff. I left him out against AC Milan, he scored when he came on, and he scored two the day after when we played Blackburn here.”Despite his slow start to the season, Lingard was named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo alongside team-mates Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.Solskjaer pointed to that as evidence of the fact Lingard can shrug off the critics and has the faith of his managers to provide quality for both club and country going forward.”He can take criticism, [he has been] left out because he has the right character to bounce back so I don’t expect Jesse to be any different,” Solskjaer said.”I pick him, Gareth picks him, he knows he is a good player and we value him.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

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Rebic leaves Eintracht for Milan, Silva moves opposite way

first_imgEintracht Frankfurt attacker Ante Rebic has joined AC Milan on a two-year loan, with the Serie A side having the option to make the move permanent at the end of that agreement.Forward Andre Silva has moved the other way, too, with the Portuguese striker reportedly having overcome initial issues when completing his medical with the Bundesliga side.Earlier in August, Eintracht had voiced hope that Rebic would remain despite interest from the San Siro side, with sporting director Bruno Huber claiming they were “still optimistic” of retaining his services. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream However, the Croatia international had come in for criticism following a poor performance in the first leg of the Europa League qualification play-offs against Strasbourg, in which he was substituted at half-time.After the match, Rebic was told by Eintracht head coach Adi Hutter that if he wished to remain with the club, he needed to show it on the pitch .Rebic was then left out for the 2-1 loss to his former club RB Leipzig, but returned to the XI in the second leg against Strasbourg.Frankfurt picked up a 3-0 victory and progressed through to the knock-out stages, but a red card for Rebic has ended his latest spell at the club.Rebic will make a return to Serie A, having first featured in the Italian top-flight with Fiorentina after a €4.5m move from Croatian slide Split in August 2013.However, Rebic struggled to break into the Fiorentina squad and ended up spending time on loan with Hellas Verona before heading to Eintracht on a temporary basis in 2016.The forward has spent the last three seasons with Eintracht, the loan being made permanent in 2018. He has 17 Bundesliga goals during his time there, with his personal best of nine coming last season.Eintracht have already suffered heavy losses in their attack this transfer window, having previously sold Luka Jovic to Real Madrid and Sebastien Haller to West Ham. The 25-year-old started alongside fellow countrymen Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic in the 2018 World Cup final, in which France defeated Croatia 4-2.Frankfurt sit seventh in the Bundesliga with two wins and a loss, three points behind leaders RB Leipzig, and will face Arsenal, Standard Liege and Portuguese side Vitoria SC in this season’s Europa League.last_img read more

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Chong offers update on Man Utd future

first_imgTahith Chong has suggested that his long-term future will lie at Manchester United, with a new contract at Old Trafford being discussed.The 19-year-old winger is held in high regard by the Red Devils and has long been tipped to become an established star in the senior side.He has made just four first-team appearances to date, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer drafting him into his plans upon inheriting the managerial reins from Jose Mourinho. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream It was suggested that the youngster could head away from United on loan for 2019-20 in an effort to find him more regular game time.Interest was said to have been shown in his native Netherlands from the likes of PSV and Feyenoord.No deal was done, though, and Chong has now revealed that he is looking to thrash out fresh terms with United.He told Voetbal Primeur: “Of course we are talking, but it’s still too early to say anything about it.“The season is still long and we will see what happens.“There are a lot of competitions coming up and I will focus on that.”Tahith Chong Manchester United 2018-19Chong believes that opportunities with United will come his way in 2019-20.Solskjaer has already shown that he is prepared to put his faith in young players and academy graduates.More experienced stars were moved out of Old Trafford over the summer, particularly in the final third of the field, and Chong is confident that will work in his favour.Discussing the message he has been given by his manager, the Dutch U21 international said: “Ole tells me to keep working hard and my chances will come.“That’s nice to hear. There are a few players who left and I’m climbing up the pecking order.“It’s always nice to come back to the Netherlands, but in the end I have to do what I find best for myself.“That’s why I decided to stay.”United have collected just five points from their opening four games in the current Premier League season and will return to action after the international break with a home date against Leicester on September 14. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

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Pogba won’t be a loss to Man Utd if he’s sold – Scholes

first_imgPaul Pogba will not be a big loss to Manchester United should he leave, according to club great Paul Scholes.Pogba announced at the end of the 2018-19 season that he wanted to depart Old Trafford, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez recently confirming he tried to sign the France midfielder.But a move failed to materialise and Pogba started the new Premier League campaign at United, though he is currently injured. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Time for another transfer? Giroud’s Chelsea spell set to end like his Arsenal career Scholes suggested the club may have asked Pogba to give them another year, similar to before Cristiano Ronaldo was allowed to join Madrid in 2009.”I think it’s quite clear he wants to move on,” said Scholes, a 13-time Premier League winner during his career-long association with United.”He wanted to go to Real Madrid, for whatever reason it didn’t happen.”I wouldn’t be surprised if the same offer had been made like with Cristiano when he was at United.”If they’ve asked him to stay for a year we’ll see what happens, but I don’t think he’ll be a big loss to United.”I don’t think his form has been great anyway, over the two or three years he’s been there. I’m sure there are more players who can do just as good a job.”United play their opening Europa League match against Astana on Thursday.Pogba is expected to be sidelined by an ankle injury that caused him to miss international duty with World Cup winners France.Talk emerged last week of the possibility of Real dangling Germany international Toni Kroos as a possible makeweight in any deal for Pogba.The ex-Bayern Munich star has won three Champions League titles since his move from the Bundesliga champions in 2014, but Real are rumoured to be open to the idea of him moving on if it would grease the gears of a move for Pogba.last_img read more

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