ROBBING: Return On Business Blogging Is Not Guaranteed

first_imgIf you have been reading this blog for a while, you likely know that I’m generally a strong proponent of the value of business blogging (particularly for small businesses).  I’ve been advocating the need for small businesses to start blogs as an important part of their Internet Marketing strategy for a while now.  So, why the controversial title for this article?  Simple:  If we’re going to try and rationalize an investment of time, energy and money by attaching an ROI (return on investment) to blogging, we need to be a bit diligent and thoughtful about how we do so.  In any case, here are some of my thoughts on about how to improve your chances of getting a return on investment for your business blogging efforts. ROI Of Blogging So, my points here are not particularly complicated.  My message is simple:  To really get value out of your business blogging efforts, you need to make sure that you are investing sufficient time into the process, measuring what matters and doing something about it.   First (and foremost) you should be looking to find more buyers for whatever it is that you are offering.  This is the best return you can hope for.  Of course, you can’t expect every visitor to your blog to whip out their credit cards (or call one of your sales people), but you can 3. Buyers, Back-links and Brand-Building:  This one’s a bit obvious too.  It is near impossible to demonstrate a return on your blogging investment if do something about it 5. Analyze and Adjust:  have an ROI – but just that an ROI is not guaranteed.  Also, my apologies for the acronym ROBBING (I just couldn’t come up with anything better).  I’m not suggesting that business bloggers are robbing anyone of anything.  All in good jest (and for some percentage of you, the word probably got your attention, thereby increasing the ROI of this article). .  You have to watch what works, and what doesn’t.  Do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.  For example, one thing I’ve learned from writing for two business blogs is that a majority of my readership seems to appreciate my casual, informal style. c) Brand:  a) Buyers:  Improving The Return On Investment For Your Business Blog ”.  As you might suspect, the article (and the associated paper), discusses how to measure the return on investment (ROI) for a blog – and more specifically, a business blog.  Though I have not purchased the paper (it talks too much about big businesses), the article itself has a useful framework for looking at this analytically. Topics: These are the three primary areas of “return” I think businesses should strive for when writing their blog.  I even put them in descending priority order even though the alliteration sounded better with a different order.  You’re welcome.  2. If A Blogger Types In The stuff.  For a more dynamic explanation of this, I encourage you to watch a video interview of  Brian Halligan (my co-founder at HubSpot).  The video is titled “ increase Defining ROI On Business Blogs The article was sparked in part by an article penned by Charlene Li of Forrester who wrote on the topic of “ nobody is reading your blog Lots of business bloggers are diligent about tracking things like their daily traffic, referral sources and other common metrics available through most web analytics tools.  Though all of this is good, it’s not enough – and not nearly as meaningful as the Forest…:  1.  Launching Is Not Enough:  the likelihood that this will occur.  This is done by focusing your content (and your promotional efforts for the content) on the types of visitors that are likely to become clients.   I think too many businesses think that they can simply sign up for a Blogger account, write an article, and call it a day.  This is what I would call the “Look Ma!, I’m Blogging!” phenomenon.  Nothing against Blogger.  It’s just that if you’re actually looking to create a measurable return, it takes more than that.  Stated differently, to get an “R” (i.e. Return) you have to “I” (that is Invest).   I have an uncanny knack for the stating the obvious. b) Back-Links:  real Astute readers will also notice that I am not stating in this article’s title that business blogging ”.  For further reading, I’d also recommend Seth Godin’s article “ If you can’t close a customer, you want back-links.  The world of search engine optimization (SEO) is driven by back-links.  The more people you can get to your blog articles, the more weighting you will have in the search engines, and the more relevant people will “find” you when doing a search.  In fact, you can help test this theory by linking to this article with the words “business blogging” in the anchor text.  (smile).  Originally published Jan 29, 2007 11:42:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 doesn’t ” Simply measuring how your blog is doing in ways that are meaningful is not going far enough.  You need to Business Blogging 4. Measure Something Meaningful:  .  In this case, the value you get from blogging is likely little more than the satisfaction of expressing yourself (and perhaps impressing your friends and family).  So clearly, to get an ROI, you have to find ways to draw visitors to your blog and have them read it.  If you got to this article through one of the popular social news sites (like reddit or digg), that is certainly one way to do it.  There are others ways too.  But all of it hinges on writing content that people are interested in. High Resolution Mistakes Finally, if you can’t get a buyer or a back-link, you can at least build your “brand”.  Although you will likely never have a powerful brand like Coke, Nike or Apple – you can certainly benefit from increased visibility of your business.  Readers of your blog will (hopefully) be left with a positive impression of you, and your company and this could help with future interactions with that individual (and perhaps then, they will become a buyer or give you a back-link). 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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Lee Odden Explains How to Build a Top-Ranked Business Blog

first_img Q: What are your five favorite blogs? (Other than the HubSpot blog!) June 2006 keyword analysis A: I’ve written about 1,800 posts over the last 5 years so it’s a bit tricky to pick just one. Online Marketing Blog A few specific posts that are top of mind: Q: Blogging and social media may work for some technology-focused businesses, but what about businesses in more traditional industries? Do blogging and social media work for everybody? . The man who currently owns that spot is Lee Odden, a successful online marketer who, in addition to running a his popular blog, is CEO of   in the top spot. A: I started blogging for  .  in  The web has become very social and will continue to do so through technology that enables content sharing and connections. Search engine optimization is at the core of what we do in all our practice areas. Blogging and social media marketing efforts affect SEO and vice versa. Direct Marketing vs Social Media Marketing Make no mistake, measuring return on investment for marketing channels that are not direct response takes some creativity. But it is there and definitely measurable. to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. Q. What impact has your blog had on your business? Q: What’s your favorite blog post that you’ve ever written? Why? That’s valuable real estate — over 700 searches per month, according to our  . Lee was kind enough to spend some time earlier this week answering questions about his blog and online marketing.  Q: How long have you been blogging? A: Blogging, SEO and social media are all intimately intertwined. I don’t see them as completely different marketing channels, although there are distinct metrics for each. Dec 2003 What’s important is the mix that will best help the client reach their goals. Marketing on the social web is about helping customers reach their goals. Consumer information discovery increasingly involves more than just search, so involving blogs and social media to some extent is almost always a part of every client engagement. If we can see opportunities for our clients to reach and engage their customers in specific areas of the web AND it can be measured, then we’ll make recommendations accordingly. I like a lot of the  Top Rank Online Marketing  because the majority contain great information and many are entertaining. A: The first thing to do is “listen” and pay attention to what  others are blogging and doing within social communities. It’s simply not effective to publish and promote content via blogging and social media without being a participant. Get involved by subscribing to other blogs on and off topic to get an idea of voice, frequency and etiquette. Join social networks and connect with other like-minded people, share opinions, content and interact. Then you’ll have a foundation for going forward with your own blogging and social media marketing efforts. TopRankMarketing.comcenter_img I’d also recommend using an outside consultant that clearly practices what they preach. Getting advice from an experienced blogger/social media participant can save time, embarrassment and money. That’s a big part of what TopRank does in our blog and social media marketing practices: serve as a guide to help clients help themselves. If you search Google for “marketing blog” chances are you’ll find  A: Measuring the return on any marketing investment starts with setting goals. Knowing the audience, your objectives, a strategy and mix of tactics for reaching those objectives all lead up to the measurement piece. Internet marketing offers amazing metrics, far beyond what many offline marketing and advertising expenditures return. Webinar: Blogging for Business Digital PR and SEO: Social Media Monitoring A. Online Marketing Blog has been instrumental in growing our business. It generates daily new business inquiries, weekly inquiries from the media as well as candidates and marketing partners. Over 5 years we’ve posted over 2,000 articles on internet marketing topics and have been recognized in many ways for that besides growing revenue, which of course, is what pays the bills. A: We manage a list of over 500 blogs on our  Q. In addition to advising companies on business blogging, your company offers search engine and social media marketing services. That’s a lot of different things. Do you advise clients to get involved in all of them? Is there one channel that’s best? Or most important?  so I have a lot more than 5 favorite blogs. Originally published Jan 16, 2009 8:52:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 A: In terms of traffic, “25 Tips for Marketing Your Blog” posted in  We identify expectations, business needs and reconcile those with goals for a marketing program. SEO is easier to measure in terms of a direct association with revenue. Blogs can be measured in that way too. Getting ROI measurements out of social media and blogging efforts most often comes from an association with other known channels. For example, if a blog ranks well in search engines, then the cost per click can be identified for those keyword rankings and a valuation can be calculated. If social media or a blog post result in media coverage, then a value for what it would cost to hire a PR firm to earn that coverage can be associated as a return on the social media or blogging effort. Content Distribution Networks A: Great question. Running our business in terms of day-to-day operation has little to do with our blog. In terms of marketing and building thought leadership, it would certainly be possible to have a successful marketing program without a blog. It would involve other social media communication channels that allow two-way communications, frequent updates, engaging information sharing, etc – many features of a blog. However, with all that functionality contained right within blog software, I’d prefer to use blog software as a preferred way to create and promote content that inspires the kinds of conversations leading to new business, improved credibility and confidence in the TopRankMarketing.com brand. Q: Could you run your business without your blog? A: Within our organization my functional responsibilities involve our organization’s business strategy, business development, some training and marketing. Most operational duties are handled by my business partner, Susan Misukanis. The marketing portion of my job is to be the public face of our organization speaking at about 15 events a year and being social on the web via TopRankBlog.com, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack BIGLIST Q: What do you tell your clients when they ask about the ROI of social media, blogging or SEO investments? Q: What’s the most popular blog post you’ve ever written? A: Sometimes blogging and social media do not make sense for reasons other than a specific industry mis-match. If a company doesn’t have the resources or appreciation/understanding of how blogging and social media work – tech biz or not – it shouldn’t bother. At least not until they make efforts to get up to speed with internal staff and/or via outside resources. Back to your question. Wherever there are people talking online about a topic, there is an opportunity for blogging and social media. Industry is irrelevant to predicting the viability of incorporating social media into an organization’s marketing and communication efforts. It’s the customers that matter and if customers or potential customers are involved with and influenced by blogs and social media, then companies that serve those customers should participate. If not, their competition will. Q: When you’re not blogging, you run an internet marketing business — can you describe what you do? Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? Download the free webinar Q: What advice would you give to a small business owner or professional marketer who’s just starting out with blogging and social media?  has been the most popular. interviews we’ve done with SEO and social media peoplelast_img read more

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What Do Coke, Pepsi, Pampers, Dominos, Google and Facebook Have in Common?

first_img Facebook Marketing Are audiences more interested in understanding what the big brands are doing?  Do we look up to Coke and Pepsi and other great brands for inspiration?At HubSpot, we love to measure everything, and recently we completed a short study on how the use of brand names (including Coke, Pepsi, Dominos, Google, Pampers, Facebook,etc.) in article titles had an impact on blog article performance. The results were astounding.  Out of the approximately 100 articles published over a period of 50 days, just over 20% of them had major brand names in the title.  As you can see in the graph below, the articles that had a major brand name in the title generated 60% more page views on average than articles without them.Also, we published 6 articles with Google in the title, and on average they performed 50% better than articles without brand names in their titles.Surprisingly, while the use of brand names appeared to have an impact on page views and readership, it had little or no impact on comments (or conversation) and what appears to be a negative impact on inbound links.  The brand name articles got 3 fewer inbound links on average than their counterparts. If you’re wondering why we used such a short time frame for the study, it’s because blog articles are like annuities. Over longer periods of time, articles continue to amass more and more page views, which would skew the study.  The top-performing articles in all groups were spread pretty evenly across the time frame used for the study!Thoughts,  Observations and TakeawaysTiming Your Article Publication is Key — There was definitely a “news” factor to articles with brand names in their titles, and the timeliness of the publication coincided with the conversation about the brand on the Internet and in media.  (e.g. the Dominos and Pepsi articles).Visible Brands Serve as Case Studies — People and marketers in general love hearing what major brands are doing and how they are conducting their business.  A lot of companies like to emulate and learn from big brands. Familiarity Has an Impact on Viral Effect — People become bigger “sneezers” (per Seth Godin’s idea virus) when it comes to bigger brands because they are more familiar with them and their products. Have you noticed any interesting trends in how your blog articles perform?  Please share your thoughts in the comments! Photo credit: Nikita Kashner Video: Blogging for Business Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website?Watch the free video to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 11, 2010 8:30:00 AM, updated October 18 2015 Topics:last_img read more

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The Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest SEO

first_imgOnce viewed as a niche player in the social space, Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social networks ever, harnessing both an increased user base and its exponential growth as a referring site to become a considerable force in the marketing world.Free Resource: 12 Pinterest Templates for BusinessEqually important for businesses to consider is the buying power behind Pinterest: Pinterest users purchase items more often and in greater quantities, spend more money, and shop more frequently than any other social network. So if your initial trial of using Pinterest for business has yielded positive results and you think Pinterest is a viable social media marketing platform for your business, you know what the next step is, right? Optimization!To get you started, below we’ll outline 10 great tips to optimize your business’ Pinterest presence for search. 1) Choose an Optimized Company UsernameIn November 2012, Pinterest finally launched Pinterest business accounts, which make registering for a business account (or converting a personal account into a business account) easy and painless. Going the “business” route also makes it easier to verify your website, add links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and add Pinterest buttons and widgets to your company site or blog. For more detailed information about how use Pinterest’s new business accounts, check out the free HubSpot ebook, A Guide to Pinterest’s New Business Accounts here.The first thing you should do to optimize your Pinterest business account for search is to make sure your company name is straightforward. The field to indicate your company name has no character limit; but the challenge often comes with your username, which is confined to 15 characters. If your full company name fits — fantastic! But if it doesn’t, choose something memorable, keyword-conscious, and easy to spell that is also clearly associated with your business. For example, The New York Times has amassed over 44,000 followers using the username “NYTimes,” while Martha Stewart Weddings in the Middle East chose “MSWeddingsME” to differentiate itself from other Martha Stewart properties, but still capitalizing on search traffic for weddings.Furthermore, be sure to verify your website. Log in to your Pinterest account, and go to ‘Settings.’ Check to ensure you’ve listed your website here before clicking the ‘Verify Website’ button.2) Optimize Your Page’s ‘About’ SectionThe Pinterest ‘About’ section provides you with 200 characters of prime keyword real estate, so use this space wisely. In addition to being descriptive and keyword-sensitive, your ‘About’ section should also be simple, succinct, and specific. Two hundred characters is plenty of space for a keyword-rich overview that covers the who, what, and where of what you do, so use it smartly — and don’t forget to add your website URL in the space provided!3) Include Links Back to Your Website  Pinterest re-pin links used to be “dofollow” links, but last year, following standard practice with other social networks in the space, Pinterest adopted “nofollow” links. In other words, these links do not pass any SEO authority. But even those these links won’t give you any extra oomph in terms of SEO, we still recommend optimizing for user experience and brand awareness. After all, what good is search engine optimizing your Pinterest presence if you’re not ultimately driving users back to your website?Always include a reference link back to your website with your pins, and if you re-pin a post that features your content or products, edit the description to include a full link (just don’t use a URL shortener here, as Pinterest is known to mark pins containing shortended links as spam). Including a link back to your website will not only reinforce that the image is associated with your brand, but it will also open up a direct pathway to purchase (for ecommerce) or learn more (for services).Etsy is a great example of a Pinterest presence that excels at mixing great content from other sites with products featured on its own site. In doing so, Etsy always includes a direct link to purchase the item on their site along with the username of the specific Etsy shop owner. A great example is Etsy’s pin featuring a humorous burrito card, which includes a brief overview of the card under the image and a direct link to see the product on Etsy in the link’s description.Think of links in Pinterest as providing the next step for pinners — where they can find the image they loved enough to click, re-pin, Like, or comment on. Use links to make that distance between the pin and the content/product as short as possible so you can improve the experience of your users and eventually drive more traffic and awareness to your site — social signals that search engines may end up picking up on in their algorithms over time.4) Differentiate Your PinboardsBy default, Pinterest offers some general pinboard options to get users thinking about how to bucket and organize their pins into different boards. For businesses, however, getting more specific and unique in your board descriptions is critical to helping you get found on Pinterest. According to a study by RJ Metrics, more than 3% of pinboards are titled “For the Home,” followed by “My Style” and “Products I Love,” all three of which are default board names recommended by Pinterest.Break through the pinboard name clutter and be specific and keyword-conscious in the selection of your board names. If you’re an interior designer, replace “For the Home” with “Modern Kitchens” or “Children’s Bedrooms” so that potential search terms align more closely with what end users might be looking for and increase the likelihood of standing out from the massive clutter of default –or just plain unoriginal — board names.5) Speak Your Customers’ LanguagePinterest is not a place to play inside baseball and use expressions that are unique to your company. Your ‘About’ sections and board names should all be optimized using terms your target customers and buyer personas actually use in their everyday lives. Being relevant on Pinterest means understanding what your customer is looking for, what he or she is most interested in buying or pinning, and what related industries or topics the pinner might be seeking out. It should not feel like an advertising board for your products; instead, it should feel like a comfortable space that’s curated around the style, needs, and lifestyle of your potential clients.One great example of speaking your customers’ language is fashion brand 2 Penny Blue. 2 Penny Blue is a high-end fashion brand specializing in blazers, but instead of only pinning items they make and sell, the company’s Pinterest boards are centered around the types of style and advice that 2PB clients might want to emulate, including a board called “Style Muses” featuring Audrey Hepburn and Gwenyth Paltrow, accessory boards packed with current trends, and pins like a guide to navigating champagne cocktails.When you think about your Pinterest boards, consider your customers’ buying habits, average age, and lifestyle, and build your pinning strategy around their terminology, interests, and potential search terms. For example, if you’re a real estate broker, Pinterest is a great place to pin images or videos with helpful tips for buying a home, but it’s also a great place to showcase your knowledge of your community. Boards featuring local schools, attractions, restaurants, and parks will help potential customers understand the markets where you sell and build trust that you understand their needs. Create authentic boards that connect to your clients and how they live, and use terminology that is straightforward and relatable. The search engines, your audience, and Pinterest will thank you for it!6) Use Your Pins’ Descriptions WiselyThe biggest opportunity for text-based content on Pinterest is the description area for each individual pin. Here, the platform gives you 500 characters to work with, which users can fill with anything from recipe instructions, to notes and commentary, to credits for other vendors, to location and usage information … and more. When describing your pins, include terms that your users will relate to and use on their own, add links to the original product or content, and consider adding instructions on product usage or care. The great balancing act with descriptions is ensuring that you include relevant keywords, relatable context, and easy-to-follow links to the content featured in the post. For example, real wedding website Style Me Pretty has almost five million followers on Pinterest and some of the most liked and re-pinned content on Pinterest. In addition to choosing beautiful imagery that’s relevant to their audience, they also tailor their descriptions perfectly for SEO. Their pin showcasing do-it-yourself noisemakers includes a link to the Style Me Pretty website for instructions, links to the photographer and stylist, and a quick overview of what pinners can expect (DIY noisemakers and escort cards) when they click through on the pin to the website.One of the single biggest mistakes companies make on Pinterest is being lazy about their pins’ descriptions. Ignoring the descriptions altogether, using language that your customers don’t understand or relate to, linking to irrelevant content (or not linking out at all), or just repeating keywords over and over again is a great way to get lost in the SEO shuffle. Instead, focus on creating remarkable descriptions that help you stand out from the pack.7) Make Sure the Images You Pin Have Descriptive File Names & Alt TextGiven that Pinterest is a highly visual platform, using interesting imagery that is formatted and named correctly can have a significant impact on the success of your boards — and individual pins themselves. Many companies make the mistake of uploading photos using their default names. For example, an image named 1.13.13ShootImage722.jpg doesn’t help you at all in search, while a clearly named “Boston-townhouse.jpg” can help a search engine decipher what your image is about much more easily. Furthermore, if you pin an image from your website, make sure that image has clear alt text associated with it. The same rule we talked about with pin descriptions also applies here: Use naming conventions your customers will identify with. If a product you’re pinning has an obscure name that isn’t broadly known or intuitive, skip it in favor of a potential keyword search term.In addition, make an effort to size your images optimally for Pinterest. Pinterest does not place any restrictions on the height of an image, but it does constrict the width of images to 554 pixels. Dan Zarrella’s analysis shows that taller images are more re-pinnable — likely because they take up more space in users’ Pinterest feeds — so use that to your advantage. Make sure your images are properly sized for use on Pinterest, use high-quality, beautiful imagery, and keep in mind that in this case, height is a distinct advantage, so if you’re assembling a “recipe for technology implementation success” or an inspiration board of your company goals for 2013, create an image that is tall, visually interesting, and aptly named using appropriate keywords.8) Incorporate HashtagsThat’s right! Hashtags are no longer just for Twitter. In fact, hashtags on Pinterest not only allow you to organize pins by a specific theme or campaign, but they also make your pins a lot more searchable. For example, Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida knows that wedding planning is one of the most common uses of Pinterest. As a result, pins on their “Weddings @ Rollins” board, which includes photos of alumni getting married in various locations throughout campus, are organized using hashtags such as #RollinsCollege, #Knowles Chapel, and #Winter Park to ensure that brides searching by city, college, or a specific destination on campus can easily find images of their potential venue.This maximizes awareness of Rollins College’s wedding venue offerings while staying top of mind for brides searching for those terms. And these integrated efforts have definitely paid off: The Weddings @ Rollins board ranks on the first page of a Google search alongside its homepage for the search term “florida wedding rollins,” giving engaged couples great visual content to drive interest and purchase intent as they plan their weddings.9) Leverage the Long TailAs we know from the success of big brands like Amazon, Google, and Netflix, the long tail isn’t just a niche strategy for small businesses. Take a page out of their books when you put your pins’ descriptions together. For example, according to Repinly, food and drink still represent more than 11% of all pins, so if you’re trying to get found by pins about chocolate chip cookies or wine, just writing a short, literal description of your pin is not going to help you cut through the clutter and stand out from the pack. Instead, identify niche, long-tail terms that your customers might pin around, and get more granular with your descriptions.Stumped about how to get more specific? Consider adding your location, product use case details, or the audience you’d like to target to help you master the long tail. Here are some examples:Location: Mistral Boston includes its restaurant name and location right within its Pinterest username, then adds even more clarity by identifying its neighborhood (South End) and style of cuisine (French Mediterranean). Doing so helps them stand out in the space and assists pinners who are looking for great, high-end restaurants in the Boston area.Use Case: RELAX Wines fills its Pinterest account with food recipes that pair well with their wines, backyard entertaining ideas, and even ideas for how to put your finished wine bottles to good use (e.g. wine cork ornaments, garden torches, etc). Help people understand creative ways to use your product or services — it will improve your SEO while also providing followers with more context around usage.Audience: The Seattle Seahawks football team is one of the top sports brands on Pinterest. By outlining specific gift ideas for men, women, and kids, they leverage the fact that 44% of NFL fans are now female to market holiday products, gift ideas, and specific, targeted holiday promotions, all of which helps fans and non-fans alike identify wish list items for their favorite Seahawk supporters.When it comes to descriptions, think about long-tail keywords for your business and industry. Identify keywords that are slightly more specific than “chocolate chip cookies” or “insurance companies” to help people find you more readily, and to help you stand out from the crowd in search results. For more information about the long tail, check out our ultimate guide for mastering long-tail search.10) “Pinjack” Relevant Search Terms and ImagesAlthough the number and engagement of male users on Pinterest is growing, Pinterest’s core user base demographics skew toward female users, so “pinjacking” trends and events relevant to avid pinners can be a great way to increase your organic search. For example, one of the top organic Google search results for “DIY Halloween Costumes” comes not from Walmart, Target, or some costume shop, but from Goodwill Industries of Western Michigan.By combining highly shareable imagery from other highly trafficked sites, trendy costumes, and great board descriptions, Goodwill Industries has managed to improve its overall online presence and increase visibility outside of traditional terms like “Goodwill locations” or “shopping at Goodwill” by taking advantage of pinjack-able trends (think newjacking, but for Pinterest!) and timing around Halloween to maximize their online awareness and traffic.The role Pinterest plays for businesses is growing every day. With 11 million users and growing, the network provides a unique opportunity for companies to leverage visual content, quality descriptions, and insight into customers’ lifestyles and needs while growing their reach and improving their organic search results. Just as with any website, your focus as a business should be on creating remarkable content and a strong community around your product, services, and brand. Happy pinning!Image Credit: Peter Alfred Hess Originally published Jan 11, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Pinterest Marketinglast_img read more

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Help! Our VP of Sales Wants My Job

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 Twitter Marketing Topics: If you had access to 373K new followers for a day, what would you say?That’s a question that HubSpot’s Phil Harrell, VP Corporate Division, is currently contemplating as he prepares to take on an entirely new role here: Social Media Manager.Yeah, you heard me right.On Monday, March 3rd, Phil Harrell will be taking over my job as Social Media Manager in addition to the job of HubSpot CMO, Mike Volpe. Why? He won it. During HubSpot’s 4th Annual Charity Auction, Phil purchased “@HubSpot for a day” and “CMO for a day” for a grand total of $875. This money went to Read to a Child, Phil’s charity of choice.In preparation for the big day, Phil and I sat down to go over the protocol for running HubSpot’s Twitter account. As it turns out, there’s a lot to think about (and a lot to be careful about) when you’re speaking in front of 373K people, on behalf of a company. Here’s some tangible advice I gave to Phil on ways he could be most successful:Have a Goal In Mind … And Stick to ItTo get an idea of Phil’s goals, I asked him why he chose to bid on @HubSpot for a day. He said:If you ask me, he’s already off to a great start simply because he has a clear goal in mind. This goal is not only helpful to him as the Corporate Divisions VP, but it’s also helpful to the company as a whole.Compile Great Content … And Schedule ItSince Phil’s ultimate goal is to build awareness around enterprise sales and marketing, I suggested he tap the resources he likes to read first. If he’s interested in the content, surely someone else at his level would be interested in that content, too.Next, since Phil actually paid good money to get access to HubSpot’s Twitter followers, I suggested that he promote himself in some way. Not tweet selfies and start bragging about how great he is, but I did advise that he share his knowledge with others. He’ll be doing this through his personal blog, SlideShare presentations, and general Q&A on HubSpot’s Twitter account.Finally, once Phil compiles all the content he wants to share, I told him to schedule it through HubSpot’s Social Inbox. This way Phil can participate in impromptu engagement during the day and worry less about the stuff that he can prep ahead of time. The @HubSpot account gets over 1,000 mentions per day, so he’ll need all hands on deck for interacting and responding.Add Value … And Align It With Your Buyer PersonasAs a Social Media Manager, one question I ask myself every day is: “Will this tweet/post add some kind of value to our audience’s life?”Value could mean many different things — including entertainment or education — and it’ll certainly change depending on your goals and buyer personas. But if the answer to this question is “yes,” then I proceed with scheduling the tweet or post. If the answer isn’t clear, I usually end up nixing it … because if I’m not clear about the value, our audience won’t be clear about it, either.Optimize Your Tweets … And Be Mindful of Your MessagingSince the average shelf life of a tweet is only 3 hours, I wanted Phil to be mindful of his messaging so he could get the biggest bang for his buck. I suggested he should optimize for clicks from the audience he’s trying to reach, which means he needs to think about writing his tweets differently than if he were optimizing for retweets.Something that works really well for HubSpot normally is asking a question, then following up with an action statement and a link. To use a very general example, a highly clickable tweet might say “Is your marketing stale? Read this ebook to find out: [link]” Nobody wants to think their marketing is going stale, so they’ll click the link just to make sure. ;-)Add Personality … But Not Too MuchOther messaging tips I gave Phil were related to tone. As a brand, it’s important to be professional, but it’s equally as important to have a touch of personality. The last thing someone wants is to talk to a wall that won’t talk back. People like talking to other people, so brands need to show that real human beings are there on the other end.Have a Sense of Humor … You Might Get Picked On ;-)Last year, our CEO and Co-founder, Brian Halligan, donated $600 to the Animal Rescue League of Boston to run HubSpot’s Twitter account. He was heckled by @DunkinDonuts and @BostonVC (in a loving kinda way) during his time running the account. I was proud to see that he stayed strong and came out of it with a smile on his face.The moral of the story here is that you never know who will mention you; you have to be prepared for absolutely anything. The happy, the sad, and the trolls. Just remember that on top of it all, you’re a human and it’s okay to act that way.I’m really excited to have some fresh new perspective on the HubSpot Twitter account, and I think Phil Harrell will be a great source of quality content for anyone who wants to come hang out with us on Twitter on Monday. Be sure to follow him at @HubSpot on Monday, March 3rd, so you can join in on the fun! Originally published Feb 28, 2014 3:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_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 Build a Website Style Guide: Lessons from Working on HubSpot.com

first_img Branding Originally published Oct 16, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: I’d been working on the HubSpot website for several months when the déjà vu struck.My team and I were going over the initial wireframes for a new page. As always, we’d started the project with the noble goals of better branding, an improved user experience, and sleeker designs. And, as always, we had ended up debating the most minute details.Do we use sentence case or title case for our headers? Did we decide to round the corners of our buttons? Which version of the logo did we want on landing pages? Hadn’t we had these conversations before?We all knew we needed to improve our process, but it seemed easier to put it off until after the next project. That is, until we reached a breaking point.It was time to make our process more manageable, scalable, and regulated. It was time to build our own website style guide. Here’s how it all played out. What’s a Style Guide?First off, we needed to define what was going into our style guide (or “pattern library”).Basically, a website style guide is a resource that defines all elements that go into the website: code snippets, design assets, guidelines for copywriting, etc. Some style guides focus more on design; others on development. Many style guides also formalize the best practices and processes for how the team should work together.The goal is to create a centralized hub of information that should allow anyone to understand and replicate the process of designing and building for your site. Building Our Designs From ScratchWith so many different designers and developers working on the website, we found ourselves with a hodgepodge collection of templates, style sheets, and modules on our hands. This was troubling, as there was no unified design that could be retrofitted into a cohesive style guide. Though this project was getting bigger by the second, we decided it would be better in the long run to start afresh and design brand-new styles for the site. We also wanted to incorporate some completely new elements, like adding a new font and reworking our form styles. And so we began the process of formalizing our designs. We decided to start with typography: choosing and updating font styles seemed relatively straightforward. Yet this seemingly simple update yielded some telling roadblocks.First, when I started testing out our approved font styles on existing pages, they didn’t always look as good as we’d imagined. It became clear that the font styles needed to be adjusted to be compatible with many different parts of the site; even then, some of our custom-designed pages needed to be reworked to fit the new styles.After typography, we backed up a little. We combed through our existing website, looking for patterns. Most pages were built with similar skeletons: some sort of photo header, various subheaders, blocks of copy or photos, and rows with one or two CTAs. We decided to make a list of the most important, repeated elements, and build those elements as reusable custom modules. We envisioned a set of full-width modules that could stack together to build any page.Making it ModularWhile the purpose of this style guide was to streamline our design and development process, it was also important that we created something non-designers and non-developers could leverage. The decision to make it modular was rooted in just that. By designing all the modules at the same time, we were ensuring that the style was cohesive, and we could mock up how pages would look with various combinations of modules. And even though we’d figured out an effective way to modularize our website, we still encountered some serious challenges.As we started to make final design decisions, I realized we’d all had slightly different ideas about how our site was going to look. Since the style guide touched so much of the website, we wanted to involve everyone who worked on design, development, or branding, however, it’s impossible to accommodate the insight and opinions of so many people. That said, we ended up making decisions that we deemed best for the website users, while building something flexible enough to allow easy updates.Preparing for the LaunchFinally, after months of designing, building, testing, and rebuilding, we had developed a set of modules for use across the HubSpot site. But how to display them?We wanted anyone using the modules to be able to understand the design principles that went into their creation. Furthermore, we wanted to create a reference for future designers on our team and anyone else who might need to iterate on our styles.After some discussion, we built out two pages to house our finished style guide: Foundations and Components. The Foundations page goes over our design and branding principles, including specific details regarding our typography, iconography, colors, logos, and imagery. The Components page shows those design elements in action: we use this page as a library of all our customizable modules used for website development. We then set up recurring trainings with the marketing team so that everyone could use the guide for their projects.And with that, the style guide had launched.Life After the Style GuideWhen we finished the style guide, I quickly realized that it wasn’t just a major revamp of our site styles; the style guide had totally changed how my team tackles new projects and interfaces with the rest of the marketing team.Now, all of our projects reference the style guide in some form or another. As soon as we receive a new project request, we check to see if it might be something that can be built solely through our style guide components. If not, we’re conscious of creating and building new elements that fit with our guide. When we receive a project that requires a more custom or novel approach, we’re cognizant of how we might be “breaking” our style guidelines; sometimes this opens the door to iterating on our current styles.The style guide has improved so many parts of our workflow, but I think these are some of the most important benefits:Design and development work together more efficiently. Before the style guide conversations, we didn’t have a shared vocabulary between design, development, and other stakeholders. Now, we all have a common reference point for our current and future designs.We get to work with cleaner, more scalable code. On the development side, our code base is now far cleaner and easier to maintain. Whenever I start a new project, I immediately reference the global styles and variables from the style guide. Furthermore, I can now make changes that will be reflected across all parts of the website. Our onboarding process has become more standardized. Getting new team members up to speed is so much easier when we can point to an interactive document to illustrate our design and development philosophies. The style guide also serves as an inventory of all our approved, polished design elements and their accompanying code, so there’s no need to track down old files or question whether or not something is out-of-date.Of course, it wasn’t just my team that benefited from the style guide: other members of the marketing team could now make their own pages without needing to wait for design or development resources. One of my coworkers was telling me how she was rebuilding a significant part of the website, a task which would have taken at least six weeks at her last company. The style guide allowed her to finish in about a day. How crazy is that?4 Tips for Building Your Own Style GuideA style guide can feel like it carries more weight than smaller projects, like one-off page builds or small-scale custom apps. And in many ways, it does: it’s a huge undertaking that will theoretically affect every page on your website. To build it properly, you need to make choices about countless creative details. To implement those changes, you’ll need to refactor or replace thousands of lines of existing code. It can be grueling. It helped me to remember that this is a one-time process that helps avoid those repetitive conversations in the future. Here are a few tips that I learned from the process: Before you start, designate the project leaders. I’d recommend starting with clear decision-makers on both the design and development sides so that you don’t get stuck waiting for your team to come to a consensus on any one detail.Look at other companies’ guides for inspiration. If you’re not sure where to start, go through other companies’ guides and pull out the parts that seem most important to your process. For starters, I’d recommend taking a look at Starbucks, GitHub, and MailChimp.Remember that your guide will change over time. It’s important to not get too caught up in nitpicky details. As long as you’re building your style guide to be easily maintained and updated, you can refine and iterate your styles over time. Make sure you DO change your guide. A style guide means that you don’t have to redesign your entire site to experiment with little changes, so try to make sure that your guide doesn’t sit stagnant post-launch. Start A/B testing, get user feedback, and observe how your team is working together.Ultimately, if your website is anything like ours — somewhat large, always changing, worked on by multiple designers and developers — a style guide becomes more than a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity. And it’s worth it, I promise. Want to check out the finished product? Our finished style guide consists of two pages, Foundations and Components. Both sections of the style guide were designed by Anna Faber-Hammond and built by me (Annabeth). We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below. last_img read more

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Design Disruptors: The Story Behind One Startup’s Decision to Produce a Feature-Length Documentary

first_imgMany a marketing team, big and small, has gathered around a conference table to brainstorm a list of crazy ideas. You know what I’m talking about — those “big, hairy, audacious goals” discussed so often that they’ve earned a place in the business lexicon.Much more rarely, though, do teams actually execute on these crazy ideas.David Malpass and the folks at InVision are the exception. Not only did the small marketing team from the growing startup take on the challenge of creating a feature-length documentary, but they managed to release a trailer in less than a year’s time. A trailer that has garnered international attention, might we add. Why take on something so ambitious? Quite simply, they have a story to tell that they want to get out to as many people as humanly possible. Their documentary, Design Disruptors, will be released for free in early 2016. And as for the story they’re so keen on telling? Well, spoiler alert: It’s about design. With no forced connection to the InVision brand, the documentary will explore how design has risen to become one of the most important roles in modern business. So much so that companies like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, AirBNB, Spotify have all prevailed in a world rife with pop-up competitors — all because they’ve placed an emphasis on a top-notch user experience and great aesthetics from the very beginning.To uncover more about idea’s inception, the company’s intentions, and how this project has taken shape over the past year, we took some time to chat about the upcoming documentary with Mallpass, InVision’s VP of Marketing. Planting the SeedWhen Malpass joined InVision as their VP of Marketing in July 2014, it became instantly apparent that, across the company, InVision innovates by doing the unexpected.For the InVision team, the film was a powerful, long-term project that could happen in the background. In other words, they’d outsource the filming, editing, and so on, while focusing their efforts on constructing the narrative and planning promotion for the release.”Our content is the backbone of our marketing,” Malpass told me.”We’re always ambitious and innovative with the content we’re putting out there — whether it’s blog content, ebooks, webinars, and so on. We never sacrifice quality for quantity, so this [documentary] is the ultimate example of the team going big, doing something very ambitious, and setting the tone for the content we put out in the future,” he went on to explain. InVision has always encouraged these big ideas. Companies may not do big things like this because there’s risk involved — but if you’re comfortable with introducing a bit of risk into the equation, you can often achieve exponentially greater results.Image Credit: Design DisruptorsIs This a Marketing Play?Going into the conversation with Malpass, I was fascinated with the concept of creating a documentary to market your company and your product. How was the film was connected with the InVision brand? How are they using it to sell their product? Where are all the calls-to-action going to be?I quickly found out that the film isn’t actually connected with InVision in any overt way. Nothing in the film or the trailer or the website directly promotes the InVision brand. It lives on its own URL, where the only clues that it’s linked to InVision are a subtle mention on the page and the shortened URL in the click-to-tweet buttons. The Design Disruptors URL isn’t linked to anywhere on the InVision website, either. In fact, the company isn’t even mentioned in the film itself.Why did the folks at InVision choose to spend so much time and so many resources on a documentary if they weren’t going to use it to market their company? Why wouldn’t they just write an ebook or something?”We’re not trying to sell our product. We’re trying to bring attention to the increased importance of design in a company’s success,” Malpass explained. “A lot of our work is based on doing things that’ll create a positive effect on the design community and that will elevate the role of the designer within their organization.”They are, after all, giving this documentary away for free. When it’s released in early 2016, it’ll be shown for free online at the Design Disruptors website, at movie theatres, and on Netflix.That’s not to say the documentary won’t benefit InVision in any way. Given that their community is comprised of smart, passionate designers, this documentary serves as a great opportunity for them to educate their audience by showcasing some of the industry’s most talented minds. He added it’s also positive for InVision because they’re the platform that most of the companies in the film go to for their design process, of course.As for why they didn’t write an ebook instead, Malpass says the goal is to get this story in front of an audience that expands beyond designers and businesspeople. While an ebook or a webinar would reach InVision’s target audience, they wanted to break out of those limits to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to that content.”A designer came to me and said, ‘My mom saw the trailer and she called me and asked me if that’s what I do,'” Malpass told me.In other words, Design Disruptor’s target audience includes designers and their moms.Measuring SuccessThe great thing about ebooks and webinars is that people sign up to see the content, so marketers can collect email addresses and capture leads. When you’re giving away a film for free, how do you measure its success?Since releasing the trailer in early October, InVision’s growing marketing team — which has gone from three to twenty-five since Malpass joined — has already seen an overwhelmingly positive response.”Design Disruptors” was trending on Twitter for three days, and at one point, it was the fourth most tweeted thing in the world. However, other than social shares, site visits, and articles written about the film, most of the film’s success is intangible.”We want designers to feel empowered to share this film with their organization, and for non-designers to recognize their success and elevate them,” explained Malpass.”Oh, and it’s got to have a good score on IMDB,” he joked. “No one wants to look back in ten years and have made a bad film.”For a sneak peek at the documentary, you can watch the trailer here.  Entrepreneurship Topics: Design Trendscenter_img Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Oct 21, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

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How to Find the Right Co-Marketing Partner

first_imgCo-marketing is a fantastic way to gain new contacts without having to wait for organic search to kick in … but it’s not always an easy job.The challenging part of co-marketing all boils down to one thing: your partner. Can you find partners who launch campaigns with the same strategy and thoughtfulness you do? Oftentimes, it’s a struggle.If you’re having trouble finding and evaluating co-marketing partners, keep on reading. In this post, I’ll outline 10 tips for making sure you’re entering into a healthy and prosperous co-marketing partnership.Let’s get to it.Click here to download a detailed guide and free templates for getting started with co-marketing.10 Tips to Finding the Right Co-Marketing Partner1) Start with a list of brands you admire.  First, create a running list of brands and influencers in your industry that you admire from a marketing standpoint.If you’re an online wine distributor, for example, a great potential partner to include on this list would be a popular wine accessory company. Chances are, your audience would want cool wine accessories and gifts for their family and friends, and the wine accessory company would want an audience of wine lovers to buy more accessories. It’s a win-win!A few questions to ask yourself when you’re putting this list together:Are there potential partners in your space who have enjoyable-to-read blogs that would provide value to your audience?Do you follow any brands on social media that make lovable content that also speaks to your buyer persona’s needs?What apps, tools, or products make your customers’ lives easier? Once you nail down a list of companies that are a fit for your buyer persona, it’s time to dig a lot deeper.2) Consider competitive overlap.It can be tough to assess the “coopetition” of a new partner. It’s common sense to not go after direct competitors, but there is a gray area where a partner’s products are differentiated enough to where you might want to engage in a co-marketing relationship.My biggest pieces of advice when evaluating that gray area is to make sure you’re not fighting for the same keywords. If you’re an interior designer in Boston trying to grow outside of New England, for example, don’t co-market with another interior designer in Massachusetts as the keyword to find you would be “interior designer in Boston” or “interior designer in Massachusetts.” I’d opt to partner with somebody in the furniture or rug business that has a national footprint, as you can both drive traffic and leads to each other without cutting into each other’s business.3) Dig into social media profiles.The first thing I do to check out a new partner is visit their company’s profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.While I’m there, I don’t just look at the number of followers — I also look at engagement, replies, and the type of content their social team is posting. Why? Chances are, your co-marketing content will be promoted on social media. It’s important to know the potential reach and engagement of your partners’ social accounts so you can assess how much exposure your co-branded content will get on social.When you’re looking at their social media accounts, ask yourself these questions:Does the partner use high-quality, relevant, and aesthetically pleasing visuals to promote their campaigns?Is the copy engaging and easy to digest? Are people liking/favoriting and sharing posts?Is the partner answering questions from customers and prospects? Is the partner joining conversations related to your industry? Try to answer all of these questions about your future partner to determine if they’re on the same page you are when it comes to social content.Pro Tip: When you’re on Twitter, check out “Tweets & Replies” as well as “Photos & Videos” to better determine what your future new partner is up to.4) Assess the company’s overall web and content reach.In order to assess how much traffic your new partner could drive to a landing page, I look at their overall web presence on www.alexa.com and www.similarweb.com. These sites help me get a rough idea of traffic, bounce rates, keywords, and sources people are using to find that site, as well as the next action they take after visiting.Alexa specifically is a great tool, as it can help you dig into where visitors click from a company’s main site. If you find most of the clicks are going to a company’s blog or resources pages, that’s a great sign for me as their audience likes that company’s content. If it’s going to a pricing page or something that’s not as top of the funnel, it signals that there is a hole in their marketing and conversion path — they may not be a great co-marketing partner right now. Another tool that works well for assessing a potential new partner’s reach is Buzzsumo. It allows you to find specific types of content that perform well in an industry, as well as uncovers thought leaders in that space. This handy tool ranks content by the number of social shares to provide you insight into what’s working on this company’s site. Here’s a great video on Buzzsumo’s capabilities and a look into how HubSpot’s own SEO guru Matthew Barby uses the tool.image Source: SEMrush5) Google the company.To make sure you don’t start working with a partner who is on the verge of bankruptcy, Google the company and check out the first few pages to see what comes up, as well as the “News” section. If the latest news doesn’t shed a positive light on this potential partner, perhaps you should wait until the dust settles after a few months. If it’s too damaging, you might consider crossing them off your list of partners to reach out to.If the latest news is about their impending IPO or recent funding and growth, however, go get ‘em! 6) Sign up for their newsletters and subscribe to their blog.  Sometimes the best way to find out if this company markets their brand and content well is to subscribe to their updates. A few questions to ask yourself:Is the content they’re promoting lovable?How often are they sending emails?Is there an unsubscribe link?Are their calls-to-action to landing pages and useful content, or to assets that don’t make sense?The importance of knowing how this future partner markets to their own database is similar to how they engage on social media. Eventually, if you co-market with them, they’re going to promote via email, social media, and their website. If you like the way they are marketing to their database in helpful newsletters, interesting blog posts, and relevant content, that’s a sign this company knows what their audiences likes and how to convert them into delighted customers and evangelists. If they’re not sending any emails or the emails themselves are irrelevant, that should be a red flag on moving forward with a co-marketing partnership.7) If applicable, check out reviews for their product or service.In the case of the wine distributor looking to pair up with a wine accessory company, I’d check out the Amazon reviews for those accessories or Google search “[insert company name] reviews.”If there’s a way to dig into the customer service and support of this company’s products and services, you should absolutely find out if customers like what they are purchasing as it reflects on how the brand treats their buyers. Go the extra mile and dig into customer reviews and their experiences with any potential partner, if you can.8) Google the person you’d be working with, if you know who they are.Do a quick search to see if this person has experience in the industry, recommendations of their work, and a positive footprint online. I don’t judge people for not having a YouTube channel on inbound marketing that has over 1,000 subscribers and hundreds of thousands of view to their videos, but I do check out their LinkedIn to see what experience they bring to the table. Ultimately, the person you will be working with will make or break your co-marketing campaign. I don’t discredit people or choose not to work with those who haven’t had several years of experience, but it’s nice to know whether you’re working with somebody who is an industry veteran or somebody who is starting to learn the ropes.9) Ask your network for references.Have any connections in common on LinkedIn? Send your common contact a message and ask if this person you’re thinking of pairing up with is recommendable. If someone you trust can’t recommend this person, that’s a red flag. The same goes for Twitter. If you’re a dog walker looking to pair up with a local dog treat company and see you have a few friends in common on Twitter, Direct Message your common friend and ask about the dog treat company owner you’re interested in working with. Can they vouch for that person? Are they hard workers, passionate about growing their business with inbound marketing, and in tune with their buyer persona and delighting customers?Great recommendations from your network are invaluable ways to research a potential new partner you’re trusting your brand name with.10) Have an introductory call to make sure you’re both aligned (and you get good vibes from the person).I’m a personal believer in first impressions being lasting impressions. Having an introductory call with a future partner is a great way to get a temperature check on their energy and enthusiasm about the co-marketing partnership. A few questions to ask yourself:Do they seem excited about the campaign?Did they come with great questions?Are you aligned on goals?Does the conversation flow well?As a best practice, always schedule a half hour call to get to know each other before agreeing to a campaign. This will give you enough time to ensure you align goals of the campaign, as well as deliverables and the timeline of those deliverables.I try to be as natural as I can on first-time calls. This gives the potential partner a sense of my personality and lets them know I’m excited about the potential for working with them. It loosens the vibe and allows for a more relaxed conversation, which means you can really get to know each other and your goals.At the end of this whole process, you should have a much better idea whether this person and company will be worth partnering up with — or just a waste of time. What other tips do you have for finding and vetting co-marketing partners? Topics: Co-Marketing Originally published Dec 29, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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How to Use Facebook for Business: 13 Essential Tips [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Apr 18, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Facebook is constantly making changes to the design of the profiles — for businesses and individuals alike. They’ve made a few cool changes in the past few years, including adding call-to-action buttons to business Pages and letting you record company milestones, like product launches and events.There are a lot of ways Facebook is helping brands build a follower base, increase visibility, improve branding, communicate with and engage fans, and even drive traffic and leads.To learn more about how to use Facebook for business, download our free guide here. So, what can you do to optimize your brand’s presence on Facebook? Check out the infographic below from Cafe Quill for helpful tips on getting the most from your Facebook business Page.20Save20Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Facebook Business Pageslast_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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Social Media Copywriting: How to Compose Text for 5 Different Channels [Bookmarkable]

first_imgMost of us know that social media is an essential part of a brand’s marketing strategy. After all, 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business. And yet, managing it continues to be a source of frustration for many.That’s understandable — there are many moving parts to a successful social media strategy. There’s knowing the right frequency with which to post. There’s the measurement of any ROI on these efforts. And, there’s determining what the heck to post to each channel.There’s technology available, for example, to post the same content to multiple social media channels. But should you be posting identical messages to each network? As it turns out — no. Different channels have different audiences, peak times, and character limits. And each one is built for a different style of writing, which means there’s one more thing to consider: What should the copy for each social network look like?Click here to sharpen your skills with the help of our social media workbook.That’s why we put together the guidelines below to compose copy for five different social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat. So read on — and start writing.How to Compose Text for 5 Social Media Channels1) FacebookLet’s start with a look at Facebook’s audience:Source: Pew Research CenterWith 79% of all online adults on Facebook, it continues to be the highest-utilized social network of those measured in Pew Research Center’s 2016 Social Media Update. But out of the channels we’ll cover here, it also has the highest rate of usage among the 65+ audience.When you’re composing text for Facebook, it’s important to keep these data in mind — especially if that’s who your brand is targeting. Let’s say you’re creating a marketing budget and want to decide how to allocate a portion for social media. While we encourage having a presence across all channels, if you’re aiming for the attention of the 65+ audience, this might be the best network for an ad spend or a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Focus your energy here, and then repurpose that content for other channels.Less than half of marketers believe that their Facebook efforts are effective — and we have to wonder if that might have something to do with the content they’re sharing on that particular network. So let’s go over some basic ground rules:Make sure your formatting is correct. That’s a big reason why we discourage auto-posting duplicate content across multiple channels — you risk including an “@user” tag that’s only fitting for Twitter or Instagram.Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal. Generally, people don’t visit Facebook to consume long-form text or stories — that’s what your blog is for. In fact, Buffer has found that Facebook posts with 80 characters or less receive 66% higher engagement.Plus, less text allows greater focus to be placed on any visual content that accompanies it. Posts with images, for example, see 2.3X more engagement than those without.Facebook is a particularly good vehicle for promoting your external content — things like blog posts, reports, or videos. That’s what 76% of users seek when they visit Facebook: interesting content. But don’t just post a link without a description. Be sure to accompany it with brief, attention-grabbing text that signals what the content is about, or poses a question that it answers.2) TwitterSource: Pew Research CenterTweets have long come with a maximum of 140 characters, but that doesn’t include images, videos, polls, or tweets that you quote. Plus, according to social media scientist Dan Zarrella, the ideal length is actually around 120-130 characters — those tweets showed the highest click-through rate (CTR).Source: BufferWhen you’re composing copy for tweets, remember that hashtags are an effective way to indicate and summarize what your message is about. Plus, it’s a nice way to become discovered by users who might be using hashtags to search for tweets pertaining to a certain topic — Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement.But exercise some restraint with hashtags, and make sure the text that accompanies them comprises the majority of the tweet. Limit it to one or two — these tweets have a 21% higher engagement than those with three or more.Source: BufferNotice how music site Pitchfork uses Twitter to promote its Facebook content: Today at 1:15pm EST: We’ll be live streaming @SlowdiveBand’s private session at a recording studio in Brooklyn https://t.co/QoPu1cazZL— Pitchfork (@pitchfork) May 9, 2017 Originally published May 15, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated November 29 2017 Using your caption to provide context is especially important when sharing videos. These typically automatically play without sound, so use the description to let them know what they can’t hear — and maybe even motivate them to listen.And about those hashtags: Unlike Twitter, it’s okay to use more than two here, but it’s advised to use less than eight. According to research conducted by Piqora, the sweet spot seems to be around seven hashtags — those Instagram posts seem to get the most engagement.Source: Social FreshAs for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there but because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.5) SnapchatWhile we’re on the topic of not obscuring visual content, let’s discuss Snapchat. Again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post. The word “snap” implies brevity, so try not to ramble. The same goes for your Snapchat story: “a compilation of Snaps that a friend has posted to their Story over the last 24 hours.”Here’s a fun example of how the Food Network created an entire Snapchat story based on the idea of coffee. It began with a small promo on “3 Ways to Step Up Your Iced Coffee Game” under Featured Stories:Source: Social FreshThen, it shared a series of animated images and videos all pertaining to the topic, ranging from recipe tips to clips from the network’s show, “Cutthroat Kitchen.” It took a simple topic — coffee — and expanded it into engaging, consumable content to highlight what the brand does best. Social Media Campaigns Let’s say you have a bigger audience on Twitter than on Facebook, but you want to build your presence on the latter. Twitter can be a good vehicle for driving traffic there, by promoting things like live streams that will be taking place on your page.3) LinkedInSource: Pew Research CenterLinkedIn has become an interesting content distribution channel. Users can share simple post updates, usually business-related (think: job openings and professional conferences), and push them to Twitter at the same time, though we don’t recommend that — see our note on the problems with identical content across different channels.But in 2012, LinkedIn introduced its Influencers program, which recruited notable business figures to guest blog on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Eventually, that platform became open to all LinkedIn members in 2014, positioning it as an outlet for people to share original content with an audience much larger than they may have received on their own domains.That’s part of decentralized content: A concept that allows users to share their work that has been published elsewhere on a content creation platform. Unlike most social media — where limited content is displayed — the full text and images of the work are shared, with the original author and source credited, on a site different from its origin.That makes LinkedIn a good place to re-post and link back to your blog content. But why make the duplicate effort? Well, consider this: 29% of all online adults use LinkedIn. Does your blog have that kind of reach? If it doesn’t, you can reach LinkedIn’s larger audience by syndicating your own content on their platform, drawing more attention to your work.According to Andy Foote, the character limits for these posts are 100 for the headline, and 40,000 for the body.4) InstagramSource: Pew Research CenterSince Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus should typically be on your visual content. But it’s helpful to provide context that lets users know what they’re viewing — within reason.Like many of the other channels we’ve discussed, people don’t use Instagram to read long-form content. And while Instagram doesn’t appear to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it’s cut off after the first three lines. That’s why we recommend limiting captions to that amount, and if you require more text, make sure the most important information — like calls-to-action — is included in the first three lines. Hashtags, @mentions, and extraneous details can go toward the end of the copy.Here’s a good example from New York Magazine. Without pressing “play,” the post appears to just be an image of a laundry basket — something that could mean any number of things without context. But the caption is used to indicate that the magazine recently did a roundup on the best socks for every occasion. Cute, right? Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Notice that for certain parts of the story, there’s a call-to-action at the bottom to “Watch” or “Read.” While Snapchat doesn’t make this entirely clear, it seems like that’s strictly a feature of ads, and not something that can be added organically. However, if your budget permits, adding these CTAs is another way to drive attention to you longer-form content.Get That Copy RightManaging your brand’s social media presence is no simple task, but it’s more than possible. And now, writing creative, compelling copy for your various channels can become a fun task.Draw some information about your audience composition for each social network. Then, see how that compares to the usership data from Pew Research Center. From there, you can see where you have the most active audience, and how you can repurpose content from one channel to draw attention to another one — and attract website traffic.How do you create and repurpose copy for social media? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

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The Greatest Marketing Growth Hack of All Time (Hint: Cupcakes)

first_img Growth-Driven Design A few years ago my team at RJMetrics was launching a short survey over the holidays. It’s a tough time of the year to get attention, especially when you’re a B2B SaaS company. At some point, someone suggested a cupcake giveaway.So we did.Ten participants were randomly chosen to receive a dozen cupcakes, and people LOVED it.They sent email responses to the request saying they hoped they got the cupcakes.They tweeted delighted responses about the campaign.When we delivered them, they tweeted pictures of them and their co-workers enjoying the cupcakes.The response to the cupcake campaign was completely out of proportion to the $50 cost to us.So we decided to make cupcakes a bigger part of some other marketing initiatives. Prior to this first cupcake encounter, we would use iPads as an incentive to promote our webinars. You know, that post-registration page that says “Tell your friends you’re joining us for a chance to win!” We decided to scrap the iPad in lieu of cupcakes…and our conversion rate skyrocketed.No joke.People would rather receive a dozen cupcakes than an iPad.And inevitably we would ship the cupcakes and see a cupcake photo plus a tweet like: “RJMetrics has the best webinars, and you might win cupcakes!”So there it is, the greatest marketing growth hack of all time. The next time you’re trying to motivate people to do something for you, offer the chance to win some cupcakes.The Psychology of CupcakesNow, let’s talk a little bit about what’s happening here. There are a few good theories. I first shared a version of this post over on ThinkGrowth.org and the responses there aligned pretty closely to what I hear whenever I share this story. Cupcakes seem like a more achievable prize.In the case of the survey, the odds of winning cupcakes were actually better than the odds of winning an iPad — we were choosing 10 winners instead of 1. But for webinars, the odds were exactly the same — only 1 winner. Still, there’s something about a dozen cupcakes that just seems more possible.One commenter summed it up perfectly:The Lake Wobegon Effect As in Lake Wobegon of Prairie Home Companion. This theory was presented by HubSpot’s co-founder and CTO, Dharmesh Shah and is a variation on cupcakes seeming more achievable, but with a little more detail on the psychology of why they feel more achievable:Valuing Experiences Over ThingsAnother theory on why this is so effective is that people actually want the experience of winning cupcakes more than they want the experience of winning an iPad. Winning an iPad is kind of a lonely experience, tell your co-workers and they’ll probably feel bored or jealous.But winning cupcakes? That’s a community experience. You can gather your co-workers around to share in your success, eat cupcakes together, take a picture. And maybe on some sub-conscious level we all just want that feeling of community more than we want an iPad.My hunch is that if you ask someone outright, they will always tell you they would prefer to win an iPad, but actual behavior reveals we might want something a little more meaningful.The Element of SurpriseThis is a less popular theory, but personally, I think it carries a lot of weight. In marketing, all strategies erode over time. Andrew Chen calls this “The Law of Shitty Click-Throughs.” He uses the example of the internet’s first banner ad: But by 2011, Facebook ads were converting at .05%.And we see this play out again and again in marketing. As more businesses adopt a tactic, the better people become at tuning it out, and the effectiveness of that tactic wears off:The more companies start posting links on social, the harder it is to get people to click a link on social.The more emails salespeople send, the harder it is to get a response.The more content that gets produced, the harder it is to capture attention.We’re just not used to seeing cupcakes show up in marketing. It surprises us, forces us to pause and pay attention. And attention, after all, is what marketers are always chasing.If the surprise theory is true, this holds implications beyond cupcakes. It means there’s an enormous edge given to marketers who can navigate the balance of being familiar enough that people feel comfortable, but surprising enough that people actually pay attention.I’ve recently fallen in love with CBInsights newsletter. The author of the newsletter and founder of the company, Anand Sanwal, has an amazing sense of humor and I’ve found myself hooked on his storylines. Here’s one of this latest newsletters:How many business communications lead with “I love you”? Or talk about bromances in a way that makes you want to keep reading?And you actually want to read the copy because Anand is constantly dropping little remarks like “a not very useful graph” that are so refreshingly honest about the things marketers are often trying to hype. I mean this graph is interesting, but he’s right, it’s not very useful 😂And of course, this is all held together by a core of content that is top-notch commentary on the tech industry.Why do I love this newsletter so much? Yes, it’s providing incredibly useful information, but I’m constantly surprised and delighted by what Anand is writing. I read what he’s writing because it’s different from how everyone talks about similar things.He’s not giving away cupcakes, but there’s still power in the art of surprise.Now it’s your turn.After I published this post on ThinkGrowth.org I heard from two marketers who were already implementing the cupcake test. So, the time to try this strategy is now. It won’t be crazy effective for too long!But seriously, cupcakes or no cupcakes, keep your eye out for opportunities to share a little joy with your audience. We’re all busy and distracted and overloaded with information. Ask yourself how you can add just a little more humanity to your marketing, how you can create moments for your audience to connect with other humans, how you can make them pause and maybe … just maybe … how you can even make them smile.Editor’s Note: This post was adapted for the Marketing Blog from ThinkGrowth.org, HubSpot’s Medium publication. You can check out the original version here.  Topics: Originally published Jun 16, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated June 16 2017 Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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Julien Baker Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus Form Boygenius Supergroup

first_img https://www.instagram.com/p/Bmvlth2HVP3/?taken-by=lucydacus News A self-titled EP from the indie supergroup some consider a dream come true is due out in NovemberPhilip MerrillGRAMMYs Aug 21, 2018 – 12:41 pm On Aug. 21 indie singer/songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus announced they will be touring together and releasing a joint album as supergroup Boygenius on Matador Records this November.Julien Baker signed with Matador for her 2017 second album Turn Out The Lights, which reached No. 78 on the Billboard 200. Phoebe Bridgers released her first album in 2017, Stranger In The Alps, on Dead Oceans. Bridgers is best known for her featured spot on Lord Huron’s “The Night We Met,” which reached No. 25 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs. Lucy Dacus’ two albums are both Matador offerings, 2016’s No Burden and 2018’s Historian. The trio’s self-titled EP arrives Nov. 9, but Matador has released three tracks to lead the way.The three women will continue their independent tour schedules until Nov. 4, when their joint tour kicks off at the Ryman in Nashville. Dacus is opening and Baker and Bridgers will co-headline the dates. While they plan to play their own material, the door is definitely open for some collaborative supergroup jump-ins as well, a possibility Matador refers to as “another rumor we can’t yet confirm.” The string of 19 appearances wraps up on Nov. 30 at The Wiltern in Los Angeles. Describing their collaborative creative process, Baker said, “Everyone seemed both confident enough to present ideas and fight for their individual vision, but considerate and humble enough to make decisions which ultimately served the song.” What started as one song apiece from the women blossomed into the EP, and the artists’ mutual support and affinity for working together has created what a writer for Nylon dubbed, “the supergroup of my dreams.”Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? “Talk To GRAMMYs”Read more Twitter Meet Indie Supergroup Boygenius julien-baker-phoebe-bridgers-and-lucy-dacus-form-boygenius-supergroup Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus Form Boygenius Supergroup Email Facebook last_img read more

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ING Group sells entire 3 stake in Kotak Mahindra Bank

first_imgDutch financial major ING Group has sold its entire stake in the Kotak Mahindra Bank. ING Group had held 3.06 per cent stake in Kotak Mahindra Bank following the merger of its banking unit, ING Vysya Bank, with Kotak Mahindra Bank in April 2015, media reports say.Subsequent to the stake sale completed on February 22, Mark Newman, a non-executive director at Kotak Bank resigned with immediate effect, according to a report on the MoneyControl website.”Earlier today, ING Group sold its remaining stake in the bank. I hereby resign from my position as a director of the company with immediate effect,” he said in his resignation letter which stock exchanges carried on their websites.The 3.06 per cent stake that ING Mauritius Investments held in Kotak Mahindra Bank as of December 31, 2018, amounted to 5.8 crore shares, according to data in Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).ING Group merged its banking unit, ING Vysya Bank, with Kotak Mahindra Bank in November 2014. After the deal concluded in April 2015, the former held 6.5 per cent stake in the merged entity but offloaded some of its shares later, the report says. Kotak Mahindra Bank fell 3.71 per cent to close at Rs 1,241.05 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) as of the close on Friday.The Business Line reported that the stake-sale took place through block deals early in the morning. The average share price was understood to be at about 5 per cent discount to Thursday’s closing price. As many as 8.38 crore shares of the lender amounting to over Rs 10,000 crore were traded on Friday on both the exchanges, according to the daily.Media reports earlier indicated that ING was keen on exiting Kotak Mahindra Bank. In November last year, it sold 0.7 per cent stake in the private sector lender for Rs 1,400 crore, according to reports.Uday Kotak-led Kotak Mahindra Bank, headquartered in Mumbai, which is the second largest private bank by market capitalisation after HDFC Bank, has a network of 1,369 branches across 689 locations and 2,163 ATMs in the country.The Kotak Bank’s deal for acquiring ING Vysya Bank in April 2015 was valued at Rs 15,000 crore ($2.1 billion). The merger raised the staff strength of the bank to almost 40,000.Headquartered in Amsterdam, the ING Group (Internationale Nederlanden Groep) is a multinational full-spectrum banking and financial services corporation and part of the Inter-Alpha Group of Banks, a cooperative consortium of 11 prominent European banks.last_img read more

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Best Western rewards loyalty members with 10 travel cards

first_img Travelweek Group Thursday, June 22, 2017 Share Tags: Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Promotions PHOENIX — Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ latest seasonal promotion encourages Best Western Rewards (BWR) members to ‘Go. Get. Rewarded.’Now through Sept. 4, 2017, BWR members will earn a US$10 Best Western Travel Card for each night at more than 4,200 Best Western branded hotels worldwide. In addition, AAA/CAA members will earn a $20 Best Western Travel Card for each night.With no limitation to the number of Best Western Travel Cards that each member can earn, members will be able to instantly redeem their Travel Cards and use it towards their next trip, gift it to a loved one, or stack up the rewards and use them for a special occasion.“As we prepare for the busy summer travel season, we are excited to help our loyal guests live out their ultimate vacation getaway, while also putting some money back into their pockets,” said Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “We listen to the voice of our customers and tailor our BWR program to provide the value and perks guests are looking for. This summer promotion is a great example of that as it helps alleviate the stress that can come with travel expenses. We look forward to seeing both leisure and business travellers at our properties this summer.”More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaBWR, which as recently refreshed, is the only loyalty program in the industry where points never expire. Reward redemption begins at a lower point level requirement relative to industry competitors, and free nights earned can be redeemed at any Best Western branded hotel worldwide, with no blackout dates. Additionally, members have access to special rates – up to 10% off on every night and free night redemptions count toward attaining elite tiers. Finally, members are able to earn gift cards from some of the most popular shopping, entertainment, gas, and airline partners.As part of the BWR refresh, members are given instant rewards and gratification on every stay. Additionally, the ‘Status Match…No Catch’ program allows members to instantly have their status matched with other hotel loyalty programs upon enrollment.In addition, elite members are given a choice of a “Thank You” gift or bonus points. Plus, they receive a 10% discount for all free night redemptions. Finally, Best Western hotels provide guaranteed free nights for Diamond and Diamond Select members at properties with availability.center_img Posted by Best Western rewards loyalty members with $10 travel cards << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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